The Low-Down on the Far-Out

Full Moon in Pisces, September 2, 2020

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

Full Moon in Pisces
Heroes and Villains

Power changes everything till it is difficult to say
who are the heroes and who the villains.
~ Libba Bray, The Sweet Far Thing

Sep.02 – FULL MOON in PISCES (10:12 of Sign)

Pick a direction, any direction, and you'll be able to find something in your life—inside and/or out—that is spinning out in that direction. Every which way. The very busy chart for the Full Moon in Pisces tells the story—er, stories!

Pisces is well known for its ambiguity, illusion, blurred edges and dreams. This can lead to confusion (rooted in either mystery or deception) or to creative inspiration (rooted in a desire to transcend the mundane). Although in Pisces, it may be tricky to tell the difference.

In Pisces, we have bountiful imagination that is not constricted by the rules of realism or fact-checking. This definitely has its uses: In the arts (visual art, music, dance). In the power to imagine a different reality when change is necessary or desired. And in the process of change itself, when we are called upon to let go of the old in order to move into something new.

But problems arise when we get lost in that liminal space between "here" and "there," between actuality and possibility, reality and fantasy. It's not that one is better than the other, nor that one is to be distrusted while the other is reliable.

In Pisces, we have an impressive tool of perception and understanding, although depending on how we use it, it can be a lens that shows us a different kind of perspective... or a distorted mirror that we mistake for reality.

Everyone thinks of changing the world,
but no one thinks of changing himself.
~ Leo Tolstoy

There is so much going on in the Pisces Full Moon chart that it's hard to know where to start or what the common thread is. And in a way, that's part of its message – it reflects the frenzied, turbulent dynamics that are spiraling our shared world in all directions.

"Good" aspects, "bad" aspects, heroes and villains. Problems, solutions, possibilities, deception, hopes, dreams, disappointments. And a running theme of "there must be something we can do!" Who are the "good guys" and who are the "bad guys?" And why? What do they all want? The chart seems to convey a continual dialogue of "Yes, but..."

Let's start by consulting Mercury in analytical Virgo and see if we can make some sense of it. Virgo loves lists, so let's examine a list of components, starting with a gazillion or so aspect patterns in the chart: 2 Wedges, 1 T-square, 1 Hard Rectangle, various and sundry other configurations, and a partridge in a pear tree.

Wedge - Sun, Moon, Uranus

The Full Moon—Moon opposite the Sun—forms an exceptionally tight Wedge aspect pattern with Uranus, all at 10° of their respective signs. The tension inherent in the opposition (180°) needs to be worked through – in this case between analytical Virgo and imaginative Pisces. Critical thinking versus creative imagination.

Uranus as the apex planet forms a cooperative sextile with the Moon and a harmonizing trine with the Sun (60° and 120° respectively). So, Uranus gets to act as mediator between conflicting agendas (Virgo versus Pisces), as well as providing a common thread that both sides of the conflict can relate to.

Uranus is also the only planet in in a Fixed sign, making the planet of chaos, change and rule-breaking the primary ambassador for Fixed energy that seeks stability, constancy and durability. You can't get much weirder than that. Uranus' message seems to be: The only constant is change.

So, we have persistent change (Uranus in Taurus) acting as a referee between fluid imagination (Pisces Moon) and precise rationality (Virgo Sun). Potentially, this combination can work better than it sounds. Uranus, the planet of awakening, can remind the Moon that just because we can imagine it or feel comforted by it, that doesn't make it real or true. Uranus also reminds the Sun that just because the details are factually true doesn't mean you "get" the whole picture; the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

Indeed, this whole year has been one where the only constant is change. And right now, Mutable Pisces and Virgo carry a theme of transitioning between what we believe and what we think; between what we identify with and what we share with others.

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

The Full Moon chart has a See-Saw distribution pattern, indicating there are two distinct energies at play. There seem to be two conflicting, polarized camps – villains and heroes, good and evil, "us" and "them," what we aspire to versus what we have.

See-Saw chart pattern

One side of the See-Saw is represented by the Sun, Mercury and Venus – all representing personal energies: identity, perception and values, respectively.

The other side consists of all outer planets, plus the Moon: Mars, Jupiter and Saturn, plus the transpersonal planets Uranus, Neptune and Pluto, plus Chiron added to the collection. This side is about the challenges, potential, struggles and implications that have been set in motion in the external and collective world.

These two sides of the See-Saw are held in place by 2 powerful opposition aspects (180°) – the Sun-Moon opposition (a.k.a. the Full Moon), and Venus opposing Saturn, Pluto and Jupiter. The Sun-Moon opposition is in Mutable signs (channeling fluid, adaptable, changeable energy), while the Venus-Saturn/etc opposition is in Cardinal signs (action-oriented with a focused, determined agenda).

The Venus-Saturn opposition is partile, at 25° of Cancer and Capricorn, respectively, making it extra powerful. Venus in Cancer wants what will make us feel secure and safe, connecting with those with whom we share a common bond and a sense of "my people." This can manifest as the "us" that becomes polarized to "them" in the context of the opposition aspect.

Saturn and the other Big Boys in Capricorn are busy transforming our world – deconstructing and reconstructing multiple segments of our culture and society, and trying to do it in a way that the pieces will fit back together more effectively and realistically, with room to grow and evolve.

(It's worth mentioning here about Saturn and Pluto, who were conjunct back in January of this year. Although that was their only exact pass, they return to a virtual conjunction in late September, as close as 2:37 orb. Even now, they are very close at just over 3° orb. There will be more about this in the next update, but for now keep in mind that the Saturn-Pluto energy is especially strong this month. This provides an intense backdrop to everything else going on in the Full Moon chart.)

The tension in the Venus-Saturn opposition stretches between the need for personal comfort and the quest for a better world that works well for everyone. And while these two goals will ideally have large overlapping areas, it's not always an exact match. So, we don't always agree with what "those people over there" want, and we may feel like granting "them" what they want will tarnish the world that "we" want. Conflicting ideals and values collide, at worst resulting in an ever-polarizing power struggle. (Stop me when this sounds familiar...)

What may help diffuse the tension is Venus in Cancer's forté – empathy – combined with Saturn's specialty – boundaries. On the other hand, rigid and extreme polarization carries the danger of one or both sides demanding that the solution must be all their way, and those aligned with the other way just have to "get over it." But this rarely (if ever) brings lasting peace. And compromise is not always possible beyond a certain point.

The only thing left is for each to try to understand and empathize with what the other feels, needs, wants and experiences – to see the common humanity that we all share. Everybody wants to be heard, although we're not always willing to open up that deep, tender side of us and be vulnerable. In the resulting defensiveness, we may cling to the extreme, all-or-nothing view of what we will accept as a solution. And sadly, at our human core, we all want and need the same things: safety, esteem, connection, acceptance, dignity, respect and love.

Perhaps it is good to have a beautiful mind, but an even greater gift is to discover a beautiful heart!
~ John Nash

Wedge - Venus, Saturn, Mercury

In the second Wedge aspect pattern, Saturn opposite Venus forms the "spine" and Mercury is the apex planet. Mercury's answer to the Venus-Saturn discord is a combination of clarity, awareness, logical analysis and integrity. It helps to start by making sure each "side" understands what the other is really saying. So, with the ambiguous Pisces Moon colouring the background, clarity is an important first step.

Virgo itself is about perfecting, constantly adjusting and fine-tuning to make something better. On a personal basis, this involves staying aware of our assumptions, conclusions, interpretations and reasoning. Sometimes one side of our mind learns something new but another belief or assumption somewhere else doesn't square with what the other side understands.

This is about connecting the dots, to watch for inconsistencies and to integrate new knowledge or observations, and to see how to make sense of it all. This is the core of integrity – integration of different parts of ourselves so that we can walk the talk without having contradictions in our blind spot. This integration process is inherent throughout the Mutable signs (Virgo, Pisces, Gemini, Sagittarius). It's not enough to increase our awareness – we also need to see how that becomes woven into our whole worldview and to work through the ripple effects of changing perspectives.

So, it's important to recognize that the dynamics generated by the Venus-Saturn conflicting factions are complex and complicated. There is no quick fix for this struggle; nor is there only one right answer, but many possible or partial solutions in what becomes a journey of many steps, and not a simple leap of faith.

Quindecile Yod - Mercury, Moon, Chiron

And Mercury in Virgo has the resumé that's perfect for the job. Being the apex planet in the Wedge pattern, he's on good terms with both sides of the equation. In addition, he is also in communication with both the Moon and Chiron through a quindecile aspect (165°). This may be a "minor" aspect but it speaks loudly through often-obsessive determination and motivation. They all come together in what might be called a Quindecile Yod, nailing this intense energy in place. It suggests that there is a powerful need to get one's point across in a way that definitively cuts through the fog and fixes the flaws in one's image of a perfect world.

Mercury's message is to take nothing for granted, but to scrutinize, verify and question the information that comes your way as well as the assumptions that it stands on. If you look at it in a different way, does it show you a different picture you hadn't seen before? How might that change your understanding of it? Be alert to when you might be filling in the blanks with what you think is there or what you want to be there. We all have a tendency to make assumptions, but if we want clarity we may need to keep digging deeper: who, what, why, when, how?

Courage is a decision you make to act in a way that works through
your own fear for the greater good as opposed to pure self-interest.
Courage means putting at risk your immediate self-interest for what you believe is right.
~ Derrick Bell, Ethical Ambition: Living a Life of Meaning and Worth

The Venus-Saturn opposition has another surprise for us – a T-square aspect pattern. Like the Wedge, this configuration starts with two planets in opposition, and a third planet forms a square aspect (90°) to both of them. In this case, fiery, headstrong Mars in Aries is the apex planet. Whereas the apex of the Wedge is on good terms with the opposing planets, the T-square's apex is on bad terms with both.

T-square - Mars, Venus, Saturn

So, our T-square starts with Venus in Cancer in conflict with Saturn in Capricorn – the personal needs of the individual versus the collective good for society. Mars jumps up and says, "Enough with the carefully calibrated balancing act. I just want to do something NOW!" The urge to do something—anything—just so it relieves the tension and clear the obstructions, can be acute and compelling.

What adds to this drama is the fact that Mars is essentially stationary, a mere 8 days away from turning retrograde (Sep.09 to Nov.13), and currently moving at only 21% of his average speed and dropping fast. This makes Mars energy virtually burn a hole in the chart, and adds even more voltage to the Cardinal T-square with Venus and Saturn.

When Mars goes retrograde on Sep.09, he is in a heavy square aspect to Saturn. In fact, the Mars-Saturn square remains within a 3° orb from Aug.15 to Oct.09, going through 2 exact passes during that time: Aug.24 and Sep.29. Their final pass is on Jan.13.2021.

There is tremendous animosity between Mars and Saturn. Mars is about action, spontaneity and impulse. Saturn is about caution, planning and structure. Mars is like a wild horse that rebels and bucks when captured in Saturn's bridle and saddle. Put another way, Mars is a blazing fire but it can burn itself out without sustained fuel. Saturn is the fireplace log that takes a long time and extra tinder to finally catch fire. Together they can burn efficiently and enduringly, but only if they work together in balance.

So, archetypally, Mars and Saturn typically hiss, spit, snarl and scowl at each other. On the other hand, they can accomplish far more together than they can separately, but they often have to be dragged into partnership kicking and screaming. They are a perfect example of enemies who have more in common than they want to admit, but can't see past their own differences and biases to recognize it. Ironically, they each complement the other in a way that makes both of them function better, but they may be so entrenched in seeing only their disagreements that they miss the magic that happens when they pull together in the same direction.

So, as the powerhouse of stationary Mars squares Saturn and Venus in the T-square, he disrupts the balance of power and resolution between individual needs (Venus) and societal requirements (Saturn). This transit seems to reflect the severe mayhem that has been exploding in many places around the world, and particularly in American politics and the collision of cultural values.

Life is messy. The only thing we can control is how we react to what happens to us and move forward.
~ Laurie Buchanan, PhD

All of this suggests that the conflicting standards, principles and attitudes at the heart of the current upheaval may not ease up anytime soon, or at least not for very long. The passions being stirred up on all sides are at a very high pitch right now, and the roots of the issues run very deep, even down into unconscious and forgotten collective memory. In other words, the agenda and focus of a group can become cemented into form, yet the long-ago origins may not even be remembered or understood.

All we know, based on this Full Moon chart, is that there seem to be two distinct forces that are pulling us in widely different directions. Each force has its own sense of purpose, rationale, logic, and vision of a better world. And each force can be symbolized by two separate groups of planets – the two Wedge aspect patterns, with one of them also including a T-square.

Hard Rectangle

Ordinarily, these two independent planetary groups (Sun-Moon-Uranus and Venus-Saturn-Mercury-Mars) might be able to coexist reasonably well. However, there is yet another aspect pattern that weaves them together – a Hard Rectangle.

This configuration starts with the two oppositions that cross each other – Sun-Moon and Venus-Saturn. The planets at each corner are joined together by semisquares (45° or half-a-square) and sesquiquadrates (135° or a square-and-a-half). (For the sake of not wearing out my fingers typing multisyllabic words multiple times ;-) let's just call them by their other aspect name – the octile family of aspects, based on dividing the circle by 8.)

These somewhat minor aspects are cousins with the square family of aspects (90° and 180°, dividing the circle by 4 and 2). The square and octile aspects are known for evoking struggle, conflict of interest, frustrating discord, and heated friction. In this case, the octiles (a.k.a semisquares) and tri-octiles (a.k.a. sesquiquadrates) often have a more prickly or irritating edge than their square kinsfolk. The overall effect of both square and octile aspects is more than merely stirring up trouble – they also arouse motivation, provoke action, and mobilize us into dynamic problem-solving.

Mystic Rectangle

The name of the Hard Rectangle is derived from a similar pattern called the Mystic Rectangle. In the Mystic figure, there are two stressful oppositions inside an outer border of harmonious trines and sextiles, which indicates a peaceful or easy-going exterior face that conceals an inner struggle.

The Hard Rectangle also has the two oppositions, but surrounded by a border of irritating and restless octiles. It suggests that the outer struggle and frustration hides a much deeper conflict. For example, a person who is in acute pain on the inside, but shows a milder crankiness and discontent on the outside.

The general effect in this case is that the Hard Rectangle will likely keep the two planetary groups in motion. There may not be much overt overlap in the goals and priorities of the two dynamics, but there is a constant push-pull effect between them which connects them. One pulls and the other pushes. One steps forward and the other steps backward to keep the balance.

Each bounces off the other in ways that may not be clearly understood. In the case of our Pisces Full Moon chart, this Hard Rectangle is extremely tight – all aspects are barely ¾ of a degree of orb apart or less. So, its effect is unmistakable, but the underlying mechanism that's "stirring the pot" may be ambiguous, elusive or indirect. As a result, both energy groups may react reflexively to this subtle influence without fully realizing that the result is a vicious cycle of rippling conflict.

When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me,
"Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping."
~ Fred Rogers

That's all very interesting, you might be thinking, but what do I do with this? How can I use this to navigate through the turmoil around me? What can I do to make better progress in my life? How can I find a sense of calm in the midst of the cycling stress? How can I participate constructively in the chaos? All good questions. Here are some suggestions.

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Moon in Pisces – Have some faith in the Universe and in your own strengths that you can get through it all. Sometimes it helps to disconnect for a while and "let the gods handle it" for a little while. Try not to get stuck in denial as a way of coping with overwhelm.

Sun in Virgo – Stay healthy and safe in this time of pandemic. Try to avoid swinging between "it's all BS" and "we're all gonna die." Both views are a little bit right and a little bit wrong, and we live somewhere in the middle. We're in a long-term process of learning how to prevent and heal from COVID-19. Cultivate some patience while staying vigilant in doing what can be done.

Venus in Cancer – Imagine yourself in someone else's shoes, and see what the world looks and feels like through their eyes. Also, stay connected to those you share a bond with, whether that's family or friends. Find ways to take care of yourself, including allowing some time-out from the stress.

Stationary Mars in Aries – If your frustration and anger levels are off the charts these days, take some time-out to cool down. Or, find a constructive use for it – work off the excess energy or focus it into constructive action that contributes to a solution to what is upsetting you. Be aware of what happens when you become overloaded, and monitor yourself so that you redirect the energy before it burns you out.

Mercury in Virgo – Stay focused, whether that means concentrating on taking care of yourself or checking to see if you're spinning out into generalized assumptions. Stick with the facts and what you know, rather than just what you assume. Spend time processing new information to be aware of implications within your worldview, so that you don't become fragmented.

Saturn, Pluto and Jupiter in Capricorn – Be aware that the world is changing dramatically right now, and not all of it is within your direct control. That doesn't make you powerless, but it does mean you don't have to do it all by yourself (nor could any one of us). Find ways to contribute to what you envision as a better world, be they big or small. And "look for the helpers," as Mr. Fred Rogers used to say.

Uranus in Taurus – The only constant is change, which is especially true in current times. Be open to discovering new and unusual things that can give you comfort, pleasure and stability, even just for a little while. Become awake—intellectually, emotionally, physically and spiritually—as much as you can without burning yourself out. Do it a little at a time if need be, but try not to just cling to the old normal in your life; be open to new experiences, feelings, perceptions and understanding.

Above all, stay safe. Stay sane. Stay awesome. The world needs you.

Everybody is special. Everybody.
Everybody is a hero, a lover, a fool, a villain.
Everybody. Everybody has their story to tell.
~ Alan Moore, V for Vendetta

Day to Day Transits for the Next 2 Weeks

Sep.02 – Venus opposite Saturn (25:54 of Cancer/Capricorn)

There are realities to face and deal with, probably related to the way you handle relationships and/or finances. This is a time when you start to see a return on your investments – literally or figuratively. This could be an investment of energy, cooperation and good faith in a close relationship, or it might be the long-term development of a goal requiring financing or resources. It can be a time when "the bill comes in" and you are required to "put your money where your mouth is" and make a deeper commitment to that investment. Or, you might have to admit that the results are not what you had hoped for and you must decide whether to continue or reinvest your energies elsewhere. In other words, this is a time when something might come to an end or your situation becomes more stressful because you have some hard choices to make. The key is to take a long hard look at the realities before you – is it worth it to continue in the direction you're going? What is required if you decide to take it to the next step? The situation may demand effort, but there's also a more solid footing waiting on the other side.

Sep.02 – Sun trine Uranus (10:33 of Virgo/Taurus)  (Sep.03 in AU)

You are more open than usual to spontaneity, surprises and "flying by the seat of your pants!" Your sense of humour and fun are let loose during this transit, as is your ability to break out of old outworn habits. You may get a flash of insight, a burst of courage or a surge of inspiration under this transit. The spirit of who you are can become released now, possibly leading to you behaving a bit "out of character." It's a great time to try new things and experiment with something that's out of character for you. In fact, it may be surprising how easy it is to break out of your usual routine...so much so, that it's good to be careful not to be too reckless under this transit. If your self-confidence, self-expression or self-esteem have been stifled or dampened lately, these could come flying out rather erratically, carelessly or chaotically. Strive to have fun pushing the envelope without ripping it. ;-)

Sep.03 – Mercury trine Saturn (25:52 of Virgo/Capricorn)  (Sep.02 in HAST, AKDT)

It can be easier to take a logical, practical approach to problem-solving and pursuit of your goals now. Your mental outlook is likely to be calm and grounded. This is 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 goals. You may find it's time to bring closure to finished goals by distilling and systemizing what you've learned in the process of pursuing those past goals. Or, you might find you are able to draw on past achievements to assist and support your current goals and plans. It is a good transit to bring structure to your thoughts and communication. You may find it's a little easier to accept authority – yours or someone else's – and that you are able to speak authoritatively about things about which you have knowledge or experience.

Sep.03 – Mercury square North Lunar Node (25:56 of Sign/Gemini)  (Sep.02 in HAST) ("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.

Sep.04 – Venus square Mars (27:55 of Cancer/Aries)  (Sep.03 in HAST)

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.

Sep.04 – Mercury sextile Venus (28:25 of Virgo/Cancer)  (Sep.05 in AU)

There is a potential to benefit from social connections, diplomatic communication and receptive awareness during this transit, although a certain amount of effort is needed to make this happen. It can be a good time for negotiating contracts and other agreements, especially if you consciously focus your intent on achieving balance with your counterpart, partner or opponent that results in a win-win situation for all concerned. There is also potential to appreciate and express beauty, pleasure and sensuality. If there's someone in your life that you want to get closer to, try speaking gently and listening receptively, which can be the key that opens the door to harmonious interaction. Creative ideas can also find expression now if you apply your conscious awareness to bring them into focus. The thing to watch for is a tendency to use manipulation to achieve an advantage, which might be done by you or to you. Keep communication straightforward and clear, and find diplomatic ways to deal with manipulation if you sense it happening.

Sep.05 – Mercury enters Libra (until Sep.27)  (Sep.06 in AU)

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.06 – Venus enters Leo (until Oct.02)  (Sep.05 in HAST, AKDT)

This can be a very creative time, as Venus' love of beauty combines with Leo's creative flair for the dramatic. Find ways to feel good by making your surroundings and yourself beautiful and reflective of your inner spirit! High fashion and vogue style are "in," and crudeness and ordinariness are out...unless you want to turn them into a fashion statement. ;-) However, it's probably wise not to become so identified with the outer appearance of yourself or others that you lose sight of the person, situation or context that it's all happening in. The aim is to pamper yourself with pleasures that enhance your quality of life, without inflating your ego with synthetic self-esteem and glamour without substance. Relationships, interaction, finances, values and resources all need to include ways to express your identity, valour and "heart." Some light-hearted fun and play can be a good place to start.

Sep.09 – Sun trine Jupiter (17:25 of Virgo/Capricorn)  (Sep.10 in AU)

This is a time when your understanding of the Big Picture and your place within it can click into place. As a result, your confidence and self-esteem can be quite high right now. Your ability to see opportunities and possibilities more clearly can produce an experience of being "lucky." Your insight into life and the world around you may be especially bright, optimistic and inspired. This is a "feel-good" transit, when your sense of self can seem to expand and become free. You may feel especially connected to spiritual energy during this time, finding new meaning in your live and the events that unfold around you. Self-confidence can run high now, and you could feel inspired to fight for justice or some cause. At the same time, there is a chance that all this self-assurance and "knowing" could go overboard into over-confidence, dogmatism or over-indulgence if it's not grounded in realism and humility. Just use your best judgment and enjoy this warm, shining energy!

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Sep.09 – Mars Stationary Retrograde (28:08 of Aries; Rx until Nov.13)  (Sep.10 in AU)  ("What's a Station?"  "What does Retrograde mean?"  Read my article about Mars Retrograde.  Read more about Mars Retrograde.

He's baaaaaack!! Mars now turns retrograde for the next 10 weeks or so, creating a need to reconsider the direction and use of our energy. For a week or more before and after today, your physical energy may be a bit erratic or wonky—here one minute and gone the next; active one minute and lethargic the next. Forward progress that was made over the last couple of months may seem like it has hit a roadblock or forced into an annoying detour. Tempers can flare easily from frustration and trying to push through the obstacles that don't want to budge. This can also trigger old unresolved anger, which might need to be worked through over the coming retrograde period. This might also be a time when you feel a bit depressed or lethargic due to repressed anger, particularly if you find it difficult to own, express or accept anger as a natural emotion.

Although this might sound like a totally negative experience, it doesn't have to be. All that energy can also fuel a time of great productivity and determination. The retrograde period could also be a time of respite from anger, conflict or high stress, as you pull back for a while to coast, regroup and rethink how you want to deal with a stressful situation. It is a time to take stock of what you are investing your energy and ambition in and consider if you are spending your energy wisely. It is a time to evaluate whether your plans and actions are working for you, or whether you need to make some adjustments in your direction, or whether you need to consider a complete change of direction. It is also a time to work hard in preparation for plans that can be put into action after Mars goes direct. Think of it as taking inventory, revising your goals and adjusting your plans for the next two years (until the next Mars retrograde).

Mars is retrograde in Aries, which is a heated combination! Mars rules Aries, and so is very strong in that sign. When Mars is in Aries, energy burns at a higher pitch, tempers ignite more easily, anger can be closer to the surface than usual, and impulses may be on an extra-sensitive trigger. In general, when Mars goes retrograde, its energy may either increase or decrease, both in the world around us and personally within ourselves.

With Mars burning hot in Aries right now, an increase could lead to (more) arguments, disagreements, power struggles, and possibly violence. Any tensions lurking under the surface may break through the polite, politically correct or civilized veneer, resulting in a more urgent situation.

On the other hand, Mars energy could suddenly go underground, leaving a curiously calmer face on the outside. When this happens, it's an opportunity to rethink and reconsider just how important the conflicts are that were present before the retrograde. You might find you can find a way to accept or live with the disagreements, or the quieter retrograde period might allow the discord to burn itself out, or there may be new activities behind the scenes that step in to bring a calmer atmosphere to the situation.

On a personal level, a decrease in Mars energy might also manifest as depression, lethargy, pessimism, or grief. In that case, it's good to get some support so that you don't get stuck down there. Confide in a friend, get some short-term counselling. Write out what you're feeling in your journal. Find creative and expressive ways to give a voice to whatever you're going through, like with art, dance, music, workouts, sports – anything that gets your body and spirit moving a bit.

Retrograde Mars energy can also be an excellent opportunity to make progress in a project or doing something you've been putting off. Start that exercise program – if it's been a while, don't get so ambitious that you risk injuring yourself! This Mars energy can be used to boost your motivation or resolve, and take action in situations that require courage, initiative or momentum.

As with Mercury retrograde, it may be wise to use Mars retrograde as a way to plan your course of action and to raise energy and resources, when it comes to new long-term projects, rather than commit to a new major project. Use your best judgment (some objective assessment to balance out the hastiness that Mars in Aries can bring). If you're determined to go ahead now anyway, don't let impulsive Mars skimp on the details and due diligence.

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

Sep.10 – Mercury opposite Chiron (07:59 of Libra/Aries)  (Sep.11 in AU)

You could experience extra sensitivity, compassion or sympathy toward the problems and suffering of others under this transit. One possibility is that you encounter more people than usual who are struggling with problems that are brought to your attention. Another possibility is that you might be on the receiving end of the results of their suffering – for example, if someone takes out their frustration or discouragement on you. Yet another option is that you may encounter others who are sensitive to and able to offer help for your own ongoing problems and struggles. You may be in a special position to have insight into the problems of others, or they into yours. Exchange of information, experiences, ideas and theories could be useful. You might also experience a difficult interaction with someone that raises an old issue about style of communication (for example, words might be spoken with good intentions that instead cause hurt). This is a good time to listen and observe, and you might catch a glimpse of some ironic or paradoxical truth.

Sep.10-13 – Moon goes Out of Bounds (25:53 Gemini to 26:25 Cancer. Peaks on Sep.12, 24S21 at 11:08 Cancer)  (starting Sep.11 in UK, AU)   ("What does Out of Bounds mean?"   "What is Declination?")

The Moon goes Out of Bounds (OOB) by Declination, during which time your feelings and emotions may be a bit stronger—or perhaps more detached—than usual. You might feel somewhat separated from the world around you, and as a result you might feel a bit lonely or in need of some reassuring human contact. On the other hand, this detachment might be a welcome change if you're feeling a bit stressed or overwhelmed by the energy around you and need some time out. Or, you may find it's time to go your own way a bit more, to seek your own company or search for a more supportive environment. Your creativity and imagination might be more willing to follow unusual ideas, whims and impulses.

A planet goes OOB when its declination is greater than 23:26 (23 degrees and 26 minutes), which is the maximum declination of the Sun, and the Sun defines the Bounds. In 2020, the Moon's maximum declination finally goes beyond the Bounds in March, for the first time since 2011, and will continue to go OOB until January 2030.

For now, the Moon's maximum declination increases very gradually each month, and only gets to 24:52 by December 2020 (compared to her maximum declination of 28:34, which she'll reach in 2025). So, in 2020 the Moon is only a little OOB and this energy might not be very noticeable until around September. On the other hand, the OOB periods can be a time when your emotional reactions may be somewhat more amplified than usual. In any case, if you have the Moon or other planets OOB in your natal chart, you might be more sensitive to this energy.

Sep.11 – Sun opposite Neptune (19:32 of Virgo/Pisces)  (Sep.12 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.

Sep.12 – Jupiter Stationary Direct (17:24 of Capricorn; Direct until Jun.20.2021)  (Sep.13 in UK, AU)  ("What's a Station?"  "What does Retrograde mean?"  Read more about Retrograde planets.)

For up to a week before and after this date, you may feel a surge of idealism, inspiration and confidence. A quest for knowledge, truth, optimism and faith could become a beacon of energy in your life. On the other hand Jupiter could also bring an increase of judgement, blame and elitism. Jupiter has been retrograde for about 4 months. It is now changing direction again and resuming its normal direct motion.

You may have been exploring and developing the deeper qualities of spirituality, beliefs, confidence, knowledge, faith and/or optimism during that time. Or you might have found ways to expand your horizons—directly through travel or indirectly through the study of other cultures and languages. For the next 3 months (as Jupiter retraces its steps through the Shadow), you can start to apply and integrate what you've learned over the past 4 months. For example, if you have been taking a course or exploring your religious beliefs, this might be a time when you are able to put your discoveries into practice or place them into your worldview.

This turning point may be uplifting, overwhelming, inspiring and/or illuminating. You could discover new meaning in areas of life that had become stale or worn out, or you might realise that your old ways of understanding don't work for you anymore and need to be let go. Whatever you've learned or gained over the last 4 months, it is now available to be expressed and used more openly and directly in your life.

Sep.13 – Venus trine Chiron (07:53 of Leo/Aries)

Healing and rebalancing are possible now, especially in the areas of relationships, finance, resources and values. Any problems that have persisted in these areas lately could benefit from an influx of helpful and healing resources now. Relationships and interactions of all kinds can benefit now, since it can be easier to see the beauty and value in others whom you might usually dislike or feel ill at ease with (or they with you). Negotiations and strategic efforts to resolve conflicts may go smoothly now, especially when you balance the results in everyone's interests. You may also be able to attract what you need to heal your wounds (physical, psychological, spiritual, etc.). Like it says in the "Serenity Prayer," you may now find it a bit easier to accept that which you cannot change, while finding you make progress with the things you can.

Sep.14 – Sun trine Pluto (22:34 of Virgo/Capricorn)  (Sep.15 in UK, 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.15 – Venus square Uranus (10:18 of Leo/Taurus)  (Sep.16 in AU)

Under this transit, you may be tempted by impulse spending, or you might be somewhat erratic in your use of resources. This can result in unpredictable or unstable finances, so double check your bank accounts and credit cards before you draw on them. It is also a time when the way you relate to others (or they to you) could be somewhat inconsistent, fickle or impulsive. If your relationships or financial situation have been struggling with difficulties for a while, this transit could bring a lingering problem to the surface and require attention. On one hand, this could be a welcome breath of fresh air that cuts through the complexity of your problems and puts the cards on the table (despite the stress and conflict that likely triggered it). Or, you might feel resistance to making these changes and instead experience this as a time of unwelcome instability, upset and adjustment. However, this may be a good way to break free of excessive restraint, control or structure, which allows new possibilities to emerge that couldn't do so otherwise.

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Sep.16 – Sun square North Lunar Node (24:35 of Virgo/Gemini)  (Sep.17 in UK, AU)  ("What's a Lunar Node?")

When the Sun squares the Lunar Nodes, your sense of purpose and identity appear to be in conflict with the lessons you need to learn in life. It may feel like you're forced to take a detour around your direct route to your destination (whatever that might be). This may only be true on the surface – if you look deeper at the situation (or possibly in retrospect), you'll probably find that your sense of self is actually helped by the benefits that you are able to get on that detour, which would have missed if you hadn't been diverted from your original path.

Alternatively, you might be confronted by a conflict or stressful dilemma that you usually resist or flail against. This may be an opportunity to explore a deeper level of your experience and feelings. Perhaps there is fear or resentment or defiance behind your reaction. This is a chance to try on a different perspective and respond in a different way that can help you move through the situation instead of just being blocked by it.

When the Sun squares the Nodes it is sometimes called "Moon Wobbles," which is a bit of a misnomer. The Moon itself doesn't wobble or even necessarily interact directly with either the Nodes or the Sun. Rather, the Moon part of us (the inner, feeling, intuitive, sensitive part of us) may feel a bit "wobbly" or unsteady when the Sun squares the Nodes. The "Moon Wobble" effects are said to build and dissipate for up to 10 days before and after the Sun-Node square is exact.

Sep.17 – Mercury square Jupiter (17:26 of Libra/Capricorn)

You may be seeing the weak links in your knowledge, understanding or beliefs right now. Your ideas and words might seem to fall short of what your mind envisions, or you might be unable to convince others of your point of view. As a result, it can be tempting to over-compensate with more self-confidence, faith or optimism than you actually have. Or, you might give out "too much information" by over-explaining or through nervous rambling. Alternatively, you might encounter someone else who does this and perhaps have a blaming or judgmental reaction to them. This is an opportunity to learn something about how you might jump to conclusions or blame, possibly triggered by a situation that challenges your beliefs, opinions or perspective. To learn more about this part of yourself, try taking some time to think about what is really bothering you or what you really need to say in that situation. There may be a higher truth to be found if you open your mind to something you're reluctant to acknowledge, rather than looking for a "final truth" around which to close it.

NEXT UPDATE:
FULL MOON IN ARIES
Available by October 1, 2020.

© 2020 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. Illustration of Zodiac Sign by Natalia Hubbert, via 123rf.com. Sabian Symbol image: Zabriskie Point, USA, by Trail via Unsplash.com.


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