Welcome to the September 2019 Cosmic Weather Forecast, celebrating this month's Pisces Full Moon, Virgo Solar Festival, Autumn Equinox and the Feast of Michaelmas. Warm greetings from your co-editors, Curtis Lang and Jane Sherry.
The Full Moon closest to the Autumnal Equinox is known as the Harvest Moon, and can occur as early as September 8 or as late as October 7, with the Sun sometimes in Virgo, sometimes in Libra. At this alchemical time of year the moon's orbit more closely parallels the horizon line in the Northern Hemisphere, and the moon rises closer to sunset each successive day as the Moon fills out, providing farmers with extra sunset time to gather the harvest.
This Pisces Full Moon is a Harvest Moon, occurring with Sun in Virgo, marking the time in the Northern Hemisphere when crops are traditionally harvested – and communities offer thanks to the Goddess for her bounty. So raise a glass, share your garden and kitchen treasures with friends and loved ones, and make a love offering to Mother Earth for her gifts of life. To help fuel your celebration here is a heart-warming solo version of the Celtic harvest song John Barleycorn Must Die by Sixties Brit-rocker Stevie Winwood.
by Jane Sherry
Here in South Florida, people may want to lift a glass to de-stress, not because of harvest related overwork, but because we are in the midst of the tropical hurricane season. That means steamy days, rainy afternoons and humid warm nights. We are about two months away from harvest season.
Jane reports that "The garden is a true jungle now, with the fragrance of fresh patchouli during our morning or evening swims that is so glorious. The many kinds of flowers we’ve planted are constantly showing off something of themselves and grow literally like weeds. In just almost four years, many of the small seedlings we’ve planted are over six feet tall, kinda crazy.
"Early summer we had the night blooming jasmine, which was hit badly by aphids and other assorted chomping and sucking insects and yet was still going like a perfume dispenser, almost too much in the evening to smell and overwhelmed the senses. I’m so glad it is on the small side of our trellis unlike the Carolina jasmine which is taking over the other side of the trellis in under two years and the fragrance of its' blooms are a bit more sedate, thankfully!
"The cinnamon tree is topping the hedges now at about 10 feet tall, the cardamom plant has grown from a teeny seedling to a gigantic bush which is so delicious to crush the leaves and smell. I do my photo shoots next to it in a shady corner of our yard and just brushing it nearby brings its fresh scent to my spirit and nose. I’m not sure it will ever bloom here, or at least that’s what I was told, no matter, it’s glorious.
"The plumeria (aka frangipane) trees have grown from foot long stalks which a friend from Houston sent us two years ago. They are about four feet tall and have delicious smelling flowers displaying pink, soft golden edged white blooms and vivid white blossoms.
"These tropical plants have great self protective saps which I must avoid. The sap of the plumeria is toxic and to me the sap of the carolina jasmine and the freaking ubiquitous ficus hedges makes me break out!
"Our kitty adores the garden and thankfully stays close to home, so far, thank the godess, and has avoided meeting any of the huge local bufo toads which are poisonous to dogs and cats if they get them in their mouth or touch their skin.
"She has a sharp enough eye and does see them when they’re not in hiding. Just this morning she was screaming to get out at one which made its presence known on the patio during a heavy rain. They are truly cartoon ugly with warty bumps and hunker down anywhere there’s sitting water, like outside our front door where the AC drains off water.
"I did find out they don’t like the smell of vinegar so I use that by the AC water drain but obviously I can’t use it everywhere in the garden or I’d kill our plants! It’s miraculous anyone was ever able to settle here in Florida!"
Pisces Full Harvest Moon, Virgo Solar Festival Cosmic Weather Forecast
This Harvest Moon month of September began with a cluster of planets in Virgo, more or less square to Jupiter in Sagittarius, amplifying the Virgo impulses toward hard work, perfectionism and group endeavors. Since that time, the planetary energy has become increasingly conflicted, as it builds toward a mutable T-square at the Full Moon, which we will discuss in detail below.
Virgo is the sign of the Earth Mother, and it is appropriate that the Harvest Moon occurs in her sign this year.
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. 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!
Firmamentum Sobiescianum sive Uranographia, published 1690.
This month Saturn has been retrograde in Capricorn, nearly conjunct Pluto and more or less trine to Virgo, but moving backwards to our eyes. Saturn's retrograde symbolizes difficulties, limitations and harsh conditions that must be overcome by sheer force of will and demands that we surrender to all that we cannot resist or control.
Saturn conjunct Pluto in Capricorn is a major theme of 2019, in which we are prompted to display rock solid determination in the face of external and internal obstacles to our progress toward our spiritual and material goals. This is the time to resolve old karmic issues through highly disciplined spiritual practices, physical purification, and energy work designed to purge negative emotions and mistaken mental maps of the world.
Neptune in Pisces square Jupiter in Sagittarius continues another of the main astrological themes of 2019, which is the expansion of mental fog that blankets the landscape around us, making it difficult to analyze what we have just experienced, to make sense of what we see around us at any given time, or to visualize what lies just ahead of us with clarity.
During the last ten days here in Boca, we sustained a near-miss from Hurricane Dorian, which was at one point on a path to bring Category 5 landscape-flattening winds to our doorstep. As is often the case during hurricane season in tropical South Florida, it was all but impossible to determine what the storm would do next. We were all shocked when the storm suddenly stopped over the Bahamas for over 48 hours, devastating that island nation, and then Dorian came within 30 -100 miles of the Florida coast as it turned to the North. A variation in Dorian's path of just a few miles could have resulted in landfall right here in Palm Beach County. This type of confusion is typical of the Jupiter-Neptune square.
We had closed our hurricane shutters and prepared for the worst, bringing Jane's 96 year old Mom from her house to ours, with all her things, since she had lost power during Hurricane Irma two years ago, for over ten days. Janet was with us for a couple of days while Dorian dithered and lingered nearby. Janet and cats are incompatible so it was a little tense, especially because Lila is so sociable and wants to get up close and personal with all visitors to our house. But Lila is also sensitive and she displayed a reasonable amount of self-restraint, hiding away in her room for intervals of time.
Lila Hiding in Her Room During Hurricane Dorian Scare, Photo by Jane Sherry
Then we had to deal with air conditioning, Comcast and other contractors for days as a series of inexplicable technical issues surfaced at both our house and Janet's. That is typical of the conflicted astrological climate we described above.
A tremendous amount of fog and busyness ensued since it was hard to pinpoint intermittent issues in various pieces of equipment. Meanwhile last weekend Jane and I began our annual spiritual retreat, designed to purify physical, emotional and mental bodies through lengthy spiritual practices.
In the build-up to this month's Pisces Full Moon and Virgo Solar Festival we have been yo-yoing between stressful mental machinations, frantic activity, and deeply meditative practices, so it has been a time of honoring both Piscean and Virgoan virtues and issues. We knew it was all par for the course in this conflicted astrological environment, but that did not make it any easier.
This full moon at 12:33 am Eastern Time on Saturday September 14, 2019 at 21°05’ Pisces conjuncts Neptune, opposing Mars and Sun in Virgo. The Sun-Mars/Moon-Neptune axis squares Jupiter in Sagittarius, creating a potent mutable T-square.
The mutable T-square triggers powerful energetic cross-currents in our lives. We may feel at times as though we are on a merry-go-round or tilt-a-whirl that accelerates without warning and then suddenly decelerates, leaving us feeling fatigued and spent.
Photo: Andreas Praefcke [CC BY 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)]
Sun and Mars in Virgo impel us to get moving on our unfinished projects, to clear our our inboxes, complete every item on our to-do list, in short to work nonstop, with meticulous attention to each tiny detail along the way. The Universe may prompt us to go back over work already completed and redo again and again because of small imperfections and glitches we had not previously perceived. These planets encourage us to strive for perfection, especially in how we appear to others and can trigger impatience with people we encounter who do not live up to our own, highly subjective values and standards of moral and personal perfection.
On the other hand, Moon and Neptune in Pisces encourage us to take time out to smell the roses, to take a break from our normal busyness and tune in to realms of subtle energy. Forest bathing, called Shinrin-Yoku in Japanese, visits to the ocean, meditations in the garden, and pursuit of spiritual practices designed to elevate our energies into the upper chakras are all supported by these planets. Dreams could be plentiful but it may be hard to distinguish genuinely meaningful messages from mere astral glamours.
Jupiter in Sagittarius, square both sets of planetary impulses, amplifies the energy associated with them, so we may find ourselves swinging between periods of incessant, intensive work and periods of blissed out meditation or escapes into dreams, fantasies and blue screen entertainment binges.
If we can focus our attention on the spiritual aspects of life, this Full Moon week provides energetic support for attaining awareness of the Piscean Christ consciousness residing within each one of us. This Full Moon tunes our inner spiritual antennae to the trans-personal realms of consciousness, enhances our inner spiritual strength and offers us access to creative outlets for our desire to transcend outworn personal and social life strategies and ancient patterns of repetitive, karmic behavior.
from his Firmamentum Sobiescianum sive Uranographia, published 1690.
Fortunately, the Cosmic Weather patterns begin to bring us more favorable energies as the month develops. Saturn retrograde ends September 18, so for those of us impacted by Saturn in Capricorn it should make forward progress easier in all areas of life.
The series of Jupiter-Neptune squares which have cast a fog across our mental landscape for so long will culminate in a third exact square on September 21st, two days before the Autumn Equinox, and these energies will begin to dissipate during October, so we can look forward to increasing clarity of vision, more penetrating discernment and increased intuitive guidance as the fall season unfolds around us.
These are outer planet energies that affect us all, and especially collective emotional fields and thought forms. We may find that many political, economic and social issues that have seemed completely confusing may soon be resolved so that we can make well informed decisions and see the motivations of political and cultural leaders with great clarity. This may well lead to dramatic revelations concerning information that has been covered up and concealed by powerful individuals and institutions in many areas of life all around the world.
There will also be an end to over optimistic Jupiter-Neptune viewpoints in financial markets, in politics, and in our daily lives. Political leaders, financial Titans, corporate chieftains, social media influencers and others who seek to manipulate the collective consciousness through obfuscation, deception and prevarication may find that their veil of lies suddenly evaporates revealing that the Emperor has no clothes. That would be a highly desirable development for all of us!
The Autumn Equinox, The New Age of the Divine Lovers and the Archangel Michael Meditation
The Autumnal Equinox occurs on September 23 at 3:51 AM Eastern time, or 12:51 AM Pacific time, as the Sun enters Libra. This is the time when your Editors, Jane and Curtis, celebrate our own Wedding Anniversary. We chose this day for our wedding thirty three years ago because of its deep spiritual meaning.
Libra is the Zodiac sign symbolized by the Scales of Divine Justice. The Autumn Equinox celebrates the balanced, dynamic equilibrium between day and night, individuals and communities, male and female.
Jane and Curtis at Philadelphia Museum, Summer of 1980, photo by Aline Mare
The Autumn Equinox is a Festival of the Divine Lovers, and celebrates the energy of balanced sexual affinity, within the individual and within all relationships. This alchemical moment of the year, a time of transformation, purification, and the rising of the Universal Life Force energy into the higher chakras, celebrates the sacred marriage of the Divine Lovers, and the establishment of a New Age civilization based upon the balance of male and female principles in a Union designed to serve the needs of the lovers, their families, the greater community, and Mother Earth herself.
This New Age will be founded upon the principle of male and female balance (both within the self & also among the sexes), upon the primacy of Love, grounded upon the Earth through balanced sexual affinity, and rising to the heavens through the harmonious intent and the spiritual practices of Twin Soul Adepts offering their hearts, their minds and their bodies in Service to the Divine.
The Divine Lovers represent the Avatars of the New Age of Aquarius, which is now trembling on the historical horizon, its first shimmering rays of light visible through today’s dark night of the planetary soul, to those Adepts with clairvoyant vision who can pierce the veil of Time’s illusion.
For us, the New Age of Aquarius is symbolized by the dynamic equilibrium of the Divine Lovers in ecstatic union of all 7 bodies, a physical, etheric, astral, mental and spiritual union. The waning Age of Pisces is represented by the image of the Pieta, grieving Mother Mary cradling the dead and crucified Jesus Christ in her arms.
The Age of Pisces was an age that required physical sacrifice even unto death for those who set upon the Ascension Path of spiritual development.
The Age of Aquarius is an age that requires the balancing of masculine and feminine in joyous union as a prerequisite for a two part process of spiritual development that includes mutual shared Ascension practices, and shared rituals of manifestation to re-sacralize Planet Earth and restore this battered, scarred, imbalanced planet to health and harmony. For more on this topic, read our article entitled The New Age of the Divine Lovers.
Johannes Hevelius's chart of Libra and surrounding constellations,
from his Firmamentum Sobiescianum sive Uranographia, published 1690.
During the Libra season of the year, maintaining equilibrium requires dynamic adjustments to our lifestyles, life strategies and the tactics we use to manifest our desires in our world.
If we can maintain our balance and use our will forces and mental concentration to focus and channel the strong energy created by the conflicts in the stars, the results can be uplifting.
Libra, ruled by Venus, is a transpersonal sign, and its interests transcend individual consciousness, emphasizing diplomacy and cooperation. It's appropriate that as fall commences, communities work together to bring in the year's harvest in the Northern hemisphere, and rejoice together, celebrating the abundance their cooperation has manifested.
Archangel Michael is the presiding angel of the fall season, and at the Equinox, Michael guides Earthly developments as energy rises in human beings to the upper chakras. For Esoteric Christianity and the Western tradition of alchemy, the autumnal meteor showers, peaking this year on October 9, are a celestial sign of energetic transformation. The meteors, associated with the element of iron, signify Michael's iron sword of purification, which dispels the sulfurous influence of Universal Life Force Energy active in humanity's lower chakras during the season of summer.
For most human beings now alive on planet Earth, the primary task this lifetime is to elevate the life force energy, chi, or prana, from the third to the fourth chakra, from the belly to the heart, and to open the heart. The heart chakra is the seat of transpersonal consciousness, the doorway to inner knowledge of the web of life and the seat of compassion for others and for all life. This is our Ascension practice. In this practice, we can transcend the limits of our egoistic personality and attain the enlightenment that accompanies self-transformation.
Let us meditate together for a moment on the life cycle of the butterfly -- this perennial image of successful spiritual evolution. It is no coincidence that the Sabian Symbol for the first degree of Libra, and the Autumn Equinox, is Transfiguration: In a Collection of Perfect Specimens of Many Biological Forms, A Butterfly Plays the Beauty of Its Wings, Its Body Impaled by a Fine Dart.
Photo of Caterpillar from Antioch, California Satya Center Gardens, by Jane Sherry
The earthbound caterpillar explores its garden world, searches for plant life that will fuel its growth, feeds upon the plants around it, and in its heedless hunger can debilitate or destroy the plants that are the source of its own sustenance and shelter. At a certain point in its evolution, the caterpillar turns inward, and sacrifices the form and life it has known previously. After a period of gestation and hibernation, in retreat from the outside world, the caterpillar re-emerges as a beautiful butterfly.
The ephemeral butterfly has a Higher Purpose in the world than merely to feed and perpetuate its own species. Empowered to soar above the plants upon which it had previously struggled to inch its way, the butterfly spreads the pollen of the plants it visits, extending plant lives and habitat rather than threatening them, as it did when it visited them in its caterpillar incarnation.
The butterfly does not eat plants, it drinks nectar, reproduces, and soars above the garden. The butterfly has undergone a spiritual evolution as well as a physical metamorphosis.
Butterly in Jane's Roxbury Road Garden, Claverack, New York
This amazing creature, which began life as a garden predator and pest, has become one of the most essential garden helpers and one of the most giving of garden creatures.
Thus the butterfly has long been considered a model for human psychic development among mystery schools of both the East and the West.
Christian symbolism depicts the caterpillar to butterfly moment of spiritual elevation in the story of Christ’s Transfiguration in the Garden of Gethsemane. When Christ was impaled by a ray of light from the Heavenly Father, illuminating his mind and heart, he foresaw the path that lay before him. At that moment Christ understood the sacrifice that was being prepared for him, the nature of his death, and the gravity of the work he must undertake in preparation for his glorious Resurrection.
The image of the butterfly impaled by a pin pictures the elevation of the individual existence to the realm of archetype, the expansion of the individuated time-bound egocentric personality into Cosmic, timeless, Unity Consciousness.
This moment is at one and the same time the Dark Night of the Soul and the antechamber of Eternity.
The initiate must surrender completely to the path of Spirit, and in that surrender lies illumination. The very first step on the Ascension path is Surrender.
The Autumn Equinox is the moment for that surrender, the turning point of the year when energies that had entered the very roots of creation, supporting the summer growth of the animal and vegetal kingdoms, now turn upward on the Ascension path.
On the Autumn Equinox, Archangel Uriel, Master of Universal Life Force Energy, who has been directing and energizing the growth cycle of plants and animals during the summer months, surrenders his position as Seasonal Archangel to Archangel Michael, who comes armed with subtle fire and a sword of iron, to redirect the Cosmic Forces from the Stars and the Life Force Energy welling up from deep within the Earth toward the support of accelerated spiritual growth.
Energy which has been energizing the three lower chakras during the earth's energetic exhalation during summer, now begins to stimulate the heart, the throat, third eye and crown. At the autumnal equinox we enter the season of increasing darkness, when the subtle senses must become ever more acute to guide us ever upward toward our lofty yearly spiritual goal -- giving birth to the Divine within ourselves.
That rebirth is scheduled for the period of the Winter Solstice, and much work must be done to purify and attune the physical, emotional, mental and energetic vehicles of the human body in preparation for that new birth.
Take this opportunity at the Autumn Equinox to call upon Archangel Michael. Ask Michael to guide you along your own personal path of Spirit. Ask Michael for protection from all energies that would impede you on your way. Ask Michael to remove all obstacles, inner and outer, from your Ascension path.
May you Ascend safely and freely, with the aid of the Archangel of Autumn, whom we honor at this time of year.
Michaelmas and the New Age
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.”
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 fo