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Updated: Sep 15

Astro Notes for New Moon in Virgo Cycle (September 14-October 14)

As we begin the new monthly cycle, the big picture is that Jupiter, Saturn, Chiron, Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto are all still moving retrograde. This can make us feel a bit like we are trudging uphill with heavy garments on, especially if we keep trying to push forward at our usual pace. Pluto is still in Capricorn, where it will remain until January 20 next year, driving consciousness into the depths to flush out those structures that belong to the era that is dying. We are still digging in the dirt, pulling out our gnarliest psychic knots from their roots. We are still preparing the ground for the much more expansive and future-oriented phase that will arrive next year when Pluto moves into Aquarius and Jupiter joins with Uranus in Taurus (more on that another time).

Nonetheless, there are gems to be mined down here. The New Moon in Virgo on September 14 formed a gorgeous Grand Earth Trine with Uranus in Taurus and Pluto in Capricorn, creating a magical window through which to bring something new into manifestation. Earth is the element that brings our vision into form in 3-D reality. A Grand Earth Trine involving the New Moon means that the intentions we seed at the start of this cycle have the support of the cosmos to happen for real. Further, Neptune — the planet of transcendence — is also involved in this configuration, at the apex of a ‘kite’ aspect pattern that gives the Grand Trine energies focus and direction (see chart below). It means that we are rewarded this month with a green light to go for our highest dreams (Neptune), as well as the capacity to do the work needed to bring them into actual form. At the same time, with all the retrograde action taking place, we would do well to cultivate patience with ourselves and embrace the need for times of slowness and self-care.

Chart for New Moon in Virgo, 'Kite' aspect pattern highlighted

(cast for Mendocino CA, where I live)

The Sun moves into Libra on September 23, marking the official start of autumn in the northern hemisphere and spring in the southern. The Equinox is the time of year of greatest balance between day and night, light and dark, summer and winter. This principle of balance lies at the heart of Libra. Libra’s role is to bring any situation or relationship into greater harmony, whereby all parties involved feel met as fundamental equals. Libra is associated with the law because it understands something universal about fairness and equality. On a deeper level, Libra represents the spiritual law of Karma, where every action, right or wrong, is balanced over time. Because of this higher order understanding, Libra is exquisitely relational.

It is not just because of Libra season, however, that relationship themes are likely to be strongly up this cycle. Venus has been in Leo since June 5 and will remain there until October 8, an unusually long 4-month sojourn in one sign. During that time, Venus passed through a powerful 42-day retrograde period that asked us to reflect deeply on what we really want in our relationships. Many of us will have had important realizations in that period about what is really true for our hearts. Since Venus started moving direct again on September 3, we have been able to act on those realizations, in some cases taking steps to bring closure to relationships and in others redefining or renewing the relationship's form.

The process of negotiating these changes in our personal relationships will continue as a major theme this cycle. Throughout the month of September, Venus in Leo is in a close sextile with Mars in Libra, bringing the energy and drive to act on the deeper truths of our heart.

The full moon in Aries on September 29 continues this theme, being ruled by Mars in Libra. We will be looking to balance the polarities of healthy self-interest on the one hand with consideration for the other — though at the full moon we will want to align with the assertive Aries energy to overcome any self-defeating patterns of over-giving.

When Venus finally moves into Virgo on October 8, we’ll be ready to get practical about the improvements that we’re feeling called to make in our relationships and to do the work required to get to where we want to go.

On October 10, Pluto turns direct and two days later Mars leaves peace-maker Libra for transformative Scorpio. We will most definitely feel the shift in intensity as we will also be approaching eclipse season, beginning with a tense New Moon and solar eclipse on October 14.

Yes, more intensity on the way — I sometimes wonder these days if I will ever get to retire that phrase. But these last few months of Pluto in Capricorn are also truly a goldmine for anyone on a path of transmutation. I recommend lining up your alchemical container of choice now to allow you to dig deep in the dirt for the treasures hidden beneath the rocky surface.

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Astro Notes for New Moon in Leo cycle (August 16-September 15)

The new moon in Leo on August 16 is conjunct Venus (in retrograde) and Black Moon Lilith. This brings an intriguing mix of the extraverted, masculine, solar energy of Leo with the more introverted, mysterious, feminine energies of Venus retrograde and Lilith. Venus rules matters of the heart and Black Moon Lilith represents our deepest repressed desires that yearn to see the light of day. We are being called to pay attention in a different kind of way, to listen to the signs from our bodies, our dreams, our fantasies, and to integrate these energies into our sense of who we are. There is an opportunity here to experience how these feminine energies deep within us come alive when they receive the light of our conscious attention, and how those energies, when honored, in turn nourish and empower our masculine sense of purpose.

Yet with the new Moon also in an exact square to Uranus, the planet of sudden change, this process of spiraling into the depths of our psyche may in some ways be forced upon us by unexpected outside circumstances. We are being asked to follow the truth of our heart wherever it leads us, even if at first it seems disruptive or surprising.

Also at the time of the new moon, and extending throughout the month of August, we have an auspicious ‘kite’ aspect pattern involving Pluto, Uranus, Neptune, and (first) Mars, then Mercury.

This configuration represents the beginning of a five to six year period when this harmonious ‘minor grand trine’ pattern involving all three outer planets will be in effect. Considering all the current angst about a potential catastrophic breakdown in society, this transit is very significant because it points much more in the direction of a creative transfiguration of our current drama than its tragic denouement.

We focused on this aspect pattern during our recent Flowing into Change experiential astrology workshop. We asked participants to step into each of the planetary archetypes involved and explore their nature through direct experience. One experience really stood out. When one of the participants stepped into the chart to pick up the symbol for Neptune in Pisces, a palpable presence of deep feeling and profound silence came into the room. We had already explored the nature of Pluto, Uranus, and Mars in connection to each other via a Grand Trine, which involved an extremely dynamic, creative, and combustible energy. But Neptune calmed and deepened the whole field.

Then my co-facilitator Kahreela had the insight that Neptune in the final degree of Pisces was holding space for our grief for the demise of the entire Piscean Age. Many astrologers have noted the symbolism of Pluto moving into Aquarius as a sign of the beginning of the Aquarian Age, but I’ve not heard anyone noting that Neptune at 29 degrees of Pisces symbolizes the dying of the Piscean. For those of us in the workshop, this insight led to the profound understanding that treating the collapsing Piscean Age as if it were a dying person was crucial to prepare the ground for our birth into the Aquarian.

The Sun moves into Virgo on August 23, bringing a shift in mood from the playful exuberance of Leo season to a more pragmatic focus on making preparations for the work cycle ahead. Virgo is the responsible adult of the zodiac, taking care of all the unglamorous practical tasks that are crucial to bringing any vision into manifestation on the Earth plane. The things that tend to make us feel good during Virgo season are attending to all those items on our to-do list that help us feel we have our ground.

Yet while Virgo is a practical sign, this year some of our preparations are likely to be more inward. Both Mercury and Venus will be retrograde from August 23-September 2, with Saturn, Chiron, Neptune, and Pluto all in retrograde, and Uranus joining them on August 29. This brings a more internal time conducive to reflection and review. Even though we won’t see much evidence of visible progress, it’s a crucial opportunity to align the ideas of our mind (Mercury) with the truth of our heart (Venus). It will be important to remember this when the going seems slow, particularly given Virgo’s tendency toward self-judgment when things are less than perfect.

Permeating all of this — the ongoing background mood until January 20 next year is dominated by Pluto’s presence in Capricorn, which is applying titanic pressure on outdated structures within ourselves and society to transform or die. As excruciating as this process might feel, it’s crucial to realize that we are now approaching the final stages of the birth canal and that this passage therefore offers our last major opportunity to transmute patterns from our deep unconscious that have been burdening us for as long as we can remember. When Pluto moves into Aquarius next year, the mood will become much lighter and more future-oriented. Understanding this can help us to reframe our current struggles as a precious opportunity, the release of dying forms necessary to enter the mystery of birth.

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Updated: Jul 20

Astro Notes for New Moon in Cancer cycle (July 17-August 16)

One of the main themes of this astrological year is that it presents tremendous opportunities for creative expansion into the new while simultaneously demanding that we excavate and clear old karmic patterns at a deeper level than ever before. This dynamic can make us feel like we are being stretched in many directions at once. We may not know at times if we’re coming or going. Yet it can be helpful to remember that we are in a collective birthing process of epic proportions. This is just what it feels like to be in the squeeze of the birth canal.

This theme of going in-and-down while also going up-and-out is never more apparent than over the next month.

In & Down:

New Moon in Cancer

The new moon in Cancer on July 17 (which set the tone for the upcoming month) was opposite Pluto in Capricorn, bringing us into deep emotional waters and asking us to be honest with ourselves about something structural that needs to change in our lives. Then, in less than one hour after the new moon, the lunar nodes changed signs, with the North Node entering Aries and the South Node entering Libra.

Lunar Nodes changing signs

The Lunar Nodes changing signs is a significant event that will shape the collective zeitgeist in important ways over the next 18 months. The North Node signifies the evolutionary direction or goal we are headed toward while the South Node points to those qualities or patterns we are releasing or de-emphasizing (though ultimately the North and South Nodes always work together).

With the North Node moving into Aries from the fixed sign of Taurus, the zeitgeist will shift toward a much more vibrant, dynamic, action-oriented energy (“just do it”). It will call us all to move in fresh, bold, new directions, to assert our independence, to step more into leadership and stand up for what we believe is right. With the South Node entering Libra, we will be looking to release patterns of fence-sitting, conflict-avoidance, and accommodation. We will want to examine those places where we have been giving away too much of ourselves for the sake of relational harmony. The combined effect of North Node in Aries and South Node in Libra means that we all will be re-negotiating our relationships over the next 18 months so they come into a more truly equitable balance that better supports each partner’s need to self-actualize.

Pluto square the Nodes

When the Lunar Nodes shift signs, they will be in an exact square to Pluto in Capricorn. Again, Pluto is the great transformer, compelling us to look honestly at uncomfortable truths and make changes to bring us more into alignment with reality. The Lunar Nodes themselves signify our evolutionary journey, the direction we need to head toward to fulfill our soul’s potential.

Pluto square the Nodes will demand that we lift the veil of denial on any patterns holding us back from fulfilling our purpose. It represents an encounter with our karmic past, a ‘skipped step’ in our evolutionary development, requiring us to sit with material from the deep personal, ancestral, and even collective unconscious. While difficult, this transit offers a profound opportunity for us to let go of karmic burdens we may have carried for lifetimes.

Venus retrograde

This dynamic of deep inner review is reinforced when Venus moves retrograde in Leo on July 23 (and remains so for about 6 weeks). Venus in retrograde will bring a deeply personal dimension to this process, bringing our attention inward to reflect on Venusian subjects like our relationships, money, and self worth. Again, this period will bring under scrutiny anything not working in a relationship, and if the foundations of the relationship are not solid, it could in some cases lead to a decision to part ways. Those relationships that do rest on a solid basis, however, are likely to undergo a healthy re-negotiation that only strengthens the bond.

This process takes on heightened importance when we consider that Venus is the ruler of the South Node when it moves into Libra. This means that the demand to rebalance our self-actualization needs with our need for interpersonal harmony — a major theme while the Nodes are in Aries and Libra over the next 18 months — will be felt especially intensely within the first six weeks of this period.

Up & Out:

Leo Season

The Sun moves into Leo on July 21. This means that all of these intensely emotional and introspective transits will be occurring amid the general backdrop of Leo season, the most extraverted time of the year. Leo in the northern hemisphere corresponds with summer at its height, the Sun at its most radiant and resplendent. Leo represents the peak of personal self-expression, the courage to be vulnerable in revealing ourselves to an audience. So even though we may feel laden with emotional heaviness, we will have Leo’s confident aura supporting us to find a way to express ourselves and connect with others. Yes, with everything going on in the sky, this might be nothing more than tearful self-disclosure in front of a group of good friends. But Leo’s medicine is the human connection that comes from risking vulnerable self-expression.

Jupiter conjunct Uranus

On July 22, Jupiter moves to within 10 degrees of Uranus in Taurus, with these two planets moving toward an exact conjunction in April next year. After everything we’ve suffered over the last several long years, Jupiter-Uranus together in the sky offers genuine hope for relief. When we have Jupiter’s principle of expansion and growth amplifying the Uranian impulse of new beginnings, we get the possibility of unexpected good fortune and sudden emancipatory breakthroughs. While we will not experience the full effects of this potentially dazzling transit until next year, the doors of opportunity will start to open as early as this coming month.

Kite Aspect Pattern: Neptune-Uranus-Pluto-Mars

Finally, from August 8 through to the end of August, we have a very auspicious aspect pattern known as a kite involving Neptune, Uranus, Pluto, and Mars. The three outer planets — Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto — are all in harmonious aspect with each other, opening a creative channel for tremendously potent transformative energies to flow through into the collective. The bigger picture is that this transit represents the beginning of the Uranus trine Pluto transit that will shape much of the coming decade. Here we again have reason for optimism in that Uranus trine Pluto typically corresponds with periods of uplifting social and cultural progress, in contrast to the divisive and problematic forms of social change we have experienced over the last 12-15 years, when Uranus was square Pluto. This decade-long period of more harmonious progress will be ignited into action by Mars in August.

The toxins associated with the decaying structures of a dying era, in both ourselves and our world, are rising to the surface to be flushed out. At the same time, if we listen closely, we can start to hear the sounds of a band playing the music of the future. We may be a ragtag army at this point, covered with bandages, nursing our wounds, less united than before. Yet our job is still to move to the rhythm of the Cosmos as best as we can. As Nietschze said, "One must have chaos to give birth to a dancing star."

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