I can’t deny it, I’m a fall baby and there’s just something about the autumn that makes my heart light up. Even if saying goodbye to summer is painful, even if there are days when I’m still waking up early to voyage to the beach and look over glinting, sun-kissed bodies just to moan out loud “I’m not ready…” Truth is, I am ready, and you might be too. Summer might be the season of sun and fun but if we’re pushed to be honest we might have to admit that all those eclipses made "fun" a very relative term.
Behold, eclipse season is over, Mercury and Mars are direct, and the Sun shines brilliantly in Virgo talking about getting back to business. Most of us hate to admit it, but we like being productive. Even outside the jaws of capitalism, there’s pleasure to be found in work and in purpose. Despite a world that looks more and more like an Octavia Butler dystopia every day, we return to regular programming, starting work projects, going on dates, showing off our fall looks. I guess this is as good a moment as any to remind you that the personal world we inhabit relies and depends upon the global world we spend a great deal of time trying to look away from; that what we do or don’t do when our sense of right and wrong is challenged matters even if it feels like we are small, even if it feels like we are powerless in the face of things. You are not powerless.
Let’s talk about faith, Aries, about ritual and about prayer. I mean to be direct with you, dear one, because I know you value words that are stripped of pretense. September is here to jumpstart a season of great transformation for you and it is easy enough to say that few transformations occur without feelings of loss and lessons in letting go. It won’t be easy and it won’t happen all at once, either. If you’re clear with yourself, you’ll admit that you’ve felt it coming: a new cycle, a new turn on the long path.
Mars, your ruling planet, is direct once more and it’s right on time. Still in Capricorn until the second week of September, Mars means business now, but its aim is liberation. There’s no longer room to stall, Aries, your life demands you play an active role in your healing and quest for joy. After a summer of holding off making the hard choices, Mars—planet of action—has stationed direct. Chiron shifts over to Pisces end of the month, giving you time to gather your spiritual and material reserves. Because healing can look a lot like chaos, you will benefit from having something larger to believe in.
There are many ways to pray, Aries, even when you feel far from any notion of god. Writing is a kind of prayer because words have power. When you are candid, you open a sacred doorway toward mutuality. Not only between you and others but between you and the parts of yourself you find painful to face. Visualization, too, is a prayer. To imagine oneself in the future tense, to dream toward an expanding life, these are acts of reverence for life force. This September, imagine yourself a student of prayer, in what forms does it come naturally to you? In what ways have you prayed toward pain? Toward joy? In what ways can you create daily rituals that move you through forgiveness for what’s past and toward liberation?
Just because you don’t talk about how you feel doesn’t mean it’s not obvious. Just because you’ve perfected the look of dignified disdain doesn’t mean you’ve got a poker face that can fool everyone. The people in your life who love you and know you know when you are suffering. They know when you’ve tasked yourself to take on more than is spiritually advisable.
They know the shape of your heart the sounds of its beat the way one instinctually knows the vibration of the ground they live in. When it’s off, it reverberates.
If you’re wondering whether people see you, they see you. The seeing isn’t hard at all because you have a large and powerful presence, you carry the weight of a community. And, when you are energetically diminished, the community feels diminished and aches to bolster you—if not distinctly out of love then at least for the common good.
But how to bolster and lend support to the person who so often steadies the lives of others? Or, how do you, Taurus, reach out for attentive care and reciprocity while trusting that your reputation as a strong and independent person won’t be compromised? How has the past year inhibited your ability to be vulnerable in ways that are healing for you? This is a new season, Taurus, and just because you can go at it alone doesn’t mean you’ve got to. Solitude is powerful but so is friendship. So is love. Whatever slights or miscommunications you’re using to justify pushing those who want to care for you away, re-consider it. Forgive your champions the small things so that you can fight your big battles side by side.
There’s value in keeping the peace, Gemini, in collecting information before making a move. This summer has been a reflective summer and while you’ve not been idle in spirit nor in daily tasks, you have chosen to play the part of observer and witness for the sake of your emotional health on more than one occasion. With Virgo season upon us and Mercury in Virgo’s court, it’s time to think about what informed response and intentional right action might look like for you.
As a mutable sign, your personal circumstance is greatly affected by the circumstances of those around you and you often overextend yourself in the service of bettering those circumstances. In a life where so much of your energy, time, and knowledge is fed by the those who walk with you, you deserve most than just accompaniment. You deserve to feel known and, in feeling known, feel loved.
This September, Gemini, examine the ways you stand outside of view. Who benefits from the barricades you put in place and who suffers? To recognize the moment of feeling seen, to revel in it, it helps to practice seeing yourself. There are no answers here and there are reasons why some children grow up into the kind of adults that would rather give you the version of them you anticipate than offer up the truth of their experience. Those reasons, too, are valid. Still, I’d venture to say that you, dear Gemini, are larger and more complex than the version of yourself you’ve grown accustomed to sharing with others. You’re also more than the story you hide away. Every day, you’re more.
Stability. That is September’s word of the month for you, dear Cancer. Stability in all its forms as they influence and uphold each other: emotional stability, financial stability, mental stability, energetic stability, etc. If the notion of safety feels delusional to you, if it feels maddening to desire safety in a world where some people are in danger simply by the very fact of being alive, then consider stability safety’s dignified form. It doesn’t ask for the impossibility of a promise, it doesn’t ask for protection or a hero. Stability is a state that is constantly maintained by a reaching toward empowerment and self-belief.
Its table legs are almost never equal and, so, they must be attended to by sugar packets. Financial stability supplemented by sugar packets of community fundraising and radical imagination, emotional stability supplemented by sugar packets of meditation, medication, and friends who we trust with the hard stuff.
Take the initiative mutable energy of this month’s Virgo new moon to line up your sugar packets, Cancer, and make them count. Take stock of where your supplements are thin and what it might take to restock them. Bring order and a sense of control into the material of your life. If past mistakes or failures are getting you hung up and stagnant, let yourself off the hook. This isn’t about who you have been or even who you are now. It’s who you’re growing into that’s about to take the reins and you’ve got to let her. She knows that making decisions based on fear won’t serve her any longer. To walk with power, to walk steady with anyone, she’s got to feel independent.
Several months ago, I found myself on a sort of spiritual inquiry. It was a long weekend and my companions were one Taurus (the organizer), two Leos, and one Capricorn. I only knew the Taurus and spent my time half-engaging, half-observing, the ones who were strangers to me. Many things happened in those four days and some of them have changed me forever, but one particular moment has remained at the forefront of my mind as point of reference and source of emotional equanimity. It is this moment that I’d like to offer you, dear Leo, because I think it will offer you strength this September.
It was an exchange between the two Leos of the group, one of whom had arrived seeking healing with help and guidance from the other. The seeker Leo was afraid of what she would find on the other side of her darkness. She would call out into the circle her mounting anxieties and negative self-beliefs. Sometimes she would sound panicked and sometimes she would dress it up in self-deprecating humor. No matter which form her fears surfaced in, the healer Leo would engage her each time with loving firmness: “What is the truth?”
The question struck me each time, deeper and deeper, and I thought about what it would take to answer it for myself. It occurred to me that despite their individual personhood and material form, both Leos appeared to me as inextricable from each other. The seeker created the healer and the healer was the seeker in turn. It occurred to me that to answer such a question, one would need to accept both aspects as core selves. In the depths of your despair and uncertainty, Leo, honor both the healer and the seeker in you. Have you rejected the openness of a future for the familiarity of pain? You are never emotionally “above” your wounds and you are never powerless in your relation to others. Ask yourself what the seeker needs to know. Ask yourself what the healer requires. What is the truth, Leo?
The sun is shining down on you, sweet Virgo, and I think you feel it. Fall is the right season for you, bringing forth big projects, the last harvest, and the possibility of many outfits built around one perfect leather jacket. Still, solar returns are not simple for many of us and can inspire self-evaluations that look a lot more like criticism than reflection, especially for a sign as self-demanding as your own. I know it hasn’t been an easy year (or several) for you, I know that you’ve faced financial setbacks, I know you’ve faced hard truths about yourself, and I know that—in your own ways—you have made amends.
The new moon in Virgo in the beginning of this month will be a little gift to you, a push of self-confidence and ambition. A little push is really all the you need this time around, Virgo, because what’s been brewing and turning in you is ready to be out in the world. The gifts that you offer up are just as much valid as they are rare and there is no doubt in my mind that the energy of what you put forth will change the lives of people around you. If you have been suspecting that there’s more you’re meant to do in this world, you have been right on the money. Have faith in your power and your possibilities.
Let the lessons of the last year be the hands that guide you forward steadily into the expansive unknown. Light the candles of your life one by one and call them an ode to getting better. For those of you who have had to wait for nurturance until you were old enough to give it to yourself, this is a toast to growing up and learning how to raise yourself. Be your own personal soccer mom: an endless source of support, juice boxes, and cheers at victories big and small alike.
Now that the eclipses of 2018 are behind you, you might be wondering if your own personal Eclipse cycle is behind you too. It’s true that so much of our experience, our traumas and our joys, affects us in cycles. This is moon wisdom and it makes itself apparent in big life events, illnesses, erotic discovery, and creative generation. It’s also true that the moon, while particularly intimate, is only a small part of our galaxy. Life, with all its non-linear stories, is a sacred wheel and we’re never quite outside its spin. I’m reminded of an old song by Ferron, a deep Lez singer who taught me a lot about emotional steadiness. It’s one of her older songs called “Proud Crown, Pride Cried.” Here are the lyrics I’m thinking of now:
A friend tried to find me and saw through to my wheel
She said you're now on the bottom, it's either that or the top
You can keep yourself tiny and bang on the big door
Or take the space saved for the queen of the hop
But you know queens have their problems too,
and my size won't stay static
I like to think I never was one for the hoop anyway
And then that night I dreamed again of the far side of nothing
And trembling with terror I chose to come back this way.
Ferron is an air sign like you but she’s a Gemini and Geminis are more mutable, more interested in gathering information than distributing it. Libras, on the other hand, are cardinal and they believe in action—especially right action—as a means of alignment with the higher life force. This month, if you’re feeling stuck, if you’re feeling like no matter what you do, you just can’t put something (or someone) that you’re done with behind you, I wonder how the lessons of the wheel might influence your ability to move forward. The first lesson, and probably the most important one for this month, Libra, is that the wheel exists—whether or not you want to believe in it or give it credence—and accepting its existence is not the same as giving up your sense of free will. The second lesson might be that the wheel has wisdom and what returns to you returns to you with a purpose. It’s your work to recognize what that purpose is; it requires deep listening, it requires openness, it requires faith.
With Mars (one of your rulers) finally direct, you should be feeling a great boost of energy this September, Scorpio. Projects that just couldn’t get off the ground, conversations that felt too difficult to have, choices that seemed too complicated to make, will slowly start to feel more ascertainable to you, more within the realm of possibility. Coupled with Venus under your stars, the energy the promises to course through this month is sweet and sure, a kind of flirtation with the future.
Still, it’s not nothing that Jupiter has its influence over you—an influence that is both empowering and revealing—while Pluto (your other ruling planet) is retrograde and making aspects to Chiron. These are the planets of illumination and shadow, of trauma and recovery. On the surface, the sea is good for sailing, the waves roll in and out with a recognizable rhythm. Still, the ocean is the ocean, Scorpio, and in its darker depths there is another work that is being done.
This brings me to what I’ve really come to tell you, and I hope that—at least this year—you only really need to read it once to understand. When you recognize within yourself a power that is sacred and singular and of great vitality, you must take responsibility for it and tend to it with reverence as an athlete tends to their body or a musician tends to their hands. If you spend your vital energy on people and situations that deplete you, you participate in your own diminishment. The care and nurturance your power needs to thrive won’t come from the people or situations that harmed you. No matter how tempting it is to spend your time investigating the role others play in your life, the truth you seek is more likely to be found in investigating yourself.
A couple of nights ago, I was spending time with a Sagittarius close to me. It had been a rough day for them and it felt like, if not handled with care, if might turn into a rough week or perhaps even a rough month. Called toward my Tarot, we split the deck, and the Judgement card revealed itself. Despite having used the deck many times, for myself as well as others, it felt like I was meeting Judgement for the first time. Here, the card revealed itself as message of self-forgiveness, a message that stated firmly: It could not have been otherwise.
It could not have been otherwise is the message I want to offer to you this month, Sagittarius, and I want to offer it paired with a meditation on grace. Now, I wasn’t raised with religion, or even with god, but I’ve sat with grace. Grace, the sacred mystery, might be a river where you cup forgiveness with your hands and drink your fill.
Grace in recognizing what has brought us here and grace in bearing witness to a death. Grace gathering in the pockets of hours you spend listening to your chosen family, grace flowing over the burning space that loved ones left behind. Grace in knowing there were no wrong turns and no unworthy lovers, only teachers. Grace is all around you, Sagittarius, it flows over and through you. No matter the circumstance that has brought here, to the river, you are here now and that’s what matters. It could not have been otherwise.
None of us are without our histories, none of us enter the day cleared of what has brought us to it, our ancestral and daily bread. In this life or in the lives of those who made way for us, what we consumed to sustain ourselves, what we stole to survive, and what we shared with the ones we trusted, remains with us as sense memory and spiritual imprint. There is no such thing as a clean slate, Capricorn, so there’s no point in wondering where you would be if you had one.
You can’t erase what’s come before you, Capricorn, and you don’t have to. After all, it’s the future you’re after and, no matter how heavy the weight you carry, your outcomes are not set in the stone by what’s already past. Every time you chose to reimagine yourself and give that vision your labor, the world, despite its many inequities and disparities, offers you a new possibility.
Saturn stations direct this month and all the stars rejoice but you, Capricorn, rejoice most of all. Here, the hard lessons make way for steady understanding. Here, your tireless navigation of the unknown gives way to a clear road and powerful visions. Here, your will to change not only yourself but the world for the better has granted you the power to do just that. Tired of that old slate? Tuck it away, Capricorn. Here is a new book, you can write whatever you want.
I don’t know what makes it so that some of us feel like our prayers have been answered and some of us feel abandoned. I do think it might have something to do with blessings coming in all forms and sometimes those forms looking a lot like loss. With Uranus, your ruling planet, still retrograde in Taurus, I’m wondering what influence the planet of revolution stationed retrograde in the sign of sensual knowing has on a personal body. I’m wondering what it feels like for you to carry the energy of a transformation that has not yet taken shape. Like a pupa filled with goo somehow sentient enough to know that it will be a butterfly? And, too, I’m wondering if that energy is suffused with Taurus’s famous refusal to forgive and to let go.
How does it feel, Aquarius, in your body? Are you melted down? Are you in between states? Are you waiting to be transformed by the sheer force of time passing or are you actively gathering your bits together, slowly assembling the next version of yourself? If the answer is all the above then take heart, Aquarius, you are right where you should be.
Mars, planet of action has stationed direct this month and moves into Aquarius on the 10th. Around this time, you can expect to experience a resurgence of energy, a clearer sense of what-all bits you’ve got to assemble to get yourself into the next shape you’re meant to take in this life. In the meantime, use the first week of September to honor the prayers that have been answered rather than worrying the ones that lay in wait. Praise your network of support, your resources, your creative comrades. Praise, too, your ability to melt down all the way to goo and still know in your heart that what awaits you on the other side is beauty.
You might not feel it yet, Pisces, but this is your year. Your victory lap, your chance to look your demons right in the face and grin as you run past them toward your destination. This is the year you break old patterns, not despite your bad habits but because you’ve changed your ways so profoundly and positively that the old patterns just won’t fit into this new frame. This is the year when the fog on the path between where you’ve come from and where you’re going lifts. If only to reveal the landscape, which is full of magic synchronicities, and the occasional wild animal.
I write all this knowing that Chiron returns to Pisces at the end of September, I write this knowing that the wounded healer returns to you through February of next year but you, my dear, are a different animal than you once were. When Chiron returns to you, may he find a person ready to transform poison into cure. May he find someone who knows how to offer their sweetness to the world without fear of being taken for granted. May he find you open and receptive to magic, able to recognize what love is and what it is not.
This is my wish for you Pisces, may it be so. And, while I believe in the power of the universe to grant me my wishes, it couldn’t hurt to spend September paying extra special attention to what triggers old hurts in you. What methods have you developed for self-soothing and emotional equanimity? Nor could it hurt to create a few new rituals toward celebration. Especially daily ones. You deserve pleasure every day.