I’m writing this just as the Sun approaches the celestial equator. It is the equinox, when night and day are perfectly balanced.
We enter the sign of Libra today, which this year is already hosting Mercury’s retrograde. Libra is one of the four cardinal signs that open the seasons – Aries (spring), Cancer (summer), Libra (autumn) and Capricorn (winter), or the reverse if you are in the Southern hemisphere.
Libra is the sign of balance, of equal measures, of the other, a contrast to the one-pointedness of its opposite Aries. Maybe it’s useful now to think about how the whole Zodiac balances and rebalances itself through the wheel of the year.
Each sign has its quality — Cardinal, Fixed or Mutable — which also describes the quality of its season. The Cardinals bring in the new season; the Fixed signs hold the season: they are its peak. When the Sun is in the Mutables — Gemini, Virgo, Sagittarius — the seasons change.
Libra ushers in autumn here in the North. On the second day of Libra, night is a fraction longer than day. By the end of Libra’s month, the days are noticeably shorter. But it’s not until we get to Scorpio that we get that full feeling of autumn, the death of the year.
Right now we enter the seasons of mists and mellow fruitfulness, of harvest festivals and here in Oxford, the university’s Michaelmas Term will begin soon. The dons are dusting their desks and ordering new spectacles already. It seems appropriate that the new academic year begins under Libra, the only one of the intellectual air sign that opens a season. For those on less antique schedules, the school year really gets started now after the settling period.
Today is a moment of equilibrium, and this year we need that especially. We are rather beset by powerful energies this month. We are coming up to a strong eclipse in Aries on September 28, and many of us can already feel the pull of that ending. We are at the height of the potentially life-changing Jupiter-Neptune opposition, and Saturn is now squaring that powerful energy, grounding it perhaps, but also giving it greater leverage in the real world.
We also have Mercury Retrograde, which could be quite helpful. This is all about reviewing decisions — especially miscarriages of justice, bent rules — and stopping for a moment to think. This round of Rx does seem to contain a big dose of public humiliation for some.
Look at what’s happened to Volkswagen this week. The car company has been caught lying about the level of emissions from their diesel-fuelled cars. Since governments, among other things were basing taxes, forecasts and targets for climate change on the accuracy of these statistics, the repercussions of this falsification is huge. Not only that, but it may turn out that this finessing was industry-wide. In which case, no wonder levels of pollution haven’t been dropping at all in town centres across Europe. With Libra involved, I expect some court cases. (Oh, I see that’s just started.) But this is also about rebalancing in the long run. Maybe now we can get on with some real pollution control.
Still on the Mercury Retrograde, I see that nasty piece of work Martin Shkreli has had to back down and cut the price of the drug Daraprim, so people won’t have to pay $750 per pill. That’s big of him. But then Mercury Rx is opposing his Aries Sun. Again, it’s about striking a balance (and eating your words).
As for our own Prime Minister, he will be weighing up whether it’s worth getting his lawyers involved over the allegations contained in the biography by his ex-funder Lord Ashcroft — who feels like he is rebalancing an unfair situation. Cameron has a Libra Sun and Libra Rising. The Moon’s North Node is right on his Ascendant: this may all turn out to be far more pivotal than he would like. Mercury Rx is smeared right across his face: right now it’s on his Sun and it’ll go back to his Ascendant. The coming eclipse is opposite his Ascendant in the sign of partnership: perhaps his betrayer is much closer to home — maybe even living in the house next door. Being Prime Minister may turn out to be poisonous for him personally. Neptune, the planet of illusion, is just beginning to transit his 6th house, which can mean that he cannot really trust the people who work for him or simply that the job’s not all it’s cracked up to be, and with Jupiter transiting his house of secrets this year, there could be more to come out. Because of the Jupiter-Neptune opposition, this is all very hard to contain.
Just wondering about this energy though for each of us personally. This Mercury Rx is a perfect time to set things right, to ask forgiveness, to pay reparation.