22 Sep Sorrowful Mysteries ~ Libra Season – September 22nd-October 22nd, 2022
The equinox heralds the arrival of Libra season, the beginning of autumn in the Northern hemisphere when the Sun begins to fall. At this time of year, the gaunt foreshadow of death is balanced by a great surge of appreciation for life and all its beauty.
When the Sun moves into Libra, the hermetically sealed self-sufficiency of Virgo evolves into the desire for friendship, collaboration and reciprocity. Ruled by Venus, the season of Libra invites you to come into harmony with others and deepen the bonds of love that you share. This is the season when good conversation becomes the most valuable quality you can possess.Following the equinox, the Sun’s light begins to yield to the darkness. And the light of self yields to the mysteries of another. This is why the Sun in Libra is an ember that burns for others: finding its light in everyone’s eyes.
Those born under the sign of Libra often sparkle with social grace and charm simply because they are so quick to find the light in others. And this is why they can usually manage to relate to anybody.
Their external charm can sometimes be interpreted as capricious or insincere. But the interior world of Libra is a mythic realm of sorrow and beauty, for this is the sign of the zodiac that begins the preparation for death.
The zodiac is a seasonal calendar, as told through the great myth of the Sun. And Libra represents the part of the journey where the Sun enters the threshold to the underworld in preparation for its imminent death in Scorpio.
The Weighing of the Heart
Libra’s scales of justice symbolize the equinox, the moment where day and night hang in perfect balance. But as the darkness slowly overtakes the light, the Sun falls into the underworld.
Thus, the Scales also evoke the goddess, Ma’at, from the ancient underworld myth in the Egyptian Book of the Dead.
Maʽat resided in the Hall of Truth, where she held the scales that represented truth, balance, order, harmony, law, morality, and justice. Before crossing over into the afterlife, the souls of the dead had to be judged by Ma’at, who weighed their hearts upon her scales and balanced them against the lightness of a feather.
Those with hearts as light as a feather were welcomed into eternity. But those with heavy hearts were torn to shreds by the hounds of hell.
The judgment of Ma’at makes it very clear that there is no justification for entering into the afterlife with a heart that’s heavy with bitterness and regret. The lightness or heaviness of your heart is the choice between your soul’s eternity or its extinguishment.
The only way to live and die with lightness in your heart is to choose love.
Love is the wisdom of your heart’s true devotion to life: a path of bliss and pain; sacrifice and struggle. Although it’s nice to imagine that love is only born from beauty and pleasure, the deepest kind of love is often born from great sorrow.
Thus, the secret wisdom of Libra is to allow love to bloom, even in times of great sorrow.
Another ancient myth that correlates to the fall equinox comes from the Greek Eleusinian Mysteries, which centered upon the earth goddess Demeter and her beloved daughter, Persephone. These goddesses represented the light and life of nature, eternal spring and summer.
It describes the final days of Virgo, how the light and beauty of summer is torn away.
One fine day, the virgin goddess Persephone was wandering alone in a meadow, only to be abducted by Hades and dragged into the depths of the underworld. The radiance of Persephone’s beauty vanished. And her mother Demeter fell into a deep sorrow, letting everything on earth wither and decay.
To bring balance back to nature, the myth concludes with a compromise between the gods. During spring and summer, Persephone was allowed to ascend and live with her mother in warmth and bliss. But during the fall and winter, Persephone descended back into the underworld to rule with Hades.
The rites of Eleusis leading up to the equinox reenacted Demeter’s agonizing search for her daughter. Feeling the depth of her sorrow was an essential aspect of their initiation into wisdom.
Sorrow opens the door to the soul’s liberation. Or as Oscar Wilde observed:
“Where there is sorrow there is holy ground. Some day people will realise what that means. They will know nothing of life till they do.”
As the light begins to fall and the darkness begins to rise, you may feel Demeter’s sorrow, her mourning for the Virgin’s golden warmth. But do not despair. Light and life are in an eternal flux of rise and fall.
The cycle of Persephone’s descent and ascent illustrates the eternal return of death and rebirth. And to the initiates of Eleusis, this cycle implied the immortality of the soul.
The Greater Mysteries of the September equinox still serve to remind us that the death of summer opens the gateway to eternity.
Crossing the Threshold
The season begins on September 22nd in a deeply introspective mood. Many will feel unexpectedly tired as the light falls, the Moon wanes, and Mercury makes his inferior conjunction with the Sun in Libra. But the midpoint of Mercury’s retrograde at the equinox summons a regenerative spark, birthing a new seed of light within that will be revealed in the weeks ahead.
Throughout all of Libra season, the final waning square of Saturn in Aquarius and Uranus in Taurus will increase the tension and background noise. This square is a planetary war between the form and chaos; authority and freedom; tradition and progress. And it will continue to agitate a restless feeling of frustration with the world throughout Libra season.
Following the equinox, on September 23rd, Mercury will retrograde back into Virgo. This final stretch of Mercury’s retrograde will be devoted to tying up loose ends and gaining a much deeper understanding of your vocation. The word vocation derives from the Latin vocare “to call.” And when Mercury traverses the underworld, there’s a deeper level of awareness available to you.
On September 25th, the New Moon in Libra brings a seed moment to cultivate harmony and beauty. New Moons initiate a fresh cycle of emotional and creative energies. And Venus, ruler of Libra, will be at 24 degrees Virgo, conjunct to Mercury rx, opposed to Jupiter and Neptune, and trine to Pluto. This is a moment when any desire can become granted, so long as you’re willing to give as much as you receive.
On September 30th, Venus will move into Libra, her sign of rulership. With Venus so well placed for the rest of the season, extra harmony and grace will emerge. And October begins with Venus perfecting her opposition to Jupiter in Aries, stirring an opportunity for tremendous growth, good fortune, and generosity.
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On October 2nd, Mercury will station direct in Virgo, stabilizing the Mercury current to be supportive to your forward momentum. Over the last few weeks, you’ve untangled some serious knots and are ready to move forward with something important. Many of the seemingly unrelated details that you have gathered over the last month, will synthesize into a new idea, theory or process.
October 9th brings a vulnerable Full Moon in Aries. Conjunct to Chiron, this culmination of emotional and creative energies will likely have a wincing moment of pain attached. But this can represent an important breakthrough, a healing crisis that breaks opens your heart to the light of your soul.
The waning Moon period will lead into the start of eclipse season in late October. And the season of Libra concludes with the Sun and Venus in close conjunction, trining Mars and squaring Pluto. This is a confrontational conclusion, bringing issues of injustice and manipulation to the surface.
Wherever you feel burdened by conditions that seem out of your control, heed the wisdom of Ma’at and find ways to lighten your heart.
The Sorrowful Mysteries of Oscar Wilde
In search of an historical Libra who embodies the social grace, charm and deeper mysteries of the sign, there’s none more captivating than Oscar Wilde.
Born on October 16th, 1854 with his Sun and Venus in Libra, Oscar Wilde’s heart was a fertile garden of tremendous beauty and pleasure, but hidden within was a chasm of great sorrow that he didn’t discover until tragedy struck him near the end of his life.
Oscar Wilde first rose to fame as an award winning scholar with an encyclopedic memory. But it was wit and humor that became his offering of lightness to balance the heaviness of Victorian life. As he said:
“To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all.”
There are many parallels between Victorian England and 21st Century America. Both are defined by materialism, puffed up by the myth of progress and shadowed by a neurotic repression of the human spirit.
Oscar Wilde’s wit was sharpened on the social inequities and values of the Industrial Revolution, which is why he remains so thought provoking for modern readers. The decadence in Victorian England is very familiar to the commodified culture of 2022. As he describes:
“I was so typical a child of my age, that in my perversity, and for that perversity’s sake, I turned the good things of my life to evil, and the evil things of my life to good.”
For many years, he lived a high life of aristocratic frivolity, freely exploring art and soul; beauty and sexuality as he pleased. But all that came to an end in 1895 when he was convicted of homosexuality and was imprisoned for a two-year sentence of hard labor with poor food and harsh conditions.
Wilde’s sentencing was a total humiliation, leading to the loss of his family, his fortune, and his reputation. All this injustice and suffering gave him many good reasons to have a heavy heart.
And yet, as a consummate Libra, something beautiful and wise blossomed within him during this time. And it offers great inspiration to help anyone endure their own times of suffering because it made him a better man.
As Goethe said:
“Who never ate his bread in sorrow,
Who never spent the midnight hours
Weeping and waiting for the morrow,—
He knows you not, ye heavenly powers.”
Life is not always fair or pleasant. But as the ancient mysteries taught, sorrow has a way of awakening the soul.
The environment of prison was like the threshold of the underworld, the grim hall of truth where Wilde’s voice took on a calm eloquence, transforming the pain of his captivity into a lucid form of wisdom and beauty.
“Pain, unlike pleasure, wears no mask.”
It was during his imprisonment in Reading Gaol that he composed a letter called, De Profundis (Latin: “from the depths”) which references Psalm 130. In this letter, Wilde’s voice is dramatically different, no longer filled with cavalier humor and acerbic observations.
Instead, opens with the chilling lines…
“Suffering is one very long moment. . .With us time itself does not progress. It revolves. It seems to circle round one centre of pain.”
As he reflects upon his life, he admits that he has no regrets about the life of pleasure he had enjoyed. But he also reflects upon the fact that he had unknowingly starved his soul by only tasting the sweet side of life. He had been a decadent “child of his age”. But now, the experience of sorrow in prison had transformed his spirit with humility.
“I used to live entirely for pleasure. I shunned suffering and sorrow of every kind. I hated both.”
Inspired by his long suffering, his outlook on life eventually transformed into a mystical revelation:
“Where there is sorrow there is holy ground. . . He who can look at the loveliness of the world and share its sorrow, and realise something of the wonder of both, is in immediate contact with divine things, and has got as near to God’s secret as any one can get.”
As though he were addressing Ma’at herself, Wilde describes how he intends to live with lightness in his heart after his release from prison.
He describes how after many months of bitterness, rage and suicidal depression, he has finally lightened his heart by forgiving the society who betrayed him and the people who mocked him. Finally he declares that he would rather be homeless and hungry for the rest of his life than live as an aristocrat burdened by hatred in his heart.
He chooses the lightness of the feather. And as an artist, he discovers that…
“There is no truth comparable to sorrow. . . Out of sorrow have the worlds been built, and at the birth of a child or a star there is pain. More than this, there is about sorrow an intense, an extraordinary reality…”
Upon his release, Wilde was bankrupt and ill. After moving to Paris, he became swallowed up in alcohol and morphine. His last publications described the cruelties of prison, inspiring social outrage and sweeping reforms. He died at only forty-six, but left a tremendous legacy that uplifts the heaviness of life through humor, beauty and the wisdom that can only be born from great sorrow.
Like the great equinox myths of the ancient world, Oscar Wilde’s story can inspire you to align with the mysteries of Libra season. In the spirit of Oscar Wilde then, enjoy as much pleasure as life will allow. But remember the other side of the scales, where sorrow is given as a gift, breaking your heart open to summon the light of your soul.
“It was of course my soul in its ultimate essence that I had reached. In many ways I had been its enemy, but I found it waiting for me as a friend. When one comes in contact with the soul it makes one simple as a child, as Christ said one should be.”
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