New Moon in Aries
These days you don’t need astrology to tell you we have arrived at a collective crossroads. With the COVID 19 pandemic causing seclusion in quarantine around the world, with businesses and schools closed and public gatherings banned, the need to sustain drastic measures for containment has brought us betwixt and between, forced to accept indefinite timelines for when public activities now classified as “nonessential” may resume. There’s a pervasive, mysterious unknown pulsing throughout personal and societal spheres for how to handle the simultaneous threats to health and economy. Crossroads have ancient connection with liminal states and being at the intersection between different worlds. Divinities traditionally honored at the crossroads include Hekate and Hermes, deities who bridge the underworld of death with the upperworld of life, psychopomps who know the ways of divination and can light our way through dark nights of the soul.
The Aries New Moon is at the crossroads of the lunar nodes with Chiron and Lilith waiting to greet us at its intersection. The New Moon is applying tightly toward a conjunction with both Chiron and Black Moon Lilith in Aries, while forming a square aspect with the lunar nodes. Chiron is the wise mentor of the heroic who also teaches the medicinal alchemy found within the interconnected spirit of our material world. While there are different forms of Lilith across different ancient cultures, there are common features of her that resonate with Chiron: the experience of being in exile and the essential sacredness discovered when making home in the wild, dwelling in the outskirts of civilization. Together they are seeding the fiery Aries New Moon with a call to claim our authentic integrity and resolutely reforge a meaningful vision to embody within the darkness.
The lunar nodes demarcate the intersection of the orbital arcs of the Sun and Moon, the crossroads where our material forms encounter our yearnings of soul. The lunar nodes mark the places of eclipses as well as dynamic points of change within the monthly motion of the Moon. When the Moon forms a square aspect with its own nodes, it has reached the furthest point north or south it will travel in latitude before heading back in the opposite direction toward the ecliptic. The Aries New Moon is at the southern bending, dredging up subconscious material that needs to be faced without avoidance or denial. With the New Moon squaring the nodes, we are more likely to feel unsure of which direction to follow, oscillating back and forth between choices associated with both ends of the nodes.
Old astrological text conjures images of dragons as the nodes, with the north node symbolizing the head and the south node the tail. While the north node consumes with desire, absorbs new material, and seeks new plots for your story, the south node makes sacred through sacrificing, harvesting, releasing, re-channeling, and retelling. Similarly, Black Moon Lilith is another aspect of the Moon’s orbit connected with a mythic figure who has been demonized and feared. As it connects with the Moon’s farthest point in orbit away from us and our conscious awareness, so does it bring forth the parts of our multiplicity that have been cast off into our unconscious. Altogether it’s a lot of shadowy material for Chiron to distill in his alembic, yet the medicine he will extract from it will be exactly what we need.
The Aries New Moon being at the southern bending also means it is forming an exact square aspect with the Capricorn Solar Eclipse on December 25, 2019 that was conjoining the South Node of the Moon. As a result, the New Moon will stir up personal and collective material originating from the time of the eclipse- while this clearly connects with accounts of the coronavirus becoming known in Wuhan, China at the end of December, there likely are more uniquely personal issues with roots in the weeks surrounding the eclipse that will need to be dealt with.
Since Jupiter in Capricorn was closely conjoining the Capricorn Solar Eclipse, and Jupiter is presently engaged in a volatile conjunction with Mars and Pluto, a lot of the current issues experiencing dissolution and intensification are signified by Jupiter. For example, Judith Hill in her book Eclipses and You listed numerous significations that become activated when Jupiter is within a degree of a solar eclipse: stocks and speculation, the air travel industry, schools, colleges, senators and congress, conferences, bail-outs, philanthropy, and charity.
Mars in Capricorn rules the New Moon from its place of exaltation and pinnacle expression. Mars has been operating recently from a place of extreme potency as it has moved through conjunctions with Jupiter and Pluto in Capricorn- indeed, Mars is separating by less than one degree from Pluto and two degrees from Jupiter during the New Moon. In the chart for the Aries Equinox that sets the tone for the year ahead, Mars is asserting its powerful influence over the events of the forthcoming year as it is applying tightly to a conjunction with Jupiter and Pluto. Mars in Capricorn has extreme stamina, perseverance, resilience, and ambition that needs to be directed wisely. Its present primacy correlates with the disruptive current events that have been causing destruction to societal institutions and separation in personal lives, yet its exalted proximity with Jupiter and Pluto brings ample reserves of fortitude and willpower to carry us through the COVID 19 calamity.
As the Aries New Moon waxes into its first visible light, it will form a catalyzing square aspect with the conjunction forming between Jupiter and Pluto in Capricorn. Jupiter and Pluto will form their first of three conjunctions during 2020 on April 4 as the Moon continues to increase in light a few days before the Full Moon in Libra on April 7 (the other two conjunctions of Jupiter and Pluto will be on June 30 and November 12). When Jupiter combines with Pluto, new knowledge and growth opportunities come from eruptions and catharsis that can expand vision beyond previous restrictions. Yet the buoyant expansiveness of Jupiter must come to terms with the death and decay of Pluto, and as Pluto pulls Jupiter into its depth of darkness it will expose hypocrisies and injustices we will need to sustain focus on to remedy.
It’s important to keep in mind that we are approaching only the first of three conjunctions between Jupiter and Pluto this year, and that the first test that comes from outer planet alignments tends to be the harshest. As numerous social structures are rupturing, there will be some we will have to let go of and witness being torn down. Fortunately, the combination of Jupiter and Pluto with Mars in Capricorn contains the visionary drive necessary for regenerating, rebuilding, and reforging new dreams, goals, and forms to take the place of whatever will be falling apart. However, the obsessive determination kindled by Jupiter and Pluto in Capricorn can be all consuming, and so it will be vital to allow their ruler Saturn to temper any excess or inflation emanating from their combination.
The recent ingress of Saturn into Aquarius marks one of the biggest changes of the year, as Saturn changing signs redistributes enormous gravity, pressure, and weight to a new area of life. There is cause for hope with Saturn in Aquarius, as Saturn in its fixed and airy home can promote not only effective scientific responses to the coronavirus, but also distribution of thoroughly researched plans for protection and visionary reordering of institutions to deal with its devastating impact on individual lives. Just as Aquarius traditionally signifies quarries where minerals are dug up, so will Saturn in Aquarius be able to excavate needed knowledge and resources from places that have been hidden up until now.
As the Moon waxes toward fullness, Mars will be steadily approaching a conjunction with Saturn that will finally culminate on March 31. Mars and Saturn together can signify difficult experiences that feel harrowing and require working hard with persistent commitment to address hardships. However, we can also constructively weld the passionate, fiery energy of Mars to the disciplined and determined scrutinizing of Saturn. The restraint of Saturn can temper the inflamed aggressiveness of Mars, making it possible to direct the dynamic boldness of Mars with a serious and contemplative focus.
By the time of the upcoming Libra Full Moon on April 7, Mars will have moved through a conjunction with Saturn in Aquarius and will be forming an exact square aspect with Uranus in Taurus. Mars plowing through catalyzing aspects with Saturn and Uranus will provoke confrontations within institutional structures over how to respond to the pandemic that will stir up larger ideological conflicts that will be shaping societal changes in the years ahead. It’s likely that the present intensity surrounding COVID 19 will continue to build to a crescendo around the time of the Libra Full Moon as Mars completes its aspects with Saturn and Uranus, before it begins to wane. As Mars will be impacted by the restriction of Saturn and the shattering liberation of Uranus, their volatile combination can reveal how structure and containment can lead to a freeing of creativity and a forging of stronger community in the face of adversity.
In contrast to the agitating aspects between Mars with Jupiter and Pluto, Venus in Taurus is forming a flowing and stabilizing trine aspect with Jupiter and Pluto in Capricorn. Venus is shining bright as an Evening Star and is likewise the bright blessing involved in the dynamics of the Aries New Moon. Venus in Taurus correlates with the steadying presence of artistic expression that has been bringing people together who would otherwise be isolated within quarantine. Whether through singing together from balconies or utilizing technology to stream art, song, and storytelling, the unifying comfort brought through shared creativity has been pleasing to Venus in Taurus. Venus is also engaged in a square aspect with Ceres in Aquarius during the New Moon, emphasizing that the capacity of Venus in Taurus to find stability in whatever resources are available needs our focus rather than panicking over fear of lack and hoarding resources from those who need it.
During the first week of April when Mars will be stirring up tension between Saturn and Uranus and Jupiter will be uniting with Pluto, Venus will also be experiencing a major change. On April 1, Venus will go out of bounds in northern declination and then on April 3, Venus will enter Gemini as it visually forms a conjunction with the Pleiades in the night sky. Venus will remain out of bounds for two months, and due to Venus stationing retrograde on May 12, Venus will also be remaining in Gemini until August 7. Venus will be untethered, freedom seeking, and creatively curious as the Moon waxes full in her airy home of Libra on April 7. It will be ideal to make space and time for creative experimentation and exploration once Venus enters Gemini.
Meanwhile, Mercury in Pisces is entering its period of being at maximum elongation as a Morning Star, meaning that it will be picking up speed to play its fleet footed messenger role with full aplomb. Mercury is retracing the degrees it previously moved retrograde in Pisces and will cross the degree where it previously stationed retrograde on March 29. Typically this is the phase of Mercury during which to put into practice whatever innovations were developed during its previous retrograde phase, however world events have taken such a dramatically different turn that it truly feels like we are operating within a different climate now. Mercury in Pisces can bring guidance through intuition and sensing the emotional needs of others.
During the first week of April, Mercury will form a conjunction with Neptune in Pisces on April 3 during the same time that Venus enters Gemini, Jupiter conjoins Pluto, and Mars forms a square aspect with Uranus. Mercury’s union with Neptune can be productive for those involved in musical, artistic, imaginative, poetic, and other forms of creative work, but can otherwise cast a mist over communication that will require making an effort to gain as much clarity as possible.
Aries 1 Decan
The Aries New Moon will emerge within the first face of Aries associated with the Two of Wands card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith. The image involves a conquering figure holding a globe in one hand as he gazes from a protective castle into an expansive terrain. It is the body of water that appears to have secured his focus in this moment, and the presence of the globe seems to imply a moment of reflection regarding expanding his influence or dominion. The grandiose ambition and confident assertion present in the image is fitting considering that Mars rules the first decan of Aries, giving Mars both domicile and face rulership over the Aries New Moon.
Austin Coppock in his book 36 Faces ascribed the symbol of “The Axe” to the first decan of Aries, which has a long association with furiously martial figures who dominate enemies and assure victory in battle. For example, the Liber Hermetis ascribed an image of a man “standing on feet like claws,” while “holding above his head a double-sided axe with both hands.” Coppock deepened the symbolism of the axe through linking it to the splitting and separation from “the One” of ancient wisdom traditions, a severing necessary for creation and growth. Coppock linked this separation to “building a distinct and individual life . . . the individual yang struggling out of the collective yin” which he compared to both the cutting of the umbilical cord between child and mother and the cutting of trees to build homes in the wilderness.
While the martial ambition found in this face and pictured in the Two of Wands card can be linked with empire builders who wish to amass power for themselves, its primordial fire is also what brings the inspiration and foresight required to throw off the shackles of empire and insist on liberation. Chiron is tending the celestial fire of the Aries New Moon so that we may seek counsel with our ancestors, sustain patient compassion amid strife and separation, and kindle courage to enter the fray of the unknown with creative vibrancy and a flexible consciousness ready to respond and bring nurturing support wherever it is needed. Liz Greene in The Astrological World of Jung’s Liber Novus shared the following passage from Carl Jung’s Black Book that gets to the heart of the ancient potency found in the first face of Aries:
“He [Phanes] is foresight. He is the end of fear. He is the sprouting seed, the opening bud . . . He is the spring and the desert. He is the safe haven and the stormy night. He is the certainty in desperation. He is the solid in dissolution. He is the liberation from imprisonment. He is counsel and strength in advancement. He is the friend of man, the light emanating from man, the bright glow that man beholds on his path.”
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Coppock, Austin. (2014). 36 Faces: the history, astrology, and magic of the decans. Three Hands Press.
Greene, Liz. (2018). The Astrological World of Jung’s Liber Novus: Daimons, Gods, and the Planetary Journey. Routledge.
Hill, Judith. (2013). Eclipses and You: How to Align with Life’s Hidden Tides. Stellium Press.