The Low-Down on the Far-Out

New Moon in Libra, October 2018

Chart for the New Moon in Libra
Chart for the New Moon in Libra

Peace cannot be kept by force;
it can only be achieved by understanding.
~ Albert Einstein

Oct.08 – NEW MOON in LIBRA (15:48 of Libra)

Libra is all about balance. It's about one side of something having equal or equivalent value—weight, importance, priority, etc—with the other side.

Ideally, when you're in balance, you are at peace, centered and grounded. If something happens to throw the balance out of whack, you can usually bring yourself back to centre again without too much trouble.

The lesson of Libra is about finding that balance, and in order to find it, you must first become aware of how you are out of balance. Start by looking at the two sides that are uneven.

A beetle will chase after an opening of light,
while a cockroach will scatter at a crack of it.
How are we different from insects?
Nobody is purely good or purely evil.
Most of us are in-between. There are moths that
explore the day and butterflies that play at night.
Polarity is an integral part of nature —
human or not human.
~ Suzy Kassem, Rise Up and Salute the Sun:
The Writings of Suzy Kassem

We tend to see and respond to the world in binary, polarized ways. It's this or it's that. It's good or bad. Yes or no. Win or lose. Left or right. All or nothing.

This is a nice, neat, uncomplicated view of life that seems like it should work. The problem is that life doesn't usually work quite so cleanly. There's always "fine print" on our contract with life, and if you ignore it, it can come back and make things very problematic.

For one thing, life usually isn't as simple as yes/no, good/bad, etc. Context matters. It can shed light on each side of an argument to reveal that the issues are more intricate than they first appear.

For another thing, balance inevitably goes out of balance again. This is the nature of life – it's always changing, growing, evolving, moving. It doesn't just arrive at a final solution, at which point everything stops and stays where it is. The bouncing ball keeps on bouncing. Each answer leads to another question. There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to solutions to problems. Trying to apply simplistic answers to complex problems inevitably creates more troubles that are harder to fix.

To keep many weeds from growing back in your garden, the whole root system must be removed. In the same way, truly eradicating a problem requires attention to detail and a willingness to see, understand and deal with the intricacies of the root system – otherwise they just keep growing back. (Of course, weeds often carry the potent medicine for various ailments, so you might want to rethink removing them...)

We all feel that the opposite of our own highest principle must be purely destructive, deadly, and evil.
We refuse to endow it with any positive life-force;
hence we avoid and fear it.
~ C.G. Jung

So, why do old problems grow back, even after you think you've taken steps to solve them?

A reaction that seems like it should solve the original problem often evokes a counter-reaction. If the situation involves two sides that are in disagreement (which is usually the case), this can escalate into an all-out battle of reaction and counter-reaction.

Each side is afraid of losing the fight, so it pushes back and tries to outdo the other. ...Which of course means the other side now must do the same in order to avoid being on the losing end. And on and on, swinging between bigger and bolder extremes.

When this happens, it's easy to blame the other side for perpetuating the problem. After all, they disrupted the solution you so painstakingly put into place, right? But the reactions themselves may be as much a part of the problem as the original issue.

In other words, reactions typically happen on both sides of a conflict, and by reacting—in anger, hostility, retaliation, resentment, outrage or defiance—we may be actually be contributing to and continuing the escalating problem at least as much as the other guy.

That's not to say you shouldn't push back when you feel a line has been crossed or if you've been put in an unacceptable situation. But at some point, the deadlock of reaction/counter-reaction must be broken if a workable solution is ever to be reached.

So, although Libra is (rightly) associated with peacemaking, diplomacy and harmonizing, it is also (rightly) associated with war, opposition and indecision. Opposite ideas, to be sure, and yet also mirror images of each other.

Somehow, we'll find it. The balance between whom we wish to be and whom we need to be. But for now, we simply have to be satisfied with who we are.
~ Brandon Sanderson, The Hero of Ages

The question becomes: How do you stop the endless, vicious cycle of reaction/counter-reaction enough to reach a state of balance?

1.

Start by expanding your awareness of that swinging pendulum that bounces between the extremes. The idea is to learn to see both sides, not to simply take sides. If you only see one side of the argument, you stay stuck in the imbalance. As the saying goes, there are (at least) two sides to every story. To reach peace, it's necessary to come to an understanding of both sides in their own terms.

2.

Recognize that everyone—no matter how unthinkable, inexcusable or vile you think their actions are—believes they are doing the right thing. It makes sense to them. That doesn't necessarily make them right (or right-er than your position), but people don't usually do things just to be cruel or nasty. There's some kind of rationale that justifies it in their mind. If we don't try to understand what the world looks like through their eyes, we will never truly understand what drives them or how to negotiate effective change.

3.

Seeing the world through opposing eyes can give you valuable insight into what your own actions, attitude and position come across like. You might see yourself as simply asserting your own point of view, but from their side it might seem like you're imposing your own priorities while dismissing or demeaning theirs. Naturally under those conditions, the other person is likely to push back and resist whatever you're trying to do. So, by seeing yourself through the mirror of their eyes you might discover how you are contributing to the problem in ways you don't intend.

4.

Part of looking through the other's eyes involves listening, not just stating your own position. When you feel you have not been heard, your reaction may be to state your position more clearly, stronger or louder in an effort to get through to the other person, right? We all do that. One thing that can help to stop the swinging pendulum of reactivity is to just listen, and let the person know you hear them and understand their perspective. You may or may not agree with it still, but you can still understand where they're coming from in their own terms. Then they may be more receptive to hearing your position more openly, if they're not defensively trying to be heard first.

tightrope walker
5.

The more you are able to see and appreciate both sides of the divide, the more you will have the ability to adjust your balance through conscious choice rather than impulse or compulsion. You can start to slow down your reactions and respond out of understanding and appreciation for both sides of the argument.

6.

This enables you to start to work from the middle ground, rather than the far edges of your polarized positions. The middle ground is where the point of balance is found. It's the hinge point where diverging positions can reach equilibrium. Move to this side and the balance tips this way; move to that side and it shifts the other way. The middle ground is the equal sign in the equation. Finding that middle ground involves a process of centering.

7.
measuring spices

Like the alchemist who adds and subtracts ingredients and weights to achieve balance, we shift our perspective one way and then the other, to find where symmetry can be achieved. Finding common ground with another person is typically a process of each one moving closer to the centre until you meet somewhere in the middle. I'll agree to eat at your favorite restaurant if you'll come with me to the movie of my choice. I'll pay a higher price if the product is of better quality. I'll agree to a lower salary as long as it has good benefits.

8.

Above all else, balance must be done with love if it is to be lasting. If resentments remain, it will have to be renegotiated again down the road—assuming the ceasefire lasts that long! This is not necessarily about passion, sexuality or intimacy (that's Scorpio's specialty), but rather with Libra's qualities: appreciation, fairness and caring. Agreements made in anger, hostility, coercion or desperation, that lack tolerance, consideration and acceptance, might at least keep things from becoming worse but usually do not work as a long-term solution.

Your hand opens and closes, opens and closes. If it were always a fist or always stretched open, you would be paralysed. Your deepest presence is in every small contracting and expanding, the two as beautifully balanced and coordinated as birds' wings.
~ Jelaluddin Rumi , The Essential Rumi

So, which planets are allies in this quest and which are adversaries?

We look first to the Sun-Moon conjunction in Libra (a.k.a. the New Moon), who are in a stressful square aspect to Pluto (90°). On the negative side, negotiations and agreements may feel forced or coerced. It can be easy to assume that if the other guy is gaining anything, it means you're giving up too much. You might prefer to see them at least as unhappy with the results as you are, and if they don't, the temptation to retaliate or sabotage those results could be strongly felt.

New Moon Libra aspects

On the other hand, this may be a time when push comes to shove with important issues, forcing those involved to deal more effectively and deeply with the residual problems of the situation. Mars is in a supportive trine aspect to the New Moon (120°), making it easier to find the will to continue to work out leftover issues.

The New Moon is also quincunx Neptune (150°), suggesting the end result is unlikely to align with anyone's highest ideals. Satisfaction and success may well be disappointing or ambiguous. However, this also brings an opportunity to view the situation in a fresh way which could bring a new perspective and understanding about the dynamics between those involved. Stay flexible in your perspective and let the Universe show you something new.

To light a candle is to cast a shadow...
~ Ursula K. Le Guin, A Wizard of Earthsea

Venus, as the ruling planet of Libra, just turned retrograde (Oct.05). Any agreements made now may need to be revised in the future – perhaps after Venus goes direct (Nov.16). Although frustrating, this retrograde period could provide an opportunity to test the solution and see how well it will work, and then revise later based on what happens. Similarly, old arrangements might need to be renegotiated since discontent with the old could become intolerable.

Venus is in Scorpio, where satisfaction and pleasure tend to run deeper and more intense than in other signs. In order to reach a state of balance, you'll need to dig down below the surface inside yourself, your feelings, the other person's feelings, and the interpersonal dynamics between you. You might encounter some truths that are unpleasant, upsetting or intimidating, but the more you are able to see and understand the deeper nature of what is happening, the more you will be in a position to form a strategy for change and improvement.

Venus aspects

Mars is square to Venus (90°), which echoes and aggravates the tension between the New Moon and Pluto. This give 3 different ways that we're tangling with Scorpio energy – Venus in Scorpio, Venus square Mars (traditional ruler of Scorpio) and New Moon square Pluto (modern ruler of Scorpio).

Although we often think of Libra as being like rowing gently down a flower-lined stream, this could be a bit closer to white water rafting with Venus Fly Traps lining the shore. ;-) This is when you may need to keep your balance, since the turbulent, shifting current means you'll need to pay careful attention in order to stay grounded.

Neptune is in a supportive trine to Venus (120°), which can help keep you optimistic and easy-going when going through those turbulent waters. This can help you find your way to empathy and compassion when you find yourself scraping against the rougher edges of Mars and Pluto. Creative playfulness can help – music, dance, doodling, painting, etc.

We're fascinated by the words--but where we meet is in the silence behind them.
~ Ram Dass

Mercury aspects

Mercury is opposite Uranus (180°), giving a mixed bag of potential. For one thing, this is a dissociate aspect, meaning they are not in signs that naturally oppose each other, but nevertheless are within orb to form an opposition aspect. This tends to make the energy more complex or complicated. In this case, I'd say it's a bit of both.

On one hand, you might get intuitive flashes that are sharp, sudden and unexpected. On the other hand, it can be easy to jump to assumptions based on too little information to draw a meaningful conclusion. Mercury is also applying to another dissociate aspect – a sextile to Saturn (60°). This can help keep you grounded, practical and realistic when you're consumed by impulses, outbursts or defiance that interferes with your ability to listen.

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The chart has no planets in Fire signs (Aries, Leo, Sagittarius). The North Lunar Node (true node) is still in Leo, so there is a challenge to use your experiences, feelings, insights and urges as fuel to ignite inspired action down the road. This could happen when Uranus goes back into Aries temporarily (Nov.06 to Mar.06.2019). So this is a good time to practice keeping your balance when the world is swirling around you – you will probably need that skill when Uranus finishes his business with Aries before moving into Taurus for the long haul.

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.
~ Jalal Ad-Din Rumi

Oct.08 – Mars leaves the Shadow (09:13 of Aquarius; next shadow begins Jul.25.2020)  (Oct.09 in AU)   ("What's the Shadow?"  Read my articles about Retrograde Cycles.  Read my article about Mars Retrograde.  Read more about Mars Retrograde cycle.)

Mars now leaves the Retrograde Shadow – the span of the Zodiac where it was retrograde up until about 2 months ago. Mars goes through 3 phases in its retrograde cycle. The pre-retrograde phase is where Mars enters the Shadow – the area of the Zodiac where it will go retrograde – and lasts for 6-9 weeks. The retrograde phase is where Mars appears to go backwards in the sky (retrograde motion), which lasts for about 8-12 weeks. The post-retrograde phase is when Mars makes his final pass through the Shadow, again lasting about 6-9 weeks.

If you think back to these time periods, you may notice a pattern involving Mars-related areas of your life. This includes physical and mental energy, anger and assertiveness, conflict and challenge, aggression and hostility, courage and risk-taking, motivation and enthusiasm, ambition and obsession, disruptive change and putting things into action. You might have experienced either an increase or decrease in some of these areas over the last 6 months, especially during the retrograde period.

Now, Mars is leaving the post-retrograde Shadow phase, which finishes this long retrograde cycle. If Mars-related areas became stronger and more noticeable, or if they seemed to fade into the background or dropped in strength for a while, they are likely returning to their "normal" state (whatever that is for you). We will not see another Mars Retrograde Shadow again for another 1.5 years.

Mars is a more straightforward, regular Mars now, instead of being Mars with an especially pointed axe to grind (over and over...).

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

Oct.09 – Mercury enters Scorpio (until Oct.31)  (Oct.10 in UK, AU)

Cunning communication and insight are at their peak, as Mercury skulks through Scorpio. It's a time for unearthing secrets and delving deeply into the psychological Shadow (Carl Jung's term for the unconscious parts of ourselves that we don't want to or know how to face). There is opportunity for healing and grounding now, but you may have to resist the temptation to manipulate others to control that process. Your awareness of the undercurrents around you could be increased...or you might stir up those undercurrents in others without intending to, by blurting things out in a blunt or harsh way. This transit presents an opportunity to learn new ways to wield words with the skill of a surgeon – to heal and remove what is toxic, not to wound or retaliate. Use it wisely. If you are not crystal clear with yourself about your motives and feelings when communicating with others, your unconscious or hidden agendas could seep through and cause hurt when that was not your intention.

Oct.10 – Mercury opposite Uranus (01:05 of Scorpio/Taurus)  (Oct.11 in AU)

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.

Oct.10 – Venus Retrograde square Mars (10:16 of Scorpio/Aquarius)  (Oct.11 in UK, 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.

This is the second of 2 passes of this transit: Sep.08, Oct.10.

Oct.11 – Mercury square North Lunar Node (02:34 of Scorpio/Leo)  (Oct.12 in AU)  ("What's a Lunar Node?")

Under this transit, you might find you need to, or are compelled to, change your mind about where you are heading in your life. You could be confronted with facts or information that contradicts what you thought was real or true about your sense of life purpose, or it might seem like someone is getting in your way. You may be tempted to dismiss this, deny it, avoid it or rationalize your way around it. However, there is probably valuable information coming to you that is important to take into consideration. It doesn't necessarily mean your life destination should be abandoned; rather, you are challenged to see it more clearly. You might also need to communicate information or a point of view that could be unwelcome or unpopular, or difficult to get your point across. In that case, try not to go overboard in standing your ground and focus primarily on what needs to be said and the best way to say it.

Oct.12 – Sun square Pluto (18:47 of Libra/Capricorn)  (Oct.11 in HAST, AKDT, PDT, MDT, CDT)

This can be a challenging time, when your sense of purpose, identity and direction may feel blocked, overpowered or regulated by forces beyond your control. You may find yourself confronted by difficult situations or people, requiring that you rally an unusually strong show of power to keep from feeling powerless or overwhelmed. The trick is to center yourself in empowerment rather than simple power – that means your power comes from within yourself rather than from controlling people and situations outside of yourself. You might find yourself involved in power struggles or abandonment, either in the present or stirred up from the past. You might be forced to let go of your attachment to something or someone due to circumstances beyond your control. However, this can also be a time when you reach inside yourself and find you have more strength than you thought you did. Adversity may inspire new assertiveness and purpose in you – empowerment born of conflict and struggle.

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Oct.12 – Mercury sextile Saturn (03:34 of Scorpio/Capricorn)  (Oct.11 in HAST)

It can be easier to take a logical, practical approach to problem-solving and decisions now. It's a good time to make plans and work out the logistics of how you're going to get from "here" to "there" in pursuing your ambitions. Or, you may find it's time to bring closure to finished goals, by distilling and systemizing what you've learned in the past several months. This will probably require a bit of effort on your part to make it happen, but the opportunity is there if you choose to take it. This transit can bring mental stability and the ability to apply your mental focus in a practical and grounded way. It may be easier to see things realistically and objectively. Creative energy can become productive and rewarding, if you use it methodically or logically.

Oct.15 – Mercury conjunct Venus Retrograde (08:50 of Scorpio)

Social connections, diplomatic communication and receptive awareness mark this transit. It can be a great time to negotiate contracts or agreements because the communication can usually flow easily. Focus your awareness on achieving a mutual balance between you and the other person. A win-win solution is especially easy to achieve now – so much so, in fact, that it might be tempting to only say what you think the other person wants to hear (which may or may not be wise). This can also be a time of appreciating and expressing beauty, pleasure and sensuality. If there's someone you want to get closer to (in terms of romance, friendship, business, partnership, or even an adversary!), talking gently and listening receptively can be the key that unlocks the door. You may also get new creative ideas from your interactions with people or from observing them.

Oct.19 – Mercury trine Neptune (14:03 of Scorpio/Pisces)  (Oct.18 in HAST)

Your mind is very open to imagination, dreams and compassion under this transit. This can be a very creative time, when ideas flow like a magical river. It can also be easy to get caught up in yearning and fantasizing about your hidden wishes, although it is possible to channel this into creative expression. (e.g., writing poetry, dancing, wistful music, singing in the shower, whatever!) Listening sympathetically to others' problems may come easily now, and you are more likely to get a compassionate response from others about your own problems. However, it may also be difficult to draw clear and firm boundaries with others, since you are more susceptible to the emotional gravity of others. It is ultimately a time for optimism, hope, creativity and intuition, although it's wise to keep at least one foot on the ground.

Oct.19 – Mercury square Mars (14:30 of Scorpio/Aquarius)  (Oct.20 in AU)

Fiery speech, argument and hot debate characterise this transit. This could come in the form of conflict, or it might be stimulating and challenging – or both! One thing to watch out for is that you may have a short fuse for a temper, and the same may be true for others around you. It can be a time when you blurt out things you later regret, or you might finally find the courage to do something that's long overdue. The problem is that one can easily look like the other, and what feels like courage in the moment might look more like reckless haste in retrospect. Harsh words can't always be taken back, so keep a grip on your objectivity and better judgment while you're verbally fighting the dragons. Use this energy to stoke your motivational fires, and use your ideas to generate positive action. It can help to pace your mental energy like racing a horse, which can harness abundant energy to fuel your decisions, courage and resolve.

Oct.22 – Mercury sextile Pluto (18:52 of Scorpio/Capricorn)  (Oct.23 in AU)

Penetrating insights and passionate communication are possible under this transit ...although, so is speaking more forcefully than you intend to about things that require a bit of delicacy or discretion. It is also a time when your mental concentration can come together so easily that you become obsessed. You may prefer in-depth discussion to small-talk, and it might feel awkward if you aren't able to explore the depths in your interaction or communication with others. However, you likely have an increased ability to pick up on undercurrents of what's happening around you. This is also a time when you can start to shed and leave behind old worn out perceptions and ways of communicating. You also have an increased ability to take thoughts, ideas and information and transform them into something healing ...or wounding. Choose your words carefully and mindfully. Writing down your thoughts and ideas to capture the energy of this transit can help you gather the deeper qualities.

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Oct.23 – Sun enters Scorpio (until Nov.22)

Happy Solar Return to all Scorpios! While the Sun is in Scorpio, we all get to explore our passions and probe the secrets within our depths. There is an intensity to the Scorpio experience that goes right to the core, and Scorpio challenges you to take a closer look at how that intensity manifests in your psyche. What are you passionate about and what fires up that passion? What events and experiences have brought you to "rock bottom" and then turned the tide to rejuvenate you back to a new lease on life? What people, causes, beliefs or physical things are so important to you that you would even risk death for? What secrets do you harbour inside, even from yourself? Posing these hypothetical questions doesn't mean you'll bring it on! But doing so can help you tap into the Scorpio experience to understand better how you experience transformation and touch the deepest heart of life itself. The danger is in becoming so obsessed with your passion that you neglect the practical realities. Or, you could become stuck in the "dark side" of transformation and letting go of the old, that you forget that figurative death and transformation are meant to lead into rebirth in order to complete the cycle. During this time, celebrate the endings in your life. Honour the hard times when you have had to face painful losses. And take passionate pleasure in the things that pull you out of your routines and make you feel alive. In some way, they have all allowed you to survive, thrive and grow.

Oct.23 – Sun opposite Uranus (00:33 of Scorpio/Taurus)  (Oct.24 in UK, AU)

This transit brings an encounter with the Awakener! This could come in the form of another person or outside situation that shakes you out of your habitual routine and pushes you to try a new approach to your situation. Life may be very unpredictable right now, requiring you to be spontaneous, innovative or independent in the way you respond to it. This could be stressful or exciting! It is actually showing you a new path in the darkness, like a lightening flash in the night. If you feel startled or caught off guard, or confused about what to do next, find your internal centre and try to be open to what the situation is illuminating for you. You now have a chance to shed some old habits and ways that you are stuck, if you can stay centered in the middle of the whirlwind. You may experience revelations – that "ah-ha!!" feeling – which could open up new possibilities and opportunities for you. However, it might feel like you have little choice but to try these new things (rather than freely choosing them). You could find yourself reacting to others with a powerful impulse to throw off the shackles of anything that feels restrictive, to reclaim your independence – although this could also be motivated by a fear of commitment or responsibility too. It is wise to check your own inner motives, feelings and assumptions before automatically dismissing, rejecting or rebelling against other people.

Next Update:  FULL MOON in TAURUS. Available by October 24, 2018.

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© 2018 Wendy Guy. All rights reserved. This material may not be copied or used without the author's written permission. Astrology diagrams © Wendy Guy unless otherwise noted. OTHER CREDITS: Most or all of the quotes on this page were found at GoodReads.com.  Photo of balancing stones by gunnar3000, and photo of washed out dock by bernardojbp, both via CanStockPhoto.com. Photo of tightrope walker by bonina, and scale with spices by belchonock, both via 123RF.com.


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