In September comes the shifting of the seasons, with the equinox marking the end of summer and start of autumn. Archetypally, autumn is the season of introspection, and this year it is preceded by a corresponding astrological aperitif — Mercury retrograde. As Mars in Gemini is already in its pre-retrograde shadow, the lessons now concern the interrelation between thought, word, and deed. Mercury stations retrograde on Sept. 9 in the sign of Libra — balance is the key. Does our walk match our talk? Are we keeping our promises? As Mercury backtracks into Virgo, accountability will come into focus. Paying lip service isn’t enough — consistency between what we say and what we do is integral to maintaining healthy relationships. However, rushing ahead without clear communication can leave others feeling left behind. Taking time to formulate a coherent plan provides a cohesive structure through which we can marry our goals to achieve something greater than we could alone. Mercury will conjunct the sun on the equinox, Sept. 22. This is a powerful day to set intentions regarding Mercurial matters and the exchange of thoughts, goods, and services.
We are treated to one of the year’s most luminous visions this month — the opposition of the sun and Jupiter on Sept. 26. The opposition is when the sun’s light shines most directly on a planet, illuminating the greatest surface area and making it appear its most brilliant. Like the full moon, this is when the sun and the planet are diametrically opposed, so that the planet rises as the sun is setting, meaning it is visible all night long. When one sees the glittering gas giant among the dimmer stars, one can easily understand why the planet Jupiter was named for the King of the Sky! On Sept. 11, and again on Oct. 8, the moon will conjoin Jupiter, bringing together the first (moon) and third (Jupiter) brightest objects in the night sky. Jupiter’s neighbors are also visible this month. Track the moon as it meets Saturn in Sept. 8, and Mars on Sept. 16. Those with access to a telescope will be able to witness the occultation of Uranus on Sept. 14. Akin to an eclipse, an occultation is when the moon passes directly in front of and blocks our view of a given planet. It is a unique sight, and worth beholding if one is able.