On Thursday, September 17 at 7 a.m. Eastern time, our new moon quietly takes her position in the stars of Virgo. Quietly because it will be daylight, and because new moons like to keep secrets. A new moon in Virgo has more plans than she’s willing to share with you; a new moon in Virgo knows that some things must be sowed and tended under the cover of darkness. Intention setting is one thing, and there’s time for that too — given Mars retrograde — but a Virgo new moon knows that intentions are no good without actions. There’s nothing to harvest in the garden of thoughts and prayers. Our new moon makes a trine to Saturn, which in turn makes a square to Mars, which is quincunx the moon — proving that Virgo just can’t stay away from a challenge.
The challenge, of course, is moving forward when nothing seems to move at the speed it’s supposed to. Mars retrograde refuses all greasing of gears and has, essentially, turned on the “track maintenance” signal. Divine timing is real, and this transit moves over us while so much of the United States soldiers on — meeting deadlines, having house parties, and attempting a performance of normalcy in the face of a deadly pandemic sweeping the country, a totalitarian political circus, fires consuming the land and lives that populate the Western coast, genocidal internment camps where women experience forced sterilization, and the unceasing systemic murder of Black people. In the face of all this, moving forward can’t and won’t look like what it has before. Mars retrograde in Aries forming a quincunx to our new moon doubles down on the call for new approaches, on a different solution.
The square that Saturn makes to Mars makes a different approach easier said than done. It requires a different kind of relationship building, a different system of quantification. “Perhaps the great error is believing we’re alone,” writes Tracy K. Smith in her poem My God It’s Full of Stars from her book Life on Mars, “…When all along, space might be choc-full of traffic,/ Bursting at the seams with energy we neither feel / Nor see, flush against us, living, dying, deciding,/ Setting solid feet down on planets everywhere, / Bowing to the great stars that command, pitching stones/ At whatever are their moons.” An Aries, Tracy K. Smith’s poem has the intrepid hope of her sign, the unshakeable belief in possibility. This belief in possibility pushes against our new moon in Virgo, building up its confidence.
I’m thinking of one of my favorite Virgo mystics. A Jewish man named Leonard Cohen. I’m thinking of all the stories he collected in his life and how he made of them a kind of road map away from self-defeat and towards a faith in what survives us. The dreamers ride against the men of action. Watch the men of action falling back. For Jews and people of the lunar calendar, the Jewish New Year begins on September 18. The month leading up to the new year, or Rosh Hashanah, is month of self-examination and repentance, culminating in an evening of prayers for forgiveness, the symbolic casting off of old behaviors and attachments that no longer serve us or the ones we love (often a stone into a body of water), and the blowing of the shofar — a ram’s horn. A new moon in Virgo rising in the days of repentance and self-examination is a new moon that knows soon, the sound of the ram’s horn will initiate a new cycle.
The beginning is full of endings, full of both sorrow, and celebration. Honey and apples and the names of all the people we have lost or had taken from us. Our new moon makes a trine to Saturn, and in doing so reminds us that what we work toward now will be worth our efforts, even if our efforts feel small and inconsequential. Our movements, our energies, our lives, feed the energy of a cosmos larger than we can ever know.