Goes Around and Comes Around


Tuesday marks the New Moon in Aries, the start of the first full lunar cycle of the new astrological year (which began at the Spring Equinox on Mar. 20).

With the sky at its darkest point of the month, the New Moon is always invisible to us. We cannot see her influence. Maybe we forget she's there. But, unseen to us, she is beginning her monthly cycle, planting roots for actions and reactions and feelings that will only make themselves known later, once her light begins to reappear, first in a tiny crescent shred, later in full night-brightening brilliance.

The practice of astrology does not get more basic or profound than observing the calming repetition of the lunation cycle. Every twenty-nine or so days, we witness the gradual change in the Moon's luminescence from dark to bright to dark again, an effect of the dynamic relationship between the Sun, the Moon and the Earth. Recognizing this pattern requires no special skills or technological advantages, merely a commitment to bother to notice.

But after spending some receptive time, noticing the character of the Moon's different phases and how our individual temperaments vary in cyclical correspondence with them, we can learn to direct our lives to synch up with the cycle. We can go with the lunar flow and take advantage of its assistance, like a keen captain who navigates his ship in alignment with powerful currents rather than trying to fight them, thus expending less of the ship's energy to reach the shore more quickly.

If we can imagine ourselves to be living long ago, before electricity and the capitalist organization of labor into an endless series of linear parts, we might understand better what it would be to live in tune with the Moon's monthly cycle. Obviously, the time at which the Moon's light shone brightest (i.e., the Full Moon) would offer the month's best opportunity to bring work to fruition. With greater night visibility, there would be more activity and excitement. Emotions and passion would be flaring. The nature of things would come to light. Thus, the days leading up to the Full Moon (i.e., when the Moon is waxing) would be ripe with anticipation and preparation, and those following after it (when the Moon is waning) consumed by last-minute revision and completion.

And then the Moon would turn dark again. We'd simultaneously catch our breath and begin to ponder and plan what the next month's cycle might include for us. But we would not be able to foresee the specifics, for they would not yet have occurred, just barely having been set into motion. We would use our New Moon both (1) to pledge our energies toward the most hopeful outcomes and (2) to stay receptive to the inevitable unforeseen twists of fate so that we may be wise enough to read the signs when they present themselves. This dual commitment makes sense, as the New Moon represents the astrological conjunction of Sun and Moon—Sun as the consciousness principle through which we act, Moon as the unconscious emotional power through which we react.

With the lunation cycle as our only astrological time marker, we might cease to experience time as the linear, every-moment-is-unique history-maker that we know it to be. (Perhaps time would merely be a conceptualization of the ongoing oscillation between light and dark, yin and yang.) But of course, we also keep time by the Earth's annual revolution around the Sun—and have created a zodiac system of signs based on it to track all kinds of celestial motions.

Yes, all these other motions—Earth around Sun, Mercury and Venus and Mars around Sun, etc.—are also cycles. But with the imposition of tracking systems like the zodiac (and other calendars), we relate these cycles with variable periods to one another such that their points of intersection are unique and non-repeating. No longer can time be measured in mere relation to Full Moon and New Moon. Time becomes a linear series of single moments, an arrow of history pointing to a future against which we struggle to achieve goals in time.

The trick is to stay in touch with the Moon's repeating motion—planting our seeds at the New Moon, watching things grow and prosper into the Full Moon, and drawing the cycle to closure as the Moon turns dark again—without rejecting the forward achievement-march of linear history. There may be a New Moon every month, but there is only New Moon on Tuesday, April 1, 2003. We can learn to develop a New Moon practice, some regular ritual or thought or deed with which we note the Moon's placement. And then we can look at the astrological specifics of each particular New Moon's chart to determine which areas of our lives are most likely to be affected, in which directions we will have the best luck in focusing our energies and aspirations.

Though we have a New Moon every month, I've chosen this month to describe its significance in greater depth because Tuesday's New Moon falls in Aries. Aries, with its spark of initiatory fire, is the best sign to associate with fresh starts, and I am committing, in my own life, to use this New Moon to start a fresh practice of synching my own actions into closer relation with the lunation cycle. This is the beginning of one month's lunar cycle and also the beginning of a whole year of lunar cycles.

The united Sun and Moon are making loose fire-sign trines (positive flowing aspects) to both Pluto and Jupiter, which also turns direct this week after four months retrograde. Pluto in positive aspect helps up to make deep transformations in our lives, while the Jupiter influence brings greater optimism and hope to whatever new efforts we make. Mercury moves into Taurus this week as well, helping to direct our mental energies toward more practical and sustained concerns, rather than on inspiring though fleeting fancies.

There could be no better time to devote ourselves to new beginnings, fresh starts and new chapters, with this New Moon of early spring to shoot us into a blossoming future. Of course, the sky is still dark, so we devote ourselves without having full vision. We hope for the best. We believe in our power. And we prepare to have to tweak our efforts, revise, reap, clear away, try again, again and again and again. The Moon's light will always return to us, and then it will always leave.