Spring Equinox 2016
20th March 2016 04:31
‘”The wide world is all about you: you can fence yourselves in, but you cannot forever fence it out.”’
(Gildor to Frodo in Lord of the Rings)
We, all of us, wax and wane with the lifegiving Sun. In its journey through the year, it takes us from small silent seeds in the cold winter earth, to the vigorous growth and abundant flowering of summer. With the Spring Equinox we are poised on the threshold of becoming! Leafbuds burst; chicks break through shell; lambs fill the fields. Day and night are of equal length all around the world; in this all lands and peoples are united. From hereon in, the light increasingly outweighs the darkness in the northern hemisphere.
Spring Equinox is marked by the Sun’s entry into the dynamic, assertive sign of Aries: the will to be. Growth is coming, change is coming. Things cannot remain as they are: ‘For staying is nowhere’.1 Ready or not, here I come. The Sun leads our lifeforce out into the open and urges us to act. We need now to know what it is we are doing, what are our intentions. The unstoppable drive of Aries can be unnerving, exhausting too, for the parts of ourselves that are sleepy or hiding. But life can’t stop and wait ’til we are ready for it to happen! We are called to enter into creation by the willful energy of Aries.
The I AM is the wise, large Self that is behind all the experiences and perceptions of our little, separated and separative personalities: ‘the Self, that mysterious process within each of us which summons us to ourselves’.2 We are called by this time to know what we are doing and to respond to the summons of the Self. That is the challenge!
And the challenge has a particular force and focus this year as Mars, the ruler of the Spring Equinox, is slowing right down to turn retrograde on 17th April. This signifies an emphasis on the inner dimension of Mars’ activity, underlining the need to be conscious of what we are doing and what is motivating us as life whirls us into activity. The wise process of the Self can witness, encourage and parent the personality; the Sabian symbol for the degree Mars occupies at the Equinox illuminates this thought: ‘A little child learning to walk with the encouragement of its parents.’ There is need for the personality to know the presence of the Self.
As Mars is in the early degrees of Sagittarius, this sign’s questing desire for expansion and freedom (outer and inner) will also mark the unfolding of the Equinox moment. Sagittarius rules all that is foreign, and Mars here drives us to act in relation to what lies beyond our borders (outer and inner). We are all alert and alive to the challenge of the foreign as in Britain we consider our connection to the continent. We consider also the mass movements of people fleeing their homelands in search of safety and stability, and the response of our governments, citizens and our own hearts and minds to this crisis. Our relationship with the foreign is triggered and agitated by Mars and also Saturn in the sign of Sagittarius. There is a desire to understand and to see justice done. There is also an onerous sense of responsibility, which we might like to disown.
Neptune – the planet of unity and transcendence – is the sole dispositor of all the other planets at the time of the Equinox. This means that all the planetary energies are filtered through the matrix of Neptune in its own sign, Pisces. Mercury, Venus and Chiron are also in Pisces. This gives a powerful piscean charge to the Equinox, completely at odds with the urge and the impulse of Aries. The will to be and to act that is Aries has to come into alignment with the great one and all that is Pisces, as Neptune seeks to erode separative consciousness and bring spiritual inspiration and a vision of wholeness to our lived experience. If we are willing to imagine and acknowledge the ways in which we belong to each other, to sense the interconnections between all things, then Neptune in Pisces inspires Mars (and us) towards compassionate action. When, however, we get stuck in our habitual separative consciousness then Neptune brings inundation and overwhelm.
We are being opened up to the greater world that we are a part of, personally, spiritually and politically; it was always already there, but now we see it and we cannot ignore it, as Frodo was able to realise.
1Rilke, ‘The First Elegy’, Duino Elegies
2James Hollis, The Middle Passage, p.25