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The Mighty Equinox 

Many people are wondering what just happened over the past six months. What, exactly, you went through, what it meant. and where it’s left you. You may be wondering how, with every passing day, life seems to be more intense, less certain, and a few shades more dangerous. This is a good time to reassess. Mercury is retrograde through September 12, and one of the most natural uses for that particular condition is to review—particularly when Mercury is in Virgo.

Yet the Libra equinox is also about to arrive, which is a turning point in the year—a moment to gather energy, release the old season, and move forward. So, first let’s review, and then let’s consider the equinox chart.
I think we’re all noticing the level of insanity in the world, the sense of pressure, and, perhaps most challenging, not knowing how far from the edge we really are as we sprint along that edge or toward it, into the future or the abyss or whatever it is. All summer long, a planetary alignment has come in and out of focus (currently, it’s taking a little breather). This is a grand cross on the four cardinal points—those four anchors into physical reality that connect individuals with the collective and bring collective experiences into our living rooms. These are Jupiter and Uranus dancing back and forth between Pisces and Aries; the lunar South Node (and therefore) eclipses in Cancer; Saturn shifting between Virgo and Libra (now in Libra till October 2012); and Pluto solidly in early Capricorn, along with the lunar North Node (and eclipses).

The four signs I mentioned—Aries, Cancer, Libra and Capricorn—are the cardinal signs. They have one thing in common, which is when the Sun enters one of them, a season changes. They have another thing in common, which is that when any other planets are gathered there, existence takes on a larger-than-life, at times overwhelming, sensation.

Slow-moving planets are orchestrated such that we keep shifting into energy surges that flare up and then settle down, only to bubble up again. The slow-moving bodies in the arrangement (the ones I just named) keep realigning in new ways, which is in part responsible for the ebb-and-flow effect. Then, fast-moving bodies (Sun, Moon, Venus, Mars, Mercury) jump into the fray for a little while and the feelings both reach a new level of intensity and are all the more personal and emotional.

Our lives have been reflecting this process in our assortment of minicrises, larger- than-minicrises, turning points, moments of despair, and incidents of progress, all in a condensed sequence of events. Through the summer months it’s seemed that more than the usual number of people were close to melting down, and we’re all flirting with the sense of things running out of control. There are days when it feels like we live through everything all at once. Various metaphors for amusement park rides that you can’t quite get off of keep coming to mind, and it’s always a relief to eat a meal that’s neither cotton candy nor friend dough (they still exist, but you have to go searching).

For those who dare to watch cable news without doubling up on their anxiety meds, clearly the insanity is as bad as it gets—and then it gets worse. It may be that paranoia is easy to manufacture and inner peace cannot be made artificially. Scared people getting together is still a news story, and calm, focused people sharing ideas is a nonevent.

There are legitimately troubling questions, such as, How can anyone possibly take Sarah Palin seriously? Will she beat Barack Obama in the 2012 presidential debates because she’s less intelligent and therefore more appealing? And then what?

We live in an age of continuous buildup without release, of endless preparation without the main event. This is partly why 9/11 was so cathartic—it really had that feeling of something actually important happening and we all latched on to it. It’s also why end-of-the-world scenarios associated with 2012 are so entertaining: More than we fear that something important will happen, we hope that it will happen and therefore resolve this tension that we’re living with.

And I admit, it’s a particularly challenging form of tension. We desperately want to oppose evil, but it has no identity, and then we discover that we’re caught in the devil’s bargain. An oil well gushes out of control into the Gulf of Mexico for three months as we watch helplessly on television day after day. That got a good few people to think about how much plastic we use, but even if you literally work at it fulltime it’s impossible to remove plastic from your life.

Speaking of Astrology, Horoscopes

  • Mercury is in retrograde through September 12.


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