This tortula moss has sprouted tiny stalks that will eventually release spores. Photo taken this morning prior to the exact equinox. Photo by Amanda Painter.

Happy March equinox tonight!
Wait, tonight? Not today?

Yes! Astronomically speaking, the March equinox occurs when the Sun crosses the celestial equator from the southern hemisphere to the northern hemisphere, as viewed from Earth (the celestial equator is an imaginary line directly above the Earth’s equator). This year, that moment arrives at 11:06 pm EDT later tonight.

So for time zones on the opposite side of the Atlantic, the equinox arrives at 3:06 UT tomorrow, March 20. Either way, today into tomorrow marks one of two time of year (the other being the September equinox) when all parts of the Earth from north to south — except for the North and South poles — receive equal hours of daylight. This is due to our planet’s tilted axis being parallel to the Sun, as a result of where we are along our path of orbit.

Graphic courtesy of Additional scientific equinox info available at

Astrologically speaking, 11:06 pm EDT tonight (3:06 UT March 20) is also the moment the Sun enters the sign Aries, marking the beginning of a new astrological year. For the next few hours the Sun will be finishing up its last half a degree of travel through Pisces.

When the Sun arrives in Aries, it’ll shift from its currently watery and harmonious relationship with the Moon (which is in Cancer until 3:33 pm EDT today) to a fiery and harmonious relationship to the Moon in early Leo.

So if you tend to be in bed by 11 pm most nights, you likely won’t notice a strong shift in energy until you wake up tomorrow morning. 

(I’ll be curious if anyone finds themselves leaping out of bed with a little more vigor and motivation in the morning. For me, this Pisces season has been marked by a great deal of morning musing while lingering in bed, and I’m feeling ready to shift that.)

Being the first sign of the zodiac and ruled by Mars, Aries energy is all about initiating action. But to act effectively, you have to know what you want. To know what you want, it helps to know yourself (“self” and the phrase “I am” being another Aries theme). Knowing yourself and what you want is one thing; knowing yourself and what would actually serve your highest good — and by extension, the highest good for all concerned — is another.

It’s that last bit that seems to get very complicated for us Earthlings. What we want is not always good for us, or for others. Discerning what we want from who we are (“identity”), or untangling what we want from what would actually be most beneficial for us and for others, can get clouded easily by fear, anger, grief, pain…often without us even realizing that is what’s driving us.

Sometimes, when those feelings get too strong or pile up over too many repeatedly damaging events, we cease to even care what is driving us. The drive toward what we want and need becomes all that matters.

Yet even when we aren’t fully aware of who we are (after all, I think that is always a lifelong work in progress), we still have a choice in how we use Aries energy. We can still act in ways that are true to our sense of self while being aware of, and sensitive to, the other person and the collective. The complement to Aries is, after all, Libra: the sign of relationship and balance and justice.

Speaking of which: the first degree (first few degrees according to many astrologers) of Aries is especially sensitive. This sensitivity gets extended to the first degrees of the other three cardinal signs (Cancer, Libra, and Capricorn).

Known as the Aries Point, this bit of astrological territory repeatedly shows up prominently in the charts for events with significance on both the personal and political levels — or, put another way, where the individual intersects with the collective. People with significant planets (or their chart angles) at the Aries Point degrees often live life-trajectories marked by the confluence of these themes.   

Now, the moment the Sun enters Aries for this year’s March equinox, it comes into contact with two very interesting asteroids and a Trans-Neptunian Object (TNO; an object orbiting our Sun beyond Neptune’s orbit) in the first two degrees of the cardinal signs:

* Asteroid Hera is in Aries. Hera relates to “Issues of ‘rights’ between people; relationship dynamic and parental model; jealousy; maintaining fairness in dealing with others; events through partners & partnership,” according to esteemed astrologer Martha Lang-Wescott. Noted astrologer Alex Miller adds “vindictiveness” to the list.

* Asteroid Isis is in Capricorn. Isis relates to “Sibling relationships; issues involving ‘scattered’ locations, ideas, people and things; fragmentation; sense of needing to ‘get or put it together’; desire to make things whole,” again according to Lang-Wescott.

* TNO Chaos is in Cancer. As Miller describes, “Chaos was the ancient Greek personification of the void, the first thing to exist, from which everything else emerged. There was a creative, potential-generating aspect to the original Greek usage, which in modern times has become more focused on anarchy, disorder, disarray and confusion,” and the TNO Chaos can carry either meaning astrologically.

Also, opposite the first degree of Aries, in the second degree of Libra, is the supermassive black hole M87, which is at the center of a galaxy of the same name  (part of the Virgo Cluster of galaxies). Some astrologers theorize this may be a significant reason why the Aries Point degrees carry so much astrological weight.

When I noticed this arrangement of objects in a square configuration on the Aries Point, I began wondering:

What does this particular equinox have to tell us about our individual “rights” in the context of collective “rights”?

Where do I see examples of individual needs and desires driven by fear and anger and pain and grief, maybe even jealousy or vindictiveness, becoming collective actions that fuel fires seemingly burning out of control?  

What is my individual responsibility in the face of such events? What actions am I able and willing to take?

How do I engage with that which feels overwhelming — even to the point of raising existential fears of annihilation? How do I retain a sense of Self without using it to dominate — or even to annihilate — another’s sense of Self?

Looking especially at Isis in Capricorn opposite Chaos in Cancer, with both square the Aries Sun, I see tension — and inner struggle about where to start. What do you initiate when there’s scattered fragmentation on one side and fertile, primordial potential on the other?

Where do you start? How do you enact the impulse to put all the existing pieces back together and rebuild or to start from scratch and create something new? Which do you choose when everything seems in complete disarray?

How do you balance the fact that you are only one individual and can only do so much, with the fact that as an individual in an interconnected collective, it is always the individual actions of many that get the most done?

What are the ways you strive to acknowledge all of your inner parts and bring them into harmony with each other so you can live as a unified whole, and hold space for others’ unified wholeness — even when inner and outer conflict rages?

Simplistic as this may sound, consider taking a moment today or tomorrow to stand outside in meditation — whether at noon with the Sun overhead or during the quicker-than-usual sunrise and sunset this time of year. Really soak in some of this daylight shining on all of us, across the globe, all at once.

Sometimes it seems like the daylight and the darkness are the only things we have in common. Sometimes darkness — necessary to fully appreciate the light — seems like it’s threatening to take over.

Yet I think it’s always possible to find a way to connect your light to that of another, no matter how much darkness surrounds you. I’d say it’s essential for our collective survival. I hope you’ll allow your light to shine through your actions today.

With love on this blessed equinox,


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