On Sept. 23, we reach a quarter marker in the annual solar cycle — the autumnal equinox. This is the day the Sun occupies zero degrees Libra, the sign of the celestial scales. As day and night embrace equilibrium, the planetary aspects are numerous and tense. Venus conjunct Mercury seeks to balance heart and mind. With both planets square to the conjunction of Saturn and Pluto, we have the ability to transform the ego’s desire for control and dominance through the power of communication and diplomacy. The ongoing square aspect between Jupiter and Neptune (exact on Sept. 21) asks us to examine whether our beliefs are empowering us or setting us up for disappointment by creating unrealistic expectations. With the two planets of fortune, Venus and Jupiter, sextile to one another, the Libra New Moon on Sept. 28 is an auspicious time to set your sights on actualizing your aspirations. A healthy balance of appreciation and ambition serves to bridge the gap between what has been and what could be. In doing so, we craft a life in which our outer success is matched by our inner harmony.
Of all the stars, there is one that defines our experience of the sky. That is, of course, our Sun, the star around which every planet in our solar system revolves and which serves as the primary generator for all the energy on Earth. Sept. 23 marks one of four solar hallmarks of the year — the autumnal equinox. The equinoxes occur at the merger of two major celestial belts — the celestial equator and the ecliptic. The celestial equator is simply the projection of Earth’s equator into the visible sky. The ecliptic, meanwhile, tracks the motion of the Sun along the path of the zodiacal constellations. The equinoxes are the two days each year when the ecliptic and the celestial equator intersect. For those located on the Earth’s equator, the Sun passes directly overhead on this day. However, everywhere on Earth we can observe the Sun rising due east and setting due west. For those of us in the Northern Hemisphere, the autumnal equinox is when the Sun moves southward across the celestial equator, rising lower in the sky each day thereafter and resulting in the shorter days of winter. This is an excellent day to watch the sunrise and sunset and identify the local landmarks that provide a natural reference the cardinal directions.