July - August stargazer

July – August stargazer

In Insight and Experience by Stella WoodsLeave a Comment

Stella makes some startling discoveries and observations in Italy. Mars and Mercury go retrograde and we get a triple eclipse; how will this affect your drive and communication?

Zodiac Sundial

My journey began in the magnificent Milan cathedral as I looked upwards and saw a tiny hole in the roof. A beam of sunlight penetrated the darkened interior illuminating a solar calendar stretching the length of the cathedral floor. This enormous brass sundial, running perpendicular to the altar, had beautiful marble tiles engraved with the symbols of the zodiac – Gemini the twins; Leo the Lion; Sagittarius the Archer and so on.

The zodiac sundial was built in 1786 by two astronomers from the Brera Observatory to mark the Milan meridian and it still works perfectly. Each day at midday, a sunbeam shines onto the brass line and the closest marble tile shows the sun’s zodiacal position that month – Aries the ram in my case. In past centuries it was the bishop’s job to inform the Milanese authorities when that sunbeam hit the line each day so they could fire a cannon and let everyone know it was lunchtime!

Esoteric symbolism

Next I headed to the Santa Maria delle Grazie monastery to check out Leonardo da Vinci’s masterpiece The Last Supper painted on the wall of the dining hall. Leonardo was an initiate of the ancient mystery schools founded in Egypt and Greece and his religious paintings are full of astrological and esoteric symbolism, hidden in plain sight. At first glance The Last Supper shows Jesus and his twelve disciples sharing a final meal on the eve of Jesus’s crucifixion.

However, the last supper occurred at the time of the spring equinox, the beginning of the astrological year, with the sun at 0° Aries. Leonardo’s painting is the story of the sun’s journey throughout the year. The disciples represent the twelve signs of the zodiac (three for each season) and Jesus is the sun (or son). The male-female polarity is shown by Jesus and Mary Magdalene. She wears a blue garment with a red cloak, while he wears a red garment with a blue cloak.


A few days later I found myself in the rolling emerald hills of Sardinia listening with amazement to Luigi Muscas from Pauli Arbarei. Luigi lives under what he calls a ‘sky portal’ and for more than 20 years, people, including journalists, scientists and sceptics, have been visiting his home to observe what I can only describe as the best UFO show I’ve ever seen. As we sat on plastic chairs in his back yard, wrapped in blankets and staring at the dark night sky, a large bright orange and azure light whizzed overhead and disappeared over the horizon.

A few moments later a brilliant yellow-white starlike object appeared over Luigi’s garage, ascended vertically and suddenly disappeared. The spectacle continued for another two hours – I was entranced and thought back to my 2017 visit to the crop circles of Wiltshire and the video I’d seen of bright lights hovering over a field as a crop circle was created. This time I was witnessing the spectacle with my own eyes, but still I had no answers!

Moon temples

Sardinia is an ancient land, some say a pre-diluvian culture, and there is substantial evidence that, until the arrival of Christianity, people worshipped the moon and built temples to honour the lunar goddess. The town I stayed in was called Lunamatrona, which means moon mother or moon queen and in the local church a column from a desecrated lunar temple props up the pulpit.

Luigi told me stories about how, until the middle of last century, villagers would climb the nearby mountain on the night of the full moon to honour the land and ask for a fertile harvest: healthy animals or a husband or wife. On the mountain plateau small ponds reflect the light of the moon and stars and the villagers would dance round these ponds as they made their wishes.

Giants’ tombs

Scattered across Sardinia’s wild landscape are hundreds of ‘giants’ tombs’, dating back to at least the Bronze Age. I visited several of these amazing megalithic structures noting they were built in the shape of a bull or cow’s head with the horns represented by a curved line of standing stones at the entrance. They reminded me of the moon-cow goddess with her horns symbolising the crescent moon, similar to Hathor the Egyptian cow goddess or zodiac sign Taurus ruled by Venus and the moon.

In the middle of the curved line of stones was a small entrance which opened into a covered shaft or chamber. Could this represent a womb or a woman giving birth? And were they originally tombs or something else? Many giants’ tombs are aligned to the equinox, meaning a shaft of sunlight penetrates the entrance in spring, lighting up the interior. The masculine fertilising the feminine? The more time I spent in Sardinia, the more I saw parallels with Egypt, Ireland and Peru, but that will have to wait for another time…

Mars retrograde – be yourself

At the end of June, action planet Mars came to a halt and began his two month backward journey through air sign Aquarius – 27th June to 28th August. The more ‘primitive’ side of Mars tends to come to the fore when Mars is retrograde – primitive meaning anger, passion, rage, lust and the force behind accidents and violence. And Mars will be colliding with erratic Uranus in August and September this year creating yet more havoc – forewarned is forearmed! But the true purpose of the Mars retrograde cycle is not to make us lose our temper or cop a speeding fine, but to encourage us to align our actions and goals with our true nature. Those ‘primitive’ emotions and dramas only arise when we’re not being true to ourselves.

The most challenging part of the Mars retrograde cycle will be the month of July, particularly for those born under the sign of Aquarius or Leo. We will instinctively know if a situation, circumstance or condition is unsustainable and are likely to make radical changes in order to reclaim personal power.

Triple-decker eclipse

Eclipses affect us all, especially if you have planets or birth chart angles close to the eclipse degree. They often coincide with important events and can take you down a path in life you never saw coming. Sometimes events or epiphanies happen right on the eclipse date and sometimes the week either side of the eclipse. Seeds are sown; decisions are made; hidden things are revealed and matters come to a head. These life-changing events can be happy or sad, but are usually unforgettable.

Take for example, Britain’s Princess Diana who was born with sun in Cancer, the zodiac sign ruled by the moon. She married Prince Charles two days before a solar eclipse, her son Prince William was born on the day of a solar eclipse, the announcement of her separation from Charles was made on the day of a lunar eclipse and Diana was killed the day before a solar eclipse. That’s a fairly extreme example, but you get the idea!

In July and August we have two eclipses of the sun and one of the moon.

Solar eclipse – 13th July at 20-21° Cancer
Lunar eclipse – 28th July at 4-5° Aquarius
Solar eclipse – 11th August at 18-19° Leo

Preparing for the eclipses

Eclipses usually occur in pairs in the same or opposite signs of the zodiac. The first eclipse on the 13th July is in Cancer, a sign connected with home, family and tribe. In preparation for this eclipse, think about any changes you’d like to make in these areas, including actually moving home.

The next two eclipses on the 28th July and 11th August are in Aquarius and Leo, an interesting pair given that Aquarius is all about the collective and Leo all about the individual. This is an important time to consider the groups you belong to and your friendships and associations.

The essence of Aquarius is to focus on what’s good for everyone, common goals, community and shared purpose. Leo, on the other hand, likes to be the centre of attention, look good and play to an audience. Leo is also about being creative and using our unique skills and talents to build self-esteem and impress others.

The key with these two eclipses is to make sure you are honouring both Leo and Aquarius. How can you share your natural talents with the world, while maintaining a healthy sense of self? If you’re being too altruistic or constantly sacrificing to please others, these eclipses will bring things to a head. Ditto if you’re being too egotistical or arrogant.

Mercury retrograde – strut your stuff

From 26th July to 19th August, communication planet Mercury will be travelling backwards through dramatic and charismatic fire sign Leo. When Mercury is retrograde, our unconscious and intuitive sides are particularly active and the best laid plans often come to a halt. Mercury retrograde in Leo is an opportunity to ditch anything or anyone that’s holding you back in life and acknowledge your own brilliance. It is not a time for humility, sacrifice, false modesty or putting others first. It’s a time to shine and embrace your goals and dreams. And if others don’t like what they see… tough!

Celebrating the return of the light

Even though the weather is still cold, the days are now growing longer and spring is just around the corner. Halfway between the winter solstice (21st June) and spring equinox (23rd September) is Imbolc, a traditional fire festival celebrated on the 1st August to welcome the return of the light.

If you’d like to celebrate the return of the light, light a blue candle and place it in the centre of your home. Blue represents peace, wisdom, communication, truth, patience, health and calm. Fill a small bowl with water and add a pinch of salt for protection and purification. Follow this with a few drops of essential oil – something calming like rose, lavender or bergamot is a good choice.

Next, tie together a small bunch of dried herbs and beginning at your front door, dip the herbs in the water and wipe them gently round the door frame. Continue to do this to all doorways and windows in the house to spread protection and peace throughout your home. Once you have finished, place the bowl of water and bunch of herbs next to the candle to anchor the energy and then sit quietly for a few minutes. Once the herbs have dried out, burn them in the candle flame.

July & August moon calendar

Launch projects at the new moon. Bring them to completion in the period from just before the full moon to the third quarter phase and wind them down and reflect on developments in the week before the next new moon. Important events such as parties, conferences, and weddings are best held close to the full moon or when the moon is in the same sign as your star sign.


Date Sign Element Moon phase
1st-3rd Aquarius Air
3rd-5th Pisces Water
5th-7th Aries Fire Third quarter
7th-10th Taurus Earth
10th-12th Gemini Air
12th-14th Cancer Water New moon 13th
Partial solar eclipse
14th-16th Leo Fire
16th-18th Virgo Earth
18th-20th Libra Air First quarter
20th-22nd Scorpio Water
22nd-25th Sagittarius Fire
25th-27th Capricorn Earth
27th-30th Aquarius Air Full moon 28th
Lunar eclipse
30th-1st Pisces Water


Date Sign Element Moon phase
1st Pisces Water
1st-4th Aries Fire
4th-6th Taurus Earth Third quarter
6th-8th Gemini Air
8th-10th Cancer Water
10th-12th Leo Fire New moon 11th

Partial solar eclipse

12th-14th Virgo Earth
14th-16th Libra Air
16th-19th Scorpio Water First quarter
19th-21st Sagittarius Fire
21st-24th Capricorn Earth
24th-26th Aquarius Air
26th-29th Pisces Water Full moon
29th-31st Aries Fire
31st-2nd Taurus Earth


Stella Woods is an astrology teacher, writer and consultant. Contact Stella at stella@stellastarwoman.com or www.stellastarwoman.com or 


About the author

Stella Woods


Stella Woods is one of Australia’s leading astrologers, with a reputation for offering practical, sensitive and insightful advice. Stella is also an experienced astrology teacher and hosted a popular astrology talkback segment on Melbourne’s 3RRR from 2003-2010. Her first book, The Seven Secrets of Magic & Manifestation, was published in 2012. Contact Stella at stella@stellastarwoman.com or http://www.stellastarwoman.com or at http://www.facebook.com/stellastarwoman.

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