Happy Fall Equinox Everyone!
* The fall equinox happens as the Sun crosses the celestial equator while descending in its daily path in the sky, from summer solstice to winter solstice. The fall equinox is the gateway into the dark half of the solar year, where there is more darkness in a twenty-four hour period than light.
* The guardian of this gateway is the sign of the scales, a symbol of balance, judgment, and justice.
* As the Sun enters Libra, moving into the underworld, it is said to be in its depression or "fall."
* The classic figure of lady justice is blindfolded.
* The underworld is the realm of the soul, of what is invisible, cloaked, shrouded, unconscious to us in the day.
* Libra is the planetary house of Venus. Libra is the exaltation of Saturn.
* We cannot take anything with us into the underworld, or in death. There is nothing to add to the soul, nothing that can be stripped away from it, and yet we enter the underworld naked as the day we were born.
* Real judgment, real beauty, real discernment, real balance, real wisdom is measured not in terms of external appearances alone...everything beautiful, every desirable, must be balanced against the truth of the heart, which often remains invisible.
* Vanity means being blinded by images, whereas love means seeing by means of images into the invisible realm of the heart and soul.
* Indecision often boils down to the discomfort we feel with doing the right thing when it doesn't appear to be right to us, for one reason or another. Indecision is often the result of not trusting the invisible discernment of the heart, whose rules aren't based in socially agreed-upon rules or images.
* Equanimity isn't about walking around the world without emotion. Equanimity isn't about the perfect tone of voice, the perfect dress code, or aesthetic, and it's not about seeing all sides of something and remaining pleasantly neutral. Equanimity is about the invisible peace of the heart, flowing and guiding us through all different kinds of experiences, helping us to make all different kinds of judgments, and teaching us the loving art of affectionate but firm discernment.
As we pass through this equinox moment, Jupiter in the sign of the scales is in an opposition to Uranus in the Ram. But even revolution requires us to walk carefully and to walk in trust, not listening for a moment to the voice that would tell us to remove our blindfold and rush forward foolishly.
Prayer: Teach us the art of the invisibles. Teach us the prayer of the wise judge. Bring us to the dark chambers of the ever-present, all-seeing heart.
The Sun is in Libra today, conjunct the north node, and the Moon is in Aquarius, making a sextile to Mercury retrograde in Libra. Meanwhile Mercury is square to Pluto.
Another fantastic expression of the archetypes at play this morning with the Pope's address to congress. Regardless of our religious beliefs or beefs with the Catholic church, it was a message (Mercury) filled with taboo subjects (Pluto) like the right to life at all levels, immigration, foreign diplomacy, religious fundamentalism, environmental stewardship, and the tendency to judge one another's beliefs rather than showing compassion and creating dialogue. The fact that certain points of his talk resonated strongly with conservatives while others landed strongly with liberals, the fact that he brought in progressive Catholics like Thomas Merton and Dorothy Day while also upholding various conservative catholic positions (right to life, etc), was a powerful showing of the Mercury retrograde in Libra engaging Pluto in Capricorn.
The call to social and spiritual justice, the careful diplomacy, progress mixed with conservative values...these themes are very much present in the astrology right now, and the Pope's talk this morning was at the very least an excellent inroad to the presence of these themes in our lives.
To what extent are we shepherds and stewards of each other's ideals? How do we protect and actually embody our values without alienating or judging others? How do the concepts of freedom and religious diversity allow for various standoffs morally and socially?
For example, earlier this week I had a session with someone who has taken a very deep and dark dive into addiction that was in part enabled by the legalization of marijuana. Listening to my client talk about this struggle, he didn't go so far as to blame the legalization of marijuana for his problems or actions, but he also was clearly troubled by it. Trying to maintain his own personal responsibility he said, "It's just not as simple an issue as I thought it was. For some people it really is a gateway drug."
I haven't had much time to process our conversation in a meaningful way, but the complexities of his struggle with the legalization of marijuana struck me as yet another expression of the current Mercury retrograde and its square to Pluto, as well as the entrance of Jupiter into Virgo. We have to be so careful at this unique moment that we don't create a conservative backlash that in some ways mirrors an equally blind rush to progress that isn't informed by careful moral and spiritual reflection. With Saturn in Sagittarius, and then Capricorn, over the next 4-5 years we are entering a time where conservative ideology might make a strong return, and all the stronger and more maniacal if we aren't able to adequately reflect upon any areas of conservative reform that might be needed in our lives.
As this Mercury retrograde continues, one thing I'm noticing and expect to see appearing even more strongly as we reach this Sunday's lunar eclipse, is the idea of implementing moral or ideological reform in our lives. In the past week it's as though each of my clients is coming to some very positive but morally complex conclusions that are fine tuning the expression of their values. The feeling that we need to walk our talk or make changes to various areas of our lives in order to feel more aligned with our core values is very strongly expressed in the planets right now.
In the backdrop of this eclipse cycle, at the time of this Fall Equinox is a somewhat ominous feeling of consequences lingering. On CNN today, prior to the Pope's address to congress, the commentators were asking the question, "Will he scold or will he encourage the Congress?"
Forget about the Pope and consider that this question is actually implicit in how we are relating to the question of change or reform within ourselves right now. It seems as though the reforms or changes that are being asked of us can be received and implemented in either an encouraging way or a scolding way. Reverence and attentiveness to the inner teacher may generate an aura of reform by encouragement, whereas willful ignorance and defiance toward our inner teacher might produce more challenging consequences, made acute by this eclipse cycle and the current planetary alignments.
The Sun in its fall with the north node of the Moon in the sign of the scales reflects the need for humility, truth, and course correction. But this can be of the most exciting and inspiring times for each of us. Can we search our hearts for the voice of inspiration and let it guide us through this especially reformative Autumn equinox? In my own life and my client practice this seems to be the big question heading toward Sunday's lunar eclipse.
Prayer: May justice, peace, truth, and wisdom guide us toward the healthy reform our hearts require.
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Adam Elenbaas is a professional astrologer and the founder of the Nightlight Astrology School. Adam holds an MA and MFA in English and Creative Writing and is one of the founding writers at RealitySandwich. To learn more about Adam, click here.