Here's some of the important astrological news this month ...
Jupiter Square Uranus, 10-9
New Moon at 17Li30, 10-11
Mercury Retrograde Station at 9Sc04, 10-11
Vesta enters Capricorn, 10-19
Chiron Direct Station at 10Aq27, 10-19
Full Moon at 2Ta23, 10-25
Pluto Conjunct the Galactic Center at 26Sa57, 10-28
Jupiter Sextile Neptune, 10-29
Pallas Direct Station at 0Pi51, 10-31
Neptune Direct Station at 19Aq15, 10-31
An online ephemeris for the month is available.
There's a strong undercurrent in the energies for October. A couple of planetary structures starring many of the deeper, unconscious outer planets seem to dominate much of the month, driving us in some unexpected directions. In particular, Jupiter is helping to join together such important bodies as Uranus and Neptune into large, fan-shaped patterns that occasionally spill over into potent storms. Saturn is also accumulating its own entourage, primarily when Mars, Venus and Mercury join in. This second structure is more grounded and down to earth than the Uranus-Neptune pattern, acting as a basis for interacting with the world around us and "getting down to business" if there is some work to be done. All these energies are generally moderate in intensity (there's only two low Koz Alerts all month) -- enough to get you attention without bowling you over. Curiously, there are a large number of planetary stations in coming weeks, a sign that life is "shifting gears" and putting old issues behind us. Finally, the last of the three Pluto conjunctions with the Galactic Center (GC) falls on the night of the 27th-28th. This long, strange voyage of transformation is slowly coming to an end, although its effects on our lives may take years to assimilate. In short, it's a busy month in an odd sort of way, but nothing we can't handle.
October has a considerable amount of activity to talk about. This includes 4 planets at their stations, 3 "big aspects" and Vesta changing signs.
Jupiter is square Uranus on the 9th for the third of 3 such contacts this year. The previous contacts were on Jan 22 and May 10. Jupiter represents the conventional wisdom, the shared body of information (both true and false) that we use to talk to and understand each other. This way of looking at the world is often not very profound or insightful, sometimes it's dead wrong, but it is useful for us social creatures. Uranus, on the other hand, operates at a deeply insightful, intuitive level that grasps situations in an "all at once" fashion that is hard to comprehend or explain. It's like a near sighted person putting on his glasses -- all of a sudden, the world just appears clearer. Uranus rules over the process known as a paradigm change. Normally, we accumulate knowledge bit by bit, like laboriously putting one piece of a jigsaw puzzle in place one at a time. That's Jupiter's way. Uranus is more apt to throw the whole puzzle in the air and let it mysteriously land in a whole new pattern that makes more sense. It's not a matter of new information so much as a new way of looking at the world. Since this is a square, conventional wisdom and the great "aha!" are not seeing eye-to-eye. There's a need to question our everyday approach to problems and see them from a fresh and more inclusive perspective. We've been experiencing this mismatch of perspectives since January now, and it's pretty clear the "same old" isn't getting us anywhere. The trouble is a lack of confidence and faith that trying something new can bring us better results. Maybe this final square can tip the scales enough to make a new start more palatable. As I've mentioned before, this square is a crucial turning point in a 13 year cycle that goes back to Feb 1997, a powerful time that I call "The Grand Finale" for all its planetary fireworks. We've been struggling to birth a new way of looking at the world for some time, with many blind alleys and false starts along the way. Some of our nonsense has fallen away along the road side, but there's still more revision to come. Save the useful insights and let the fluff fall away. The world is a more interesting place than we can imagine.
The new moon chart is an exercise in learning how to operate on 2 or 3 levels simultaneously. Both of the major groupings of planets are firmly active in this chart. First there's a big sextile fan of Mars, Venus, Saturn, Mercury and Pallas. While Mercury seems to be on the fringes of this group, remember that it goes into reverse gear later today and backs up to meet all the other planets a second and third time shortly. The other group consists of the the Sun and Moon, Jupiter, Neptune and Uranus. The fact that the new moon connects so strongly with Uranus and Neptune shows how important this second group is during the coming lunar month. Vesta, Pluto and the GC are all at 26 degrees Sag (in a half degree orb!), but otherwise disconnected from the rest of the chart.
It appears there are three separate messages going on in this chart. The first is put your plans in gear, stick your nose to the grindstone and get to work. This is an excellent time to get some tasks out of the way. In fact, you may be forced by circumstances to roll up your sleeves and get busy. It may not always feel good (Venus conjunct Saturn, feelings meet the ultimate wet blanket), but if it gets some chores off your back, it's for the good. The second is a call to open up your heart and mind to others at a deeper level, to experience new ways of thinking about and seeing the world around you, to sense the connections you have with other people. Life is pretty dreary when you're just in it for yourself. Being in community with other like-minded souls makes the journey much more enjoyable. The last message is the most subtle: even when you experience community, you are still so much more than that. There's something very universal and transpersonal about the Pluto-GC connection, but it's an influence that few people are ready to take in currently. This is a dynamic chart, with a little something for everybody. See how much of it you can grasp...
Mercury is standing still at 9Sc04 on the 11th, just after the new moon, starting 3 weeks of retrograde motion. It will back up to its direct station of 23Li21 by Nov 1 before resuming normal motion. Mercury retrograde is that well known phenomenon when the thinking and symbol using part of the mind goes to sleep. Mercury is the part of the psyche responsible for making up stories about how everything works, stuffing all of life into convenient mental boxes that allow us to operate skillfully in the world. Most of the time this narrative is helpful and productive, giving us some reliable expectations of how our actions will play out. During Mercury retrograde, however, these stories are more of a hindrance than anything. The trouble with our stories (and this is the great cosmic joke on Mercury) is that they never capture the world with all its nuance and subtlety. Something always eludes our grasp. When Mercury is backing up, it's these bits and pieces of the situation that drape over the sides of our boxes that come back to trip us up. Our impressive plans of action falter due to some detail we've failed to notice, communications with others are fouled up because of hidden misunderstandings and badly chosen words, that great novel you wrote is lost because you failed to save it to your hard drive, etc. The gotchas are endless. The lesson in all this is to not take your stories and boxes so seriously, to realize that the world is bigger and more impressive than you've ever imagined. The thinking mind is such a small part of who we are, but we blow it up to a God of Reason that is basically a flat cardboard cut out. Let life be as big as it can. In the meantime, realize that the mental life is going to be messed up for 3 weeks and make allowances. It helps to think of it as a comedy, not a drama. Give yourself and others a lot of slack.
Vesta enters Capricorn on the 19th for a 3 month stay. She will move into Aquarius on Dec 20. Both Vesta and Capricorn have a practical, earthy quality to them, making this placement a rather easy match. It's a time to withdraw from the distractions of life and get some practical, nuts-and-bolts issues nailed down and taken care of. It's always best to have the mundane world "in order" so it ceases to be a drain on your plans and goals. Vesta understands that power and authority derive from the inside, not from external accomplishments and titles. She has the ability to wield a quiet power without making a big show of it. With adequate resources and support at her disposal, she simply works at bringing her dreams into reality. This is not the best placement, however, for pursuits that require cooperation with others, since Vesta is an introvert and a hermit at times, so keep the urge to withdraw into your cocoon in balance. Put your affairs in order and move through life, without the chaos we normally live with.
Chiron reaches his direct station of 10Aq27 on the 19th, ending 5 months of retrograde motion. He's been backing up since May 20, when he stopped at 15Aq41. I like to think of Chiron as the "psychic closet" inside us, the place where we toss all those parts of ourselves that are wonderful in and of themselves, but don't fit in with everyday life and the expectations of others. We tend to hide all that stuff away from prying eyes and judgmental comments, where they gather dust for many years (typically until after the age of 40 or more). His 5 year trek through the sign of Aquarius is a time to reevaluate old ideas and perspectives, particularly those that deal with how we interact with people and society at large. There's a crusader and an idealist in Aquarius that holds the torch for ideals that may have fallen out of date. While these ideals may be wonderful in the abstract, they often fail to address the needs of flesh-and-blood people reacting to the demands of the modern world. Aquarius wants to remake the world in a fresh image, but this is a world in his mind, not the real world we live in. There's also a tendency for these bright utopian ideals to take on a controlling, manipulative tone in practice. There's not much distance between the reformer and the dictator. Chiron's retrograde cycle is a time to open up the closet, take out a few bobbles that catch your eye and dust them off. Some of these old gems are obviously infantile or foolish ideas, but others only need a little work to bring them up to date. Now that he's going direct again, it's time to take these refurbished ideas out for a test drive in the real world. Let's see what kind of reception they get this time around...
The chart for the full moon is a lot more interesting than the corresponding waveform. Except for an 8th harmonic in the taller peaks (above 300 units), you might miss this curious pattern. It starts with a T-square of Venus opposite Uranus, square Jupiter; throw in Juno and Neptune for good measure. The Sun and Moon make 45 degree angles to the T-square, which accounts for the H8. Mercury sextiles Pluto-GC tomorrow and is several degrees away from the Sun. Mars and Saturn are strangely quiet these days.
There's so much activity in this chart that it's hard to say where all this is headed. The first clue is Venus opposite Uranus -- you can be certain that people's emotions are going to be all over the place. And when emotions are up in the air, relationships get rather dicey. The fact that this is a strong H8 pattern hints that conflict and missed understandings are commonplace. While most people will not be conscious of the Pluto-GC conjunction coming up (we're about 49 hours from exactitude), I suspect that many will be reacting in an unconscious fashion, if the previous passes are typical. This adds an element of underlying stress and tension; people are freaking out for no apparent reason. A big coping tool for all this is described by that Taurus Moon -- stay calm and grounded, don't let your emotions run away with you. Jupiter says to defuse the tension with a warm, inclusive attitude towards others. It's almost like there's a collective "deer in the headlights" effect going on and we're all in a mild form of emotional shock. We'll get through it in time, especially if we look out for each other. Take in all the higher energies now -- digest it later in a leisurely manner. How Taurean!
Pluto is conjunct the Galactic Center for the third and last time on the 27th and 28th, depending on your time zone. The previous contacts were 2006-12-29 and 2007-7-16. First of all, this is an extremely rare astrological event. The last time it happened was in 1759, before the American Revolution, before Pluto and the black hole at the GC had been discovered (before we even knew what "galaxy" meant). So if you miss this one, it's going to be 250 years before it comes around again. I've been fascinated with this aspect for years leading up to it, since it combines two bodies that have intense power over human evolution and spiritual growth. The actual experience of the first two contacts has been worth the wait. Pluto represents the deeper parts of the human unconscious, the internal forces that push a person to become the spiritual being they were somehow "meant" to be. By making us let go of all the inessential externals in our lives that distract us, we are led back to our inner self. Since these conjunctions have been tied up with Pluto's retrograde cycle this year, the Pluto lessons of letting go have been more pointed than usual. The GC operates more on the level of guiding the earth's development as a whole, a spiritual initiation force that operates on all of humanity, not just the masters among us. The activation of GC energies in human awareness has pushed human evolution into overdrive lately, our world changing faster than people can reasonably keep up with. There's a deep seated tension and stress in the mass psyche of people today, a feeling that life may be comfortable and exciting, but spinning out of control. I suspect much of this anxiety is because we are trying to be someone we are not, that we are striving for goals that are inessential to our real purpose on the planet. Letting go is always threatening. During the December contact, some of my fellow meditators and I touched this higher initiation to a small degree, learning how it feels to belong to the galaxy as a whole, far beyond the limitations of the mere human. In July, we felt how the buzz and chaos of being a modern human interfere with this higher calling. Nothing like showing us the "goodies" and then slapping our hands to make us curious for more! Anyway, on the 28th at 0:54 CDT (just after midnight), we're back for the final conjunction, the last act of this initiation. I suspect this last time will show us a glimpse of how this all fits together, a kind of summing up of the entire 10 month process. I'm looking forward to this final act quite intently...
Jupiter is sextile Neptune on the 29th, a relatively quick single pass aspect. This is a hard aspect to pin down, primarily because Neptune is such an elusive influence. Both of these planets have important spiritual significance for people, although they operate on vastly different levels. While Jupiter is more of the conventional face of spiritual practice in our lives, Neptune has more of a mystic's temperment that goes off in the cave and meditates for years. Since this is a sextile, these two trends actually harmonize pretty well this month. Of course, this aspect could also express itself in ways having nothing to do with spirit. For instance, it's a very light hearted and fun loving energy, one that makes you want to get together with others and have a good time. (Even the beer at a football game counts as a Neptune influence.) It's useful for getting people to see the limitations of common sense and conventional wisdom, of seeing the world from the perspective of the heart and not the rational mind. Whatever the level of expression, this aspect stirs things up briefly and them moves on. It may be hard to say a month or two from now what it was all about, as Neptune rarely bestows clarity. And given that this is the aspect that ties Uranus and Neptune together in one of those groups this month, the results may be more quirky than you'd expect. Follow this influence wherever it leads you. The heart knows this is a good path...
Pallas is direct at 0Pi51 on the 31st, completing a retrograde cycle that began at 19Pi23 on Jul 5. The retrograde cycles of Pallas tend to be a time of creative retreat, when you need to withdraw from the world awhile to pursue your Muse. Whether it's working on a lengthy and involved mental project, expressing an artistic urge or volunteering to help the disadvantaged somehow, Pallas makes you want to throw yourself completely into your pursuits to the exclusion of other things. Since this cycle has been entirely in the sign of Pisces, there's likely to be some kind of spiritual overtone to your activities. This cycle has also been doing laps around Uranus (also retrograde in Pisces), which brings out an unusual and non-conformist streak to your work. Whatever you've been doing, it's time to show your results to the world. Come out of your shell and make your creation known.
Neptune is also going direct on the 31st, standing still at 19Aq15. It's been retrograde since May 24, when it stood still at 22Aq02. As I said, Neptune is the most confusing planet to understand, so don't be surprised if your life seems a bit screwy now. Of the many things that can occur during Neptune's retrograde cycles, perhaps the most intriguing is the way the outer world is mirroring your inner experience, as the boundaries between the material plane and the psyche become very thin. Among the many things attributed to Neptune, high on the list are our own ideals and visions for the future. As with all ideas, there are downsides and unintended consequences to even our highest aspirations. Part of Neptune's magic in your life is its ability to attract people and situations to you that mirror back to you what you truly believe. This doesn't always match the "I'm a good person" image that we have of ourselves and our actions. Even our best efforts can screw up or cause side-effects totally at odds with what we wanted to occur, simply because our plans are out of sync with the world around it. Instead of furthering the greater good, the world obediently mirrors back to us what we said and did, not what we meant to happen. If you find yourself saying "this is not what I intended!", you've seen the clue that your visionary ideas need some updating and revising. It's important to learn to master the Art of Right Intention the next few years, before Neptune returns to the point in the sky (25Aq52) where it was discovered in 1846. I get the impression that by that time (2009-2010), this kind of Magic 101 will simply be expected of us. So do your housecleaning wherever you find your messes. Take it all in stride -- Neptune didn't mean for you to take it personally...