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Spring Thaw: The Aries Equinox and Mercury 

click to enlarge AMANDA PAINTER
  • Amanda Painter

The Sun enters Aries for the equinox today at 12:57 pm EDT—the first official day of spring here in the northern hemisphere. For much of the northeastern US, it has felt a long time coming after such a cold and snowy winter; and although the weather may take a few weeks to catch up with your consciousness, the energy of the season is saying, “Begin!”

You may be asking yourself, “Begin what?” which is where Mercury comes into the picture. Newly in Pisces again as of Monday, today it finally leaves the area of the zodiac it covered while retrograde, having just now crossed it again in direct motion. Known as the “echo” or “shadow” phase, these three weeks after Mercury retrograde sometimes offers many of the same SNAFUs as the actual retrograde. If you’re perceptive, however, the echo phase can also offer new insights about whatever emerged for you during the retrograde, along with an opportunity to work with the information in a new way.

As Mercury emerges from its shadow, taking our mental awareness along with it, it encounters Neptune in Pisces. Mercury had stationed retrograde just shy of an exact conjunction to Neptune back on February 6; the two planets will exact their conjunction this Sunday, but we’ve been under its influence all week.

That influence includes the intensification of: fantasies, daydreams, nocturnal dreams, emotional sensitivity, psychic sensitivity, feeling psychically or emotionally overwhelmed, self-delusion and creative visioning. You’ll note a mix of “positive” and “negative” effects. Part of what makes the difference for any individual is a combination of awareness of the energy and the potential it carries, how grounded one is, the available creative outlets, and what else is going on in the sky to help focus the energy.

Which brings us back to the Sun ingressing Aries. The first degree of Aries is known as “the Aries Point,” a sensitive area of the zodiac that gets extrapolated to the first degrees of Cancer, Libra, and Capricorn as well (the four cardinal signs; that is, the signs that begin each of the four seasons). The key phrase for the Aries Point is “the personal is political,” meaning that when we have an astrological event in the early cardinal signs, we often find that world events affect us personally, or that our personal life is rippling out into the wider world.

The general tone is one of investment and active engagement in some way—realizing that what we do makes a difference, and that we’re ready to step up; or understanding that the world is not “out there,” but rather is intimately involved in our daily choices and actions.

To have Mercury leaving its post-retrograde shadow phase and moving into its conjunction with Neptune on the same day the Sun enters Aries sends a clear message: The time is right to move on to some fresh ground yourself—mentally, creatively, consciously, and physically. Where is that balance between getting lost in your fantasies versus using them as artistic fodder or channeling them into some real-world solutions? How do you participate in the world and your immediate community while staying connected to your more sensitive, subtle emotional and psychic forms of inner knowing?

This is the task calling you to begin it today. You don’t have to complete it today; but do consider taking that first step outside your comfort zone onto fresh ground. Even if it has not thawed yet, it will soon—and new growth will follow before you know it. This will matter in one month as we encounter the cardinal grand cross that is shaping up (which Planet Waves will continue covering in detail), but don’t worry about getting ahead of yourself. Like the growth breaking new ground in the rest of the natural world this time of year, it’s ok to start small.

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