The Autumn Equinox marks the beginning of the astrological New Year – here’s what’s in store

autumn equinox

Nestled in between two behemoth ingresses this month (stern Saturn-in-Pisces and bulldozer Pluto-in-Aquarius), we encounter, as well, the Autumn Equinox on March 21. This date marks the official beginning to the astrological New Year. How to align with its energy? To answer this, let’s think a little bit about the power of “degree zero.”

In astrology, we use degrees in a couple different ways. The most popular involves figuring out angles. For example, a trine (120 degrees between planets) is said to be a favourable aspect. As such, a trine is Jupiterian by nature in that it bestows luck and expansion in life (like Jupiter itself).

In contrast, a square (90 degrees between signs or planets) is said to be of the nature of warlike Mars, that is, producing conflict. We wouldn’t want to get married, say, when Venus is squaring other planets. We’d want to do so, instead, when it trines the Moon (sweet emotion), Jupiter (bounty), or even Saturn (longevity).

Just as there are degrees between planets, which form aspects, there are also degrees within each sign. In this scheme, each sign has 30 degrees (numbered 0 to 29). Planets, depending on their speed, either pass through these 30 degrees quickly (like Venus and Mercury) or slowly (like Saturn, Pluto, or Neptune, for instance). And, similarly to planetary aspects, some degrees are more auspicious than others, particularly degrees 0 and 29, which are called “anaretic,” a fancy, though lovely term meaning “the degree of fate.”

Like good produce at the farmer’s market on a Saturday morning, the 0 degree indicates when the planet is most “fresh.” Its qualities are bursting with flavour. It tastes better in our cosmic stew. In the Southern Hemisphere - the Autumn Equinox always occurs when the Sun is at 0 Degrees Aries. In other words, it’s in a great condition. Its positive qualities–endurance, stamina, discipline, focus–are tasting even better.

The Sun at 0 degrees in Aries is as action-oriented as you can get. Indeed, the Aries Sun is about doing, not thinking; starting, not concluding. Its mantra is Now (not later). The New Moon hitting the 0 degree reinforces this active attitude, by providing emotional support to the Aries Sun.

As this year's Equinox also coincides with a potent New Moon – this is a blood, sweat, and tears placement, where action and emotion interpenetrate. We know whenever we have these kinds of interconnections and synchronicities that it’s best to zero in on them, so to speak, in order to unpack their meaning.

Right now, as it so happens, there is a lot of ‘New’ energy in the sky – Saturn has also just entered Pisces (recall it just entered there a couple days ago). Now Saturn is a different kettle of fish to Aries energy. Its mantra is Later (not now). Its energy is about longevity, not immediacy. It plays chess, not checkers.

When we combine this Equinox with Saturn also recently changing signs, we see that these planetary positions around the Autumn Equinox complete, or perfectly complement each other. Aries Sun: “let’s do something on this astrological New Year.” Saturn: “let’s set a long-term goal down the road.” Saturn provides the structure for Aries energy. Aries provides the manpower for Saturn’s blueprints.

We often talk of intentions in astrology. The New Moon is for setting them, for example. But on this equinox, it’s not enough to dream about that next promotion, or think about applying for that esteemed Writers Residency, or imagine a date with that interesting anthropology professor from the dinner party. On March 21, actually take a concrete step by doing something: schedule a time with your boss about career conversations next week; or write a poem for the application; or ask that certain someone to see a photography exhibition with you. Fortune favours the bold.

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Photo by Jeremy Thomas on Unsplash