Your look at the month ahead.
By Lauren Studebaker
I’ve heard some describe the events of our recently departed summer as part of the great “vibe shift” of 2021. As a trained astrologer, it would be in my best interest to give a planetary prescription to this phenomenon – which I’ll get to – but first, let me commend you on making it this far: the gradual return to normalcy has been mottled with crossed lines, mixed messages, and a seemingly perpetual set of unexpected setbacks that have cast a shadow on the temporary euphoria of early Summer.
The sun begins the month traveling through the sign of Libra, which – combined with the coalition of retrograde planets – provides an opportunity to evaluate the way we interact in close partnerships: romantic, business or otherwise. A New Moon in the same sign on the 6th allows for creation in all of its forms, while the Full Moon later in the month on October 20 will bring with it necessary endings. The month ends with a transition into Scorpio season on October 23, which encourages transformation and introspection for all.
You’ve probably heard of the dreaded Mercury Retrograde, a time where the planet of communication begins to backtrack across the sky for around three weeks, causing flight delays, hard drive failures, an epidemic of accidental “reply alls”, and a general feeling of switchboard-operator-under-the-influence. I regret to inform you that Mercury is currently Retrograde as of last week, and is joined in its backwards tango with Pluto (since April 27), Saturn (since May 23), Jupiter (June 20), and Neptune (June 25). Each of these planets have unique influences on us, and everything’s a bit stalled: If you feel like nothing has been panning out the way you’d hoped, you’re not alone. However, planetary retrogrades are a wonderful time to reevaluate the way you’ve been living, and a good opportunity for re-dos or to discover alternate paths of getting things finished that you’d only recognize when everything feels upside down. However, nearly all of these planets will return to their normal path across the sky (as they go direct) throughout October, moving things back into action in rapid succession.
In the spirit of our upcoming Scorpio season, I recommend you go deeper: find your personalized horoscope below. I recommend reading both your Sun sign and your Rising, as each has a specific influence on your experiences this October, a month sure to be full of creative energy as well as a bit of confusion-induced drama.
Aries + Aries Rising:
Heard from an ex recently, Aries? The beginning of October is all about taking stock of your close relationships, past and present. You might become aware of much-needed adjustments with your romantic partners or business associates, and this month is the perfect time to make lasting changes. Be careful to watch for conflict in these areas during the New Moon (which also makes contact with the planet of action, Mars) on October 6. I know it might be difficult for your fiery state of being, but choose your battles wisely, and be careful not to jump into anything new without reviewing the fine print.
Venus moves into your fellow fire sign of Sagittarius on October 7. This generous energy in your ninth house of travel and knowledge will encourage you to seek out new experiences. This month is a perfect time to sign up for that class you’ve been interested in, or to agree to a speaking engagement in a different city – you might even meet someone new. Once Mercury ends its retrograde on the 18th, you’ll feel that any tension in partnerships will begin to evolve into resolutions through mutual understandings (or truces), and a full moon in your sign on the 20th promises for a jolt of insight or inspiration for the transition into the sign of Scorpio on the 23rd. The end of October will be a ripe time for transformation, and you’ll be able to integrate what you learned through your experiences with relationships earlier in the month as lessons learned.
In Fiona Connor’s Working Space #1 (with Olivia Barrett, Château Shatto), a partnership – possibly similar to one you’re focused on this month – between gallerist and artist is explored through active collaboration. The “frequently obscured and discreet communication” between the two parties is depicted in the form of both object and ephemera, and the resulting work favors the obscuring role of memory in experience through a careful play on legibility. This month, I encourage you to examine your missed connections, miscommunications and shared experiences; in the end, you’ll have a greater sense of your role as a partner moving forward.
Taurus + Taurus Rising:
The end of September may have left you feeling exhausted and overworked, Taurus. This month, the sun in the balance-oriented sign of Libra travels through the part of your natal chart that influences your day-to-day schedule, your commitments and your personal wellness. Alone time is necessary for everyone to recharge – especially for you – and the hiccups associated with Mercury Retrograde could provide you with insight into which projects or habits you've picked up over the last few months that might not be sustainable. Put yourself first on the New Moon on October 6: turn off your phone, clear your calendar, relax and reorganize your space (both physical and mental). You won’t regret it!
As the month progresses, you’ll find that opportunities in your career may arise, specifically October 15 through 18, when Mercury and Jupiter finish their retrograde. Any delayed conversations or projects will begin to come to fruition at this time, and the space you found in your schedule earlier in the month allows for you to focus on them. When the Sun enters Scorpio on October 23, attention will be drawn to your close relationships – it’s the perfect time to ask for that meeting with a mentor, enter a new business partnership or take the time to make sure you’re on the same level as your significant other. The end of the month is sure to be full of uplifting conversations and experiences, ripe for creative and romantic expression.
Sean Sullivan’s work – as seen in his painting,Verb – involves labor-intensive processes that include oil transfer, and “frequently involve adopting a distinct series of limitations.” By understanding these limitations and working within them, Sullivan creates images that resemble architectural drawings or computer circuit boards, while also accessing the canon of early European abstract painting. As I mentioned, Taurus, it’s important for you to follow a similar process at the beginning of the month. By recognizing your limitations and then cutting out commitments that don’t align with your overall vision for the rest of the year, you’ll find yourself imbued with extra creative energy that you can direct toward what you really want to create.
Gemini + Gemini Rising:
October promises to be an especially romantic and exciting month for you, Gemini! As the sign of the Twins, you’re always looking for your counterpart (or maybe a partner in crime), and Libra season is always an exceptional time for you to celebrate these connections. Mercury (your ruling planet) is also retrograde through the sign of Libra, so you might be running into a few faces from your past at any parties you attend during this time. The New Moon on October 6 promises a bounty of camaraderie and creativity, and I’d advise you to say yes to any invitations you might receive for the upcoming weekend; Venus, the planet of money and love, moves into your opposite sign of Sagittarius on the 7th, providing the means to go deeper within any partnerships in your life for the remainder of the month. A celestial exchange between Venus and Saturn on October 13 might encourage you and a partner to discuss commitments and future plans – with a positive result – but don’t expect any resolution or decisions until Mercury goes direct on October 18.
Although the month proves to be sociable and exciting, the Full Moon in Aries on October 20 will trigger a sort of climax in your social life. The energy of the days surrounding this lunar event may lead to a necessary change that may have to do with feelings of personal values. You might end up removing yourself from a situation where you don’t feel like your needs are heard or respected. Making these cuts or adjustments will be good for you, Gemini, because as the Sun moves into the sign of Scorpio on the 23rd, you’ll feel more productive, organized and focused on getting tasks done. The end of the month – the 30th, specifically – will finalize the shift in your focus away from the party-hard atmosphere from early October and give you the energy to set firm boundaries and check off boxes on your to-do list.
This month is all about excitement and chance encounters for you, and Luke O’Halloran’s Cards in the air series exhibits the artist’s constructed “mythology and iconography of chance, suspense, and desire where the viewer inhabits a frozen slice of imagistic possibility.” Anything is possible for you, Gemini, and October will do its best to remind you that sometimes leaning into the chaos can be its own prize – much like the thrill of making a bet with no desire for reward.
Cancer + Cancer Rising:
Cancer, you’re one of the most emotionally-aware signs of the Zodiac, but you may often be too focused on nurturing others to advocate for your own needs. October is not the time for that – as the month opens with the Sun and Mercury (retrograde) moving through Libra, this is the best time of the year to allow your own emotional well-being to take precedence. The current planetary focus on the part of your chart that influences your memory, your home and your familial ties encourages you to discover (and express) what you need to feel secure. You might find yourself feeling nostalgic or uncovering forgotten yet emotionally resonant childhood memories around the New Moon (also in Libra) on October 6. Take time to consider why you may be remembering certain events now as they will most likely provide insight into what you’re currently in need of emotionally. When Mars enters the equation on the 7th and 8th, you’ll have the energy to communicate your findings and implement changes in your personal life that will make you feel more secure. Remember, boundaries are important.
Mercury goes direct on the 18th, clearing up any residual emotional blockages you may be experiencing. This clarity will be welcome as the Full Moon in Aries on October 20 will shift your focus and offer you a clear opportunity or well-deserved recognition in your career or public-facing life. This boost of confidence – paired with the steps you took to solidify your foundations earlier in the month – will be to your benefit as the sun enters your fellow water sign of Scorpio on the 23rd. This promises exciting developments in all things expressive: Scorpio season is a wonderful time for creative expression, outings with friends, and the possibility of new (or deepening) romance for you, Cancer, but be sure to remind yourself to stay somewhat grounded as the month comes to a close.
Personal memory and its significance in the now is a key theme for you this month, and Sarah Dwyer’s practice of reworking old drawings and taking cuttings from past canvases and etchings in new work is one worth exploring, Cancer, when examining your own feelings of nostalgia. In paintings such as Thulisile, Dwyer’s regenerative artmaking imbues her artistic memories with new meaning, confronting “fears around the finality of loss.” Use this technique on any feelings or memories you uncover, and you’ll be sure to end October with an abundance of insight.
Leo + Leo Rising:
Although the Sun – your ruling planet – begins the month in the part of your chart that influences communication, your style of thinking, and your interests, Mercury Retrograde in the same sector may lead to a few confusing conversations this month, Leo. Take care not to feed into any paranoia that might pop up surrounding information that comes your way. Gossip abounds this month, especially in regard to people or events of your past, but don’t believe everything you hear. Use the thought-provoking energy of the New Moon in Libra on October 6 to cut through the nonsense by getting in touch with how you feel about what you’ve heard, and take special note of anything you learn today as it will be a recurring theme for the remainder of the month. As Venus moves into your fellow fire sign of Sagittarius on the 7th, you’ll be motivated to lean into your always-abundant social life, which will be ripe with opportunities for expansion and provide much-needed bursts of creative inspiration.
On October 15 and 16, your generous and optimistic sensibilities will be complemented by friendly contacts between Jupiter, Mercury and Venus. Plan a party or invite friends to go on a weekend excursion, as you’re sure to enjoy the easygoing nature of this period. Pay special attention to any sort of situations playing out with your friends, though, as the Full Moon in Aries on the 20th brings with it a climax in an area of your life related to travel, knowledge, or even the law, and may perhaps be associated with miscommunications you experienced earlier in the month. Moving forward, you’ll be sure to have clear answers to the questions that have been brewing over the previous few weeks. For some of you, this full-moon revelation may relate to an upcoming move or renovation. The month closes with the Sun moving into Scorpio, which brings with it a focus on your home and family life.
In Nasim Hantehzadeh’s Sunrise with the pregnant sheep, the artist embraces the ambiguity in the abstract compositions, allowing each form “the autonomy to create its own narrative.” Although the beginning of the month may bring with it confusion or cacophony, Leo, I encourage you to embrace the ambiguity as much as possible and remember that – like in music – sometimes the pauses between events (or words) can reveal just as much as the events themselves. Trust in your individual feelings regarding what you hear or observe, and draw conclusions based on that.
Virgo + Virgo Rising:
Virgo, with Mercury – the ruler of your sign – moving Retrograde at the beginning of this month, you’re most likely feeling the drag more than some of your colleagues. The planet is making its backward motion in the same part of your chart that’s currently illuminated by the Sun in Libra, your second house of personal finances, values, and earthly possessions. I recommend you use this time to review your spending over the last few months and look out for an exciting opportunity for financial growth – maybe a check that had been lost in the mail, a new business venture, or a gift from a patron – during the New Moon on October 6. When Venus moves into Sagittarius on the 7th, consider buying yourself something you’ve been wanting to decorate your home as any decisions you make regarding your personal space, as well as your family life, will surely be blessed by the planet of beauty. On October 13, Saturn offers support to Venus, resulting in an offer of help – use this day to ask a friend to hang the painting you’ve been eager to put on display or to move some furniture.
The Full Moon in Aries on October 20 offers a special opportunity to close a chapter, and offers you the chance to finally settle a debt, financial or spiritual; this allows you to move forward into Scorpio season on the 23rd with a clear conscience and refreshed outlook. The next month provides many opportunities for communication, expanded involvement in your community, and a constant flow of information that you’ll find interesting.
An assortment of unrelated objects – including paintings of wildlife, keys and animals – in a colorful interior space make up the composition of Kevin McNamee-Tweed’s Room (The Room), a ceramic painting that inspires contemplation, speculation, and laughter in the viewer. As I mentioned, you’ll feel encouraged to take stock of your belongings and values this month, Virgo, but be sure not to be overwhelmed: simply focus on what makes you feel the most fulfilled, and you’ll have fun in the process.
Libra + Libra Rising:
It might feel unfair, Libra, that your season – usually spent in the pursuit of balance and beauty – coincides with so much confusion this year (six planets are in retrograde going into this month), but I promise you the first two weeks of the month offer many opportunities for growth. You’re an expert at finding harmony, and the New Moon in your sign on October 6 allows you to integrate your array of inward emotions with your outward actions, and a boost from fiery Mars and generous Jupiter will provide the needed energy for that final push on a creative project that’s been brewing.
Although it may feel like you’ve had your eureka, I advise waiting until the 18th to take any action or make any commitments, and take advantage of any offers from others on the 20th – a new business partnership or romantic connection could take what you’re brewing to the next level. As the end of the month approaches and the Sun enters the sign of Scorpio, all signs point to financial or emotional gain from this new venture – if you choose to take it.
This month, the clarity and focus through which you’ll be able to see yourself and manifest your creative vision is due in part to your innate sense of balance and beauty, and Emma Kohlmann’s A Candelabra on a Dark Night speaks to that sentiment. The painting, paired with a custom burned-wood frame, creates a “completely integrated work” that plays with the push and pull of polarities, both “poetic and humorous,” and “tender and bold.”
Scorpio + Scorpio Rising:
I know you’re eager for your season to begin, Scorpio, but the first few weeks of the month have you recharging and examining the more spiritual and unconscious parts of your life before your birthday. The Sun in Libra, bolstered by a Mercury Retrograde in the same sign, encourages you to look back at patterns of repression you might engage in – it will be helpful to examine your dreams, which may be more vivid this month, and trust your intuition to be your guide during this inner journey.
On October 18, both Mercury and Jupiter will end their respective retrogrades, and the clarity you found during your internal deep-dive will allow you to fast track reconnections with members of your family and give you the clarity and energy to make improvements in your home environment that might be contributing to any stress you’ve been experiencing. Combined with a full moon in Aries on the 20th that encourages you to change up your habits or complete the final tasks on your to-do list, you’ll be sure to ride the Sun’s transition into your sign on the 23rd with ease. If you made a commitment to doing inner work earlier in the month, this Scorpio season is sure to be one where you feel that your needs and motivations are aligned and that you’re truly seen by those around you.
Your intuition is strong, Scorpio, and it can be difficult for anyone to find concrete meaning in our deeper waters – but remember, that’s not necessary. Tyler Vlahovich’s paintings, like Untitled, are assembled through the use of rapid, dry brushstrokes – a technique that creates swift compositional changes and actively works to avoid anything representational. The result is a series that deeply investigates “the possibility of abstraction,” which results in “strange and stunning pictorial effusion”. I recommend you take similar steps to move intuitively through your depths and understand that there is something to be gained from simply feeling.
Sagittarius + Sagittarius Rising:
Dear Sagittarius, I know you’re one to change your life path on a whim – which is a testament to your flexibility and abundant curiosity – however, October provides a rare opportunity for you to slow down and think about what it is that would truly fulfill you. As the sun in Libra moves through your 11th house of community, friendships, hopes, and dreams at the beginning of the month, you’ll feel inclined to consider all of the possibilities that could be born out of your interactions with those around you. Take time to journal or engage in future visualizations on October 6 when the New Moon in Libra allows for a eureka moment in terms of what might actually fulfill you long-term. I encourage you to focus on IRL interactions, however; Mercury Retrograde in your 11th house might lead to some issues with friends via digital communication. It might be time to take that much-needed break from the perpetual scroll until the planet goes direct on the 18th.
Venus enters your sign on October 7, ushering in a boost of self-confidence. Venus is the planet of both love and money, Sagittarius, so you’ll have the power to attract both. As you bring your fall wardrobe out of storage, check the pockets: you might find some long-misplaced $20s, or maybe even a receipt with a handwritten phone number. The full moon in your fellow fire sign, Aries, on October 20 will bring a creative project to a close or signal a climax in your social or romantic life; you might finally cut the last tie with an ex, or reunite with a group of friends for a much-needed dinner party. The month ends with a focus on the subconscious as the Sun moves into Scorpio, and into your 12th house of dreams, closure, and spirituality. Pay close attention to your dreams, take lots of baths and make sure to dedicate plenty of alone time to recharge after the socially active energy of the beginning of the month.
A shifting focus from your hopes and dreams into your subconscious needs this month reminds you that your being and desires are malleable. In Carly Burnell’s paintings, like Oak Creek, the surface is imbued with a slightly prismatic quality that allows for perceptual visual shifts with the changing light, “like sunset washing over a landscape.” As Burnell’s meditations allow the viewer to imbue the work with their own emotions, we’re reminded that the self – and the way we perceive ourselves and our environment – is in a state of constant flux.
Capricorn + Capricorn Rising:
You’re one of the hardest working signs of the zodiac, Capricorn, and this month you’ll be able to reap the rewards of a year of hard work and dedication to your career, in the form of recognition and public-facing success. Take time on October 6 during the New Moon in Libra to brainstorm any new career endeavors you’d like to pursue or changes you’d like to implement; the new cycle in your public-facing life that begins this day is enhanced by Pluto completing its retrograde, which might make you more aware of certain power dynamics you’re in hopes of changing. Maybe it’s time to be your own boss?
Although you’ll be focused on the more public aspects of your life, Capricorn – as you tend to do normally – it’s important that you don’t neglect yourself or your values. As Saturn – your ruling planet – goes direct on October 10, take stock of any limitations or restrictions you might be feeling in respect to your needs (both material and emotional). Venus in Sagittarius will support this, appearing as a trusted confidant to whom you can let off some burdens that you’ve built up while focused on your career. Additionally, a Full moon in Aries on October 20 brings some sort of climax to your family or home environment that may force you to re-balance your work-life dynamic. As the sun moves into Scorpio on the 23rd, your social life and community may come into focus – perhaps your success and planning this month will encourage you to give back.
In Stefan Kürten’s Mothers Little Helper, an intricate landscape surrounds a formal architectural drawing of a modern home. Lush and luxurious, this painting might speak to your inclinations toward the public-facing exterior of things. But be careful to note that the warm, decorated interior of the home can be observed through its many windows – sometimes, you might fail to spend enough time considering your more human needs for companionship and privacy, and this month will help you find the balance between these two positions.
Aquarius + Aquarius Rising:
Air signs are all about knowledge and communication, Aquarius, and with October opening in your fellow air sign of Libra, you’ll be encouraged to explore new places and ideas this month. Mercury Retrograde in Libra might throw a wrench in any travel plans you make before the 18th, but just allow yourself a bit of wiggle room and you should be alright. The New Moon in Libra on October 6 may bring inspiration in the form of a new idea or experience that plants a seed for further development – be sure to carry your notes this day or make plans to watch a lecture or start a book you’ve been meaning to read. As Venus moves into Sagittarius on the 7th, you’ll feel inclined to share any of your new ideas in a social setting as the planet of art and beauty encourages you to spend time with friends that inspire you throughout the remainder of the month.
Your ruler, Saturn, ends its retrograde through your sign on the 10th, allowing you to have a conversation with yourself that may have been delayed: How are you feeling about yourself? What are your goals? What no longer serves you? The Full Moon in Aries on October 20 brings with it a conversation inclined to cause some sort of ending, but this will be better in the long run. Be sure not to hold on too tightly to whatever is trying to naturally exit your life. On the 23rd, when the Sun moves into Scorpio and into your 10th house of career and reputation, you’ll be able to apply the new concepts you learned and adventures you had toward public-facing growth and recognition!
Your desire for knowledge and intellectual expansion this month could have you engaging with new philosophies or schools of thought; if you’re familiar with the work of Jean Baudrillard, I suggest you take time to engage with his photographs – such as Charneca – as well. Much like you’re wont to do, Aquarius, Baudrillard's artistic pursuits challenge established conventions of the image and its reproducibility, as well as photography itself. Each work is printed uniquely, but the artist’s addition of annotations and fictitious edition numbers on each print contends with “the conventions of photography as fine art.”
Pisces + Pisces Rising:
You don't have much trouble getting to the depths of something, Pisces, and this month will enable you to dive deep into the mysteries of life's three guarantees: sex, death and taxes. Don't fear, though! The energy of the Sun in Libra will illuminate the area of your chart that influences these parts of your life and will allow you to take stock of your closest relationships, their ability to change all parties involved, and any resources you might share. The new moon in Libra on October 6 allows for you to begin to see these relationships from a new perspective and ask necessary questions that could lead to transformation: which forms of expression make you feel most loved? How might those close to you be affecting you through possible projection or codependent behaviors?
Libra season is also an opportune time to settle any debts or inheritance-related conundrums, although I don't advise finalizing anything until Mercury ends its retrograde through Libra on October 18. The Full Moon in Aries on the 20th will help any such situation come to a close as it also influences a part of your chart that affects your finances and personal security. You'll be able to come up for a breath of air when the Sun enters Scorpio on October 23 where your focus will shift from the deeply private to the public. The next month will be a wonderful time to expand your horizons and travel, and a celestial exchange between Mercury and Jupiter on Halloween will be sure to leave you feeling positive and creatively inspired going into November.
I discussed inheritances and debts being a possible theme during the month of October; this can also be interpreted as anything passed down between generations, or amends you need to make with your past to move forward. In Elizabeth Schwaiger's paintings, the research-based artist depicts empty studios and museum spaces, contemporary to the eye but filled with relics of the past. These paintings, including Wind In Our Shrouds, are also often imbued with water symbolism, bringing tensions of the past and present to light, while directly addressing the looming climate crises we've inherited.
Lauren Studebaker is a writer and trained astrologer based in New York, and works as the social media coordinator and content creator at David Zwirner. For more information, and to book an astrological consultation, visit her website at studebaker.info.