Here's some of the important astrological news this month ...
Pluto Direct Station at 21Sa29, 9-2
New Moon at 11Vi21, 9-3
Saturn Trioctile Pluto, 9-9
Full Moon at 25Pi15, 9-17
Jupiter Sextile Pluto, 9-17
Pallas enters Scorpio, 9-19
Saturn Quincunx Uranus, 9-21
Jupiter Trioctile Uranus, 9-22
Ceres enters Sagittarius, 9-23
An online ephemeris for the month is available.
As I mentioned last month, August was a kind of transitional period between the old energies passing away and the new energies yet to appear. Well, it's September and those new influences are checking in with gusto. I don't really recall the last time I saw a month as "solid" as this one in terms of non-stop activity as this one is. There's very little down time between planetary storms, as though the entire month was practically one long storm. And what a storm! Most of the month is dominated by an impressive Yod pattern starring Mars, Jupiter and Pluto, with help from Saturn and various faster moving planets from time to time. Except for Jupiter, I've just listed some of the most difficult planetary energies to cope with -- not exactly a warm and fuzzy start to the picture for September. Who knows, Jupiter might moderate the other planetary nastiness, but he could just as easily exaggerate them to new heights of "challenging" influence. Notice that all the "big aspects" this month are brand new aspects, indicating a big shift in the wind for us all. The middle of the month (say between the 11th and the 21st) is the most volatile period. Prepare for a lot of action and get ready for thinking quickly on your feet. You may have to adapt to changing conditions often, so don't get too attached to any particular outcome. The world is off in a new direction! It's up to us to follow suit.
After the humdrum August situation, September looks relatively busy. There's an entirely new crop of "big aspects" showing up at mid-month. Two of them are quick, single pass aspects that affect this month strongly and then move on, but the other two are protracted, 3 contact affairs that influence us repeatedly through next July. Of course, Pluto's direct station on the 2nd is always a critical event. And there are a couple of asteroids changing signs.
Pluto is standing still at 21Sa49 on the 2nd, ending a long retrograde cycle that began last spring on Mar 26. I've always found the retrograde cycles of Pluto to be one of the most fascinating astrological phenonema, at least if you can watch them from the bleechers instead of from the playing field. Considering how slowly Pluto moves anyway, you've perhaps started noticing these effects in late August already and it should be a dominant influence much of this month as well. These cycles typically relate to releasing or letting go of some part of your life that you've outgrown or is holding you back. It doesn't matter if you want to let go or not, because Pluto (read: "your higher self") has his own ideas about what is important to you now and what isn't. Generally speaking, we all get a little too comfortable with our lives from time to time. Possessions, habits, activities, goals, etc. that are appropriate for a past period of your life are still being relied on, even if they have outlived their usefulness to you. Under the circumstances you're currently experiencing or will be facing in the near future, these old habits are counterproductive and holding you back. Pluto's role at times like these is to wake you up to what is really important for your path in life, even if it means destroying all the old paths that are no longer appropriate for you. Generally at the beginning of the retrograde cycle (in this case, last March), the hints about the required changes can be pretty subtle and easy to overlook. However, Pluto hates being ignored. Over time, his demands get louder and harder to overlook. You can save yourself a lot of grief by listening early and making the necessary changes in direction voluntarily, but you know, few of us are that far sighted. Usually, we hold onto our precious old habits in spite of the intensifying pressure to let go and move on, which only makes Pluto turn the thumbscrews tighter. By the direct station (now), the pressure can be very pronounced, assuming some area of your life isn't in total shambles already. If this describes your personal trainwreck, the wisest course of action is to simply give in to the inevitable, let go and lighten your load. It's not like you're being forced by outside influences to change, though it may look that way at first, since the real motivating force is your own higher nature. By giving in, you become a more authentic person. Look at where Pluto is undermining your life and learn the underlying lessons. You'll be a better person for it. On the global scene, these retrograde cycles, especially the stations, have had much to do with the situation in Iraq recently. The war in March of 2003 started at the time of a Pluto retrograde station. Despite a quick "victory" (remember "Mission Accomplished"?), by the direct station in August 2003 the bombing campaign of the insurgency was underway. This spring, the newly elected Iraqi assembly was trying to form a working government. Now at the direct station, this government is on the edge of collapse as the process of writing a new constitution is deadlocked and threatening to turn into civil war. It seems the past throws long shadows in this part of the world and moving past ancient grievances is nearly impossible. Pluto hasn't been kind to the Iraqi people.
The first week of September can be described as a "transitional storm" of sorts. At the time of the new moon on the 3rd, this pattern is literally at its weakest point energetically, much more transition than storm. The waveform for this lunation is one of the smallest and most fractured looking graphs all month, but you can start to see the seeds of the coming storm already. There are two main groups of planets to consider here. The first, clustered around 20 degrees or so, is the large Yod we'll see a lot of in coming weeks. It consists of Jupiter, Venus and Pallas, all in Libra, along with Mars and Pluto. The other group around 10 degrees forms a T-Square of the Sun and Moon opposite Uranus and square Juno, with Vesta and Saturn in supporting roles.
The three positions of this T-Square can be roughly described as a tension between what is the practical thing to do, what's the ideal thing and what's the fair thing to do. It's not an easy time for relationships, especially since people are flipping the dial between these various positions and are hard to pin down. Something that may be OK one minute may hurt someone's feelings the next. It's good to talk over these issues, if possible, but only on the highest level that avoids snagging another's hot button issues. Generally speaking, if you can communicate with fairness so the other person feels you're listening and taking their position into consideration, you're handling this energy pretty well. The Yod is another matter. The Libra planets are nice enough, but Mars and Pluto can be rather nasty. With these guys, it's important to keep your ego in the backseat and avoid manipulation, coercion and other games. You can get a lot done, but only if you take the high road. So start into this month slowly and carefully -- the energies really take off shortly.
Saturn is trioctile Pluto on the 9th. This is the first of 3 such contacts, with the next contacts coming on 2006-1-1 and 2006-6-29. Here's an aspect that's not likely to make you ask for more! I've already introduced you to Pluto, the planet of the higher self that forces changes on you, ready or not. Saturn is only a marginally more fun character. He's essentially a very demanding Teacher of the lessons of life, the fellow that requires us to display responsibility for our behavior, no excuses allowed. Saturn also is a planet of discipline and structure, the very framework of our lives that gives us a sense of stability and meaning. Unfortunately, it's these same kinds of structures that Pluto is apt to tear down, so the two planets are on a bit of a collision course the coming year. You can tell the process is not likely to be simple or easy by looking at the nature of the trioctile connecting these planets. Trioctiles always seem to involve an element of friction or discord, as though the planets are unable to find a way of working together. It's not an out in the open conflict like a square or opposition, however. It's more a low level feeling of irritation, a "one damn thing after another" feeling instead of a big blowout. Curiously, with trioctiles, even though the underlying conflict is generally an inner struggle, it appears to the conscious mind as coming from "out there" or through the agency of another person that you disagree with. If you have some long-term plans that you are pursuing, this can be a frustrating, but ultimately useful time. Frustrating because it seems like it's impossible to build on past accomplishments and make headway. You're putting in a lot of hard work and something always comes along and undermines your efforts. As always when Saturn is involved, there's an important karmic lesson to grasp before the way opens up for you, which is the useful part. The problem is that your past is no longer a solid foundation for building the future. You need to backtrack first and clear out the old debris that is hindering your progress. Instead of doing the same old thing with more effort, you need to free yourself from outworn habits that prevent you from working effectively for the future. The role of the external "troublemakers" in your life now is simply to point out to you where the weaknesses in your foundations are and what needs to be improved. It's only after these changes on the ground floor are in place that your efforts will start to pay off. It's not a fun process, but in the end, you'll be a much more productive person. Incidentally, this aspect is more or less the start of the big storm pattern in September. As the storm progresses during the month, you'll probably get a big dose of the problem situations you'll need to address throughout the coming year. Pay attention early to these speedbumps -- it'll save you a lot of aggravation down the road.
By any standard, the full moon chart is simply incredible. As you can easily tell from the waveform, the major storm is still in full swing. When I started poking around the chart, I was amazed at all the common patterns contained in this chart: the big Yod we've been discussing, an octile fan, a T-Square, another sextile fan, etc. The focal point seems to be Pluto, not too surprisingly, so the coming weeks are under the rule of the Dark Lord. Lighten your load, let go of unnecessary baggage. Look under the surface of situations, but don't try to manipulate people for personal gain. Stick to the issues that are truly important to your life currently and don't try to be someone you aren't. And don't let the buzzing confusion of the storm distract you from your tasks. This is a highly transformative time, if you remain open to it.
Jupiter is sextile Pluto on the 17th, a quick single pass aspect that is here and gone in a month or two. It's also a critical piece of the Yod pattern that is part of the big storm. We normally think of Jupiter as a very beneficial planet that produces a lot of goodies in our lives and the optimistic, upbeat attitude to go with it. To a large extent that is true for most people, although this reputation of "the Greater Benefic" (as ancient astrologers called him) is somewhat tarnished in modern eyes. The best way to achieve good results is to dream big (which Jupiter is good at) and work hard (which he leaves to Saturn). You have to overcome Jupiter's lazy streak and lack of attention to details before he pays off. He's also known to exaggerate the effects of other planets and magnify their influence on us, which can be a problem with some planets like Pluto. If you find yourself butting heads with people these days, it may be because Jupiter is amplifying the ego issues and power plays of Pluto's lower nature. Further, Pluto's tendency to obsess over things could make Jupiter issues seem more critical than they really are. In particular, don't get too hung up about money or material problems. Recognize when you have enough for your needs and let go of the unfounded desire to have more, more, more. I don't really think these problems will be all that bad (sextiles tend to work out well), but it's best to just mention them and get them out of the way. At a higher level, there are some remarkable spiritual dimensions to this aspect. Your efforts to reach out to others and live more communally as well as to search the inner world more deeply seem to support each other in a curious way. When you live in a more authentic manner, your relationships take on an open, light hearted quality that brings out the best in people. Just keep the egos out of the picture and these higher expressions will come through. Besides, jolly ol' Jove may just make dark Pluto crack a smile. That would make the storm easier to handle.
Pallas moves from Libra into Scorpio on the 19th, where it will stay for the next 2 months. She leaves for Sagittarius on Nov 27. I normally think of Pallas as a very mental-intuitive energy, one that is brilliant in her own way, but is often cut off from her own feelings. In a sense, she's the ideal symbol of the western mind where the split between rationality and emotion has reached truly neurotic proportions. We've driven the emotions underground into the dark recesses of the unconscious because we value their counsel so little. That means that we create many of our own problems just simply because misdirected feelings are dictating our behavior, not reason. As Pallas enters Scorpio, we start a wonderful window of opportunity to see past this false dichotomy. Pallas in Scorpio lends a very penetrating quality to the thinking mind, because it grounds rationality in the realities of those unconscious emotions. She helps us see the true motivations of people's actions, those urges below the surface that we are normally unaware of. The detached mental-intuitive outlook is tempered by a passionate involvement in life at all levels. This energy may be subtle, but if you quietly observe the workings of your own mind in coming months you'll start to see her influence. Trust your intuitions...
Saturn is quincunx Uranus on the 21st, the first of 3 contacts. There will be additional contacts on 2006-1-19 and 2006-7-31. It's really hard to imagine two planets more different than Saturn and Uranus. Saturn is about structure and form, discipline and responsibility, building conservatively for the future. Uranus, on the other hand, is into radical change for its own sake. He just hates to fall into a rut and get stuck. When Uranus is active, the world takes on a frenzied, chaotic atmosphere often described as electric. Situations change rapidly and in unexpected ways, always exceeding the grasp of your understanding. Things feel out of control. At least that's what we tell ourselves. More precisely, the world is operating in a complex manner that can't be shoehorned into our limited understandings -- you can't "control" what you don't understand. Many of the structures of your life are being challenged in coming months. In particular, a limited and ego based perspective on life is going to be especially vulnerable to assault. Saturn in Leo is trying to build a strong foundation based on an overly rigid sense of personal identity. We tend to take this notion of "i-me-mine" too seriously and invest it with a "god-given" quality that makes it really tough to overcome the ego's darker habits. Uranus is in Pisces, the most selfless of all the zodiac signs, so it's no wonder the ego is under fire. Remember that quincunxes describe situations where competing drives seem to talk right past each other. Saturn can't comprehend the value to himself of personal transcendence, while Uranus views the ego as just a trap. Neither extreme is a viable stand in this world, so you can't just follow a formula to figure out this puzzle. You have to consciously choose, moment by moment, where the proper balance point lies for you. That's the only way to grow into a person with a strong center that serves the greater good.
Jupiter is trioctile Uranus on the 22nd, another single pass aspect. Given that Jupiter and Uranus are both positive and upbeat planets, though Uranus can be a little dicey to handle sometimes, you would probably expect an aspect between them to be on the constructive side. However, trioctiles are known for that low-level conflict I've mentioned, so you shouldn't expect these planets to be interacting too compatibly. They are both mental planets, but they operate on vastly different levels and that seems to be the major stumbling block here. Jupiter has an expansive, panoramic overview of your situation, but he can be rather conventional in the way he interprets things. After all, he operates by borrowing ideas from the world around him, so his perspectives tend to track the mainstream most of the time. Uranus loves to look past the conventional wisdom and burrow down deep into the underlying concepts in all their generality. He has little need for the way things are now or (even worse) how they "should" be, because mere social concerns don't matter to him. Unfortunately, this gives his ideas a "crazy" quality when he tries to express them, if only because the leaps of his intuition leave behind huge gaps in his reasoning. His goals are so "obvious" to him that it's a waste of time to attempt to explain them to others. How this aspect affects you depends on which of these extremes you resemble the most. If you're the more conventional thinker, it's time to open your mind to foreign ideas, even ones that make you uncomfortable. If you're more of the crazy person, it helps to slow down and assess how your ideas come across to others. It doesn't matter how brillilant your vision of the world is if nobody can understand what you're talking about. If you're not facing up to this aspect consciously, you'll likely feel a sense of frustration when dealing with other people across this divide. Patience and empathy can help your relationships get through these misunderstandings.
Ceres exits Scorpio for Sagittarius on the 23rd for about 3 months. She will move into Capricorn on Dec 11. Ceres is your support system, the network of people that you rely on and that you support in turn. She's the nurturing we give to others and that we receive from them. In Sagittarius, Ceres is casting her net far and wide, expanding her horizons to connect with others any way she can. This is in marked contrast with her placement in Scorpio, which tends to entangle you in the inner world of the emotions, cutting you off from others. Inner work feels too much like a restriction now, a mere substitute for genuine human contact. Expand your point of view, have a lively conversation, open up to others. For Sagittarius, that feels like freedom.