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October 1, 2021
Hello to readers in Oakland!
October opens with Mercury Retrograde and all its well-known hassles, but don’t let that confuse you or let it give birth to a negative attitude about the entire month. Despite its retro-start, October moves with a strident force that defies retrograde categorization. Yes, there are days that seem to unfold at a snail’s pace and others that move at the speed of light and that’s because four planets go direct this month—Pluto, Saturn, Jupiter, and Mercury—and as they shift into a higher gear, they move forward with the power to get things done. These staggered shifts will facilitate a stop/start rhythm as well as seasonal changes that translate into new attitudes and a determination to make progress. Prepare to move quickly as the regular routines of daily life make forward-driven progress, but also be prepared to be patient when some days seem to redefine a snail’s pace. Despite all the back-and-forth of retrogrades turning direct, it’s safe to say you can bid procrastination “bye, bye” as you simultaneously say “hel-lo” to the ambitious energy of autumn.
While October’s planetary activity signals a shift in perspective and attitude, don’t expect its days and nights to be without trials and tribulations. Lots of activity can be overwhelming, especially for those whose personal plates are full of responsibilities that can’t be handed off. Many of our fellow travelers traded casual in-person manners for Zoom skills during the pandemic, and lots of those folks feel they’ve lost the everyday social skills we all took for granted pre-Covid. As we move through the month and attempt to return to the “normal” activities of daily life, encountering those rusty skills of our fellow travelers is bound to translate into a fair degree of frustration and impatience, so do your best to remember what a difficult transition time this is for many.
It will require special effort to stay agreeable as October unfolds, given that the month also opens with a Sun/Mars conjunction, an aggressive yet vital alliance that weaves its way through the entire month, affecting both the New and Full Moons. If you haven’t already done so, you might want to consider making tolerance and patience your constant companions. There are certain to be plenty of opportunities to rationalize getting angry and blowing off steam, but in the long run, close encounters of the belligerent kind won’t help lessen the tension. The good news about this Sun/Mars conjunction is that it delivers a tremendous amount of physical energy that can be put to good use building a world you want to live in. Whether for a business plan or a personal plan, or meeting any sorts of goals, this Sun/Mars conjunction has the power to support almost any sustained effort.
What’s more, because this conjunction occurs in Libra, the Sign of relating, its force field affects partnerships of every denomination, so be sure to pay attention to significant others, especially to how their needs align with yours. Most importantly, try not to let petty differences morph into over-blown power plays or standoffs you can’t escape from.
Also expect the month to have a hurry-up-and-wait feel as it presses ahead, overcoming any obstacles in the way. The source of this alternating current is several retrograde planets going direct—Pluto on October 6; Saturn on October 10, and Jupiter the same day that Mercury goes direct, October 18. As always, when a planet seemingly changes direction, things slow down for a couple of days prior to the “turn around” and then speed up as the planet seemingly gathers momentum.
Week One: October 1–7
The first week of October continues the potent Sun/Mars conjunction that began the last week of September, so if you’ve developed a crankypants point of view, this may be its source. The problem is letting it go. But the Sun and Mars both represent vitality, which makes it possible to put the intensity of their alliance to good use. Channel the vigor of this planetary couple into all the things you would like to get done, from getting your closet ready for winter to finishing that short story that’s been moldering on your desktop for months to cleaning the fridge. If you’re working on something that needs extra energy, this conjunction can provide that thrust.
There is a New Moon on October 6 and it has an extraordinarily volatile and potent signature. Usually I don’t write about the Moon in its various phases, but this one is significant because the Sun, Moon, and Mars all line up at 13° Libra. New Moons are always about new beginnings, and while this one signifies powerful new beginnings, it is also an extremely emotional lunar moment. It may not be easy handling this deluge of feelings—yours or others’—especially if anyone close to you is prone to emotional meltdowns. Anticipate lots of intense emotional encounters having to do with partnerships of every variety—Libra is the Sign of relating—personal, professional, romantic, platonic, casual, and any other kind you can think of. This New Moon conjunct the Sun and Mars is certain to shake up any relationship that isn’t built on solid ground.
As if that isn’t enough, Pluto Direct begins on the same day as the New Moon. Pluto has been retrograde since the end of April, revisiting its recent past and inviting us to do the same. As Pluto moves forward, it moves inexorably toward the United States Pluto Return, which is exact on February 20, 2022. But we are already in the turmoil of this Pluto Return, and the next five months are going to ramp up the intensity. Watch closely as the catharsis of this Pluto Return continues to reveal the disparity between the ideals of the United States of America and the reality of applying those ideals to daily life and actually making them the status quo. We are going to be under the intensity of this revolutionary signature for quite some time, which makes it important to develop a strategy for handling the relentless political, economic, and emotional intensity that is already building at warp speed.
Week Two: October 8–14
The Sun/Mars conjunction persists throughout the second week of the month and its presence continues to amplify ambition and aggression, so don’t be surprised if tempers flare and co-workers get a little pushy. Expect its heat to foster a seemingly quicker daily pace. But we’re in for the long haul with this conjunction, which lasts until the beginning of November, so pace yourself. This is a marathon, not a sprint.
In seeming contradiction to that quickening, Saturn Direct occurs on October 10 at 9:17 PM EDT, which means that during the first days of October’s second week, you could feel a slight slowdown in your stride as Saturn prepares for its course correction. The good news is that the slowdown won’t last too long—by Friday, Saturn gains forward momentum. We probably won’t feel its full throttle immediately, but it will be apparent soon enough.
Week Three: October 15–21
This is the toughest week of October. There is a Full Moon on October 20 that carries the same signature as the New Moon, only worse—because Pluto squares the whole lot: Mars is still conjunct the Sun in Libra, which are both opposite the Moon in Aries, and Pluto in Capricorn is at the midpoint of that opposition, squaring the Sun/Mars conjunction as well as that Aries Moon. It is a warring interaction and lots of folks are sure to take sides about everything. If you want to avoid conflict, make a commitment not to do battle with anyone unless absolutely necessary. If you’ve been struggling to contain or manage the aggressive potential of the Sun/Mars conjunction, this Full Moon configuration is almost certain to push you into the danger zone. Do your best to breathe your way through belligerent interactions, knowing that they could easily change into never-ending feuds. Conflict is normal; unfortunately, handling conflict skillfully isn’t yet normal and takes determination and practice until it becomes the way we handle differences of opinion.
Week Four: October 22–31
The Mars/Pluto square is exact and separating on October 22, and as its fractious energy releases, we are likely to feel the sheer brute force of its intensity. While the air is already thick with power plays, this release ups the ante, making it almost impossible to keep your cool. Try to avoid angry interactions—you might consider postponing difficult interactions until after the first week of November. You might also try to avoid taking out your frustration on others less able to stand up for themselves—don’t kick the dog or the cat just cause you can and try to be patient with children. They feel the intensity even if they don’t understand it, and because they feel it, sometimes they act it out. Infants and toddlers can be super cranky and teenagers super rebellious. I’m not suggesting you don’t take a stand; I am suggesting you take your stand wisely and that you appreciate the situation of those less able to express what they are feeling.
October won’t be an easy month. Yes, daily life will unfold at a quickening but uneven pace. Yes, again, many of our fellow travelers will be in a bad mood, but that shouldn’t serve as permission to indulge in bad behavior. Also, try not to gather evidence or point punishing fingers about what you or others are doing “wrong.” Those kinds of judgments won’t serve anyone.
We live in intense times that demand we rise to the occasion of our best selves, so harness the power of October and apply its force to good works. When possible increase your meditation time. Also increase your efforts to be empathetic and compassionate—not everyone knows how to handle the current level of intensity. Also when possible, lend a helping hand to those having a hard time finding healthy coping techniques. Each of us contributes to the zeitgeist with everything we think, feel, say, and do—let’s make ours a positive contribution to the greater good based on kindness and care for others, especially those in need.