The Low-Down on the Far-Out

Lunar Eclipse in Pisces, September 2016

Chart for the Lunar Eclipse - Full Moon in Pisces
Chart for the Lunar Eclipse ~ Full Moon in Pisces

Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing there is a field. I'll meet you there. When the soul lies down in that grass the world is too full to talk about.
~ Jalaluddin Rumi

Sep.16 – LUNAR ECLIPSE ~ FULL MOON in PISCES (24:19 of Pisces)


Jupiter has (finally!!) moved out of busy Virgo and into harmonizing Libra. The focus is shifting from studying and cataloging each and every grain of sand to enjoying and appreciating the whole beach.

So lose the lab coat and grab your classiest sunglasses!

It's time to seek a happier, more peaceful balance between the microcosm and macrocosm in your life. Between reaching perfection in the minute details versus finding fulfilment in the broad perspective of the whole.

To do this, you'll need to be open to seeing things a little differently. A fresh outlook on your current (or past) circumstances will help. You may also need to change your actions and behaviour to avoid becoming (or staying) locked into a limited or rigid way of thinking.

This is not just about staying flexible but also to change with a purpose in mind. So... where do you want to go from here?

These themes are written in the chart of the Lunar Eclipse (Full Moon) in Pisces in a number of different ways. The basic message: process, process, process! And maybe a little action, too.

Follow your inner moonlight; don't hide the madness.
~ Allen Ginsberg

The Pisces Full Moon chart is a busy one! Let's start with the fact that this Full Moon is also a Lunar Eclipse. Yes, it's a "real" one this time. Undisputed (unlike the Full Moon and almost-maybe-sortof-eclipse in August).

This is a partial or Penumbral Lunar Eclipse � most of the Moon passes through the outer shadow (the penumbra). Therefore the visual effect is likely to be minor � a slight darkening of the Full Moon, rather than it turning to a deep red or orange colour as the Total Lunar Eclipses do. You can watch for it without needing eye protection (that's only needed for solar eclipses). Any visual effect will be seen throughout the regions of Europe, Africa, Asia, Australia and the South Pacific.

The astrological effect of a Lunar Eclipse, even a partial one, tends to make situations, events and emotional moods even more intense than a plain old Full Moon does. Eclipses, both Solar and Lunar, tend to supercharge the zodiac degree where they occur, and transits to that degree may evoke some of the same energies that were stirred up at the time of the eclipse.

If you have a Natal planet or point near that degree (within about 3-5 degrees), that part of your chart typically becomes activated for a while. A Full Moon is an opposition of the Sun and Moon at two opposing zodiac degrees. In this case we're talking about 24 degrees-and-change of Virgo and Pisces.

The opposition between these two signs represents the eternal struggle to fathom the enormity of the universe. Virgo applies itself to the nitty-gritty, microscopic view � the microcosm. Pisces aims to embrace the universe as a whole and explore its totality � the macrocosm.

All signs try to change the world in their own way. Virgo and Pisces aim to do it through one's way of life as an expression of life's boundless possibilities. Virgo's way is through practical action in the name of service; something that will make a concrete difference in the physical world. Pisces, on the other hand, ponders the infinity of All That Is and seeks to become one with it by transcending the limitations of the physical world.

Virgo knows that the whole is only as good as the parts it is compose of; that if you get the pieces right, the puzzle will come together. Pisces knows that the whole is ultimately greater than the sum of its parts; that there is more to life and living than what meets the eye.

But which is better�Virgo or Pisces? Jupiter has some suggestions to consider...

You are an illuminating anchor
Of leagues to infinite number
Crashing waves and breaking thunder
Tiding the ebb and flows of hunger
~ Jason Mraz, Bella Luna

jupiter is the traditional planetary ruler of Pisces and, conveniently, has just begun his year-long journey through Libra, the sign of balance, harmony and reconciliation. Trying to choose between Virgo and Pisces is like asking which is better: the ocean or the beach. Well, much depends on what you want to do with them. If you want to swim or sail, the ocean is your better choice; if you want to sunbathe or stroll, try the beach.

There is no better or worse in absolute terms, though. Each has value in its own right. In truth they are both essential to each other, as they mutually create the shoreline that constantly ebbs and flows rhythmically. Yet, the ocean and the shore are dramatically different and must be navigated in very different ways.

Finding the balance between these two concepts in your own life is a strong theme this year. This continues, although with a bit of a different perspective, both in the coming four weeks (since it rules this Full Moon) and 12 months (as Jupiter moves through Libra).

Jupiter is about how we aspire to live better lives, be better people and expand our knowledge of life. The balance we are challenged to work with therefore asks us to recognize the contrary factors in our lives that may interfere with our ability to create a more cooperative rhythm of ebb and flow.

In other words, the point is not to choose one over the other � the practical versus the ideal, outer dedication versus inner devotion, microcosm versus macrocosm. The point is to allow both of these to co-exist in a way that won't wear us down or drive us crazy. And that requires a flexible give-and-take much like the shoreline comes and goes yet generally averages out the dominance between the water and the sand.

Let's face it � none of us lives a perfect life. We are always compromising and adjusting between our quest to live up to our highest potential and our urge to collapse into the easiest shortcut that just lets us move on. Finding the best balance point for us at any given time is not something that stays put, so it requires constant recalibration.

Great things are not done by impulse, but by a series of small things brought together ... and great things are not something accidental, but must certainly be willed.
~ Vincent Van Gogh

Jupiter in Libra advises us to proactively keep seeking a balance point that will grant us peace, somewhere between the extremes of losing ourselves in the challenge versus taking the easy way out.

T-square aspect pattern - Mars, Sun, Moon

However, Mars may become a bit problematic. Forming a T-square aspect pattern with the Sun-Moon opposition, Mars could easily want to adjust that balance point too much, too impatiently, too impulsively or too dogmatically. Mars being in Sagittarius, your actions might be motivated by moral indignation or a judgemental opinion, which are likely to be unwelcome or disproportionate to the situation.

On the other hand, Mars could also spur you into action in a way that pushes you to act in a way more consistent with your values and principles. Overall, you're more likely to be successful if your focus is your own personal point of balance, rather than trying to force the outside world to conform to your vision.

In other words, before you act to try to make a change in the outer world, check first to see if it is your own inner balance that needs to be adjusted first. Often we try to change what's outside of us when we would do better to change what's inside first.

We are sun and moon, dear friend; we are sea and land. It is not our purpose to become each other; it is to recognize each other, to learn to see the other and honor him for what he is: each the other's opposite and complement.
~ Hermann Hesse, Narcissus and Goldmund

Moon conjunct Chiron at the Lunar Eclipse

The Moon is conjunct Chiron, suggesting that in order to rebalance your inner world you may need to confront and face some resistance that has kept you from doing so.

As an example: you might feel you need to give more emphasis to quality rather than quantity in your life, but discover that you're afraid that less quantity could deprive you of a feeling of security.

Another example: you may realize that you're always busy because you secretly believe that by resting in a state of peace means you're not giving enough, so you need to give yourself permission to be one of the recipients who enjoy the fruits of your labours.

Sun at midpoint between Mercury and Jupiter

The Sun is widely conjunct both Mercury and Jupiter, with Mercury on the oriental side (clockwise from the Sun) and Jupiter on the occidental side (zodiacal direction from the Sun). I might be inclined to give these less importance except that the Sun-Moon axis precisely intersects the midpoint between Mercury and Jupiter. In other words, both Mercury and Jupiter are exactly the same distance from the Sun, so the Sun (and the Moon by opposition) combines and activates the energies of both planets.

This adds an extra underscore to the Virgo-Pisces axis, since Mercury rules Virgo and Jupiter rules Pisces. It also emphasizes the need to avoid choosing one over the other, but to find a perspective that includes them both.

Mercury is currently retrograde (in case you hadn't noticed... *cough*) so Mercury's message is: "Reconsider how best to organize, prioritize and resolve the specifics you are juggling right now." He'll remain in "brat mode" until Sep.22, so it could take until then for you to sift through the tasks, options and ideas before you're ready to take action on them. And that's okay � better to give these things time to show all their information and implications than make a rushed decision. That said, trying to make progress in a clear straight line this month could be tricky, if not impossible. Patience, grasshopper.

Jupiter, as already mentioned, has only just put on a new majestic robe that now sparkles and shimmers in beautiful Libra colours. The Sun catches up to Jupiter on Sep.26, as Jupiter is moving at its fastest. We have the opportunity to brighten our spirits, polish up our hope, revitalize the meaning in our lives, and see the best in the world around us. However, this can also lead to increased blame and judgment about people and situations we feel don't reflect the ideals we long to see in that world.

It may be helpful to keep that need for improved balance in mind. If you find you're becoming overly idealistic or moralistic, try examining how realistic your expectations are and weed out the ones that are creating more problems than they're likely to solve. If you start to get lost in a quest for perfect details, try stepping back and looking at the situation in a greater context, which can help you put things into a better perspective. What you focus on in your inner and outer world can help you aim your best intentions in a way that is flexible and with a minimum of wonkiness.

This symmetrical, green rectangle indicates a great stability of consciousness and the person is constantly striving for mental continuity and to expand awareness. However, that can lead to stagnation if he sticks fanatically to his decisions, and his mental rigidity can lead to dualistic conflict.
~ Bruno and Louise Huber; Michael Alexander Huber, Aspect Pattern Astrology

The need to clarify and understand the current shifting energies is emphasized in a somewhat rare aspect pattern that the Huber astrology system calls an Irritation Rectangle. It consists of 4 planets in a long rectangle configuration. The corners are joined on the inside by crossing opposition aspects (180�) and the rectangle sides are quincunxes (150�) and semi-sextiles (30�).

Irritation Rectangle aspect pattern

In this figure we have the Sun-Moon opposition crossed by Venus opposing Uranus. Each opposition indicates conflict, stress and a competitive duality between the planets. So the Sun and Moon struggle between perfecting concrete specifics (Sun in Virgo) and longing to feel a sense of belonging within the universe as a whole (Moon in Pisces).

Venus and Uranus argue about whether it's best to respond to conflict using diplomacy, cooperation and compromise (Venus in Libra) or through assertiveness, insistence and visionary drive (Uranus in Aries).

The Irritation Rectangle figure says there is a way to find a place of understanding around these issues, but not by pitting one side against the other in a winner-takes-all contest. Instead, insight can be gained by increasing your awareness of the dynamic between these energies, and by widening your peripheral vision enough to encompass all sides.

To do this, you work with the sides of the rectangle and avoid getting into a stalemate between the opposition aspects. The trick is to think outside the box�or in this case, the rectangle.

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Sun in Virgo quincunx Uranus suggests that, while the devil may be in the details, there is also danger in getting stuck there. In other words, sometimes it's better to throw the pieces of the puzzle up in the air and see what patterns emerge naturally when they land, than to micromanage every single piece. So: are you letting perfectionism interfere with the natural flow of events that might resolve the problem on its own?

Venus quincunx Moon shows how personal needs and social polish don't always work well together. For example, being diplomatic and compromising requires restraint and a focus on other people, which may conflict with your inner emotional state that just wants to be accepted for who you are. So: are your emotional needs at odds with how you're expected to behave in the outer world, and if so, how might you give more attention to one or the other in order to find a better balance between the two?

Moon semi-sextile Uranus implies that you may be feeling a bit unstable, erratic or insecure. The security needs of the Moon are unlikely to find much refuge in the chaotic spontaneity of Uranus. On the other hand, you may find that by letting go and trusting the process a bit more, there is a method in the madness that can carry you through it if you will have some faith in yourself. So: are you stiffening up or shutting down when things get a little crazy, and if so, how might you let go a little to keep your energy flowing?

Sun semi-sextile Venus is a bit on the wide side in orb (2:39), but it is applying to become exact (Sep.27). The signs involved are Virgo and Libra, so the Sun could feel Venus' efforts to smooth the way through social niceties are frivolous and distracting from the point of what the Sun is trying to accomplish. Venus, on the other hand, could feel that everything glides easier with some smiles and gaiety rather than being all work and no play. So: is there a battle going on in your life between work and relaxation, or between perfection versus give-and-take, and if so, what could you do to create a happier balance?

Moonlight floods the whole sky from horizon to horizon;
How much it can fill your room depends on its windows.
~ Jalaluddin Rumi, The Essential Rumi

There is no shortage of challenges with this Pisces Full Moon! Since it is also a Lunar Eclipse, how you go about managing and resolving these issues can have a greater or longer effect than you might expect.

If you find yourself trying to rush through a problem that doesn't seem to want to be fixed right away, take your patience hat out of the closet and dust it off, and put on the t-shirt that says: I'm okay just the way I am. Then wear these proudly as you go about fighting fires and slaying dragons in your life.

On the other hand, if you feel like you want to just shut your eyes, hide under the bed and hope it all goes away, then take out your journal and write 25 times: I am capable and I can do this. I can also take refuge in a safe place when I need to.

This is a time to be open to new perspectives. A Full Moon is a time of fruition and full expression of something that's been building for a while. What might be emerging now is fresh insight about how you might do things differently or trying on a different way of seeing things. Holding onto tightly what you think "should" happen might be intended as persistence or determination, but your mind and spirit might work better if you let go a bit and delegate some of your to-do list to the Universe.

Happy Eclipse!

What could I say to you that would be of value,
except that perhaps you seek too much,
that as a result of your seeking you cannot find.
~ Hermann Hesse, Siddhartha

Sep.17 – Mars trine Uranus (23:35 of Sagittarius/Aries)  (Sep.18 in AU)

This is a very high energy time, although not necessarily predictable or reliable. Your energy may come in spurts or in response to situations that don't normally affect you very much. You may find an upsurge of daring and confidence that seem to come out of nowhere. Or your sexual desire might suddenly come alive. This transit can inspire motivation that is spontaneous, sudden or unexpected. It might make your physical or emotional energy fluctuate or feel a bit "wired." However, it can also give a burst of courage and drive that can propel you out of a rut or inspire you to break free of limitations. Freedom, liberation and asserting your individuality are key areas that can ignite this energy. You might also find yourself involved in group activities, possibly in a leadership role or in a way that your ideas have a greater effect than usual on others.

Sep.18 – Venus opposite Uranus (23:33 of Libra/Aries)  (Sep.17 in HAST)

Relationships, social interaction, material resources and emotional balance may be a bit unpredictable or unstable around this time, as Uranus the Awakener sounds a wake-up gong in these areas. You may be more inclined to act out of character, to experiment or be reckless in relationship, social or financial matters, which could be liberating or disturbing, exciting or upsetting. Circumstances or other people might create a situation in which you are forced to respond in an unusual or unfamiliar way. The idea behind this energy is to become more flexible and more open to a broader vision of what is possible in those areas. There may be weak spots in the affected areas which this transit illuminates by creating problems, so that they can be repaired and strengthened, or else broken and released so that new opportunities can come in. Trust the process and keep your eyes open to seeing new truth and insight.


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Sep.19 – Venus sextile Mars (24:58 of Libra/Sagittarius)

It is possible now to take a balanced approach to conflict, problems and projects that require effort. This can combine both a gentle touch and firm action; sensitivity and forcefulness. Negotiation and interaction with others could be aggressive and determined now, but also balanced with sensitivity and style. Any expressions of anger, frustration or discontent are more likely to be tempered with fairness, moderation and composure. You'll have to apply some effort to get these opposite energies working in sync together, but the potential and opportunity are there more-so than usual now.

Sep.20 – Mercury Retrograde trine Pluto (14:56 of Virgo/Capricorn)  (Sep.21 in UK, AU)

It is possible to dive deep below the surface now, in your perception of situations, other people and yourself. If you have been working on trying to understand the deeper motivations and dynamics of what is happening in your life, there could be a breakthrough now. The light may finally go on in the darker corners that have eluded you, and your penetrating insight. You could find a way to articulate these perceptions and speak your mind in a way that is unusually powerful or intense (so be careful you don't inadvertently blow your audience out of the water). This transit can bring an opportunity to shed and leave behind old worn out perceptions or ineffective forms of communication. Try writing down your thoughts and ideas to capture the energy of this transit. This is the only exact pass for this transit, since Pluto was out of range when Mercury came through this area two months ago.

This is the second of 3 passes of this transit: Aug.10, Sep.20, Sep.23.

Sep.22 – Mercury Stationary Direct (14:49 of Virgo; until Dec.19)  (Sep.21 in HAST, AKDT, PDT, MDT)  ("What's a Station?"  "What does Retrograde mean?"  Read more about Mercury Retrograde.  Read more about Retrograde planets.)

Mercury finally turns direct! Yippeeee!!!! ;-) But we're not out of the woods just yet. For up to a week before and after today, you may experience mental intensity, confusion, and miscommunications or simply changes in your outlook. After being Retrograde for the last 3 to 3� weeks, Mercury is now taking a slow turn to resume Direct motion. This period has challenged you to rethink and rehash things that required some fine-tuning or revision. The Direct station can be a time when clearer decisions start to emerge from the issues and struggles you've encountered during the retrograde period. Or, it might turn your perspective around so that you're seeing your situation fresh again.

Over the next couple of weeks, while Mercury is still in the Shadow, your brain may feel a bit like it's gradually waking up after a deep sleep. During this time, you can gradually put into practice the learning and knowledge you've gained from your retrograde "dreams" and moonlight visions. It will take time to get fully back into sync with the Mercury direct energy. So, take it slow, one step at a time, and untangle yourself one strand at a time.

The key dates of this Mercury cycle (for North American Eastern Time):

Sep.22 – Happy Equinox! Sun enters Libra (until Oct.22)


Ottawa, Canada and
Washington DC, USA:

Sep.22, 2016, 10:21 AM EDT

London, UK:

Sep.22, 2016, 3:21 PM BST

Sydney, AU:

Sep.23, 2016, 12:21 AM 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.

Sep.23 – Mercury Direct trine Pluto (14:55 of Virgo/Capricorn)  (Sep.22 in HAST)

It is possible to dive deep below the surface now, in your perception of situations, other people and yourself. If you have been working on trying to understand the deeper motivations and dynamics of what is happening in your life, there could be a breakthrough now. The light may finally go on in the darker corners that have eluded you, and your penetrating insight. You could find a way to articulate these perceptions and speak your mind in a way that is unusually powerful or intense (so be careful you don't inadvertently blow your audience out of the water). This transit can bring an opportunity to shed and leave behind old worn out perceptions or ineffective forms of communication. Try writing down your thoughts and ideas to capture the energy of this transit. This is the only exact pass for this transit, since Pluto was out of range when Mercury came through this area two months ago.

This is the last of 3 passes of this transit: Aug.10, Sep.20, Sep.23.


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Sep.23 – Venus enters Scorpio (until Oct.18)  (Sep.24 in AU)

Venus is the planet of relationships, interaction, beauty, pleasure and material resources. She struts through Scorpio with attitude! As a result, we may experience sensuality, sexuality and intimacy in a more intense, in-your-face kind of way. You might feel the need to establish a better balance of power with others that is pleasant and even-handed on the surface but also deals with the more gritty or intense energy that tends to lurk under the surface. It may be easier to attract what (or who) you want now, by focusing your intent and interest on the object of your affection and desire. However, there can also be a danger of becoming manipulative, controlling or devious to get what you want. Strive to become centred in your deepest heart's desire through steadfast self-honesty. Aim to avoid becoming obsessed with power, wealth or lust so that you lose sight of your true light inside. This is a good transit to take joy in your instinctive nature.

Sep.26 – Sun conjunct Jupiter (03:37 of Libra)  (Sep.25 in HAST, AKDT, PDT)

Confidence, optimism, leadership, vision and well being characterise this transit. Your self-esteem and self-awareness can be wide open now. Your sense of being part of something greater than yourself may be vivid and bright. And you may have increased ability to identify and act on opportunities around you, which can bring you "lucky" prospects. On the other hand, if you have difficulty embracing a positive sense of self, or if you shy away from believing you are a treasured Child of the Universe, then this transit might stir up those difficult feelings to the surface. You could wind up trying to compensate with over-confidence, arrogance, blind faith, or gambling on what are realistically poor prospects. The trick is to tap into the spirit of who you are. Let go of blame and instead apply some honest yet compassionate assessment. Let your spirit shine brightly out to the world, but not so brightly that you blind yourself or others by your own light. Consult a trusted friend for feedback or advice if in doubt. This is a great time to expand your horizons, whether that is through travel, by learning something new, by sharing your knowledge with others, or by exploring the Meaning of Life.

Sep.26 – Pluto Stationary Direct (14:55 of Capricorn; until Sep.dd)  (_ in 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 and act on those changes. This might be a time when you feel the weight of power struggles or loss in your life, but it can also galvanize 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.27 – Mars enters Capricorn (until Nov.09)

Mars works very well in Capricorn – in fact, Mars can be quite the little workhorse! Action that pursues your ambitions, goals, projects or objectives can make serious progress under this transit. It may be easier to pace yourself and be disciplined in how you use your energy and effort now. Taking a serious, responsible attitude in your actions is likely to produce positive results, even more-so than usual. On the other hand, if you have difficulty with these qualities, and tend to rebel or fight to preserve your freedom, you might feel more like you're being strapped into a yoke and harness and ordered to plough the fields. However, the amount of serious, authentic work you're willing to put your energy into will likely pay off in kind. It can be a good time to show leadership or to make independent decisions that lead by example. Taking risks will make more sense if you prepare your strategy and map out your plan of action.

Next Update:  NEW MOON in LIBRA. Available by September 30, 2016.

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