Current Transits for September 2003

Here's some of the important astrological news this month ...


Saturn quincunx Neptune, 9-5
Full Moon at 17Pi33, 9-10
Uranus reenters Aquarius, 9-14
Chiron Direct Station at 12Cp22, 9-17
Mercury Direct Station at 12Vi12, 9-20
Saturn opposite Chiron, 9-25
New Moon at 2Li37, 9-25
Mars Direct Station at 0Pi07, 9-27
Uranus Quintile Pluto, 9-29

An online ephemeris for the month is available.

General Outlook for the Month

September is a rather deceptive month. When I first started looking at the coming aspects, I was struck by how little activity there is in a traditional sense. The A5 Spectrum waveforms looked mostly low key and disorganized -- pretty uninspiring at first glance. However, September is like a guerilla war, in a way -- a lot of quick and powerful strikes that quickly recede into the shadows again. This is what I term a highly volatile month. Things can change rapidly, often in only a few hours, and it's hard to discern any prevailing trends. The lack of aspects can partly be blamed on the retrograde cycles of Mercury and Mars most of the month -- potent cosmic jokes in their own rights. With two of the major "aspect makers" in slow motion like this, it's no wonder there are so few aspects. However, there's an underlying feeling of situations coming to a head and beginning to take off in new directions. Stay flexible and willing to adapt to changing circumstances. Clean up the loose ends that crop up, in preparation for new activities that are just starting. Realize that the stresses between people (which are becoming extremely noticeable lately) are object lessons in how to acknowledge points of view that differ from your own. The new paths may not seem obvious and seemingly arbitrary decisions can greatly affect the eventual outcome, so keep your eyes (and mind) open and do your best. I think this is the start of something big down the road...

There are a large number of critical phenomena in September. These include 3 "big aspects" (one of them a brand new influence) and 3 direct stations. In addition, Uranus backs up from Pisces into Aquarius on the 14th, part of its year-long transition into Pisces in 2003.

Saturn is quincunx Neptune on the 5th, the first of 3 such contacts over the next 9 months. The next contacts are on 2003-12-14 and 2004-6-24. This is a new cycle of energy, indicating a shift in direction for us. Saturn is in Cancer the coming year, not exactly his favorite sign. Saturn likes to be hard nosed about things, forcing you to be practical and disciplined in your tasks. Cancer is too much of a softie, with a big, open heart that precludes being so focused. Also, there's too much emphasis on emotional issues, especially past hurts, to be fully present here and now. He's bumping up against Neptune in Aquarius, a placement of forward looking ideals and a brighter future. Neptune is a planet of dreams and illusions, of looking at the big picture and not seeing the messy details that preclude bringing about a new vision easily. The quincunx between them is indicative of these two trends being at cross purposes, or at least slipping by each other without engaging smoothly. To make things more interesting, the Sun joins into this aspect, forming a pattern astrologers call a Yod or the Finger of God. It gets this dramatic name from the tendency to force you to make fateful decisions about your path, with no possibility of backing up and changing your mind later, even though you don't (consciously) have all the facts you need to make an intelligent decision. It's one of those forks in the road that life serves up occasionally. When I was mulling over this aspect, it reminded me of the situation in the Middle East, though we'll certainly have our trials closer to home as well. Saturn in Cancer feels like the ties of blood, emotion and culture that lock us into the past. We can't break out of the ruts, because this is the way we've always done things. There's the option of breaking free from this bondage to outworn obligations and habits, of switching to a path guided by more universal ideals, but the going is hard and full of pitfalls. The future is uncertain, but the "same-old" is hopelessly painful. Which would you choose (be honest now!)? Just be aware that no matter what you choose, you gain something and you lose something -- and there's no second chances. You need to trust your intuition the coming year, feel your way through the issues and decisions. This is a path chosen from the gut, not the head. Choose wisely...

The waveform for the full moon is a clear sign that the fireworks of early September are still popping. The biggest feature of this chart is the powerful T-square of Sun and Mercury opposite the Moon and square Pluto, the most potent planet in the chart. If you went no further with this chart, this would be enough to mark the coming 2 weeks as quite a ride. Pluto transforms everything it touches down to the core. While the other planets in this group are fairly mundane, it certainly feels like there's a conflict between thinking and the emotions which should shake up both of them. It's easy to jump to conclusions based on gut level reactions and faulty reasoning, so be extra careful to sort through the issues carefully. Jupiter is also opposite Uranus and Mars, which also exaggerates the tendency towards hasty or rash decisions. Think over the implications of your acts before you make the leap. Practical considerations may require you to tone down your efforts. Remember that deep changes rarely turn out the way you anticipated -- soul energies have their own agenda. Be open to unexpected detours...

Uranus backs up from Pisces into Aquarius on the 14th for some last minute clean up work. It stays here until Dec 30, when it moves into Pisces for good. As is common with the slower moving planets, changing signs is a long, drawn out affair with lots of backtracking. Uranus slipped into Pisces on Mar 10, getting just far enough to dip his toe in the great Pisces ocean. That's been enough for now. It's been difficult trying to figure out what this placement means, because Uranus is so chaotic and unexpected, while Pisces is dreamy and ill-defined. It requires quite an expansion of your perspective to grasp this new vision. Sometimes, when you can't get a handle on something, you just need to back up and reexamine the situation. With Uranus returning to Aquarius for a few months, it's time to reassess your views about broader spiritual matters and the way you relate to the greater world. We're still missing (even after 7 years of Uranus in Aquarius) a few important clues. And until the thinking or intuitive mind is satisfied, jumping into the feeling world of Pisces is simply too chaotic and disorienting. Do the clean up work, tie up all the loose ends. The next time you wade into the Pisces ocean, it's for a long 7 year voyage -- you want to be in good shape by then.

Chiron is standing still at 12Cp22 on the 17th, about to resume normal motion. He's been in reverse gear since Apr 25. Chiron is frequently about areas of life where you have a talent for shooting yourself in the foot. He often represents some truly splendid gift or talent you have that you hide away because it was never appreciated. Or else it's some area where you're unsure of yourself, so you fade into the background so others won't notice. Capricorn symbolizes the ways you interact with society at large, how you fit into the system. It's the arena where you exercise your authority and make a contribution to the world. Needless to say, not many of us are truly at ease on such a stage. Rather than acknowledge our human limitations, we try to compensate by looking good. It's time to stop fooling ourselves (we never fooled anyone else anyway). It's OK to be human -- that's how we were created, after all! Drop the pretenses and learn to relax. You can connect with others much better by leaving your masks and facades behind. The world is much more pleasant without all these pointless games. Just enjoy life as is.

Mercury is stationary direct at 12Vi12 on the 20th, about to resume normal motion. It went retrograde at 26Vi19 on Aug 28. Mercury is the thinking mind, the part of the psyche that tries to make sense of the world (and itself) with symbols and forms. Of course, no symbolic representation of reality ever fully captures the world, but it is amazing how well it works -- most of the time. However, when the thinking mind falls down on the job, it usually pulls a big boner. Mercury retrograde is a time when the thinking mind is flat on its back. Thoughts are murky, communication is tangled up, exceptions to the rules that we "know to be true" crop up regularly. It's tough to admit, but no amount of truth can ever explain reality. For better or worse, western civilization has put Rationality on an unholy pedestal. It's much easier if you live your life as though Rationality is not really a god, allowing other forms of knowing and decision making to have their say. It certainly makes life more enjoyable. The Mercury mind starts to recover after the 20th. Just remember not to take it so seriously.

The opposition of Saturn and Chiron on the 25th is one contact of a very strange aspect. This opposition started on Feb 25, 1986 and repeated 20 times before going into hibernation on Jul 28, 1995. Due to Chiron's highly elliptical orbit, it then pulled away from Saturn for a few years, eventually forming a quincunx for several years. However, Chiron is slowing down in its orbit and falling behind, so we're back to the opposition again for 7 more times! By the last contact, on 2006-6-20, this will be a 20 year aspect! Since Saturn is the ruler of Capricorn, this aspect repeats the message of the Chiron station in many ways. It's a time to learn to value hard work and discipline, but without glorifying the grindstone. We all could use some lessons in how to use your time and resources to better advantage. We could also learn that work is only a small part of life, that your value as a human being transcends the "results" you've accomplished. It's a fine line to walk, but it's important to work hard and play hard.

The new moon is only 10 hours after the Saturn-Chiron opposition. The opposition forms a big T-square with Venus, with help from Ceres, Mercury, Pluto and Neptune. Perhaps this is a call to broaden your emotional horizons and allow a more intimate connection with others. Saturn in Cancer can sometimes indicate hurt feelings and a sense of defensiveness, a need to protect yourself; Chiron hints that this is a long standing condition. The only way out of such a position is by opening up and allowing yourself to get closer to people. Dropping the mask can have an incredibly healing influence on you. Venus in Libra is a placement that has "love" all over it, at least if there are no strings attached. At the worst, this placement is pleasant, but aloof; at the best, it's extremely romantic. There's a second grouping in this chart as well. The Libra new moon itself is quincunx Uranus and Mars. There may be some tension between a more socially acceptable way of opening up and a wide open need to connect. Conventional relationships may be under some strain, as they either move to the next level or fall into a rut. In short, this is a month to focus on others, to get past your own defenses. Who knows -- it could even feel really good...

Mars is the next planet to stand still on the 27th, at 0Pi07. He's been retrograding since Jul 29, at 10Pi08. Mars has certainly gotten a lot of press lately, due to its record setting close approach to the Earth on Aug 27. It seems everyone is willing to blame everything in their lives on this event (at least it gives Mercury retrograde a break!). Frankly, astrologers generally ignore phenomena based on distance like this, unless they get caught up in the hype. In traditional terms, what's important these days is that Mars is retrograde and directly opposite the Sun (on Aug 28). People are hung up on Mars' association with violence and hostility, forgetting the wider symbolism of this much maligned planet. In essence, Mars is about expressing your will power, the ability of the psyche to impose its wishes on the physical universe and get things done. During Mars' retrograde periods, we get to experience our "won't power", the crazy and self-sabotaging ways we all have of thwarting our will. This inner saboteur takes many forms -- the list is endless. Suffice it to say he is able to undermine your plans, no matter how expertly you carry them out. I suspect your awareness of this inner saboteur will gather strength throughout the period and culminate around Sep 27 at the direct station. If you're engaged in a project that falls apart on you or gets delayed, check out what it is about you that prompted the failure. If you're not in any project, that may also be a clue. Perhaps you simply don't have any plans and are just coasting. Whatever the blockage, it's time to break through it. Fix yourself first, then tackle your work anew. It will go much smoother that way.

The 29th brings another quintile of Uranus and Pluto, the 4th in a series of 7 contacts that stretches from 2002-5-19 to 2005-2-12. This is one of the biggest background aspects coloring the spirit of our times. Like many such aspects, its effects are easily ignored. One reason is that it's so long lasting, exceeding our attention spans many times over. Another reason is that both planets tend to operate at an unconscious level, below the radar, so to speak. Uranus and Pluto are both symbols of deep acting transformation, changing the landscape so thoroughly that the before and after pictures have little in common. Think back a few years before the war on terror started and compare it to today's situation and you'll see what I mean. Further, quintiles work at a deep mental/intuitive level. They don't change what you think as much as change the way you think. You can't solve problems by perpetuating the same old viewpoints that got you in trouble, you have to change the entire paradigm first. We may not be very aware of this process in action -- it's akin to asking a fish what they think of water. But remarkable shifts are underway and people seem to be worked up in ways they haven't been for decades. We're debating bigger questions, wrestling with larger issues, trying to tackle previously intractible problems. People who are evolutionarily on the leading edge are the ones most likely to "get it", while a vast majority of others are struggling to even see there is a problem going on. It's this "consciousness divide" that worries me the most, since it's a very polarizing influence. I think the situation is likely to get much worse, on all levels of society, during the remainder of the aspect before a resolution is clear. Let's hope the bloodshed and war is minimal in the meantime.