Happy Astrological New Year, aka vernal equinox, for those in the Northern Hemisphere! While the Gregorian Calendar starts anew on January 1, the astrological new year occurs when Sun moves into tropical zodiac sign of Aries. Different from Chinese Astrology or the Vedic sidereal zodiac, the tropical zodiac used by most Western astrologers is oriented to the seasons. In this way, the new year officially begins as the sun crosses north over the celestial equator on Wednesday, March 20 at 3:58 p.m. PDT and 5:58 p.m. EST, marking the astronomical and astrological start to spring and the new year, and the occasion equal parts day and night.
I don’t know about you, but the spring feels more like a new beginning to me than in January. As we move from the internal realm expression of winter into external momentum, there may be momentum where before things felt stuck or stagnant. Buoyed by spring and Aries energy, we activate and motivate and so too does life around us. Birds, bees and animals become more active. We notice emerging blossoms and buds as the plant world mirrors new beginnings and births.
Around the world and for centuries, the spring season has been celebrated with gusto as the days become longer and warmer. In Northern European traditions, spring was celebrated with Ostara—also known as Eostre—a goddess of fertility and dawn. She was often accompanied with a rabbit or basket of eggs as symbols of new beginnings.
In Iran, the festival No Ruz, meaning “new day,” begins before the spring equinox and is celebrated with cleaning and the displaying of fresh flowers. Most of us are familiar with St. Patrick’s Day, which was a symbol for the Irish of new religious faiths and the forgetting of Pagan traditions. Ancient Egypt honored Osiris as a celebration of rebirth and resurrection (do those words sound familiar in another tradition?). In fact, many of the major world religions have holy-days around the same time as the spring equinox including, Hindu Holi, Jewish Purim, Sikh Hola Mohalla, and Christian Easter.
This Year’s Supermoon in Libra
This year’s spring equinox is “super” special because of the Libra Full Supermoon that occurs around three hours later on Wednesday, March 20 at 6:43 p.m. PDT or 9:43 p.m. EDT. Though this phrase gets thrown around a lot, it’s less common than you would think. It refers to a very specific astronomical happening when the moon is at its closest distance to Earth therefore makes it seem larger due to its proximity. The full moons on January 21 and February 19 were also full supermoons. The next series of supermoons will begin in fall of 2020.
Unlike the new moon when the moon is drowned out by the sun’s light, the full moon is a time when the sky is a glow with the soft pale moonlight. In astrology the moon represents our emotions, feelings, needs, and home life. During a full moon these aspects of self are highlighted, and the emotional body often becomes more powerful than other parts of ourselves. For this reason, to me it’s an ideal time for coming back to the body and self-care to nourish the ripe emotions that may come up during this lunar phase.
Astrologically this full moon occurs in the sign of Libra, known for its desire for harmony, balance, and fairness. Libra concerns itself with complementarity as well as art and aesthetic, so this full moon could kick start creativity or more equality in relating. The shadow side of Libra leans into co-dependency or people pleasing. While emotions can run high at the full moon, this could also indicate avoiding emotion or conflict to keep the peace to the detriment of superficiality.
Opposite this full moon sits Chiron, an asteroid and meteor hybrid, representing places of possible abandonment or insecurity. In our personal astrology charts, Chiron points to places where we hold pain or may feel a sense of unlovability. This energy with the full moon could bring up inadequacy in partnership or fear of attachment patterns of fear or avoidance in relating. However, this full moon feels to you, or not, the themes of Libra and spring offer phases of coming back into balance and new beginnings.
Equinox Practices to Explore
Get into the spring spirit, celebrate the astrological new year, or honor the Supermoon—possible supermood—with these simple ritual recommendations:
- Sun salutations at sun rise with some balancing poses to honor equal parts day and night seem like a simply stellar way to greet spring season (Aries likes to get an early start to the day!)
- Create an altar with natural elements with flowers, plants, and spring symbolism such as ladybugs or bees
- Take a more traditional Easter or spring approach and paint eggs or eat egg dishes such as quiches, frittatas, or omelets to get into the fertility spirit
- Invite spring inside by putting flowers or something bright in the Eastern-facing area of your home
Rebecca Farrar completed her M.A. at the California Institute of Integral Studies in the Philosophy, Cosmology, and Consciousness (PCC) program. Her thesis was titled “Stargazing: Re-enchantment Through Language,” combining philology, consciousness studies, and enchantment with the stars. She has studied with archetypal astrologer Rick Tarnas, cosmologist Brian Swimme, activist Joanna Macy, and psychotherapist Stan Grof. Other influences include C.G. Jung, Owen Barfield, Bill Plotkin, Marianne Woodman, Thomas Berry, and Clarissa Pinkola Estes. I was also a founding member of Burning Man’s first astrological camp, Cosmicopia. Most recently I am featured in an upcoming documentary Conscious: Fulfilling Our Higher Evolutionary Potential and the She Wolfe Tarot deck. She is a member of the International Society for Astrological Research (ISAR), the San Francisco Astrological Society (SFAS), the Association for the Study of Women and Mythology (ASWM), and the Depth Psychology Alliance (DPA). Follow her on Instagram.