Mr. Clean Makes His Mark


I'm ready to clean things up.

That's why I've declared the upcoming month, which kicks off with the New Moon on Sat Sep 3, as 'Clean-Up Month'… at least in my life. For those who keep track of such things on calendars, mark it down—you heard it here first.

I've made no secret of how I like to adopt the Moon's monthly cycle, from new to full to new again, to form bounded units of time for concentrating my intentions on a particular point of focus. It's one of the most basic methods for using astrology. All that's required to track its unfolding is to look up and notice how darkly or brightly the closest orb to us appears in the sky each night.

And one lunar month, a measly 28 days or so, is a totally reasonable duration during which to apply one's self toward a goal—enough to challenge the power of sustained discipline, but not too long as to completely subsume all other priorities.

I swear, I didn't choose the 'clean-up' theme simply because of the bottomless piles of promiscuous paperwork waiting in shadowy corners of my home, hoping to seduce me into finding them proper places and filing them there accordingly… nor due to all those drawers and cabinets squandering their treasured storage space with undesirable has-beens and hand-me-downs… not to mention the conceptual clutter, endlessly circular catalogues of undone chores and unmade calls and things I never get to, left dangling if only to nurse that sense of internal incompletion I pretend inspires me to stay busy but really just makes me feel like enough is never enough.

Those unkempt items just give me something toward which to apply the energies of the current astrological climate.

And a Virgo New Moon is a logical place to start.

Virgo's an easy sign to pick on, perhaps because Virgos are so skilled at picking objects, environments, projects, and people (especially themselves) apart. The Virgo archetype centers on purity—both of consciousness, as it connects the self in service to higher purpose, and in the material world, especially with regards the physical body and its surroundings.

Virgo isn't the virgin because she never has sex. Rather, she holds out for when it's really worth it, foregoing perfunctory pleasures now in exchange for a more fully sacred expression later. Any less falls far short of meeting the Virgo's high ideals.

Practically speaking, Virgo emanates an excellent organizing influence, helping us dissect our disarray until we're surer of the details. Then, we're better able to discern what goes where, into which category or under what heading. With the extra empirical data, we can attack our tasks with greater discrimination. We work smarter, with greater efficiency… and waste less energy on wondering and worrying. Under Virgo's pull, we set steep expectations and aim to meet them, inspiring us to continually get better at what we do—so long as we also remember to practice compassion when facing our inescapable imperfections.

Mercury, master of our mental facilities, loves life in Virgo, one of the signs it rules. The precise, analytic, fact-focused Virgoan atmosphere helps keep our minds on the straight-and-narrow, and prioritizes pragmatic problem-solving over tangential trifles and trivialities. By week's end, Mercury slips into Virgo and promises to grant us the clearest rational perspective we've had in a while. For clean-up purposes, that's a gift from the goddess of good housekeeping.

Let's not underrate how welcome this gift of Mercury in Virgo truly is, considering the most recent state of Mercurial affairs. Not only did Mercury spend a few weeks trekking retrograde through 'look-at-me' Leo, it also made a few significantly frustrating and flummoxing aspects—an opposition to Neptune, a square to Mars, a quincunx to Uranus—during this time. As I wrote, the combined effect spawned mind/body splits, frazzled tempers, overstrung exchanges… and general confusion over who said what, who meant what, who heard something other than what was said or meant, and who wasn't even listening.

And though Mercury retrograde ended back on Aug 15, some of the worst irritability and excitation came last week, when the triple-threat of a Mercury-Mars-Neptune T-square shook, rattled and skulked behind the bleachers in sneaky indirectness:

'I'm perturbed, and either I'm not quite sure why or I'm not telling you the whole story! Grump, hide, pummel, hide, grump…!'

Mercury in Virgo should help those who are interested to put the pieces back where they belong.

Another beneficial feature of the week brings Venus and Jupiter together to conjunction in Libra, the perfect atmosphere for donning a crisp clean apron and a stylish strand of pearls and polishing the fine silver. Venus is at home in Libra—a divine beauty in her most lovely, refined and appealingly people-pleasing position. Her union with Jupiter joins together the two traditional planetary harbingers of good fortune to amplify potential profits, especially those borne by joint ventures. Under this influence, four hands are more than twice as good as two.

The Venus/Jupiter-in-Libra conjunction has the immediate impact of making everything appear more attractive… and the advantage of this effect for any cleaning-up projects is obvious. Shine those shoes. Arrange those flowers. Get those surfaces sparklingly spin and span. Just make sure you're not sweeping dirt under the rug or shoving rubbish beneath the bed.

Venus and Jupiter conjunct in Libra also provoke a less-charming side effect—attractive appearances at the expense of genuine deep-down beauty. The lowest application of this astro-aspect promotes shallow vanity as a means for prettying-up the picture… but has little to show for it, once the camera crew leaves.

And finally, this also makes for such an opportune 'Clean-Up Month' because of what's ahead on the horizon… a solar eclipse on Oct 3 05 in Libra. The next chapter is upon us, with hints of upcoming twists and turns in the story already beginning to subtly imbue the mood. This weekend's New Moon inaugurates the lunar cycle that precedes next month's eclipse 'madness', the period in which existing events reach climax and new developments change the tune. And shortly before the Oct 3 eclipse, Mars in Taurus will turn retrograde, staying so through mid-December and altering the pace of progress to an apparent (though not actual) crawl. (Further on this later.)

The more we do during this month to clear our mental, physical and emotional spaces, the more comfortable we'll be to dwell there…

… whether we need a clean workroom to support our efforts and nourish us for the long hours of toil ahead, a clean living area for sharing with friends and loved ones in simple enjoyment, a clean sanctuary in which to fortify ourselves in response to eclipse-related shocks, or a clean conscience to hold with us wherever we go…

… and the welcome mat reads: Come in and stay awhile, fill up all this freed-up space with stuff I might actually find useful, and good riddance to bad trash.