Solar Eclipse in Aries
“You, darkness, of whom I am born– / I love you more than the flame / that limits the world / to the circle it illuminates / and excludes all the rest.
But the dark embraces everything: / shapes and shadows, creatures and me, / people, nations–just as they are.
It lets me imagine / a great presence stirring beside me.
I believe in the night.The Night by Rainer Maria Rilke
Anyone who has been in the presence of a total solar eclipse knows the strange, otherworldly experience of the bright light of day becoming consumed by the darkness of night. In an instant everything changes. The blackness of night suddenly overcoming the light of day evokes an eerie threshold, with a palpable sense of liminality felt in the moment. In astrology, eclipses involve the symbolism of thresholds in which endings occur in some storylines while new beginnings burst forth from others. The Aries Solar Eclipse on April 19 or 20, depending upon your time zone, will coincide with a swiftly shifting, accelerated pace of change that could feel overwhelming. Yet by creating space for slowing down when possible and mindfully attuning to the interplay between internal and external change, we may align our trajectory with the propulsive currents so that we may discover new sources of inspiration and creative directions to develop in the weeks following the eclipse. As the Aries Solar Eclipse will be followed by a Scorpio Lunar Eclipse on 5 May, in order to fully embrace a new direction we will need to come to terms with what needs to be shed and released from the past.
The lunar nodes demarcate eclipses whenever a new moon or full moon conjoins them, as the nodes are the intersection between the apparent path of the Sun with the orbital arc of the Moon. As the word node comes from the Latin nodus or “knot,” there is a symbolism of unravelling that comes with eclipses. Within current events we can witness how knots that bind together aspects of society unravel while we also can feel how the knots binding together our inner multiplicity into different forms of identity also become loosened to enable a reweaving of presence. The unraveling of associated feelings can be difficult, yet the process can help dislodge us from places we have been stuck while making us aware of vital feelings that have been repressed or ignored. We may also realize how we have been projecting our fears in ways that have kept us tied up in a limiting pattern from the past, while gaining clarified awareness of vibrant new directions to pursue.
There are multiple ways in which the Aries Solar Eclipse can usher in a potent season of new beginnings. Since the eclipse is aligned with the North Node of the Moon it signifies new forms and desires gestating within us that can feel simultaneously inspiring and confusing. The Aries Solar Eclipse is also at the final degree of Aries, emphasizing the importance of new directions and intentions that coincided with the previous New Moon on 21 March that took place at the first degree of Aries. The emphasis on the full range of the fiery, cardinal sign of Aries is the reason we can expect a rush of quickly changing events to coincide with the eclipse. As the Solar Eclipse is also the first eclipse in a series of eclipses that will be taking place in Aries and Libra in the next two years, we have additional symbolism re-emphasizing the likelihood of important new directions emerging within the rush of events. A balance will need to be struck between making sure we are not rushing too quickly ahead while also making sure we are not overly cautious to the point that we refuse the call of an important path. It will be important to discern what you are consuming and make the necessary time and space to digest and integrate the elements that will bring nourishment and foster the growth you wish to pursue.
Due to the solar eclipse taking place at the final degree of Aries, the Moon will be separating from a conjunction with Jupiter in Aries while applying toward a close square aspect with Pluto in Aquarius. The Sun will be eclipsed within its exaltation of Aries, at the same time the Sun will be preparing to exit from its exalted status to enter Taurus, a zodiacal sign that offers no special status to the Sun. As a result, we can expect stories of people with exalted status within society having a fall from the heights of fortune, fame, authority, or power. More importantly, we can also consider how certain dreams, visions, or ideals that we have exalted in the past no longer carry the same luster for us. The catalyzing square between the eclipse with Pluto means we will need to pay attention to places where we are holding on too tightly to past attachments, ideals, or identities that need to be laid to rest. Rather than resisting the regeneration of Pluto, be curious about however you are feeling you need to shed past identities or goals or make significant alterations to previous plans and ambitions. Pluto has only been in Aquarius since 23 March and is only at the beginning of a twenty year journey through the sign of the Water Pourer. The Aries Solar Eclipse will bring crucial lessons in how we have been adjusting to the tectonic restructuring brought by Pluto entering a new sign.
The eclipse forming a square with Pluto has a strong connection with the origin eclipse in the Saros cycle family that the Aries Solar Eclipse belongs to. Eclipses come in families known as the Saros cycle, with the origin eclipse of each family beginning at either the south or north pole and then tracing a serpentine path around our world every eighteen or so years, moving ahead eleven degrees of celestial longitude each time. The origin eclipse of the Aries Solar Eclipse’s family took place on 3 October 1103 and formed an opposition with Pluto. Due to the opposition with Pluto as well as that the origin eclipse was at the midpoint of Venus and Mars, Bernadette Brady in Predictive Astrology: The Eagle and the Lark described this series as “a very sensual family of eclipses, ranging from sudden sexual passions and lust to birth and procreative drives.” Fitting for an eclipse series connected with Pluto, Brady wrote that this eclipse family “is not subtle, and can catch people off guard and confront them with their own very deep passion which may have been hidden for many years.” Brady’s analysis of the eclipse family themes that stem from the origin eclipse resonates with the ways in which the clash between the Aries Solar Eclipse and Pluto can uproot buried desires.
Although the Solar Eclipse is the first to take place in the signs of Aries and Libra, the transiting lunar nodes are in Taurus and Scorpio where they will remain for another three moths. As a result, during 2023 we will have a transitional year in which we will experience the first two solar eclipses occurring in Aries and Libra while we also experience the final two lunar eclipses occurring in Scorpio and Taurus. Thus while new stories associated with Aries and Libra will be beginning this year, we will simultaneously need to be resolving storylines associated with the eclipses in Taurus and Scorpio that began toward the end of 2021 when there was a Lunar Eclipse in Taurus on 19 November 2021. In between the Aries Solar Eclipse on 20 April and the Scorpio Lunar Eclipse on 5 May we will need to address emerging issues with the realization that some elements will need to be resolved or released as part of a larger process that will also be bringing us into closer relationship with inspiring new directions.
Overseeing this transitional year of eclipses will be the volcanic intensity of Pluto, as Pluto will be in range of a square aspect with the transiting lunar nodes during all four eclipses whether they take place in Aries, Taurus, Libra, or Scorpio. Ever since Pluto entered Aquarius on 23 March the tension of Pluto forming a square aspect with the lunar nodes has been in effect. However, the Sun becoming eclipsed while forming a square aspect with Pluto will pull us more deeply into the dynamic. Pluto is at the southern bending of the lunar nodes, a place of unconscious depth befitting the nature of Pluto. Though the eclipse will amplify desires for growth and new directions we can associate with the North Node of the Moon, Pluto will nonetheless demand engagement with the solutio dissolution of the South Node of the Moon in Scorpio. There may be a need to grieve what has to be released and let go in order to move more fully into the pathway opening up ahead. We may notice as old attachments and identities dissolve within the dark waters of Scorpio, a more authentic presence will begin to coagulate into clearer form as we experience a disintegration of the places where we had become fixated or stuck. Whatever the case, Pluto will be calling us to attend to our emotions and whatever emotional process we need to traverse before rushing ahead too quickly.
Pluto will continue to be a major influence over the forthcoming eclipse season due to stationing retrograde on 1 May while being in close orb of a square aspect with the lunar nodes. After Pluto stations retrograde, both Pluto and the lunar nodes will continue to move slowly retrograde together so that they will continue to remain in range of a square aspect for the rest of 2023. Pluto will not form an exact square to the “mean” calculation of the lunar nodes until 3 August 2023 and an exact square to the “true” calculation of the lunar nodes until 22 July 2023, and so whatever process we can notice is brewing between Pluto and the nodes will continue to develop with increasing intensity in the months ahead. As Pluto will be stationing retrograde in the first degree of Aquarius where the grand conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn took place at the end of 2020, Pluto will be drawing our attention to the places where we have been giving away too much of our power and the places we need to take our power back. Pluto can ultimately guide us through a process of developing a more secure sense of empowerment in navigating through the various collective crises that will continue to morph and mutate in the months ahead.
It’s further worth noting that the Solar Eclipse at 29º50’ Aries is opposite the degree where Venus formed her superior conjunction with the Sun last 22 October 2022 at 29º26’ Libra. The Libra conjunction between Venus and the Sun was groundbreaking, as it was the first to occur in Libra since 1879 and initiated a new era of solar conjunctions for Venus in Libra that will occur over the course of the next century. Consider the seeds of new desires and creative directions that were planted at that time, and how the current phase of Venus shining bright as an Evening Star is illuminating your present relationship and manifestation of those desires. Even if you must deal with difficult events associated with the Aries Solar Eclipse, pay attention to how your experiences are bringing you into deeper contact with what needs to be changed or altered within your relationships and creative expression to make your essential creative desires a reality.
The Aries Solar Eclipse is ruled by Mars in Cancer, placing the red planet in the watery home of the Moon at the same time the Moon is eclipsing the Sun. Mars in Cancer possesses extremes of creative expression yet the extremity of its emotional expression can become particularly unbalanced when under the influence of a potent eclipse. Fortunately, Mars in Cancer is not engaged in any difficult aspects during the eclipse and instead is in the middle of harmonious and dynamically creative aspects with Uranus and Mercury in Taurus. The creative sextile aspect between Mars with Uranus can fuel and motivate our drive for pursuing the inspiring creative directions that emerge from the blackness of the eclipse.
As previously mentioned, since North Node eclipses as well as eclipses taking place in the cardinal, fire sign of Aries indicate a surge of activity accelerating in speed, we can expect to have to navigate fast moving events in the wake of the eclipse. Yet Mercury will be bringing key messages, omens, and signs indicating ways in which we will need to slow down and apply focused mindfulness to our experience. Mercury will station retrograde at 15º37’ Taurus a day after the eclipse on 21 April while also remaining in orb of a harmonious sextile aspect with Mars in Cancer that will become exact on 23 April. The three weeks of Mercury’s retrograde that begin on 21 April can be utilised for breaking habits that are inefficient or holding you back from moving to a new level of development. Notice where you have blindly followed structures and rules that are no longer in your best interest, and find ways to reorganise and implement more effective routines. Since Mercury will station retrograde in close proximity with Uranus in Taurus at the same time that the Taurus Moon will be moving in between them, we may receive visions and messages of liberated paths to pursue at the same time we deepen awareness for what needs to be changed in order to gain greater freedom in pursuing our most essential creative desires.
Greater clarity may be gained when Mercury forms a conjunction with the sun on 1 May, while Pluto in Aquarius intensifies by stationing retrograde. Listen for messages in dreams and synchronicities that Mercury will be providing, which can help in seeding ideas to develop in the months ahead. In the three weeks following the Aries Solar Eclipse, Mercury will move backwards through Taurus in retrograde motion until stationing direct at 5º50’ Taurus on 14 May 2023. Mercury will ultimately station direct at the same time that Jupiter in Aries will activate the eclipse by reaching 29º50’ Aries on 15 May 2023. Events connected with the eclipse that will be continuing to develop will have a close affinity and relationship with the forthcoming period of Mercury retrograde in Taurus, and there will likely be significant developments occurring once Mercury stations direct at the same time Jupiter activates the eclipse degree. The more we deepen into relationship with the process Mercury retrograde wants to guide us through, the more effectively we will be able to take advantage of the opportunities that can come in mid May once Mercury stations direct and Jupiter activates the eclipse degree.
Aries 3 Decan
The Sun will be eclipsed by the Moon in the final degree of the third decan of Aries, associated with the Four of Wands tarot arcanum illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith. It’s not clear who the figures in the center of the image are, if they are performers being celebrated or celebrants participating in communal festivities. What is clear is the lovingly decorated garland filled with vivacious blossoms and the combined symbolism of a bridge and large castle in the background: the figures are in a centering and protective place from which to express their creativity and charisma. T Susan Chang in her book 36 Secrets described the Four of Wands as a “temporary refuge” and “safe haven” similar to Rivendell in the Lord of the Rings trilogy, a moment to take comfort and refuge from whatever ordeals you have been enduring. Although Aries is the domicile of contentious and combative Mars, the third decan of Aries is ruled by Venus and Jupiter, the two traditional planets most associated with fertile growth, sources of abundant pleasure, and creative vision.
While Venus is not naturally comfortable in Aries, she is capable of manifesting success and achievement in the third face of Aries despite it being an environment suited for the fiery assertiveness of Mars and the radiant grandeur of the Sun. Austin Coppock in his book 36 Faces ascribed the image of “The Burning Rose” to the third face of Aries, attributing to it “the power of art to overcome hostility,” and “the power of the spirit to unify and seduce, to motivate and to bond those of confluent passions.” Coppock further noted this decan requires “the martial heat of the battlefield,” as it is the battle-ready ferocity of Aries turned toward artistic performance and charismatic presentation that gives this decan its power “to create a commonality of spirit even in the most hostile conditions.” Yet Coppock also pointed out that the bonds formed within this face require its burning intensity to endure, whereas less intense passions are needed within longterm relationships. Thus it’s a face of “peak experiences” and “inspiring unions amidst life’s greatest struggles,” a place where “bonds are forged and spirits raised,” a decan which “grants the charisma to motivate and attract.”
With a potent eclipse extinguishing the light of the Sun in the third decan of Aries, we may need to explore the dark underbelly of our ambitious dreams of creative success and achievement. Henrich Cornelius Agrippa in Three Books of Occult Philosophy wrote that within the third face of Aries “rises the figure of a white man, pale, red hair, and dressed in red, with one hand wearing a gold bracelet and holding forth a staff. His likeness is as if [he is] restless and angry, because he cannot perform the good he wishes. This image confers talent, tameness, joy, and beauty.” When having to contend with overwhelming events associated with the eclipse, we may feel our own version of the restless anger of the figure not being able to enact his wishes. Though the eclipse may inspire grand visions of future opportunity, we will need to remain patient and accepting of our current circumstances as part of working toward our desired outcome.
In contrast, the image for the third decan of Aries found in the Hellenistic text Liber Hermetis wears a gold crown with glistening emeralds decorating her belly. She is full of magic and her staff has the heads of four serpents facing a polarity of directions. Her garments of dark rose are lined with golden strings and she seems to possess grace rather than the fury over constraints described by Agrippa. Her image suggests a figure of inner knowing who is in contact with the Eros of desires gestating within her, while remaining centered and grounded within the present state of her circumstances. The mythic figure of Eros is resonant with the third decan of Aries, as the Hellenistic text 36 Airs ascribed Eros to this decan. Indeed, the capacity of Eros to arouse passions into creations that inspire collective forces lies at the heart of the decan’s meaning.
While some spiritual lineages place Eros as a primordial, hermaphroditic deity at the dawn of Creation, later traditions made Eros into the cunning son of Aphrodite who constantly stirred up the troubles brought forth by lust in both mortals and gods with his bow and arrows. Whether you must contend with the troublesome shadow side of Eros or the more productively generative side, the darkness of the Aries Solar Eclipse will invite deeper relationship and intimacy with the many sides and colors of the deep Eros found within your inner psyche. May you be delighted by what you discover.
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Agrippa, Heinrich Cornelius. (2021). Three Occult Books of Philosophy. Translated by Eric Purdue. Inner Traditions.
Brady, Bernadette. (1998). Predictive Astrology: The Eagle and the Lark. Weiser Books.
Chang, T. Susan. (2021). 36 Secrets: A Decanic Journey through the Minor Arcana of the Tarot. Anima Mundi Press.
Coppock, Austin. (2014). 36 Faces: The History, Astrology and Magic of the Decans. Three Hands Press.