Friday, September 2, 2022

The Jigsaw Puzzle of September


Things are taking shape, since the chaos of last month. It’s a new shape, but hey, I’m happy to see any shape at all.


My wife and I have found a new place to live, an apartment right on the town square, with good access to the library, grocery store, and a lot of little restaurants. We won’t have a yard anymore, and we won’t have to scrape ice off the car in the winter time, or keep up with the tall grass in the summer. I won’t have to feel guilty about not following through on vague gardening fantasies.


We are basically apartment dwellers who somehow got transplanted to a house for a decade. It was a good place to live while we were taking care of elders, but now we’re on our own. We don’t have pets. Not even house-plants. So a smaller space will suit us fine, and maybe down the line, we’ll get a fern or something.  Something hardy.


So we move in a little over a week, and for now, we’re still in the old place. A lot of the furniture is gone. I tried to give my desk to Goodwill and they refused it, so I’m hoping the garbage guys will haul it away this morning. I’ve always liked that desk, which was actually a sturdy table with lots of room for a computer, monitor, keyboard, printer, pot of tea, and innumerable pens, crystals, and paperweights. I even liked the sexy nurse sticker permanently attached to one corner by whoever owned the table before me.  But a smaller apartment needs a smaller desk.


Mercury is retrograding about five days before we move, and I know this is not optimum, and that there will probably be a few mix-ups and crossed wires. We’ve tried to think of everything that could go wrong, but hey, I know that’s impossible. We’ve hired movers to pack it all up and to take it across town, and then we’ll do the unpacking ourselves on the other end. This will be like reconstructing our lives, fitting together the jigsaw puzzle of objects in spaces, and this seems like a suitable retrograde activity.


Mercury will be retrograde almost all of September, so a lot of people will find themselves reprising old habits, trying to remember what used to work and what didn’t so much. Students will be back in school, wrapping their minds around dusty old study habits, while teachers get out their well-worked lesson plans.  There is some comfort in old familiar forms, especially after these fearful, isolated pandemic years.


Besides this, we’re reprising an old aspect, one that was dominant in 2021 – Saturn’s square to Uranus. This aspect is especially complex because Saturn, planet of tradition, is in a progressive sign, and Uranus, planet of change, is in a sign that resists change. So you have turned-around situations like far-right people attacking cops and the FBI, and left-wing folks complaining about law-breakers and admiring Liz Cheney. And then of course there’s the whole bizarre process of trying to prosecute an ex-president for his crimes, something that feels a little slimy even when you know it’s completely justified.


There are hopeful ways to look at both these planets. Saturn’s passage through Aquarius does bring a sense of responsibility for the collective. The pandemic isolated us as individuals, but it also – again paradoxically – gave us a stronger sense of connection. We’ve all been part of an intense global event, and we learned to reach across the planet, talking to people who lived far away. All sorts of community practices and malpractices have been shared more widely, and this has led to a greater emphasis on diversity, equality and inclusion. Consciences have been stirred.


Uranus in Taurus has its own ways of breaking down the existing social order and moving us towards change. As an earth sign, it’s all about what’s real, what’s essential to continued life on this planet. Climate change is now accepted by everyone except those who are most imbedded in conspiracy cults. Recurring crises have made this clearer. One-third of Pakistan is under water, with all the sanitary problems this brings, and Jackson, Mississippi is dealing with the same problem. It’s all one world, and usually it’s the poorest who fall first. But meanwhile, California is phasing out gas-powered vehicles, and the price of solar energy is constantly dropping.   


September gives us a chance to redo things, and to get them right this time. Mercury is retrograding in Libra, a sign that’s all about balance, equality and justice. This will give us all an opportunity to measure our practices against our ideals. At the same time, the sun in Virgo is meticulous, critical, always looking for specific ways to fix whatever is wrong. Around the fall equinox, the sun and Mercury switch signs, with the sun moving into Libra and Mercury retrograding back into Virgo. This maintains the same balance of air and earth, intellect and practicality.


Meanwhile, all month, Mars is in the air sign Gemini, a fast-moving and verbal sign. This keeps everybody running around in a distracted way, doing a million things, often all at the same time.  I’m noticing this around here. My wife and I are constantly thinking of new things that we need to decide, discuss, or do, and this means frequent but rushed conversations. You can almost see the bullet points. In the middle of the night, I wake up thinking, “Should I write this down, or will I remember it in the morning?”


So for us, September is all about disassembly and reassembly. We take apart our lives, piece by piece, and then we put them back together in a different place. Knowing where we’re moving to, we can visualize all the elements of our daily existence sliding into their new slots. The tea pot will live there, the faceted crystal there. The question that comes up for me, more than any other, is, “Will it fit?”


September is an active month, but also a careful one. It takes time and attention to shift your life to a different place. But we are all always moving to different places. If you’re not moving, the river is. And in this new place, we all ask ourselves what will fit. Where do we put this ideal, and where do we put that practical consideration? Can they co-exist?  What can we carry from our past to our future? What do we need to leave behind?


As a community, we answer these questions in different ways, and we jostle each other, as we insist on our own answers. But in the end, in the world we’re creating, there has to be room for all of us. We can leave behind fears, prejudices, assumptions, compulsions, and defenses, as we feel safe enough. But every human being has to fit.



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