I have no Ida where all this water is coming from. Ok, had to get that out of my system. Anyway, here in the DC area, we are dealing with lots of flooding, although we are nowhere near as bad off as New Orleans and other parts of Louisiana.
These are just the remnants of Ida, a sideways swipe from a massive storm. It woke us up at 3 am with ferocious thunder and streaks of lightning. Lying in bed, I thought about the layers and layers of swirling energy above us. On the average day, we never notice it. But air and water are always flowing up there, intermingling as they respond to the fire of the sun and the contours of the earth, and sometimes they just can’t be contained.
This morning, I looked out the kitchen window to what used to be my yard, and saw a lake lapping calmly around the house, broken up by the little concentric circles of raindrops. Through the day, the yard has drained, only to be refilled with more rain. Our neighbor, the handyman, is helping us, getting ready to pump water out of our crawl space. It will take a few days.
We are lucky and safe in our little island house, but others in our area have suffered more. Thousands have lost power. And I see pictures of rescue workers in inflatable boats, helping people trapped in basement-level apartments. These are people who woke up to water rising around their beds.
This is a soggy beginning for this new month, a month that traditionally brings a sense of new beginnings, as many kids go back to school. But September is very tentative this year. Parents are anxious about sending their children off, worrying that they will be attacked by something no-one can see, a deadly virus. How can you protect yourself or your loved ones against an invisible assailant? Meanwhile, there’s this background drumbeat of folks complaining about masks and vaccinations, fighting them instead of the disease.
Astrologically speaking, this September is not really a forward-looking time. This month, all the outer planets are retrograde, and at the end of the month, Mercury joins them. Retrograde planets signal times of pausing and rechecking, fixing and mending, adjusting and reorganizing, taking stock of the situation. In September, it will be all about figuring out where we are.
When we look ahead, we see only a little ways, but when we look behind, we can see for miles. Of course, it’s not always easy to look clearly at our history, especially as a country, and much of it has barely been written about. But perhaps in the struggles of the past, we can find some of the answers to our present-day polarization. Maybe we can tease out the various threads and unsnarl this bitter knot.
I’m by no means opposed to general skepticism of government intentions, but I’m on the side of those who wear masks and get vaccinations. From here, the anti-vaxxers seem aligned to some weird conspiracies, to Trump, and to the waving of Confederate and Nazi flags. And after the Trump years, I have a tendency to bunch all these folks together as the worst kind of white people – that is, those deeply and emotionally wedded to their arbitrary hierarchies.
But is it that simple? Should I be clumping these folks together? Is the real problem this “us vs. them” mentality? It’s so easy to label big groups in derogatory ways, but if I don’t resist this tendency, how can I ask anyone else to do so? On the other hand, what about accountability? When it comes to trying to figure out my political opposites, I’ve got a good angel on one shoulder and a bad angel on the other, and my problem is that I’m not sure which is which.
At least, I have some inkling about why I’m so confused. Neptune is the planet of confusion, and as September begins, Mars is opposing it. So I’m not the only one going around in circles this week. Mars is the planet of anger, retribution, violence, and righteous indignation, so it gives me a strong desire to place the blame somewhere. One angel is telling me that the anti-vaxxers, and even more the anti-maskers, are criminal, for putting so many other people in danger. The other angel is telling me that a judgmental attitude won’t solve any problems, least of all social ones.
And yes, this is also a month with a strong Libra influence. As it begins, Mercury and Venus are in Libra, and when it ends, the sun, Mercury and Mars are in this idealistic air sign. Libra is always about weighing things, trying to find an ethical balance between two unlike things. And it gives a tendency to bounce back and forth, like a tennis ball bounding over a net. You think of something, and then you consider the opposite. The hope is that eventually an argument comes to rest in a place that’s fair to both sides. (But what if it doesn’t? What if each dispute just changes form into another dispute?)
This month, all the inner planets are bunched on one side of the earth, and all the outer planets on the other. The inner planets come out in the daytime, while the outer planets come out at night. The inner planets represent our ordinary day-to-day lives: our words, our feelings, our habits. The outer planets represent forces that are beyond our control, and often beyond our consciousness: the larger circles of history, the ancient looming gods in our psyches, the drive towards the future, the inevitability of evolution.
But all through the month, the inner planets make aspects to the outer planets, working to connect. We want to go beyond our narrow confines, our houses wrapped up in weather systems we don’t understand, our angry groups maligning each other, our sense of separation from whatever is coming our way.
But all we can do is keep moving towards it, whatever it is. Like the weather, we are all changing together, reacting against each other, breaking out into storms and subsiding into peace. At least we can hope that, in the land where we’re bound, there will be some peace.