by Mary Pat Lynch
This bright, vibrant lunar cycle, moves from an Aries New Moon on the heels of the spring equinox to a second Aries New Moon, initiating the first eclipse season of 2023.
The spring equinox, also known as the Aries Ingress, begins the astrological year. And the New Moon initiates a fresh lunar cycle less than 24 hours later, commencing a round of the zodiac once more in a world made new.
As we might expect, this very Aries cycle includes great change, with the most significant arriving first. Within the first New Moon phase, Pluto enters Aquarius.
When Jupiter and Saturn met at 0° Aquarius in 2020, we clearly, definitively, entered an Age of Air. This Great Conjunction happened at the winter solstice, an important hinge of the year.
During the coming 200-year period, Jupiter–Saturn conjunctions, the Great Conjunctions, will happen in air signs. In the last cycle, an Age of Earth, we created the Industrial Revolution and our current world infrastructure. Now the focus shifts to air.
Pluto entering Aquarius on March 23 will confirm and deepen that shift. Saturn and Jupiter hope to keep our focus on high principles and long-range plans. We can expect innovation in communications, artificial intelligence, and computing. Pluto’s presence will ensure we also confront the soft underbelly and hidden costs of lofty ideals.
In June, Pluto will retrograde back into Capricorn until 2024. Look to the next few months for a preview of what Pluto will uncover during its time in fixed air.
This Aries lunar cycle also includes Mars’s entry into Cancer, Mercury entering Taurus, and Venus entering Gemini.
Mars will continue to remain out of bounds during this lunar cycle. This means he’ll be making up the rules as he goes along, with little reference to anything else, adding an eccentric vibe to the fires of Aries.
A note on time changes: As we enter this lunar cycle, some countries and the US have already switched to daylight savings time (on March 12). European countries will adjust during this cycle (on March 26), while Australia and New Zealand shift in early April. Check to be sure that your astrology apps are keeping up with the changes.
New Moon in Aries to Full Moon in Libra
The New Moon (0°49′ Aries) of March 21 forms part of a stellium in the sign of cardinal fire. Mercury and Jupiter, as well as the asteroids Chiron and Eris, are ready to light things up with the Sun and Moon.
Mercury at 5°04’ Aries remains combust, subsumed in the blaze of the Aries Sun. Our thoughts and perceptions (Mercury) align with our core identity (Sun) and our emotions (Moon).
Does this make us self-centered? This criticism often leveled at Aries might have some merit, yet there is a deeper pattern. Aries is the beginning, the alpha point, the moment of birth. Being born takes a lot of energy and focus.
We’re in a liminal space. Consider the aspects of the New Moon. Apart from the separating Mercury conjunction, the rest are out of sign. The Sun and Moon separate from a sextile to Pluto at 29°58’ Capricorn, a square to Mars at 28°11’ Gemini, and a conjunction with Neptune at 25°20’ Pisces.
As embryos, we begin in a dark, watery place, surrounded by the heartbeat and breath sounds of our mother. Being born is a dramatic, high-energy process of contraction and separation. We are thrust into a new world we cannot comprehend, a place of light, touch, and sound.
This transition is essential. We cannot stay in the womb. To experience life, we must be born.
In the Hellenistic understanding of the elements, fire and water are incompatible. Yet together they form part of a larger cycle. An ancient Vedic and Celtic motif I love to reference is called Fire-in-Water. Here we see water as the source from which the fire of life emerges.
From deep Piscean waters, Aries fire kindles new life.
The Crescent phase begins on March 25 with the Moon at 19°17’ Taurus. We slow down, take a breath, and acclimate to our new surroundings. We look for comfort, warmth, and sustenance.
This is a lovely place for the Moon, the sign of its exaltation. To reach 19°, the Moon first met the North Node, Mercury, and Uranus. Growth is underway. We see the advantage of Saturn’s move into a mutable sign: planets in Taurus are now free to expand without Saturnian limitations.
The same day, Mars enters Cancer to trine Saturn (2°02’ Pisces) and square the Sun (4°33’ Aries). Our principle of action needs to refocus. How do we find ways to actively and assertively nurture what is being born?
On March 28, still within the Crescent phase, Mercury will conjunct Jupiter at 18°13’ Aries. Both planets are under the beams of the Sun. Mercury is emerging from cazimi, while Jupiter draws nearer the Sun. Mercury and Jupiter have a happy meeting. Our thoughts, perceptions, and communications (Mercury) become energized and expansive (Jupiter).
Also on March 28, we enter the First Quarter Moon as the Moon at 8°08’ Cancer squares the Sun at 8°08’ Aries. This Moon separates from a conjunction with Mars (1°45’) that connects what we do with how we feel. Feelings will run high at this time, as the Moon, already sensitive in Cancer, is also out of bounds.
It is a time to take action during the First Quarter Moon. We have goals to reach. Mars rules the Aries Sun, but is currently in fall in Cancer. Is our capacity to act held back by our emotions? Do we need to integrate and balance these spheres so our actions are informed, but not limited by our feelings?
On March 30, within the First Quarter, Venus will conjunct Uranus at 16°44’ Taurus. The planet of relationship, creativity, and value, secure in her nighttime domicile, meets the planet of revolutionary change. How will our Venusian selves be challenged and renewed?
We enter the Gibbous phase on April 2, with the Moon at 27°12’ Leo and the Sun at 12°12’ Aries. This is a time when we confront an unexpected challenge. Having made it through goal setting during the Crescent and taking action during the First Quarter, we think we’re ready for the Full Moon. But maybe not.
With this Leo Moon, we might feel we’ve already made it. The sesquiquadrate (135°) to the Sun, a tight trine to Mercury, plus an out-of-sign yod suggest more data is needed.
The yod is a narrow triangle connecting planets that do not communicate easily. The planet at the top of the triangle (in this case, the Moon) is confronted with an imbalance that needs a solution.
Two planets at the base of the triangle form a sextile (60°) to each other and 150° angles (inconjunct or quincunx) to the apex, creating an awkward challenge. Here, we see Neptune at 25°45’ Pisces (a tight but separating inconjunct) and Pluto at 0°09’ Aquarius (an applying but out-of-sign inconjunct).
Leo Moons tend to feel sure of themselves, ready to step into the spotlight and look for accolades. These connections to Neptune and Pluto suggest our understanding of the world might not be as secure or as complete as we think it is. Time to recalibrate.
The next day, April 3, we’re reminded of the value of slowing down. Mercury enters Taurus, creating a square to Pluto. To approach the deepest kinds of knowing, we need contemplation, reflection, and radical honesty.
On April 5, the asteroid Chiron, who carries the archetype of the wounded healer, reaches its cazimi with the Sun. At this moment, our capacity to take action in service to our own healing will be renewed. Chiron needs to separate from the Sun before this can be shared, but we sense rejuvenation.
Full Moon in Libra to New Moon in Aries
On April 6, we reach the Full Moon at 16°07’ Libra opposing the Aries Sun. In Aries, the focus is on birth, emergence, the singularity of a new being, and the desire to experience life on our own terms. In Libra, we’re asked: What about everyone else?
We, humans, require community. However introverted we are, we still need connection in some form. We also recognize the many ways we rely on each other to survive and thrive. The role of this Full Libra Moon is to remind us we can’t go at it alone. We need each other. Life exists in ecosystems.
Yet, this Moon is alone in Libra, positioned across the chart from one stellium in Aries and another in Taurus. So much is going on. We feel the reemergence of energy and focus. But perhaps we’ve lost our balance. We need to reconnect.
Venus, the ruler of the Full Moon, is strong and grounded in Taurus. Perhaps the first connection to renew is the one with our own bodies. Aries fire and Libra air move fast and go far. Venus calls us home to good food, cozy surroundings, and rest.
This doesn’t mean we stop growing, changing, or reaching our goals. Less than an hour after the Full Moon, Mercury emerges fully from under the Sun’s beams to conjunct the North Node. Mercury in Taurus may not have the quickest answers, but connecting with the North Node enlivens our mental energies and keeps us firmly on track toward what we desire.
On April 9, we step into the Disseminating phase with the Moon at 9°45’ Sagittarius. Here, we share what we’ve learned and achieved so far in this lunar cycle. The Moon in Sagittarius has plenty to say and welcomes a wide audience to hear it. This Moon has slipped out of bounds again, so normal rules will not apply.
We may find ourselves saying too much. The Moon separates from a square to Saturn, but instead of pushing the Moon to stop oversharing, Saturn will add reports from the swampy fogs of early Pisces. The Moon is in the superior position and will have the stronger influence.
This phase includes three events that will spark more talk. First, on April 10, the Moon (20°55’ Sagittarius) trines the Sun (20°55’ Aries) and Jupiter (21°32’ Aries). This is, emphatically, not a quiet trine. There’s so much to say and so little time to say it: talk becomes louder and faster. Take care that it doesn’t get too heated.
Second, on April 11, Venus enters Gemini. Can we talk even faster? We’re about to find out. Venus has left her domicile but is supported by mutual reception with Mercury. Visiting each other’s domicile, they help each other out. Perhaps Mercury in Taurus can slow down the rush of words.
Finally, on the same day, the Sun and Jupiter reach conjunction at 21°45’ Aries. This is Jupiter’s cazimi, its annual renewal in the Sun’s fire. We cannot see Jupiter in the sky right now, but this connection lights up our capacity to expand, be enthusiastic, and explore new ways of knowing.
On April 13, the Last Quarter Moon in Capricorn might slow us down. The Moon (23°11’) squares the Sun (23°11’ Aries) and Jupiter (22°06’ Aries).
Since the Moon is in the superior position, the firm but steady hand of Capricorn may be able to redirect some of our exuberant energy into productive work. This Moon remains out of bounds and ready to push firmly for what she wants.
Venus applies to square Saturn, an aspect that will perfect on April 14. In this case, Saturn takes the superior position. We become more contemplative and, therefore, quieter.
We enter the Balsamic phase on April 16 with the Moon in Pisces. Finally, we find moments of stillness. Looking ahead, we sense the chaos of the coming eclipse. What do we need to let go of to prepare for our first eclipse season this year?
Pisces seeks renewal. This Moon separates from a conjunction with Saturn, a square to Venus, and a trine to Mars, while applying to sextile Mercury. In each case, the Moon asks: What can we release? What do we no longer need?
On April 20, this lunar cycle closes with an opening: a second New Moon in Aries. It is in the final degree and is also a solar eclipse. The eclipse will be visible over remote areas of Western Australia, East Timor, and Papua New Guinea. This is a rare hybrid eclipse that will appear as a total eclipse across the center of the eclipse path, and as an annular eclipse in wider bands on either side.
Key aspects of this lunation are the separating conjunction with Jupiter and a tight, applying, out-of-sign square to Pluto. Clearly, we are engaged with big energies.
Eclipses hide what we usually see and reveal what we normally miss. The change in light is disturbing, affecting the birds and animals around us, as well as our own perceptions.
The dimming of our luminaries opens the door to chaos. This is a time to observe, not intervene. We may need to wait months to see the changes initiated during this time.
This eclipse occurs with the Sun and Moon conjunct the North Node. It is part of Saros 129, a series that began in 1103 and will end in 2528. The Saros cycle tracks eclipses with similar geography that always occur at the same node of the Moon. The time between eclipses in a Saros series is 18 years and 11 days.
Eclipses are always significant in world affairs, although we often don’t see the effects immediately. How an eclipse will impact us personally depends on how it intersects with our birth charts.
Will this New Moon eclipse aspect key planets or points in your chart? If so, one way to prepare is to look back at previous eclipses in the same Saros series. Check this link for details on Saros 129.
We begin this lunar cycle with the launch of a new zodiacal year and themes of birth and rebirth. And we end the cycle in the chaotic light and darkness of the year’s first eclipse. Much has changed during this lunation period. Much will be revealed over the coming months. We are renewed.
Mary Pat Lynch is a consulting astrologer based in the mountains of western North Carolina. Her background includes psychological astrology, as well as mythic, magical, and archetypal perspectives. She publishes a blog focused on the lunar cycle, with podcast episodes for each New and Full Moon.