“Hold Your Fire” with Rick Merlin Levine
Things are heating up in September! As feisty and fiery Mars in Aries stations retrograde, frustration and the temptation for immediate gratification is strong.
But the theme of the month is “Hold Your Fire” because there is no quick fix and the key is to stay steady and keep your eye on the long term.
We may feel weary in the weeks ahead, but Rick encourages us not to give up. We have Jupiter gearing up to lead the pack as it stations direct, asking us to set our sights on the future, to dream big, and look at the possibilities.
Remember that “yard by yard it’s hard, inch by inch it’s a cinch” as we navigate September.
Read the interview below for more of what’s coming in the month ahead and more of Rick Merlin Levine’s wisdom to help guide us through.
Amanda: So tell us about September.
Rick: September is very interesting. There’s some different flavors that are coming into the mix. And there’s some inklings that we’re actually going somewhere. And yet it’s hard to tell where we’re going.
Everything seems more urgent this month. We’re all being pushed to our limits. And we’re ready to do something drastic to fix the situation.
We have these three heavyweight planets (Saturn, Jupiter and Pluto) and they all turned retrograde earlier this spring. And they set up this whole feeling like we’re going backwards. Like we’re on a treadmill, but we’re not getting anywhere.
Into that mix of retrograde energy came a Mercury retrograde and then a Venus retrograde. And the little planets are now moving direct.
In September we have Jupiter, the first of the heavyweights to turn direct. That’s on September 12th. And then it’s followed by Saturn on September 28th and then followed by Pluto in October.
When a planet changes directions, it’s like a pendulum swinging back and forth. And in order for a pendulum to change direction, it slows down and then comes to a complete stop. And then it starts to barely move and then it gains speed.
What that means is that for all practical purposes, Jupiter hasn’t moved for a week or so, and it won’t move for another week or so. And when it turns direct, it still won’t move. Yes, technically it’s moving, but from a larger perspective, the biggest planet in the sky ain’t moving.
When a planet goes slower, it carries more weight.
So Jupiter turns direct on September 12th. Saturn turns direct on the 28th, but also Pluto has slowed down. So the Capricorn stellium lineup council is basically gaining even more power right now.
But here’s why September is “Hold Your Fire” because Mars squared Saturn at the end of August at about 25 degrees of Aries square to Saturn at about 25 degrees of Capricorn. And by the end of the month, Mars is squaring Saturn again on the 29th at 25 degrees.
So we might as well think, even though technically there was some 35, 40 days between Mars’ direct square to Saturn and its retrograde square to Saturn. The fact of the matter is that Saturn ain’t ever left its hold.
Saturn is a hold, it’s structure, stability. It’s holding things still, constriction, restriction, all these words. Saturn is holding in the fiery, feisty, energetic expression of Mars. And so Mars is really crossing swords with Saturn, who does rule the roost.
The buck stops at Saturn. That is the finality. That is the authority. And feisty, fiery Mars at home in Aries where it is supercharged and energetic, it’s ready to hit back, it’s ready to express what it feels. It’s spontaneous, it’s impulsive, it’s energetic.
And Saturn is going, “You ain’t going nowhere.” And so Saturn is basically thwarting our best efforts all month and forcing us to cool our jets.
The September keywords of “Hold Your Fire” is not about going passive. It’s not about denying your anger. It’s not about going into some sort of avoidance of the confrontation with authority. It’s simply the realization that Mars likes gratification and it’s impulsive and Saturn is always going to go for the long haul.
So it’s more important than ever to keep our eye on the distance. When you’re out walking, look at the tops of trees, look at clouds. Anything that draws us out into the distance is healthy and helpful now. Not so that we avoid what’s going on in the present, but so we don’t end up being so exhausted that we lose the war.
This is war and I don’t necessarily mean political. I mean emotional, I mean personal, I mean life ambitions. I mean every aspect of our life right now that Mars is hot to trot. And as it continues retrograde through the end of September, all of October and into November, it gets hotter and hotter and hotter.
The frustration will be there. And the temptation for immediate gratification is strong and that’s the thing that’ll screw us up. So that’s why “Hold Your Fire”.
And what we need to do is to focus on the long haul rather than the short haul.
Mars makes its third and final square with Saturn at the end of the year. And then Saturn and Jupiter both move into Aquarius at the end of December. And there’s a whole new ballgame. But we need to be focusing on the things that we do now.
As Mercury enters Libra on September 5th, we’re wanting to weigh the inner and the outer, it’s a yang energy. Even though people think Libra is indecisive, it’s not at all. It’s the active process of deciding and weighing and judging.
With Venus, moving from Cancer to expressive Leo on September 6th, we have Mercury and Venus, both moving from yin to yang energies.
That Full Moon on September 1st trine to Uranus, which again, is breakthrough. But the temptation is to take that breakthrough and break through everything. And that’s where we will fall short. The same thing is true at the Virgo New Moon on September 17th.
Right around the New Moon on the 17th, we have Venus squaring Uranus. That is electric. We have Mercury squaring Jupiter on the 17th, same day as the New Moon, that’s outgoing. And yet the New Moon in Virgo says, “The smaller the seed you plant the greater the results.” So, again, we have the same message of “Hold Your Fire”.
And with the Sun in Virgo, the energy is still moving outward, but it’s moving outward at a slower and slower rate day by day, until in Libra, it stops. That’s the Equinox. There’s a balance between the outward and the inward.
At the autumn Equinox, we are encouraged to find balance in relationships, in our internal thinking in all interactions.
And just as we find that balance by the end of the month, Mercury whizzes into Scorpio on September 27th. And then all of a sudden we lose our sense of fair play. We want results right now. And so that’s the background of the month and it’s quite a month.
Amanda: So would you say that any sort of forward movement we felt in the last month or two, that there’s going to be a feeling of that going backwards? Like if things have felt a sort of ease up or open up or move forward, do you feel like there’s going to be that feeling of going backward or just more stuckness?
Rick: It’s not as simple as saying it’s one direction or the other. Mars is energetic. And so on the energetic level, we might feel like we can’t express ourselves in the way we need to express.
But meanwhile, we might feel like our logic and our thinking and our values become clearer. And there may be other very positive forward movement, but somehow Saturn still has our hands tied or handcuffed.
Amanda: So when that energy is shifting, and I think that’s what everybody’s feeling, it’s like, okay, we know the energy is going to shift, but is that a positive thing? Or is that going to be more of what we’ve experienced, but a different flavor? What’s your sense on that?
Rick: My sense is that when we put these labels of good and bad on things, that’s where we begin to get into trouble. Is it good or is it bad? It doesn’t matter. That’s not the issue. The issue is that “it is what it is”, how we react to it, however is not “it is what it is”.
And because squares are creative, there’s a huge, built up bank account of creative energy. If we can figure out how to manifest that energy…
Mars is about assertion. Mars is about the ego’s assertion of boundaries. So Mars is how we create the edges in our life. It’s how we get angry. Why do we get angry? If I feel like someone has stepped on me physically or metaphysically, I want to reclaim my boundary.
Mars is how I either defend my territory or it’s how I assert myself into new territory, which can be really healthy if it’s done correctly. That’s basically what self-expression is all about.
I love the Dalai Lama’s line. He goes, “When possible, be compassionate.” It’s always possible.
Amanda: Okay. Another question for you. So we have this really interesting thing of Jupiter, Saturn and Pluto starting to go direct and yet being at a standstill because of that shift in motion.
And then we have Mars going retrograde and also being somewhat at a standpoint because he’s shifting direction, right? When will we start to feel a more forward momentum from Jupiter, Saturn, and Pluto? When will their direct motion start to be felt?
Rick: Pluto is the last of the three outers to turn direct and turns direct on October 4th. But I think by then, we’ll already be feeling Jupiter. Jupiter gains some speed by the end of the month.
Jupiter will move a couple of degrees by the end of the month. And so we’ll feel some of that. But we may still feel energetically trapped. We won’t feel energetically trapped if we understand that, like a capacitor, we’re still building our charge and it’s not time for the strike yet. But that doesn’t mean we should be trying to suppress the charge
If there’s no building of the charge, the lightning can’t strike. And so I’m not suggesting that we should avoid building the charge. I’m suggesting that we should save the strike for when Mars is ready to move direct.
By the middle of November, Mars is moving direct. Toward the middle end of September, as Jupiter turns direct, what changes is our level of confidence, our ideas, the higher mind begins to move forward. And of course the danger here is to let that overconfidence make us lazy.
This is not about burying the need for Mars to take action. It’s about playing it strategically so that when we take action, our actions count.
Amanda: You know, you’ve been saying this all year, that this is not the time to let our weariness or exhaustion from the experience of all of this make us inert and to give up. That there’s going to be times where we feel like we need to give up or want to give up, but that we need to keep going.
And that’s what I’m hearing here, is you’re saying, we’re gonna feel this forward momentum and we’re going to want to be able to express it but it’s not the right time. So just build the energy, build the momentum, and then it will be so much stronger when we actually have that opportunity to express it forward.
Rick: Now, as we get closer to the end of the month, we have another little thing that kind of sneaks in here. we get a series of irritating quincunxes.
We have Mercury quincunx Neptune, the Sun quincunx Mars, Venus quincunx Jupiter, Venus then quincunx Neptune, then Venus conjunct Pluto, then Venus quincunx Saturn. And it’s almost like the whole second half of the month is peppered with these quincunxes.
And so, as we get closer to the end of September, it’s like our fuse become shorter and shorter, which encourages quick reactions because we want to fix whatever the petty annoyances are and the deeper assaults on our values. Remember, these are Venus quincunxes.
But there’s no quick way out. And that’s the thing to remember. As we get closer to the end of the month, this is not terrible, it’s only annoying because we can’t deal with it. The practice is to keep reminding ourselves of is not to get sucked into the temptation of falling victim to circumstantial entrapment.
The harder and faster and more violently and more harsh we react, the less we will have to give when it’s absolutely the most critical and most important. So energy management is absolutely crucial because we can’t just deny our anger.
We have to find ways of keeping our emotions flowing while at the same time we’re practicing patience.
Amanda: It sounds like we need to have some of that tolerance for the annoyance, the irritants, the frustration. That we can’t give in to that instant gratification.
Okay. All right. So we have the theme of the month, “Hold Your Fire”, that we may feel this mounting sense of urgency to do something, to take action.
And it’s not about not doing anything, but it’s more about not having the expectation that our doing is going to create some immediate results. That we’re actually doing things inch by inch, day by day that are building momentum.
We might not necessarily see the outcome of that for a while still. And just sinking into that.
Rick: The great Swami said, “Yard by yard it’s hard, inch by inch it’s a cinch.”
Amanda: Nice. Okay. So we may feel like we’re pushed to our limits. We have all of the big planets turning direct, but slowing down.
Rick: And Jupiter is the first one to break rank. And right now he’s behind the three of them. But over November, December, January, Jupiter catches up to Pluto and then catches up to Saturn late December, early January.
And then breaks free completely. And I’ve said this before, but that’s my saving grace in all of this. That Jupiter becomes the leader of the pack. But right now we’ve been in a situation where Jupiter is behind and is being restrained by both Pluto and by Saturn.
Amanda: That is promising.
All right. So this is not a time to be passive, to not avoid confrontation…
Amanda: There we go.
But in the meantime, something we can do very tangibly is continue to set our sights high so we can continue to look into the future, continue to vision, continue to dream, continue to stay in the realm of possibility of what can be on the other side of all this.
So don’t lose hope.
Rick: It’s the, “When they go low, we go high.”
Amanda: Don’t give into temptation for immediate gratification.
At the Virgo New Moon, we will be planting seeds, but plant small seeds. Remember this image or this idea that you’re building. You’re building your energy. You’re building momentum that will be used eventually.
So the more we can build and cultivate and protect our energy, the more we can manage our energy, the more we’ll have.
If there’s times where you might feel weary, don’t give up, keep going. At the end of the month, we have the quincunxes, which might make you feel like you have a short fuse. You want to fix the petty annoyance. But there’s no quick way out.
Learn how to be with it, deal with it, manage your own energy around it.
Rick: Right. There are some months where the energy is all over the place or the months where not much happens. But this month is kind of clear if we stand back and look at all the little pieces going on.
Energetically, to me, it’s pretty clear.
If you would like to see the full-length interview with Rick, you can watch it here