We mark the seasonal transition from summer to autumn this afternoon as the Sun moves from the sign of Virgo into Libra. The positive, outgoing energy of this cardinal air sign is expressed in Libra’s desire to connect with others and to create beauty and harmony. Libra uses its intellect to understand opposing perspectives and to find ways to extend fairness to all. Libra rules relationships, cooperation, mediation and balance.
The planet Venus is the traditional ruler of both LIbra and Taurus. Astrologer and mythologist Valerie Vaughan makes a compelling argument for assigning modern rulership of Libra to the as yet undiscovered planet beyond Pluto she names Persephone.
In Greek mythology Persephone is the maiden daughter of Demeter, who is known to the Romans as Ceres, goddess of grain fields and crops. Persephone enjoyed an idyllic childhood, raised by her nurturing and loving mother. One day as Persephone played in a meadow, she plucked a flower. With this act she unleashed the forces of the underworld. Through a gaping crack in the earth came Pluto in his chariot, who carried her off to the underworld to be his bride.
Ceres, stricken with grief and mourning the loss of her daughter, caused the crops to wither and die. Famine threatened humankind. Through negotiations with the gods on Mount Olympus, a compromise was brokered to save humanity. It was decided that Persephone could return to her mother so long as she had not eaten any food during her time with Pluto in Hades.
Not wanting to lose his wife, Pluto offered Persephone a pomegranate as she was preparing to leave. She ate some of its seeds, which prevented her from returning to her mother and resuming her role as daughter. Ceres was unrelenting, and again another compromise was brokered between the gods. Persephone would spend part of the year above ground with her mother helping her cultivate the crops, and part of the year in the underworld with her husband Pluto, bringing solace to the dead.
These themes are clearly represented in the ingress chart for the Autumn Equinox. The maiden Persephone is at 0 degrees Virgo, in close proximity to her mother represented by Vesta and Ceres at 5 and 11 degrees, respectively. These planets are opposed by Neptune and Chiron retrograde in Pisces, suggesting illusionary thinking on the part of an impressionable day dreamer, which results in pain and suffering. The South Node conjunct the Moon in Taurus represents a need to release past attachment to the comforts of mother and home. The North Node in Scorpio beckons Persephone to leave her world above ground and join the Lord of the Underworld, Saturn in Scorpio exactly conjunct the North Node. Venus in Scorpio entices with her deep knowing of the inner world and its rich gifts. These planets sextile and disposit to Pluto in Capricorn. Persephone will need to undergo deconstruction of her psyche, unearth the powerful forces within her that she has kept hidden. Pluto continues its ongoing square with Uranus in Aries, causing tension, upheaval, turmoil and anguish.
Into the fray comes the Sun in Libra, semisextile Mother and Daughter on one side, and Lord of the Underworld on the other. It is the midpoint, the fulcrum, shining its light to illuminate ways that create fairness and balance. Can both viewpoints be taken into consideration? Can opposing interests be respected and honored? And what about young Persephone? Will she be able to descend into the Pluto’s realm and complete her transformation into wholeness without succumbing to the extremism and destruction of Scorpio? Can she emerge with greater consciousness and self-awareness?
Libra moderates opposing forces and leads us back to the center, to the still point where there is peace and harmony. In the quiet place where there is no movement we can listen to the wisdom of compromise, make concessions, collaborate for a greater good. While we may feel pulled off center from time to time, and even to extreme when the pendulum swings wildly, focusing on the center point keeps us from falling off the edge. It keeps us sane.
As we undergo deep transformation personally and collectively, we experience discord and strife, imbalances and extremes, both internally and externally. Libra can help us by leading us back to center. And like Persephone we will become more conscious of our own powers of renewal within the cycles of birth, separation, death and regeneration in our life.