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Astrology Highlights for Oct. 2-8, 2023: Existential Cul-de-Sac

The Existential Cul-de-Sac

Mercury in Virgo is literal, pragmatic, and adept at taming disorganization with spreadsheets, checklists, and hospital corners. But on those occasions when logic leaves us stranded in an existential cul-de-sac, spinning around and around with no rational solution, it’s time to appeal to the invisible, the magical, the impossible.

Enter Mercury’s opposition to Neptune (Oct. 2, 2023, 8:34 am PDT), a reminder that intuition and logic are not enemies, but can in fact complement one another. Not everything that’s important in life can be quantified, says Neptune. Fair enough, replies Mercury; but neither are all the things we believe really true, just because we want them to be.

These two act as necessary checks on one another’s excess, and when they’re in opposition, we can see where it’s necessary to adjust the balance.

The Power of Words

As Mercury trines Pluto (Oct. 3, 2023, 12:19 pm PDT), a portal opens for redefining ourselves. It’s like a young person who goes away to college and recognizes the opportunity to adopt a new nickname (or drop an odious one), and replace their “slacker” label for a spot on the Dean’s list.

Names and titles matter. They are Mercury’s way of telling the world what to think of us.

Mercury in aspect to Pluto calls attention to the power of names, words, and definitions to influence how we’re perceived. Usually, that begins with how we think of and talk about ourselves. This week, take notice if you find yourself using self-deprecating jokes or putting yourself down. Note how often you apologize reflexively, when no apology is required, apologizing for simply existing. When Mercury connects with Pluto, it’s time to take control over our labels, names, and stories. They matter. So do we.

Kicked Out of the Nest

Mars opposes the North Node of the Moon (Oct. 4, 2023, 9:06 a.m. PDT, 24º57’ Libra and Aries) this week, which means it’s transiting over the Moon’s South Node, which can do one of a couple things. It can kick us out of the nest push us toward the North Node in Aries, where we are being asked to stand on our own and go after what we want as individuals. Or it can, especially with the approaching Mars-Pluto square (exact next week), get us mired in conflict and Libran indecision that keeps us from moving ahead.

This opposition is within a few degrees of the upcoming Oct. 14 New Moon/Solar Eclipse in Libra. It’s an important time to pay attention to how we’re dealing with conflict, and about how we might be letting our relationships with other people hold us back from moving forward on an important individual path.

A Good Argument

Mercury enters Libra this week (Oct. 4, 2023, 5:08 pm through Oct. 21). Mercury in the preceding sign, Virgo, analyzed the information at hand and sharpened critical thinking skills. In Libra, Mercury likes to use those skills to engage others in debate, bargaining, haggling, and mediation. We’ll have until Mercury enters Scorpio on Oct. 21 to refine our negotiation tactics.

Libra is a sign associated with good manners, but those with this placement whom I’ve known well actually love a good argument. They’re scrupulously fair, though, and when you’ve won the point, they concede without hesitation. What’s important is that the debate be fair and the opponents equally matched, and that the truth and value of what’s under discussion be fully revealed.

While Mercury is in Libra, be prepared to take your ideas to the marketplace and engage in a spirited debate about them. You’ll soon find out whether they hold water.


The Cancer Last Quarter Moon (Oct. 6, 2023, 6:48 am PDT, at 13º02’ Cancer) is on the Sabian symbol 14 Cancer, A very old man facing a vast, dark space to the northeast, and the Sabian symbol for the Sun is 14 Libra, A noon siesta. At the Cancer Last Quarter Moon, we look back, like the old man facing a vast, dark space to the northeast. And as we do, we can rest for a moment, a bit of a noon siesta time, before we launch into the last part of this lunar cycle.

Cancer is a nostalgic sign, and it’s a sign about belonging – to a family, a community, a tribe. Do you have that sense of connection in your life right now? Does it feel important for you to find more of it?

We were recently watching a Netflix documentary about so-called Blue Zones, where a larger than average number of people live into old age, some into their 100s, in vibrant good health. One of the consistent through-lines of these places was the premium placed on social connections in the family and community.

What do family and community mean in your life? Are there maybe family members right now who need more from you, and how is that impacting other areas of your life, your partnerships, your work?

This Last Quarter Moon concludes the work that began at the Virgo New Moon on September 14, or at least the initial phase of that work, which was something about the purification of our objectives, about being healthier and having a life that’s simpler and more useful. Of course, we don’t achieve that in a single 28-day period. That is work that will continue. But at this Last Quarter, it’s time to at least examine the role family plays in that vision of a healthier, simpler, and more useful life.

Brick House

The Last Quarter Moon blows us into this week’s Mars/Pluto square (Oct. 8, 2023, 6:04 pm). Mars is insistent and impatient, even in a sign as civilized as Libra. It’s the big, bad wolf from the Three Little Pigs fairy tale, determined to have what it wants – and that’s pork barbeque for dinner. The pigs build houses to protect themselves from the wolf. The first pig builds his from straw; the wolf huffs and puffs and blows it down. The second builds a house of sticks, and the wolf makes short work of that one, too. But the third pig builds a house made solidly of bricks, and the wolf is out of luck.

Pluto is a pig that builds from bricks. There is no penetrating its house. The harder we push and the stronger we blow, the less impressed is Pluto. And so, this is not the best week for pushing an individual agenda. But we forget sometimes that we own the Pluto in our charts. It’s not just the planet that resists our determined advances. It’s also the fortress, the power place within ourselves that we can retreat to when we feel attacked.

The Party’s Over

It’s the day after a big, loud, memorable party, and your house is a shambles. You can be forgiven for just flopping down on the sofa to recover. But eventually, surveying the damage makes your head hurt and your nerves jangly. You decide you can manage the mess on the coffee table, so you slowly clear away glasses and crumpled cocktail napkins. On the way to the kitchen garbage bin, you pick up a few bottles, cans, and paper plates. The kitchen counter looks overwhelming, but you start by scraping serving platters and bowls and shifting them to the dishwasher. Soon, you’re moving methodically from room to room, humming a contented little tune as you restore order.

After the long Venus in Leo party that began on June 5, when the emphasis was on fun, bright colors, and generally overdoing things (some of them more than once, while Venus was retrograde), Venus enters Virgo (Oct. 8, 2023, 6:11 pm PDT through Nov. 8) to play cleanup. Just remember that whether it’s cleaning your house, balancing your checkbook, or organizing your office, it doesn’t have to be done all at once. Pick away at it, piece by piece. You’ll soon find yourself sitting in a clean, quiet space, with a mindset to match.

Writing and images © 2017-23 by April Elliott Kent

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