Current Transits for September 2004

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


Juno Direct Station at 9Cp10, 9-1
Mercury Direct Station at 25Le44, 9-2
New Moon at 22Vi06, 9-14
Jupiter Trioctile Neptune, 9-15
Jupiter enters Libra, 9-24
Mars enters Libra, 9-26
Chiron Direct Station at 20Cp30, 9-26
Pallas enters Virgo, 9-27
Full Moon at 5Ar44, 9-28

An online ephemeris for the month is available.

General Outlook for the Month

September is a bit of a paradox. Despite two decent sized storms, there doesn't seem to be much action in a traditional sense. Part of the puzzle is the large number of planets that are at or near their stations this month -- a lot of planets are simply not moving and hence not making aspects. The first half of the month, in particular, looks a little threadbare, if you ask me. There are also a fair number of bodies changing signs, with Libra as a favorite destination, so there's a big change in overall mood for the energies around us. Notice that Jupiter is part of this mass exodus into Libra (moving in on the 24th), which produces a noticeable shift in outlook for the coming year. This placement is known for focusing on warm relationships and crusading for justice, a desire to make the world we share with the others around us a more pleasurable place for all. Of course, that doesn't mean the same thing to everybody and there lies the challenge -- fairness is a very relative notion. If anything, this time is a transition period of sorts, a time of shifting gears and redefining the issues that are important. We're caught between the old energies passing away and the new energies just coming into being, so there's no clear direction for us to be following these days. Have patience while the new patterns take shape. Follow your intuition as to what the best course of action should be -- just be ready to change direction as matters become clearer.

Not counting Pluto on Aug 30, there are an additional 3 planets standing still and moving forward in September (Juno, Mercury and Chiron). There are also 3 sign changes and a single "big aspect" to discuss this month.

Juno is standing still at her direct station of 9Cp10 on the 1st, about to resume normal motion. She's been in reverse gear since May 16, when she turned around at 24Cp45. Juno is a body associated with intimate relationships based on equality and trust. If she gets that kind of fair treatment, she's a devoted and deeply committed partner. On the other hand, if she's cheated on, Juno can be a jealous and vindictive adversary. Generally when Juno is retrograding like this, relationship issues come to the surface to be faced. If there is any hint of lack of fairness and trust, it will be exaggerated and blown out of proportion. By the time of the direct station, relationships can be at a make or break point. Many partnerships with a weak foundation can fall apart during these cycles, while even the good ones can be tested and challenged. It may simply be whose in change of handling the practical details of daily living, buying groceries and paying the bills that is the issue. It may be some deeper emotional issue surfacing. Power issues may be a problem, as one person tries to assume control and undermines the equality Juno desires. Unfortunately, it's the uncomfortable matters that lead to arguments and bitterness that must be faced, in spite of the urge to ignore them. Talk things out calmly, come to some agreements. If your relationship has made it this far, it's probably in good shape and should be preserved. Juno can be a lovely partner if you just trust her.

Mercury is at his direct station of 25Le44 on the 2nd. He went into reverse gear at 8Vi46 on Aug 9. This has been a brutal retrograde cycle for many people. Mercury in reverse tends to turn your brain cells into mush, showing all the vulnerabilities that the thinking mind is prone to. In general, the thinking mind is good at telling a running narrative about life that "explains" how the world works and what to expect when. Most of the time, the story is close enough to the truth that we get by in life quite smoothly. Mercury retrograde is not one of those times. You expect one set of outcomes in life and are very rudely surprised by the unexpected. Agreements with others fall apart, misunderstandings abound. Even our machines sometimes catch the bug -- my new laptop has been in the repair shop most of this time. Anyway, this bumbling period is drawing to a close. Take the situations that seem most screwed up and try to straighten them out, realizing (finally, hopefully) that you aren't as savvy here as you thought. Mercury retrograde teaches the intellect to have some humility and to realize it doesn't have all the answers. So why is George Bush giving his acceptance speech today?

In the waveform for the new moon, there's a "lovely" set of tall 4th harmonic peaks visible that hint at some interesting patterns in this lunation chart. There's a mob of planets (Mercury, Ceres, Sun, Moon, Mars, Jupiter) in Virgo opposite Vesta and square Pluto, plus Saturn opposite Chiron. Most of the remaining planets are less critical in this picture.

For starters, there is a lot of Virgo energy in this chart -- 6 planets worth. We normally think of Virgo in terms of skills, critical thinking and an odd kind of emotional reserve, but the large group of planets here is tempting us to consider deeper and more varied expressions of the Virgo energy. The two planets closely flanking Father Sun and Mother Moon are Mars the Warrior and Ceres the Great Mother Goddess -- the balance of yin and yang is quite remarkable. Mercury, a "ruling planet" for Virgo enhances the mental abilities of this sign (especially now that it's not retrograding anymore), while Jupiter encourages more of a "big picture" consciousness. To the extent that Virgo is about adapting to one's world in the most skillful way possible, it feels like this chart is describing the next level of this adaptability. It's not about forcing your will on the world through physical effort, the Mars approach. Notice that Mars is only a quarter degree from the Sun, a condition that astrologers call "combust". This not only tends to weaken the planet, but it puts those energies at the service of the Self, the Sun. If you live consciously, you don't change the world from the outside, you become a creative part of the world. It involves taking charge of your own psychic growth, of applying your critical insight back on yourself. This feeds directly into a T-square with Vesta and Pluto. Perhaps it's the deeper influence of Pluto that is driving this process. Pluto is just coming off its retrograde cycle and has yet to pick up a head of steam, hence its effects are quite focused and intense still. Pluto has an uncanny ability to strip us of our pretenses, of forcefully reminding us who we really are. Obviously, this is a time to let go of life-stories we keep telling ourselves that are out of touch with our inner world, our visions of ourselves that magnify the glamour and hide the warts. Curiously, the remaining opposition between Saturn and Chiron turns the T-square into another picture that astrologers call a Mystic Rectangle, a sign of constructive and beneficial change. It's a time to ground ourselves in the physical body and the wisdom of the emotions if we want to stay healthy and sane. Staying "in your head" so much isn't good for you. Looking over this paragraph, I realize how off the wall it's starting to sound. However, the culture we live in these days seems designed to distract us and knock us off center, to prevent us from reflecting on our lives. This mad dash through life without asking who we really are and why we came to this planet is what makes us crazy. We're in such a hurry we're not even part of our world -- in our minds, we're something wholly set apart from the world and the rest of Life. Slow down, sit on the ground, question a few of your truths, poke at a few of your blindspots. Oh, and change your diet and take care of small animals -- Virgo has many faces, as a goddess should...

Jupiter is trioctile Neptune on the 15th, a simple, single pass aspect. It takes about a month to build up to this day and the energy will slowly dissipate over the following month. Normally, you'd think of a combination of Jupiter and Neptune in very positive terms. After all, Jupiter is happy and optimistic, representing the ways we break out of our shells and join the greater world. He loves to look at the big picture in life and is enthusiastic about pursuing his goals. Neptune, on the other hand, is a Dreamer and a Mystic at heart. The big picture is about all Neptune can see, since he feels the world only at the most cosmic, spiritual levels. However, trioctiles are a bit touchy. They introduce an element of friction or discord between the two planets being combined. It feels like your desires and the prevailing trends in the world around you are at odds, stepping on each other's toes. At a deeper level, the conflict is unconscious and internal, but is played out in the outer world for dramatic effect. This may be a time when your goals and aspirations appear challenged and questioned. You may throw yourself into some endeavor that you're passionate about, only to feel restricted and hemmed in by forces around you. It's not very clear what the real issues are even (that's a characteristic of unconsciousness, after all), but it's worthwhile to start questioning your assumptions if the world is pushing back. Often, the trouble is your "big picture" is not inclusive enough -- it doesn't take into account all the cross currents you set in motion. The resistance you feel is simply something you overlooked. Stay upbeat and let your vision expand. You may find these lessons rather enlightening...

Jupiter moves from Virgo into Libra on the 24th. It will be in this sign until 2005-10-25, when it moves into Scorpio. This placement turns Jupiter's expansive tendencies towards a number of Libra areas. First and foremost is the area of relationship. There's an enthusiasm for forming partnerships and cooperating with others that hasn't been present for quite some time. In extreme cases, this comes across as a "need to please" which feels like emotional clinginess, but overall, people are in the mood to work together more. Libra also represents a desire for aesthetics and beauty, a drive to create a more pleasing environment for oneself. It could involve some redecorating of your house or acquiring some artwork, or even the desire to buy flowers for your room more often. There could be an urge to indulge in art or music more. Libra is also a sign emphasizing fairness and justice, so there may be a push in this direction. Whatever the area of expression, Jupiter in Libra is essentially a very positive and supportive placement. It might be a nice change of pace from the preceding Virgo phase.

Mars also enters Libra on the 26th, where it will stay until Nov 11. While supercharging the Jupiter energy I just mentioned, Mars is not terribly comfortable hanging out in Libra. For starters, Mars is rather egocentric and focused on his own agenda, while Libra is the consummate diplomat tending to the needs of others. Mars gets very annoyed by having to be concerned about other people so much and you don't want to annoy Mars much, do you. Either he inadvertantly steps on a lot of toes or he feels hemmed in by too many restrictions and demands. He just has to take a back seat, whether he wants to or not. Boy, will he ever be much happier when he slips into Scorpio in November!

Chiron is at his direct station of 20Cp30 on the 26th, ending 5 months of reverse motion. It went into reverse on May 1 at 26Cp08. Chiron's cycles are a time to face and overcome something that has been holding you back for quite some time, possibly since childhood. He represents the most valuable qualities in your life that you came here to express, but these gifts are rarely received by the world gracefully. As you experience one rejection after another, in time you learn not to speak up and simply hide your gifts away in the back of the psychic closet. A lot of the growth challenges of mid-life involves cleaning out the closet finally, releasing these neglected parts of yourself so they can expressed again. This cycle is in Capricorn, a sign that emphasizes competency in practical matters and making your mark on the world. A sense of failure or lack of skill may be keeping you from accomplishing your dreams in this world; you may simply lack some of the tools or resources to move ahead. The last few months have been a time to overcome some of these shortcomings, to realize that they aren't as big a handicap as you assumed. Success, however you measure that elusive concept, is closer than you ever knew. As you near the direct station, it's time to drop off these limitations and start manifesting the confidence and authority that you always had, hidden away in that closet of yours. Let the past fall away...

Pallas shifts from Leo into Virgo on the 27th, where she'll stay until Dec 2. There's a mental and intuitive quality to both Pallas and Virgo, so the critical faculties are being stimulated. This can come out as the ability to quickly and intuitively size up a situation or perceive its essential qualities or patterns. This ability is particularly important for people who work in the healing arts, an area that Pallas and Virgo both favor. The talent to size up a person and the blockages that prevent them from being a healthy human being are essential to being an effective healer. Virgo work is often unglamorous and you rarely receive proper recognition for your efforts. However, Pallas approaches this time as an opportunity to develop new skills and gain expertise based on observation and insight. You may not get many kudos now, but in the long run the wisdom you gain will be recognized. In the meantime, have fun with the things you're learning. Life can be a quiet joy.

As happens quite frequently, there's a fluke of timing with the new and full moon charts this month so that all the houses in these charts are virtually the same -- only the planets move within these houses. I always get the feeling of unfinished business whenever I see this, as though the full moon is simply continuing on with more of the same themes present in the new moon. The big difference now is a shift in focus from one's internal world to connecting more with others around you. The principle meaning of Libra is relationship, the meeting of self and other to work and live together. Of course, the Moon is in the "me first" sign of Aries at the full moon, so there's a tendency to look after your own interests first and instinctively view matters from your own perspective, but that will only get you so far in the coming weeks. You need to blend your will with the desires of partners and loved ones (Mars is not all that fond of Libra...) if you want to achieve harmony with them. Taking a look at the bigger perspective helps, as it lets you see this is not a cut and dried "me vs. them" kind of situation. Cooperation breeds allies and friends, which in the long run strengthens your own position instead of diminishes it. It always helps to have support behind you when the going gets tough. Just make sure you're perfectly willing to extend the same favor to your friends in return. One-sided friendship is no friendship at all. It's amazing to me how many ways there are for covertly reasserting egocentric behavior while pretending to be high-minded. As always, it's a balancing act, a recognition that I'm important, but I'm still only one of many in this picture. Open up a little more than you're used to -- the rewards in the end are quite remarkable.