Welcome to a New Season


Welcome to a new season…

… and I mean more than just last Wednesday's entry of the Sun into Libra, the official beginning of autumn (or spring, for my southern-hemispheric peeps). Over the course of the past week and this current one, the seasonal transition is emphatically making itself heard through the movement of three other planets—Jupiter, Mars and Mercury—into Libra, in conjunction with the Sun. Consequently, this equinox, the point in the calendar year when daylight's dominance starts giving way to the encroaching darkness of the colder months, trumpets its shift with a four-planet-strong power. After this week, nothing will remain quite as it's been.

This Tuesday's full moon (known as the 'harvest moon' by virtue of being the full moon closest to the autumnal equinox) provides a brightly lit occasion for each of us to take note of our individual self-centered orientation to the changing mood around us. The full moon is in Aries, a sign of self-definition through action, of bold instinctive assertion into the world. It stands in opposition to the friendly clique of Sun, Mercury, Mars and Jupiter, palling around together within a tight orb of six zodiacal degrees near the Virgo-Libra cusp.

This foursome speaks volumes about the conscious application of combined mental and physical capacities toward personal growth through interpersonal collaboration. In other words, the concentrated planetary energy is pulling us out of microcosmic problem-solving and into more extroverted expression of social niceties, so that we may meet up and bond with our appropriate partners-in-crime (metaphorical 'crime', that is)... which we can only do successfully by understanding our own most selfish feelings, what we want from others, what we're willing to share in return, and in what ways we're willing to compromise.

Mercury, for one, must be relieved to jet into Libra-land, after having (thanks to its Aug-Sep retrograde) dabbled in Virgo on and off since late-July. Though Mercury is at home in Virgo, processing details and pre-calculating logical if-then scenarios, there comes a point in all that mental work when we must include other people in our thoughts… or risk getting trapped in a bubble of hypothetical order that has no actual bearing in the real world of social relations. Instead of being 'right', Mercury in Libra merely wants us to be charming enough to recruit allies and solicit second-opinions, gifting us with tactful communication for diplomatic ends.

Likewise, though Mars is not considered to be at its strongest in Libra (the opposite of its ruling sign Aries), its presence there permits us a little break from shouldering the sole responsibility for forwarding our programmatics ourselves. Yes, we lose some of our efficiency, in exchange for an overriding concern with building consensus, acting with grace rather than force. Instead of making big strong pushy efforts resolutely forward, we take polite calm little steps side to side and gradually ahead, keeping the scales as close to balanced as we can. Maybe we get less accomplished less quickly, but we're promoting goodwill through peaceful interactions—and why can't we all just get along, anyhow?

The biggest news, however, is Jupiter's arrival in Libra, where it will reside through Oct 2005, generally expanding what we have to give and receive through our one-on-one experiences with friends, spouses, business peers and other partners with whom we share parts of our lives. With Jupiter in Libra, we come to recognize the many ways in which the unified sum of two parts far exceeds the value of its individual components. We grow through relationship. We prosper in cooperative pairings. We find good fortune when we adjust and align, polish and blend.

Of course, Jupiter's expansive influence also comes with its excesses—in this case, the potential to rely so heavily on collaborative thinking that we turn codependent, docile and ineffective on our own. The strongest one-on-one relationships always exist between strong individuals who refrain from losing themselves in the unit, who refuse to defer in those instances when healthy conflict is the only fruitful method for creative progress.

Jupiter only changes signs once a year, and the Virgo-Libra border it's currently crossing is a particularly potent one, as it separates the first and second halves of the zodiac cycle. Just like the equinox signals a seasonal turning point, so too is this Virgo-Libra cusp a transition: from the self-focused half of the zodiac (Aries through Virgo) to the other-centered half (Libra through Pisces).

The now-past transit of Jupiter through Virgo (Aug 03-Sep 04) stimulated a broadening in our logistical thinking… a largely personal development for each of us, pushing us beyond the previous limits of what we considered 'practical' reasoning. Where before there were, say, ten possible categories under we could file our experiences to make sense of them, now there are more like fourteen, thanks to Jupiter. Where before there were only seven habits of highly effective people, now there are, say, twenty-three. Not only can our work be completed with more variety in methodology, but our work also offers more satisfaction in more ways.

Now it's time to adopt a more social outlook, to try out our new technical approaches and analytic frameworks on our favored allies, as well as on our less-favored nemeses. In honor of this new Jupiter-in-Libra period, here's a mantra to remind ourselves: No matter how hard we work, we cannot do it on our own. Interpret this as you will… embrace it as an empowering call to connect or curse it as an annoying wrench in your plans… either way, it's still the truth.

If your own relation to this shift remains unclear to you, wait another couple weeks—the next new moon on Oct 13 is a solar eclipse in Libra, with Mercury, Mars and Jupiter all still along for the ride. The narrative twists will unfold in whichever area of your life requires fundamental compromise and a commitment to politeness over force. Believe me, you'll see what I mean…