As the Sun enters Virgo, I reflect on Virgan writer Jeanette Winterson’s 7 propositions about time, from her book Sexing the Cherry, including:
Lies 1: There is only the present and nothing to remember.
Lies 2: Time is a straight line.
Lies 3: The difference between the past and the futures is that one has happened while the other has not.
Lies 4: We can only be in one place at a time.
The images accompanying this month’s column are from a 1775 book on demonology. The unknown author dated it “1057” perhaps in an attempt to lend it more credibility as an occult relic. That’s funny from our vantage, where 1775 seems as incomprehensible as any earlier date. What if someone found this column in 700 years?
Winterson’s assertions regarding time are on my mind because I have noticed that during the change of seasons, time operates differently, behaves capriciously. If you feel frail or absent as the Autumn Equinox approaches (September 23), you might be spread thin from being in more than one place at a time—or even more than one time at a time. Are you burning all your gas carrying a torch for a bygone day? During transitional seasons, when the veil thins, it is possible to still be partially in a previous month, for example. If you seem out of sync or unable to connect, begin by naming where or when you feel you are. Then you can work your way back to the present, if you choose to attempt that.
Another characteristic of Fall is the struggle to balance excess and deficiency. Despite what nearly every metric of human conduct might lead you to believe, it’s not always clear what is too much, what is not enough. Human behavior is defiantly irrational.
I pluck my eyebrows to reduce them, then tint them to enlarge them. One time on a road trip, in Birmingham, I drank a Red Bull™ then a Drank: Extreme Relaxation Beverage™ (“Slow your roll”™), then promptly threw up, having baffled the delicate economy of my mortal shell. Nothing in moderation, especially moderation. We often treat this struggle casually, but life itself hangs in the tension between surplus and shortage at any scale.
Venus turns direct from its retrograde on September 6th, and the haze muddling your relationships will begin to clear. A New Moon and Solar Eclipse in Virgo occurs September 13th. On this day, your thoughts can remain mostly logical, despite the lunar influence, but there may be bizarre non-sequiturs that make you doubt your sanity, not unlike the emotional topography of Martha Stewart’s Twitter. A Full Moon and Lunar Eclipse in Aries occurs September 28th. On this day, you may as well rename the month Sep”tempt”ber because you will be tested, and your appetites may lead you into danger—a day where one might do best to retire early (is there any day where this doesn’t apply, though, really?). Mercury takes its tri-yearly sabbatical from forward-appearing movement. The retrograde is in Libra, from September 17th to October 9th. During this period, it is best to refrain from making binding contracts, even if all your friends are getting engaged or putting down payments on houses or whatever. Stay free.
Amid the astral changes this month, one thread runs throughout: the search to commune with one another. The ultimate connection is one that feels both deep and easy, meaningful but effortless ( for example, like just kicking back in a cozy situation while taking in some realtime citizen journalism). Loneliness can feel so vast and complicated, as though it could only be satisfied with a dramatic solution, like methodically reconciling with every ex, or dedicating oneself to purposeful collective undertaking, like a friendship bread chain. But when we take the glass off the door where we’ve been eavesdropping on our hearts, sometimes we can catch a clear thought or two from our brain. Our higher selves might be able to perceive a simpler remedy to feelings of isolation.
This month it is easy to be hypnotized by screens. When we are texting each other at the same time, it can feel like we are talking over each other; but instead of our words being more intelligible than that—and they should be, because they’re plain on the screen—we experience it like the backwards echo of a cymbal. The anticipation and tension building into something deafening. There’s a reason people write on bathroom walls.
This coming season brings with it a difficult choice, probably in the romantic or domestic sphere. It would involve doing something new and uncomfortable, making a life change you find scary or even unappealing, but it could result in a kind of contentment you’ve written off as impossible. You can build strength by spending time doing the activities that make you capable and grounded. This will help you have the confidence to be open to paths that may otherwise be daunting.
This month, attend to your health, especially if you are going through a period of career transition. Taurans have a tendency to either overhaul everything at once or try to micromanage and hyper-isolate change. But one really can’t control how life changes occur, because everything is interconnected, often in surprising ways. Shortly before or after the Solar Eclipse, something magical and far-reaching could happen in your romantic commitments. Resist the urge to broadcast it to the world until later in the month, when your life settles down a bit.
A thought experiment: pair any thought about someone you find difficult with the idea that you can’t get along because you’re too similar. It’s not always true, but considering that will change the way you solve social problems. This month, problems stem from Cardinal signs in your life (Aries, Cancer, Libra, Capricorn). Problems you know about, you feel equipped to address— so well-equipped that you can be blind to trickier situations unfolding right in front of you. Be open to seeing difficult truths.
When a relationship is in the process of forming, we naturally tend to emphasize similarities. When a relationship is dissolving, we naturally notice differences. Being aware of this correlation can help us be grounded when the spaceship is going up, and forgiving when we are coming back to Earth. Even apart from major changes, this awareness can help understand the shape of your bonds. All of this relational speculation becomes less theoretical and more physical after the New Moon clears your muddled libido’s slate.
Even though summer, your season for wild dreams, has passed, there’s still whatever’s left of the rest of the year, Leo. Don’t be too hard on yourself for not meeting all the lofty goals you set. Some of your internal pressure to perform will let up mid- month, when a bit of money you’ve been waiting on for a couple months finally comes through. Unwind further by letting trusted friends in on your private thoughts. You can be enigmatic without realizing it, which can be a barrier to the rejuvenating power of friendship.
Virgos have a particularly vulnerable birthday season. To you, one of the cruelest acts is someone making you feel stupid for caring. It reshapes your world into one in which caring is a weakness. The impulse to respond to coldness with caring is strong and hard to unlearn. It can result from family dynamics we observed as children. Though religious people often frame unconditional love as virtuous—and that it may be—that cannot be true across the board. And it can’t be the only right choice. Look out for yourself.
Librans are careful researchers, and often resist making choices without ample time for consideration (except when booze or other intoxicating factors make you impulsive). But after a long, slow build-up of tension, you’re coming up on a decisive time. The season has come to take a risk toward something you want. The object of your desire is related to a life milestone (either in your career or in your home) and while you’ve made your wishes clear, you haven’t taken an active role. Until now.
No stranger to psychic sparring, Scorpios love to battle with ideas, with colleagues, even with yourselves. In September, you set your sights on a lofty rival, as you challenge widely held social beliefs in debate or possibly by example, such as in your own lifestyle. Remember, dire-hearted Scorpion, that God is a powerful opponent. You can meet elemental forces and big concepts in battle—and you may be fit to fight— but your success hinges on knowledge of your own motives.
Fictional New Orleanian Ignatius J. Reilly, avatar of Sagittarian author John Kennedy Toole, said “I refuse to look up. Optimism nauseates me. It is perverse. Since man’s fall, his proper position in the universe has been one of misery.” Sagittarian pessimism is as stubborn as the archer’s optimism can be, but you can’t always tell when you’re wearing shit-colored glasses. Take a look at your surroundings: have you been living in a mess? The order of your habitat is paramount to your health this month.
Fellow Capricorn Kid Rock described his fan base to Rolling Stone as being “45 to 50 year-old girls wearing extra-large T-shirts—they’re my bread and butter.” That interview is a remarkable case study in Capricorn conduct. Kid Rock is in some ways startlingly self-aware, yet totally delusional, particularly in his reading of other people. Though most people have dramatically different life circumstances than he, a lesson remains. Don’t let what you think you know about yourself blind you to the ways you treat others.
The complications of companionship are a recurring motif this year, and September is no different. You’re grateful to have someone around to help you do the laundry. Sometimes that’s a big part of what companionship is, just many hands making light work. But without the humble ingredient of tenderness, your company can read rather brusquely. Just pay a little more attention to those beside you as you attend to your tasks, and consider releasing a little more appreciation their way.
The most powerful utility of a thing can lie outside of its intended use. Like, a doctor will sometimes prescribe you medicine for epilepsy in order to treat your depression. Or how “Planet Money” is supposed to be about economics but is actually best used as a comedy podcast. And everybody knows you can use a bath to dispel bad feelings, not just to get clean. This month, your finest luck lies in your ability to repurpose what you have available. No one is better suited to this task than you.