The Sun leaves Pisces and enters Aries on Tuesday, March 20, at 12:16 a.m. CDT (5:16 a.m. GMT). This shift brings not only the equinox and a new season (spring in the northern hemisphere and autumn in the southern) but a new astrological year. As a result, it offers us exciting and powerful opportunities for new beginnings--of all kinds and on all planes.
Aries, watercolor on torn, pale sepia, handmade Japanese mulberry paper by Anne Nordhaus-Bike
For thousands of years, astrologers have honored the Sun's entry into Aries as a special, powerful time of year. As the first sign of the zodiac, Aries represents the start of a new astrological cycle and therefore a new year.
When the Sun travels through Aries, it brings a bold, energetic, and decisive energy that asks us to exhibit bravery as we start something new. We move away from Pisces's watery sensitivity to the Ram's fiery sense of self, will to express energy, and desire to lead.
Like the zodiac's other cardinal signs--Cancer, Libra, and Capricorn--Aries inspires us to take action, often by initiating new projects. As with astrology's other fire signs--Leo and Sagittarius--Aries insists that we feel our passion and find our courage so we can pioneer in some way and undergo some form of renewal.
Aries is associated with aggression, risk, and competition. Handling these urges constructively means channeling them into worthy activities. For some, that might mean sports, while for others it might mean starting a new company or group or leading efforts to help society's underdogs.
For all of us, Aries brings renewed courage to think new thoughts, feel new feelings, and find new ways of doing things. It also brings a refreshing emphasis on the individual and the importance of discovering--and living--our true identity.
Aries is ruled by Mars, a planet named for the ancient Roman god of war. Also known as "the red planet," Mars takes its color from deposits of iron oxide on the planet's surface; these facts remind us of Aries's association with the color red and the metal iron.
Aries also is linked with fire, a substance symbolizing passion and physical desire as well as inspiration and spiritual energy. In addition, Mars indicates the Ram's association with masculine energy, warlike behavior, and a strong will; when harnessed for constructive ends, these qualities are essential to preserving our individuality and ensuring our protection.
As the first sign of the zodiac, Aries is associated with the head. When out of balance, Aries can become hotheaded, but when in harmony this sign allows reason to direct its powerful energies to worthwhile pursuits. This symbolism also points to Aries's talent for beginnings: whenever necessary, the Ram can simply start over by "taking it from the top."
In nature, Aries is linked with hawthorns as well as sweet peas and honeysuckles. Most striking are daffodils, which carry an association with Aries both because of their vibrant color and because their peak blooming period coincides with the Aries time of year in the northern hemisphere.
Current astrology: inner pressure builds as outer action faces delays
This month's astrology brings a powerful series of shifts that will tend to increase pressure on the inner plane. Combined with the Sun's potent placement in Aries, these factors may bring both excitement and frustration, optimism and anger. Handling these energies well means accepting that outward action is being delayed temporarily in order to allow further inner preparation and greater awakening of consciousness.
. As Aries time begins this year, this sign's ruling planet, Mars, remains retrograde in Virgo and will not resume forward motion until April 14. Also, Virgo's ruling planet, Mercury, remains retrograde; currently in Aries, it will move back into Pisces on March 23 and remain retrograde until April 4. These placements increase the planets' intensity because until March 23 each occupies a sign ruled by the other (called mutual reception in astrology). They suggest that our minds (Mercury) will be on new (Aries) ideas (Mercury) as well as spiritual (Pisces) communication (Mercury). Also, our passion and personal will (Mars, Aries) may be focused on health, self-improvement, jobs and employees, and daily routines (Virgo). Mars and Aries will press for immediate action, and Mercury will be impatient in Aries and restless in Pisces, causing us to want to make changes right away. Yet the retrogrades will hinder outward progress. Like last month, these energies indicate this is a good time to continue thinking, planning, and preparing so we're fully ready to launch new inspirations in mid-April; often, retrogrades reveal hidden information or data from the past that can help us once the retrograde passes, so taking this time for further reflection ultimately will help our forward progress.
. March 22 brings a new Moon in Aries, which will bring brashness to our emotions and increase our urge to make changes and start new things. This new Moon therefore offers a good opportunity to notice our feelings (Moon), especially excitement and anger (Aries), in order to understand our passions and drives (Aries). In the process, we can gain insight on what inspires and motivates us the most, what frustrates us, and what may need to be changed in our lives.
. On March 24 or 25 (depending on where you live), the Sun will reach the same spot in Aries now occupied by Uranus. This conjunction of the Sun, symbol of our identity and spiritual essence, with Uranus, symbol of freedom and electricity, will further increase stress and our desire for change. Like the new Moon in Aries just two days earlier, this placement likely will increase emotions, and with Uranus involved it will make us sensitive to any area of life that feels oppressive. Take note of your emotions--particularly whatever feels intolerable and whatever electrifies you with its exciting potential--but if possible allow yourself to put off taking action until the Mercury and Mars retrogrades pass.
. Adding further intensity will be Pluto, which will go retrograde in Capricorn on April 10 and remain so until September. Like Mars, Pluto represents a hot and intense energy, and its change in direction may tend to increase its effects, making this an important time to keep a cool head as you evaluate what needs to be eliminated from your life to assist your spiritual evolution.
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