The Sun enters zodiac sign Libra on Thursday, September 22 at 9:04 pm EDT, marking the fall equinox in the northern hemisphere. The astrology of autumn opens pathways to resolving old problems, as several planets end their retrogrades and turn direct again. But with Mars slowing down through October, it’s important to use caution when making decisions. Otherwise the upcoming Mars retrograde will have you grinding your gears in frustration.
First let’s set the stage with the historical backdrop– the slow-moving outer planets, which imprint on us for years. We’re moving through the final crosswinds of the Saturn/Uranus square—an influence that was much stronger during 2021. The square has returned for one last tight squeeze this fall. Saturn is retrograde in Aquarius, and Uranus is retrograde in Taurus, and they’re both backing up into a very close 90-degree angle.
That’s the logjam in the background of life right now, as the past and the future battle each other for dominance. Squares represent conflict, and these planets are severe and cold by nature. It’s an apathetic, idealistic energy that’s fueling the polarization in society. We’ll see this clash continue to play out through fall, creating upheaval as the old institutions collapse under the weight of necessary change. The opportunity in this chaos is rebuilding from the ground up. Ancient chains of power are toppling. You can make constructive, lasting changes while the world shakes– it’s the right time for breakthroughs.
Mercury Retrograde: The Opening Act of Autumn
Now, let’s dive into the forecast, starting with the equinox. The Sun and Mercury will cross paths in the early morning hours of Sep 23, beginning the astrology of autumn with an intellectual shift. This is Mercury’s symbolic rebirth, as it retrogrades backward through the conjunction with the Sun at 0 degrees Libra, then returns to Virgo by later in the afternoon. It’s the midpoint of its retrograde, when the reflective, intuitive function of Mercury is most fertile. Good ideas and new perspectives are born here, grounded in the pragmatic logic of earth sign Virgo.
Plans and projects gain internal momentum Sep 26-27 as Mercury is joined by Venus, and they both trine Pluto. Information is flowing to the surface of awareness. It’s heavy, but productive. People may be willing to fix thorny issues from the past, as long as we control the tendency toward blunt criticism and blame. Earth trines facilitate stability, helping with mental focus and determination. And Venus’s presence lends humble creativity to the process, if we lean into earnest effort.
But getting back on track doesn’t happen fast. Mercury is slowing down, hovering within a few degrees of the zodiac. The retrograde ends as Mercury stations direct Oct 2, and makes a final trine to Pluto Oct 6. It’s a powerful time for communication because Pluto is also stalling out, completing its 5-month retrograde on Oct 8. Gears are turning dramatically, important decisions are being made, and we’ll see new ideas taking tangible form in the outer world. In the meantime, use the slow transition of Mercury trine Pluto to sort through details, take accountability, and get to the bottom of murky misunderstandings.
Astrology of Autumn: Aries Full Moon
Then the health of relationships takes center stage mid-month, emphasizing satisfaction and trust. Are we getting what we want while still being fair? The first Full Moon of autumn occurs Oct 9, intensifying issues around give and take. There’s an increasing sense of possibility this week as Mars moves into a square with Neptune, inflating idealism and wishful thinking. Meanwhile, Mercury moves forward and returns to Libra Oct 10, heading through an opposition to Jupiter Oct 12.
This translates to a lot of hype circulating socially, along with the potential for sneaky deception. Words and thoughts seem magnified and more important. Be aware of the exaggeration in the air. Libra season accentuates the art of style and presentation, making it easy to gloss over truth. In order for us to take advantage of Mercury’s new knowledge, we can’t lose sight of real substance in the glare of superficial appearances.
Passions continue riding high after the Full Moon. Venus corresponds to the process of relating, and all the suffering and joy that relationships bring to our lives. Its purpose is discernment—selecting the people, objects, ideas, and experiences that bring contentment and support. But Venus can distort us when its seductive power is used for phony purposes. When relationships and personal values are more about possession and appearances than genuine appreciation, we’re on Venus’ slippery slope—slick at painting a pretty picture in the moment, but likely creating a messy problem later on when that shiny veneer wears off.
Managing Expectations this Fall
Venus is right on the heels of the Libra Sun this autumn, stepping into the spotlight of the astrology later in the month. The Sun and Venus will both form trines to Mars and squares to Pluto between Oct 17-18, opening up the door to intense encounters with others. It may seem easier to use wordplay to skate away from confrontation, but good things can happen if people are courageously open-minded and willing to speak their truth and hear others in return.
The big conjunction happens Oct 22, as Venus meets the Sun at the very last degree of Libra, and then they each move over the cusp into Scorpio on Oct 23. This is the same day that Saturn ends its retrograde, turning direct again in Aquarius, and Mars heads out of bounds as it slows to a standstill in Gemini. The mood has deepened, and the astrology is getting stormier.
Mars is slowing down mid-month, preparing to turn retrograde Oct 30 for the rest of 2022. It’s also heading out of bounds on Oct 23, a term used when a planet reaches an extreme point of latitude in outer space, beyond its normal route. This isn’t the time to begin anything brand new, unless it’s been in the works in the background already. Mars is getting irritable as it slows, which tightens nerves and sharpens attitudes. And it’s acting less predictably because it’s out of bounds, in the symbolic wilderness of the zodiac. That can make it very easy to jump the gun, only to regret it later.
Autumn Astrology Stress Point
By late October, we’re inching toward a 4-week lunar eclipse cycle with fixated ideas. Mercury is catching up to the Sun and Venus in the waters of Scorpio. This awakens the detective in us all because Scorpio digs to find the root cause. The truth is emerging in shadows, behind the scenes of the solar eclipse New Moon Oct 25. This is a potent period of time exposing raw emotion and the embodiment of feminine power. People do not want to be manipulated and will relate to one another more suspiciously. And Scorpio’s energy will draw secrets to the surface by the time the Moon waxes to full in two weeks.
And then, the big impact: Mars turns retrograde, adding mental strain to the last week of October and first week of November. The record is skipping over the same words, and we can’t seem to lower the volume. Even though the retrograde officially begins Oct 30, Mars hovers at the same degree of Gemini from Oct 22-Nov 8. It finally begins moving backward Nov 8, the same day as the Taurus Full Moon lunar eclipse. A lot will be revealed under that moonlight, and many will be thrown back on their heels.
Mars retrograde impacts self-assertion and the expression of force. It’s irritating, especially when it first hits. The flow of energy turns around completely, and we’re pressured to build strength internally rather than conquering new ground externally. There’s a wake-up call coming. So prepare to settle in with this transit, as Mars moves backwards through Gemini until mid-January 2023. It reflects a need to recalibrate what we’re fighting for, to realign action with clear thinking. Mars retrograde in Gemini provides a reckoning for this confusing mess of collective anger, and the way we’re going about expressing it.
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