At dawn on Thursday, April 7, the New Moon in Aries arrives. Boom! Peek at the chart below. You’ll see an incendiary lineup that includes the Sun and Moon, and also Venus, Uranus and the asteroid Eris all in Aried. Add Saturn and Mars in Sagittarius, and we’ve got a whole lotta fire goin’ on.
A New Moon is a dark time, ripe for planting seeds. Still, with this much free energy, we should expect action, yes? No. Yes, there is an overabundance of energy. No, it’s not going to be moving. Not, at least, where we can see it. Mars, who rules Aries, isn’t going anywhere right now. He turns retrograde on April 17 and is already slowing down. He’s moving so slowly, in fact, he might as well be stopped. So are we.
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Another drag on forward movement is Saturn, currently retrograde. He’s flowing energy to the New Moon in a trine. His energy is more brake than accelerator. Aries is all dressed up with nowhere to go. Or, rather, he knows a big party is happening but he can’t get there. This does not make Aries happy.
How do we work with this energy?
We can sit around feeling incredibly frustrated and irritable. You will meet folks this month who have fallen into that option. Treat them with as much gentleness as you can and don’t feed the trolls.
We can bear down and keep working. This brakes-on Mars remains with us for a few months. Meanwhile, the world will not stop. Life is not fair. So, we accept things won’t be easy right now. We keep at it. If we do, we’re likely to reap rich rewards. They just won’t come quickly. Remember, Saturn’s watchwords are patience and hard work.
We can focus the fire inward and engage in deep inner work. This is an excellent option.
Astrologer Austin Coppock suggests it’s time to move beyond the image of Mars as a warrior and cultivate new archetypes. The first he offers is the blacksmith. Blacksmiths are strong, direct, and work with fire. They make weapons but seldom wield them. They can beat swords into plowshares.
Blacksmiths hold the power of fire to transform lumps of ore into beautiful, functional things. During this slow-Mars time, think about lumps in your life that are ready to go into the fire and get beaten into shape. If you need inspiration, ask Brigid, ancient goddess of the Celts who rules healing, poetry, and smithcraft. April is National Poetry Month in the US, and National Poetry Writing Month: I am hoping to craft lumpish ideas into beautifully functional poems.
We can also become alchemists, those ancient chemists who sought to transform lead into gold. Fire was a constant in their work. Jung’s psychology draws on alchemical ideas, moving them into inner realms. When we dive into our darkest and most forbidding caves, mine the ore, and transform it in the crucible of the soul, we find our inner gold.
Chiron the wounded healer remains very close to the South Node of the Moon, the doorway from the past. They are both in Pisces, the final sign of the zodiac. This is the place of loss, of dissolving, of unmaking. Many of us are encountering ghosts of the past lately, whether it’s the literal appearance of people we haven’t seen in a long time, or a surfacing of old hurts we thought we’d laid to rest.
This New Moon in the generative fire of Aries, the place of new growth, is perfect for planting seeds of healing and release. As always, check your birth chart to see where this New Moon falls for you. Look for 18 degrees of Aries. The house that holds that degree also holds the New Moon. If you have planets or chart angles in and around 18 (between 13 and 23 degrees of any sign), they will be receiving energy from this New Moon. These factors can help pinpoint where your smithcraft and alchemy will be most needed, and how they can be most effective.
A Note: Check your birthchart to see if you were born with Mars retrograde. If so, these relatively rare Mars retro periods may be special times for you. You are likely to weather them better than the rest of us, and may find they are periods of deep change in your life.
I will soon embark on a long trip through Ireland. This is the land of my ancestors, a place I feel deeply connected to (South Node). I am, as always, on a personal journey of discovery, and hoping for new healing (Chiron). In my chart, the New Moon falls in the Eighth House of transformation, leaning into the Ninth House of journeys. My New Moon seeds will be wishes that the effort I’ve put into this trip, and into my own work, will bear gifts of healing and creativity. I will wish also for patience in the face of possible delays, and the ability to find the gift, however hidden it may be, in every circumstance.
Another image Coppock offers for Mars Retrograde is that of the ordeal. Not the modern “this sucks” version, but the classic idea of a trial, a time of great difficulty, from which we emerge stronger, wiser, and better. My wish for you is that your ordeals are brief and your rewards rich. At this New Moon, we can all plant seeds of strength, courage, and resilience.
I’m indebted to The Astrology Podcast episode on Mars Retrograde for concepts included in this post. Host Chris Brennan interviewed Nick Dagan Best and Austin Coppock, both experts on Mars Retrograde. Since Mars is a quirky beast when he turns retro, the interview was intriguing and helpful. Check it out!