Libra Equinox – Sept. 23, 2007, 09:51 UT

By Eric Francis and Kirsti Melto

EQUINOXES and solstices begin the seasons and take us to a new phase of our lives. They are the times when the Sun turns a corner and makes a 90-degree angle to either the equator or one of the tropics (Tropic of Cancer or Tropic of Capricorn). In the case of an equinox, the Sun’s rays are at 90 degrees to the equator, and the length of night and day is equal everywhere on Earth. The word equinox means “equal night.”

When the Sun enters Libra, it is crossing one of the Cardinal Points (which are the first degrees of Aries, Cancer, Libra and Capricorn). The cardinal points are highly sensitive points, bringing the message “personal is political? with events that tend to connect us to the larger events and movements in society around us. They are also natural turning point sin our lives. In the Northern tradition the cardinal points are represented by guardian dwarves called Nordri, Ostri, Sudri and Vestri, who held up the four “corners” of the cosmos.

Libra in particular is a point of rebalancing. Its image is of the scales of justice; its tarot card is Justice or Adjustment. Libra reminds us that one of the highest personal virtues we can attain, or at least strive for consciously, is fairness. A little fairness goes a long way. As with any cardinal sign, Libra is one that needs to take initiative. Aries is a potent sign of getting things going, but it tends to lack confidence. Half of the astrological cycle has passed by now, and Libra is the place where we find our confidence and the ability to make decisions.

The ascendant of the Libra equinox chart above, cast for The Hague, Netherlands (per Planet Waves tradition of casting global charts for that city), is in Scorpio, a sign ruled by Mars and Pluto. Mars and Pluto happen to be in an aspect at the time of the equinox — an opposition, which happens for a few days once every two years. Here, we have the two aspects of Scorpio — desire and the evolutionary impulse — facing off. We tend to think of them as being different. We tend to think of desire as being the thing that rules our lives, or that is the root of all suffering; of evolution as good and desire as something we need to get under control. Could it be that these two aspects of Scorpio contain one another? We can give desire the job of leading us to freedom as well as to anything else.

The Sun is squaring Pluto in this chart (it was exact earlier in the week, so this is called a separating square), which for its part is conjunct the Galactic Core. The Sun, Mars and Pluto form a T square. What is interesting and not revealed in conventional charts is that currently, on the Gemini side of this aspect, Mars is conjunct a centaur (Chiron-like planet) called Cyllarus. This has a panicky feeling, as if that sharp arrow depicted by Mars could come flying at random out of anywhere.

But this is taking place in Gemini. There is another side to the story that we might be missing entirely: “fate,” as we call it, does not always strike us down; just as often it lifts us up or redirects our path. It’s just that we tend to miss this second kind of cosmic move and get more caught up in the first. The arrow of Mars could be that of desire, it could be that of being chosen for a purpose, and it could be a sign that it’s time for a significant transformation of your life.

If you “trans-form,” make sure you remember to “trans-substance” too: form is not enough. A change in form needs to reveal something on the inside, something that may have been hidden by the old form. That something is the content of who you are, your ideas, your feelings, your sense of reality. Most of us walk around with a split personality; we are one person to the world, and someone else to ourselves.

The Moon in Aquarius makes a sesqisquare (135-degree) aspect to the Sun, and a semisquare to the Aries Point — both of which could be considered trigger aspects. The Aquarius Moon is genuinely friendly but prone to spending too much time in its own head. The humanitarian ideals of this Moon need to be expressed tangibly and in ways that are both idealistic and able to be documented.

The Moon is in conjunction with Neptune and Chiron, standing nearly exactly between the two. The Moon, positioned like that, suggests we are trying to decide whether we want to wake up or go back to sleep. The ongoing development of the Neptune-Chiron conjunction in Aquarius represents a slow coming to terms with the fog that has enveloped the Western world: the fog of war, of technology, of mood-altering drugs, of the distorted collective values we hold. Chiron acts like a focusing lens when put into aspect with Neptune, and though this conjunction will not be exact until Feb. 17, 2010, we are seeing the beginnings of it now.

The Moon closely sextiles Jupiter. This is what I would call a healthy relationship to luck, to potential, and to the need to expand. The sextile says, expand incrementally rather than wildly. Use leverage rather than effort.

The Sun in Libra and Venus in Leo are in mutual reception. (Note, there is an old rule that says that they can’t be in mutual reception unless they are in an exact aspect, which they are not, but we still take this as a mutual reception, in spirit if not in form.) When two planets are occupying one another’s signs, the planets in question can in a way switch places or roles; they are bound with a kind of shared role or obligation. Venus opposes Neptune tightly. In any situation where love seems fogged over by idealism or an unrealistic perspective, there is a second perspective offered, and that begins with focusing on oneself and then oneself in relation to others.

Venus opposite Neptune, for its part, calls for either surrendering to what may seem like an improbable possibility, or striving for clarity and awareness at every turn of events. The two do not have to contradict. Of note, Sedna is forming a T square to Venus and Neptune, suggesting that we remember to keep our hearts open even when we are in love.

Jupiter in Sagittarius is closely conjunct the Great Attractor, a point in the sky that brings out polarities, heightens awareness and gets us to look at our real opinions. Both Jupiter and the Great Attractor tend to have a magnifying effect on things they touch. Note that in Sagittarius we are also in the warm-up of several major events, including Jupiter square Uranus and Jupiter conjunct Pluto. Jupiter contacting outer planets can bring great leaps forward in wisdom and technology, though these days you would have to open your eyes to see it.

This is a strong chart and there is one more factor emphasizing the strength of it. The Sun opposes the Centaur planet Bienor at the Aries Point. Bienor completes the T square formed by the Sun, Mars and Pluto as a Grand Cross. Bienor is a small Uranus-crosser discovered in 2000. There is not much told about Centaur Bienor in mythology. The name Bienor means “Strong One” and from Ovid’s Metamorphoses we also know that Bienor was tall. Bienor attended the Lapith king Pirithous’ wedding with other Centaurs. Centaurs and the Lapiths started to fight and Ovid describes how Pirithous’ friend Theseus leaps upon the back of Bienor, and how Bienor gets killed by Theseus.

The death of a Centaur symbolizes transformation and healing and offers us a possibility to move to another level of awareness. In this case, we have a fitting metaphor for the idea of transforming that human quality known as strength. In short, do we put our strength to work for us, or against us? Always a good question to ask.

Mercury Retrograde Warm-up

Mercury’s pre-retrograde echo phase begins on Sept. 21 at 23+ degrees Libra. Mercury makes its retrograde station on Oct. 12 at 9+ degrees Scorpio and starts going backwards until it reaches 23+ degrees Libra again on Nov. 1, then stations direct.

This retrograde takes us from a water sign to an air sign. Mercury is not often retrograde in water signs, though it has been recently. Most people I’ve heard from have found them to be particularly challenging, but I think many of the challenges involve learning to be clear about what we feel, and connecting that clarity to words. In truth, how often do you say what you feel? And how much trouble and disappointment does it cause you that you don’t? Mercury in Libra sextiles Pluto and trines Mars. This says that you can speak and you won’t drop dead or cause the economy to collapse if you do.

Under a Mercury echo or retrograde, make your commitments consciously and carefully. Be mindful of who you are and how you bring yourself into your interactions. Ask questions, but listen to the questions that other people ask — this will often give you more information than interviewing someone.

Aries Full Moon

Full Moon in Aries – Sept. 26, 2007, 19:45 UT

The Libra equinox is followed within a couple of days’ time by a Full Moon in Aries. The Moon at 3+ degrees Aries is conjunct the Aries Point and the Centaur planet Bienor. The outer planets are pretty much occupying the same placements as they were at the time of the equinox. The Grand Cross formed by the Sun, Mars, Bienor and Pluto is still valid. The Moon makes an exact trine to the Centaur planet Pholus at 3+ degrees Sagittarius. Mercury sextiles Pluto and Venus trines Eris, the exact aspects taking place during the two days between the equinox and the Full Moon.

In the Full Moon chart, Mercury and Mars have both proceeded into the demanding last degree of a sign. Mercury is in Libra about to enter Scorpio, which takes place on the day following the Full Moon. Mars enters Cancer on Sept. 28, only a couple of minutes before the midnight UT.

This could bring big news, as activity in the cardinal signs often offers, though the revelation is that the most important strength we can possess is emotional strength.

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