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August Monthly Horoscopes: The month of passionate purification

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August is the month of passionate purification.

Dim the house lights and raise the velvet curtains…it’s Leo time! This month, several planets hold court in the sign of the Lion, bringing out our expressive, playful and even haughty sides. The Sun is here until August 23, with energizer Mars entering the mix from August 8-September 24. Mars only visits a zodiac sign every couple years, so tune into the colorful energy while it lasts. The red planet’s transit through Leo ramps up our sense of personal pride and it could also incite a few diva-style duels. Stand up for your principles and worth, but be careful not to slip into a “Don’t you know who I am?” attitude.

Leo is known for bold colors, big hair, ribald talk, sparkle and flash (which may or may not have substance to go along with it). Play up your individuality this month, but beware: In August, you’ll want to pause before making any dramatic changes to your style. Aesthetic Venus, the planet of beauty, good taste and love, is retrograde (backward) in Leo until September 6. The fashion police have fortified their troops, and they WILL be handing out citations. Hold off on that tattoo, coloring your mane or altering your appearance in any drastic way.

Venus turns retrograde every 18 months for six weeks, and it can also stir up trouble in your personal life—arguments with friends, slowdowns in relationships, second thoughts about love. You’ll need to tread lightly in the interpersonal affairs department to avoid burning bridges. It can also be a time for reunions with friends and even an ex—or to close the chapter for good. (See our tips for surviving Venus retrograde with your love live intact here.) Shore up some extra kindness and understanding now—the world will need it!

astrotwins-banners_videocourse-300x600The headline news arrives on August 11, when expansive Jupiter ends its 13-month tour of fiery Leo and moves into Virgo. Pioneering Jupiter is the planet of opportunity, abundance and new horizons. Jupiter entered Leo on July 16, 2014, highlighting themes of dignity, self-expression and beauty. And because Jupiter evolves us far beyond the familiar, the glamorous queen of the Leo parade turned out to be Caitlyn Jenner, who blazed a trail as a mainstream transgender superhero of sorts. Global, multicultural Jupiter in proud Leo demanded respect for all humans. During Leo’s reign of Jupiter, marriage equality became legal in all 50 U.S. states—so timely, since Leo rules the heart and true love. It wasn’t all flowers and formalwear, sadly. During this transit, we also experienced Ferguson, and the uprising around police brutality that sparked the #blacklivesmatter movement. The tragic Charlie Hebdo shooting occurred during this transit, too. While there’s still so much work to be done, Jupiter in courageous Leo certainly raised public awareness around race, violence and free speech.

Now, Jupiter moves into healthy, service-oriented Virgo—the sign of wellness, organization and thoughtful analysis—staying from August 11, 2015 until September 9, 2016. The “lights, camera, action” energy fizzles out and the vibe could get as quiet as an ashram. Over the next 13 months, our focus turns from selfish to selfless, as we seek ways we can make a difference in the wider world. Earth-sign Virgo governs sincerity and respect. It’s the post-hangover promise to clean up one’s act, because we’ve finally had enough revelry and excess. With Jupiter in Virgo, we’ll purify, simplify and be discerning with our choices.

Some astrologers believe this is a buzzkill for jovial Jupiter—but it doesn’t have to be. More than ever we need the world to embrace Virgo themes of eco-consciousness, service and vibrant health. Green is definitely the new black now. Jupiter only visits a sign every 12 years, and its last run through Virgo was from August 2003 until September 2004. Dial back to that era for clues of what may resurface. And consider how you might clean up your corner of the planet in the coming weeks, too.

While we remain in retrograde high season—Venus, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto are all in reverse for August—there’s a bright spot on August 1, when tough Saturn turns direct (forward). Saturn has been retrograde since March 14, first in Sagittarius and then backing into intense Scorpio on June 14. Things have gotten intense, emotional and hair-raising for many people this summer, but now the worst is over. Have you learned important lessons about trust, betrayal, sex, power or sharing your energy and resources with quality people? (Here’s a look back at the lessons of Saturn in Scorpio, which began in October 2012:). Saturn will remain in Scorpio until September 17, then it won’t return until 2041. Whew! In the meantime, you could make some shrewd alliances—or enjoy a sultry summer affair—if you play your cards right.

Read the Monthly Horoscope for your zodiac sign here >