“Never underestimate the power you have to take your life in a new direction.”
Germany Kent (1975- ) Author and Journalist
“When the winds of change blow, some people build walls and others build windmills.” — Chinese Proverb
Winds of change, indeed!
Greetings from the Western Cape of South Africa
|plate creation by Joseph Mina|
About this New Moon:
We arrive at the most potent of New Moon's. This one at the very end degrees of Aries (29.5°) and eclipsed too. That's quite a rare combo. A solar eclipse in Aries stirs inner courage and passion for life, or brings to awareness where such is lacking or deficient. It implies something new wants to emerge, which also means something may need to end in order to make space for the new.
Both solar and lunar eclipses are inward, reflective periods, whose chart dynamics are expressed through the coming six months. Solar eclipses point to a time of transition. Lunar eclipses point to breakdowns or breakthroughs. This particular New Moon in Aries strongly points to a time of "Endings and Beginnings". It transits my 9th astrological house of the higher mind, self discovery, and long distance travels (I'm off to the USA for a visit in early May). Which astrological house does this New Moon transit in your natal chart?
If you have late degree natal planetary placements in a cardinal sign (Aries, Cancer, Libra and Capricorn), or early degree fixed sign placements (Taurus, Leo, Scorpio, Aquarius), you will be especially in the thick of these shifting New Moon transformational currents.
First about the eclipse itself:
New Moon timing occurs on the 20th just after midnight from the East Coast, United States, then on the same day east to the International Date Line. Universal Time is 04:12. Here in South Africa at 06:12a, And going in the other direction, from the Central USA, New Moon is just after 11 pm on the 19th, then an hour earlier for each time zone west to the International Date Line.
|Eclipsed New Moon|
courtesy of Guy Otwell
At New Moon, Luna will pass directly in front of the Sun as seen from the southeastern Indian Ocean. This passage will initially create an annular eclipse (ring of fire). Then as it approaches Australia, the eclipse will shift into a total eclipse of only a minute or so. That's quick, and quite Aries like.
First landfall in Australia falls upon a very small sliver of land in the northwest, west of the fabled Kimberly Mountains. That sparsely populated area just last week endured a category 5 cyclone with winds in excess of 150 mph or 240 km/h!. And today (19th) Papua New Guinea recorded a 6.3 earthquake, which also happens to be quite close to the eclipse path. Talk about sweeping the front porch for an eclipse! Uncanny how a building or waning eclipse energy triggers geophysical and weather events, Scientist have learned an enormous amount about our Day Star, yet there remains much that is not scientifically understood about the Sun's energetic influence on the Earth's atmosphere and inner structure.
Once clear of Australia, the Moon's shadow sweeps near East Timor, onto eastern Indonesia, and lastly moves across the vast stretches of the southern Pacific Ocean. At this stage, the Moon's shadow will shift back to its annular phase just before sunset local time.
Here's the annotated chart:
That large circle points to an abundance of Aries energy (1), the Mercury/Uranus connection (2) and Mars/Chiron square (3).
This New Moon's late degree position is of particular importance. The last degree of any zodiac sign is its most intense expression (also referred to a the "anaretic degree"). Since Feb 11, when transformational Pluto moved to 29° Capricorn, the full effect of this 29° placement was set in motion for the ensuing 600 days, or until later November, 2024. This period marks Pluto's crossing back and forth across the threshold between the signs of Capricorn and Aquarius. My last blog highlighted this contrast.
At the same time, dream-like Neptune is edging ever nearer to 29° Pisces and its own transition to a new sign.That shift occurs between Pisces and Aries from May, 2024 to January, 2026. And ever quick, out-of-the-blue Uranus, transitions from Taurus to Gemini between June, 2025 and April, 2026.
Combined, that's a rather extraordinary shift in generationally-triggered outer planetary energy. This is a rarity to have major planetary archetypes shifting energy around the same time from one sign to the next.
Nonetheless, remember these outer planetary shifts are slow in their unfolding. Outer planetary transitions between signs are inevitably strong. The slow shift from one elemental vibration to another has broad implications for our societal flow. Yet, faster moving transitions, such as this New Moon, serve a purpose too. Straddling the Aries/Taurus boundary, twelve minutes after New Moon, Luna enters body-centric, value-driven Taurus, creating a square angle with Pluto in Aquarius at 0°. The Sun follows four hours later to create that same angle.
A square or 90° angle implies challenges ahead. Taurus points to possessions, money, values, self-esteem and the strength of the body. The Moon/Sun square with Pluto at an eclipse asks the question "how do my lifestyle choices and values align with the progressively-driven values of Aquarius?" That question pertains to both external (Sun) and internal (Moon) reflections.
Taurus likes stability and certainty. Beauty fills it field. Aquarius desires progressive change, social equality and interaction, and social justice. It points to the future, where technology becomes even more integrated in societal functions and behaviors. This contrast in energy between stability and change will be particularly vivid during July's Venus Retrograde in Leo. (more on that in a bit).
In essence, this second Aries New Moon since the March Equinox reminds us change is in the air, whether we welcome it or not. And to have a solar eclipse occurring at such a late degree in Mars-ruled Aries is quite the exclamation point.
Two other significant placements occur at this Aries lunation.
(you mean there's even more??? 😱).
By May 15th, Mercury positions at 6° of Taurus, stationing direct at that degree for a few days, and almost at the same degree as the lunar north node. Such placement indicates potential turmoil during this retrograde in financial markets, including crypto currency. It also further highlights issues coming to the fore now involving societal values, i.e. what is valuable, acceptable, or has no further redeeming value to society. Also, look for unexpected events or breakthroughs involving the Earth's climate, as Taurus reflects the power and beauty of nature.
The other chart dynamic getting attention is Mars, ruler of Aries in square to Chiron (wounding) in Aries. First, no Aries new or full Moon conversation would be meaningful without including this planetary ruler into the exchange.
As you may recall, Mars retrograde in Aries between September and early November 2020, was quite the intense period of time. Pandemic was on no one's 2020 bingo card. Continued lockdowns, turmoil in schools, social disruptions, US Presidential election, rebellion in Europe, and unrest in many other places around the world marked this very intense retrograde cycle..
Well, that Mars retrograde began at 28° Aries (essentially the same degree as this lunation), and created challenging angles with Saturn, Pluto and Jupiter in Capricorn. So that establishes linkage between these two cycles. More so, back in 2020, the North Lunar Node positioned at 25° Gemini when Mars stationed retrograde. So energetically, a good dose of Capricorn's rigid structure, Aries spontaneous fire, and Gemini's unpredictable behavior prevailed. That's a formula for societal chaos. And it did not disappoint..
Mars' most recent retrograde cycle, just completed in early January of this year, began in October, 2022 at 25° Gemini. That linkage with 2020 is important to note also, as Gemini adds a strong air of unpredictability to this current mix, courtesy of Venus in Gemini. At 9° Gemini at this lunation, Venus will cross over 25° Gemini on May 3rd. Mark that week in your calendars as a time for heightened awareness, especially with Mercury in retrograde and Mars in square to Chiron (see below, last paragraph in this section).
To summarize: add Mars' 2020 influence into this New Moon theme, plus a good dash of Mercury Retrograde, and a quick dash of Gemini, and voila, a cosmic soup for the ages. Honestly, there is no telling how this mix is going to spin. It seems rather chaotic to me. Yet, in such chaos, there is opportunity. Also, heightened creativity. Where the attention goes, so does the energy. Nonetheless,, this unusual period will be noted by many astrologers for future reference. We are on some very new ground here..
Lastly, As briefly mentioned above, Mars position at this lunation is 13° Cancer, which creates a building challenge with Chiron in Mars' home sign of Aries The most intense phase will be between April 26th to May 4th. Mars in Cancer can be quite protective and insular. Its square angle to Aries/Chiron highlights where such behavior diminishes or impinges on one's individuation and sense of self. Also, depending where transiting Mars positions relative to your natal chart, it can highlight instances where your individuation ran counter to Cancer's family or community oriented tribal values. The remedy here is to nurture your mind, body, and spirit in the coming months. Be proactive.Take the time now to strengthen yourself for the days ahead.
Suggested reflections for this New Moon period:
What wants to end, or begin in my life? Am I resisting or supporting this flow?
What does stability mean to me? Is it more important than freedom? How do I find balance?
How can I create greater internal strength in the coming days?
And a special one for those with Aries placements in their natal chart: Do I follow the impulses that come to me, or do I hesitate? How does that behavior affect my choices?
Endings and Beginnings
Imagery can be an evocative catalyst. Its development can even prove quite cathartic. Such was the case during a two-week landscape photography workshop in Africa's Namibia. During the workshop, we traveled to the now-deserted German diamond mining town of Kolmanskop near the coastal city of Luderitz. Our photography lesson: reflect on times life was falling apart. Convey that feeling through imagery.
This first image shows the entire town, which I photographed from our plane as we were landing. Each of these buildings is in a state of significant disrepair, which makes for a evocative photography lesson. The relentless drift of sand dunes in the area has filled its many buildings over the past 75 years.
(if on a computer or tablet, click or tap on the image to see a larger version)
|The now deserted mining town of Kolmanskop, near Luderitz, Namibia|
This now deserted mining town was built in the early 1900's to create a secure location for the processing of plentiful diamonds found in the area. No one entered or left without passing through the first metal detector brought to Africa's south. By 1930, a significantly larger cache of diamonds was discovered hundreds of kilometers to the south. This led to the town's German workers deserting this once thriving town, literally overnight . Since that fated day, the relentless drift of the nearby Namib desert, second largest in the world, has turned this once bustling mining town into a very sandy grave. The relentless decaying cycle of the natural world is a vivid reminder of endings.
As I walked from building to building, I reflected on how my life had seemingly imploded at significant points of my life journey. This second image is the interior of a home, now claimed by the forces of nature. The play of sunlight streaming through the ceiling of the buildings I explored (there were way too many to see in just one afternoon) made for compelling perspectives, each requiring time to simply process the inevitability of a structure falling apart. It was also a poignant reminder that life always follows death.
This particular scene I found both disconcerting and fascinating. To think, a thriving community filled with workers once existed here. But no more. The song "Dust In The Wind" by the group Kansas started playing in my head after a few hours at this mining town.
|The Sands Of Time|
The third image, a self-portrait, was taken when I simply stopped and reflected on the endings of my two marriages. Little did I realize in that moment that cathartic, internal forces within me had already awakened, setting the stage for the next 24 hours.
At first, my throat felt raspy. By the time we reached our hotel later that afternoon, I was feeling quite feverish. Instead of joining the group for a celebration dinner, I spent the entire night into the next morning bed ridden with chills, muscle ache, a 103°F (39.5°c) fever, and a pounding headache. I thought this might be the unexpected end of my trip. Some in the group thought a doctor ought to be called. Yet, I knew from other inner work I've done, my body was purging quite a bit of sorrow from my depths. By the next afternoon I felt different and much more alive. Others in the group were astonished at the quick turnaround. The downside: I missed a great dinner party, plus a morning trip back to the mining town. The upside: I felt so much lighter and energized.
Here, my thoughts turn to Zimbabwe. As part of another photography group, this time touring Botswana and Zimbabwe, we were invited as guests to a large celebration gathering (over 600 people) from four local villages in Zimbabwe's southeast corner, which borders western Mozambique and northeastern South Africa. This area includes the massive national park of Gonarezhou.
The festive celebration was a year in the making. The day included demonstrations of dance, gardening, medicine, basket weaving, food preparation, and archery. By western standards, the lifestyle here might be considered "primitive". As I would learn from these lovely people, the qualities of faith, simplicity, efficiency, connection to nature, cooperation and collaboration serve as the foundational pillars of their village life. It was akin to watching the book The Continuum Concept come to life. The joy on young and older faces alike reflected the beauty of this existence.
Our group of eleven had such an enjoyable and inspiring time. Everyone felt welcomed and embraced by everyone there. Through many demonstrations, I learned how the various village life creates a sustainable existence. Touring a bountiful community garden, which thrived despite an intense drought at the time, was eye-opening. The most memorable highlight was witnessing how the children played together in joyful, respectful and engaging and creative ways.
At one point, my friend Jonatas from Brazil took a picture of these children in the above image. This was the first time they saw a picture of themselves taken with a digital camera. Their eyes say it all. The wonder, the mystery, the unquenchable curiosity and enthusiasm, and their kindness was startling, refreshing and inspiring to witness.
This trip followed the ending of a meaningful relationship in South Africa a few months earlier. At that juncture I thought I was finished with Africa. Yet this trip, which I learned about rather serendipitously while in Philadelphia that August, was filled with the energy of massive animals, heart-felt people, joyful children, starry nights, and soulful connections. Four years later, I realize Africa was just beginning with me back then. And it simply will not let me go.
Beginnings do not need to start with fanfare. In the Aries mold of beginnings, courage to face fears, and determination to pursue a path, opens one to life's spontaneity, serendipity, and beauty. Inevitably one door leads to another, then another etc. And to quote Tolkien's character Bilbo in the Hobbit, "and wither then, I cannot say."
During a recent astrological consultation, a client marveled I was able to interpret his chart in such a vivid fashion. "You bring this information to life", he told me.
Astrological charts reveal energetic cycles in a myriad of ways. Interpreting such is an art form requiring insight, imagination, persistence and child-like curiosity.
Today, I find it heartening to witness so many people not only discovering the depth of astrology for the first time, but looking for ways to use its guidance in their life. As I have shared with clients, the quality, intensity and uniqueness of any natal or event chart is quite the guide for deeper knowing, soul growth, and heightened, conscious participation in life. That process embraces the past for its connections, lessons, and understanding; welcomes the present for invention, creativity, opportunity and collaboration; and looks to the future for inspiration, vision, and greater service.
Over time, many people in the field of Astronomy have come to consider astrology as flawed or woo-woo for a variety of misaligned or misunderstood reasons. Nonetheless, the study of astrology is a vastly different understanding than astronomy's quest. While both use the same cosmic pallet, Astrology adds significant depth, archetypal understanding, and spiritual connection for those who gaze skyward at our home galaxy and beyond for greater soul understanding, growth and integration. I'm glad I can bridge both of these worlds, Both fields of discovery and learning are so valuable.
On a personal level, I've been fortunate to view four total and three annular eclipses during the last 30 years, a host of total and partial lunar eclipses, and many other celestial events. These experiences fill my soul like no other. I'm vividly reminded at times such as these, the human race is on an evolutionary track, guided by forces beyond our human comprehension.
On New Moon day, Elon Musk's Space Exploration Technologies Corp plans to launch the largest rocket ever. This launch is a precursor for future lunar landings, and even eventually a manned transport to Mars. Launch was planned for this past Monday, but was scrubbed due to an equipment malfunction. Seems symbolic that this first of its kind rocket will launch on this potent Aries day. Beginnings!
And, in two weeks time, the Full Moon in Scorpio will be a partial eclipse, and almost opposite to Uranus in Taurus. This will be the precursor for Jupiter's entrance into Taurus on May 19th (last there in 2011-12). Jupiter's expansiveness will get a good dose of Taurus' practical nature during its year's journey in Taurus. Perhaps a good dose of grounding would benefit everyone.
Lastly, this past Saturday, I co-hosted a 90-minute astrology presentation about the coming eclipses and Venus Retrograde with astrologer Maurice Fernandez of Sedona, Arizona. This was the first time we worked together, despite knowing each other for the past 10 years.. We did this through the technological wonder called Zoom. It was quite the energizing event connecting people from many parts of the world. Over 30 attended. Others who could not make it, registered nonetheless for later viewing. If you would like a video recording of the presentation ($20 USD), please contact Maurice. A lot to be gleaned from our back and forth exchange.
As always, your comments below are most welcomed.
Many blessings for this New Moon day from the Autumn grace of the Western Cape.
Starman, Joseph Mina
Stellenbosch, South Africa
April 19, 2023