"And for now it seems as though/ you are still summer," writes W.S Merwin in his poem "To the Light of September." "Still the high familiar/ endless summer/ yet with a glint/ of bronze in the chill mornings/ and the late yellow petals/ of the mullein fluttering/ on the stalks that lean/ over their broken/ shadows across the cracked ground." Endless summer is right — although it's wild how a season can feel both endless and ricocheting through time all at once when you mix in a crumbling empire. As below, so above, the planets do their hitch. Jupiter stations direct in Capricorn mid-month and Saturn waits until September 29 to do the same, but Mars shifts into retrograde motion in Aries and makes squares to Saturn, mimicking the tug of war between time and energy, desire and reward.
Still, whether it feels feasible, a new season arrives like a cold wind undercutting the hot summer rays. Inside shifting temperatures, we are tasked with reimagining what our relationship to harvest looks like — especially those of us who have begun the difficult process of relinquishing claim to the land we stand on. To guide us toward reciprocity and interdependence, a full moon fills the sky on the first night of September. And, to guide us toward service informed by all that light, a new moon in Virgo arrives on the morning of September 17. Venus enters Leo, reminding us that the more we give of our ourselves, the more we give others a chance to see what we are capable of and to match our efforts. There’s fruit and sustenance here, at the end of an old world, even if it’s hard to pick and harder still to store. There are hopeful possibilities in difficult transits, and we prepare for them by preserving whatever’s sweet enough to keep us going into darker times.
You know how to wait, Aries, even if you'd prefer to not. You know that, on the other side of all your sustained effort and risk-taking is a reward. It might not be a reward others will easily recognize, but you will know it when it arrives by the relief it brings you. Relief from restraint and measure which can, for others, feel like rest, but can take you great pains and energy to maintain. I see you working hard to stay where you are, to watch what happens from a distance and let the pieces fall into place.
I see you learning what’s within your control and how trying to control what’s not yours only leads to feelings of powerlessness and smallness. You know you are neither powerless nor small.
September invites you to practice acceptance, to work with it and around it. Practice reframing not getting what you want as an opportunity to want something even better for yourself. An opportunity to open the door and leave it open so that what you’re seeking knows it’s welcome to seek you. Here, there is room for stretching, for observation, for taking a long, deep breath between knowing and acting.
In the beginning, chaos and freedom can be indistinguishable. What sets them apart is our experience of consequence. Chaos can be a necessary destructive force, but chaos for the sake of chaos is its own closed circuit, an arena with no escape. In the Tarot, the Tower can be a card that evokes great anxiety in the querent, a material echo of one's own fears: that everything is bound to come crashing down. But, there are those of us whose spirits yearn for demolition, who spend years building lives we find we never wanted. In that case, the Tower is a blessing, the end of imprisonment — mental and otherwise.
Perhaps August came crashing against your tower and knocked it down. Perhaps you got pulled into a riptide of possibility. Perhaps this summer, with its countless opportunities for heartbreak and disillusionment, pushed you toward the end of whoever you thought you had to be, and over into who you’ve been looking to become.
The Tower card is followed by the Star, a card of possibility, of wish fulfillment and hope. You’ve just got to want freedom more than you want vindication — more than you want proof that what you built wasn’t a waste of your time. Resist reaction, resist resentment, resist the urge to rebuild out of mourning. The peace of the Star is what waits for you, dear Taurus, on the other side of the rubble and refuse of what’s been destroyed — by you or by circumstance.
In the Tarot, air signs are represented by swords. Swords must be hard enough to hold an edge, but flexible enough to absorb impact. Swords must be balanced from handle to tip if they are to be used well. Swords are forged in fire, they’re hammered and polished with stone, and quenched in water. They are made of all the elements, Gemini, as you are. They are made stronger by the power each element offers them.
This September, with your ruling planet transiting Libra, a fellow air sign, and the full moon alighting your house of public image and relation, you’re encouraged to spend some time appreciating and assessing what you’ve learned from the people you consider your own.
If the folks we align ourselves with make us who we are, then how have you been formed and informed by others? How has your sense of your own agency changed in response to others? Is it a change you’re proud of? If it is, then it’s time to affirm your advances and share them with others. If it’s not, then remember: a sword can be sharpened or melted down and re-shaped with balance and temperament in mind.
Can you feel it, dear Cancer, the close of a cycle much longer than any you’ve lived through before? Or, if not factually longer, then energetically so? This year of accumulation, of accreditation, and of study has served you well. It has made of your spirit a fat moon, full of new understandings — new consciousness — so full that it begs to spill over and everyone can see it. How rich you are with magic, with resources, and offerings.
If someone didn’t know you, they might think you were the kind of creature who hoards what they have, who shies away from sharing their abundant gifts with others. They would mistake your mindful approach for reservations.
They would be wrong, of course. Generous to a fault, what you’ve been seeking is the right way to share with others that is responsible to both giver and receiver. A way that not only models reciprocity, but also inspires it. Because while love and care are renewable, and energy is never destroyed, you know all too well what it feels like to be depleted and run dry. Because people count on you, and because you have begun to slowly and surely count on yourself above all others, it’s on you to protect your own well, even as you fill it for others to drink.
A transformation doesn’t happen all at once, you know that. The psyche shifts slowly toward a different state of perception, and the body sheds itself little by little until, one day, you can barely remember what it felt like to be how you once were. There’s grief in the process, though it's seldom mentioned, of reaching into a pocket for an old charm or reliable pleasure and finding yourself without, rooting around for the past in an empty chamber.
On the other side of this grief is a kind of tenderness for how threadbare our containers get while protecting what’s precious to us. For how lovely it feels to tuck something fresh and young in a worn, soft place.
If this month, while walking by your reflection or simply sitting in the quiet place between your mind and the world around it, you feel the weight of what’s transformed within you, remind yourself that it’s taken you months if not years to get to this place. That it’s OK to grieve, even long for, what you had to surrender to get where you are. If you find yourself longing for someone or something that can reflect back to you the person you are now, so can see her, wait. Like attracts like, grace begets grace.
When you get good at something, it’s not difficult to imagine that it’s what you’re meant to be doing. When our complex and intricate humanness is shuffled into functions and roles, we do our best to carve a niche that can accommodate our shape. But, just because it works doesn’t mean it’s meant to be. Just because a shoe fits doesn’t mean you’ve got to keep on acting like it’s the shoe you want to be wearing.
Like any mutable sign with a penchant for drama and renewal, you have a right to not only change your mind in relation to a project but also to change your position entirely.
With a new moon in Virgo come September 17, and the Sun transiting into your sign by the end of the month, few things would serve you better this September than taking stock of who and what you’ve made commitments to, and if you might do better playing a different role in these collaborations or even abdicating your presumed role for the sake a better and more fulfilling possibility. When the new moon arrives, potent with information and initiative, you’ll be ready to move forward with a renewed sense of purpose.
Thinking of you, of what you might be wanting or needing, I thought of an old poem I used to read when I found myself feeling a little empty-handed. It’s a poem by Barbara Ras, a poem that begins with its title, which is “You Can’t Have It All.” “When it is August,” Ras writes, “you can have it, August and abundantly so.” August was abundantly so for you, wasn’t it, Libra? If abundance is a state of muchness, whether that muchness is positive or negative, I’d wager you were holding it.
With September, the task of holding that abundance, of tending and sorting, will shift. You’ll have the option of putting some, if not all, of your baggage down and letting clear air will the space where once there was tension and to-do lists.
Negative space is potent space. It can define the subject it surrounds, it can help us differentiate what’s us from what’s around us. The work of not reacting, of not speeding to fill an empty day or an empty feeling, is wise and patient work. It’s the opposite of what American culture told us purpose looks like, it’s against everything we’ve been taught about productivity. The work of letting our hands stay empty just a little bit longer than we think is right is the work of trusting that our presence in the world is as valuable as what we “do” in it. You can’t have it all, Libra, but sometimes it’s better having less.
What kind of sign, what kind of message, what kind of permission would you need to feel that pleasure wasn’t something you had to earn? In her book Pleasure Activism, Adrienne Maree Brown writes, “There is no way to repress pleasure and expect liberation, satisfaction, or joy.” Repression might not be the word you’re working with; perhaps it’s better to frame it as something like leaning into absence, letting yourself believe that your life is just as rich without.
Haven’t you gone without long enough, dear Scorpio? Haven’t you grown tired of feeling into an empty space when all around you, live things gather? Don’t you think it’s time to reconnect with the erotic world, not as a visitor but as kin?
This September opens with a full moon alighting your house of sex and creativity. In Virgo, this moon floats open-minded, ready and able to feel into what feels good and right. You don’t have to do it all and you don’t have to prove yourself to anyone. Rather, this moon is an invitation to sit with the generative force that has been stirring within you and let that force make requests of you — maybe even demands. By the end of the month, you’ll have enough dominoes in place to serve those requests well, and Scorpio, it’s in your best interest to do your best not to deny them.
It wouldn’t be a stretch to say that we’ve all had to re-evaluate our relationship to time this summer. Not just how we spend it, but how we understand it. It’s hard to assess how much of ourselves we’re able to lend to the world when our days are compressed by the anxieties of Zoom calls, broken social contracts in the form of mask-less customers, and the unceasing reel of anti-Black violence that permeates every institution. One could, in theory, never stop working and never stop reading and still feel like one is not doing enough, is not informed enough.
Who has time to be better when the world seems incapable of getting better? Who has time to aspire when so much of what makes the world beautiful is in danger?
One would have to live in a futureless world with the understanding that no matter what we’ve been told, what’s precious has always been precarious. One would have to protect what’s sacred within themselves out of service to the present moment alone. One would have to reckon with what they owe the world as it is, filled with both cruelty and undeniable sweetness, not what the world owes them. If you were one such person, Sagittarius, what would need to change about how you’ve been showing up?
To say that most people’s home lives have been put under great duress these summer months would surely be an understatement. To say that your home life, Capricorn, has been put to the test, would probably be no less obvious. Yet the work and the road to getting it done is different for each of us, is it not? And, if the stars have had anything to say about it, your road has been littered with obstacles, from the collective difficulties we’ve all faced to the particular mundane challenges of being human in a world that is increasingly less sure of what it means to be so.
While I can’t promise you that September is the end of energetic traffic, I can affirm that you are getting more resilient, more adaptable, more empowered to choose differently when you recognize that the road you veered onto won’t get you where you need to go in time.
September is the last month of Saturn retrograde but Mars will keep making strong squares to Saturn into October. And, with Mars in retrograde motion starting this month, feelings of restriction, of financial and energetic stalls, might seem relentless. These influences fall over all of us, not Capricorns alone, but while the rest of the Zodiac muddles through, Capricorn levels up. Cardinal and impossibly capable, you are called to build something life-giving out of the ruins, to show the rest of us how it is done.
Sure, it’s good to challenge yourself, to press up against your limits or make yourself vulnerable to elements that are not only unfamiliar but volatile. But when waves turn to storms and shipwrecks, when you’re washed ashore having spent yourself on loose emotions that refuse to be claimed, it’s in your best interest to not only play it safe, but reacquaint yourself with what safety means to you and how you can go about cultivating a sense of it for yourself.
Why not stay home some more, Aquarius? Why not lay all your cards down on the coffee table and have yourself an herbal tea and a nice toke?
And, if you must go out, if you’re called or required to step each day into the strong currents of others, then perhaps this month is a good month to figure out the best and most efficient way for you to cultivate a sense of home inside your physical self so that it stands to shelter you when you are far from shelter. Search your body for a spot that, when touched, soothes you. Search your boxes for an amulet with just the right weight to press against the shell of your chest. Let the pressure, the weight, the intention of anchoring, remind you that you belong to yourself.
Of course, the moon doesn’t belong to anyone but what if we call this month’s full moon in Pisces your moon all the same? What if we decide that this moon’s big open light, it’s keen sense of interdependence, it’s glimmering faith in a better world is not only moving through you but that it’s made of you as well? Could you see yourself stepping up to a claim so bold? Could you see yourself as the generator and the mirror, the one whose mere presence in the world has the power to call us back to ourselves?
If you’re willing to accept the magnitude of your impact, your shining place, then perhaps you’re willing to do the slow and steady work of learning to recognize it when it’s active and nurture it when it lies dormant.
Recognition, naming, is an act of love. We name the animals who love us and, when they respond to our call, we believe they know their names. This belief is a kind of faith in shared meaning, a faith in the power of love to transcend the limits of knowledge. If you named the parts of you that feel powerful and present the moon and called them to you, don’t you think they would come forward panting with anticipation? All parts of you, the moon, all moon the weeks that follow.