Since the Winter Solstice, the Sun has been slowly gaining ground on the Moon’s dominance of the sky and we are now past the equalization of daylit, and moonlit hours known as the Equinox. The Sun’s entry into the fiery, initiatory sign of Aries on Mar. 20 announces the Spring Equinox and brings with it a quickening of the exchange of energies, a re-organization of Earth’s energies towards the task of bringing forth a new cycle of birth out of winter’s slumbering fallow time. Just as we may notice the buds on trees bursting rapidly into leaf and blossom, so in our own lives may we feel the rising of a new season.
This mood is powerfully punctuated by the Aries New Moon (Mar. 21) that coincides with the Spring Equinox this year. The New Moon is traditionally seen as a time to set intentions and engage in quiet reflection to recollect ourselves into wholeness, but this particular start of the astrological new year is far from pensive. Impulsivity and an appetite for action seems to color the landscape of late March, though the chief agitator, the red planet Mars, will wade into the watery, emotional sign of Cancer on Mar. 25 (until May 20) and might slow us down a bit.
Mars’ very direct nature is inhibited by the indirect nature of the sign of Cancer, which is more concerned with feeling than with doing. Unexpected adventures into emotional realities seem to be an unavoidable part of enacting our will throughout this time period. How you and others feel about a course of action matters and covering that over with rationalization won’t get us out of acknowledging, listening to and metabolizing those emotions. In fact, ignoring emotional responses to actions could result in surprising explosions of anger later down the road. Mars in Cancer is flagging us to slow down enough to notice important details we might otherwise stampede over.
One way we can try to enjoy a slower pace is to welcome sensuous Venus in her earthy home sign of Taurus (Mar. 16 to Apr. 10), where she invites us to a feast of the senses. Whether we delight in the emergence of cherry blossoms, collaborating with Earth in the garden, indulging favorite foods or snuggling up with comfort, this quality of time supports all sensorially rich experiences. But as grounding as the sign of Taurus can be, there is a surprise awaiting Venus midway through her journey. When the planet of beauty and intimacy conjoins the planet of innovation and the unexpected, Uranus (exact Mar. 30), we may be invited to take a fresh look at our world and allow our relational terrain to shift and to speak to us in new ways. Sometimes our hearts are cracked open by Venus-Uranus, and other times a love for truth and authenticity pushes us to greater self-assertion in our relations with others. Another potentially beneficial quality of this time can emerge when Venus-Uranus acts as the beautiful (Venus) breakthrough (Uranus). This planetary duo is particularly auspicious for journeying deep into the psyche, no matter what means or catalyst we may use to expand and explore consciousness.
Relational Venus also features prominently in the Full Moon in Libra rising over eastern horizons on April 5 and exactly opposing the Aries Sun at 9:34pm US/Pacific. The two equinoctial points of Aries (Spring) and Libra (Autumn) face each other in a quest for the swift rebalancing of energies to facilitate steady growth, just as the Sun regains strength and days grow longer than nights by about three minutes per day. The focalizing nature of the Sun is said to be exalted in the sign of Aries, which expresses our egoic desire nature and tendency to pursue goals. And this Libra Full Moon does ask us to exert our will in rebalancing elements of our lives, but to not neglect our physical needs and limits in striving to make progress towards goals. Those of us who live too much inside the head may inadvertently sabotage our own efforts, when the body lays down and refuses to budge until enough rest is had.
Turning our attention to the night sky, the brilliant jewel of Venus continues to rise higher above the western horizon each night, now setting around around 11pm, while ruddy rough Mars lingers near the top of the heavens, still moving slowly following the end of his 7-month retrograde sojourn through the mercurial sign of Gemini. Jupiter is diving into the underworld on Mar 23, disappearing from the twilit sky to deliver his blessing to the exalted Sun in Aries in their annual conjunction (exact Apr. 11). The Sun-Jupiter conjunction is yet another sign of an emergent new cycle of growth. The fact that any planetary conjunction with the egoic consciousness of the Sun can only happen out of sight serves to remind us of the vast unseen energies which carry our lives forward. We need not pretend we must go it all alone.