A slow, attentive light settles on heather-clad hilltops. In steep ravines that slice the coastline into restless waters of the Atlantic, gilded leaves flutter on the invisible breath of autumn winds. This is the month of changing seasons and changing guardians.
The Sun enters Libra on September 23rd. As it moves over the equator, day and night are equal. This is the midpoint of the zodiacal round, representing the seasonal shift that accompanies endings, and beginnings. In the metaphorical language of astrology, the Libran part of our own birth chart will be illuminated for the next month as we practice and perfect the art of relating to others in an uncertain world. Libra is symbolised by a pair of balancing scales. For so many of us, balance is something we may wistfully talk about when the rhythm of our days begins to gyrate, scattering the weight of worry like a mantle over our minds. The souls of the dead were weighed against the Feather of Truth by the ancient Egyptians, and this month, for many of us, there will be a sense of arriving at a crossroads of a situation that requires sound judgement and careful consideration. Libra is an air sign, and the element of air may make us feel unsettled, unsheltered, and ungrounded. At this time of the Equinox, as the seasons shift, we may feel we need more rest, foods that support our digestion. In Ayurveda, autumn is the vata season, a time to enjoy grounding, warming soups, or hearty casseroles.
October may feel disorientating as Mercury moves direct on October 2nd, followed by Pluto direct on October 8th and Saturn on October 23rd, but it will be the Mars Retrograde cycle that begins on October 30th that might test our courage and resilience. When Mars moves Retrograde, the primitive shadowy nature of Mars may erupt on the global stage and in our own relationships as we project our aggression or thwarted desires outwards. Mars represents our instinctual will to live, our primal rage. Mars serves the individual rather than the collective, and our battle may be an intensely private, interior campaign as we practice self-mastery and draw deeply on our inner strength.
Mars Retrograde in Gemini coincided with the financial crisis of the credit crunch and recession of 2007-08 as Pluto entered Capricorn, a poultice that has drawn to the surface all that festers in big business and hierarchical social structures. This sense of dissolution will continue, peaking with the Saturn/Neptune conjunction in Aries in 2025-26.
The Libran New Moon on September 25th arrives with charm and grace, offers the promise of compromise as both Mercury and Venus, both in discerning Virgo nestle close to the New Moon this month. Amorphorous Neptune may cloud our sound judgement, or soften our gaze as we practice radical empathy and compassion. The Moon is invisible when she’s new, but she carries potent unseen energy if we have the courage to step back into balance, to find that still point of silence at the Centrepoint of our heart.
The Full Moon on October 9th brings the raw vitality and verve of Aries to what we have imagined or initiated at the New Libran Moon. We hold the tension of opposites with Aries (self) and Libra (other). This Full Moon will reflect the state of our relationships. The bonds of love and loyalty that bind. The untethered ambiguity of those casual encounters that so easily tilt and topple. Research links happy committed relationship to lower stress levels, better immune function, and lower mortality rates, as oxytocin and vasopressin activate parts of the brain associated with calm, even the suppression of anxiety and pain.
At this time when relationships between nations are strained, President Putin threatens nuclear retaliation and a partial mobilisation of Russia, and Liz Truss’s rampant ideological “trickle-down economics” bolster the fortunes of the rich and powerful, the buttress of those relationships that offer comfort and belonging become even more important.
“Intimacy is a difficult art,” Virginia Woolf once said.
For some, this will be the moment in time when we harvest all the thoughts and emotions that have brought us to a place of ending. This will be a time of departure from a relationship that for far too long has provided scant nourishment. For others, this may be the time of our heart’s delight as the revitalising fire of passion draws us to a deeper, more soul-ful, intimacy.
Intimacy is a difficult art in a world where technology replaces the warmth of human encounter. Voyeuristic TV series like Married at First Sight portray a lonely absence of intimacy, a hungry urgency to find shelter for the soul. In a culture so focused on measurables and certainties, we may find the candlelit depth and substance of intimacy a difficult art. Yet within every human heart is a longing to be cherished and to be seen.
Psychologist Sue Johnson writes, “this drive to emotionally attach—to find someone to whom we can turn and say ‘Hold me tight’—is wired into our genes and our bodies. It is as basic to life, health, and happiness as the drives for food, shelter, or sex. We need emotional attachments with a few irreplaceable others to be physically and mentally healthy—to survive.”
The Sun, the symbol of our creative self-expression, is said to be in its fall in Libra implying that a perpetual state of balance is impossible to achieve, as we continually re-create ourselves amidst the complexities of our relationships and metastasise the events that are unfolding in the world right now. Balance is as capricious as the patterns of neuronal firing in our brains, as fleeting as our emotionally charged perceptions of the world around us. It will be the small gestures of love and kindness, the careful harnessing of our untamed thoughts, the brave reimagining of how this world could be that keep us open-hearted and soul-directed at this moment in time.
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