March: Searching for Balance in a World of Extremes

March began with a very concentrated array of planets in two signs, Pisces and Aries. All but three planets in the chart were found within less than 50 degrees, between 6 degrees Pisces and 23 Aries. Slower moving Jupiter, retrograde in Libra, Saturn in Sagittarius, and Pluto in Capricorn remained outside the concentrated jumble , yet all were within 180 degrees, just 1/2 of the chart. The two planets at the extreme ends of this chart were Mars in Aries opposing Jupiter in Libra. Mars, of course, was conjunct Eris and Uranus at the Aries end, and all four "extreme" planets were square Pluto in Capricorn. According to Michael Meyer, in his "Handbook for the Humanistic Astrologer," Pluto "represents the center of gravity or the point of focalized purpose" in this chart.

It should come as no surprise that our purpose, during this time of so much disruption in the world, is the function of Pluto. Here in the U.S., we are actually witnessing the dissolution of government as we have known it. It is no longer government of the people, by the people, and for the people. It may be an oligarchy, however, at the moment, it is so dysfunctional, and so corrupt, it truly fits no definition.

The era we are living through is a time of releasing old ideas and systems, and hopefully at some time in the future, reformulating them into innovative and sustainable ways of operating. Meanwhile, thre is enormous anxiety, fear and suffering, not just in our country, but also around the world. People listen to the news, and feel that the world has been turned upside down. It takes effort to sift through what is reported, in order to figure out what is true, and what is not. With the emphasis on planets in Aries, particularly the Mars/Eris/Uranus conjunction, we can easily find ourselves in bouts of anger, over seemingly small things, yet the small things may only be the surface of something much deeper. We feel out of control, and we are. That's the reality of epic change and the resultant discombobulation.

Another outstanding characteristic of the chart of March's onset was the total absence of fixed signs. This actually supports the Pluto transformation, in that there will be a lack of stability, a lack of things we can rely on. Saturn did trine the extreme planets in Aries, and sextiled Jupiter, so we do have the planet of structure in the mix for the month. However, it is in a mutable sign, and its aspects to the T-square provide more encouragement than deterrent to change.

Many of us, at this time, are not necessarily experiencing dramatic change in our outer reality, but nevertheless, our inner lives are in disarray. For many other people around the world, their material life is strongly impacted by the alterations of certain policies, like immigration, health care, and loss of civil rights. They may feel their very survival is at stake. Pluto, in myth, is often associated with the underworld, and for many right now, they feel as though they are in Pluto's domain—"hell."

When March began, Venus was slowing, and at 1:09 AM PST on March 4, at 13 degrees 9 minutes Aries, she stationed retrograde. Because Venus only retrogrades approximately every 1 1/2 years, for about 6 weeks, it is a phenomena to which we pay heed. At the moment of station, her only aspect was a square to Pluto, which is apt. It tells us that Pluto will be involved in many of the Venusian situations we find ourselves in during the sis-week period. Venus retrograde is always a time for looking inward, evaluating our resources and our relationships.

When Venus is in Aries, and later in Pisces, it is a time for looking closely at our desire nature, in association with our resources and relationships. The question is not what does society or family or my conditioning desire for me, nor is it how I am not meeting my own or others' expectations. The real question is: What is it that I desire for myself? What do I really want, based on what I feel is my soul's purpose? And how can I value myself enough to get it? What do I need to change in order for that to happen? It is a time to look at patterns of self-criticism, judgments based on unrealistic or rigid belief systems, projections coming from unresolved wounds, and difficulties with self-love. It is a huge undertaking, and no one does it perfectly, but it is an opportunity to acknowledge our need for valuing ourselves more highly and more realistically in this time of extreme distraction.

Mars entered Taurus at 4:34 PM PST on March 9. This shift allowed us to ground our energy more solidly with all the work we need to do just to stay focused and put one foot in front of the other.

We had our Full Moon in Virgo at 7:53 AM PDT on March 12. It was highly aspected, from both the Sun's and the Moon's perspective, thus increasing the prospects of good integration. The Full Moon formed a T-square with Saturn in Sagittarius, and Mercury was exactly square Saturn, reminding us that whatever we dream and desire as potential, must come to earth as manifest reality. All steps must be taken, and Mars in Taurus will  help us to take them, one at a time. The Moon trined Pluto while the Sun sextiled Pluto. These aspects require that we release the old prior to creating the new. The Sun was conjunct both Chiron and Mercury, and loosely conjunct Neptune. The Moon was quincunx the Uranus/Eris conjunction. These aspects tell me, over and over again, that we are dreaming a new world into reality, but it won't be done magically. We must work with what we have. We must have patience. We must not give up.

Mercury entered Aries at 2:08 PM PDT on March 13, adding to the fire planet energy.

The Sun and Chiron were exactly conjunct at 24 degrees 42 minutes Pisces at 7:25 PM PDT on March 14. Of course, the conjunction was waxing for a few days prior. Chiron, being the "Wounded Healer" of myth, does bring up feelings of woundedness when we have it in strong aspect. The Sun/Chiron duo was accented by a square from Saturn. If one has natal planets at or around 24 degrees of mutable signs, having the Sun join Chiron (with the addition of Saturn) that could have occasioned reminders of a difficult memory of a prental or father figure in one's childhood. When such events occur, it is a reminder that we are bigger than our memory, and we can take responsibility (not blame) for moving beyond it, and shed another layer of the "onion." Having this event occur with the Sun/Chiron in Pisces may have allowed us to feel more compassion for all involved.

The Moon in Scorpio opposed Mars in Taurus on March 15, a rapid yet important aspect when they are they only fixed energy in the chart. We needed their assistance and determination amidst conflict and distraction.

March 17 and 18 Mercury meets Venus retrograde in Aries. This has the potential of bringing mind and heart together around some of the Venus retrograde issues (see earlier discussion), and could have helped facilitate a needed disscussion re/relationships or resources.

We'll experience the Spring Equinox, when the Sun moves into Aries, at 3:29 AM PDT on March 20, increasing the Aries pressure in the chart. There is now Sun, Venus, Mercury, Eris, and Uranus in Aries. This is not a chart of calm. At the moment of the Equinox, the Moon is exactly conjunct Saturn in Sagittarius, two more planets in a fire sign. The T-square between Jupiter, Pluto, and the Eris/Uranus conjunction is very strong. We'll have tension, fire, combustion.

Two days later, on March 22, the Moon conjuncts Pluto in Capricorn and turns up the volume on the T-square. There are so many pressures on us all. The Aries planets are pushing from the inside and the outside for independence, freedom, and the urge to be heard. Pluto and the Moon in Capricorn demand major change and are not to be denied, while Jupiter in Libra steadily holds out for truth, harmony, and integrity. The Moon moves on quickly, but it's conjunction with Pluto does spark the reminder of how aware we must remain that the T-quare's power is the foundation of our current experience, and will not let up the rest of the month.

By March 25, Venus is halfway through her retrograde jouney, and so are we. On that day, Venus and the Sun are conjunct in Aries, bringing emphasis to the inner questing for our true values, our true resources. Where have you been misdirecting your energies? What part of your true self is wanting to emerge? Is there a relationship that needs a re-build, or perhaps a complete letting go, so that you may be free to be yourself?

Mercury is getting closer and closer to Uranus, and on March 26, they are exactly conjunct. Prepare yourself for sudden bursts of intuitive insight. Jot them down, so that you can go back and reflect during a moment of calm. The 26th is a Sunday, so try to find time for physical exertion and release of any tension build-up. The Moon in Pisces is sextile Mars in Taurus. Nature will be calling you, and outdoors will be a great place to be as the Moon edges toward it New Moon phase.

An Aries New Moon arrives on March 27, at 7:56 PM PDT. The Sun and Moon are at 7 degrees 37 minutes Aries. It is the first New Moon of spring. Ordinarily we would think of an Aries New Moon as extraverted, wanting to be noticed and ready to engage, particularly with the Mercury/Eris/Uranus company so nearby in the same sign. It is however, conjunct retrograde Venus, and this is likely to slow the energy, bring about less than comfortable feelings, even to the point of overwhelm. The Sabian Symbol for 8 Aries is "A Woman's Hat with Streamers Blown by the East Wind." When I read that, I can easily imagine myself tripped up by the wind, unable to see where I'm going, or running in the opposite direction from my intended path to chase the hat. And it all makes sense, given that the Venus retrograde wants to remind us of just that, of how we may be taken off course when we focus too much on the winds of what others want or expect of us.

The remaining days of the month bring an increase in our mental stability as Mercury and Saturn enjoy a precise trine on March 29, but we'll also see more emotional tension, as the Jupiter/Pluto square comes to exact on March 30, the second of three exact squares within a year. The Jupiter/Pluto square is a long, back and forth aspect, which started in late 2016 but endures through much of 2017. It is a struggle for power, a yearning to be recognized for who we really are, the determination to be more, bigger, and worthy of honor in our relationships. This is a creative energy that can bring justice, but in order for that to happen, much must be revealed and owned and released. We must start with our relationship with self. It is the inner work that will determine the outcome. We seek empowerment, but we cannot experience that movement forward without accepting, and letting go, of what is holding us back.

The final planetary shift of March occurs on the last day, at 10:31 AM PDT, when Mercury moves into Taurus. Those sensitive to energy shifts may notice more balance. The Moon is in Gemini at that moment, so there are two planets in air, three in earth, one (two if counting Chiron) in water, and four still in fire. But it feels like we've been screaming for balance all month, and on the final day, we definitely move in that direction. Breathe.


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