Autumn Equinox, 22nd September 2016, 14:22 GMT
The Autumn Equinox is defined by the Sun’s entry into the first degree of the sign of Libra, whose symbol is the scales: the balance. At this time the Sun’s path intersects with the celestial equator (Earth’s equator projected out into space) and the whole globe shares the experience of day and night being of equal length. A beautiful moment of balance arises before the scales tilt towards winter and the closing in of darkness in the northern hemisphere.
Libra, Cardinal Air, has a cool-headed way of finding the middle ground, the path between extremes. Its gift is to see one thing in relation to another and hence it brings the capacity to form judgements rationally. This reflective, mindful quality of weighing feels especially welcome at this time: recent months have been fraught with confusion and change socially and politically. The pause that Libra brings invites soulful reflection. The established order of our world is changing – this is manifestly so – and we need to meet it as it is and not waste energy in wishing it were otherwise.
On 10th September the third and final square between Saturn and Neptune occurred. This series, which began in late November 2015, accompanied our interrogation of national identities and international relationships, boundaries and borders, security and sacrifice – all of which are themes associated with these powerful bodies. Saturn represents the established order, authoritarian and controlling: the father writ large. Neptune, meanwhile, is the overwhelming erosive force of unity and interconnectedness. There are no boundaries in oneness. Our sense of safety and security is bound up with Saturn. It is frightening for us to have its hold relentlessly weakened and washed away by Neptune. Right now Saturn is writing its laws in the sand and the tide is coming in. Saturn cannot legislate for separative identity while under pressure from the more powerful Neptune which insists that all separation is illusory. We are all connected. Saturn would have us be an island entire of itself, but the greater truth of interconnection is already revealed.
“No man is an iland, intire of itself;
every man is a peece of the continent, a part of the maine;
if a Clod bee washed away by the Sea, Europe is the lesse…” (John Donne)
Neptune also manifests in sacrifice, deceit and delusion, and, god knows, we’ve been in the thick of those in recent months, evidenced in the politicking, manoeuvring and going for bust in British social and political life. The deficiencies in our culture are laid bare: we can take a good look, apply some intelligence, see who and what we are now. Or we can hashtag zone out! Lethargy and insularity at this time will be damaging. Neptune asks us to look outwards, to be inspired by possibilities, to have imagination. Our clinging to our little islands of selfhood, staring inwards, is no longer supported. We seem also to be clinging to our little island home a handful of miles from continental Europe, staring inwards, fearful of the wide world, when the danger lies in separation and insularity. Hope and harmony lie in participation, individually and collectively.
These are times of great change and the equinox is accompanied by a grand mutable cross (the cross of constant mutations) signalling a critical time of enforced stasis. We’re gridlocked, and in this state we are being imbued with the conditions of our current situation. It is driven into consciousness; a shift occurs. Mercury, the rational mind, is stationary in a conjunction with the North Node (signalling the overall direction of the journey right now) and it is opposed by Neptune and squared by Saturn. This is a moment for the scales to fall from our eyes! The Moon is also involved in this grand cross, being opposed by Saturn and squared by Neptune and Mercury – the scales falling from our eyes will have a considerable emotional impact.
Venus, ruler of Libra and therefore ruler of the equinox moment, is strong in its own sign in opposition to Libra’s powerful esoteric ruler, Uranus. Uranus is the power beyond Saturn; as Saturn’s rule is seen to be collapsing, Uranus brings the urge for change and liberation. We need new social structures, community groups, circles of shared endeavour to revivify our culture. In this moment there is a capacity for innovation and insight.
The search for renewal is not a riskless enterprise, but we cannot stand still. As the poet Rilke has it, in ‘The Departure of the Prodigal Son’:
“To make this whole attempt; perhaps in vain
let go of what we hold; …
How else can we discover a new life?”