The Sun enters the third decan of Virgo on September 12th, and rises in that decan the first time this year on Wednesday the 13th.
Journeying through this face, we are led down into a cave, its walls covered with half-eroded drawings. It is a ritual place, and on a stone slab is laid a desiccated, mummified body. Broken and whole objects surround this figure, jars, obscure statuettes – some to aid them in their journey into the next world, others a testament to their time here on earth. It is a place of remembrance, but also a gateway, a portal between life and what-follows.
After a bit, the ghost of the dead one sits up, their spectral form separating from their physical body, and looks out at the walls of the burial chamber. As the phantom gazes, the paintings come alive with retrospective scenes of life. Laughing children play, lovers entwin and quarrel, and the fierce eyes of rivals flash. You’re reminded of the scene Pamela Coleman Smith painted for the 10 of Pentacles.
This decan of Virgo is thus a chamber of endings, consequences and legacies. This third and last face of the Virgin leads up to the equinox, and thus concludes a season, a quarter of the year. The focus on outcomes and legacies is in part a function of this. There is a looking backward at the months which comprised the quarter, what happened within them, which was achieved and endured, as well as what mistakes were made. This being the time, in agricultural terms, that the final harvest for the year is reaped, lends additional weight.
So let us enter this place, dry with dust but thick with ghosts, to reflect on the season passing away. The more accurately we feel it, the more accurately we will be see the oncoming future it has laid the ground for. Causation is a line, a long snake which twists and entwines with others, but rarely ends. If we can find that thread, we can follow it up to the present moment and beyond.
Our guide down these tunnels is none other Mercury as psychopomp. He is the ghost of Christmas past, present and future, and also wears the name and face of dog-headed Anubis. This decan is ruled by Mercury, making it one of the few cases where the ruler of the sign and the ruler of the decan are one in the same.
If we look to Mercury, we find the planet in the process of climbing out of the hole it dug during its retrograde. Though Mercury stationed direct on September the 5th, the planet is still slow, having not yet regained its normal speed. Additionally, our guide does not clear the degrees it retrograded through — its shadow period — until the New Moon in Virgo on the 19th. Furthermore, there is the matter of Mercury’s conjunction with Mars, the third and final one this season, which occurs on September 16th at 7 Virgo, the first having occurred on June 28th, and the second on September 3rd. Finally, there is the matter of Mercury’s opposition with Neptune, which is the same aspect the tricky planet’s most recent retrograde began under.
Mercury Conjunct Mars: Sharp Tongues
Mercury-Mars conjunctions see the messenger lend his/her technical expertise and communications network to the rancorous red planet. The first conjunction in late June coincided with the massive Ukrainian cyber attack, which may be the most literal possible outcome for a conjunction of Mercury (communications, technology) and Mars (attacks). The second conjunction, which occurred on September 3rd, coincided with North Korea’s landmark detonation of an improved nuclear weapon, followed immediately by open military threats from the United States. Heated communications, indeed. What mundane events the third Mercury-Mars conjunction brings remains to be seen, although the theming so far has been archetypally literal.
On a personal level, Mercury-Mars conjunctions often sneak an angry edge into communications, and oversee periods of irritability and impatience. Nonetheless, Mars’ ferocity can also be channeled into tremendous productivity. If you’ve fallen behind on your to-do list, it would be wise to time a sprint during the days leading up to and immediately following the Mercury-Mars conjunction, as the configurations which follow are more contemplative than active.
Mercury Opposite Neptune: Dream Analysis
After the conjunction with Mars, Mercury will move on to complete the other piece of unfinished business— the opposition with Neptune in Pisces. Mercury stationed retrograde opposite Neptune back on August 12th, and finally makes it back to the same point on September 19th, which is also the day of the New Moon at 27 Virgo. As I wrote of the opposition of Mercury in Virgo and Neptune in Pisces back in August:
“Mercury is ever the clarifier, and plays that role to the hilt within Virgo, the sign which it both rules and is said to be exalted within. Neptune, on the other hand, is infamous for muddying the waters and blurring the edges, making distinctions hard to draw. Like Mercury, Neptune is also in a sign which lends it exceptional strength — Pisces. This suggests that this part of Mercury’s cycle has a particular emphasis on clarifying the various illusions, half-truths and visions which emanate from Neptune.”
Thus, coming back to this contest a month after it began, we should see the outcome of Mercury’s month-long attempt to cut through Neptune’s fog, as well as the emergence of the reconciliations between the opposed realms of logic and fantasy, accounting and imagination.
The New Moon in Virgo: Reverie
The Mercury-Neptune opposition sets the tone for the New Moon in Virgo, which occurs on the same day. The New Moon, which takes place in the third decan of Virgo, leads us into that face’s chamber of remembrance and consequence, and invites us to lay down on the stone slab to think and dream.
It is a place to consider legacies and consequences — what people’s actions leave for those who follow in their wake. It is also a retrospective point on the season now passing away, to consider which fruit ripened and which soured. This lunation might also be turned to matters buried deeper in the past, as the third decan of Virgo, being intimately concerned with the relationship between life and death, is suitable for eulogies, remembrances, ancestor work, and practices such as Castenada’s “Using death as an advisor” or Buddhist maraṇasati death-mindfulness visualization.
Mercury guides you through a review of tasks done and undone. As there is likely still much to accomplish before the season ends, you would do well to concentrate your efforts on the days leading up to and surrounding the vigorous Mercury-Mars conjunction on the 16th, as it will be difficult to maintain energy and focus closer to the Mercury-Neptune opposition on the 19th.
The New Moon in Virgo, which also arrives on the 19th, sets the stage for a review of this season in the concrete contexts of health and wealth. Consider how you might better safeguard both your vitality and your treasure.
Mercury spends the first half of this decan in conjunction with Mars. Keep a close eye on how much energy and money you spend during this period, as you may end up burning through more of your resources than you intended to.
The New Moon in Virgo is due on the 19th, and suggests a thorough and thoughtful review of what you devote your creative energy to. This theme has been running all month, but it is particularly emphasized by this lunation. Look especially closely where you might be leaking power, and why?
Mercury and Mars conjoin on the 16th, pushing the pace of the days leading up to it, during which you may find yourself both more driven and more irritable. Take care not to exacerbate familial conflicts or friction with housemates, as tempers may be unusually short.
The New Moon in Virgo arrives on the 19th, prompting reflections on what and who supports you. A detached review of your living situation and support network will yield important insights. If you are so inclined, this New Moon would also make an excellent time to venture into the dusty tomb of your ancestors, and consider how their legacies, both positive and negative, have shaped your life and character.
The Mercury-Mars conjunction on the 16th pushes the pace of your schedule during the days leading up to it. If you can scuttle about with sufficient speed, you’ll be impressed with the amount you’ll be able to accomplish by the time the New Moon in Virgo arrives.
The New Moon, which occurs on the 19th, calls for further reflection on the way you’re structuring your time. As time is atruly non-renewable resources, you may want to take a look at your calendar and ask yourself what you would like to accomplish during the last quarter of 2017.
Mercury and Mars conjoin on the 16th, highlighting financial matters during the surrounding days. This configuration may tug hard at your purse-strings. Best practice would be to take up a spartan attitude toward spending during this time, mobilizing your coins only when it accomplishes the necessary.
The New Moon in Virgo on the 19th marks a less active, more reflective, period. The dark of the Moon contains within it visions of money and energy given and taken, borrowed and loaned. If you can improve the quality of these transactions you will find both yourself and the other enriched.
Mercury and Mars conjoin in your sign on the 16th, spurring professional effort and efficient accomplishment, but also shortening your fuse. Try to point yourself at tasks you can accomplish with minimal cooperation, as you will likely find others less driven than yourself.
After this period of activity, the Moon wanes down to nothing and the month remakes itself with the New Moon in Virgo on the 19th. This moment also coincides with the entrance of Venus into Virgo and Mercury’s opposition with Neptune. Contemplations and clarifications abound regarding your relationships with others, particularly concerning the images you project upon them and the way which they do, and do not, see you.
Many of this decan’s configurations take place just behind the fabric of daily life, in the place of dreams, meditations and reflections. The Mercury-Mars conjunction on the 16th highlights internal frictions— the inner contradictions which mar your peace. Afterward, the Sun and Moon conjoin in the same mysterious, half-conscious space. The lightless night sky of the New Moon will make it possible to see the faint glow of the interlocking complexes which drive your inner world. Watch the gears of your own psyche in motion, and contemplate the patterns they power.
This decan brings configurations which highlight your role within groups, as well as the system of friends, colleagues and comrades of which you are a part. Calls to action and stings of irritation are both suggested by the Mercury-Mars conjunction on the 16th, while the New Moon in Virgo on the 19th offers a more contemplative and relaxed experience within that social space. What are the consequences of your involvement with a given group, or person? What change is wrought in them, and in you?
Mercury and Mars conjoin in Virgo on the 16th, followed shortly by a New Moon in the same sign on the 19th. Both of these concern your professional life, though from active and contemplative angles. Mercury-Mars spurs you on toward accomplishment, while the ensuing New Moon pulls you to detach and consider the system of your work as a whole— what do you feed into it, what is the process, and what are the results?
The action during this decad of days highlights your long-term goals, as well as the way you understand the undercurrent of meaning and purpose in your life. The Mercury-Mars conjunction on the 16th will likely see you driven, but impatient, to accomplish your aims, while the following New Moon on the 19th will ask you to take a step back, and consider the trajectory of your life from a greater distance. Upon inspection, you may find that short-term fogs have delayed your progress toward grander accomplishments. Ask yourself what you might do to reduce the impact of those confusions on your journey.
Mercury and Mars conjoin in Virgo on the 16th, spotlighting the dynamics of exchange between yourself and others, potentially inflaming issues over who-owes-who-what. You might also need to borrow someone else’s problem-solving facility, or be asked to step in and play the hero for someone. After whatever action or inflammation the Mercury-Mars conjunction brings, a more reflective set of days arrives, courtesy of the New Moon in Virgo. This lunation is a time for reckoning debts, loans, legacies and inheritances. Spends some time with your ledger and consider the exchanges written therein.
This span of days focuses primarily on the dynamics of your relationships, in particular the acts of service performed by both yourself and the others connected to you. The Mercury-Mars conjunction in Virgo may call you to act on the other’s behalf, or to require such aid yourself. Feelings of anger or frustration might surface here, as accounting in this area is complex, and often calculated differently by the different parties involved. Nonetheless, there is time to consider all of these dynamics during the dark of the New Moon in Virgo, which arrives on the 19th.