September MMXX | A.W. Clovenhopf

This year so far has applied immense pressure on those with strong cardinal signatures in their charts. Cancer and Capricorn have felt the tug of changing long-term habits, Aries and Libra continue their work in seeking a balance between harmonizing different viewpoints and refusing to lose access to basic human rights. Many of us have been considering all these themes in ways that fit our own charts.

The cardinal signs are called such because they initiate—they mark the beginning of a season. Aries, the spring, correlates with our survival instinct, to push forward whatever the odds. Cancer welcomes the summer, we find a safe place to relax and soak up the loving rays of our friends, family and nature. Libra season brings the fall. We say our loving goodbyes to the carefree feelings inspired by the abundance of summer, and artistic expression takes on increased prominence. We enter our interior worlds to find the words, sounds, or images for our experiences. Capricorn brings the winter. Nothing comes easy, and preparation and strategy are the only way to see ourselves back to the spring season. With discipline, we find reward. Looking at the chart for the Libra Equinox, occurring September 22, provides a few clues for what the next season may bring.

The ruler of Libra conjoins asteroid Vesta, both at 18 degrees Leo. In ancient Rome, the Vestal Virgins were devoted to keeping the sacred hearth fire burning. For female citizens in the ancient world this position was one of the few ways to enjoy the privileges of freedom. Vestals were not only attributed magical power and authority in ceremony, they had salaries! Virgins were required to make a 30-year celibacy agreement. After their turn they were free citizens who could marry and enjoy near-equal status with their male peers, including free movement, some sway with the state, property and a pension.

Vesta meeting Venus in Leo brings to mind the importance of creative and unique self-expression during the upcoming months. At this time, empowerment is attached to embracing individuality in service of something greater. Exploration of the limits of the self and struggles against boundaries set by the system force one to more clearly search for personal values. For the socially committed, it may feel like a slow down, but taking time to understand your own needs can help forge stronger links with the changing collective.

Right now, it may not be clear what keeps the fire going. It requires a conscious choice and continued dedication to stay committed to the work. Leo teaches us the value of loyalty and dignity of the human individual. This is hinted at astrologically by the Vesta/Venus conjunction making obtuse aspects to Neptune in Pisces and Jupiter in Capricorn. The picture of the greater good is emerging in a blurry, idealistic form.

We will understand our efforts more clearly in the cold light of dawn, but for now, any steps toward a dream are worth taking, even if we don’t know the full direction we’re headed. We may be revisiting themes from January of 2020 as Pluto returns to the scene of the crime (22 degrees Capricorn, where it conjoined Saturn, see the 'Heaven and Hell' essay from late June. This can mean that any progress is one step forward, two steps back. Discouragement, frustration and delays may be the norm right now. The idea is to clear the slate down to the completely essential.

The upcoming season suggests the emergence of new leaders, renewing a commitment to the rebuilding and reorganization of failing structures. From a stylistic viewpoint, Leo is often associated with the hair. Statues of vestal virgins display extensively braided hairstyles, similar to cornrows. A mistranslation of Roman texts as well as accounts of hair sacrifice by Vestal Virgins led scholars to believe that vestal hair was often a wig. After the work of a dedicated Hair-Style Archaeologist we now more completely understand these complicated hairstyles.

Astrologer Samuel Reynolds makes a strong connection between African American people and the planet Venus, which he details in his great discussion available for purchase at Fresh Voices in Astrology. Venus is associated with beauty and finances. The first self-made female millionaire, Madam CJ Walker, made her money by creating and selling hair care products designed for black women. She continued her legacy by teaching others marketing and cosmetology skills, as well as making generous donations to many organizations working for the equality of black folks.

The equinox chart’s focus on Venus and Vesta in Leo suggests balancing the preservation of cultural heritage with individual style. It’s hard to think of the archetype of the lion without considering the mane. These symbols come together to form a theme around conscious inheritance. How do we know when to subjugate our own preferences or interests in the name of fighting for something bigger than ourselves? What legacies do we stand to inherit, or pass along, and are they worth continuing to the next generation?

It may seem trivial, but communal spaces such as the barbershop or salon serve as important gathering places. The significance of information being transmitted during styling rituals is an important part of black empowerment, as feeling accepted in one’s natural appearance is a strong fortification. Think of Angela Davis’ natural hair, or the Locs worn by H.R. of the Bad Brains. These styles are simultaneously iconic and part of a collective heritage.

Additionally, this goes beyond appearance and veers into the territory of having the resources you need to exist with confidence. Think of the feeling of needing attire appropriate for a job interview—there’s an importance to “looking the part.” In some ways, our societal expectations may be out of touch with human experience. The equinox calls for an adjustment of those standards and norms. What happens when “looking the part” means going against your values, or your inherited features? I am encouraged that the current astrology ushers in an era where braids or natural hair are not stigmatized as unprofessional. This issue was highlighted by a recent viral twitter post, showing news Anchor Treasure Roberts wearing braids on air.

The viewpoints such as those of our Hair-Style Archeologist demonstrate the importance of academic diversity. Someone who has not worked to braid and style the hair of another would likely find it impossible to create such a complicated style. How many other historical or current cultural understandings suffer by being viewed through a limited lens? The astrology of the fall shows the rise of the “-ism” where a specific viewpoint arrived at by a certain experience gains traction. Are we beginning to enter a world where we move beyond the everything-and-nothing meaninglessness of postmodernity? The difficulty here is falling victim to “whatabout-ism” where a constant scrutiny of seemingly competing ideologies leads to a defiant lack of progress.

Libra season begs us to find a balance. As Aries Gloria Steinem phrased it, “…power can be taken, but not given. The process of the taking is empowerment in itself.” If the needs of the lesser understood or lesser valued are being ignored to feed the more powerful, the scales will need to be tipped in the opposite direction. With Mars beginning its retrograde in Aries it is the brave efforts of individuals that will initiate the reset.

Horoscopic Perspective September 1-14

ARIES: The month kicks off with a full moon in your house of closure and endings. Perhaps there is some sort of habit, or on-the-job situation that it’s high-time you kick to the curb. With Chiron moving through your sign, you’ve got to expose the wound to the light if you’d like it to heal. The continuing movements of Mars through your sign suggest the time is right to rip off the Band-Aid.

TAURUS: Your friends know that no one can force you to rush or do something outside of your own timeline, Bully. It doesn’t mean it won’t get done, but you’ve got to come around to it on your own terms. An important conversation with someone you respect can help you reconsider your motives this week. Academic or travel goals may require a little more thought before proceeding as planned.

GEMINI: Negotiating your work responsibilities so as to allow enough financial compensation but also enough freedom of movement for the future is taking priority. You may find you need less than you think, particularly if it comes down to risking your health or supporting a situation that doesn’t suit the direction you’re heading. Can you tough it out long enough to add a few more skills to your repertoire?

CANCER: The full moon on the 1st of the month may find you feeling like educational matters leave something to be desired. Perhaps online courses aren’t shaking out to be worth the cash, or being back in a public school is too much of a personal health sacrifice. The authority you feel from other people has to be balanced out with the respect you have for yourself. Mars’ movement through your career house suggests you have options, or something to fight for.

LEO: Maybe you’ve been working hard to address an ongoing debt, or crowdfund a project? There’s a highlight on other people’s money at the start of September. Funds may be tied up or delayed a little bit longer, while Venus opposes Saturn and reacts to a square from Mars. Scholarly interests or something related to exploring different cultures catches your eye this month – stick with it and see where it goes.

VIRGO: A draining partnership continues to demand your attention. A dear Virgo friend told me recently that she’s beginning to accept that she may just need to lower her standards. In most cases, this would make me feel a little sad, but sometimes the perfect is the enemy of the good. Are your expectations set to self-destruct; particularly where what could be a healthy, happy relationship is in play? If inherent perfectionism is suffocating a bond, it may be time to examine your values more closely.

LIBRA: Obligingly committing to a service is noble. Feeling resentful at your continued commitment but doing it anyway is unnecessary. Your home, career, and relationship life are all making pretty strong demands on you at the moment. Avoiding your troubles in either sphere by overcommitting to another is not a smart way to solve the issues. Make an effort to get organized – perhaps you can do it all if you plan and delegate.

SCORPIO: A change of habit or commitment to a goal is starting to gain momentum. It wouldn’t be worth it if there weren’t a few challenges, Scorps. The full moon on the 1st asks you to take a little breather, though – you’ve earned it, even if you’re far from accomplishing what you had hoped. With Mars about to turn retrograde you’ll have time to revisit these topics again in the next few months anyways.

SAGITTARIUS: You’re not one for spending tons of time at home, but maybe some recent changes have you feathering your nest like never before. Is a job situation starting to afford you a little more security and comfort than you anticipated? Enjoy it! You’re developing new confidence and resources through getting rooted to a physical place.

CAPRICORN: If you’ve finally started to set boundaries on time spent working, good for you. Now hold to it! Challenging situations are testing your commitment, but clear communication with colleagues can help you refine your needs and help them reconsider their expectations or demands. Delegate what you can, but also understand that many look up to you as an authority figure, so this may look a little more like mentoring at the moment.

AQUARIUS: You may have a tendency to value ideas more than objects. This full moon is asking you how you can create more concrete resources from all your imaginings. It’s not the immaterial isn’t valuable, but at the end of the day, we live in a material universe, and being an “ideas guy” is not going to buy you lunch. There’s no doubt you love what you do, but there’s also a need to get grounded if you want it to be something other than a hobby.

PISCES: The full moon in your own sign enhances your more intuitive, sensitive qualities. Watch out for feeling like a human sponge at the start of the month. If other people’s emotions or problems are hard to shake, it may be time for a good sage out or salt bath in a quiet, safe place. Creativity may also be running high right now, so make sure to take some time to write or paint or enjoy your medium of choice.

Horoscopic Perspective September 15-30

ARIES: If you’ve been feeling like you need a fresh start, the new moon on the 17th is a good place to look. It lands in your sixth house, putting the responsibility for needed changes squarely on your shoulders. The question becomes, what can you control? Health habits, exercise regimen, and managing stress are all ways to help get your situation back in balance. Adaptogenic herbs like holy basil can be really helpful, particularly if you’re an Aries who is kinda stressy/ yelly.

TAURUS: Creativity and a down to earth vibe at the end of the month suit your style. This would be a great time to make sure you get in some camping or gardening time, as any time spent outdoors is likely to get your artistic wheels turning. With Venus in your house of home and family processes, it doesn’t even need to be far away, it may even be preferable to keep close to your own backyard.

GEMINI: Your leader, Mercury, is master of ceremonies during the new moon on the 17th. This gives your natural inclination to relax with a pile of books a boost. This is also a great time to branch out into hobbies you’ve been meaning to try out around the home. Get moving if you notice an abundance of nervous energy, you may need to make time for a few extra bike rides around the neighborhood or walk and talks with friends.

CANCER: With Mercury moving through Libra, this may be a great time for jumping back in to creative projects, or for getting focused around better organizing your creative time. Virgo loves to analyze, suggesting that getting clear about what you’re working on and creating a space in your home to sit and accomplish your goals could be helpful for you. This may mean getting a new planner or setting up an organization software to help out.

LEO: N ew Moons tend to have a little more sway for you than the full moon due to your solar nature. This one, however, may get you feeling all sorts of feels full-moon style thanks to its opposition to Neptune. It may be important to recognize now that any sort of “imposter syndrome” you’re feeling may not be wholly psychological – but an honest assessment of the need to get new skills that match your recent developments. Don’t get scared, just get to work.

VIRGO: The new moon’s helpful aspect to Saturn suggests you’re starting to get comfortable with your own authority. Recognizing your need for order, and how that applies to even your pleasurable activities, will go a long way towards focusing your efforts. An ongoing square between Mars and Saturn suggests both growing into a more mature role, and also, perhaps, enjoying some intriguing moments behind closed doors. Get it Virgz!

LIBRA: With the Sun and Moon moving through your house of closure and endings you have some time to get organized and tie up loose ends before your season begins in earnest. It can be really tempting to start something new right now, but if you’re struggling to get motivated, take a look at backlogged projects and try to get them off your plate. Don’t let Mercury moving through your sign distract you – sometimes tying up loose ends can also just mean making more time to nap and mentally prepare.

SCORPIO: Your classical ruler, Mars, is continuing to chip away at some outdated ways of thinking and communicating. It can be a struggle to have enough humility to accept that perhaps the way we think of something is limiting, or incorrect. If you’re dealing with the same situation time and again, astrology suggests trying something new. Listening to your friends may surprise you – they could see an angle of the situation you hadn’t considered.

SAGITTARIUS: The tough thing about getting anything started is just sticking with it and showing up on the regular. You’ve got what it takes to enjoy a fresh start in your career, but it’s not going to happen overnight. I don’t know where I heard this quote (sorry, it’s a good one I promise), but someone smarter than I said “it’s not the work, it’s the discipline.”

CAPRICORN: The end of the month seems to find you motivated and ready to tackle exciting learning endeavors! Even if it’s just a language app on your phone, a few minutes a day really adds up to serious progress. Stressful situations at home can be distracting, but quickly addressing issues as they arise and organizing your time to make the most of it will be most beneficial through the fall.

AQUARIUS: With Mars moving in retrograde motion and challenging all the Capricorn planets in your 12th house, you may find some subconscious material beginning to shake loose. The new moon on the 17th catalyzes this process. It may be helpful to consider enlisting the help of a professional, such as a counselor. If that’s out of the question right now, the headspace app is currently free for medical professionals as well as the unemployed. After the New Year, you’ll be starting a whole new cycle of life when Saturn and Jupiter cross your Ascendant. Drop the baggage, water bearer.

PISCES: It’s not too late for a fresh start in the relationship department. Sometimes our cherished relationships change over time, and accepting and growing within them can be a challenge. A love interest may be morphing into a more long term friendship feeling, or a friendship can be showing you the strength of your bond. If you feel confused as to the nature of things at this time, take time with your feelings and get right with yourself first. Mercury moving through your house of self-examination is helping you sort through conflicting emotions.