Astrologer Laura Craig

Happy Birthday, Libra!

Johannes Vermeer “Woman Holding a Balance”

September 22 - October 22, 2020

There is a divine proportion, a golden ratio, that underlies all of nature, from the cosmic to the microscopic. The human psyche recognizes it, in concepts like peace, harmony and justice, and seeks to replicate it, through channels like art, music and relationship—all keywords, as it turns out, for Libra. 

Consider its cognates: Equilibrium. Deliberate. Calibrate. Level. Libra, the sign of the Scales, lives life as if standing on a fulcrum: too much of a tip in one direction brings a jarring discomfort. But the soul breathes a sigh of relief when things are in balance. A cardinal air sign, ruled by Venus, it is attuned to the social, interpersonal and aesthetic, giving birth to the Lovers, the Diplomats, the Peacekeepers and the Artists of the world. Libra’s children also feel at home in the areas of law, justice and commerce, where the scales are employed every day. In this way, and as the sign of Saturn’s exaltation, Libra can be seen as an expression of the Greek Themis, or the Egyptian Maat, goddess of cosmic balance, who weighed the hearts of the deceased against a feather to determine admission into the afterlife. 

The language of Libra is fairness, grace, style, charm and civility. Its natives are generally likable, agreeable, creative and make friends wherever they go. In their shadow, on the other hand, are vanity, flattery, indecisiveness and over-compromise. There can be a tendency to weigh words too carefully for fear of giving offense, or to equate beauty with goodness, which can lead one astray. Such a natural focus on the Other can make it difficult for the Sun to shine as it would like, but Libra is here to learn the art of relating, and for that, the ego must take a back seat. 

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe said, “[One] should hear a little music, read a little poetry, and see a fine picture every day of life, in order that worldly cares may not obliterate the sense of the beautiful which God has implanted in the human soul.” What he was prescribing, in the language of astrology, is Libran medicine, and that innate sense of beauty, that we all possess somewhere in the birth chart, is the Libran gift. 

Juno in Scorpio

Ruth Bader Ginsberg by Sebastian Kim for The New Yorker

September 20 - December 19, 2020

There is a chill in the air today in Virginia. It’s the chill of relief from the heat and humidity of summer. It’s the chill of death and decay. It’s the chill of rest and dormancy. It’s the chill of fear and apprehension. The Sun, hanging in the balance, is in the uneasy position of the Rex Nemorensis, sensing his impending fall in Libra. The Moon moves warily from Libra into shadowy Scorpio. And the goddess Hera (aka Juno), having kept the peace and having held her tongue in Libra for nearly a year, wakes in the night, alone in her royal bed, and is suddenly tired of Zeus’s bullshit. With Scorpion’s eyes, she now sees her marriage, and her world, for what it is. The ways she’s been betrayed, usurped, disrespected and taken for granted, reduced from a queen to a caricature of a jealous, conniving shrew. She no longer wants placating, no longer cares about being liked, she is only interested in truth and reclamation of her power. Such a realization brings pain, wrath, and the desire to punish, even to poison; but in its highest form, it forges a fighter. A tenacious survivor and a powerful protectress. Hell hath no fury like the All-Mother scorned. 

Transition is paramount this weekend. It is the Jewish High Holiday of Rosh Hashanah, and the ram’s horn is blowing, not only to usher in the new year, but to wake us all up to an accounting of our past, present and future. Ruth Bader Ginsberg, after a lifetime of fighting the good fight from on high, earned her rest, and went to take her place in the heavenly halls of history, next to trailblazers like Mary Wollstonecraft, Sojourner Truth, Margaret Sanger, and Eleanor Roosevelt, among many others. She had her natal Juno in Scorpio, and she wore it well. Now she is passing the baton to the next class of feminist thinkers, leaders, legislators and activists. Her death has brought the country to yet another crossroads, and leaves women’s reproductive rights, DREAMers and the Affordable Care Act hanging in the lurch. As we enter Libra season soon, as the Sun approaches opposition to retrograde Mars, and as Juno makes her way through Scorpio, on her way to a year-long stay in Sagittarius (the sign of justice), we can expect the debates around women’s equality, health, and bodily autonomy to reignite and to rage. We can expect, on a personal level, to be shown the shadows of the patriarchs—and matriarchs—in our own lives and in our own selves: jealousy, treachery, infidelity, sexism, control and abuse. Juno-Hera represents the queen bee that exists in each of us, and for the duration of this transit, she is asking us to find where our individual power resides. And then, to rise up from the ashes, and demand the rights, representation and respect that we all inherently deserve. 

Mars Retrograde in Aries: What Are You Fighting For?

Cueva de los Manos, Argentina

September 9 - November 13, 2020

28° Aries - 15° Aries 

The Red Planet is here, and waiting at the threshold. You might have noticed, if you’ve seen the night sky lately. He is unmistakable—a ruddy, penetrating apparition—and is now the closest to Earth that he will come before going retrograde over the next two months. Since late June, Mars has been on the march though Aries, dogged and determined on his own personal odyssey to…where and what remains to be seen. In his haste to grab life by the balls, however, he has been burning rapidly through his fuel, and is now grinding to a halt. This is frustrating to the mindset of Arian Mars, who hates to slow down. But the universe, in all its wisdom, had other plans for him.

One keyword for Mars, in addition to action and initiation, is separation. Astrologically and archetypally, the planetary energy signifies moving apart and moving ahead, from the biological to the psycho-social: from cell division, to birth, to taking our first steps, to breaking up, to leaving the nest, and so on. Mars makes these things possible, and in the best case scenarios, they lead us toward freedom and individuation. But every two years, the warrior planet must interrupt his forward momentum, retrace his steps, and survey the inner, rather than the outer, landscape. It’s a different test of his courage than he is used to, a different sort of confrontation, a different kind of separation, a different kind of initiation. But required nonetheless before he can continue on his path, and before he can earn his stripes. The same goes for us.

For most of human history, people have used rites of passage to demarcate the passing of one phase of life into another, as well as recognized the value of periodic separation for purposes of initiation and self-discovery. Rite and ritual were enacted to prepare one for life, and to maintain one’s personal relationship to the gods. We in modern secular society have drifted away from most rites of passage, for better or for worse, but retrograde planets still put our self-awareness to the test: how well do you know your Mars? How do you process anger, channel your sexual and creative energy, or exercise your will—on your best day? How about on your worst day? In this case, Aries is the terrain of initiation. Which means some of us will be going on a metaphorical vision quest, sent into the wilds alone, to hone our survival skills, and await the visitation of our guides. For others, it will be the sweat lodge, the cave, or the red tent, to pray, purify, prepare and do penance. When we come back out, we will have learned something about our relationship to courage and self-determination, and about our role in society. Hopefully, it will make us rather than break us. 

While it is undergoing all of this, Mars will also have to endure pressure from the Sun and further challenges from the stellium of elders in Capricorn. Depending on the way these energies interact with your chart, it could manifest as personal transformation or existential crisis; as resistance to change or the welcome of a new chapter. The build-up of energy could express itself as frustration, impulsiveness, or explosiveness. It could also look like learning a new skill, or taking on a new passion project, for the sake of growth and experience. This retrograde is likely to bring up the shadow side of power, leadership and dominance, and expose unhealthy dynamics of jealousy, possessiveness, violence and control. Over the next two months, it’s worth taking the time to think over your earliest experiences of Mars and how they map onto your current life; to look at the ways in which you are a participant in your community and the ways in which you prefer to go it alone; and to ask yourself, what are you fighting for? Retrogrades are reminders that there are times when, in order to move forward, we have to slow down, sit still and look back. 

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