Venus is visible once again, now in the morning sky following its retrograde period. The original “Lucifer,” or “light bringer,” a moniker our sister planet received as the herald of the sun. Venus achieves maximum brightness on the morning of Sept. 18, and its proximity to the brightest star in our sky, Sirius, provides a lesson in scintillation. Scintillation is a term referring to flashes of light, the telltale sparkle of stars. Planets like Jupiter and Venus are so luminous they are usually easily distinguishable from the stars. But the other visible planets — Mercury, Mars, and Saturn — often blend into the starscape. Scintillation is a key indicator of whether the object you are viewing is a star or a planet. Stars scintillate, but planets do not. Scintillation is caused by the atmosphere distorting the star’s light. Planets are much closer and their beams much stronger, and therefore they are immune to this interference. Rise before dawn and you will find Venus in the eastern and Sirius in the southern sky. Notice the steady light of our sister planet in comparison with the shimmering effect of the star. Twinkle, twinkle, little star!



As we move through Virgo season, the sun favorably aspects Jupiter, Uranus, and Pluto, and is in tension with Saturn and Neptune. With Jupiter and Uranus in Taurus, and Pluto in Capricorn, the sun forms trine aspects to each of these planets this month, providing a harmonizing channel in the grounded Earth signs. Meanwhile, as Saturn and Neptune are both in Pisces, the Sun forms an opposition with each of these planets. Except for Saturn, which recently entered Pisces, all the larger planets are in the mid to later degrees of their respective signs, meaning that once the sun hits the last decan (20 to 30 degrees) of Virgo, it will form a major aspect pattern known as a Grand Kite. A Grand Kite is named for the geometric form that is created in a chart. It is composed of a Grand Trine — in this case the sun, Pluto, and Jupiter/Uranus in Earth signs — with one planet (in this case it’s our star, the sun) in opposition to a fourth planet (Neptune) that creates a sextile with the other two (Pluto, Jupiter/Uranus). It is the tension in this pattern that activates the potential of the trine. Aim high, but keep your feet firmly planted on the ground. Step by step, the way appears.

~ Dawn Andreoni is a yoga teacher and astrologer. You can find out more about her offerings at or follow her at 


  • Dawn Andreoni

    Originally from the Blue Ridge Mountains, Dawn Andreoni has been studying and teaching yoga, astrology, and other mindfulness practices for over 10 years. She considers nature her foremost teacher, and is grateful to call such a glorious classroom as Lake Tahoe her home. Read her column The Stars every month. You can find out more about her offerings at or follow her at

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