The Spring Equinox has been celebrated for centuries. But what does it mean in astrology?
By Monika Anna, author of the upcoming Astro-Luna Journal
With the new life bursting and buzzing everywhere around us in the Northern Hemisphere, we can smell the freshness of Spring in the air. Spring Equinox, which is around the corner, brings a renewed sense of hope and lightness. Life is exploding with energy, breaking through the frozen ground and pushing away any obstacle that stands in its way.
The beginning of astrological Spring starts when the Sun enters 0 degree of Aries at the Spring Equinox. This is when the Sun is at the Equator, and from that moment his journey north brings more light and fire into the Northern Hemisphere. Aries The Ram stands at the gates of this new season and its instinctual nature dares us to be fearless and start a new adventure.
If you (like so many other people) are really attached to your New Year’s resolutions but by mid January they are all forgotten and discarded, Spring brings the time of renewal of those commitments. The fire of Aries can help us pick up all those promises, dust them off and breathe new life into them. We are full of vigour and ready to take actions and steps to fulfil our New Year’s dreams and intentions.
There is no reason to wait until next January, when there are already so many beautiful new beginnings throughout the year. Knowing about them can help us use their energy to renew ourselves, our plans and intentions.
A New Revolution Around The Sun
For a lot of Western Astrologers Aries, as a first sign in the Zodiac Wheel begins a new year, for all of us it is the start of a new season but Spring is not the only time of fresh, new beginnings.
Astrology is a reflection on the cycles and rhythms that are happening all around us. It shows us that the starting points are happening on many levels and involve different aspects of our lives. Understanding those cycles, the energy of the planets involved and the specific rhythms they follow can help us navigate those tides of energy the way sailors would navigate rising and falling tides in the ocean.
The most popular cycle is the monthly moon cycle which goes from the darkness of a new moon, to the light of a full moon, and then back again. This rhythm is linked not only with a women’s cycle, but in astrological terms it’s also linked to our emotions, the power of embodying and manifesting our dreams, and feminine energy of nourishment and protection. Working with the moon can deepen our mindfulness practice, re-connect us to our bodies as we observe them throughout the month and help strengthen our capacity for reflection – a much needed skill in times of overwhelming data invasion and ever increasing FOMO anxiety.
The moon is the quickest of the planets and the closest to us, so her influence can be experienced much easier. Astrology speaks about planets and their cycle as a “revolution around the sun”, explaining how they all have their own archetypal energies and different symbolism, as well as different length of rotation. Paying attention to this movement can give an insight into the archetypal world.
For example, the two-year orbit of Mars can manifest strongly with temper tantrums and “terrible twos”. We experience very early on in life how to assert ourselves, begin to set our own boundaries and express our anger, which are all qualities symbolically assigned to this red, hot planet. Jupiter takes around 12 years to travel around the Sun, and his journey reflects our first introduction into society and our place with it. Our worldview is formed. The famously dreaded Saturn Return at around age of 30 marks a time of maturity in our lives, taking responsibility and accountability for the life we’ve built, mistakes we’ve made, and foundations we’ve built.
There are also longer cycles that do not affect us personally as much as they affect generations, nations or cultures. One of the examples is the cycle of a planetary pair meeting once in a while, separated by their different journeys only to meet in the future again. Like racing cars with different speeds on a circular circuit, where they come together for a while before one takes over and races so quickly it then catches up to the slower one again, to say hi and yet again wizz quickly forward.
Jupiter and Saturn come together every 20 years to talk about changes in society, and clearly mark generational gaps. They create a dance of contraction and expansion that is fairly easy to see by looking back in history. Times of purity and restrictions are interwoven with times of liberation and growth, and the symbolism of these two planets is closely associated with these themes.
An extra layer of their encounter comes from the fact that each time they meet over a duration of around 200 years, they do so in the signs of the zodiac from the same elemental group (water, fire, air, earth). For the past 2 centuries they were coming together in earth signs (Taurus, Virgo, Capricorn), only to change their meeting point to the air signs. With their latest encounter in December 2020 in the sign of Aquarius, they shifted us into a new symbolic paradigm. This rhythm pulsates on a much larger scale, defining not just generations but whole cultures and their shifts.
Another a large cycle belongs to Pluto, who needs 248 years to complete his orbit around the Sun. As humans we simply do not live long enough to see the Plutonian influence in our own lives, but we can experience and observe it on the level of countries that have their own birth charts and birthdays. The USA, which was “born” in 1776, saw Pluto in the sky at 27 degrees of Capricorn. This year, after 246 years, Pluto has returned to the same part of the sky, bringing with him themes of transformation, regeneration, power and its shadow. Looking at the USA through the lens of that symbolism can give us an interesting insight into what is happening in that society at the moment, and how it metaphorically and symbolically links to the country’s conception.
Some of those renewals we can only observe and experience on a much larger national or cultural level, while others are very personal and tailored to us and our own birth chart.
Why is this so important and why learn about these cycles?
I believe there are a few benefits from observing these planetary rhythms in our own lives:
- Understanding archetypal symbolism of the planetary cycle can help us gain insight and meaning into what is happening in our lives and why things are happening the way they do. Planets do not make things happen, but the synchronicity between their meaning and the meaning of events in our own lives can be eerily accurate.
- Astrology can help transition our way of thinking from the profane into the sacred. From everyday life, to the symbolic interaction with the universe. From linear time of future oriented people to a cyclical time of nature that goes through the birth of spring to loss in autumn, death in the depths of winter, to the renewal in spring again. By reflecting on the themes that occur in your life around the cycles of the planets we can gain insight into what might come up for us again, when the same archetypal energy returns and begins its revolution again.
- Recognising moments of new beginnings in our own lives, specific to our own rhythm can assist in working with the energies instead of against them. Recognising times of change can give that extra push for the projects, relationships or other commitments.
New Cycle, New You! Your Solar Return
“So what about the more personal cycles we could pay attention to?”
Your birthday is one of the most important one – It’s the ultimate personal cycle.
An astrologer’s fundamental tool is a birth chart, which is the snapshot of the heavens at the time and place of your birth. Your Solar Return is another map of the sky at the moment when the Sun in the sky returns to the same position in the sign and degree it was at the time of your birth. This happens every year around your birthday, but not necessarily on the same day. Your solar return chart is used for forecasting the themes that might come up during the following year. It gives us a flavour of the life ahead, speaks of the archetypal energy that we might encounter during the next 12 months, the energy that can help us achieve our dreams or challenge us. Our birthday is our unique personal new year, new beginning, new birth. We can use this special moment not just to receive presents and eat cake, but to set intentions for the next 12 months of our lives. Supported by the knowledge of astrology, we can understand which areas of our life might be worth paying closer attention to.
On the day before, the day of and the day after your birthday it’s worth observing what themes and encounters are happening in your life, as they might give you a metaphorical insight into things to come. It does not have to be about divination or forecasting, like meeting a handsome stranger or winning the lottery. It can be more subtle than that. Like a theme in a story, our birthday can give us a clue into how this tale will unfold, which characters will be playing important roles and in which area of life we will see the most action.
Personal Moon – Lunar Return
The Sun and Moon are called the Luminaries, and in the horoscope these two bring special light. They are the most prominent planets in the astrological chart, and their rhythm is an important one to follow if you want to go deeper into understanding of your own Inner Light.
Having knowledge of your own natal chart can take your moon practice a step further. At the time of your birth, the moon was in a specific sign at a specific degree. Every month the moon will go back to that part of the sky and to the degree of the zodiac, making it an important time of lunar return for you personally. It marks a time to go even deeper into your intentions, into embodying your values, understanding your emotions and how you nourish yourself. This cycle can show themes that will manifest in a specific area in your life, which can help your set intentions aligned with that specific sphere of your life.
Where to start?
New cycles give us the opportunity to start fresh, but it is up to us how much energy we will put in. Understanding the rhythm of the cosmos and how it’s reflected in our own microcosmos can assist in aligning our work with the archetypal energies, which in turn can help navigate those tides of cosmic shifts much easier, as we travel with rather than against the tide.
The good news is you do not need any knowledge of astrology to start working with the cycles. The easiest way is working with the new moon phase, even without knowing the zodiac sign in which this phase occurs, or where in your specific birth chart it happens. You can still experience the darkness of the night with no moon, and put time on the side for reflection and journaling, as well as setting up intentions.
It does not matter if you start with the moon phase, the personal lunar return, your solar return or observing any of the longer cycles, as they transform your own life. All of the new beginnings of the cycles share the same quality of hope and renewal.
New beginnings and endings
And like with everything in nature, a new beginning comes after an ending, so to experience the full force of that new cycle it’s good practice to reflect on the cycle that is currently closing. By recognising the lessons learned, and letting go of any baggage that will only hinder our progress, we prepare for our new adventure. Think of the new beginning as you would think about a birthday – with the light of the candle bringing hope and the intention of dreams that can manifest and come true.
Which of those cycles do you already follow and how are they helping you thrive and grow with spring in your soul?