Early in the morning of Thursday, September 1, the New Moon in Virgo arrives. Virgo is the mutable Earth sign, the transition from Summer into Autumn. This is a sign of detail, of paying close attention, of stitching up the raveled sleeve of care. Virgo is the virgin, whose ancient meaning is not the naive innocent but the woman complete in herself, beholden to no one. She can be a bit obsessive, but her true focus is effective action in good ways.
She comes to us this year with much strength, and significant challenges. This New Moon offers stark contrasts in perception that point to radically different understandings of the world. I quoted a bit of the Scottish play in my opening paragraph. Now I say with Hamlet, “there is nothing either good or bad but thinking makes it so.”
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As an Earth sign, Virgo is a doer who doesn’t mind dirty hands. With Mercury as her ruler, though, much of her doing may also be thinking. Right now, there’s a whole lot of Virgo going on: The Sun, the North Node, Jupiter, and Mercury are all here. Mercury turns retrograde on August 30, turning back to meet Jupiter, emphasizing the importance of Virgoan qualities like careful planning and a deep appreciation of the myriad details of the world.
The strong showing in Virgo gives strength to the New Moon. It can also emphasize this sign’s shadow qualities, which include fussiness, attention to detail at the expense of the overall goal, and anxiety at our inability to control things as we would like. Virgo does have a tendency to believe that, with enough effort, cats can be herded, all evidence to the contrary.
The challenges at this New Moon come from a T-Square, an aspect pattern that includes an opposition and squares, creating a situation of, well, challenge. Take a look at the chart. The right triangle of the T-Square jumps out. It’s visible because so many planets are involved, creating lots of connections. We’ve got some heavy hitters here, so Virgo’s best care will be needed to keep things working.
First, the New Moon is aligned with the North Node, which makes this New Moon an eclipse. This will be an annular solar eclipse, not visible in North America. It’s part of Saros cycle 135, which began in 1331 and will end in 2593 (which I find mind-blowing). In each Saros cycle, eclipses happen in the same part of the sky, at a similar time of year, every 18 years. What were you doing 18 years ago? And 18 years before that? Significant events from that past could relate to what happens now.
We’re entering an eclipse season, which means the upcoming Full Moon will be a lunar eclipse. Whatever decisions we make will echo much more loudly, and longer, and deeper, because of the paired eclipses. Time to pay attention.
Moon–Sun–North Node in Virgo are opposite Neptune and the South Node in Pisces. The polarity between Virgo and Pisces highlights two ways of experiencing the world. Virgo is all about daily tasks, ordinary life, and keeping things orderly. Virgo loves individual trees. Pisces extends out to the cosmos, knowing all is ultimately one, everything is connected. Pisces loves the forest. The shadow side of Pisces is letting ordinary life go. Whether we bliss out, or lose ourselves in various addictions, we forget about the laundry. The shadow side of Virgo is missing the big picture. We can drill down on the minutae so hard we forget to live a meaningful, joyful life.
This opposition asks where we are on that spectrum. Are we too focused on the little things? Maybe our New Moon wishes will include a desire to widen and soften our gaze. Are we letting too much life go by while we watch television? A New Moon wish to pay attention might work here. It’s about finding the right balance, different for each of us, between the vastness of the night sky and the ladybug on our toes.
But this is a T-Square, not just an opposition. Squaring the Pisces–Virgo planets, we find Mars and Saturn in Sagittarius, a Fire sign. These two have been running together lately, and causing a fair amount of ruckus as they do. These are the two malefics of ancient astrology, the planets we find difficult to manage. Both are essential, of course. We need Mars’ energy to move. We need Saturn’s structures and boundaries to create anything in the world. But together, especially in Fire signs, Mars and Saturn can create a kind of pressure that explodes.
New Moons are times when the sky is dark. This is time for planting, pushing seeds into the darkness so they can flower later. The intentions we bring will do much to determine what kinds of flowers we see. Here are some ways I can see this T-Square playing out:
(1) The pressure from Mars and Saturn on Neptune turns our visions dark. The world going to hell in a handbasket, and we know whose fault it is. It’s those others out there, the people who are not like us, who don’t think like us, who don’t even look like us. Or it’s the faceless cabal of power that includes governments and corporations. We, sitting in Virgo and catching our own pressure from Mars and Saturn, are the little people. We can only do little things. We are doomed.
(2) The pressure from Mars and Saturn leads us to use Neptune as an escape. It’s all a done deal anyway. There’s nothing we little Virgo people can do. Here, let me pour you a glass of wine. The movie on tonight is really great. Or, hey, let’s reminisce about the past, that Golden Age when everything was wonderful. Things just aren’t like they used to be.
(3) We hold on to our best vision of the future, informed by the past. We channel the tremendous energy of Mars and Saturn into real, meaningful projects that begin to address some of the issues we face. We marshal the Virgo skill set to make one step at a time, remembering to take nourishment from our largest goals, as well as from the beauties of the world.
It’s easy to see which option is most desirable. We are not, however, saints. At least, most of us are not. Probably, our lives are some mixture of all three. Despair is not fun, but it’s easier than hope. We all fall prey to it at times, especially when we’re tired, or ill, or have experienced great loss. Escape is fun, but ultimately leads in the direction of despair. Work and hope and dreams are hard, and not as fun as we think they should be. They are real, though. Virgo is all about the real.
At this New Moon, we have a chance to see where we are in this difficult net of a T-Square. Where are we choosing escape instead of stepping into our lives? What kind of wishes and intentions can we make to find a better balance? Transformational Pluto is part of this mix too, sending positive energy to the New Moon. We are living in a time of long term, in depth, transformation. It’s time to take the next steps. They can be small steps, but let’s make them practical. Let’s make them real.