The Astrology Blog 20 March 2023
All times in GMT
“My passion and energy get mistaken for anger.”
Gary Oldman – Happy Solar Return tomorrow, 21 March 1958, Sun 0 Aries
“It takes half your life before you discover life is a do-it-yourself project.”
Napoleon Hill – was an American self-help author, Scorpio with Mars conjunct Jupiter Leo, best known for his book Think and Grow Rich
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WHAT ARE CRITICAL DEGREES?
If you’re a regular follower of astrology you’ll know that many planets are now changing sign, so we’re looking at themes of new beginnings and transition. Anything at29 degrees (also known as the Anaretic degree) marks the closing of a cycle, 0 degrees packs an extra punch for the beginning of one.
This week we have one planet who’s just changed sign – Mercury early this morning – and three more planets changing sign – first the Sun, and then Pluto and Mars.
0 and 29 are therefore known as the “critical degrees”, as in important, but there are others too. There are recognized critical degrees, mostly of value in terms of the ancient craft of Horary astrology (casting a chart to ask a question, ie the birth of a question rather than a person).
Derek Appleby in his indispensable book Horary Astrology observed that, “When a significator or the Moon is found upon a critical degree, a crisis is about to break. The matter enquired about is likely to be resolved quite quickly, one way or the other, in the manner of the house in which the degree occurs.”
The classic critical degrees are:
- 0, 13, and 26 degrees of the cardinal signs (Aries, Cancer, Libra, and Capricorn)
- 8-9 and 21-22 degrees of fixed signs (Taurus, Leo, Scorpio, and Aquarius)
- 4 and 17 degrees of mutable signs (Gemini, Virgo, Sagittarius, and Pisces)
In terms of changing sign the personal planets make this transition regularly – the Sun, Mercury and Venus once a month and Mars once every two months (speed varies when retrograde cycles are taken into account, like now for Mars).
But the major planets change sign far less frequently so is it hugely more significant when they reach the critical degrees –
- Jupiter once a year
- Saturn about two and a half years
- Uranus about 7 years
- Neptune about 14 years
- Pluto, because of an elliptical orbit, every 12-30 years
- Chiron is even more elliptical, eg spends 7 to 8 years in Aries and Pisces and only one to two years in Virgo and Libra. At the moment Chiron is about halfway through the Aries journey and won’t move on into the next sign of Taurus for another 4 years.
WHAT’S HAPPENING THIS WEEK?
Here’s your “at a glance” picture and we can see immediately that the word “ingress” appears four times, the official jargon for the moment a planet arrives in its next sign, all coinciding with the New Moon at the very beginning of Aries –
Monday 20 March
- Mercury ingress Aries 04.25
- Sun 29 Pisces sextile Pluto 29 Capricorn 20.10
- Sun ingress Aries – Spring Equinox – 21.26
Tuesday 21 March
- New Moon 1 Aries 17.24
Thursday 23 March
- Pluto ingress Aquarius 15.24
Saturday 25 March
- Mars ingress Cancer – 11.46
MERCURY IN ARIES
If you want the opposite image to a retrograde Mercury this is it. Mercury entered Aries, first sign of the zodiac, in the early hours of this morning and is at full speed, whizzing through the whole of this sign in the next two weeks. Next change of sign will be 3 April, into Taurus, and Mercury will then start slowing down in readiness for his next retrograde loop in that sign.
But for this next fortnight Mercury’s on fire. The message is clear. Fire ahead with your plans and to-do lists, things could move at a much faster pace than you’d expected. Aries the sign of Cardinal Fire loves doing things immediately and in straight lines, no diversions or scenic routes.
THE SPRING EQUINOX – NEW MOON
So Mercury has just moved from 29 Pisces (end of the zodiac) to 0 Aries (the beginning) and today the Sun is doing the same thing.
29 Pisces is not only the final degree of the zodiac and sign of the Fishes but is also the position of a Fixed Star called Scheat, linked to suffering and also to dangers in connection with water. Mercury on Scheat as sadness certainly showed yesterday, I had to close down Facebook because of the overwhelming grief about mothers no longer here.
Astrology can also be very literal. Remember this story covered in my blog last December when Jupiter was on Scheat?
16 Dec 2022 the giant tower aquarium in the Radisson Blu hotel in Berlin exploded, spilling one million litres of saltwater, flooding the hotel and nearby streets. Nearly all of the 100 different species of 1,500 fish died and two people were injured by falling glass. It was quite miraculous that the injury count wasn’t a lot higher but this was down to the tragedy happening at 6am, before the hotel or the streets were busy. The other costs are horrendous, in terms of damage and the fact that the aquarium cost over 12 million to build. All washed away in one huge explosion.
As Mercury and the Sun make their transitions fish are back in the news. A major clean-up effort is under way in Australia after literally millions of fish died in a river in western New South Wales (NSW). The situation is happening in 40 degrees of heat, you can imagine the stench, and is described as unprecedented. The underlying cause is yet to be established but it’s clear that something caused the oxygen levels in the rivers to drop to a fatal low.
Also look out for plumbing problems – just this morning I’ve found a cracked pipe outside that is leaking into the area where I stack my wood – and in health matters things linked to the urinary tract are top of the list. For men it’s crucial to get a prostate check, which starts with a simple PSA blood test, either for dodgy symptoms already showing or as part of a health checkup. This is actually a subject close to my heart at the moment. Prevention is better than cure.
Aries is the Sun’s sign of “exaltation” (strongest sign) and 0 degrees is the Spring Equinox (in the Northern Hemisphere). The Sun is the life force itself and is therefore symbolically associated with health, growth and energy. Fresh starts of all kinds get a massive tick.
This is strongly underlined by the fact that the New Moon falls less than 24 hours later, so is therefore at 00.50 of Aries, so it’s a double whammy of clean slates. Pay close attention to what unfolds for you at the beginning of this week, especially if you have planets at or very close to 0 degrees of Aries or the opposite sign of Libra. But this is a week when any planets at 29 or 0 degrees in any sign are being picked out.
PLUTO INGRESS AQUARIUS
There’s been a lot of speculating in the astrological press about the meaning of Pluto’s change of sign. Firstly note that this is the first of two ingresses –
- 23 March – Pluto enters Aquarius
- 1 May – gets as far as 0.21 Aquarius and then turns retrograde
- 11 June – retrogrades back into Capricorn
- 10 October – turns direct again at 27.53 Capricorn
- 21 January 2024 – Pluto enters Aquarius for the 2nd time, and will not return again to Capricorn
The last time Pluto was in Aquarius was from 1778 to 1798, before Pluto was even discovered (which was in 1930). So there’s no astrological literature observing this symbolism at work the last time it happened, but you can always trawl through historical events for that time period!
For now we note that such a huge celestial event always carries universal symbolism, especially as Aquarius itself is about the collective. As Pluto is often linked to destruction and reshaping, and wealth (Plutocracy) a lot of focus is currently on the news about collapsing financial institutions such as Credit Suisse. Keep watching the news on that one.
It’s also interesting that the huge Jupiter – Saturn conjunction 21 December 2020 was at 0 Aquarius, and a lot of the context for that was the pandemic. It will be interesting to see if there’s any further links to that.
At a personal level if you have natal planets or angles at 0 degrees Aquarius or the opposite sign of Leo (or the other Fixed signs of Taurus or Scorpio) then this big shift will be of special significance for you.
Here are some celebrities to watch too whose stories are likely to hit the news in the coming weeks and teach us more, a list I posted back in Dec 2020. And I’ve just added Macron, so looks as if he’s going to get wiped out through his handling of raising the pension age in France, that is currently causing a huge stink, metaphorically and literally with the ongoing rubbish collection strike –
- Ascendant 29.52 Capricorn – Emmanuel Macron
- Sun 0.16 Aquarius – Sophie Rhys-Jones
- Sun 29.26 Capricorn – Dolly Parton
- Moon 29.52 Capricorn – David Beckham
- Moon 29.00 Capricorn – Judi Dench
- Mercury 00.27 Aquarius – Jennifer Aniston
- Mercury 00.55 Aquarius – Kate Moss
- Mars 00.12 Aquarius – Matthew McConaughey
- Jupiter 00.52 Aquarius – Barack Obama
- Jupiter 00.32 Aquarius – Meryl Streep
- Jupiter 00.19 Aquarius – Jane Fonda
- Saturn 29.51 Capricorn – George Clooney
MARS INGRESS CANCER
I never thought I’d hear myself say that I can’t wait for Mars to enter Cancer, his sign of “fall”. What I really mean is that I can’t wait for Mars to end his 7 month scenic route through Gemini which, as I was saying last week, both my colleague Elisabeth Brooke and I had underestimated in terms of the havoc and general irritability.
Boris Johnson isn’t on the list above but he would be on a Mars list if I made one, as Mars is heading his way this week with his Sun – Venus conjunction at 28 Gemini. Resigning as PM wasn’t the exit stage left he might have hoped for and this week he gets called to account under charges of misleading the government about the lockdown parties at Downing St.
I would say he’s in trouble, underlined by the fact that he’s approaching his second Saturn Return (his natal Saturn at 5 Pisces). The same reckoning showing through Mars and then Saturn (authority) applies to Donald Trump, with his Sun – Uranus in Gemini, and his Asc – Desc horizon at 29.59 Leo – Aquarius (ONE minute of arc away form 0 Virgo – Pisces.) Saturn entered Pisces 7 March, will turn retrograde in June and will turn direct at 0 Pisces in November. He’s got a long way to go.
So this week is important in terms of the last blast from Mars on his way out of Mercury’s sign, he may not want to go quietly. The potential for the war (Mars) of words (Gemini) is undeniable but if you need to get touchy subjects wrapped up then at least that will be the end of it. I’m not even going to begin the stress story of getting the new computer installed last week but my blood pressure has only just gone down, seriously!
Other things that Mars in Gemini (the sign of doubles and multiples) has also reflected includes a lot of stress related issues, “too much to do”, spinning endless plates, getting overtired, choosing the right partner or place to live, setting up a second home, being away from home for too long, the list goes on …. But by the end of this week a lot of dust will be settling and new pictures emerging.
Next week starts with the lovely Mercury – Jupiter conjunction at 18 Aries, Mercury’s first major aspect on this turbo charged whizz through Aries, and an aspect associated with good news and rewards. I’ll be talking more about this next time,
Until then with love from Greece
Hi Joanna, I just read your full report around the March Solstice which just arrived today and talked about week up until Mar 26 but it is already the 27th so a week late? I enjoyed your relating to the horoscopes of famous people especially Macron and Trump.
Also your mentioning about your moving and so many decisions to be made – me too – so I am really looking forward to coming to Greece in Sept and seeing what my horoscope says about what I should do! It is full of new beginnings right now and I have already made some pretty drastic changes but wondering the wisdom of it all now. Cheers. Lynn