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This forecast shows the general mood and major themes of life from Sunday March 20th all the way until Summer Solstice (June 21, 12:17pm CDT). The Beltane forecast halfway through Spring will give some additional insight into the second half of the season, but it's supplemental to this forecast, not a full replacement for it.

Aries Hot Spot
Vernal Equinox, or Ostara, is astrological new year! Cardinal fire brings the spark of life back after winter, which is great, usually. However, this year is different because Mercury, Jupiter, and Uranus are all *already* in Aries right now. The Sun's arrival on Sunday the 20th (and, remember, the Sun is the most powerful of them all) will only add more volatility to this fire.

If you're doing anything to celebrate the coming of this Spring that involves fire or the Aries archetypes, I would strongly encourage you to be extra conscious of your actions, phrasing, intentions, and desired duration of effect. There is already so much extra energy coalescing in the sign of Aries right now, it's incredibly easy for a little spark to blaze into an unintended wildfire. The last time there was a Spring Equinox with anywhere near this much Aries-based conflict-potential was thirty years ago (March 20th, 1981; 11:03am CDT), which was 2 days before President Reagan was shot.

Politically, I'm most concerned for the well-being of people in Japan and Libya this spring. Personally, I'm trying to focus on productivity, cooperative growth, and the ideas of healthy warmth without overheating and healthy action without over-doing. However you choose to approach this season, please be aware that the level of what we might call "ambient Aries energy" is several levels of magnitude higher than what we're used to. I encourage you to find Aries in your natal chart and see what natal configurations may be triggered by these transiting planets. If you know what to expect, you can prepare ahead of time.


Brief lesson: Counting the Perigrines
One of the overriding features of this Spring chart is its number of peregrine planets, so I'm going to take a little time here to show how we determine them and what they mean. If you'd rather skip the technical stuff, just skim the "What Peregrines Do" section before you skip down to the rest of the forecast!

Perigrine planets are what we call planets in a chart that lack any major (Ptolemaic) aspects (conjunction, sextile, square, trine, and opposition) to the other planets in the chart. There's a simple rating system for finding the least aspected planets in a chart: 1.) Count the number of major aspects a planet has to the other 9 planets. 2.) Count the minor aspects (semisquare, quintile, inconjunct, sesquiquadrate, quindecile, etc.) it has to the other planets. 3.) Count the major aspects it has to the Ascendant and Midheaven.

You can make a table with all the planets listed down the side and 3 columns for your numbers of aspects in each category. If the first column has a 0, the planet is peregrine. The second two columns help rate the level of that peregrine. A 0-1-2 is more peregrine than a 0-7-1, for example, because 12 is lower than 71. A 0-0-0 is a complete peregrine. If there are no peregrines, the Least Aspected Planet may well demonstrate peregrine-like behavior. If two planets have only one major aspect, and it's to each other, then they form what's called a "peregrine island" and together function as a peregrine.

Measuring least aspected planets depends entirely on the aspect orb you use. If you use a ten degree orb between all your aspects, your chart will have tons of aspects and likely zero peregrines. If you use a 3 degree orb for everything, you'll be seeing false-peregrines all over the place. When counting peregrines, I tend to use a 6° to 7° cap on major aspects, 3° for minors.

Here's my aspect count for the Aries Ingress chart shown below:
Moon: 4 - 3 - 0
Sun: 1 - 2 - 2
Merc: 3 - 0 - 0
Venus: 1 - 0 - 0
Mars: 0 - 2 - 0
Jupiter: 3 - 1 - 0
Saturn: 3 - 3 - 0
Uranus: 1 - 2 - 2
Neptune: 0 - 2 - 1
Pluto: 0 - 2 - 0

What Peregrines Do
So, our Least Aspected Planets are Mars and Pluto (tied at 0-2-0), but Neptune also lacks major aspects to other planets. Thus, all three are peregrine: they're each effectively operating alone, rather than in relationship with the other planets. Obviously, this has a big impact. Imagine the planets are a baseball team. What happens if three players in your lineup have their own ideas about how to win, and don't much care for working with their teammates or following the coaches' instructions? I'd say it makes for some pretty nontraditional baseball...and yet, the team can still win the game. It might involve a ballet performance and a Rube-Goldberg invention on the field, but it's entirely possible for peregrines to pull together the victory that no one believes can happen.

There's a saying that goes with peregrine theory that the peregrine planet is either the squeaky wheel that needs the grease – or else it's the only wheel that works, because the other wheels have serious trouble gelling their energies without the participation of the peregrine.

Now, lots of people have a peregrine planet in their birth charts. A fair minority even have several, and they can be entirely functional, healthy people. But they do tend to look at the world a little differently from the so-called norm, and the presence of peregrine planets in a birth chart may provide a clue to certain behavior patterns. For example, a peregrine Venus would point to relationship patterns on the extremes: either a hyperfocus on relationships, or little interest in them whatsoever. And that's fine. If it works for you, great. If it's a squeaky wheel, then you know it's something that needs regular upkeep.


And Now Back to the Forecast!
I've drawn the Spring Forecast chart for Washington, DC again, as that worked well for giving us the overriding mood and general themes of the season for the US as a whole. If you want a more local view, adjust the time zone and recast the chart for your location and/or capitol ( and both have free charts). Planet positions will remain the same, but the houses will shift. (And if that doesn't work for you, send me an email and I can generate a chart for you.)

Now, looking at the entire Equinox chart, we have all the planets spread between Libra and Aries (apart from the South Lunar Node up by the Midheaven). This spread puts the focus on the personal and the relational instead of the public and societal. Libra is rising, making Venus the ruler of the chart and setting a general mood that zips between extremes in its quest to balance them both.

The first planet below the Libra Ascendant is Saturn (our need to have and impose limits) conjunct the Moon (our emotional needs). Moon is a day past perigee at this point, so her powers are still somewhat amped up. Both Moon and Saturn are wearing artistic, balance-seeking Libra. (Libra-wear, to me, is breezy, beautiful, and goes with everything.) Directly across the chart from them, we have oppositions leading to Jupiter and Mercury, both wearing assertive, action-oriented Aries. (Imagine Amazon warrior-dress, Roman legionnaire armor, or modern-day battle dress uniforms.) Jupiter brings a hefty dose of luck and religious faith, but it also has a pesky way of creating unhelpful overreactions. Mercury gives a vocal outlet and a clear mental space for working out Saturn-Moon issues, which is a very useful sort of opposition! This whole configuration is very good for doing deep personal work with practical solutions for emotional issues involving authority figures, especially as Saturn is presently retrograde and therefore much less scarily authoritarian than it otherwise can be. Depression can be a risk when Moon and Saturn meet, but there's a helpful trine coming from Venus, which rules Libra, so things should be fine if you keep the focus on practical, creative outlets for any feelings that come up.

Our Three Peregrines
To understand peregrine Mars, Neptune, and Pluto, we need first to have a clear idea of their archetypes. Mars is aggression, assertion, energy, anger, violence, sexual energy, and all of our usual, *active* get-up-and-go. Neptune is the dream-state, the drug-state, the floaty place in our daydreams, the netherspace of a medium channeling from other realms, illusion, Hollywood glamor, and imagination *before* it manifests through a creative outlet. Pluto is transformation, tearing down the status quo, exerting power, politics, espionage, secretive behavior, coercion, hidden deals, the darkest parts of eros (different from playful sex, procreation, and romance), and obsessive privacy.

When tuned to their high or low peregrine extremes...

• Mars may pick violent fights, or dive headlong into work projects/athleticism, or completely refuse to engage.

• Neptune may spend all her time with her head in the clouds, become obsessed with perfecting a new glamor/persona, or she may feel cut off from the source entirely.

• Pluto may weave the most world-transforming political intrigue involving sex, murder, and espionage in all of modern history, or become single-mindedly absorbed in the sex/death/magic/secrets that are the Pluto-Scorpio purview, or else go on hiatus and refuse to defend its particular perspective.

I believe all of these options are possible this Spring, given different contexts. I also want to point out that Mars is the natural ruler of Aries, so when the Sun hits Aries, it gives Mars a lot more power than usual for the duration of the forecast period. That means watch out for your personal Mars energy and that of everyone else.

The Peregrine Island
In addition to our three peregrines, the Sun and Uranus are in a peregrine island at 0° Aries (i.e. their only major aspect in the chart is their aspect to each other), creating a powerful blend of solar ego-energy and Uranian rebel-genius energy. Because it's isolated from the other planets, it's yet another (potential) squeaky wheel. What's more, this Sun-Uranus conjunction is, like Mercury and Jupiter, wearing warrior!Aries. As the first cardinal sign, Aries is about instigation, initiative, and self-interest; and as the first fire sign, it is all about that initial spark and lunge into action.

It's harder to predict the sorts of extremes this peregrine island might go to, since this one is bursting with solar-uranian energy. Any time transiting Uranus crosses into a person's 7th house, it indicates a major change (revision, revolution) in one's relationships with intimate friends and enemies. For this to happen in a seasonal forecast chart for the United States means that new perspectives on all close relationships will likely be a major theme of Spring. The added boost from the Sun only cranks it up higher. What's more, this peregrine island is located precisely on the Aries point (the 0° point of all four Cardinal signs), which means whatever impact this combined archetype has will be high profile and likely to be remembered for a very long time.

In the Washington DC seasonal chart, they're also right on Descendant, and in mundane (political) astrology, this would put them in the realm of ally/adversary nations. This could very well indicate war, or merely the potential for it, depending on what sort of peaceable balance other elements of the chart can exert. It helps greatly that Venus rules the chart; she digs harmony.

Then there's also heavy distraction in the form of quindeciles between Sun-Uranus and Saturn-Moon. Quindeciles are the aspect of obsessive-compulsion, where there is a constant, unrelieved tension between planets involved. In this case, we have Aries-wearing Sun-Uranus' mix of ego-energy and rebel-genius-transformation on one side. On the other, we have the Libra-clad Saturn-Moon working for stability, order, and emotional nurturing. In so many ways, this comes down to a standoff between Libra and Mars, and needless to say, it's a heady concoction.

The good news is that in political charts, the Moon represents the general public and Saturn represents order and authority. With both placed in harmony-seeking Libra and the Moon still working the perigee energy boost, public opinion will likely defy any war effort. The problem is the demands of the Sun (in political charts) are often the primary drive of the chart, and, well, Uranus tends to be something that happens *to* people more than something we ourselves control. Whatever happens, revolutionary sentiment and energy for and toward change – be it on a global scale or on a micro-scale within daily life – will be a perpetual theme. Pay special attention to where the Sun-Uranus conjunction falls in your natal chart, as this is where the changes will shine brightest.

When a Grand Square Isn't
Both the Spring forecast chart above and the following chart have a major aspect configuration in common: they each have a big red Grand Square in them. Grand Squares are one of the most challenging aspects because it has friction at all four corners and tug-of-war competition across the two halves. In the chart above, the four corners are the Ascendant, the North Lunar Node, the Sun-Uranus conjunction, and the South Lunar Node and Midheaven. The reason I haven't gone into it in detail is that the Lunar Nodes are sort of small potatoes when it comes to configurations like this. Or, rather, they're so huge that they become too big to consider. In essence, the North Node is our mission in life. The South Node is the storehouse of what we already know (for better or worse), whether from past lives or innate knowledge. They form a sort of karmic axis, and when you have major event charts with the Lunar Nodes involved, you know the event is going to have pretty huge repercussions for the future. That's pretty much it.

So, if we take the enormous karmic importance out of the Spring Forecast chart, we're left with an opposition from Sun-Uranus to the Ascendant, showing us what we're aware of. But we're already aware that the Sun-Uranus conjunction is happening, so this doesn't tell us anything new. One Grand Square kaput.

Now, in the Full Moon chart below, we have the same Grand Square, a day earlier. This time it starts with the Moon, then the North Lunar Node, then Sun-Uranus, then the South Lunar Node. We'll talk about the meaning of this full moon in a moment, but we can do the same trick with removing the Nodes. They only tell us that the present situation is terribly important, which, yes. We're all on board with that. Take out the Nodes, and all we have is the Full Moon plus Uranus. To make this a truly proper Grand Square, imagine Mars and Saturn taking the places of the Nodes. That would be a configuration with some fearful complexity.

The So-called Super-Moon
Equinox is Sunday March 20th, but let's look briefly at Saturday the 19th, when the Moon reaches its closest perigee (closest orbital distance to Earth) in the last twenty years. The Moon will look slightly larger and there is the potential for earth's gravity to cause seismic tremors on the moon as well as extra-high tides on earth (this apparently happened during one of the Apollo missions when the moon was at perigee). Astrologically, the Moon's energy increases at perigee, too, so that our emotional needs step to the forefront, and the lunar phase (charismatic Sun fully opposed nurturing Moon) shines its spotlight right on them.

Remember, this chart is for the day before Equinox, so the Moon is wearing precise, practical, gracious Virgo (which I always imagine as Librarian-wear, right down to the sexy eyeglasses), while the Sun is still dressed in oceanic, tidal Pisces (deep blue meditation robes, or Woodstock-era hippie chic, or wetsuit and surfboard; the point is transcendence, however that appears to you). Both Virgo and Pisces are mutable signs, so they share the talent for versatility and quick changes. This full moon has so much potential for vibrant, active compassion, marrying the empathy of the Moon with the energy of the Sun with the problem-solving skills of Virgo with the boundary-dissolving powers of Pisces.

Uranus is also an active part of this opposition, however. It's at 0° Aries, but close enough to the Sun to blend into the same conjunction. That adds a heady dose of idealistic-rebel-warrior energy to the mix, with the Virgo Moon insisting on pragmatism and the Pisces Sun urging everyone and everything to merge together and float on a higher plane for a while. Uranus has long been associated with earthquakes, nuclear power, and revolution, in addition to activist movements and advanced technology.

Also in this chart, the quindeciles from Saturn to Sun and Uranus (described up page) are already in place. Plus, there's another quindecile from the full Moon to Jupiter, and from the Moon to the Washington, DC Midheaven. This is a time when people are compelled to seek guidance. With the Moon representing the will of the general public, the aspect to Jupiter says that people will seek out both religion and justice, and the quindecile to the Midheaven says they want active leadership from the head of state. Mars is (as above) peregrine, though at least with the Sun still in Pisces, Mars' energies are still at normal levels.

Full moon forecasts go for the full month, from moon to moon. I tend not to use them because a single lunar month is a very short span of time. With seasonal and crossquarter forecasts, we get a full six weeks between the eight points of the solar year, which is enough time for major themes to develop and play out in the world and in our lives.

As always, the best way to see how a forecast chart will interact with your own life is to mark the transiting planets' positions on your own natal chart. That will tell you what natal hotspots are going to be triggered over the course of the Spring season, as well as which of your natal houses are going to see more activity than usual.

Mercury Retrograde
A final note: Mercury goes retrograde on March 30th (3:48pm CDT) and stations direct on April 23rd (5:04am). Mercury retrograde is our three-times-a-year call to revisit, revise, reconfirm, repair, recheck, remember, reconnect, and all other words that involve going back and fixing what we've neglected for the last however long it's been. Areas affected tend to be communications (messages, internet, phones, computers, interpersonal misunderstandings, etc.), travel, and reconnecting with long-lost people. If you've been putting off car/computer/phone repairs or getting that spare tire fixed, now's the time to be proactive about it – before March 30th, if possible.

Again, this chart forecast is good for the entire season up until Solstice. Beltane, the midpoint of Spring, per the solar calendar will be Thursday May 5th, 3:23pm CDT.

If you have any questions or comments, please let me know!
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February 2012

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