"Destruction of the Temple of Jerusalem" by Francesco Hayez, 1867
"Destruction of the Temple of Jerusalem" by Francesco Hayez, 1867

Month of Av: How can this summer get any worse?

Av, 2020

July 22-Aug. 20

Av is always a challenging month, this year even more so. The Mishna says: “As Av enters, we diminish joy,” though it’s hard to imagine joy being even more diminished than it already is during this extraordinarily stressful year. With the sun in passionate Leo/Aryeh, Mars/Ma’adim in aggressive Aries/Taleh, and a world under siege divided between compliant believers and defiant deniers, joy seems a distant memory.

Explosive public revelations rock the already crumbling foundations of stability at Mercury/Kochav’s opposition to Pluto Aug. 1. Pride goes before a fall when the sun in Leon squares Uranus/Oron in Taurus/Shor Aug. 2. The full Aquarius moon of Tu b’Av (sometimes called the Jewish Valentine’s Day) on Aug. 3 with Mercury opposite Saturn/Shabbatai and Mars square Jupiter/Tzedek Aug. 4 tells us there is no love without justice — and demands that justice be delivered in the court of public opinion. Closed door deliberations and back-room dealmakers trading ideals for short-term gain find their doors kicked in by Aug. 13’s inflammatory square of Mars to Pluto. Nobody is in the mood to cut the status quo any slack when calls for change are routinely ignored.

Though global implosion of the status quo triggers universal fears, discovering individual moments of pleasure, personal creativity, meaning and significance while letting go of things we can’t control helps take the edge off what surely promises to be the summer of our collective discontent.

Aries / Taleh

Mars /Ma’adim in Aries through January 2021 empowers you — but what will you do with all that raw power? As Yehuda, your tribal ruler, had to learn self-control by experiencing the consequences of his own choices, the square of Mars to Jupiter/Tzedek Aug. 4 and Pluto Aug. 13 is a monumental test of self-control, reflecting external tensions which must be resolved by your own decision-making. As revolution calls, you’ll either want to burn everything down and start over — or, if you’re invested in the status quo, take up arms to defend the old regime to the end. Pick a side!

Taurus / Shor

Venus/Noga enters family-oriented, emotional Cancer/Sartan Aug. 7, recalling remembrance of things past. The last quarter moon in Taurus Aug. 11 inspires a sentimental journey; you’re looking behind you through rose-colored glasses, but romanticizing what you’ve already outgrown gets you nowhere. As Issachar, your tribal ruler, discerned the times and seasons, your natural ability to tell heart-time is aroused when Venus sextiles Uranus at the new moon in Leo/Aryeh Aug. 18. A door for a new and unusual relationship may open, perhaps with someone extremely different than your usual cup of romantic tea. Walk through the door without looking back.

Gemini / T’omim

Like Zevulon, your tribal ruler, you need variety. But as external restrictions force you to turn that inclination inward, you may discover new facets of your inner performer when Mercury/Kochav transits Leo/Aryeh Aug. 5-19. Sun-Mercury conjunction Aug. 17 focuses the spotlight on you — it’s your time to shine! Confrontations over power and control come to a head Aug. 10, and Mercury’s trine to Mars Aug. 16 activates your fighting spirit — come to the defense of your originality and take unambiguous ownership of your own ideas. Mercury’s entrance into Virgo/Betulah Aug. 19 replaces grandiosity with rational logic in your decision-making. Negotiate from power when you know your own worth.

Cancer / Sartan

Though the past is your favorite fantasy destination, the full moon in forward-thinking Aquarius/D’li Aug. 3 reveals compelling future potential. Moon in Cancer Aug. 15-16 seeds new growth, Venus/Noga in Cancer from Aug. 7 nourishes old love. Tribal leader Reuven’s preference for someone who feels like family slips on easily like a comfortable old shoe, but is familiarity really the best way to challenge yourself to grow? Can something new develop when the status quo is too comfortable to leave? The best of both worlds might be an old dog willing and able to learn new tricks.

Leo / Aryeh

Sun in Leo through Aug. 22 is normally your annual party time; this year it’s a house party with a tiny, exclusive guest list. Surprising realizations when Sun squares Uranus/Oron Aug. 2 full Aquarius moon Aug. 3 reveals the reliability of your most significant friendships. Who shows up for you when the going gets tough? Tribal leader Shimon’s legacy of powerful ego-based defense mechanisms kicks in Aug. 16 at the sun’s trine to Mars/Ma’adim; your task is to not allow defensive anger to become offensive aggression. New moon in Leo Aug. 18 refreshes your resolve and strengthens heart-based priorities.

Virgo / Betulah

Power struggles at Mercury/Kochav’s opposition to Pluto Aug. 1 and control issues Aug. 3 at Mercury’s conjunction to Saturn/Tzedek set the stage for unconscious projection and unexamined subconscious fears through Aug. 18. Secrets you’ve been keeping forever threaten to jump right out of your mouth Aug. 10; the temptation to use information as a weapon is high Aug. 16 when Mercury trines Mars/Ma’adim. Knowledge is power when Mercury enters Virgo Aug. 19, followed by the sun Aug. 22. Your normal desire is to use your communicative powers for good; fight off the desire for petty revenge by taking the high road.

Libra / Moznayim

A troubling midrash on the disastrous results of tribal leader Ephraim’s premature exit from Egypt informs the Venus/Noga square to Neptune/Rahav at first quarter Moon in Scorpio/Akrav July 27. Do not jump the gun in your eagerness to escape restriction. Social distancing is difficult for your relationship-oriented sensibilities, but allow Venus in home-and-family-centric Cancer/Sartan Aug. 7 to refocus your priorities towards those lasting, lifelong connections. And now for something completely different: Aug. 18 at the new moon in Leo/Aryeh with Venus trine Uranus/Oron — someone previously relegated to the friend zone makes a surprise relocation to the heart zone.

Scorpio / Akrav

First quarter moon in Scorpio July 25 with Mars/Ma’adim in Aries/Taleh renews your quest to achieve ambitious goals, despite the pervasive negativity of our current zeitgeist. Social instability is your advantage if you’re positioned as a pragmatic, persistent and prescient leader when Mars squares Jupiter/Tzedek Aug. 4. Tribal leader Menashe’s interpretive skills and insight are your strength when what others see as social destruction is correctly perceived by you as an explosive opportunity around Aug. 13 at the Mars-Pluto square, a chance to dynamite an opening through the wall of status quo previously blocking you from achieving your desires.

Sagittarius / Keshet

Retrograde Jupiter/Tzedek in Capricorn/Gidi rewinds to December 2019 when opportunities available at that time reappear in a slightly altered, more flexible form. Jupiter’s sextile to Neptune/Rahav July 30 invites you to imagine an entirely new approach to an old challenge, while Mercury/Kochav’s opposition to Jupiter July 30 opens the door to renegotiating deals to your advantage. Allow your inner wolf, tribal leader Benjamin’s sigil, to howl and bay at full moon in Aquarius/D’lin Aug. 3; you deserve to make some noise around your achievements now. Mars/Ma’adim square Jupiter Aug. 4 empowers you to demand the full measure of your worth.

Capricorn / Gidi

Mercury/Kochav opposite Saturn/Shabbatai at the full moon in Aquarius/D’li Aug. 3 inspires frank, bottom-line oriented conversation around proper boundaries, personal sovereignty, and individual independence. Communications you’ve been dreading turn out to be easier than you thought when seeking common ground. Finding the happy medium isn’t a sign of weakness; compromise can strengthen your position when Venus/Nogas enters Cancer/Sartan Aug. 7. Last quarter moon in Taurus/Shor Aug. 12 sets the stage for sensual connectivity. Allow yourself to accept and receive the love you’re being offered without looking for the catch where there isn’t one.

Aquarius / D’li

Tribal leader Asher normally inspires communal loyalties, but Aug. 2’s full Aquarius moon and Mercury/Kochav’s opposition to Saturn/Shabbatai Aug. 3 abruptly demonstrates that your own opinions are your priorities. Those accustomed to your detached, cerebral style may be shocked by the explosive passion you bring to promoting causes dearest to your heart. Mercury’s square to Uranus/Oron Aug. 10 and Uranus’ retrograde Aug. 15 prompts abrupt and unexpected public truth-telling; social consequences of fidelity to your ideals may bring unexpected loss of traditional allies. Though this usually doesn’t concern you, this time it might.

Pisces / Dagim

A midrash tells us that tribal leader Naftali ran from Hebron to Egypt to fetch the title deed to the Cave of Machpelah to prove family burial rights. First quarter moon in Scorpio/Akrav July 27 inspires your run towards family history. Full moon in Aquarius/D’li Aug. 3 reveals ancestral secrets, some of which are hurtful. Mercy may be extended, and forgiveness offered when the moon conjuncts Neptune/Rahav Aug. 6, but consequences of subterfuge and past betrayals may force you to engage in assertive and healthy boundary-setting. Deciding who to trust is your hardest and most important work now.

Lorelai Kude
Lorelai Kude

Lorelai Kude began her career as a professional astrologer in the 1980s. She holds a BA in Journalism from San Francisco State University and a MA in Jewish Studies from Berkeley’s Graduate Theological Union, where her thesis topic was astrology in Jewish cultural history. Find more of her work at astrolojew.com.