Written by Pam Younghans
Although the astrological New Year began on March 20 when the Sun entered Aries, up until now we hadn't yet experienced a New Moon to set the wheels of the new energy in motion. Finally, that lack of support from the lunar cycle is more than compensated for this week.
Our New Moon on Wednesday is not only in Aries, but also aligned with the dwarf planet Eris. This celestial body was discovered only very recently (first identified in October 2003 and not announced until January 2005), and so astrologers are still learning about her meaning. We find out a "new" planet's astrological significance by taking clues from the conditions that surrounded its discovery, understanding the symbolism of its namesake, and watching how it plays out in natal charts and current events.
The man who discovered and named Eris, astronomer Mike Brown, said he chose the name "because of the discord surrounding the planet classification system which demoted Pluto." Eris is larger than Pluto, and her discovery contributed to Pluto being "demoted" from planet to dwarf planet.
In mythology, Eris is known as the goddess of strife. She is the sister of Mars, the god of war, and is his feminine counterpart. It appears to be true that Eris can inspire us to take action, and not always by peaceful means. But we can also consider her to be the goddess of striving, since she seems to assist us in pushing ourselves beyond previous limitations.
Of all the descriptions I've read of Eris, this one, by astrologer Stephanie Austin in this month's The Mountain Astrologer, feels the best:
"Eris galvanizes us to strive for what we cherish most. [She] represents the discord created by addictions and attachments, as well as the creativity catalyzed by competition and hardship."
This Aries New Moon has the potential to inspire us to take action where we may otherwise have been feeling stuck. And, with the strong Eris influence, we may find ourselves pushed beyond our comfort zone or feeling competitive. With positive intention, however, we can use this "fighting spirit" to support our striving to be more and better than we have been before, rather than becoming sidetracked by minor (or major) irritations and frustrations.
The Sabian symbol for the location of the Sun and Moon at the time of the lunation also supports new beginnings, especially in terms of our growth in consciousness:
"The possibility for us to gain experience at two levels of being: The revelation of new potentialities."
To take advantage of the new possibilities that accompany this week's New Moon, we can follow these instructions, from astrologer Dane Rudhyar's interpretation of the symbol:
"Be open. Be able and willing to shape your translucent mind in the form revealing spiritual fulfillment. And you will be able to experience life and power on inner as well as outer planes."
This New Moon is also important because it marks the midway point between eclipses, and is exactly square (90 degrees from) the Capricorn Solar Eclipse that occurred on January 26. This means that it's time for us to consider our progress since then in taking charge of our lives, remaining in integrity with the truth of our Soul, and in identifying and aligning with our core values.
If you began a project in late January, it may be that this week marks a turning point, the opportunity to make a new start, or a time to shift your focus. For all of us, this New Moon is a call to action based on those eclipse themes of integrity, authority and Soul-alignment.
It may be a very good thing that we have Eris behind us, supplying the energy and courage we need to go forward.
The asteroid Juno appears several times in our "Highlighted Aspects" list for the week. Juno is the goddess of marriage, and her interactions with four planets indicates that we will likely have both challenges and opportunities for improvement in this area of our lives.
Neptune and Chiron both square Juno, stirring up possible areas of dissatisfaction and reminding us that perfection is an illusion. But at the same time, Saturn and Uranus make helpful aspects to the asteroid. Through these interactions, we are assisted in establishing new, more workable guidelines and methods within our partnerships (Saturn in Virgo). We also receive support in liberating ourselves from the restrictions of old relationship paradigms, moving into greater allowing and compassion (Uranus in Pisces).
And yes -- it's that time again! Mercury goes retrograde (backward) starting late Saturday/early Sunday, depending on your time zone. This 24-day retrograde phase means that Mercury will be in Taurus for over two months, instead of the average 30 days per sign. Since Taurus rules our values, material well-being and physical world priorities, these are the areas we will be reviewing from now until Mercury goes direct on May 11.
In general, Mercury retrograde supports all the "re-" words: review, renegotiate, rethink, reconsider, redesign, etc. His retrograde phase, coming so soon after the Aries New Moon, means that in spite of our urgency to "get going," we will benefit by being patient and taking the time to double check our plans, making sure all practical concerns are taken care of before we fully commit to a new course of action.
NorthPoint Astrology Blog: Be sure to visit my blog during the week for additional comments and perspectives at http://northpointastrology.blogspot.com/.