You don’t really need to read this until Thursday, as the first aspect of the week (Mercury square Mars) doesn’t appear until then.  And after that, there is only a Full Moon, on Friday.  What does an Astrologer do when there are 6 days on the trot without aspects?  Twiddle her thumbs?  Idly surf Twitter?  Attend to a 3-month waiting list?  Savour the last aspect perhaps: Friday’s sextile between Mercury and Venus…For me, it provides a chance to fill that space with the contemplation of the Fixed Stars associated with this time of year: the Constellation of the Great Bear, and this week homing in on the star Alioth.  I once hosted a Fixed Star meditation group which ran for 2 years, but there is a CD meditation series which works with the stars of the Great Bear along the lines of the Esoteric Astrology of Alice Bailey.  It’s entitled “Transforming with Divine Will” Orin Meditations by Sanaya Roman.  Each of the 7 Rays is aligned with one of the 7 main stars of the Great Bear, starting with Ray 1 (the Will to Initiate).  The Sun at the beginning of this week is aligned with the star Alioth, and if you look on the Great Bear/Big Dipper as the shape of a saucepan, Alioth is towards the beginning of the handle.  Traditional Astrology doesn’t give Alioth a good press, but according to “Starlight Elixirs” by Michael Smulkis and Fred Rubenfeld there are a number of useful areas relevant in meditating with this star: among them aspects of love, counselling those with mental health issues, metabolizing sugar and the absorption of chromium for the body in the diet.  So my text today will come from that source, starting with: “The ability to bring love into people’s hearts is very difficult because of barriers to this that are created by negative forces on Earth, by thought forms, disease structures, pastlife denials, and many other things.”  The two aspects we do have this week could be the source of some tension building up from the beginning of the week, so it is worth chilling out early on and not allowing this build-up.  A friend of mine practised this last week and found it to be beneficial.  Thursday’s (3 September) square between Mercury and Mars is a reprise from last Wednesday.  Normally, Mercury would have broken free and forged ahead, but it is slowing down for next week’s retrograde turn on 7 September, meanwhile enabling Mars to come back for another bout.  It is worth considering whether all contentious issues were addressed from last Wednesday.  For me, the issue that presented itself was animal rights.  Handy tip: one of my Astrology students managed to negotiate the T-square by addressing her own personal Mars issues – now why didn’t I think of that…?  Turning to Starlight Elixirs on Alioth again, with the issue of communication (Mercury) vs anger (Mars) in mind: “Communicating this love between people is hard because there aren’t sufficient techniques and availability in the language itself.  These beings from Alioth just want to assist or help where possible but have found that this energy blocks anything that they would do and makes it very hard for them to assist humanity in its own lessons.”  On to Friday’s (4 September) Full Moon in Pisces, which addresses the helpless in our world and society and our own vulnerability.  To borrow a phrase from A Course in Miracles (lesson 153) “In my defencelessness my safety lies”.  One of the areas of life which Pisces and its corresponding House (the 12th) represents is mental health and the unconscious.  Intriguingly, Alioth can help here too: “The use of this elixir is recommended for counsellors working with individuals with mental difficulties including schizophrenia, manic depression, and other very disturbing psychological states.” However “There will be no direct benefit to the patient; it is to assist the counsellor in the counselling process.” If this interests you and you have difficulty making or obtaining the elixir, then meditating with the star can be helpful.