Another New Beginning


Another new beginning. One more, among a lifetime of new beginnings. Always something to start anew—again, as if for the first time, only it's not the first time. Because beginnings happen all the time.

Writing about new beginnings is old hat to someone who spends his life interpreting the somewhat-linear, somewhat-cyclical passage of time. Sometimes it seems as if there's always some momentous initiatory moment to note, a temporal uniqueness that, while unique, also falls into continuous alignment with other moments past and future which share similar characteristics. Hailing new beginning after new beginning sometimes makes me feel like a broken record.

Yet I would be remiss as an astrological expert if I were to dodge the 'new beginning' references this week of all weeks. For this weekend marks the main new beginning of the zodiacal year—the Spring Equinox, when the Sun completes its annual cycle in position to Earth and reenters Aries, the first sign. It's the beginning of spring, the start of new life after the hibernating latency of winter. And, this year, the Spring Equinox falls within a day of an Aries New Moon, doubly emphasizing that fresh-propulsion-forward energy associated with our concepts of newness.

The funny thing about this 'happy family double newness springtime joy' combination occurring now is that, judging from what I've been observing lately in the lives of those around me, it feels like we've already started over, or at least we're well into the process. I've witnessed profound events close to me and in the media that reflect a great deal of forward movement, not necessarily all in pleasant ways or on terms of our choosing, but definitely a break from the tail-chasing lateral motion of mid- to late-2003. For God's sake, what do we need another new beginning for, while we might still be enmeshed in the maelstrom of the last one? What do we do with it?

It was just a month ago when, on the occasion of the last New Moon—a powerhouse 'new beginning' marked by a tight conjunction with rattle-and-shaker Uranus—I called for taking 'decisive change-making action now'. Even then aware of the repetitive nature inherent in describing another New Moon, I still did my best to distinguish last month's New Moon in Pisces as a powerful one. And looking back, I'd conclude that, whether we consciously used its energies to choose dramatic events or whether the dramatic events chose us, this lunar cycle has indeed proven itself to be a doozy. (Hasn't your past month contained significant movement in at least one area?) Still, here we are, facing more new beginnings—another new moon, another astrological new year—as if the starting never ends.

And yet I can't honestly lament having to write to you of more new beginnings because, ultimately, constantly beginning and beginning again is an essence of life. Beginnings come in all sorts, even within a single issue of our lives. Take relationships as an example. We take a new action when we decide to break up with a long-term partner, an ending that is also a beginning. We begin to process the pain by talking about it with friends or a therapist, writing about it, drawing and painting and singing and screaming about it. Perhaps we must find a new place to live, a new set of friends or a new pastime to consume some of our newfound free time. We begin to date again, not anything serious but just to get our feet wet. We begin to open up to the possibility of loving intensely again. We begin to fall in love again. We begin a new relationship, modeled differently than the last one. Or, if we switch the issue from relationships to career, we begin to dream about what we might do next, we begin to look for new jobs, we begin to wrap up our current work and say goodbye, we begin a new job, we begin to take on new responsibilities, we begin to climb the ladder, we begin to succeed and, eventually, we begin to get bored again.

At any point in time, if we are living a dynamic life, we are in the process of beginning something, we are in the middle of something we already began and we are ending something long since begun. Sort of like the way the planets are strewn across the solar system in dynamic motion, some at the beginning of their cycles through the zodiac signs and in relation to each other, some in the middle and some towards the end.

Aries is the beginning of the zodiac cycle, and thus it makes sense that this week's crossing of the Sun into the first sign marks a beginning of sorts. But judging from the already-in-dynamic-motion events operating in our lives prior to this week's Equinox, I instinctively link this beginning with a series of other recent related astrological beginnings.

As I've mentioned before, the second half of 2003 was notable because of Mars going retrograde for two months and staying in Pisces, the last sign of the zodiac, for six. When Mars finally moved on and entered its ruling sign Aries in mid-December 03, this was a big new beginning in hastening direct forward action after six months of confusion and convolution in physical activity. Venus followed suit, entering in Aries in early February 04, at which point another Aries-inspired new beginning brought an invigorated interest in and valuation of pioneering movement, as we began to draw fresh experiences to us in response to the fresh actions we'd been putting out. Then last week, Mercury entered Aries, birthing a beginning in freeing up our minds from old patterns through new conceptual sparks.

And now the Sun is joining the entering-a-new-cycle experience bandwagon, a cohering force to help bring together the new beginnings of the past three months into a single solidified starting-point. Mercury, Venus and Mars are all personal planets, relatively close to Earth and orbiting quickly enough that they symbolize highly personalized elements of our individual lives—how we think and speak, how we willfully act and sympathetically respond, how we maneuver through our day-to-day behaviors. (This, as opposed to the planets further out, which represent more social or transpersonal elements of life, such as the zeitgeist or cultural climate of the times.) The Sun, though, is the great unifier, the luminary around which the life of our solar system revolves. In a birthchart, the Sun represents the basic conscious self, which under its unifying glow incorporates all the other disparate parts of our personality (as symbolized by the other planets).

So the Sun's entrance into Aries at the Spring Equinox is indeed another new beginning, but it is one that seeks to construct, from the material of these other recent new beginnings, a unified whole around which a new identity can be based. In other words, the 'new beginning' energies this week are an opportunity to collect the latest results of our fresh starts—'I do this differently', 'I value this differently', 'I conceptualize this differently'—into self-defining statements that encapsulate it all: 'I am different, and in these following ways…'

This important step of self-redefinition is crucial for facing the next set of new beginnings (as well as the new middles and new ends) coming at us over the next few months. In case you don't already feel what's happening, let me emphasize that the current and near-future period is anything but boring. Coming up, we have (1) a pair of eclipses, including a solar eclipse a month from now on the next New Moon in the dramatic last degree of Aries, (2) a few weeks of Mercury retrograde, moving back from Taurus into Aries, and (3) a once-every-two-years retrogradation of Venus, in the frenetically variable sign of Gemini. You'll hear more about all these phenomena soon, but in the meantime, use this latest new beginning to update your sense of self, to get current with who are and to stop referring to yourself as a duck now that you've become a swan.