Current Transits for October 2008

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


Mars enters Scorpio, 10-3
Saturn Quincunx Chiron, 10-8
Full Moon at 21Ar50, 10-14
Mercury Direct Station at 7Li33, 10-15
Chiron Direct Station at 16Aq02, 10-25
Pallas Retrograde Station at 20Gm39, 10-26
Jupiter Semisextile Chiron, 10-26
New Moon at 5Sc54, 10-28
Into the Elections, 10-31

An online ephemeris for the month is available.

General Outlook for the Month

Boy, have things really changed in the last month! The period since the two conventions has been anything but business as usual for the country and the world. In fact, the situation has been so topsy-turvy that it's hard to even remember what was going on just a few days ago, let alone several weeks. I don't see an end to the roller coaster ride any time soon. October has a couple of powerful planetary storms that promise to keep us guessing right up to the elections on Nov 4. Granted, Pluto is rarely an issue (thank goodness for small favors), but pretty much all the remaining outer planets seem quite active much of the time. The long string of planets at or near their stations continues, so the "stuck in a rut" feeling of recent weeks -- that sense that we're slamming up against the wall with nowhere to go -- is definitely going to be with us through the elections. With Chiron aspecting first Saturn and then Jupiter (themselves in a powerful trine), this shines a light on how fragile and distressed the general social fabric has become, especially in the economic arena. Mercury retrograde (lousy communication and thinking) continues to plague the cycle of debates for the election, standing still again on the last debate, a symptom that the campaign is (predictably) producing more heat than light. Perhaps the situation will become somewhat clearer after its direct station on the 15th, putting the final weeks of the campaign in a more focused perspective. Needless to say, we are living in interesting times (as the old Chinese curse says) and there is no reprieve in October.

We have 3 planets standing still during October. There is also a pair of "big aspects" to consider, as Chiron joins up with Jupiter and Saturn. In addition, Mars is happy to change signs and move into Scorpio.

Mars enters Scorpio on the 3rd for a 6 week stay. He will be in this sign until Nov 16, when he moves into Sagittarius. You can practically hear Mars sigh with relief as he exits Libra and gets back to his home turf. Mars is a self-motivated, go-get-em action figure that likes to take on the world on his own terms. Libra is way too much interested in working with other people and compromising to their needs to appeal to Mars for more than about 5 minutes, so the last 6 weeks have been pretty excruciating. Scorpio is a different story! Here's a sign that is passionate and driven, where ego-centered emotions are the norm -- none of this wishy-washy stuff anymore. Granted he has to share this sign with Venus the first half of the month, but that only makes this time more passionate and sexy. Scorpio seems to energize Mars, giving him the emotional power to back up his actions and ambitions. It gives us the urge and drive to make things happen, to shape the world to our desires. This is all well and good, in moderation -- a trait Scorpio is not known for. So watch out for a few troublesome issues with this placement. For starters, recognize that your ego is up these days; so are the egos of everybody else. It's all too easy to butt heads with people, as we all seem to get emotionally involved with even the most trivial matters. Back off and give a little if you want to avoid a bigger fight. Also, Mars is normally a very direct, in-your-face kind of guy, but in Scorpio, he tends to be more covert and manipulative in the way he wields power. No matter how good a tactic this might seem to you, it's probably best to steer clear of anything devious or underhanded. Any short-term gains will likely be undermined later when your tactics boomerang on you. So use your considerable power wisely. Enjoy feeling more alive and driven...

Saturn is quincunx Chiron on the 8th, the first contact of 5 upcoming contacts in this aspect. The next connection of this aspect will be on 2009-2-4, while the final contact in this series is on 2010-7-20. This aspect, along with the semisextile of Jupiter and Chiron later in the month, hint at an intriguing story. Astrologers are typically hung up on the "Wounded Healer" motif for Chiron, overlooking other meanings for this strange body. Given the fact that the social planets Jupiter and Saturn are engaged in some significant aspects lately and that the larger social arena is where our attention is focused these days, the idea of the healer needs to be reexamined. I frequently describe Chiron as representing the parts of our nature that have been rejected or ignored, the parts that don't fit in to our culture's notion of normal. This theme is being expressed through Jupiter and Saturn, that is, through the culture itself. Particularly in the political arena, this is a time to question our old assumptions about what responsibilities an individual owes to society at large, and what kind of benefits a person deserves in return. The furor at the end of September over the government rescue plan for the credit crunch is only the most visible (and loud!) expression of this influence. Perhaps we collectively have been valuing the wrong things and institutions, even working against our own individual interests in the name of party and belief system. This is only the first contact of a protracted 2 year process, so don't expect much clarity, let alone answers, at this point. It's enough to question the reality we have constructed and the paths we have chosen, to challenge our leaders as well as ourselves to wake up and see our world from a fresh perspective. I've been amazed at how much of the political dialogue falls into the "right answers to the wrong questions" category, bold answers reasoned flawlessly from shaky and irrelevant assumptions. It's always emotionally threatening to abandon old certainties like this and suspend judgment for a time, which is probably why we do it so seldom. However, this place of creative uncertainty is Chiron's greatest gift for us. It frees us up to restructure our lives and start over from a more realistic viewpoint. And keep in mind, this is Saturn as well. This transition will be difficult and demanding, a "wake up and smell the coffee" influence of major proportions. We're long overdue. Don't let the demands scare you away from doing the work -- the alternatives are even worse...

The full moon chart is one of the few bright spots in the long, extended transition period of mid-October. However, despite the blip of energy today, there's not much depth to this chart. The only pattern here that is certain consists of the Sun, Moon and Neptune. After that, the other players this month (such as Jupiter, Saturn and Uranus) have only tenuous connections to the full moon axis. The faster moving planets are on break as well. In fact, it's not until you look at some of the asteroids that anything intriguing appears. Three of those asteroids join up with the Sun, Moon and Neptune to form a loose Grand Hexagram (6 planets placed every 60 degrees around the zodiac in a 6 pointed star), a rather rare planetary configuration. I don't think such a pattern strengthens the overall chart all that much, however.

The Sun in Libra, Moon in Aries full moon chart each year generally brings up relationship issues for people, but in a convoluted manner. The solar ego is in the partnership sign, while the lunar emotional influences are expressed through the "me first" sign of Aries. It's a pattern full of mixed signals and energies working at cross purposes. The focal point is obviously Neptune, which only confuses the issues even more. The dreamy Neptune tends to undermine the ego even more, since it is a planet that operates way above our normal individual concerns. It deals more with "we" than "me", so don't assume you'll get anywhere by throwing your weight around. As for the asteroids Pallas, Ceres and Juno that contribute to the Hexagram, the emphasis is again on the "other" side of the equation with Neptune. Of course, splitting hairs like this is probably a waste of time in the end. This full moon pattern has little staying power and dissipates most of its energy rather quickly (more like hours, not weeks). Relationships may be upper most on people's minds, but there is little clarity or certainty about what is going on or what the real issues are behind the problems. We're in one of those famous Neptune fogs, so get used to the ambiguity. Suspend your judgment and don't jump to conclusions about the people you're dealing with or the motives for their behavior. Give people a lot of slack and you'll avoid most of the big problems in coming weeks.

Mercury reaches its direct station of 7Li33 on the 15th, completing a retrograde cycle that began with the retrograde station of 22Li50 on Sep 24. Who's idea was it to schedule all the debates during Mercury retrograde? Mercury, of course, is the thinking and symbol using parts of our psyches. When he's backing up like this, the thinking mind strips a few gears. It's much harder to think or talk clearly during these times. Plans go awry and need to be revised later. Well, the direct station is the "later" we've been waiting for. Granted, our brains are still foggy with Mercury standing still today, but slowly, slowly, we'll be getting our wits back in coming days. Take a good look at what you've been doing the last 3 weeks. There might be some homework to redo now, just take your time. Don't take your own thoughts so seriously from here on...

Chiron goes direct at 16Aq02 on the 25th, ending a retrograde cycle that started back on May 25 at 21Aq08. The strong Chiron emphasis this month continues. When Chiron goes direct, the process of embracing and accepting those hidden sides of ourselves is at a critical turning point. It's a time to look carefully at yourself and choose to see yourself as you truly are, not some glorified version that is designed for public consumption. These are parts of your personality that long to come out in the open and be recognized, but that we usually keep locked up in the closet. A person's "psychic closet" gets packed to the rafters by the time we reach mid-life, as the quest to "look good" to others crowds out who you really are. It requires an act of courage to ignore the fears and anxieties that surround the "taboo areas" of our lives, to let these areas have their say even if you're not comfortable doing so. The curious thing about this process is that the rejected parts are often the best gifts we have to offer the world. You just have to have faith in yourself, warts and all. Easier said than done, I admit, but it's such a relief to fully be yourself. Quit hiding...

Pallas goes retrograde at 20Gm39 on the 26th. She will back up to 4Gm00 by 2009-1-14 before returning to normal motion. Pallas is mainly a mental, intuitive body that enables us to gaze over a situation and size it up wordlessly. She's a tactician, figuring out how to take advantage of the circumstances you're in to achieve your goals. This type of intuitive outlook fits in well with the sign of Gemini, her residence for the months ahead. However, when Pallas goes into a retrograde period like this, her normally outward-looking perspective seems to turn inward, as though she's trying to access something deep within you that you haven't touched before. Pallas is also a bit of an artist, so this inner inspiration may be the muse for some creative activity that you need to get out. Over the next 10 weeks or so, make sure to take time away from the busy-ness of everyday life and let your mind roam freely. It takes time and effort to get away from the world and let the echos of our lives die down enough to hear that inner voice clearly. This is an excellent time to play with new ideas and points of view, for practicing a fresh way of looking at the world. Make sure to write down these new ideas or otherwise express them somehow as you bring your insights up from the unconscious into the light of day. We don't often make enough time to simply play with our mental toys, particularly if they don't seem to have "practical" application, so give yourself permission to just have fun. It will be interesting to see what becomes of all this mental playfulness when the direct station rolls around next January.

Jupiter is semisextile Chiron on the 26th, the final contact out of 3 for this aspect. The previous contacts were on Mar 23 and Jun 7. This aspect is the other bookend to the Saturn-Chiron aspect discussed earlier, the other clue that individuals need to be reevaluating their connection to society at large. Whereas Saturn is more the duties and responsibilities of our social roles, Jupiter reveals the benefits and opportunities that come to us by participating in the world. Things haven't been going well with Jupiter issues lately. His direct station on Sep 7 would have triggered improving financial or material rewards under normal circumstances, but this year it kicked off the latest round of financial tailspins instead. Perhaps Chiron is telling us to examine our expectations of life and scale back instead. Abundance is a slippery word sometimes, especially when our real rewards are of the intangible sort. Most people are feeling quite a squeeze in their personal budgets these days as the global networks sort out their latest snafus. It's important to separate the actual necessities of life from the frills now, especially if you tie your happiness and self-worth to the abundance of your material possessions. The value of your life is not measured in things, despite what the TV commercials say. It's often easier to be happy by living simply, free from the compulsion to consume beyond reason. OK, enough preaching. I still think this aspect is teaching us to slim down. As it winds down, it's time to see how Jupiter and Chiron have reshaped our lives -- the national landscape has certainly been remade. Most importantly, we've still got each other to lean on. Keep smiling...

The new moon chart is considerably more active than the full moon was, especially since a new storm blew in around the 24th. One of the most prominent features of this chart is the opposition between Saturn and Uranus that is building to a climax in about a week (more on this aspect shortly). You can throw Mercury, Mars, Jupiter and Chiron into the mix, forming a powerful fan-shaped grouping in the 16-20 degree region, the backbone of the peaks in this Alert waveform. The new moon itself is trioctile Uranus, while Neptune is on the fringes of the fan. And unlike the full moon, this energy has some staying power, with the storm lasting well into November.

We've been tracking this Jupiter-Saturn trine for 2 months now, with an emphasis on the broader social effects it's having for us, including the political campaign. As we get closer to the election, these big social planets are teaming up with a number of other outer planets, considerably amping up the transformative power of this pattern. In particular, they are heavily engaged now with that radical influence Uranus, the proverbial monkeywrench that is thrown into the gears of our world. The coming weeks are going to be faster paced and considerably more chaotic and hectic, which is the favorite modus operandi of our friend Uranus. For all our focus on the mundane issues of our lives (of which money and politics are two of the most pressing right now), there's a sense that something deeper and more important is going on. The earth itself and humanity as a whole are undergoing important evolutionary changes in our lifetimes, and this year has seen some of the most dramatic shifts in quite some time. The choices and decisions we make now will have far-reaching repercussions for the life of the planet, whether we realize it or not. With Uranus involved, we are receiving a wakeup call to be more conscious of our behavior and its consequences. It's getting harder and harder to be oblivious to the gravity of our collective situation. If this new moon does nothing more that get us to pay attention for awhile, it will have done its job. A little wisdom and insight is definitely in order now.

A major planetary storm kicks up the last week of October, as the campaign is coming to a close. This storm is continuing into early November and will still be going strong when we go to vote on Nov 4. There's a Koz Alert over night on the 4th, as if to put an exclamation point after the day. There are several curious astrological events around this time that I want to bring up ahead of time. First of all, Neptune is standing still at his direct station on Nov 2nd -- in effect, the entire week is under a Neptune haze. It's hard to tell the difference between the truth and campaign propaganda these days, with TV images replacing reality for all too many people. Try to break free from the haze. Another remarkable aspect is the opposition of Saturn and Uranus in the morning as polls are opening, the first of 5 such contacts over the next 21 months. These two planetary energies seem to distill the election down to its basics. Saturn equals "experience", while Uranus is "change", although these slippery words mean various and conflicting things to different people. They also show the choice between continuing old ways of running the country vs. a radical change in direction. Oppositions are tensions and stresses, so it looks like the universe is trying to make our choices as stark as possible now, just to get our attention. Finally, the more mundane energies are rather volatile on the 4th. Mercury moves from Libra into Scorpio at midday (emotions and fears may be kicking in for people) while the Moon (our overall mood) passes over the US Pluto (at 13:09 CST) before changing signs (from Capricorn to Aquarius) just as the polls are closing on the east coast. The vote may defy the pollsters once again due to this last minute confusion, with surprises well into the evening. It could be a long night...

If you can't write a Hindsight column after September, you might as well hang it up. I've already discussed the conventions, so let's start with the stations of Jupiter (Sep 7) and Pluto (the 8th). As Jupiter, one of the money planets, was standing still, the Treasury was putting the final touches on a deal to take over Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, due to the continuing credit crunch. I guess Pluto made sure that Jupiter wouldn't let us off easy. The markets have deteriorated nearly on a daily basis since then. Congress and the Bush administration have been trying to hammer out a "rescue plan" for the economy under intense pressures, deadlines and Mercury retrograde. So far, they've only managed to frighten the stock market (which dropped 777 points in one day), while the banking system worldwide is stumbling badly.

John McCain announced his cavalry charge back to Washington to "fix the mess", suspending his campaign with much fanfare in the process, the day Mercury went retrograde (9-24). He also threw the first debate into question until the last minute. Uranus is known as a maverick, but can descend sometimes to a mere troublemaker. (For some reason, all the debates are being held under Mercury retrograde this year -- whose idea was that?)

Finally, Hurricane Ike traced a path of destruction across the Gulf of Mexico in September, just after the Pluto station. My own birth town, Galveston, was virtually wiped off the map. I still haven't come to terms with that surprise.