Rocky Road: It’s not just the ice cream flavor of the month. It’s also what we’re traveling this October.
Gone is the time-out vibe that’s marked so much of the year. From the outset October is a month of action: passionate, impulsive, reactionary and frequently furious. The past factors into the tumult, as old matters emerge, secrets surface and people come back for another go.
Forces that have been pounding away all year are intensifying their assault. They’ve been targeting and destabilizing and restructuring critical situations, foundations and institutions. Now the attack on bedrock goes beyond what we’ve already seen. This time, though, it comes with critical information – and a pervasive war-weariness that pushes us all past the breaking point.
Buckle up. Breathe. Pace yourself. Simplify. Revisit your priorities and use them to choose your battles. By the end of the month, you may be in a better position than looks possible in the heat of battle.
And We’re Off
The month starts with a fuel injection that propels us into the fray. The Aries Full Moon, on October 1, whips up life force and emotions that are as motivating as they are angry. With the Moon conjunct Chiron, they spring from a deep and fiery woundedness to the archetypal masculine – in our individual ability to act as free agents, as well as the larger issue of toxic masculinity.
Adjustments in approach and self-awareness follow immediately. The Sun inconjuncts Uranus October 2, as our social mode takes a turn for the analytical. Venus, ruler of relationships, money, creativity and, basically, everything we value, is leaving generous, attention-seeking Leo for the analytical sign of Virgo.
Her shift encourages an orientation to work, details and cleaning up, a bent for boundaries and discernment and approaching life as an improvement project. Those color our interactions for most of the month, until she goes home to Libra on October 27. Those traits provide a notable counterpoint to the exploits of her consort Mars, and give a semblance of order while the masculine is kicking up fusses in all directions.
Raging Battles and Battering Rams
Keep those Virgo traits in your back pocket. We hit rocky turf by October 4, and there’s no escape route for the foreseeable future. We’ve been here before, but this time it feels more destabilized – and destabilizing. Pluto, lord of death, rebirth and all things hidden, is ending a nearly six month retrograde. There’s a sense of movement, a sense of return and a sense of summoning even more secrets and unpleasantness that’s been lurking.
We’re going back and deeper into reconstruction projects, turf wars and evolutionary shudders that have dominated the year. We’re confronting – or facing – developments from early January, early April and late June, as retrograde Mars and the Sun activate the degrees of January’s Cancer lunar eclipse and Saturn/Pluto conjunction, as well as the Jupiter/Pluto conjunctions of early April and late June.
October 9 – 19 bring nonstop confrontation and assimilation. Demands from retrograde Mars bookend this stretch, with the god of war squaring the god of death on October 9 and then squaring expansive Jupiter October 19. Thus the stretch starts with intensified battles, destruction and power moves and ends with situations mushrooming beyond previous contours.
Between these bookends, we process and assimilate and, if we embrace the energies, evolve. The Sun squares the outer planets in Capricorn: Jupiter on the 11th, inspiring a sense of greater possibilities; Pluto on the 15th, forcing streamlining and stepping into personal power; and Saturn on the 18th, pitting us against obstacles and forces that require maturity and accountability.
This stretch could be phenomenally creatively and spiritually productive. This ramrodding through the cardinal gauntlet coincides with the year’s final sextile between Jupiter and Neptune, exact on October 12. This offers softening of the ground that’s being reworked. It offers higher guidance and inspiration. It invites compassion and forgiveness, but also opens a door to smoke and mirrors and an uptick in escapism, harmless or not, gaslighting, deception and delusion.
About this time, reaching for Rocky Road or some other flavor may be followed by spiking the ice cream with rum, or pouring a big old glass of something stiff to wash it down. Hang on to that Venus in Virgo. She has the tools to perceive what’s going on (and ward you off damaging diet choices).
In the thick of this, we also get a long distance view on our actions, and on whatever retrograde Mars is kicking up around us, when the Sun opposes Mars October 13. Any chance at being circumspect is short-lived, though. The Libra New Moon occurs during the gauntlet and gets in on the action, too. It’s on October 16, with the Moon opposing Mars and forming a t-square with him to the Capricorn line-up. Conciliation or action? Both approaches pressure the forces of evolution.
We’re nearing the approach to the end of dealing with all this. There’s more to come in November, when Jupiter and Pluto make their final conjunction, and more to come after Mars goes direct, also in November, and begins his final round of squares to the three titans and the sensitized degrees.
For now, watch for a respite October 19-24, when Venus in Virgo has the easy flow of a trine to Jupiter, Pluto and then Saturn. The trines hold the promise of grounding and consolidating the transformative energies, of suring our footing on that rocky road, and of bringing a semblance of sanity to our habits, environments and social systems.
A Tale of Two Retrogrades
Mars’ retrograde journey continues all month, into the next. Another inner planet joins him October 13, when Mercury stations for his final retrograde of the year, through November 3. The double-layered retrograde action promises to pack a wallop. The missteps and breakages common in a Mars retrograde coincide with the misunderstandings and technology glitches of a Mercury retrograde. On the plus side, both bring up a lot of old matters (not to mention people from the past) and support revisiting and do-overs.
Mercury’s backtracking begins in Scorpio, where he remains until October 27. He comes into it buzzing from a standoff with his higher octave Uranus, the awakening, liberating, sometimes shocking agent of unavoidable change and advocate for alternate viewpoints. The pair opposes on October 7, and we may glimpse a surprise or jolt that opens our perspective. It could involve developments that break when Venus trines Uranus the next day. Regardless, it puts something into minds and conversations that leads to suspicions, paranoia (the lowest possibility) and research (the highest) during the retrograde.
Scorpio is still-waters-run-deep territory, ruled by Pluto, who’s in the midst of monumental battles and evolutionary processes just now. Mercury’s retrograde here may unearth pertinent and revealing information about what’s been – or is – going on in them. Watch especially for secrets, outing crimes and corruption and all manner of misbehavior that people don’t want known.
This transit bestows a kind of X-ray vision that cuts through surfaces. Your perceptions may be dead-on accurate; to verify, call on that Virgo discernment. The veil is thin, and ghosts of all kinds may show up in your dreams, or thoughts, or social media streams.
Plumbing depths and communing with spectres go up a level once the Sun enters Scorpio as well, on October 22. Personal truths lock in when he conjoins retrograde Mercury October 25.
We come up for air, just a bit, on the 27. Venus enters her Libra home on that day, while retrograde Mercury backs into the sign from the other direction. The atmosphere takes on notes of grace, harmony and at least giving the appearance of acknowledging the existence of other people. (Antagonism is still rampant, though, because Mercury is heading toward another clash with Saturn).
The pair encourages playing nice (or, again, at least giving the appearance of it). It affords the chance of seeking out people with whom we get along, instead of fighting or boring our eyes into each other’s psyches. And maybe making art (or lemonade) out of what we’ve been served lately.
Still, the depths are swirling within us and without us. Fittingly, Halloween coincides with a Full Moon, this one in Taurus and exactly conjunct Uranus. Anything could happen. Any. Thing.
To learn more about Mars’ activity for the rest of the year. watch my Action Figures talk.
For tools for keeping your composure during all this, help yourself to my free talk Reclaiming Your Energy.