The Low-Down on the Far-Out

Full Moon in Pisces 2014

Chart for the New Moon in Virgo
Chart for the New Moon in Virgo

Don't judge each day by the harvest you reap
but by the seeds that you plant.
~ Robert Louis Stevenson

Aug.25 – NEW MOON in VIRGO (02:18 of Virgo)

NEW MOON in VIRGO

Ottawa, Canada and
Washington DC, USA:

Aug.25, 2014, 10:12 AM EDT

London, UK:

Aug.25, 2014, 3:12 PM BST

Sydney, AU:

Aug.26, 2014, 12:12 AM AEST

"What's a New Moon?"

Read more about the Sun-Moon cycles.

Read more about how you experience VIRGO energy in your life.

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.

Wedge aspect pattern at the New Moon in Virgo

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.
Pay attention.
Be astonished.
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.

Banyan tree roots

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.

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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

Aug.25 – Mars conjunct Saturn (17:40 of Scorpio)  (Aug.26 in AU)

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.

Aug.26 – Venus square Saturn (17:43 of Leo/Scorpio)  (Aug.27 in AU)

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.

Aug.27 – Venus square Mars (18:49 of Leo/Scorpio)  (Aug.28 in AU)

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.

Aug.29 – Sun opposite Neptune (06:11 of Virgo/Pisces)  (Aug.30 in AU)

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.

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Sep.02 – Mercury enters Libra (until Sep.29)  (Sep.01 in HAST, AKT, PDT, MDT, CDT)

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.

Sep.03 – Sun trine Pluto (11:05 of Virgo/Capricorn)  (Sep.04 in AU)

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.

Sep.05 – Venus enters Virgo (until Sep.29)  (Sep.06 in AU)

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.

Sep.07 – Sun opposite Chiron (15:23 of Virgo/Pisces)  (Sep.04 in NDT, UK, AU)

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.

Chart for the Full Moon in Pisces
Chart for the Full Moon in Pisces

There was an old lady who swallowed a fly
I don't know why she swallowed the fly
Perhaps she'll die...
~ Alan Mills and Rose Bonne, children's song

Sep.08 – FULL MOON in PISCES (16:29 of Pisces)

FULL MOON in PISCES

Ottawa, Canada and
Washington DC, USA:

Sep.08, 2014, 9:38 PM EDT

London, UK:

Sep.09, 2014, 3:38 AM BST

Sydney, AU:

Sep.09, 2014, 11:38 AM AEST

"What's a Full Moon?"

Read more about the Sun-Moon cycles.

Read more about how you experience PISCES energy in your life.

What do you do when you're hurting? When you're in trouble or scared? Overwhelmed or feeling lost? Feeling hopeless or lethargic?

We all go through these experiences sometimes. Each of us handles it a bit differently, but there are usually patterns of similarity.

Some of us visit these feelings for a while and then move on quickly to greener pastures. Others seem to be rooted there, paying off some kind of emotional mortgage and knowing the territory intimately.

One approach isn't necessarily better than the other.

Skipping through it like a stone across the surface of the water can mean you don't get waterlogged by it, but it could also mean you don't really deal with the underlying causes and therefore invite the problems to return over and over.

Becoming saturated in the experience can mean you carry a much heavier weight of the world on your shoulders, but despite the extra effort required, you might stand to heal your wounds at a much deeper level that way.

Each approach has its benefits and drawbacks.

The important thing is to recognize how you go through a difficult period in your life and how effective your approach is for you. What works best for one person may not work well for someone else.

We each have to find our own path. And in the end, there really isn't any path anyway. It's wherever you choose to go.

That is all I want in life: for this pain to seem purposeful.
~ Elizabeth Wurtzel, Prozac Nation

The Pisces Full Moon happening now is tightly conjunct Chiron. Chiron in Pisces is about suffering, sacrifice, and finding a greater meaning and purpose in the struggle. It's one thing to "fight the good fight," but what makes it "good" and what exactly is involved in the fighting?

Chiron's role in this lunation is about facing our woundedness and weariness. Whether that's physical, spiritual, mental or emotional, you might find that right now you're dealing more directly with the issues that so often wear you down and make it hard to carry on.

That's not to say this Full Moon time will necessarily be a super difficult one. You might instead be dealing with the difficult issues by doing something to nurture a sense of hope, healing and awareness. That doesn't sound too bad, but on the other hand we tend to do this because we're already feeling down or disenchanted. I'm not sure Chiron is likely to be a carefree ride, but it doesn't have to be torturous either.

This is about delving into why we feel the need to reach out to something greater than ourselves for comfort, connection, understanding, meaning and context. You may need to feel your struggle is about investing in some higher purpose. And you may hunger for reassurance that your stress and labour can have a benefit that doesn't seem apparent right now.

There was an old lady who swallowed a spider
That wiggled and jiggled and tickled inside her!
She swallowed the spider to catch the fly
I don't know why she swallowed the fly
Perhaps she'll die...
~ Alan Mills and Rose Bonne

The thing about Pisces is that it's not easy to know for sure what's happening. Is that really an oasis of drinkable water you see in the distance, or is it merely a projection of what you hope will be there?

Are you offering yourself up as grist for the mill of higher purpose for the good of all? Or are you just tilting at windmills? Or perhaps you're being lulled into a trance by sirens who will only distract you from your journey? Escapism and wishful thinking are hard to avoid in Pisces.

With Chiron involved, suffering of some kind could be a big focus but it should be endured toward betterment that ultimately ends your suffering (or at least significantly reduces it). The temptation here is to suffer for the sake of suffering. In other words, you may believe that if you're feeling distraught, that means you're "doing the work" and "it's all good."

However, it's possible to avoid doing the real work by hiding inside the suffering. This is the "life's a bitch and then you die" syndrome. The problem is that it's easy to mistake pessimism and lethargy for realism, and while they often look alike in many ways, they're really not the same.

Depression can be like that, for example. Physical factors notwithstanding, chronic depression can become a habitual way of looking at life if you've lived with it long enough. It might even feel safer to assume and prepare for the worst, lest you get your hopes up and then be shattered by disappointment or disillusionment if it doesn't work out.

So this Full Moon asks the big question: What is your suffering for? What are you hoping will be the outcome if you hang in there? What kind of experiences, feelings, events or encounters can trigger you into suffering and distress? And what do you do about it (or with it) when you're there?

SMITH: Doctor, it hurts when I do this.
DALE: [Then] don't do that.
~ Smith and Dale (American vaudeville comedy duo)

Most of us react to stress instinctively by trying to stop the discomfort. It's a perfectly natural and logical response, and much of the time, it works. You put your hand on a hot stove and your body's reflexes jerk your hand away. Problem solved, right? Yes, for the moment, but unless you address the deeper issues you run the risk of it happening again.

For example: why did you put your hand there in the first place? If you needed something to lean on, you'll have to find something less dangerous, or shift your weight so that you don't feel the urge to lean as much. On the other hand, you could ask: why was the stove so hot? If the burner got turned on accidentally, you'd better turn it off or it could cause problems again. If that indicates something is wrong with the stove, you need to get it fixed before it gets worse and burns the house down.

A problem doesn't necessarily have just one cause or just one solution. And if you don't go a step further and explore why it happened, the problem could return again and again. Even worse, what seems like a good solution at the time might actually turn into a bigger problem. The consequences and implications of both the problem and the solution could be substantial.

This Full Moon challenges you to examine how you react to stress, suffering and problems – and then, ask yourself: how's that workin' for ya? If you're better off and your solution doesn't create more problems than it solves, then you may be ahead of the game (assuming you're not in complete denial). On the other hand, if you continually feel like you're lost in a nightmare of an endless game of Whack-a-Mole, then it's probably time to look at why and find a way to get off the treadmill.

We are continually faced with great opportunities which are brilliantly disguised as unsolvable problems.
~ Margaret Mead

In the Full Moon chart, Uranus is exactly semi-sextile (30°) to the Moon and Chiron (less than 1° of orb). Like its cousin, the quincunx (150°), the semi-sextile can be an irritating, annoying aspect because it typically joins planets in signs that have nothing in common (element, modality, etc). These two aspects challenge us to think outside the box in order to gain greater awareness and understanding of the situation.

And "outside the box" just happens to be Uranus' specialty! You might could get some unexpected zingers that require you to question why and how you respond to distress as you do. Put another way: Uranus could jolt you into having to improvise, making it difficult to settle into a solution where you can (hopefully) just coast and relax and put the problem behind you. You could be stirred up enough that you must break out of your usual habitual reaction and try something new. You might feel motivated (or pressured) into taking an uncharacteristic leap of faith, although you might also panic and reflexively leap before you look.

Uranus' contribution isn't necessarily a bad thing, but it is wise to crank up your awareness volume so that you can hear your intuition telling you if you're acting on inspiration or agitation.

Uranus is approaching conjunction with the South Lunar Node, and is therefore increasingly becoming a central figure in the skies. This aspect won't become exact until Jan.20.2015, but they are currently just under 4 degrees apart. These two remain 4-6° apart from Jul.27 until Dec.19, soon after which Uranus stations Direct (Dec.21) and they finally meet in mid-January.

What does Uranus combined with the South Node mean? This is usually about having to let go of hopes, wishes and ideas that seem like they will help you break free of some form of inhibition or oppression. However, with the South Node involved, although this may be a letting go whose time has come, it may not be done gladly; nor might it bring the release and relief you were hoping for.

With these two within conjunction orb most of this year, this is a long-term separation process rather than a sudden severing of connection to something. However, since Uranus is a significant player in this Full Moon chart, this time could indicate another step in that disconnection process.

The problem is not to find the answer, it's to face the answer.
~ Terence McKenna

For anyone who's been paying attention to the skies lately, Uranus has been a key player for several years now, through the Uranus-Pluto square (90°). These two have been at the astrological helm of both global and personal dramas for the last 4-6 years (or longer, depending on the orbs you use). And they're not finished with us yet. That's the thing about transformation – it takes as long as it takes. And this one rooted in a deep-seated conflict, so there are no real shortcuts.

T-Square aspect pattern: Mercury, Uranus and Pluto

Mercury forms a T-square aspect pattern by opposing Uranus and squaring Pluto. This aspect configuration is in effect from the Full Moon until around Sep.14, with Mercury aspects reaching a peak on Sep.09 and Sep.12. The intense and volatile energy of the Uranus-Pluto struggle is likely to be felt in how you communicate, how you frame and perceive experiences, and what you think about situations involving power dynamics and breaking out of old patterns.

Mercury (your mental focus) is currently in Libra, and you therefore may strive for balance, harmony, objectivity and diplomacy in your thoughts and words. However, you might find that "being nice" invites more problems than it solves. Libra is known as both the peacemaker and the war-maker, and Mercury in Libra (especially agitated by Uranus and Pluto) could become combative, argumentative or prone to playing "Devil's advocate" in an effort to ensure all sides of the situation have been fairly acknowledged.

In this case, it's probably wise to choose your battles wisely. Since Mercury is doing battle with the Big Boys, Uranus and Pluto, you might find you're suddenly out of your depth unless you're very well prepared with clear facts and well thought out arguments. Alternatively, you might become stuck or paralyzed by indecision, unable to choose which approach or side to take.

This year Mercury forms these exact aspects with Uranus and Pluto only in the first half of September. However, Mercury goes retrograde next month (Oct.04-25), he stations Direct within orb to form the T-square pattern again. At that time Mercury is about 7 degrees from exactly squaring Pluto and just 2:58 from opposing Uranus – certainly in the ballpark, and therefore will be likely to bring back some of the T-square energy that's happening at this Full Moon.

As a result, it may be a good idea to handle this T-square with as much finesse, diplomacy and discretion as you're able to, since when Mercury stations Direct at the end of October you might be forced to eat your words or have your reactions replayed at that time.

I know an old lady who swallowed a cow (I don't know how she swallowed a cow)
She swallowed the cow to catch the goat (she just opened her throat and swallowed that goat)
She swallowed the goat to catch the dog (what a hog to swallow a dog)
She swallowed the dog to catch the cat (imagine that – she swallowed a cat)
She swallowed the cat to catch the bird (how absurd to swallow a bird)
She swallowed the bird to catch the spider
That wiggled and jiggled and tickled inside her,
She swallowed the spider to catch the fly
I don't know why she swallowed the fly
Perhaps she'll die...
~ Alan Mills and Rose Bonne

So much of this Full Moon is about how we respond, react and deal with painful or stressful situations, and how effective our response to them is. What may seem like the perfect solution at the time can mushroom into bigger problems requiring increasingly bigger solutions. When will it end??

This can especially happen when we react without awareness – when we jump at the quickest fix without considering what the consequences will be. Dealing with a swallowed fly can eventually morph into consuming a whole cow!

It can help to trace sequentially related problems back, to understand how one problem was created by another. But we're dealing with a Pisces Moon here. It's not always possible to see clearly what's behind the surface of a problem. And ultimately, you may not know what the original root of the problem was. Just why did you swallow that fly anyway?? *shrug* Who knows...

Wedge aspect pattern: Sun, Moon, Chiron and Saturn

Sometimes the best you can do is simply pay attention in the present and deal with what is here and now. Thankfully Saturn is at the ready! Saturn forms a Wedge aspect pattern with the Sun-Moon/Chiron opposition. In trine aspect (120°) to Moon/Chiron and sextile (60°) to the Sun, Saturn's stability, structure and skill for dealing with the here-and-now contribute support and wisdom—if you're willing to be receptive to these qualities.

Pisces doesn't always like to deal with the "real world" a lot, since it can make beautiful potential look disappointing and lack lustre. However, Pisces (a Water sign) tends to function at its best when contained by strength and tempered by endurance (Earth). Pisces' ability to imagine the absolute best possible outcome might have to come down a few notches in order to make it work. That might feel like it's being reduced or tarnished in purpose or value, but that's when your Pisces idealism needs to have some faith that there is a greater intention at work.

So our musical food chain (from fly to cow) could represent the ever mounting problems that can come from solutions that don't quite work as well as you think they will. On the other hand, it might indicate a more optimistic interpretations – that there are layers of meaning, purpose, intent or function behind a seemingly endless sequence of implications, consequences or outcomes.

I believe that imagination is stronger than knowledge. That myth is more potent than history. That dreams are more powerful than facts. That hope always triumphs over experience.
That laughter is the only cure for grief. And I believe that love is stronger than death.
~ Robert Fulghum, All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten

Jupiter provides a clue that there may be a more positive energy afoot. Jupiter happens to be the traditional planetary ruler of Pisces, so whatever it's doing in the chart has extra significance. And it just happens to be forming another Wedge aspect pattern to the Mercury-Uranus opposition mentioned above.

Wedge aspect pattern: Mercury, Uranus and Jupiter

Jupiter is just approaching the first of three passes of an easy-going trine aspect to Uranus (exact on Sep.25.2014, Mar.03.2015 and Jun.22.2015). These two planets can produce brilliance, wisdom and insight on a genius level, at their best.

Wedge and T-Square joined aspect patterns.

Jupiter's far-reaching imagination and Uranus' appetite for unusual, "out there" experiences can be wonderful travelling companions on your way through the enchanted forest of uncertainty or hesitation. Just be aware that they could also amplify anxiety or reactivity if you feed them too much of your fear and worry.

Currently Jupiter is also in sextile aspect to Mercury, which again can bolster creative imagination and insightful observation. Jupiter can bring an optimistic sparkle to an otherwise darkly intense T-square between Mercury, Uranus and Pluto. Jupiter and Pluto are in quincunx aspect (150°) which means they don't really see each other clearly.

This could manifest as Jupiter's hopefulness and faith being able to provide an uplifting alternative viewpoint to Pluto's heavy necessity for facing deep challenges. The trick to making this work in the best way is not to let blind faith simply distract from facing the intensity of inevitable change.

When I despair, I remember that all through history the way of truth and love have always won.
There have been tyrants and murderers, and for a time, they can seem invincible,
but in the end, they always fall. Think of it—always.
~ Mahatma Gandhi

Hope and faith are ultimately what get you through times of despair and hardship—and they can also plunge us into those times. They are both our greatest strength and our most perilous distraction. Hope can remind us that in the inevitability of change lies the eternal possibility that better times can lie just around the next turn in the road. On the other hand, frozen hope can also block our clarity so that we don't see that you simply "can't get there from here."

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Pisces has hope in abundance which can be channeled in either direction. Like alcohol and other mood altering substances and activities, Piscean hope and faith can be a magical tonic to a wounded spirit—but when used in excess, you risk overdosing on "sweetness and light" and leaving yourself vulnerable to the difficulties that get lost in your blind spot.

Chiron's woundedness and struggle might not feel as good as the intoxication of eternal perfection, but he's a valuable teacher who can help you deal with the physical world for as long as you're here.

I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes.
Because if you are making mistakes...you're Doing Something.
~ Neil Gaiman

Sep.09 – Mercury square Pluto (11:02 of Libra/Capricorn)  (Sep.10 in AU)

You are faced now with a challenge to empower your communication and perceptions, although this may not come easily. It could involve having to face some rather difficult truths that might be a bit disturbing or hard to accept. However in doing so, you gain a deeper understanding and acceptance of yourself, your situation and your role within it. Obsessive or persistent thoughts that are morbid or paranoid are possible, which could be helped by finding something more positive to focus on or a creative outlet. Communication (from others or yourself or both) could be intense, intimidating or even downright damaging, since it may be tempting to get caught up in power struggles and domination. But communication can also be used now to heal, by cutting through hypocrisy and insincerity in order to reach a deeper authenticity and truth – like lancing a boil so that healing can take place.

Sep.10 – Venus opposite Neptune (05:51 of Virgo/Pisces)

Romance, idealism, fantasy and imagination are blossoming into a bright aura right now, which is likely to influence your relationships, interactions, finances and values – for better or for worse! Compassion, caring and selfless giving can be good ideals to aim for, as long as you remember that ideals tend to lose some of their shiny glow when they're translated into hard reality. If you forget this, the end result may be disappointing or disillusioning. Disappointment may also indicate that there have been hidden hopes or high expectations that no one can really live up to. Aim to balance your innocence and longing with the judgement of your older, wiser, mature self; and do a reality check with a trusted friend or adviser if in doubt. That said, this can also be a very creative and inspiring time – just remember to keep one foot on the ground.

Sep.10 – Mercury sextile Jupiter (12:08 of Libra/Leo)  (Sep.11 in AU)

You may have an abundance of ideas and words to express them under this transit. There is the potential (if you reach for it) to put ideas, facts and thoughts together into a cohesive whole. You may find you can understand the overall patterns in a situation, or you are able to see the Big Picture, better than usual. New insights and a change of perspective may abound, as your stream of consciousness flows abundantly with optimism and visionary possibilities. You may find yourself more talkative than usual, as you try to share and convey the new ideas, inspiration and knowledge coming into your mind. Write down your best ideas for later development, since you may be having too much fun now playing with ideas to want to stop and make them manifest just yet. There is a chance that you may be so elated and confident that you might come across as a bit overbearing or even as a "know-it-all," so be sure to listen too.

Sep.11 – Sun sextile Saturn (18:48 of Virgo/Scorpio)  (Sep.12 in AU)

You have an opportunity now to make some progress in obtaining results in your projects, career, ambitions and creative expression. It is possible to tap into a disciplined mindset, which can be used to take some steps toward goals that you're trying to manifest. You are surrounded by potential to achieve this, although it will not simply be handed to you – you will still have to work for it. Your mind and purpose are likely to be clear and strong now, enabling you to be decisive and productive. Leadership, management and organizing abilities are potentially high right now. Asserting your authority in a situation that calls for it can be done successfully, as long as you don't let yourself become rigid or bossy. It can be a good time to learn or practice new skills, or to apply yourself to any kind of serious study. It is also a time when you could formulate some solid plans for future projects or make some progress with current undertakings. Make the most of it!

Sep.13 – Mercury opposite Uranus (15:27 of Libra/Aries)  (Sep.12 in HAST)

This is a wakeup call! You are asked to open your mind so that you can see something about your life, yourself or your situation that has eluded you until now. It might be a shocking revelation that changes your whole perspective...or it might also be a delightful surprise that adds a new dimension you hadn't thought of. However it manifests, you are in a position to see your situation more clearly and objectively – although this can also make it seem like this energy is outside of you and happening TO you. However, if you look closely inside yourself, you may see thoughts, perceptions and impressions that correspond to the external events and participate in the interchange. Emails, Internet chats, and interaction with technology may be part of this transit as well. Communication may be a bit erratic or unpredictable, so be careful not to speak thoughtlessly or carelessly. However, you may find that words and perceptions come to you intuitively and spontaneously.

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Sep.13 – Mars enters Sagittarius (until Oct.26) (Sep.14 in AU)

This energy flies! You might feel inspired to defend a righteous cause, or to lead others in taking a stand about something. Or you might strive to move heaven and earth to reach toward a dream. You might be motivated to learn something new, or to share your knowledge with others. Inspiration, confidence and optimism can run high during this transit, which may be experienced as a release of optimism, freedom and spontaneous elation. However, it could also be a bit too much of a good thing, launching you or others into arrogance, confrontation or intolerance, especially if challenged by strong opinions. Expanded courage could make it easier to take risks or try new adventures, which will probably work best if you're balanced with realism or common sense. This is a time to act from your highest intention of morality, philosophy, spirituality, compassion and understanding.

Sep.14 – Mercury enters the Shadow (16:45 of Libra; until Nov.10) (Sep.13 in HAST)   ("What's the Shadow?"  Read my articles about Retrograde Cycles.  Read my article about Mercury Retrograde.)

Mercury is now "in the Shadow" – the area of Zodiac where it will later go retrograde in about 2½ weeks time. During its retrograde cycle, Mercury travels through the same span of the Zodiac three times (called the Shadow). The first time through, it is going in direct motion (moving forward), then retrograde (looks like it's going backwards), and then direct again. This means there is a more extensive process of development and change involved with things that Mercury influences—ideas, thoughts, frame of mind and mental focus. It also concerns the collection, exchange, analysis and organisation of information. All forms of communication are also affected. This includes not just talking, but also email and snail mail, the Internet, the media in general, books and magazines, as well as public transit (buses, trains, etc.) and neighbourhoods.

The situations developing over the next couple of weeks (leading up to when Mercury actually goes retrograde) will likely require further research, deeper consideration and adjustments to unexpected discoveries over the next couple of months. Expect changes in your plans, increasingly disrupted communication, and new information coming to light that may not fit conveniently into your plans. It's wise to leave lots of extra time to do things, to plan future projects and get to wherever you're going. Patience is a valuable quality during this time. If you must make important decisions during this time, try to build some flexibility into your plans to allow for later changes—or if possible, you may want to delay final or irrevocable decisions until well after Mercury goes direct.

Here are the key dates of this Mercury cycle (for North American Eastern Time):

If you know your way around a chart a bit, there are two books I highly recommend on retrogrades in general. One is Erin Sullivan's Retrograde Planets: Traversing the Inner Landscape which is detailed, comprehensive and very in-depth – everything you ever wanted to know about retrograde cycles and planets! Erin's book is also available in a Kindle edition.

Another excellent retrograde book is Joanne Wickenberg's republished and updated Your Hidden Powers: Intercepted Signs and Retrograde Planets, which also includes information about intercepted planets. It too is very comprehensive and detailed about retrograde cycles, including progressions, natal retrograde planets and transiting retrogrades.

Sep.14 – Venus trine Pluto (11:00 of Virgo/Capricorn)  (Sep.15 in AU)

Close one-on-one connections with people (close friends, lovers, partners of all kinds) will tend to gravitate to a deeper, more intense level now. Instead of automatically doing the diplomatic, "nice" thing, you may find it is more fulfilling to share more of your authentic feelings. It may be possible now to connect with people on a deeper level, while still ensuring that your interests are equally balanced with theirs. The trick is to do this without trying to control or overpower the other person, and it may be easier to avoid those traps now. You could make some deeply intimate connections with people under this transit. Financial dealings with other people may also go smoothly, although it might be wise to get clear confirmation that you're both on the same page about the fine print.

Sep.16 – Mercury conjunct North Lunar Node (19:34 of Libra)  (Sep.17 in AU)  ("What's a Lunar Node?")

Ideas are in focus, especially when they're shared with others. It could be a time when you observe or notice something new, giving you a new perspective that you will mull over for the coming several months. Or you might be called upon to give a talk or presentation that shares information with others. It might be an especially active time with emails, Facebook, Twitter or texting. Communication and collection of thoughts and ideas is the central theme here. Keep your eyes, mind and curiosity open – the world could be showing you something important and fascinating!

Sep.17 – Venus opposite Chiron (14:56 of Virgo/Pisces)  (Sep.18 in AU)

You may be extra sensitive to other people's suffering, struggles or dilemmas under this transit. Your own ongoing issues in relationships or finances may undergo a kind of "healing crisis" in which you endure increased problems and must use extra tolerance, compromise or negotiation to keep things from collapsing into a worse state. At the same time, you may be able to reach a new level of acceptance and peace – not necessarily by solving the problems, but by letting go of the struggles that are not as important as you thought and by making the best of the ones that are left. Other people or outside circumstances may give you a push in this direction, which might feel at first like old wounds are being opened up. But this is an opportunity to find new ways to bring healing and balance to old problems, especially using tolerance, compromise and acceptance.

Sep.21 – Venus sextile Saturn (19:37 of Virgo/Scorpio)

It is possible to find some stability in your relationships and finances under this transit, especially if you are willing to negotiate fairly and realistically. You have increased ability to be disciplined about spending and budgeting, and to invest in hard work to maximise your earnings. Your ability to grasp the solid, realistic facts will help you choose wisely in your investments of both money and your interaction with others. Commitment and structure may be easier to approach and achieve than if you take risks now. Your self-worth can benefit from this transit because you may be less inclined to give in to mood swings. On the other hand, if you are prone to depression, you might want to be careful you don't become so grounded and stable that you lose touch with your sense of hope and potential. It is a good time to make concrete progress in matters involving beauty, love, harmony and balance. Keep your pleasures simple and humble for maximum benefit.

Sep.21 – Mars square Neptune (05:33 of Sagittarius/Pisces)  (Sep.22 in ADT, NDT, UK, AU)

For up to a week before and after today, you have a chance to discover and work with your blind spots and the hidden motives that trip you up. It may feel like you are spinning your wheels or "shadow-boxing" and not even sure why. You may be fighting a hidden agenda or unconscious motives (yours or someone else's). You might also be trying to apply a concrete solution to an ambiguous situation, and then wondering why it isn't working very well. Responding to conflicts in a passive-aggressive or manipulative way can be tempting under this transit, since you may not know how to take direct and effective action. Resentment might become a defiant way to express toothless anger. Part of the problem may be that you are fighting against your own idealism, and resisting the acceptance that the other person or situation can't be the way you want them to be. Feelings of disappointment or helplessness may trigger much deeper feelings from your unconscious, making it difficult for you to know how to respond effectively in the here-and-now. It will probably help to work on owning your feelings, needs, longings and (hidden) agendas. Being honest with yourself about what's really going on inside you will go a long way toward increasing your empowerment.

Sep.22 – Pluto Stationary Direct (10:59 of Capricorn; until Apr.16.2015)  (Sep.22 in ADT, NDT, UK, AU)  ("What's a Station?"  "What does Retrograde mean?"  Read more about Retrograde planets.)

For about a week before and after, you may experience energy that is intense, compelling and transformative, as Pluto changes direction to its normal forward motion. If you've been going through deep, cathartic changes in your life over the last 6 months to a year, you may find that this station brings a shift in how you are able to approach those changes. This might be a time when you feel the weight of power struggles or loss in your life, but it can also be a time when you find empowering strength in yourself that you didn't know you had. Above all, it is a time when your deepest, most authentic Self can start to emerge and be reborn anew.

Sep.22 – Sun enters Libra (until Oct.23)

EQUINOX DATES

Ottawa, Canada and
Washington DC, USA:

Sep.22, 2014, 10:29 PM EDT

London, UK:

Sep.23, 2014, 3:29 AM BST

Sydney, AU:

Sep.23, 2014, 12:29 PM AEST

Happy Solar Return to all Libras! While the Sun is in Libra, it brings experiences into our lives that focus us in the areas of love, close relationships, one-on-one interaction, diplomacy, negotiation, strategy, fairness, equilibrium, balance, harmony and beauty. This time also marks the point of equal balance between day and night – the Autumnal Equinox. In the Northern Hemisphere, the nights now become longer than the days, and in the Southern Hemisphere, the days become longer than the nights, until the December Solstice. Balance is the key concept here! What is out of balance in your life? How can you negotiate or strategize to bring that area of your life back into harmony? Libra encourages you to balance your life in diplomatic, discreet, "win-win" ways. But if that's not possible, it will do it aggressively (creating conflict in order to break the stalemate of the imbalance) or manipulatively (people-pleasing to co-dependently get its way). Thus, Libra is known as both the peace-maker and the war-maker. If you find yourself instinctively trying to smooth out conflict – or instigate it! – take a step back and ask yourself if that is your best choice in the situation. Just don't get stuck in Libran indecision! Make your choice and then see if it brings what you want.

Next Update:  NEW MOON in LIBRA, available by September 24, 2014.

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