Welcome to the equinox! The equinox marks spring in the northern hemisphere and autumn in the southern hemisphere as the Sun enters the tropical sign of Aries on March 20, offering us a month to consider beginnings, motivations and goals, and locating the energy to make a fresh start or three.

Sun square Mars (exact on March 24) and Venus square Pluto (exact on March 23) offers us a meditation on our notion of courage or bravery, and its relationship to vulnerability. For many people, the idea of courage is tangled up with the idea of harming others, or of inflicting one’s will on others. And it seems that we can be most motivated to tell the truth—that is, to be courageous and vulnerable—only if it is accompanied by hurting someone else. The energy of anger (Mars) emerges to pierce social, familial or personal taboos concerning honesty about one’s desires, needs or experience but instead of lending itself to understanding, honesty driven by unmetabolized or unreflective anger tends to lead to warfare, resistance or more confusion. Perhaps this anger and defensiveness tries to provide a cover for vulnerability, to deflect from this and create distractions from unpleasant emotions. If this seems familiar to you, you might ask if honesty employed as an offensive (yet secretly defensive) measure really serves you?

It is worthwhile to reflect on any such tendencies this week for it is actually possible and quite amazing to be courageous in a way that is also vulnerable, that also invites in the experience of the other without having to compromise your own experience. And although an understanding may be achieved, that understanding may still involve parting ways with others, with outdated behavioral patterns, with various elements of the past which impede a better and brighter future. If you are called to honesty or to assert yourself this week, may you be vulnerageous (courageously vulnerable) and not try to cover up your feelings of exposure through acts of meanness or cruelty. It is totally possible to be honest and to be kind at the same time. In fact, you could be doing others the biggest favor in the world by being honest with them—and with yourself!! Even if it may not feel particularly good in the moment.


image by Joshua Halpern :: ecocourageous.com

Because beware, dear reader. Mercury conjoined Venus in Pisces on March 4, and instead of speeding past her, due to Mercury’s retrograde they joined once again on March 19, at the degree of Mercury’s station. Being duplicitous and trying to say whatever you think will get you what you want under this Mercury retrograde may indeed backfire. What you get will most likely be something quite different from what you wanted, as your “pretty words” or attempts to be nice rather than be real do not drive home the true depth or gravity of the message you wish to convey. Diplomacy is always a good idea, but not at the expense of integrity. Many of us will be reflecting on what spans the spectrum of kindness to cruelty, diplomacy to deceit during this Mercury retrograde which runs through May 3.

The Sun in Aries can indicate an aggravated kind of energy that is prone to conflict, simply because of its direct and pointed nature. One great way to temper this tendency is to take an approach of advocacy, even advocating for oneself, for example, instead of adopting a defensive or aggressive posture. And even though diplomacy could be complicated during the Mercury retrograde period, it can be helpful to orient towards a goal which serves some higher principles, anchoring your actions in the best of motivations without fooling yourself about what you want and how you go about getting it.

In fact, one interesting potential of this particular Mercury retrograde period is taking time to get in touch with—frankly—the complete jerk inside of you. The one who is aggressive, aggravated as hell and simply aggravating. This process will be different for different people and note that the aggravated one inside of you may be impatient with YOU rather than anything in the outside world! If you are one who regularly acts out the inner jerk, it is a great opportunity to revisit your relationship with that part of you. Are your needs actually being met by that part of you? Is the disruption that it is causing in your life actually wanted? Or are you making yourself (and others) miserable with a combative attitude? For those who suppress the inner jerk, it’s also a fantastic time to re-evaluate that relationship, too. Mars has an important function to fulfill in helping us to achieve our personal goals—and it’s wonderful when those are connected to greater values and a sense of belonging to the community of life. But everyone has needs and desires and a will to create. Whether you suppress this part or inflate this part of you, how might you listen more carefully to what this aggravated part of you is saying? What is the aggravation really pointing to? You just might discover a great ally who can help you determine your energetic limits and what you can actually physically accomplish and do!

Key dates:
Mar. 8 Mercury enters its own shadow at 4° Aries
Mar. 22 Mercury stations retrograde at 16° Aries
Apr. 15 Mercury stations direct at 4° Aries
May 3 Mercury exits its own shadow at 16° Aries



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