I’m really feeling the change of season these days. Suddenly all the trees are gold. And down in the Town Square, I saw more kids in costumes than I’ve seen for years. There was a big Halloween event there, with music, face-painting and balloon animals, and the kids were out in droves. I saw baby race car drivers, haughty Cleopatras, amorphous inflatable creatures, and dozens of young wizards in school uniforms. My favorite costume was a little girl who dressed as a monarch butterfly.
Tomorrow is All Soul’s Day, and my wife and I will light candles, make hot chocolate, and watch the movie Coco, which always makes us cry. This is our tradition. The first time we watched that movie, we had her grandmother with us, and now we don’t. This is the time when the veil between the worlds is thin. At my age, I have more family members in the other world than in this one, and the faces of vanished loved ones are always with me.
At this time of year, we’re especially aware of change. There are big dramatic changes, and there are small, incremental changes from day to day, but we can never sidestep this inexorable motion. We are all moving swiftly from sunrise to sunset. We astrologers are particularly aware of this constant flow, since we track the planets in both their long slow cycles and their short choppy ones.
The sun, Mercury, Venus, and the south lunar node are all in Scorpio, the sign that has to do with deep emotion. Like all the fixed signs, Scorpio resists change, and this makes it even more cataclysmic when it happens – and it always does. Scorpio is especially connected to the shift from life to death, and so the holidays at this time of year – Scorpio season - are all about that ultimate surrender to the inevitable.
There are astrological events that have a stronger charge than others, that signal deeper and more dramatic changes. Eclipses are among these, and these point to shifts that resonate on the karmic level, that reference our purpose here in this life. With the north lunar node in Taurus, our purpose at this juncture in history is to connect to the earth, to become more solid and concrete, to build strong foundations. The eclipse makes it clear how far we need to go, in order to do this.
The chart for this next eclipse is a particularly powerful one. Here in Washington DC, the eclipse is visible across the east-west horizon, with the sun rising and the full moon setting. And guess what? It’s happens on Election Day.
We all know that this is an especially meaningful election, and that control of Congress is at stake. On the Republican side, there are efforts to break down democracy itself, following the lead of the party’s delusional and autocratic leader. If Republicans take Congress, that will be an end to any accountability for the attempted coup of January 7, 2020. And without accountability, there’s no deterrent to a better-organized second attempt.
I’m heartened because a record number of absentee ballots have been returned in several states. But I’m also worried, because the aspects signal change, but I don’t know in what direction that change will go. At this full moon on Election Day, it’s not just the Eclipse that shakes things up. The sun and Mercury are also closely opposing Uranus, planet of sudden shifts, rebellions, and accidents. This could mean some sort of mechanical problem, perhaps because of officials allowing conspiracy theorists access to voting machines. It could also mean social unrest, perhaps violence. Oppositions on the Taurus/Scorpio axis show fixed battles over power and control.
One reason that I’m nervous about this configuration is that I see the Democrats as the conservative party these days, while the Republicans are trying to rip down the whole system. It isn’t that I don’t see the need for change, but I would like to see it happen peacefully and organically. The right wing is in favor of violent change these days - tearing up the earth, eliminating reproductive rights, co-opting private choices, ignoring inequities that every generation has worked to redress. I recently listened to Rachel Maddow put this election in stark terms, saying that it’s a choice between a democratic system, or one of force and violence. Autocratic governments can be voted in, as in Hitler’s dictatorship of Germany and Trump’s unsuccessful coup in the US. But to be maintained, force is generally needed.
At the same time, there’s one other figure in this configuration, and it’s not one that usually gives me hope. Saturn in Aquarius is in a conflictive position, squaring all the Taurus and Scorpio planets, turning the opposition into a T-square. In a T-square, the planet that forms right angles to the others is the catalyst, and Saturn is the planet of duty, responsibility and limitation. This could be good in a volatile situation like this Election Day. Usually I don’t feel all that positive about Saturn squares, which tend to be dour and depressing, but in this case, I’m supporting anything that slows down the pace. Of course, Saturn could also mean frustrating delays and glitches. There could be long waits in line and a shortage of helpers. Still, that’s better than Uranian events like explosions and angry mobs.
One thing we can expect is a delay in counting the results and coming up with a conclusion. Considering how many election officials and county clerks have been threatened by right-wing thugs, this work will require a lot of courage. From November 9 to 11, the sun and Mercury will be directly squaring Saturn, and hopefully Saturn’s rigid, rule-bound approach will keep things on track.
One thing about November is that Mars will be retrograde all month, in the jittery, fast-talking sign Gemini. This can mean a lot of back-and-forth movement, and it can be hard to maintain a clear sense of purpose. It could be a month of all talk and no action, which kind of fits in with politicians campaigning and trying to come up with the right sound-bite. Mars retrograde can mean correcting past mistakes, however, and we can hope that the Election might do that. We have quite a few mistakes in Congress right now, like Marjorie Taylor Greene and Matt Gaetz.
From November 15 to 22, however, Mars will be squaring Neptune in Pisces, and this could feel like wandering around in a fog. This is the time to be as alert as possible, because if there are going to be shenanigans related to the election, they could happen around this time. This could also be the time when we all decide that things have been just too tense, and we’re going to collapse, or just read some escapist fiction, or go to the movies.
The election and the eclipse season will be over by then. We will have weathered the dramatic configuration of Election Day, but the changes themselves still need to play themselves out. Whether we gained or lost, whether we’re crying or celebrating, we’ll need to look around, take stock of where we are, and carry on living our lives. Onward we all go, moving together through unfamiliar ground, through the heart of change.