On Sunday, September 13, the new moon is in Virgo and there is a solar eclipse. A new moon aligns between the sun and Earth. When the alignment blocks out the sun, a solar eclipse occurs. The path of this eclipse won’t be visible except in remote regions of the Earth, such as Antarctica. Since the beginning of human existence, eclipses have been interpreted as portents for those who see them. So, phew, most of us get a reprieve this time.
Astrologically the new moon is associated with renewal and a shift in feeling. We briefly stop to begin again with the next lunar cycle. How we internalize the lunar influence is a function of the moon sign – which is always the current sun sign, such as we’re in Virgo now – and what it touches in a natal chart.
The September new moon is special because the phase comes close to the autumn equinox (on Wednesday, September 23, this year). The first day of fall is a major seasonal turning point – equal days and nights, or pretty close, for a few days. Then the nights gradually lengthen.
The autumnal transition touches most terrestrial life. Crops come to fruition and close out the growing cycle. Trees respond to shifting daylight with dramatic changes to their foliage. Scavenging animals grab all the bounty they can before settling down or flying off for the winter.
Mythologically, Virgo is associated with the agricultural mother goddesses, Demeter and her daughter, Persephone, as well as with Astraea, one of the maiden goddesses who has a close association with the Earth. Astraea also symbolizes the neighboring sign Libra. When the sun leaves Virgo to enter Libra, it’s zodiacal fall. Libra’s equal days and nights are associated with justice, the balanced scales of right and wrong. The symbols for these goddesses are wheat, corn, pomegranate and apples, all of which are associated with sustenance, harvest and renewal.
Put all this together – new moon, eclipse, autumn, earlier sunsets that trigger natural changes, Virgo to Libra, and the earthly harvest goddesses – and we have an excellent opportunity to clear out the old and begin anew. Let’s include that it’s back-to-school time. Apples and pumpkins signal the unofficial start of the Western holiday season that continues through the winter solstice.
This year, the Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashanah, falls on Monday, September 14. Mid-September marks the beginning of the close of the Islamic lunar calendar. The Hindu festival of Ganesh Chaturthi will be celebrated on Thursday, September 17. Lord Ganesh, the elephant-headed son of Lord Shiva and the goddess Parvati, is the symbol of wisdom, prosperity and good fortune. Ganesha removes obstacles and bestows fresh starts.
From multiple standpoints, with the timing of the new moon that falls close to the equinox, there is abundant renewal energy to channel and assimilate. What do you want to accomplish over the next 30 days and through the remainder of 2015? Set your intention (see below), let that become your mantra, and make it happen.
This fall revitalization takes place in Virgo, the hallmarks of which are diligence, critical intelligence, technique and precision. Virgo has no patience with dillydallying around. Do what you say you’re going to do, when you say you’re going to do it, and do it right. Therefore, unlike some lunar influences, the new moon in Virgo isn’t dreamy and reflective, or particularly cuddly. It wants you to either bring your dreams to manifestation or snap out of it.
The Virgoean moon can get lost in details, fussing and fretting over things not being perfect enough. Activity can be confused with progress, exhausting and exasperating all concerned. The to-do list can become overwhelming. But if you already have projects set in motion that need editing and polish, then the impetus of the new moon in Virgo is a lunar influence that should work for you.
Something to watch out for is that Mercury, ruler of Virgo, goes retrograde in Libra on Thursday, September 17, and doesn’t straighten out until after the first week of October. Things can go haywire while Mercury is retrograde – challenging communications, both face to face and electronic, getting butterfingers and dropping things, people going off on tangents without listening, causing misunderstandings and annoyance. There can be static in the signal.
Initially Mercury receives a favorable aspect from Venus that will soften the effects. But shortly after the first quarter moon, when the moon in Capricorn squares Mercury, the retrograde influence likely will intensify. Mercury is conjunct the sun toward the end of September, when it’s wise to be careful about making big plans – accidents may happen, agreements may dissolve, mechanical failures may occur. And people likely will get cranky.
Peaceful Moon returns with the full moon later this month. There will be more on the seasonal changes and retrograde Mercury. The Harvest Moon will be accompanied by a lunar eclipse that will be visible across North America, South America, Europe, Africa and the Mideast. It’s also a supermoon and a blood moon, the last of a tetrad that began last year. The super Harvest Moon will linger longer on the horizon than full moons at other times of the year. Read sneak previews of Moonday, which is posted on Monday mornings, in the Sunday PD newsletter.
Secrets of the Sphinx Yoga, Tip #2: Why Set an Intention?
If you’re new to yoga, you might wonder why some teachers take time to “set an intention” at the beginning. No other fitness-oriented classes “waste” time this way. What’s it about? To answer that question, answer this one: What do you seek from yoga? That’s likely part of your intention.
Similar to a drishti focal point with balance poses, the intention focuses the mind and the practice. The teacher may set a group intention or leave it up to students to set a private goal, inspiration, mantra, prayer. Generally the intention is set while in tadasana, the basic standing pose, holding prayer hands at the heart with the eyes softly closed.
The intention partially serves as a complement to savasana that seals in the practice at the close. You have a still, quiet, centering moment to turn inward and to ground or inspire yourself for the practice soon to come. During the class, recall the intention for power and focus. After the class, ask yourself if you kept your resolve. How much closer are you to reaching your aspirations?
Dedicate your time on the mat to someone you love or struggle with, or someone with difficulties toward whom you feel empathy, or to yourself, believing that this time you’ll come closer to an accomplishment or emotional state that you hope to attain. Maybe you’ll set a more lofty intention for grace, gratitude, compassion, world peace and understanding. Maybe through yoga you’ll intend to go further with strength, flexibility or opening your heart.
Your class intention can form the kernel of a personal mantra – what you tell yourself often that eventually shapes your life. If you’re troubled by self-doubt, then set an intention that boosts self-confidence. If you’re troubled by character traits that you want to change, then set an intention that will further personal growth. If you’re troubled by the world, then try to change the vibrations, offering up your mind, body and spirit to contribute to a better planetary future.
Any questions about fall equinox and the New Moon? What intentions are you setting for fall? Please let me know!
Photo: Greg Diesel Walck, “Would You Like to Swing on a Star? Carry Moonbeams Home in a Jar” (Sept. 1, 2013); Sara Zimmerman for Unearthed Comics, “Fitting It All In” (2015)