13 Sep Make Much of Time ~ September 18th-24th, 2017
Collige, virgo, rosas,
dum flos novus et nova pubes,
et memor esto aevum sic properare tuum.
Virgins, gather roses, while blooms are fresh and youth is fresh,
and be mindful that so your lifetime hastes away.
-Decimus Magnus Ausonius (AD 310-394 or 395)
This is the week of the New Moon, where the Sun’s season in Virgo draws to a close, marking the finality of summer with the equinox. At this time of year, the fulfillment of earthly pleasures is the most primal instinct, for harvest time is here and midsummer’s rosegarden daydreams still linger on. But Virgo’s oracular wisdom from the primordial depths may cloud your bliss with many flickering shadows.
Sighing, you see how life’s most beautiful blooms are fated to wither, their sweet fragrance faded into nothingness. As the arcane poet Ausonius said, in the last days of Virgo you would be wise to gather roses while you still can, relishing in every moment of beauty.
The equinox (Latin for equal night) will officially arrive on Friday, September 22nd, marking the moment when the hours of the day and night reach equilibrium. In the northern hemisphere, moments after this perfect balance is achieved, the Sun will begin to descend, ushering in the autumn season.
To the Virgins, to Make Much of Time
by Robert Herrick
“Gather ye rosebuds while ye may,
Old Time is still a-flying…”
In the zodiac, the September equinox brings the seasonal shift from Virgo into Libra, where the Sun finds its place of fall. Under the weakening Sun, the first subtle omens of winter begin to appear in the ever deepening indigo haze of twilight.
In the days leading up to the equinox, a strange sense of anticipation tends to build. These are the last days to luxuriate in the warm light, inhaling the full richness of the earth. As the last exhales of summer are finally put to rest, the Sun’s journey through the through the final degrees of Virgo sings a sad song. But there is great beauty in this sorrow and more importantly, there is a healthful purpose for it as well.
“And this same flower that smiles today
Tomorrow will be dying…”
The sadness slows things down, asking you to linger on things a bit more, forging vivid new memories in glorious technicolor. Every pleasure may feel maddeningly fleeting, for in transitory moments such as these, life’s ephemerality reveals itself once again. And with the wisdom inherent in such revelations, you will once again be able to think of your time as being very precious. Under Virgo’s darkening gaze, you will be urged to make use of your time, to be more industrious and to better appreciate life’s many blessings.
Living through this transitional time is likely to generate an attitude that is tinged with the classical axiom of carpe diem, Latin for seize the day! Carpe diem describes the vivacity and appreciation that follows the confrontation with life’s fragility.
That age is best which is the first,
When youth and blood are warmer;
But being spent, the worse, and worst
Times still succeed the former.
This impetus to seize the day and make the most of the warmth, youth and joy you are afforded is what the poem, To the Virgins, to Make Much of Time is all about. These lyrics were composed by the English poet Robert Herrick in approximately 1648. In true Virgoan style the poem is somewhat demure and yet it is composed with great technical proficiency. It also evokes the sign of Virgo because its imagery is sexual, philosophical and purposeful. Herrick’s lyrics sing the Virgin’s song, urging you to enjoy beauty while you can, for even the most precious blooms will one day crumble into dust.
In the mystery schools of ancient Greece, the decay of the earth’s resplendent beauty began at the fall equinox, which was associated with the goddess Persephone’s melancholic return to the underworld. The myth of Persephone was in fact the basis for the famed Eleusinian Mysteries.
The Eleusinian Mysteries are the most renowned and well-documented of the secret religious rites of ancient Greece. The Mysteries imparted wisdom through initiation into a cult of Demeter, the goddess of nature, and her daughter Persephone, who was raped by Hades and forced to live in darkness for half the year.
The glorious lamp of heaven, the sun,
The higher he’s a-getting,
The sooner will his race be run,
And nearer he’s to setting.
The Eleusinian rituals were enacted twice a year at the equinoxes. The Lesser Mysteries took place in the spring. But the Greater Mysteries occurred at this time of year during the September equinox, when the darkness began to usurp the light. The sorrow felt at this time of year was associated with Demeter’s grief for the loss of her daughter.
The Eleusinian rituals were based on a symbolic understanding of this myth and offered the initiates wisdom about the nature of death. The cycle of Persephone’s descent and ascent illustrated that though the mortal body will surely decay, the immortal soul always rises again.
Most of the great thinkers of ancient Greece were initiates in the Eleusinian Mysteries, including the philosopher and historian Plutarch who once wrote:
“because of those sacred and faithful promises given in the mysteries…we hold it firmly for an undoubted truth that our soul is incorruptible and immortal. Let us behave ourselves accordingly.”
Herein lies the demure and upright behavior of Virgo, who has always known what the Mysteries of death have to teach. Appreciate the time when things are in bloom, mourn the loss of beauty, but do not despair. Light and life are in an eternal flux of rise and fall.
Monday/Tuesday: To the Virgins
The week begins with the Dark Moon in the first decan of Virgo. This is the most introspective time of the month and at this precipice between seasons, this day would be best spent in quiet contemplation. The New Moon will carry you into harvest season, so use this Dark Moon period to consider what you should be reaping after so many months of enthusiasm, dedication and work. Also, use this time to envision what you wish to experience and accomplish in the upcoming season.
On Tuesday, Mercury the planetary ruler of Virgo and Mars will be opposing Neptune in Pisces, an influence that will be felt at least until the equinox. With these planets enchanted by the blurred beauty of Neptune, your intellect and directed willpower may be warped by surreality. A thick fog may settle over things, obscuring details and disorienting your sense of direction. Rather than being concerned about this experience having a negative effect, submit to it. Defocus your eyes and let the light come in through dreamy soft filters.
While Mercury and Mars drift into somnambulance, Venus will make a grand exit from her stay in the fire sign of Leo and will enter into Virgo. This is a usually a sad day for Venus, since her frolicsome and luxurious nature is debilitated by Virgo’s moralism and servitude. The glittering finery she wore in Leo is removed in favor of more practical and demure attire.
But the planets adapt to whatever environment they may find themselves in and so, Venus will find unique ways to soften and beautify the work required in Virgo’s domain. Her plain clothes will take on subtle flourishes of embroidery and trim. The seeds will be sorted, but turned into intricate mosaics. And technical language will be made more melodious and magical.
Late into the night on Tuesday or in the early morning hours of Wednesday, the New Moon in Virgo will occur.
Wednesday/Thursday: Old Time Is Still A-Flying
The New Moon arrives at 27 degrees of Virgo, where the Sun is on the precipice of its fall. This New Moon will continue some of the themes that were torn open by last month’s total solar eclipse in Leo. In keeping with the uproarious energy of Leo, the eclipse brought about many sweeping melodramatic scene changes. But this subsequent New Moon in Virgo will be much more about focusing on tiny movements, subtle gestures and minor adjustments.
In the last degrees of Virgo, ignorance is not bliss. Ignorance is to live without meaning and die a pointless death. Under the light of Virgo’s forceful pragmatism, you may feel painfully criticized by yourself or others. This is because your flaws and tendencies towards willful ignorance are being challenged. But if you can maintain enough humility to receive instruction, even from life’s rougher messengers, you really can begin to perfect your art, your craft, or skill at this New Moon.
Knowing that impossible ideals are an intrinsic part of human imagination, dedicate yourself to perfection at the New Moon in Virgo. For the upcoming season, whatever talent or grace that you want to improve should now become your work and your play. In this way, you will find success and reap an abundant harvest.
Friday/Saturday/Sunday: The Glorious Lamp of Heaven
On Friday, the Sun falls into Libra and thus, the equinox arrives. In this moment of perfect balance between dark and light, your conscious and unconscious mind will be equally intelligent, offering you a natural sense of equanimity. In this brief repose, seek to find renewed peace of mind regarding the cycle of life and death.
As the light begins to fall and the darkness begins to rise, you may begin to feel some of Demeter’s grief and Persephone’s resignation. Do not resist it for at this time of year, there is a natural mourning the Virgin’s summer light. C’est la vie!
Nothing gold can stay.
The joy of Libra season is in its instinct for fairness and equanimity. So many of your most complex conflicts or questions may begin to find resolve themselves, finding the most judicious answers during this time.
By Sunday, the tremors of next week’s exact opposition between Jupiter in Libra and Uranus in Aries will be deeply felt.
The first opposition occurred in December, igniting the spirit of the New Year. The second occurred when Jupiter was in retrograde back in February. And now at the dawn of Libra season, the final opposition will happen, birthing new and unexpected potential in your life. Some radiant blooms were brought into existence over the last 10 months through this series of oppositions. At long last, the real harvest of what has been growing will begin next week.
Many feel like they are on the brink of something big, but that it has not quite arrived yet. This is likely due to Saturn’s concurrent sextile to Jupiter and trine to Uranus which will certainly draw things out more slowly and deliberately. Remember that all good things are worth waiting for and exhibiting patience does not excuse boredom and apathy. Make good use of your time, no matter how heavy with anticipation it may be.
all paintings by Étienne Adolphe Piot
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