On September 22 at 6:24 p.m. EDT, the Sun enters Libra, the astrological sign located halfway through the zodiac wheel. The symbol for Libra is the setting sun. Intellectual and heady Libra, the sign of cardinal air, initiates the third season of the year: it is on the westernmost `angle' of the wheel, where the sun is said to be in its fall (setting as opposed to rising). Hence we refer to autumn as "fall."

But must fall, as traditional astrology dictates, imply a weakened position for the Sun? Hardly.

In the northern hemisphere Libra initiates the season of the harvest, when we literally and figuratively reap what we have sown, as well as the social season, when society reconvenes after the summer holidays and the back-to-work month of Virgo.

Always striving for truth, beauty, and the elusive state of a serene and perfect balance, Librans are in constant motion, though it may appear (to the observer) that they are sitting perfectly still. Libra is the sign committed to the reconciliation of opposites. No one can argue a case, and both sides of it, quite like a Libra.

At the recent Emmy Awards, David Letterman, in his moving tribute to Libran late-night talk show king Johnny Carson, quoted Sophocles: "One must wait until the evening to see how splendid the day has been." And along these lines, when the sun sets at day's end, charming and contemplative Libra reflects the world, warts and all, back to itself.

Libra rules the artistic mind, relationships, law, and the social contract. Gracious by nature (when not anguished by inner conflict), Libras are specialists at making others shine. When in their darker confrontational mode, literary Libras brilliantly excel at craftily depicting and exposing their subject's human flaws and frailties while simultaneously creating great works of art (i.e. Willie Loman in "Death of a Salesman" and Blanche DuBois in "Streetcar Named Desire").

Not surprisingly, many greats in literature, the arts, and playwriting (Truman Capote, Arthur Miller, Anne Rice, John Lennon, Lenny Bruce, Oscar Wilde, Ntozake Shange, Wendy Wasserstein, Paul Simon, Christopher Reeve); politics and diplomacy (William Rehnquist, Jimmy Carter, Dwight Eisenhower, Eleanor Roosevelt, Margaret Thatcher, Mahatma Gandhi, Vladmir Putin, Jesse Jackson); design (Ralph Lauren, Isaac Mizrahi, Donna Karan); and television, particularly those who host (Carson, Ed Sullivan, Barbara Walters) were born when the Sun was in Libra.

At the summer and winter solstices and at the vernal and autumnal equinoxes, astrologers cast a chart for the moment the sun enters the new season. This chart (known as an ingress chart) reveals much about the months ahead.

Little did any of us realize when I wrote my summer solstice article that the ""poisonous water. and a natural disaster or two" projected by weather astrologer Carolyn Egan would have manifested as Hurricane Katrina. I couldn't have possibly known that Katrina would also be the major factor in the oil price spike, the call to share resources with one another, and President Bush's decline in popularity--yet these possibilities were mentioned in my Y2K5 essay at the beginning of the year.

With that in mind, what does the chart for 2005's autumnal ingress tell us?

The big news this fall is the unusually long and plodding journey of Mars in Taurus (July 28 2005 to Feb. 17 2006, with the retrograde from Oct. 1 to Dec. 9), a slow and seemingly unrelenting transit which has not taken place since late 1973 and early 1974. Since Mars in Taurus is such an extensive topic, I've included a separate article to discuss its meaning, history, and possible upcoming manifestations.

The chart for autumn's beginning (Sept 22 at 6:24 p.m. EDT) cast for Washington D.C., has dreamy and often deceptive Pisces rising at nearly 15 degrees--a turning point--and the moon (representing the public) in Gemini in the 3rd house of communication. The moon's favorable aspect to the sun is separating--implying that the moment of public's connection to its leader (the sun) has passed. And with the moon about to form a square (a hard confrontational aspect) to Uranus, the unpredictable planet of sudden change, signs are pointing to abrupt outbursts--with uprisings a strong possibility. I believe people's patience will wane on both sides of the political fence, particularly regarding the administration's response to Katrina, exacerbated by mounting economic pressure. This theme is further highlighted by Pluto, the planet of hidden power, death and rebirth at the top of the chart, implying a change in direction of public policy--if not a change in leadership. With limiting Saturn in the 6th house, the lack of financial ease. with a back-breaking efforts required to catch up.

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