Non-Believer Horoscopes for August/Sept 2018

In case you can’t find the print version, here is a reproduction of my astrology column in the South Shore Puzzle Journal:

by Blake Wiers

“August” in English comes from the Latin word “Augustus,” which in turn comes from the word “augere,” meaning to “add more.” Augustus was the Roman emperor after Julius Caesar. July is named after Julius Caesar, who revamped the Roman calendar in the year 46 BC. After years of meddling by various officials, adding a month here or a day there in order to lengthen their stay in office or otherwise play power tricks, the calendar had become unhitched from the seasons, with the new year beginning sometime in the fall. Julius Caesar stepped in to make a fix in forty-six. Kinda catchy, huh?

Before the Julian Calendar, the new year in Europe was supposed to begin at the spring equinox, about March 21st, which is where the Astrological calendar still begins, with Aries. In the older Roman accounting, with the new year at the end of March, July was the fifth month, and named Quintilis after the number five. In the confusion and excitement of making the big shift to starting the new year in January, just after the winter solstice, Julius Caesar of course couldn’t pass up the opportunity for immortality, and gave himself a month on his own calendar: July.

Unfortunately, the Emperor Julius didn’t make it to see his second July. He was done-in by his buddies in the senate, including Brutus the Younger (of “Et tu Brutus?” infamy), during the Ides of March in 45 BC, which used to be the party leading up to the new year, but were now vacant territory, primed and ready to be swept up into a new tradition, the easter resurrection of Jesus Christ, a carpenter turned miracle artist still awaiting his virgin birth in the distant reaches of the Roman Empire. (Yes, you will be hearing more about that historical event in the spring!)

Julius Caesar’s successor as the Emperor of Rome, Augustus Caesar, being one of “greatness” and “benevolence,” but also of “adding more” decided the month after July should be named after none other than himself. He took the month “Sextilis” (with “sextus” meaning “six”), and turned it into Augustus, which we now know as the eighth month of the calendar year, August.

September, October, November, and December all had various emperors who attempted a rebrand, but the old “sept” (seven), “oct” (eight), “novem” (nine), and “deca” (ten) have persevered through the millennia, despite the fact that September, seven, is now the ninth month on the calendar, and etcetera. At a certain point in the processing of history, astronomy, mythology, idea migration, and why things are called what they are, you begin to understand why our grade school teachers skipped over some of the details. (“Who’s on first?” “No, Who is a doctor.”)

But what about Virgo? Now that we’ve established why August is called August, and why the ninth month, September, is named after seven, what about the Astrological equivalent, Virgo? (Yes, Libra, this is your big South Shore Puzzle Journal astrological moment for 2018, too, but Virgos really want to have this detail nailed down, so lets roll with them for a moment.)

Compared to all of the naming and branding turf wars of the calendar, Virgo is relatively simple. Virgo is a constellation in the sky, kind of near the Big Dipper. (Follow the curve of the dipper’s handle to Arcturus, then keep going to Spica, the brightest star in Virgo.) The word virgo means “virgin” and the constellation is associated with bounty and harvest. Nothing, of course, represents fertility quite like a virgin. (Apparently astrology is not terribly P.C.)

The abundance mythology of Virgo came about because from the perspective of Egypt and the Middle East, where an awful lot of western bodies of knowledge got going, the sun lines up with Virgo every year at just about the right time to harvest your wheat. Watch the sky, wait for Virgo, and bring in your wealth from the field. A little bit of useful info passed down through the ages by oral tradition, astrology, the stars, moon, and planets.

And Libra, the next sun sign, beginning in late September? Libra is a constellation of stars in the sky between Virgo and Scorpio. We usually see Libra represented by the scales of justice. People associate Libra with fairness, equality and fundamental rights. And you can come up with all kinds of reasons for this, but the fact is that the sun passes through Libra right around the autumnal equinox (as seen from Mesopotamia, aka Babylonia, aka Iraq, one of the first western civilizations we know about). So, when the sun is said to be in Libra, around the 21st of September, day and night are of equal length in Baghdad. Or Houston, or Seoul, or Hawaii. Since the Earth spins with space as the background, the sky looks basically the same everywhere on Earth from the same latitude.

The scales of Libra are balanced between the light and the dark. But if you’ve ever grown a garden, you know Libra really means it is time to get out there and harvest before it’s too late. Of course, like these horoscopes versus having an actual astrologer read your birth chart, gardening is a very localized event. My mother in Hull practices some tarp techniques to keep the kale going until December or later, and I live in foggy coastal California where sunny autumn is a perfect time to get outside and plant a new garden before the winter rains!

deb garden 2017
Here’s my wife Deb working on a new garden in San Francisco’s Mission District last fall. See more at


ARIES March 21-April 21ish
Aries, your August finds your planet, Mars, going direct again mid-month. But don’t get ahead of yourself, this planetary return of energy is for crossing the T’s and dotting the I’s. September promises a bumpy ride, and Mars is moving into Taurus, your home and possessions, for six months. Look for the upside, keep your cool, pursue opportunities, and love those close to you.

TAURUS April 21-May 21ish
Enjoy your chill time until August 15th, when Mars enters your sign until February. You will want to put the blinders on and focus, focus, focus soon enough. Remember, while you’re busy getting it done, you might do well to make yourself available now and then. Especially when the angry pitchforks come calling at the end of September, when Pluto aligns with Saturn.

GEMINI May 21-June 21ish
Your planet, Mercury, begins the eighth month of the 2018 annual trip around the sun, moving retrograde in the constellation Leo. The new moon is also in Leo. Together, this is a time for new beginnings, meeting new friends, and even entering exciting new places. On the fifteenth of August, the messenger turns and heads for a quick trip through Virgo and Libra. In terms of astrological mumbo-jumbo, that means stay home. (If you can.)

CANCER June 21-July 21ish
Coming down off the party is hard, so why not put on a favorite old record, and pour one more just for yourself? Here’s why: it’s coming up on harvest time. You’ve got to get up in the morning and check the wheat, buddy. That sunshine haze of summer was the stuff that’s going to power you through the transition ahead. And your September features a run-in with accounting, so get your finances in order.

LEO July 21-August 21 or so
It’s your time, your special very Leo time, with the New Moon in Leo and how do you deal with being so great, so oh very on top of it all while everyone else is so quite clearly small, it’s a fact and that’s that! Have a fun birthday, dear Leo, because in September, Saturn enters your sign and does a dance with Pluto and Uranus that promises un-fun. The anti-fun. Downer s*#t. Sorry to break the news at such a fun amazing awesome incredible best-ever birthday party!

VIRGO August 21-September 21ish
As summer winds down, you’re feeling ready to take on the world again. The quiet time of retrograde Mercury transiting Leo is giving way to a meeting of your planet, the sun, and the moon in Virgo at the beginning of September. All of this energy in your sign has you feeling on top of it all, but the sad truth is even you can’t control everything. Let it go, and strike up the band again!

LIBRA September 21-October 21 (and a few on either side)
There are things happening, and some of them are happening to you and some of them are happening around you and a lot is happening and you are in the middle of it all happening at once. During August, everything might come on as a surprise rush, but by the end of September you’re beginning to get a handle on life again. Watch out for a shopping spree in the second week of September, with your planet Venus meeting up with tempting Scorpio.

SCORPIO October 21-November 21ish
Something cool might come along with the new moon in Leo August fifth, but then again, you might have to do that thing you hate the most to grab your big chance: compromise. If the urge to burn the bridge is real, hey, call for help…no pyrotechnics needed! But if it’s, you know, only sorta metaphorically time to go nuclear, it’s still time to hold your horses! Seriously, in no way is blundering forward going to help you this September, Scorpio. Listen, consider, communicate, then make steps.

SAGITTARIUS November 21-December 21
Work travel may overtake pleasure, and your efforts may seem to disappear into the cloud, so what can you do to stay healthy? Catch a little you time in the middle of this freshly busy season with a self-love routine including all those things you remember really loving during that one week in January you had resolutions. Or forget it all, and go for that last meal, walk, sail…and squeeze every bit of sun out of this summer.

CAPRICORN December 21-January 21ish
Imagine you are a rabbit, and you own a carrot patch with your two siblings. You inherited it from your parents, who passed away. Your siblings have moved away from the patch, and you pay them rent, in carrots. Now they want you to buy them out, and pay them back rent for the time you were living there taking care of your sick parents and not paying rent. Right, now take this story to the loan officer at the bank where you are currently applying for a mortgage, and that is your horoscope, Capricorn. (Quick answer: start planting carrots.)

AQUARIUS January 21-February 21
“Come and get your love,” sang Redbone, one of the few Native American bands with a top forty hit. “Hell, what’s the matter if you feel right? It’s your business, if you want some, get some.” The last days of summer 2018 are your season for feeling tha’ groove Aquarius. Whether it’s reigniting the old flame or fluttering into a new affair, you’re going to feel it in the air. “Hell with it baby, cause you’re fine and you’re mine and you look so divine.”

PISCES February 21-March 21 and a bit
Saturn and the new moon in Leo are saying you’re going to step it up a notch in the “responsible for my own health and wellbeing” department, including the scary prospect of actually having to be in charge of making some money. Here comes the stuff, with Saturn lingering two years and Mars sticking around six months, all those projects on the back burner are suddenly coming to fruition. Hold off on the impulsive decisions until the new moon in Pisces at the end of September makes things too obvious to ignore.

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