Here's some of the important astrological news this month ...
Ceres Direct Station at 12Aq45, 10-2
Vesta enters Libra, 10-4
Full Moon at 13Ar43, 10-13
Chiron Direct Station at 4Aq24, 10-12
Jupiter Quintile Chiron, 10-20
Juno enters Libra, 10-21
New Moon at 28Li39, 10-22
Mars enters Scorpio, 10-23
Jupiter Square Saturn, 10-25
Mercury Retrograde Station at 25Sc04, 10-28
Neptune Direct Station at 17Aq02, 10-28
Jupiter Semisextile Pluto, 10-31
An online ephemeris for the month is available.
October is going to be a very active, dramatic month. It starts out slowly enough, but by mid-month it has blossomed into the most powerful planetary storm of all of 2006. There are an incredible number of significant events this month to discuss, more than I can explain in detail. Don't sweat the details, however. October is more likely to be remembered for sheer intensity than for the subtleties of individual aspects and stations. The effects of this onslaught should be easily seen in most people's daily lives, although its influence on the national and global level should be equally marked. Remember this is the home stretch of the US election season, so the competing points of view in this conflict will be beamed direct into our living rooms. There is also a curious dance going on between Venus, Mars and the Sun as they chase each other from Libra into Scorpio in tight formation. If nothing else, this should spice up relationships to a considerable degree, especially the more romantic ones. Anyway, start gearing up for the major changes coming in the second half of the month. It will be quite a show!
There's more news in October than I can really cram in here, so I may go past some of these events rather quickly. The news includes 4 stations, 3 "big aspects" and 3 sign changes. That should keep us all busy!
Ceres reaches her direct station of 12Aq45 on the 2nd. She has been retrograding since Jun 20, when she stood still at 26Aq57. Ceres is the Great Mother, the source of caring and concern for others, our very connection to the Web of Life, as I like to call it. It may seem unusual to put Mama in such an impersonal sign as Aquarius for so long, but at another level, this placement makes a lot of sense, especially in today's context. This is a perfect placement for humanitarian or phillanthropic concerns, expanding the notion of caring to the group or organizational level. Such matters have been in the news quite often in recent months, as people that prospered well in life have decided to give back to the world in a big way. Environmental issues have been prominent. Not all of us can give back in such a big way, but all contributions we make for the higher good benefit us all, not to mention the generations yet to come. It's tough to realize our connectedness to each other and to Mother Earth, even harder to put it into action. What's your little piece to this puzzle?
Vesta moves from Virgo into Libra on the 4th for a 2 month stay. She will stay here until Dec 4, when she heads into Scorpio. This is an odd placement for Vesta. Normally, Vesta is a bit of a loner. She feels more at ease communing with herself than rubbing elbows with other people. It's not that she's anti-people, it's just that she gets more emotional support by tuning into her inner nature and strength. People, in large doses, tend to drain her. However, Libra is perhaps the most social of signs, a place where relationship rules. This may force Vesta to be more connected than she normally cares to be, preventing her from popping out the back door as she normally would. This placement is a balancing act between the power of relating and the power of solitude. Neither extreme is healthy all by itself, so the trick is to find your comfort zone on this continuum. Vesta forgets that friends and loved ones are important in life; Libra forgets that you need to be authentically yourself before you can relate properly. Here's a time to find out where you come down on these issues.
By the full moon on the 6th, the fat H12 signature is clearly evident and the energies are slowly building. The underlying mood of the next two weeks is shifting from dreamy Neptune to tough guy Pluto, so savor the subtler energy right now. There can be some relationship rockiness coming up, a tendency for "us" to break down into "me vs. you", if you don't attempt to keep a balanced attitude. We are entering a time when significant changes can occur on the world stage, both here and abroad, especially as the storm peaks in a week. The shifts may sneak up on you, so keep your eyes open. I suspect we'll be cleaning up from the next few weeks for quite some time.
Chiron is at his direct station of 4Aq24 on the 12th. He went retrograde back on May 15 at 9Aq45. Chiron is the planet that rules the parts of the psyche that are neglected, suppressed or forgotten, the parts of your personality that you relegated to "the psychic closet" of old junk you thought you had outgrown. As we grow older and life seems less exciting and compelling, it's a good time to look into that psychic closet and see what kinds of goodies we stuffed in there. Some of our best traits and behaviors got put in there simply because other people couldn't accept them. This retrograde cycle has been taking place entirely in Aquarius (for the first time in about 50 years), the sign of ideas, visions and ideology. Aquarius loves his ideas of how to enlighten the masses and bring about a golden age in society. In fact, he loves such ideas more than the reality he wants to change. It's all too easy to let our ideals fall behind reality, to carry the torch of a bygone day. It's not that these ideals are wrong or bad, but they have fallen behind the times and need to be adapted to modern circumstances in order to be effective once again. This dynamic can be seen in the pendulum swings of political fashions, how one societal vision loses its vitality and is replaced by a vibrant young upstart. In turn, the upstart will one day feel old. Liberals have seen their stock plummet in recent decades after holding sway for so long. In fact, the very word has been redefined (by the conservatives) to be a damning insult. Look the word up in the dictionary -- it's meaning is really quite beautiful. Nowadays, it seems the conservative viewpoint is looking bruised and battered, taking on ominous totalitarian overtones. Aquarian politics, unlike Capricorn, tends to be liberal and progressive, even populist in tone. It's interesting how the big story in the coming election is whether the Democrats will take back control of the Congress from the Republicans. I can't say they've managed to "re-redefine" themselves back into the mainstream yet, but this retrograde cycle has been a time when progressive views have shown some life again. If they can touch enough people with their vision, such views may become the new normal once more. Anyway, take some time to look over your opinions and beliefs. Certainly, some of them are silly and deserve to be thrown back in the closet. But some gems just need to be dusted off and brought up to date a little and they will be perfectly serviceable. It's a pleasant form of housecleaning.
Jupiter is quintile Chiron on the 20th, a quick, single-pass contact. Jupiter is the part of your personality that wants to reach out and engage the world, sharing what we've got for our mutual benefit. Hanging out in Scorpio for the last year, this involves raising the emotions to a lighter, more easy-going level that puts some of our ego games on the back burner. Chiron, as we just talked about, is trying to dust off our ideas and beliefs to make them more relevant to today. He's more cautious than Jupiter is, having been knocked around by other people's judgments too many times in the past. Quintiles are a funny kind of connection between two planets. Rather than slugging out conflicting tendencies down in the trenches (like a square might do), quintiles tend to slide right past a problem. They help us to view a "problem" from a different perspective so that the situation is no longer seen as troublesome. It's that "aha!" effect that makes difficult circumstances transparently simple to handle. I get the feeling this aspect is quite positive overall, with each planet supporting the other, making it easy to connect heart and mind with others. Too bad it's such a fleeting influence. Enjoy it while it lasts!
Juno moves into Libra for an extended stay on the 21st. Juno is the Queen of Partnerships, so she feels right at home in Libra. Juno's demands in life are simple: she wants to be taken seriously as an equal and respected partner in any relationship. Of course, if you cross her up and don't give her this respect, she can turn on you in subtle emotional games that undermine any love that may have been present. She can be quite a shrew if she even thinks you're taking advantage of her. Don't even go there. Life with your partners is much more enjoyable if it's based on true love and compassion. Obviously, this is easier advice to dish out than it is to live in real life. The way of the heart can be devilishly complicated at times, often for no apparent reason. It takes practice and discipline to be a good partner. The universe must have realized this, because we are getting much extra time to absorb this lesson. Due to an upcoming retrograde cycle that starts 2007-2-14 (Valentine's Day, appropriately enough), Juno is going to spend over 10 months in Libra, not exiting until 2007-9-8. The lessons in love may be rather rude at times next spring, all the more incentive for us to learn this partnership-of-equals business. Get your ego out of the way around loved ones. Life is more pleasurable without the games.
The waveform for the new moon looks a little ragged as the first wave of the storm is about to catch its breath. Nonetheless, this is still one potent chart. Let me see -- how many ways do I see "relationship issues" in this chart? How about 6 planets in Libra, including the tight bundle (2 degree spread) of Venus, Sun, Moon and Mars, for starters. It appears that Venus is the strongest planet in the chart. Curiously, the outer planets are mostly quiet now, except for a touch of Pluto, so the deeper spiritual dimensions of relations are not the issue. It's more the nuts and bolts. The bundle is slipping into Scorpio over the next few days, creating a marked change in the influences affecting us in a very short time. The carefree spirit of Libra is replaced by the more intense and emotionally churning mood of Scorpio, so get ready for a more serious and demanding atmosphere by the second wave of the storm. This needn't be something negative if you play by the rules and treat others respectfully. In fact, the intensity could be quite exciting and stimulating, particularly if channeled into sexual expression. Let yourself go a little...
Mars shifts from Libra into Scorpio on the 23rd for a 6 week stay. He'll be here until Dec 5, when he moves into Sagittarius. At last, our Warrior God escapes from Libra and moves into home territory, the passionate world of Scorpio! You can practically feel his relief. This transition is complicated by Mars' travelling companions through the zodiac, the Sun and Venus, which are also moving into Scorpio at this same time. A pretty woman and two dashing young men going from a light-hearted and casual world to a darker, more emotionally intense setting -- it sounds like a novel almost. Mars doesn't so much escape from relationship concerns as take them to a more primal level. If you're an intensity junkie, this should be quite a satisfying time. Even if you aren't, you may feel more alive and animated as you get past standards of correctness that sap life of its juiciness. There are some down sides to Mars in Scorpio that are worth watching out for. It brings out your egocentric tendencies, which are good in moderation, but a recipe for conflict if it gets out of hand. Instead of being direct and in your face (Mars' normal modus operandi), Scorpio tends to make Mars more devious and underhanded, working in the shadows. Stay away from manipulative behavior if you want to avoid the problems it brings. Mars in Scorpio can be overly passionate as well, making impulsive decisions from the emotions instead of taking a more balanced approach. Barring these wrong turns, Mars in Scorpio can be quite exhilarating. Enjoy this power and put it to good use, within reason.
Jupiter is square Saturn on the 25th, the last of 3 such contacts. The previous contacts of this square were on 2005-12-16 and 2006-6-22, so this aspect has been going on for over 10 months now. And what a spectacular year it has been. I've been pointing out for many years how this cycle between Jupiter and Saturn has been calling the shots in the Middle East, ever since their conjunction (at 22Ta43) of 2000-5-28 on the Israeli natal Sun. Events in this region have mirrored the aspects between these planets quite closely the last 6 years -- it's been quite uncanny. The last year, the square aspect, has been extremely dramatic. Around the time of the first contact, Ariel Sharon became medically incapacitated, removing him from the scene, and Hamas took control of Palestine. Within days of the second contact, Palestian fighters kidnapped an Israeli soldier, sparking armed conflict that eventually spilled over to the debacle in Lebanon. We're still picking up the pieces from that childish skirmish. Here we are again, faced with the situation of two parties that can't accept each other and can't compromise over basics. Obviously, this tenderbox can't remain indefinitely, even though no solution is on the horizon. We could use some time to cool off and reassess those dogmatic views that divide nations and peoples. Given that Mars and Pluto are closely aspecting Jupiter and Saturn now (these 4 form the backbone of the storm pattern), I doubt peace will make much headway now. In fact, I just hope another inflammatory provocation doesn't happen, letting loose the winds of war another time. (Hint: Jupiter and Saturn are forming a T-square with the Israeli Sun today.) It's a critical time. Reaching out to others in a sensible, restrained manner, bridging the gaps that divide us, is an imperative these days. It's hard to create peace when war and violence are still held in such high esteem. There may not be much resolution right now, but we can build for the future.
Mercury is at its retrograde station of 25Sc04 on the 28th, about to start 3 weeks of reverse motion. It will back up to 9Sc03 by Nov 17 and then return to normal motion. Ah, Mercury retrograde! How people love to freak out over those words! Mercury is the part of the mind that tries to understand the world with symbols, words, stories and something that passes for reason. When Mercury is backing up, this understanding tends to fall apart like a house of cards. Thoughts become confused, communications are garbled, decisions made now need to be changed later, the world seems strange and unreasonable. The dirty secret of the symbol-using mind is that the world is always bigger and more complicated than our stories can ever be, yet we blindly believe in our stories anyway. When our explanations fail us (as they inevitably will someday), the world seems crazy and out of control. The only thing that is crazy is our insistence that we knew "the Truth" in the first place. Mercury retrograde is a time to recognize the limitations of the thinking mind and give the mystery of the universe its due. What we "know to be true" is often at variance with the facts (e.g., WMDs in Iraq), but we have too much faith in our preconceptions to accept the obvious. Nurture a little humility about your rationality and don't prejudge the situation. The next few weeks are a lesson to not believe everything you think.
The same day as the Mercury station, Neptune reaches its direct station of 17Aq02 on the 28th, ending 5 months of retrograde motion. It originally went retrograde on May 22 at 19Aq49. This adds even more confusion to the Mercury picture, since Neptune works in a way that is as different from rationality as night is from day. These cycles, particularly the stations, are times when reality isn't all it's cracked up to be. There's a curious interplay between the visionary idealism of the inner world and the facts-on-the-ground of outer reality. We normally think of our ideals as fashioning and molding our mundane circumstances, but it is also the case that reality challenges and alters our beliefs. Even the most spiritual of beliefs or altruistic of humanitarian projects can be out of step with new circumstances, causing unexpected harm and discord by being out of touch. There's nothing more tyrannical than a noble belief that is past its prime. The world has a curious way of pointing out these noble anachronisms to us, a process I sometimes call "the magic of the unconscious" at work. Neptune has this knack of attracting people and situations in the outer world that mirror precisely the beliefs and assumptions we hold on the inside. If we are confused or out of touch within, our world mirrors that chaos all around us. This is the lesson of unintended consequences, showing us that our ideals (and fears!) don't match reality. Look at your messes now and see what you can do differently. These kinds of problems are self-made and can be easily transcended with a change of mind. It's simply a matter of your creative spirit being out of control. Enjoy your confusion!
Jupiter is semisextile Pluto on the 31st, another single-pass big aspect. This aspect is the last contact in the 13 year Jupiter-Pluto cycle that began with their conjunction on 1994-12-4, so the next year is a "summing up time" for this cycle. (The next conjunction is 2007-12-11.) Jupiter draws us to interact with the world around us, while Pluto draws us into communion with the unconscious and our Higher Self, so there is an interesting dynamic in this cycle. We are driven to connect with others, but it only works smoothly if you remain true to your inner nature. There's an exaggerated or obsessive quality to these types of aspect, so it's important to maintain a sense of proportion and exercise your common sense to avoid some of the darker detours. This quick-moving aspect is unlikely to make a significant impact on life, but it is calling us to think things over more carefully. Perhaps the next 13 years may go more productively if we question some of our beliefs now.