August 2016 Planetary Alignments

Daniel Giamario - Founder of the Shamanic Astrology paradigm and SAMS

Daniel Giamario – Founder of the Shamanic Astrology paradigm and SAMS

Spectacular August Configurations (in 2016)Planetary tribe

By Daniel Giamario

An extremely rare and powerful planetary alignment will soon be upon us. Amazingly, from mid-August to early September, two configurations combining stars and planets will dominate the evening sky.

Low in the West is a stellium of Venus/Jupiter/Mercury.
Higher up still looking West is Mars/Saturn/Antares.


Here is the data:

Venus, Jupiter, Mercury

Date Sun Mercury Venus Jupiter Notes
Aug 08 16 Leo 21 13 Virgo 04 Virgo 23 Virgo 29 Mercury and Jupiter within 10 degrees
Aug 18 25 Leo 57 24 Virgo 16 Virgo 25 Virgo 26 Venus, Jupiter, Mercury within 10 degrees
Aug 18 25 Leo 52 24 Virgo 16 Virgo 25 Virgo 26 Full Moon
Aug 22 29 Leo 48 26 Virgo 20 Virgo 26 Virgo 15 Mercury conjunct Jupiter
Aug 27 04 Virgo 38 28 Virgo 27 Virgo 27 Virgo 16 Venus conjunct Jupiter
Aug 28 05 Virgo 36 29 Virgo 29 Virgo 27 Virgo 29 Mercury conjunct Venus
Aug 31 08 Virgo 30 29 Virgo 02 Libra 28 Virgo 06 Mercury stationary Retrograde
Sep 02 10 Virgo 26 28 Virgo 04 Libra 28 Virgo 31 Moon conjunct Mercury/Jupiter/Venus
Sep 06 14 Virgo 19 26 Virgo R 09 Libra 29 Virgo 22 Mercury into Interior Underworld
Sep 09 17 Virgo 13 24 Virgo R 13 Libra 00 Libra 00 Jupiter enters Libra
Sep 13 21 Virgo 07 20 Virgo R 17 Libra 00 Libra 52 Jupiter enters the underworld

Mars, Saturn, Antares

Date Sun Mars Saturn Antares Notes
Aug 01 09 Leo 39 29 Sco 32 09 Sag 54 09 Sag 48 Mars and Saturn within 10 degrees
Aug 13 21 Leo 09 04 Sag 30 09 Sag 47 09 Sag 48 Saturn stationary direct
Aug 24 01 Virgo 44 09 Sag 53 09 Sag 53 09 Sag 48 Mars conjunct Saturn
Sep 11 19Virgo 10 20 Sag 02 10 Sag 27 09 Sag 48 Mars beyond 10 degrees of Saturn
Dec 18 26 Sag 59 29 Aqu 20 19 Sag 48 09 Sag 48 Saturn beyond 10 degrees of Antares

Remarkably, the exact Venus/Jupiter/Mercury conjunctions on August 27-28 are just about three days after the exact Mars/Saturn/Antares conjunction. Some preliminary research by my SAMS colleague Erik Roth, found no visible stellium of Venus/Jupiter/Mercury in the same time frame visible in the same region of the sky as Mars/Saturn/Antares going all the way back to 750 CE. He researched into the future to 2200 CE and found nothing similar.

In February 1986, Venus/Jupiter/Mercury were roughly together, but invisible in the underworld, at the same time as a loose Saturn/Mars/Antares configuration appeared in the morning sky. The last time something like this happened was October 9, 750 CE. Without question, this is a rare and unusual situation indeed.

But what does it mean? What does it portend? And how best to understand it and then work with it?


The Traditional View

Mars and Saturn were seen as malefic, from the Latin maleficus, meaning “evil doing”, with connotations of being harmful and with evil intent. On the other hand, Venus and Jupiter were known as benefic, from the Latin benefices, meaning “to do well,” with the connotation of a favorable power or force.

When interpretations are dominated by dualistic value judgments, Mars and Saturn together have been seen as “very bad,” while Venus and Jupiter are seen as “really good”. Mercury has been considered as neutral. Antares, from the traditional dualistic and judgmental perspective, was far from “good,” hence its name Antares, meaning, “rival of Mars.”

So what happens when these two really extreme polarized forces of maximum malefic and maximum benefic are at their greatest strength at the same time?

The View from Shamanic Astrology

The Shamanic Astrology approach is to categorically reject such black and white views of good or bad, and never are the words malefic or benefic used. Each planet (or star) has its own intent and possible contribution. This is not meant to whitewash or sugarcoat each planet or to make it all easy and nice.

Here in brief, are the main players of this upcoming cosmologically dramatic spectacle, from the perspective of the Shamanic Astrology Paradigm.

Mars is the Masculine principle in both men and women. Mars is an animating principle that is greatly determined by its archetype. The current animating energy is Sagittarius, by sign and overtone. This about the quest for truth, and a drive for meaning and purpose. The shadow of Sagittarius is fundamentalism.

Saturn by sign and aspect, symbolizes the main force that holds everything together, likened to an operating manual, with the rules and regulations that allow for effective and safe navigation of objective reality. Saturn tends to hold on, be attached to the way things are, the ways that have been seen to have worked historically (even if they really haven’t). Therefore, Saturn tends to be inherently conservative, often operating purely out of survival.

Saturn is not about change.  Saturn in Sagittarius, instinctively wants to prevent the Sagittarian function; to explore pathways not yet taken, to hunger for meaning and purpose, and ultimately to know the truth. The animating force of Mars in Sagittarius can be seen as an antagonist to Saturn, urging a revision of Saturn’s operating manual. When in Sagittarius, the instincts of Saturn usually respond to this via suppression of the truth or crass fundamentalism.


Looking “down” on the Solar System August 24, 2016 using Solar System Scope software

Antares is one of the most powerful stars in the sky.  In many parts of the world, it marks the heart of the Scorpion. Esoterically, it’s the key to the Golden Gate, the doorway to Galactic Center. This has been seen as where all that IS gets turned into compost, fodder for the next creation, or alternatively, as the Gate of Ascension.

Additionally, as the “rival of Mars,” its nature is similar to Mars, an animating force now in the sign of Sagittarius.

It’s interesting to speculate whether Mars and Antares will join forces to influence and change Saturn. Or will they fight among themselves, consequently leaving the old order, administered by Saturn, in place? Or if they team up, will they try to overthrow the Saturn patriarch by force, only to perpetuate how things have always been since patriarchy and monotheism have been ascendant on the planet? Perhaps a better option we haven’t though of yet will unfold?

Venus is the feminine principle for both men and women. Venus by sign and overtone helps describe the values and primary orientation of the Earth Mother/Goddess at any given time. During the greatest intensity of this upcoming configuration, Venus is in Virgo, symbolizing the Earth Mother, Gaia herself. She teaches and reminds us of the natural rhythms and cycles of the Earth, and desires that we recognize the Earth as sacred.

During patriarchy and monotheism, Virgo has been greatly weakened and minimized by confining her to the mental, analytical, and technological realms, severing her from her connection to her body, and the rhythms and connections with the Earth.  Venus at this time is reminding us of that. Without significant healing in both men and women, there would be little option to her but to do, as Demeter did, and lay waste to the Earth from her rage and grief at the violations.

Jupiter as the Year Star, by sign, symbolizes the prevalent dharma, duty, or way of life that is most necessary at any given time. Jupiter expands our awareness of Virgo, and when we are aligned and open, waves of enthusiasm and optimism are found. Jupiter in Virgo is also expanding and activating all things Virgo including Venus now traveling through Virgo.

Because Shamanic Astrology rejects a benefic/malefic/good/bad philosophy, Jupiter is not always fortunate, rather it’s expansive and enthusiastic. Jupiter can just as easily expand our optimism about a sustainable and healed Earth, a renaissance of the feminine and the sacred, OR it can expand and activate the rage and grief of Demeter, that is to say, the felt violations of women, children and the Earth herself.

Mercury symbolizes perception, cognition, and communication. Mercury is also in Virgo as part of the stellium. This further emphasizes the grand themes of Virgo at this time. Mercury is nearing its retrograde point as evening star, or the most hermetic expression of Mercury, the most shapeshifting and trickster-ish time of its entire cycle.

Every form of creative communication becomes available to be the mouthpiece for Virgo. Mercury is a helper, assistant, and messenger for Venus and Jupiter, offering the great capacity for clear perception, as well as disciplined ceremonial awareness of the Sacred Timings. It can also be inferred that what needs to be communicated can happen without undue sentiment or a concern for what others will think. When in Virgo, Mercury can deliver the inscrutable, highly discriminating, and extremely precise judgments that only it can do so well.


The unfolding drama of August to early September is so immense and so rare that it’s really hard to write about it. Possibly the most important thing is to be aware of what is happening, and then to actively participate in any way you feel led. The data provided offers many, many opportunities to consciously tune in and connect through ceremony. There are so many different lines of probability arising every day that makes it challenging to have any idea what will happen

However, I do suggest that we do our part. Just as the ancients knew that one of the main reasons to do ceremony was because “the spirits like it”, we, as Shamanic Astrologers know that it’s our responsibility and joy to be in communication with the planets and stars. We can inform Great Mystery, just as much as we are being informed by it.

Practical Suggestions for Navigation


You may feel very intense energies, perhaps becoming easily irritated, and angry about small things, maybe even turning them into major outbursts. You could feel especially upset about the boundaries and limitations that you encounter in your life.  Some objectivity or detachment, though extremely difficult, is helpful so you don’t overreact.

Meanwhile, there could also be very real conditions that are truly frustrating. You might feel quite legitimate anger and resentment at what you consider to be unfair in your life and in the world. The tendency when this happens, is to act out. If you have no outlet for these feeling they will simmer and maybe even boil inside of you.

Clearly, it’s important to recognize that this is the nature of this time frame, and even if you are not feeling it that strongly yourself, you need to be aware that it’s likely to be happening around you.

Some degree of control, with a more rational and objective overview can be very helpful at this time. It will also helpful to have constructive outlets available for the emotional irritation and reactivity that you may feel. It is important to not act out.

The great intensities of this rare configuration are very likely to play out on the world stage and in some ways already are.  Challenging and unpredictable world events are very likely suggesting this is not going to be a time of peace and stability.


The energy is one of expansion with a great deal of optimism and enthusiasm. Historically, this alignment has been considered to be very beneficial with love and abundance overflowing. Exuberance and joviality are greatly emphasized.

It is likely you may have a very active, or even, overactive mind. Your desire to communicate with extremes and overbearing drama is a possibility. Your discrimination might be in overdrive. This may show us as being overly critical of what is clearly out of place and not in the right pattern. You may be particularly sensitive to where violations have occurred and where the sacred is not honored.

On the other hand, you could have the capacity to accomplish a lot, or at least be inspired to expand your world and to express all that you know. This is definitely a good time to do this, as long as it’s not too much remembering balance is most helpful at this time. Remember that the expansive nature of this time expands everything, even negative or undeveloped qualities within you.

This is a time for a somewhat greater emphasis on expanding your work and career, or taking steps to change or begin the shift into what you were born to do, your true life’s calling. This is more likely to be your leading edge, rather than your love life, although that is also a possibility as we near the end of this time period.

Joint Insight (Both Alignments Considered)

Since these two very different configurations rarely happen at the same time.

The frustrations and irritations of maximum limitation and boundaries are facing off with maximum expansion and enthusiasm, and the sense that there are no boundaries.

On one hand, it can be felt as a supreme battle, one side wanting to defeat the other. When looked at this way, given that they are equal strength, it is impossible to know who will win.

It’s better to work out a creative synthesis. Remaining optimistic as much as possible, continuing to expand your capacities and your love, particularly for what you do and contribute is most useful now. Emphasize your enthusiasm and optimism, and lead with that.  At the same time, recognize that there is much in the world that can lead to bitterness and resentment. There is much that can be seen as unfair or just plain wrong. How can you not react to this?

Expanding the heart and seeing the glass half full is always better than completely dwelling on all that is wrong and unfair. If you can do your part to bring hope, optimism, and expanded possibilities into your life and the world, you will greatly assist in bringing balance and harmony to a most rare and intensely challenging time.

Additional suggestions for informing and being informed by Great Mystery

Be really curious and courageous to know the truth (Mars in Sagittarius).
Be confident about speaking the truth to the established order and obsolete structures (Saturn in Sagittarius).
Form alliances with like-minded exponents and explorers of truth (Saturn + Antares).
Be willing to point out the contradictions of fundamentalism of all kinds.
As much as possible, make connections with our Earth Mother.
As much as possible stay away from technology and the media, especially if you are overly influenced by this, or if it keeps you from the land and sky (Venus and Jupiter in Virgo).
Go to sacred sites, or create your own.
As much as possible, have the earth and sky direct your actions.
Make your life a living hierophany, a sacred space, actively living the truth of “As Above So Below, As Within So Without.”

Always remember that Great Mystery is loving, and that our human essence most resides in our connection to our Earth Mother, and that we are not separate from her.  She responds to our love for her, as she always has. Lastly, remember we cannot control the outcome. We can be a part of it. We can Love as much as possible from wherever we are.

Can global humanity return again to become a part of the Sacred Pattern, the Web of Life? The outcome is up for grabs, and currently unknown. We can only do our part, and do our best.

And I opened my Heart to the whole Universe,
and I found it was Loving.
And I saw the great blunder my teacher’s had made—scientific delirium madness
5D by the Byrds, 1966, Roger McGuinn

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