Don't judge each day by the harvest you reap
but by the seeds that you plant.
~ Robert Louis Stevenson
Ottawa, Canada and
Washington DC, USA:
Aug.25, 2014, 10:12 AM EDT
Aug.25, 2014, 3:12 PM BST
Aug.26, 2014, 12:12 AM AEST
With Mars and Saturn engaged in a great frothy battle in the skies lately, it's hard to talk about much else.
Mars and Saturn are conjunct in Scorpio, and have been moving stealthily closer together for a couple of weeks. In fact, many people have been feeling this one since Mars went into Scorpio on Jul.25.
The Moon travelling the shadowy valley between them on Aug.03 also helped to light the fuse, and she'll reunite with them again on Aug.31. Mars and Saturn continue in orb of conjunction until around Sep.08, so don't bring the sharp objects back out of hiding just yet.
So: just what are they doing, and what does this have to do with the New Moon in Virgo?
Mars and Saturn are a difficult pair to get moving in tandem. Cooperation isn't especially in either of their vocabularies, and they each have very different agendas, priorities and styles of expressing themselves.
Mars rules Aries and Scorpio (by traditional rulership). Saturn rules Capricorn and Aquarius (by traditional rulership). Each of them rules a Cardinal sign (Aries and Capricorn) and a Fixed sign (Scorpio and Aquarius). Neither speaks Mutable very fluently and usually only when it's forced to while travelling through one of the Mutable signs (Gemini, Virgo, Sagittarius, Pisces).
So what they have on common is that they're both full of drive and ambition, very determined not to be dissuaded from their chosen direction and priorities, and both are rather lacking in flexibility and "going with the flow."
Mars rules Fire and Water signs (Aries, Scorpio), giving him the edge for passion, emotion and reaction. Saturn rules Earth and Air signs (Capricorn, Aquarius), making him the authority on logic, reasoning, definition and objectification.
Mars wants what he wants when he wants it and the way he wants it. Saturn is disciplined and will delay or withhold gratification if it means something better can happen in the end.
Mars acts on impulse, preferring to be spontaneous and seizing the moment. Saturn waits until the conditions are just right before making his move, and even then, only in context with the overall plan of what he's trying to accomplish.
Mars is about empowerment and force. Saturn is about strength and endurance. Mars is the kid pulling practical jokes on unsuspecting people for fun. Saturn is the grownup trying to put a stop to the antics so people can go about their daily lives in peace.
Mars and Saturn: not exactly your match made in heaven.
When they get together, they typically pull in utterly different directions. Mars wants to go fast, Saturn wants to go slow. Mars wants to move forward, Saturn wants to wait for the right time. Donna Cunningham once nailed it when she said it was like trying to drive with the brakes on.
So the last few weeks have been a challenge for most of us, as Mars and Saturn argue continually about which way to go, where they should end up, why they want to go, how to make the journey and what to do once they get there. Are we there yet??
Yes, we're finally there. Their conjunction is exact today (Aug.25/26). As the Sun and Moon conjoin, so do Mars and Saturn. Whew! The dust will finally start to settle and we can get on with the business of getting on.
So the New Moon energy could feel unusually intense, but will start to dissipate over the next couple of weeks.
Some people bring out the worst in you, others bring out the best, and then there are those remarkably rare, addictive ones who just bring out the most. Of everything. They make you feel so alive that you'd follow them straight into hell, just to keep getting your fix.
~ Karen Marie Moning, Shadowfever
Surprisingly, Mars is exalted in Saturn's sign of Capricorn. With all the conflicts of interest between them, how could Mars possibly function well in Saturn's domain? Being exalted means the sign and the planet bring out the best in each other, in ways that don't usually happen without their combined energies.
So the irony is that as much as Mars feels allergic to Saturn's boundaries and limitations, they actually enable him to be much more focused and effective. Mars is more productive, constructive and purposeful when tempered by Saturn and Capricorn.
This benefit is not mutual, however. In fact, when Saturn is in Mars' sign of Aries, it is in its fall (opposite the sign of its exaltation, which for Saturn is Libra). Being in fall means the planet is operating at a handicap – its essential nature has a lot of difficulty being expressed without being twisted and distorted so far out of shape that you hardly recognize it. It's the square-peg-round-hole problem. Astrologer Julie Simmons once said it's as if a planet in fall is embarrassed to be there.
Saturn in Aries is forced to speed up, decide in the moment, act on instinct, take risks and be enthusiastic, charming and daring. So it seems that it's easier for Mars to become a serious Capricorn than for Saturn to become an adventurous Aries.
When Mars and Saturn come together, they are like two horses trying to pull a carriage in different directions, but the trick is to get them pulling in the same direction. Achieve that and you have one extremely potent and powerful mode of transportation at your disposal. Miss the mark and you'll wind up going in circles or spinning your wheels.
Have you felt like you've been doing a one-step-forward-two-steps-back dance lately? Does it seem that for every open door there's someone or something ready to close it before you get there? Sometimes Saturn says "fuggedaboutit" because he knows that whatever lies on the other side of that door isn't what you're looking for or isn't in your best interest. Sometimes he says "no" because he's waiting to see how badly you really want it. And to make matters worse, it's usually only by calming your Mars reaction of furious frustration that you can get grounded and centered enough to tell which is which.
Good or bad, this transit combines the speed of Mars and the endurance of Saturn. At its best, Mars contributes the courage and willingness to take risks, while Saturn provides the wisdom of calculated consideration to look before the leap takes place. At its worst, the brash bravado and persistence of Mars butts heads with the stuffy, brick-wall stubbornness of Saturn. The rock meets the hard place.
Who's going to blink first? In this case it might be Saturn – being in Scorpio, Mars has the home plate advantage and he's the one making the pitch. For better or worse, movement is likely to win over hesitation.
So, if you've found the last couple of weeks to be productive, motivating and clarifying, then you've managed to click into place with the best use of the Mars-Saturn energy. And even if you haven't, it's not too late – the New Moon in Virgo would just love to initiate a new project!
...Which brings me to the New Moon in Virgo. Oh ya, did I mention we have a New Moon today too? ;-)
That which yields is not always weak.
~ Jacqueline Carey, Kushiel's Dart
Virgo, on the other hand, is very decidedly Mutable. Virgo is prepared to do whatever it takes to get the job done. She is flexible, adaptable and changeable—when it's necessary. It's not for lack of structure nor for the joy of shape shifting, like its polar opposite Pisces might do.
Remember how Mars and Saturn have the Cardinal and Fix energies covered, but don't "speak" Mutable? Well here comes Mutable! This Moon could provide some much needed balance, or it could just add to the already distracting and annoying noise.
What Virgo contributes to the Mars-Saturn tension is the priority for healing and fixing whatever isn't working properly. This can help to break the deadlock. Can't you just see Virgo with her nurse's cap, crisply striding into the room where Mars and Saturn are busy arm wrestling and glaring at each other? Nurse Virgo might apply some healing liniment to sooth their tired muscles (Mars) and bones (Saturn), allowing them to sustain their courage and endurance. Or she might size up the situation and realize that they've done enough damage (to each other and the room around them) and call off the competition, forcing them to rest and regroup.
If Mars and Saturn are already working cooperatively together (gritting their teeth), the Virgo Mutability can grease the wheels of progress. She can steer that forward energy along the most effective route, dodging the rocks and potholes in the road and keeping them on track.
Where they all share common ground is in the work to be done. Mars loves a challenge; loves to stretch his prowess and see how far he can push the envelope. Saturn lives for the chance to create something enduring, constructive and purposeful.
Virgo is all about the work. In fact, she tends to avoid the limelight and is probably just as happy that Mars and Saturn are occupying centre stage in the skies right now, leaving her free to get things done behind the scenes.
It's really a wonder that I haven't dropped all my ideals, because they seem so absurd and impossible to carry out. Yet I keep them, because in spite of everything, I still believe that people are really good at heart.
~ Anne Frank, The Diary of a Young Girl
The Virgo Moon is opposite Neptune, presenting a curious dilemma. On one hand, Earthy Virgo is nothing if not practical. On the other hand she's also about service, and in order to be truly helpful and valuable, service needs to take place within a context of a higher ideal or purpose. So here comes Neptune in Pisces to show Virgo just how illustrious and virtuous idealism can be.
The trouble is that Neptune and Pisces aim so high that it's impossible to address all of it (or even most of it) down here in practical, Earthly reality. So the two sides argue about which is better – to do everyday practical things as a form of service to benefit the world around oneself, or to reach for perfection at an intangible level as service to humanity and the Universe?
You might experience this as a longing to see firm evidence that your contributions are making a difference in the grand scheme of things. You might feel like you're not doing enough; that no matter how much you do there's always a bigger problem that remains unresolved. If you could just push a little harder or accomplish a bit more, then you would finally be able to herd all those elusive cats that keep squirming out of your grasp.
Mercury, the planetary ruler of Virgo, is only a bit of help to the dilemma of the Sun-Moon conjunction (the New Moon). Mercury is in Virgo as well, and therefore is very strong and organized with clear, logical thoughts. Perhaps a bit too logical? Mercury has his own Pisces problems, being tightly opposite Chiron in that sign. Chiron is telling him he needs to lighten up a bit and not be quite so precisely perfectionist – dare to live on the blurred edge, baby!
As with the Sun-Moon conjunction and Neptune, the Virgo-Pisces axis can become a useful and valuable balancing act that offers up service in both practical and ethereal ways, but it's necessary to find a way to embrace both sides in order to find the best balance point. For Mercury to do that with Chiron, he will need to accept that he is fallible, imperfect and less than invincible.
For example, when Mercury consciousness tries to hold spiritual or dream experiences, much will elude his grasp. It's like trying to grip a cloud. You can get some, but not all and maybe not even the most essential part of it. It's like trying to describe a dream – often you can't find the words, or they sound ridiculous and you wind up saying, "Well, it made sense in the dream."
So, with the Virgo-Pisces axis so active right now, it might feel right to do something but you're not sure why or what good it might do—you only sense that some good might come of it. Is your intuition guiding you toward something beneficial that your conscious mind doesn't see yet? Or are you just trying to fine-tune the world around you as an exercise in perfecting your personal vision of order and "the way things should be"? With Virgo-Pisces, it's not always easy to tell the difference.
With every mistake, we must surely be learning.
~ George Harrison, While My Guitar Gently Weeps
For Mercury—and therefore your conscious understanding—there is help available, although you will need to reach out for it. That support comes from (of all places) the volatile Mars-Saturn conjunction, by way of an exact sextile (60°). The sextile aspect gives two planets the potential for creative problem solving through the cooperative integration of their strengths, abilities and resources.
In this case, there are three: Mars and Saturn in conjunction, and both in sextile aspect to Mercury – all at 17° of their respective signs. Mars and Saturn can support Mercury's struggle with imperfection, dis-ease and physical limitation by demonstrating the persistence, courage, discipline and harnessed passion that they carry between them.
In fact, the Mars-Saturn conjunction forms a Wedge aspect pattern with the Mercury-Chiron opposition. That means the friction of active Mars pushing against cautious Saturn can fuel the Virgo-Pisces quest for meaningful service, healing and redemption.
In other words, the best way to fulfil a sense of purpose in your life may be to simply find something to do. But don't just play around with it – do it the Scorpio way. Step into it with both boots. Invest yourself in it. Do it like your survival depends on it. And really feel the experience.
Like I said before – Virgo loves to take on a project, and this can give Mars and Saturn a more healthy focus. In the Mars-Saturn staring contest of who will blink first, think of Virgo as waving her hand between them and getting their attention off each other and onto something outside themselves.
Instructions for living a life.
Tell about it.
~ Mary Oliver
Virgo is organic. It's not about sticking with the plan for the sake of the plan. Nor is it about spontaneous action for the sake of relieving boredom, which are traps that Saturn and Mars can fall into. Virgo is about taking one step and then reassessing where to go next. What makes sense? What possibilities present themselves now, and where could they lead? There's no prescribed set of instructions beyond the overall intention, which may change if it makes sense to do so.
Although a plant's genetics have an agenda, whether that's to grow into an ivy vine or a flower or a tree. But how it gets there and what it looks like in the end are not predetermined. The tree might have to bend and adapt around a fence. The ivy will meander up the wall in various directions, depending on the texture of the wall it's climbing. And two otherwise identical marigolds may look very different depending on how much sunlight, water and fertilizer each gets.
Virgo knows that a winning hand is more about how you play the cards than which cards you are dealt. You can go farther with less than you think you need if you make the most of what you have. Resourcefulness is the result when adaptability combines with attitude.
The New Moon in Virgo can take you a long way if you can harness the combined power of Mars and Saturn. Once you have a sense of what you want to do, don't obsess about the end result. Be willing to stay in the present a little longer and see what's there before you decide what your future will hold. Focus on the next step ahead of you. Let yourself be guided by the microcosm of the present, even as you are driven by the macrocosm of the future.
This journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.
~ Lao Tzu
This is one of those good-news/bad-news kinds of transits. The forceful, exuberant energy of Mars meets the cautious, serious energy of Saturn. This combination can create a lot of productivity or a lot of frustration – and often both. The wild horse of Mars energy can become a workhorse when combined with Saturn's discipline, capable of sustained effort that can bring concrete results. But it may also bring impatience from having your efforts blocked or delayed, or having to be accountable for impulsive actions. If having to conform to discipline, limitation and responsibility tend to trigger you into resisting and fighting back, you might feel a lot of anger and frustration under this transit. On the other hand, it could also help you come to terms with a difficult reality or decision, to take the necessary initial steps that can lead to long-term achievement and development. It is a good time to take action that has been carefully considered and planned out, or to start making plans for a long-term project.
Finances, relationships, social contacts and/or pleasures may seem blocked or require extra effort right now. Manifesting your desires may require added hard work, but this struggle could also bring you closer to your goals. It may feel like there is a huge rock blocking your path that keeps you from fulfilling your heart's desire. It may be necessary to face some difficult aspect of your situation before it is possible to know how to proceed. This is ultimately a problem to be solved by confronting that which is unrealistic, unworkable, or just not in your best interest. This can also be a time when you arrive at a crossroads and must make some firm choices, or when circumstances might force you to change your direction. This transit can make your choice clear, although it might not be the one you hoped for.
Your receptive, diplomatic side is arguing with your assertive, decisive side. The result is either a battle of wills between your Yin and Yang, or a new creative energy that harnesses both. This could manifest in the form of relationship problems, financial struggles, arguments about control, or you are propelled to take action with plans that have been percolating for a while. If you're usually more comfortable with your Yin side (receptive, diplomatic), you might feel a bit backed into a corner or forced to negotiate under pressure. If you're more at home in your Yang side (assertive, action-oriented), you may feel compelled to blunt or sheathe the sword you would prefer to smite your enemy with. Either way, this is about balancing the two sides and finding a new cooperation that works for both.
For a few days, you are face to face with the boundless universe! This could come to you in a number of ways, from creative inspiration to vivid dreams to enchanted encounters with great mystery. There is a tension now between clarity of purpose and infinite vision; between being centred in yourself versus being connected to the Great Unknown; and/or between personal independence and autonomy versus blurred boundaries with a person or situation. If you lose your bearings, you could feel some depression, lethargy or confusion. Your dreams, longings and expectations may be rooted more in wishful thinking than reality right now, which could lead to disappointment or disillusionment. It's a good idea to do a reality check with a trusted friend if you need to make any important decisions. On the other hand, you are also able to see your hopes, dreams and illusions more clearly than usual, reflected back through other people or the outside world. It may be like looking in a cosmic mirror that shows you what's going on in your subconscious. Just remember that it may be hard to tell which is the real thing and which is the mirrored reflection. Just like a dream, you might get better insight by interpreting them intuitively rather than literally. Try expressing your experiences, feelings and perceptions in ways that are poetic, artistic, creative and non-rational.
Mercury glides into Libra, bringing awareness and new ideas about your style of interaction and how you communicate with others. It may be easier to speak (and listen) with gentleness, fairness and diplomacy during this time. Thoughts, ideas, communication and negotiation could reach a state of increased balance and harmony, and you may be especially sensitive to other people and your environment. You could be more motivated to balance criticism or anger with gentleness and diplomacy. On the other hand, interaction could also become a carefully crafted game in which truth, honesty and facts are replaced by manipulative strategy and "white lies" designed to avoid hurt feelings. Indecision and "fence sitting" are possible under this transit, since you are able than usual to see many different sides of a situation. It might help to bounce your ideas and thoughts off someone who can be a good sounding board and give you feedback. It may be easier now to reach a win-win solution to conflicts, which is fair to all concerned – but be careful you don't make incorrect or self-serving assumptions about what the other side wants.
Your sense of purpose is strong now, as you are able to tap into a deeper level of energy and determination. Your personality is likely to be more forceful now, which can be great if you need to make a strong impression but perhaps not so much in situations requiring delicacy or subtlety. Your ability to see below the surface of things is especially clear, and it may be possible to unearth secrets or get at the core of unconscious patterns (yours or others'). This is a time when your personal presence may come across as somewhat "larger than life," so you need to remember that a little goes a long way during this transit. This could be a time when you suddenly find the strength to stand up and assert your personal power in a situation that has felt overwhelming or discouraging. On the other hand, if you are still struggling to learn how to own your power, without using nuclear bombs to make your point, you may still feel a bit overwhelmed or daunted by this transit. In that case, take smaller steps and don't try to push the river.
Under this transit, it is possible to fall in love with purity, precision and analysis. It is a time to invest in health, efficiency, and your contribution to the world around you. The beauty is in the details, as you embrace a labour of love in your life. Just don't get so enamoured with pristine splendour that you get lost in perfectionism and unable to accept the natural imperfection that exists in all life and humanity. Each of us is the Universe's perfect child, but we are also in a state of becoming and growing and are therefore likely to make human mistakes. Remember that we're here for the journey, as much as the destination. This part of the journey takes us into service and devotion, whether that is focused on another person or on ourselves.
This transit can bring a challenge to your sense of personal purpose versus the trans-personal vision of possibilities. This could play out in many areas; for instance, spirituality, career, life direction, physical or emotional healing, etc. Perhaps you are feeling a conflict between what you want to gain on a personal level versus a higher vision of what you could be capable of. The problem is that to reach for greater possibilities, you have to move beyond your comfort zone. There is a certain amount of risk and sacrifice involved in any kind of growth. You might worry that moving into a larger context could undermine your self-esteem by making you feel small or inadequate. You may be concerned that you'd have to give up personal rewards in order to achieve that higher vision. Regardless of how this plays out in your life, the struggle to find a balance you can live with – between what is and what could be – is the purpose of this transit. Later it will be time to take further action, but for how it is important to grapple with the dynamics of your situation which will lead to a decision.
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© 2014 Wendy Guy. All rights reserved. This material may not be copied without the author's written permission. Most or all of the quotes on this page were found at GoodReads.com. Photo of banyan tree by MDGboston via MorgueFile.com. Photo of angels by mkistryn via CanStockPhoto.com