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Oh, the trials of an astrologer…I’m trying to decide when the Olympics actually began. Was it when the first game was played, on Wednesday? At the beginning of the opening ceremony on Friday? At the end of the opening ceremony? Hmph. Shouldn’t the first games be after the opening ceremony? Mercury is indeed retrograde, and I am bewildered.

Anyway, the reason I wanted to look at the event chart was to compare it with the chart of Michael Phelps, arguably the world’s greatest swimmer, who is making headlines all over the place for his less-than-stellar Olympic performances so far. He barely qualified, then finished fourth in his race, and I wondered what transits were affecting him astrologically. (Chart is here. I used a rectified time [rectification by Dean Bensics] of 10:26 PM. )

Lo and behold, his Sun, at 9 degrees of Cancer, lines right up with the transiting Uranus-Pluto square — Uranus brings upsets and change, while Pluto brings metamorphosis, and intense public focus. Transiting Neptune, retrograde, is closely square his Midheaven, a transit Noel Tyl describes pithily as a probable “ego wipeout”. But wait! There’s more! The planets are really piling on this man. Mercury Rx just transited oppose his Ascendant a few days ago, and now joins the Sun in his 6th house of health, while Mars just squared his natal Mars on Saturday, when he did so poorly in his first event. Mars is the planet of the competitive athlete. There’s a lot more going on — I don’t have room for anywhere near all of it here, but I will also note that Venus opposed his Moon on the same day. The Moon is the dispositor of his Sun and Mars, and rules the 6th house. It is a mistake to think that the so-called “benefic” planets — Sun, Venus, and Jupiter — are always benefic. They are until they slap you upside the head with too much, too fast, too soon of the wrong things. Phelps is undergoing some life-changing and potentially difficult transits and arcs, no doubt, but there’s a real undercurrent of strength here, as well as some mitigating transits, and he may well make a comeback before the games are over. If he does, he’ll work hard for it, and it’s likely to be spectacular.

OK, so on to our week ahead!

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Before I get into the weekly forecast, I’d like to bring your attention to this article from the Witches and Pagans archive on the meanings of the houses.

I firmly believe that a bit of basic astrology — enough to get an idea of what’s going on in your own chart — is an extremely helpful skill for anyone who practices magick. Not because it can help you plan more effective workings — though it can — but because the symbolic pattern of the planets at the exact time and place of one's birth is a real help in understanding our individual spiritual and magickal journeys and how they are being affected by the current planetary “weather”.

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Welcome! This is the first edition of Magickal Monday: Your Guide to the Week Ahead. Every Monday, I’ll take a look at what kind of planetary energies are available to weave into magickal workings — and not just formal, ritual workings. An awareness of the planetary energies is also very helpful for the kind of small, spontaneous  magicks Witches and Pagans often do when we are tending our altars, doing a little energetic cleansing and blessing at work while straightening our desks, or soothing a child who has had a bad day at school. Astrology also helps us focus our meditations and other personal spiritual practices so we can work with the prevailing planetary tides and align ourselves with Nature.

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