The Astrology of September features Saturn, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto, with Neptune remaining in opposition to Saturn for at least the first half of the month, and this time with powerfully transformative Pluto as a definite factor. We may be tempted toward despair by our obvious deficits, but the key to spiritual metamorphosis is in our hands. It is up to us, to each of us, as it always has been, one of the many paradoxes of our earthly condition. Like a living hologram, each one of us individually makes the whole of creation sing. We only seem to be helpless by a negative trick of the imagination; in reality we are powerful beyond measure.
The transformative effects of Pluto are prominent during the two eclipses of September. The first, a Lunar Eclipse taking place on September 7th, conjuncts and opposes Uranus while it squares a stationary and therefore more pronounced Pluto. Pluto stations on the 4th, squaring the transiting Nodal Axis, Mercury and Mars as it does so. The Saturn – Neptune opposition is also highlighted. With trickster Uranus also powerfully constellated at this time, we might expect almost anything, with the emphasis on cosmic epiphany and the conflict of the ideal versus the real. We can passively succumb to despair or actively seek a new synthesis. Since Pluto is involved our choices are likely to be starkly evident.
The Solar Eclipse and New Moon taking place in the last degree of Virgo on the same day as the Fall Equinox, the 22nd, again squares Pluto as Uranus aspects a Mars-Mercury conjunction in Libra. Thus, these two extremely strong lunations are similar in their symbolism, sparking the idea of unexpected enlightenment and the urge to make drastic changes. This crisis period of time calls out for a radical reassessment of our situation, with the pressure in the cooker mounting each day. Do we have the courage to stand up for what we believe at core, or are we doomed to be frustrated in our attempts at transcendence, to dance forever to the beat of the consensus? Only time will tell. But since Pluto, the force for change that sweeps all before it, is emphasized in these lunations, and still linked to Neptune by parallel declination, we are being asked to truly step up to the plate and swing away, to be everything that we can be, to make that motion which in an instant can change the world around us. The times call for nothing less.
Transits to the U.S. Chart
This month sees the anniversary of the World Trade Center attacks, and it might be useful to take a look at where the country is at, regarding the terrorism threat and the Bush White House. September is also the first month of a Fall period leading up to important mid-term elections that may well be seen as a referendum on where the nation is headed. And not coincidentally, since Saturn is square to Jupiter in the sky at this time, the two planets that mark social periods, some sort of assessment is indicated on the events that have transpired on the political scene since their conjunction in 2000.
Of course the situation is eroding. The invasion of Iraq on a pretext has proven to be a vast and costly mistake, as well as immoral and in violation of international law, as most would now agree, around the world and even in this country. The transits to the U.S. chart on this fifth anniversary of the attacks reflect the tumultuous state of the current situation (see chart ).
For one thing, as Pluto stations on September 4th, just one week prior to the 9-11 date, it aspects U.S. Mercury almost exactly while it sextiles U.S. Moon, representing the public. This implies further transformation for the information services of this country, and the public's perception of them. This country's media have unfortunately done a poor job of keeping people informed over the past few years, and it starting to catch up with them. Pluto also triggers the natal Mars – Neptune square in the U.S. chart, symbolizing a further transformation of the relationship between deception and the military, already implicated in propaganda scandals in recent weeks and in keeping mum about misconduct as an occupying army, which is of course nothing new. The public perception regarding these deficits is starting to change in a big way however, which is likely to become more pronounced over the next few years. The slogan of "I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take it any more" is beginning to take hold everywhere in this country, as indicated by the truly Nixonian approval rating of this administration.
Also on that day, transiting Mars crosses the U.S. Midheaven and transiting Saturn squares U.S. Chiron, both indicators of potentially tragic impending events concerning the U.S. military.
Finally, the Lunar Eclipse of September 7th takes place just days before the 9-11 anniversary, involving a grand trine between transiting Jupiter, transiting Uranus conjunct the eclipse Moon, and U.S. Sun, indicating that this period will indeed be an important and potentially enlightened period of time for all of us, with the potential for sudden new information and changes of direction. May it finally be so.
Pluto's status as a "dwarf planet" and the significance for Astrology
Sometimes big presents come in little boxes. The classification of solar system objects according to their astronomical characteristics plays a tangential role in the significance of these objects for astrologers. The gap is widening. Certainly when Uranus was discovered in the 18th Century, its status as a "planet" and its significance astrologically were right in line with each other, although astrologer Richard Tarnas has suggested that a more appropriate mythological archetype would be Prometheus. Same with Neptune, discovered in the 19th Century, whose astrological symbolism reflects the watery depths symbolized by the ancient god of the oceans. Now we come to the 20th Century. When Pluto was added to the pantheon of planets in 1941, the astrological symbolism again reflected the mythological origin of his name. The asteroids have also been accorded astrological meaning in modern times that seems quite appropriate, especially the four major asteroids, Ceres, Pallas, Juno and Vesta. Although no one would call them planets, they are accorded the status of "minor planets" which does roughly equate with their astrological significance. Then Chiron was discovered in 1977, and while not regarded as a planet, more of a wandering comet or "planetoid," actually a fallen Kuiper Belt object with a solar system orbit, it has certainly proven to be quite significant in working with charts. Pluto and Chiron are in fact more similar than different in the way they work astrologically. At this point it becomes evident that astronomical classification and astrological significance do not necessarily line up with each other. So when Pluto is downgraded to the status of "dwarf planet" it affects the way astrologers work with his energy – not at all.
Pluto stations direct on September 4th (), square to Mars. This powerful station of Pluto implies that underground emotions may erupt to the surface in one way or another, and that the areas of life ruled by Pluto are emphasized in this 7 day period leading up to the Full Moon, including life transformation and drastic changes of all kinds, seeing more deeply, and darkly, into other's motivations as well as our own, and most importantly razing existing structures to make way for new growth.
The Lunar Eclipse Full Moon taking place on Thursday, September 7th (), squares Pluto, while it conjuncts and opposes Uranus, bringing out the latent connection between these two planets, both in mutable signs. Saturn is also still within orb of opposing Neptune at this time. We are asked to find our balance amidst the breakthrough information and swirling ideas that are likely to come up for us during this climactic period. The Mercury/Mars midpoint also conjunct the transiting South Node almost exactly right now, in square to a recently stationing Pluto, and there will be implications for our communications with others and our will to survive and to make our mark on the world in spite of everything, a process that builds from the very beginning of the month. We are being truly asked to step up to being all that we can be, or face the consequences of our relative inaction. If, as the poet says, there is a tide in the affairs of persons then this is it.
The Last Quarter Moon takes place on Thursday (), September 14th at 21 plus degrees, triggering all these outer planet configurations, including especially Pluto, which it opposes. As this Last Quarter Moon also conjuncts U.S. Mars – see above for more transits to the U.S. chart – there are also likely to be further implications for the military in this country and its perceived role in the world for this entire two-week period that includes the fifth anniversary of the 9-11 attacks.
This Last Quarter Moon period of time is traditionally considered a "crisis of consciousness" when we must face up to what works and what doesn't seem to get it regarding our process of discovery and growth. With Pluto so closely involved in this month's lunations and particularly in this one, we are being asked to look deeply into our process of personal evolution and honestly assess the choices we have made and continue to make for ourselves.
This New Moon and Solar Eclipse takes place in the final degree of Virgo (). The eclipse degree was triggered by Mars at the time of the Lunar Eclipse earlier in the month, making these two eclipses especially powerful and connected to each other. The New Moon also aspects Neptune and Saturn and the T-square that they make with Jupiter at this time, so represents another powerful lunation. The 29th degree is considered to be a "last chance" degree – a time when we must finally get it right or face the consequences. In Virgo, this degree could easily refer to the issue of the environment, so prevalent these days with the recent global warming debate heating up (as it were) as fresh disasters loom. The generation with Pluto in Virgo, born in the years from 1957 to 1971, are only just now beginning to come into power, and it likely that they will take a different attitude, an attitude that we already see emerging in our present times.
The Sabian Symbol for this degree, "A false call unheard in attention to immediate service," is a trifle mysterious, but I take it to mean "Don't allow yourself to be distracted." Lynda Hill summarizes the symbol as "there is a need to pay complete attention to the job at hand." Of course these days, we have plenty of distractions to contend with, and an increasingly important job at hand to deal with as well.
It also pertains to our political situation. Marc Edmond Jones puts his description of the last degree of Virgo thusly: "When positive, exceptionally gratifying self-fulfillment through the development of genuine integrity; and when negative, consistently witless indiscretion."
Taking place on Saturday, September 30th, this is a Libra – Capricorn First Quarter Moon (), the Sun having entered Libra one week past, at the time of the Fall Equinox of late Friday evening, the same day as the Solar Eclipse New Moon in late Virgo as described above. Venus also has just crossed into Libra along with Mars, and the Sun occupies the Venus/Mars midpoint, symbolizing right relationship between male and female, and balancing the masculine and feminine part of our own nature, a theme that will be prominent throughout October.
The First Quarter Moon is traditionally regarded as a "crisis in action," meaning a time when the ideas that were seeded at the beginning of the cycle in the previous New Moon reach their make or break moment. Looking to the symbolism of this Solar Eclipse, this is therefore one time when we must face the consequences of our actions or our relative inaction. That question is also linked at this time to the conflict between the ideal and the practical summed up by Saturn versus Neptune, a contrast that remains in the background all fall and winter, to re-emerge as a close opposition aspect next February, and then again in June. It is a question that we may ask about ourselves in general, and on all levels. Do we have the staying power of our positive vision for the future, or must we give in to whatever forces oppose our initial impulse? Only time will tell.