A Cross Quarter Day
On a clear Ostara morning, at dawn here in the UK, you can be mistaken for thinking that the birds are attending their own avian festival to honour the Goddess of Spring. The competing songs, vying for future partners’ attention, are a welcome accompaniment for an early morning walk. Plants are pushing their green shoots up through the cool earth, hoping to find warm days and frost-free nights. If you are lucky enough to live in a rural setting, you may witness the antics of the mad March hares as they chase and even box each other. This feisty exchange happens when a female is trying to let a potential partner know that his advances are unwelcome! Frog and toad spawn, a new life fighting for survival, is a vital food source for other amphibians. Without this abundance, newts and other pond creatures would not be able to survive their own mating rituals. Life is competitive and brutal, especially at the very beginning of spring, as the animal and plant kingdom explodes into a Bacchanal frenzy.
The competition of mating rituals in nature infers the understanding of the astrological symbol of Aries, the start of a new season, and the start of the astrological wheel. Aries the sign of the ram, epitomises that thrust for dominance to spark and nourish new life. This desire to create in one’s own image drives the passion for warm-bodied life to procreate. The rush of blood that is needed for copulation, for chasing one's potential lover (or for fleeing from unwanted advances), all of this is in the nature of Aries, the diurnal, action-oriented temple of Mars.
In the UK, the Equinox takes place on 20th March, 9.24 pm. Referred to as a cross-quarter point, it represents the light waxing and waning throughout the year. (The Tropical Zodiac system is built on the turning of the seasons. It differs from the Sidereal system, where they take the precession of the signs into account.)
The Equinox coincides with the ingress of the Sun into 0° Aries, the tropic or turning pivot of the astrological wheel, a new trip around the 360° cycle. It is from this point, this one day of equilibrium before the daylight increases and the night recedes a few minutes every day, that we head toward culmination at 0° Cancer, the height of the Sun's journey at the Summer solstice.
In the Pagan calendar, the Equinox is marked by the celebration of the Goddess as Ostara, or Ēostre, the Goddess who represents dawn, the East, and the fecundity of the spring season. The common practice of gifting eggs from the Easter Bunny comes from the Goddess’ connection to the March hare, as they would have been spotted out and about at this time of year while looking for a mate. Chickens would traditionally start laying eggs again as light increases, and their precious yolk is another representation of the Sun's arrival. The gift of an egg after a long barren winter would be most welcome nutrition. Spring and fertility, the frenzied urgency to bring forth new life, are apparent all around. It will not be long until the next cross-quarter day of Beltane in May, where the God and Goddess join together in their sacred marriage, but for now, courtship games are in play.
Equinox 2023 Chart Delineation
This UK chart* has Scorpio rising, which is the feminine, nocturnal temple of Mars, a very different feeling to Mars as the masculine ruler of Aries. As the Sun ingresses into the sign, Mars, the ascendant lord, rules the 1st and 6th houses. Mars is barely able to assist, having been held hostage in the 8th house in Gemini since August 2022, locked in a mental battle of wits and frustrating red tape. There is fatigue and anger that many are feeling with regard to hidden agendas, false words, and negative reports. The 8th holds the collective purse strings, and when those that should be committed to serving the people, i.e., the media and government agencies, are using those resources for the good of the few, it should be of no surprise that the populace asks to investigate the financial books. A chart that initiates with the ASC ruler in the 8th speaks to continued hidden dualities and those who are trying to cut themselves off from their responsibilities. We do have a night chart with this Mars ruling, so hopefully, there is a more positive action to come once the energetic patterns move forward, rather than Mars causing further damage to already buckling systems.
The Moon is balsamic, applying to Neptune and in the same house as a grumpy Saturn, duplicitous behaviour, smoke and mirror cover-ups under the dark magic of glamour can manifest. It is a few hours before the New Moon, the first of two New Moon Aries events this year. Pluto is also just about to ingress into Aquarius in the 4th house, looking to rattle the literal foundations of this chart, but as we know, this is just a short prelude for the main ingress, so again, a sign that there are things still left hidden and not quite ready to be unveiled.
The Sun enters Aries in the 6th house and instantly encounters a busy Mars temple, Mercury and Jupiter discussing the overworked and the downtrodden, the mistreated and enslaved. Jupiter is looking to the MC in Leo by an exact partile trine and has some ideas of what they believe to be just and true. Mercury agrees that it is time to discuss and plan to initiate new systems. With Mars in the 8th in mutual reception with Mercury in the 6th, there can be potential for some agitated, frustrated voices making plans behind the scenes, who serves whom they ask? The entry of the Sun heralds the beginning of this strategic council, and as the planetary leader, the Sun will have something to say about how things should progress moving forward. Keep an eye out for Mercury’s heliacal rise, however, on March 31. Hidden under the beams in the Aries ingress chart, big announcements are more likely at that time.
Venus, in her own domicile, has little say in the Aries council. She will be busy with her own tasks as she applies to the North Node in the 7th while looking directly at the ASC in exact opposition. The depth of one on one relationships will be her focus, how we relate as an individual without being tied into the molasses of the emotional zeitgeist. She will be hoping the council in the 6th will take time to consider the issues of food, shelter, and secure living, and as Ceres has just entered Venus’ air sign of Libra in the 12th, directly opposite the Sun, we can see that Venus will be very concerned about how those themes will continue to play out this year. Uranus, after all, has created enough disruption in those areas.
Saturn has just been demoted from ruling the mountaintop in Aquarius to being plunged into the murky, Neptune-infested depths of Pisces. In this chart, Saturn is now firmly entrenched in the 5th house. Melancholy and morose, with a sense of the killjoy, Saturn will sigh deeply whenever asked to actually pursue pleasure or fun. Should you wish to create and enjoy life, Saturn asks you to take those pursuits seriously and with dedication.
I do not generally use asteroids other than Ceres. However, I always look to see if there is a named asteroid that matches the chart I am reading. At the time of the Equinox, there is an asteroid Ostara #343 at 29° Aquarius. So many of the planetary symbols in this chart are just about to make an important aspect or ingress. The nearly, but not quite yet, energy of the asteroid Ostara matches this theme.
Many people are now looking for a change, for the needs of the many to outweigh the wants of the few, not just here in the UK but worldwide. Those who are willing to make some noise and demand better conditions for the underprivileged, overworked, and underpaid in society will most likely continue to be in the headlines for the coming year. This chart certainly speaks to a time of standing up for the beliefs of the downtrodden.
The planetary omens suggest a time of discussion, investigation, and understanding, even though we may not be fully equipped with all the facts yet. A Scorpio ASC will certainly want to know all the hidden secrets and unearth them when they are ready. But, it would be wise to build a strong case before blowing things open, so to speak. It is such a short time after the Equinox that we will have the New Moon in Aries, Pluto's first ingress into Aquarius, and Mars’ final move out of Gemini into Cancer, that makes me think this year is the time when many hidden things will be unearthed. Even Ostara, the asteroid, has her ingress into a new sign on the 23rd of March, another symbol of a season being held back slightly. She may need to go back to grab her coat, maybe this year's Spring is going to be a chilly one!
As we move forward from this cross-quarter day and look forward to Beltane (another cross-quarter day with a Scorpio ASC), I will be considering the crops I am planting, both physically and emotionally, and pondering how I can contain a sense of self in the current climate. Chiastolite is a crystal that I will be keeping close by. It represents the cross of matter literally, as it is clearly in the pattern of the crystal itself. Used for protection against and for witchcraft, it heals and transmutes negative energy during transitional phases.
Harnessing the power of connection with those with whom we feel affiliated can be one way to add positivity to the world's energy. Helping and even just recognising those whom we don’t know, seeing the plight of others with compassion can initiate new dynamic bonds, new projects, and even new friendships. In times of trouble, often the closest bonds can be made, as moving into the light can only come from a place of shadow.
Astrology teaches us that all stages of life are transitory and that the time for celebration will come and go. Take every opportunity to celebrate the small things, especially the new life that will be brimming around us here in the Northern Hemisphere.