Autumn Equinox, Pisces Full Moon, Virgo Solar Festival 2021 Cosmic Weather Forecast

Welcome to the September 2021 edition of our Cosmic Weather Forecast by Curtis Lang and Jane Sherry. We celebrate the Pisces Full Moon, the Virgo Solar Festival and the Autumn Equinox, as we reach the midpoint of the astrological year.

Virgo is the Mother of the Harvest and in North America the Virgo interval of the year is the time to begin to reap the fruits of the year's labor and, if you live far enough South, to clear away existing weeds and plants past their prime and perform fall planting. It's a busy time of year!

Last Friday we took time off to hike to the top of Elk Knob, 5550 feet high in the Appalachian Mountains.

View from the Summit of Elk Knob, Todd, North Carolina, 5550 feet high, photo by Curtis Lang

When we started the ascent it was about 50 degrees, and after a long string of 90+ degree days it felt like a new season had begun. We enjoyed a spectacular, painterly panoramic view of the mountains from the summit.

It was a steep climb, the trail strewn here and there with large water smoothed rocks, so we were glad we had brought hiking sticks!

Jane on Elk Knob Trail amidst the snakeroot flowers, photo by Curtis Lang

We have been very busy in our garden at Bethabara Historic Park during this Virgo season. We finished harvesting green beans, potatoes and zinnias and cleared away the weeds the summer sun and rains had multiplied beyond our most pessimistic expectations.

Food processing, an integral part of the Virgo interval, has also made this month a time of kitchen experimentation and alchemy. Below is a picture of the first stage of preparation of Jane's muscadine grape raisin ginger chutney. You can see the young fresh local ginger in the picture below.

Stage One of Jane's Bethabara Muscadine Grape, Raisin and Local Ginger Chutney, photo by Jane Sherry

We also have finally begun to fully utilize our large second garden plot that we had been working on with a fall planting. We had brought in soil, compost and mulch months ago put down over a prepared 'no till' bed which got rid of weeds by smothering them with paper, which was kept wet after cutting them down. Then we created some beautiful furrows and rows in preparation for fall planting. I watered the plot to break down the paper and transmitted Reiki energy as I worked for months, while keeping the weeds at bay.

During the last few days, as temperatures began to moderate, it was planting time. You can see autumn's starts in the picture below:  carrots and beets under the chicken wire, four varieties of Heirloom cherry tomatoes further back, and thai basil.

In other parts of this large new plot Jane planted beautiful herbs, flowering shrubs and more vegetables. Hyssop and anise hyssop have grown way high already. Bronze fennel too! We've got tiny snap pea seedlings, new carrots and beets, spinach, Russian kale, transplanted lavender, rose geranium and rugosa roses!

Our Fall Garden Starts, Bethabara Historic Park, Photo by Curtis Lang

We're in a bit of a dry spell here in Winston though, so Jane and I have to water consistently.

Here in the foothills of the Appalachians, we have been spared the drought that afflicts much of the American West, but this week we are seeing red sunrises and sunsets, and there is a haze of smoke from West Coast fires in the air once again.

Air quality is suffering. We are very conscious of the hydrological cycle and of the jet stream that creates our weather system and brings the world's increasingly destructive wildfire season's particulate matter into our little garden ecosystem.

Here in the US, we get news about droughts in the Western states and in Canada, but very little information about the widespread droughts affecting every continent on Earth, droughts so severe and widespread that climate scientists, NGOs and commodities traders say global food production is being severely impacted.

Assuming current conditions and trends continue, there is a clear and present danger of widespread food shortages and famine in the next few years.

NASA map of surface global soil moisture, June 2021. Darker areas indicate severe drought.

The worst drought in Washington state since 1977 has devastated the wheat crop in one of America's top four wheat producing states.

Acute drought has cut food production in key Canadian provinces amid widespread predictions of rising prices for a variety of basic foods. Western Canadian farmers harvested only 25% of their spring wheat crop this year. Canadian officials predict an across-the-board drop of 26% in production of all food crops as a result of the lack of soil moisture.

During this summer’s record-breaking heatwave around the Mediterranean, wildfires broke out in Greece, Cyprus, Israel, Kabylia, Provence, Turkey, Sicily and across southern Italy.

In Syria, the worst drought conditions in 70 years were exacerbated when the Turkish government reduced the flow of water Syria receives from the Euphrates river, and only 450,000 tons of barley could be harvested, a mere 20% of the expected harvest of 2.2 million tons.

In Iraq and Syria, over 12 million people lost access to water and food this year already. Algeria's cereal harvest has fallen 35-40% this year as normally high yielding farmlands succumb to the extreme drought.

Mexico and South America also are seeing steep drops in food production as a result of the global drought conditions. Hundreds of thousands of cattle in Northern Mexico have died or been prematurely slaughtered because cattle ranchers have no water for the cattle to drink after two years of catastrophic drought.

In India, summer sowing of food crops dropped precipitously as central and northern regions received scant rainfall.

The drought, combined with the Covid epidemic, is creating a hunger and malnutrition catastrophe in India, and around the world.

The UN World Food Programme's live Hunger Map shows us that 957 million people across 93 countries do not have enough to eat.

Drought and the global pandemic are not the only drivers of increasing global food scarcity. As scientists have predicted, climate change has ushered in a new normal. Persistent drought conditions are punctuated by strong storms creating floods from the Gulf Coast to Europe to South Asia.

Europe, Belgium, Germany, Netherlands and Switzerland have suffered widespread damage to fruit and vegetable crops caused by massive flooding, and officials expect to pay elevated prices to replace these vital foods over the months to come.

Typhoon In-Fa moves northwest over already flooded Henan Province,
July 27, 2021, NOAA-NASA Suomi NPP satellite photo

In China, 2.4 million acres of prime cropland in Henan province have been submerged by record flooding, and officials are importing record amounts of corn, vegetables and pork.

The results in commodities markets and grocery prices are predictable. Prices have skyrocketed. Traders are making fortunes while millions go without proper nutrition.

"Global food prices were up 33% in August from a year earlier with vegetable oil, grains and meat on the rise, data from the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization show," Bloomberg News reported this week. "And it’s not likely to get better as extreme weather, soaring freight and fertilizer costs, shipping bottlenecks and labor shortages compound the problem. Dwindling foreign currency reserves are also hampering the ability of some nations to import food. From Europe to Turkey and India, politicians are now handing out more aid, ordering sellers to cut prices and tinkering with trade rules to mitigate the impact on consumers."

“Food is more expensive today than it has been for the vast majority of modern recorded history,” said Alastair Smith, senior teaching fellow in global sustainable development at Warwick University in the U.K.

Observed and projected changes in the global average temperature under three IPCC no-policy emissions scenarios. The shaded areas show the likely ranges while the lines show the central projections from a set of climate models.

The bottom line is that agricultural production is very vulnerable to climate change, which is accelerating, as you can see in the above chart. The Covid pandemic has reduced the number of agricultural workers around the world, and contributed to a dramatic drop in food production and a global surge in agricultural commodity prices, as increasing numbers of people find it impossible to afford the food they need to survive.

These emerging trends will continue and worsen as average global temperatures spike during the next decades, causing deeper droughts and devastating storm flooding all over the world. Inflating food prices and shortages in hotspots and poor countries will spark rebellion, revolt and civil wars. Resource wars between neighboring countries, like Turkey and Syria, Pakistan and India, China and India, will become increasingly probable, and may become unavoidable by the 2040s and beyond.
It's a good idea to learn now how to grow your own food. Plant a backyard garden or join a community garden if you have no yard. That's what Jane and I have done for over twenty years. Here in Winston we enjoy hanging out with the other gardeners. When it gets too hot, we take a break, sit under the 30 yard long arbor and munch on green and red grapes.

Bethabara Historic Park Community Garden Grape Arbor, photo by Jane Sherry

We've met great people from Russia, Jamaica, Chicago, and the UK, as well as folks whose families were gardening in Bethabara since 1753.

The Winston Salem urban community garden is a beautiful mosaic of cross-cultural influences, protecting and extending the legacy of eighteenth century pioneers to help establish a resilient local foods network in our town.

I bet there are golden community gardening opportunities located near you too! If not, maybe it's time to start one up, or to replace part of your lawn with a good food and herb garden you and your neighbors can cultivate. In the 21st century it takes a village to feed a family.

Jane with her first watermelon from the Bethabara Gardens, photo by Curtis Lang

Cosmic Weather Forecast

On Monday evening, September 20, 2021 at 7:55 p.m. EDT we celebrate the Full Moon at 28°13' Pisces and the Virgo Solar Festival.

Virgo is the sign of the Earth Mother, and it is appropriate that the Harvest Moon occurs at the time of the Virgo Solar Festival this year.
Sidney Hall's 1831 Starchart of Virgo Constellation,
courtesy of Library of Congress

Virgo's reputation as a demanding, perfectionist workaholic stress generator is actually very appropriate for the traditional time of the harvest season, when historically speaking, entire agricultural communities gathered together to bring in the fruits of the year's labor, which would represent the community's winter food stores, and could determine the profit or loss they would sustain for the year, and whether they had enough food to eat through the winter.

At such a crucial time I would want a hard-driving take-no-prisoners manager to oversee the harvest and painstakingly catalogue each and every fruit and vegetable brought into storage. That would be a Virgo!

The Virgo Solar Festival on Monday, September 20 occurs at 28° Virgo, and the very next day, the Sun enters Libra.

This Pisces Full Moon is the best full moon of the year for all spiritual practices. The main planetary aspect shaping the cosmic weather patterns this Full Moon is Mercury in Libra trine Jupiter in Aquarius. This aspect supports efforts to take a broad, big-picture view of our lives, through vision questing, meditation, and other consciousness expanding methodologies.

Colorized Version of French Astronomer Camille Flammarion's L’atmosphère: météorologie populaire, The caption underneath the engraving says ‘A medieval missionary tells that he has found the point where heaven and Earth meet’…”. 

Consciousness expansion in general will be rewarded at this time, and with the Moon near the end of dreamy Pisces, approaching the air sign Libra cusp, there is a strong potential for achieving visionary experiences through our spiritual practices.

We celebrate the Autumnal Equinox on Wednesday September 22 this year. The Fall season begins in the Northern Hemisphere. The presiding angel of autumn is Michael. Archangel Michael's energy guides Earthly developments below ground even as human energies rise into the upper chakras.

The Autumn Equinox is always about balancing social and individual needs and priorities, and about balancing the energy of male and female within each one of us. So this is the perfect time to take a step back from impulsive action, meditate to attain clear vision, and then be sure that your intended actions reflect the best and highest good for all involved. Share your blessings with those in need this Autumn Equinox week and you will align yourself with the most positive energy of the moment.

Tarot Trump 8, Adjustment, Thoth Tarot Deck

The Libra interval of the year stimulates social interactions of all kinds. We will be offered golden opportunities to expand our social circle, to reacquaint ourselves with old friends and neighbors, and to dive deeper into group activities with our peers, workmates, and families. 

That's great news, but we all want to maintain our Libran balance, our equilibrium, as we engage deeply in the autumnal social whirl. This requires a constant process of adjustment, which is the name of the Tarot Trump associated with the sign Libra, in the Thoth deck.

To protect yourself against ambient conflicted energies, astral glamours and social confusion, call upon Archangel Michael, the presiding Angel of the Fall season. Read our article entitled Autumn Equinox: The Archangel Michael Meditation, for a guided visualization invoking Archangel Michael to purify our subtle bodies, our aura and our chakra system, and sever the detrimental attachments we may have to people, places, past events, and karmic dramas that may be impeding our progress on the path of Spirit we have chosen.

Drawing by Jane Sherry

Shortly after the Equinox, on September 25, Mars in Libra trines Saturn in Aquarius, creating a cosmic weather pattern that is very supportive of all our efforts to manifest complex plans in a very practical way that will be structured for the very best and highest good of all concerned.

Two days later, Mercury goes retrograde, until October 18, joining Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto in backward motion as seen from Earth.

There is no doubt that at this time, with favorable inner planets we will all feel somewhat optimistic about our individual prospects. And at the same time it is quite likely that the collective consciousness will feel burdensome with a shared feeling of inability to move forward as needed in large social contexts.

The good news is that relief from these oppressive, conflicted feelings in the collective consciousness are due to lighten up to a significant degree in the month ahead!

The mystical Christian community celebrates the Fall Feast of Michaelmas on September 29, approximately one week after the Autumn Equinox. The philosopher, spiritual scientist and Christian mystic Rudolf Steiner granted the Archangel Michael a very special role in today’s world.

Michael’s role is revealed in the Bible’s Apocalypse of St. John (12:7) “And there was a war in Heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon. . .and the dragon was cast out into the Earth. . .having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time.”

Luca Giordano: The Fall of the Rebel Angels (1660-1665)

For Steiner, who lived at the turn of the Twentieth Century, the Apocalypse is a metaphor for a great spiritual struggle being enacted right now, in the 21st century. Steiner believed the Apocalypse was not a physical war but rather a spiritual struggle between the forces of materialism, represented by the Lord of Darkness, which Steiner referred to as (the Zoroastrian god) called Ahriman, and the forces of Spirit. The Forces of Light represent humanity’s free will and the Forces of Darkness represent oppression and suppression of that free will.

In this Titanic struggle for the souls of all humanity, Archangel Michael leads the forces of Light, wielding a fiery sword, the sword of free will.

Michael is said to help women and men to find their own spiritual purpose and path in life, and to help, guide, protect and energize them that they may exercise their will forces in the service of the light, choosing to freely walk upon their own personal path of Spirit, and thus advance their spiritual evolution, and the spiritual evolution of all humanity.

For Steiner, the physically compelling forces of the summer season correspond to the element of sulfur, and this element stimulates a wide range of material and emotional excitements, all of which tend to increase the average person’s attachment to the material world.

During summer, when the flow of life force energy increases in plants, animals and human beings alike, and the air is saturated with desire and warmth, the drive to propagate and procreate increases as well. Attention is rightly focused upon the reproductive activities of plants and animals alike, and on the growth of young animals and plants across the face of the Earth. Naturally, in human beings, this waxing Universal Life Force energy concentrates in the lower chakras associated with survival instincts, sexual reproduction and personal power.

This presents a danger during these Apocalyptic times, when the Lord of Darkness seeks to entrap all humanity in a purely materialistic existence, devoid of all spirituality.

Manifestations of Ahrimanic influence include political systems that seek to dominate through military force, economic systems that seek to enrich the few at the expense of the many, philosophical systems such as the very popular rational materialsm that seek to depict all human activity as the product of "the selfish gene", psychological theories that reduce humanity’s free will to a set of biologically determined chemical reactions, and all other reductionist, purely mechanistic scientific models of the universe.

Of course the super-charged energies driving growth and reproduction during summer time, presided over by Archangel Uriel, can also entice human beings into an ultimately unhealthy obsession with self, sexuality and the drive to personal power.

The Autumn Equinox and the passage of the seasonal torch from Uriel to Michael provides humanity a counter-balance to summer's steamy sexual heat. That moment of passage is signaled by a unique energy signature in the sky.

From October 2 through November 7, not long after Michaelmas, in the northern hemisphere, the Orionid meteor showers will be visible. 

Orionid Meteor Shower Over Turkey, Courtesy NASA

At this time of year, when highly visible meteor showers, largely composed of space rocks rich in iron, traditionally streak across the night sky, Steiner’s clairvoyant vision saw the traditional flashing iron sword of Michael.

The meteoric sword of Michael was thought to cleanse the Earth’s atmosphere of summer's sulfurous influences, allowing the Higher Self to emerge and guide the initiate along the path of Spirit toward the birth of the Inner Christ Light, an event which takes place in December, at the winter solstice just before the festival of Christmas.

The planets are co-operative as we all move through autumn's inner and outer activities, which balance increased social interchanges with a call to move energy into our upper chakras through meditation, energy work and prayer.

Pluto, Saturn, Mercury and Jupiter all return to direct motion during the month of October, and we will all experience a welcome feeling that the intense friction that has impeded our best efforts in many areas of life is finally dissipating.

Pluto goes into direct motion on October 6, at the time of the New Moon in Libra, sparking a deep, soulful yearning for the enjoyment of beauty, sensuous pleasure and peaceful enjoyment of art, music, and lively conversation with friends.

The very next day, Venus enters Sagittarius, the sign of the adventurer. This is a great time to take a break from our routines and go on a vision quest in search of natural splendor, novel experiences, and romantic interludes.

Saturn goes direct in Aquarius October 10, providing energy to manifest and implement our plans to achieve both our spiritual and material goals. Listen closely and Saturn will tell you what is essential and what is not.

Curtis and Jane on Flat Top Mountain, North Carolina, photo by Jane Sherry

Focus your attention, summon your will forces, and step boldly forward on new pathways you’ve envisioned during the last few months. You'll find the Universe supports you this autumn as you pursue your material and physical goals.

Jane and I send you Love and Light! May you have a blessed, healthy, happy autumn season!

Meditation Moment: For the Michael Age

We must eradicate from the soul
All fear and terror of what comes towards Man
Out of the future
And we must acquire serenity
In all feelings and sensations about the future
We must look forward
With absolute equanimity to everything that may come
And we must think only that whatever comes
Is given to us by a world directive full of wisdom
It is part of what we must learn in this age,
Namely to live out of pure trust
Without any security in existence.
Trust in that ever present help of the spiritual world.
Truly, nothing else will do
If our courage is not to fail us.
And we must seek this awakening within Ourselves
Every morning and every evening.
-- Rudolph Steiner, from a lecture given in 1910 
Archangel michaelArchangelsAstrological forecastsAutumnal equinoxEnvironmentEnvironmental crisis/solutions