Dear Friend and Reader:
Humanity has always had a little going for it, and these days it seems to have ever less. But two things we count on to preserve our sanity and give ourselves reasons for continuing on are beauty and justice.
And we depend on integrity — commitment to truth and honesty — to get through the day, though we expect them to exist in others more than in ourselves.
Libra is a metaphor for all of these qualities. It’s the sign of balance, associated with the planets Venus (representing love, beauty, and value) and with Saturn (integrity, structure, and the reality principle). Libra offers an outbound and masculine expression of Venus; it’s more about action than its laid-back cousin Taurus, which usually prefers to stay home and have things delivered.
Life has come to the point where we never expect anything or anyone to be fair. In fact, it’s easy to evaluate nearly everything as a scam, a trap or at least to be skimming the profits. Then people cheer the billionaires as debt soars, food prices rise and the economy slowly tanks. We are starving for fairness and justice, which are essential to liberty.
What we think of as love so often ends in conflict. What we believe is integrity often turns out to be a mirage; an image. Astrology teaches us that these core concepts are preserved, undamaged, within the Dharma.
What we think of as beauty is being reduced to technology. And despite all the goddess-talk, it’s becoming illegal to perceive a woman as beautiful.
These Things Must Belong to Us, Not to Others
I maintain that all of these essential aspects of the human experience would be more meaningful if we stopped projecting them outward, and took full personal ownership of them.
Every day, a billion or so words are published on the internet accusing others of lying. Yet maybe a few words here and there are devoted to self-critique and correcting one’s own past mistakes or misconceptions. The notion of a “conflict of interest” seems to have disappeared from our lexicon of ideas. It has been reduced to a cave painting, sealed from view, to make sure nobody hears about it. We are paying the price for that.
Yet how do you handle yourself when your own interests conflict with your responsibilities or your assigned power?
Libra, as an important sign of relationships, is in what you might call the zone of projection. The central idea of Libra is therefore to be self-reflexive. Projection means to cast off one’s faults and see them in others; and to cast off one’s own beauty and seek it outside ourselves.
The Mighty Equinox
The Sun enters Libra overnight Friday to Saturday (and very late Saturday in Australia and New Zealand). This is the mighty equinox, the halfway point in the astrological year, and the Sun at high noon in what is called sidereal time — the “24-hour” clock that measures the Earth’s rotation relative to the stars.
It’s also used to track the apparent motion of the Sun on its path around the ecliptic. On this metric of time, a 24-hour day represents a year.
This year, the Sun joins the asteroid Pallas in Libra. The second-discovered asteroid is named for an epithet, or alternative name, of Athena. She is the goddess of wisdom, warfare and protection — and handicraft. Goddesses of her cycle are associated with weaving, which is itself symbolic of writing and storytelling.
As the story goes, Athena was born in full armor from her daddy’s head. She was born ready for action. In this article, I’ll be using the proper name of Athena for the asteroid (2) Pallas.
Athena taking a conjunction from the Sun should bring out the very best in Libra, if we are open to receiving it. A goddess figure with a masculine expression aligns beautifully with the masculine expression of Venus. And both wisdom and weaving describe a version of the integrity factor of Libra’s exalted planet, Saturn. Dharma is acting as if to hold the world together.
Other Factors in the Equinox Chart
We are still living with a lot of retrograde planets. Venus and Mercury have recently moved to direct motion. Venus in Leo is now visible in the morning sky (the heliacal rise was last month).
But Pluto, Saturn, Nessus, Neptune, Chiron, Eris, Jupiter and Uranus are all retrograde. This may have the feeling of difficulty making forward progress. To me, it’s about a gestation period, before the new expressions of these energies take form.
Saturn goes direct Nov. 4, and the rest will follow one at a time as the Sun approaches a trine to them. This is when we will see what was hiding behind the veil of the retrograde.
Yet this is not merely about waiting; it’s about the opportunity for preparation. Retrogrades tend to turn attention inward, and we could use a lot more of that. Retrogrades turn attention toward the past, and there is much to reconcile. And they are also about what you are not saying, so you don’t “threaten” others.
This obsession with keeping mum is slowly choking off the ability to hear the truth. You may think it’s dangerous, though if you do, you will never know its true power. Integrity demands that you say what you mean, and claim your truth outwardly as well as inwardly. Yes, there is a payoff for silence — and usually, that involves blood money.
My Meeting with Athena
To my eye, the truly glorious aspect in this chart is the Sun joining Athena in Libra. The Sun will track the asteroid until the conjunction on Oct. 1. If you are committed and determined, this is a potential point of emergence.
While on the topic of Athena, I once met her personally. Or perhaps it’s more accurate to say she gave me a personal message. This was in 1996, when I was between a trip to Crete and Egypt with Barbara Hand Clow, on my way to Sicily to take care of ancient family business.
Whenever I get to Greece, I feel like the Pope: my first instinct is to kiss the ground. My mother feels the same way. I was sure my DNA would come back with some Greek blood, but it did not.
Anyway, on my first-ever visit, I had one day and one night in Athens before heading to Palermo. I was determined to go to the Acropolis and visit the Erechtheion, her temple. I got to the Acropolis at about 4 pm. It was a misty, almost rainy afternoon, though I had enough of a view of Athens to be moved to tears, and to personally witness the city she was named for, and which she protects.
The Acropolis is about a seven-acre plateau on top of a pretty high hilltop. I only saw one other visitor, and one security guard, who seemed to be hiding in his booth to stay out of the light rain.
So by some miracle, I had the place to myself. First I visited the Parthenon, which was the official government office (and later an armory, where there Turks hid gunpowder, which exploded when it was bombed in 1687, nearly destroying the building).
Finding the Erechtheion
I made my way to the Erechtheion. I had never seen a photo of it, so I didn’t know what to look for — but I got there easily enough. Then I discovered that it was closed. The entrance to her temple was roped off. So I slipped off to the side of the building, in what seemed like a little alleyway (there are a lot of those amongst Greek artifacts).
I lit some stick incense as an offering, and jammed it between two stones in the structure (probably a crime). Then I leaned back against the building, closed my eyes, requested her presence, and waited. But I did not have to wait for long. Within a minute or so, her spirit manifested: a palpable presence above me and to my front left.
And then her message came in: “I have given up an element of my femininity to do what I do, just as you have given up an element of your masculinity to do what you do.” And that was it. She introduced herself as one with whom I shared a parallel existence, blessing my mission and purpose — whatever she perceived it to be.
I knew what she was talking about.
And that was it — she was gone, leaving her blessing with me.