The Sun sets foot in the first face of Libra on Friday, September 22nd, and rises within that decan for the first time on the 23rd. This ingress marks a moment of equality between day and night, the equinox. The Sun takes tentative steps into the new season, wobbling like a newborn foal, finding its equilibrium upon unfamiliar terrain.
Yet in order to establish equilibrium, we must find balance. And for that, we shall need a scale. Luckily, this sign offers plenty. The historical images for this first face of Libra so often feature scales. Many brandish their balances in preparation for commerce, while other figures within this decan show those eager for justice. A Hellenistic-era fragmentary text allots the Erinyes, a chthonic choir of punitive female spirits, to this face. Although the Erinyes, at first glance, appear as demons ready to drag pitiful humans to hell, they are not evil, nor unfair. They are the sword in the left hand of justice, their severity balanced by the mercy of the right. They correct injustices which might otherwise go unpunished in the human world.
Meanwhile, Agrippa shows a discontent fellow with a shepherd’s pipe and a book, and states: “The operation of this is for the justice and help of the poor and weak against the evil and powerful.” This figure is also concerned with what is fair, on a societal level.
The scales pictured here are thus for both commerce and justice. It is therefore difficult not to imagine the figure of Ma’at, the Egyptian goddess of justice who weighed the hearts of the recently deceased against a feather. Yet Ma’at was not merely the officiant of this terrifying rite, she was the embodiment of good order through right relationship, the embodiment of a cosmological and ethical principle. As written in 36 Faces:
Maat emerges from the underworld in this face, scales in her hand. The terrible Erinyes follow behind, but so does Peace, for she is the sister of Justice. This decan drags transgressors to court, and weighs the trade of both merchants and lovers. There is no interaction not weighed by Maat, for the judgment of the Heart is ongoing.
There is much to load onto the scales as the Sun steps into Libra 1 this year, some of it still in-process. Mars in Virgo opposes Neptune in Pisces on Sunday the 24th, continuing the September-long struggle between the clear and the cloudy, the facts and the story. It brings with it a back-and-forth between aggressive precision and dreamy messiness.
Mars’ opposition with Neptune overlaps with Mercury’s square to Saturn, which is active at the same time, and complete on the following day, Monday the 25th. This aspect brings up obstacles to communication and delays travel plans. It afflicts Mercury’s significations in a way similar to what people commonly say about Mercury retrograde. Matters of speed and pacing, fast vs. slow, are particularly highlighted.
Meanwhile, the hounds of the underworld can be heard howling throughout the decan, as Pluto stations direct on the 28th, beginning the icey planet’s 7-months of forward motion. The planet’s station draws attention to the slow transformations, disintegrations and resurrections which Pluto presides over.
The following day, the 29th, Venus in Virgo opposes Neptune in Pisces, dissolving grievances and blurring relationships. The very same day, Mercury ingresses into Libra, entering the same decanic territory as the Sun. Mercury’s time in Libra pulls the mind in aesthetic and diplomatic directions, and helps smooth over gaps in dialogue, though it can also inspire lazy thinking.
Yet of all that jostles the scales, the weightiest by far is the perfect opposition between Jupiter in Libra and Uranus in Aries. This is the third and final installment in a series which began on December 26th, 2016, and has thus been with us all year. The third and final opposition occurs on September 27th, at 27 degrees of Libra/Aries.
As I wrote of the cycle back in December:
While Jupiter in Libra reaches toward the middle-ground, Uranus in Aries points toward extremes. Revolutionary Uranus in Aries wants none of the compromise and concord that Jupiter in Libra advocates for. Uranus interferes with Jupiter’s pacing, turning plans for steady growth into rapid and unstable mutations. Furthermore, Jupiter in Libra’s movement toward equilibrium is tested by the moments of sudden volatility Uranus brings. It could be said that this opposition calls for balance, but it would be more accurate to say that it calls for a comfortable oscillation between balance and imbalance.
One of the areas that the Jupiter-Uranus opposition will be felt most keenly is in the area of deal-making. While Jupiter in Libra pushes to establish mutually agreed upon rules of exchange, Uranus in Aries will have a difficult time sticking with one contract or another. The deals that result, personally, professionally, diplomatically and economically, are likely to only cohere through a series of surprises, and to be of an unusual character themselves.
This is not a new theme, and so the final exact opposition between Jupiter and Uranus should come as the third act rather than the opening scene. It may be time to pass judgment on the balance between the two principles in our life. In one of the scale’s cups is Uranus. In Aries, Uranus has taught the secrets of radical independence and fearlessness in the face of wrenching change. Yet the planet has also brought chaos, rancor and extreme polarization. In the scale’s other cup sits Jupiter. In Libra, the big planet has offered the wisdom of the middle-ground, as well as the benefits of compromise and deal-making. But the middle is not inherently correct, and not all parties should be compromised with.
The principles to be weighed are the same for everyone, but their embodiments are diverse, as are the priorities of the 7 billion judges. You must make your own judgment. So let us enter the Hall of Two Truths, take up the scales of Maat, and place the matter upon them.
During this space of days, the planets weigh the importance of independence and freedom against the support and joy which healthy, well-attended to relationships provide. Place them in the scales and see what balance looks like. It is not a matter of right and wrong, but one of priority, for you are the fulcrum.
The Sun’s ingress into Libra brings the star’s beams to bear on your physical health, as well as the balance of your bank account, offering a hint of solutions and improvements to come later. Stabilizing your finances and installing better habits is good, but good behaviors don’t necessarily erase the issues which they proceed from. Brushing your teeth will not spare you the need to wrestle your angels and devils. Real health is result of attention to both areas, inner and outer, in the measure which each requires.
This decan asks you to assess the balance between what you create and who you share it with. It may be time to reveal what you’ve been working on. Contrarily, the proper adjustment may be to withdraw from social circulation so that you can concentrate your energies on generation. The right answer is the one which balances the scales.
Maat asks that you place on one side of the scales the attention required for a supportive foundation, and on the other, the energy output required for professional breakthroughs. You have only so much time and power to distribute between them, but that ratio is up to you.
This time asks you to weigh the value of a sustainable pace against the energy output which your more ambitious goals demand. It is a question of endurance — when to run and when to walk.
This decan places matters of resource on the scales. Weigh what you accumulate on your own against what you borrow from others. If one side seems too heavy, consider what adjustments you might make to bring the two into balance.
Maat asks that you place in the balance your own needs and those of others. In particular, the time and space you need to grow according to your own pattern. Seeing to the needs of others is important too, but in excess, you run the risk of helping another tend their garden while your own fails to flower.
This decan places on one side of the scale the value of working through your issues at a sustainable pace, and in the other, the power of making sudden changes to your behavior patterns. The matter to be decided is one of inner and outer, slow and sudden.
This decan asks you to weigh the value and fun of an expansive social sphere against the radical alone-ness required for creation. Too many opinions drown out the voice of your own genius, but without people to share your insights and ideas with, they are but trees falling the forest with no one to hear them. Assess and adjust how much you concentrate vs. distribute your energy.
Placed within one scale is the value of making steady professional progress, while within the other is the potential benefit of making radical changes to your living situation and/or familial relationships. Attention to one area is, in the short term, attention not given to the other, but in the long term, there is a undeniable synergy to be had between work and home, striving and support.
This decan places upon one scale the wisdom of making steady progress toward long-term goals and asks that you weigh it against the virtue of being able to spontaneously address life’s many small crises. Both are valuable, but they must remain connected, in conscious relationship, or they will both decay into vices.
This decan asks you to judge the benefits of sharing, and being shared with, against the advantages of being radically self-sustaining. There is risk in borrowing and loaning, but independence insulates one from benefit as well as reward. Consider how much you currently have placed on each scale, and what adjustments might bring about a finer balance.