It arrives suddenly, unannounced, concealed in a swirl of dry wind that scatters a shroud of ash over life as we knew it. It blinds us in the glare of a nuclear sky. Out of the blue, news that buckles our knees, shatters our world into shiny, sharp shards that embed themselves in our heart. At that moment, we know. Our life will never be the same again.
On Wednesday, March 20th, the Sun emerges from the deep waters of Pisces and blazes a fiery trail through the sign of Aries. A new astrological year is born. In the North, the Vernal Equinox marks the beginning of spring. The symbolism of spring and the urgent thrust of new life is still relevant in the southern hemisphere, as the swallows return north and the sun-bleached vegetation contracts against the coming cold.
Aries marks a point of Beginning, which may be a lonely journey into the unknown. In Aries we encounter the mythic motif of conquest, which always implies an act of bravery and daring. Here we meet the mythic “Warrior” who sets off on a quest, the “Hero” who personifies courage and assertiveness. The leader who makes tough choices. Aries is where we encounter our own autonomy, our ability to to return to life, to find ourselves anew.
There are many ways to be brave in this world. We may discover that courage is concealed in the small choices we make each new day. That act of will that gets us out of bed, the strength to put the kettle on, when all the colour has faded out of the world we once knew.
For most of us, bravery, raw courage, comes when death ambushes those we love, when our income withers, when we must muster up the courage to love again. Others risk their own lives in heroic acts of true grit. On Friday, March 15th, Abdul Aziz’s courage during the second attack on the Linwood mosque is Aries-energy in terrifying circumstances. Journalists Praveen Menon and Tom Lasseter report— “When he realised the mosque was being attacked, he ran towards the gunman… He then picked up a gun dropped by the shooter and pulled the trigger, but it was empty: ‘I was screaming at the guy, come over here, come over here – I just wanted to put his focus on me.”
Aries is a Mars-ruled sign, and its associations with valour, with survival, with the adrenal rush of flight, fight or fold, with the existential right to exist are mirrored in the urgent thrust of nature this month. The dark face of the Ram is testosterone-fuelled anger, self-absorption and competitiveness, single-mindedness. As we set off on our Eat, Pray, Love, journey to “find ourselves” we may leave a trail of destruction as sharp and black as obsidian. The heat of fire may singe more sensitive hearts, the single-pointed passion may suck others into its wake. Aries may have the vision, the impossible dream, but it is so often others who attend to the meticulous details.
This is a time of brave new beginnings, Big Bang commitments that infuse us with life-affirming energy, that awaken our appetite, that rouse our passion, and as Goethe once said, once the commitment is made, Destiny conspires with us to support and realise our call to adventure. As we enter Aries territory this month, we will have to take a stand, fight for our rights, acknowledge that there are no “quick fixes”, no easy exits. The iconic John Wayne gives voice to the Aries archetype, “courage is being scared to death, but saddling up anyway.
Chiron is in Aries (February 18th, 2019, until April 14th, 2027.) Those of us who have planets or angles in Aries, Cancer, Libra or Capricorn, will encounter the fire that sears our lives, purifies our pride with fierce grace. We may be inspired to take selfless action, to be spontaneous, to rise up strong, resilient, grateful to be alive. We may learn, in the words of Ram Dass, that “Suffering is part of our training program for becoming wise.”
The Sun conjoins Chiron on Wednesday, a suggestion that the road ahead may not be easy. That stiff upper lips and stoicism was not what M Scott Peck had in mind when he said, “Life is difficult.” We may feel flawed; our flame of creativity and passion may be extinguished by worry or sorrow. We may not feel like Xena the Warrior. Chiron pierces through our illusions, our judgements, and in our pain, we may be emboldened by our courage, our inexhaustible vitality.
The Equinox is illuminated by an expansive Full Libra Moon at the potent zero degree on March 21st. A beautiful reminder of the polarity between our own personal desires, and the need to compromise, to be fair as we relate to others in an increasingly complex world.
On Sunday, March 24th, Mercury Retrograde conjoins Neptune on the same degree as the New Moon on March 6th (16° Pisces) This is the middle of three conjunctions. The first, February 19th, and the last on April 2nd, as Mercury begins to gather speed and move forwards once more after turning direct at 16° Pisces on March 28th. The uncertainty, confusion, unspeakable sorrow may still linger. Venus joins Mercury in Pisces on March 26th, and on Sunday, March 30th, Mars, warrior and defender, moves from Taurus into versatile Gemini, heralding new perceptions, emphasising the theme of duality, and perhaps the ability to see both sides of the story.
Mars rules the Aries Sun, and Mars without a mission will haggle and complain and try to outmaneuver, so watch as the political dramas unfold.
“Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage,” wrote Anais Nin. We may encounter many opportunities to be courageous this new astrological month. Petty tyrants may mirror our own discomfort about taking a stand while dangerous rhetoric morphs into bullets and the dark tide of anger rises, setting fire to old grudges and unexamined narratives.
The archetype of Aries is a celebration of the resilience of the human spirit, an affirmation of our ability to muster the courage to do what is morally right, to find the humour in teetering at the cliff edge, to see Grace in defeat.
It takes great courage to submit to the call to visit those secret vulnerable places in our heart, to weep away the pretenses, to risk tenderness.
As we dare to shrug off the labels, cease the relentless need to “work on ourselves”, may we have the courage to trust the warmth of our inner guidance, and walk bravely towards a new dawn.
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