The Aries New Moon will occur on March 21 at 10:22 a.m. Pacific time at 0 degrees 49 minutes of Aries. The first degree of Aries is the beginning of the astrological New Year, and this year the New Moon comes just a day after the March 20 Equinox, the balance point of light and dark that launches the spring season in the Northern Hemisphere and the fall in the south. The significations for Aries are about beginnings and singleness of purpose.
A circle has no actual beginning or end point. Yet to the extent that cycles do begin and end, Aries is preceded by Pisces, which has to do with closures and undifferentiated wholeness. It is out of what is called a primordial soup that life on Earth somehow began. Yet Creation is not a single event. It is in constant motion.
Aries is like the precise moment of physical birth. It is urgent and brave. When someone or something has just been born, its first mission is to survive. Aries moves forward, instinctively. It’s a quality of: Me First, everyone else second.
The glyph for Aries looks like the horns of a ram, and the body part ruled by Aries is the head. One is compelled to start something. Any New Moon time is like that, an initiation, but it’s all the more so when the New Moon is in Aries. It’s time to jump first and ask questions later.
The Aries New Moon of 2023 is more intense than in other years because there are several other sky bodies also traveling through Aries. Mercury, which always travels within 28 degrees of the Sun, is also in Aries right now, so if you find yourself being extra sharp-tongued, you’re right in sync.
Jupiter and Chiron are within two degrees of each other in Aries. On March 11, they were exactly conjoined, as they are only about every 13 to 20 years. Chiron is known in myth as the “wounded healer,” and Jupiter is a great magnifier of whatever it’s allied with. Jupiter and Chiron together spell a healing opportunity, but not a quick fix. Chiron represents a kind of primal wound that everyone carries. It’s a wound that never fully heals, and yet the ongoing quest for resolution is what gives that patched-up wound some sort of a purpose in one’s life.
All of the astrological symbols offer many possibilities, meaning that the consciousness of any individual plays a large role in how things will pan out.
Following this Aries New Moon, two planetary sign changes will occur, one involving Pluto and the other Mars.
Pluto changes signs only about every 20 years, making it a generational marker, correlating with major shifts in how human societies organize themselves. Mars is one is one of the “inner planets” that travels close to the Sun and changes signs often. Its correlations are mostly in the personal and inter-personal realms.
Because Pluto has such a slow and elliptical orbit around the Sun, it doesn’t just go into a sign and stay there for 20 years. Instead, Pluto moves back and forth between its new sign and the preceding one for a while, like an adjustment period. On March 23, Pluto will dip into Aquarius until June 11, then go back to Capricorn. Then in January 2024, Pluto will go back to Aquarius until September 2024 before finally settling into Aquarius from November of 2024 until 2043.
Aquarius, the fixed air sign, comes with multiple meanings—everything from technological advances, surveillance, and social control, to equally powerful drives for individual freedom and democracy. There is much astrological speculation about how Pluto’s transit through Aquarius will manifest, and to that I would say: who knows?
Pluto is about processes of taking things apart and re-configuring them. Pluto does not go easy. Its coming sojourn through Aquarius will be felt most personally by people with fixed-sign planets prominent in their charts
As for the Aries New Moon, its ruling planet is Mars. On March 25, Mars will move from Gemini, where it has been since last August, into Cancerian waters. This is an uncomfortable sign for Mars to pass through because Mars’ energy is go-go-go, and Cancer is reserved and cautious. It’s not an impossible combination. Someone who by birth has Mars in Cancer may hustle and compete out in the public world while longing to retreat to their comfy chair by the woodstove’s fire.
About two thousand years ago, Hellenistic astrologers formulated as set of principles from which subsequent astrologies have derived. In ancient Hellenistic astrology, each planet is deemed to be dignified or debilitated, exalted or in its fall in particular signs. Mars, for example, is considered to be in its fall, i.e. challenged in its archetypal functions, when it passes through Cancer. But having a planet in fall does not mean someone’s life is wrecked. It means they have to focus and work harder in certain areas of life than others—which, by the way, can yield amazing results.
When it comes to planets in their fall, I rely on the work of Gray Crawford, who’s an expert in both Hellenistic and modern archetypal astrology. He has studied with Demetra George, one of just a few leading scholars of Hellenistic astrology. In part 1 of her massive tome, Ancient Astrology, Demetra writes that planets in their fall carry “both the meaning of lower status—humble, base, low born—and the corresponding state of melancholy; downcast spirits.”
Gray has taken this traditional view of planets such as Mars in Cancer as a starting point for his own research and re-framing of planets in their fall. In one of his biweekly essays posted on his website, Gray writes that:
Planets in fall can be viewed as falling out of the mainstream and the exalted power structure of social hierarchy. Planets in fall may signify matters undervalued by the dominant culture or falling outside what consensus society esteems as elite or idealized. Planets in fall may also become drawn toward working on behalf of those marginalized by societal structures. While exalted planets can tumble from lofty heights, planets in fall can rise up.”
As we enter this spring season, it’s true that Pluto, a force of dismantling something old to make way for the new, is going to move slowly over the first degree of edgy Aquarius. There is likely to be uncertainty about the future. For a shorter time this spring, Mars will be in an uneasy transit through Cancer. These are “mundane transits” that affect everyone in unique ways.
I bring up these planetary sign changes because many people worry about what’s coming next astrologically. Like with challenging horoscope placements and events in one’s own life, we don’t wish for difficulties, but they surely are grist for the mill of personal growth. In the courageous spirit of Aries, one forges on.
Blessings for the Vernal Equinox and the Aries New Moon!