Astrology 8/15-8/21: Ties That Bind

Astrology 8/15-8/21: Ties That Bind

This week is host to a brilliant Full Moon in Aquarius, which in the Americas, occurs early Thursday morning.  While the Moon achieves maximum brilliance, Mercury creeps toward Jupiter.  The smallest planet conjoins the largest on Sunday, with plans to keep the giant company for the next several weeks.  Meanwhile, Mars spends the week closing in on its August 23rd conjunction with Saturn, steadily turning up the heat.

The Knot

The Full Moon in Aquarius arrives in the dark hours of Thursday morning (Aug 18, 2:23 AM PDT).  First, while this Full Moon is being reported by some sources as an eclipse, this is not the case, as there will be no visible dimming of the Moon’s light from any location on Earth.  As I wrote in my review of August’s astrological configurations

“It is worth noting that this Full Moon is by some stretches of the imagination and technical definition an eclipse.  Yet it is so weak as to be imperceptible to the naked eye.  You will look up and see only undimmed silver.  Save your fear of the blood Moon and the dark Sun for the pair of visible eclipses coming in September.”

Though not an eclipse, this Full Moon is not without character or power.  The annual opposition of the Sun in Leo and the Moon in Aquarius always juxtaposes identification and detachment, challenging us to reconsider the how invested we are in life’s many dramas.

This year’s Full Moon in Aquarius occurs in the third decan of the Water-Bearer’s sign, which happens to be ruled by the Moon (according to the Descending Order method of rulership.)  When a planet is in a decan it rules, it unlocks the decan’s significations, and the symbols and images associated with it come tumbling out.

In my book on the decans, “36 Faces,” I attempted to summarize the meaning of the third decan of Aquarius with the image of a knot, as this face of Aquarius highlights matters in which we become tangled and thus dream of escape.  The dilemma many encounter here is best summed up by the Clash’s “Should I Stay Or Should I Go?”  The Clash’s song expresses the anxiety produced by indecision, yet indecision must always precede decision.  Rushing a choice in order to escape that tension is of little value.

Instead of trying to untangle a given knot, sometimes it is wisest to abandon the whole mess.  This is the answer Alexander the Great gave when confronted with the famous Gordian Knot.  Instead of taking the time to unwork it, Alexander merely drew his sword and sliced it in half.  This is the easy answer, for situations which do not require subtlety, only separation.  This option is depicted in the Rider-Waite-Smith’s 7 of Swords.  It is the “Screw you guys, I’m going home” answer to entanglement.

While some of the issues which arise in Aquarius’ third decan can be dealt with this simply, others cannot.  A relationship, for example, easily gets tied up in karmic knots, little unresolved moments which restrict the flow of energy and love.  One cannot apply Alexander’s answer to such delicate affairs without abandoning the whole project.  The same could be said of the knots of mind and muscle which so persistently mar our backs and necks.  Knots in living tissue, be they tissue body or soul, must be massaged out slowly and carefully, their patterns unwound with care.

Yet not all knots are problems.  Some keep us lashed to the decks of our ships, and others bound to the people we’ve sworn loyalty to.  You may even want to tighten a few of them.  So as this week’s bright silver illuminates knots great and small, ask yourself whether you want to tighten them, commit to massaging the tangles away, or give it a slice and be on your way, Alexander-style.

The Underground Library

On Sunday, Mercury conjoins Jupiter in Virgo.  Though the conjunction is precise on Sunday, it is less a moment and more the beginning of a period.  Because Mercury has slowed dramatically in preparation for its upcoming retrograde, the tricky planet will not stray more than a degree and a half from Jupiter for the next three weeks.

This ongoing conjunction highlights the intersection of the intellect and the wisdom-mind, the programmer and the priest.  With Mercury slow in preparation for a retrograde spiral, you may find your mind pulled earthward, and hungry for excavation.   Mercury is just beginning to drill downward, churning up data in pursuit of something deeper.

If you feel the need to dig, then by all means sink a mineshaft, but don’t expect to emerge for quite some time- once you burrow your way into the vaults of the underground library, you’ll find yourself lost in its halls for quite some time.


Horoscopes are not a real chart reading by an experienced astrologer. They are fun and can be reasonably accurate, however. In addition to referring to your Sun sign, read from your Ascendant and Moon if you know them. If you don’t, find out! I’m a long time fan of the free chart generation software at
Aries: The Ram

This week’s Full Moon in Aquarius asks you to consider your social sphere. There may be friendships or alliances it would be wise to limit your investment in, or even consider disengaging with, because they pull you away from your long term goals or a are contrary to your beliefs. Nonetheless, while you survey your sphere in search of problems, you’re also quite likely to find a few folks worth doubling down on.

Taurus: The Bull

This week’s Full Moon in Aquarius asks you to take a look at your professional life. Some of your ambitions may have become complicated, tangled up in a morass of events and relationships. This week’s lunation asks whether it might be better to cut your losses and reorient, or whether it is, in fact, worth sticking it out and fighting your way over the finish line.

Gemini: The Twins

This week’s Full Moon in Aquarius shines a silver spotlight on your long term goals and firmly held convictions. This Moon’s light is due to expose the tangles in the road that delayed you in achieving certain long term goals. The question posited to you is whether you’re willing to slowly unknot the road you’ve chosen, or whether it might be wiser to throw your dreams in a rucksack and take the train West.

Cancer: The Crab

This week’s Full Moon in the Water-Bearer’s sign casts light upon your exchanges of time, money and energy with others. That silver light is due to fall on the more tangled of your transactions, highlighting the give-and-takes that have gotten stuck at one point or another. The question surrounding these little stagnancies is whether to let go of the exchange or commit to the effort it will require to sort things out.

Leo: The Lion

This week’s Full Moon in Aquarius shines an argent spotlight on your most significant relationships. In particular, this light will tend to fall upon those places where the dynamics have gotten tangled, either with your current partner or with someone in the past. As this emotional knot comes into view, consider whether it’s something worth working and sorting through, or whether it’s best tossed in the river for time to do the untangling.

Virgo: The Virgin

This week’s Full Moon in Aquarius spills a silver spotlight across your patterns of work and relaxation. There is likely a knot of anxiety and muscles waiting to be massaged out here. Rub it down and take a moment to consider how to remove some for the friction from your day, as well how you might make your downtime more rejuvenative.

Libra: The Scales

This week’s full Moon in Aquarius spotlights your well of creative energy, and what, exactly, you’re doing with it. Your attention may be pulled to a particular project which you’re not so sure you actually want to see through. Though you may feel like abandoning some of your works as the Moon shines bright, this is not a call to quit, but a cue to assess what projects are worth your energy and which aren’t. It’s important not to let moments of frustration or exhaustion make your decisions for you. Low moments reveal the cost of endeavors, but a larger and more neutral state of mind is necessary to calculate their value.

Scorpio: The Scorpion

This week’s Full Moon in Aquarius fires beams deep into the foundations of your life, illuminating issues of family and living space. Look to the space beneath your feet. One of the questions which hovers is whether the place you currently reside is where you belong. Is this space worth fighting to retain, or would it be best to pack your bags and continue through the desert, seeking a more nourishing oasis? This question could well extend to issues of familial relationships, as well. You may be irritated by the compulsions which bind you to kin, yet if you are not willing to give up on those relationships, then you may want to turn your attentions to working out the knots.

Sagittarius: The Centaur

This week’s Full Moon in Aquarius spills silver across your regular schedule of activities. Squint and take a look at how you’re spending your time. The many tasks and trips may or may not getting you closer to your long term objectives. Little accomplishments and small goals can either be logs thrown on to the fire of a larger ambition, or they can be firecrackers set off here and there, creating light for a moment or two, but amounting to nothing.

Capricorn: The Goat

This week’s Full Moon in Aquarius highlights monetary matters for you. This silver spotlight includes what you have, what you’re owed, and what you owe. While the Moon is full, you may want to turn your mind to the balance of your accounts, and see if a few adjustments might create a healthier homeostasis.

Aquarius: The Waterbearer

This week’s Full Moon falls in the last degrees of your sign, washing you in silver. Of particular importance here are your needs, both somatic and emotional, and how well, or not, they are being met. With this Full Moon, there may be tendency to assume that the needs illuminated by cannot be met, and to give up trying. Though the ideal situation is not likely possible, it is important to do your best to see in what ways you could get a little closer to it. Don’t give up on yourself or the people around you just because they’re not perfect. The longer you work the clay, the greater its resemblance will be to your heart’s desire.

Pisces: The Fish

This week’s Full Moon in Aquarius illuminates areas within your psyche that usually stay dark. It is not so much habits of the body or of behavior that gets washed in silver here, as much as habits of the mind, patterns of perception and process. These knots are often the root of a wide pattern of behaviors. When we stand back far enough for the mind to see itself in action, we can begin untangling those knot. While it is helpful to cut a troubled complex off from its associated behaviors, permanent resolution involves slowly untying the pattern. We have only so many psychic power cords, and if our only answer is to unplug them when they get tangled, our systems end up running well below capacity.

Austin Coppock is a writer, esotericist and astrologer based in Ashland, OR. He published paperback Almanacs from 2011-15 but began posting his prognostications online last year, referring to his collection of weekly, monthly, yearly essays and daily delineations as “The Online Almanac”. This work is made possible by his supporters on Patreon. Austin was President of the non-profit organization “Association for Young Astrologers” from 2012-2016. His most recent book is “36 Faces: The History, Astrology and Magic of the Decans”, published by Three Hands Press.


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