spring meadow with red poppies

There’s a gif circulating on social media of an exhausted, sweaty rhino running on a treadmill while looking at a picture of a unicorn. Under it, the caption read, “In what way are you trying to be who you are not and will never be?” It reminded me of, well, me. Picture it: me, in front of a camera, all eyeliner, big hair and purple shimmery shirt, doing a test recording for MTV. I have no idea what I said. I babbled something about love and astrology. Underneath, I was terrified: I had promised my publisher, and my self, that I would do everything in my power to give my book the life it deserved, yet this wasn’t me. Luckily, the pilot I tested for never happened.

As much as I love creating, the publication of my books introduced the pressure to “be somebody” in ways I had never before experienced. I was excited to try new things, to embark on a journey that would take me far outside my comfort zone. Yet I had no idea who I was supposed to be, and I assumed that person – the unicorn– knew far more than I did. The unicorn was nowhere to be found so I consulted the unicorn’s representatives: The internet told me I needed a platform, a following, a brand, and I should bust butt to make it happen. I began following a woman who turned her home based creative, spiritually- based business into a multi-million dollar one. I soon burnt out. Ironically, because she ran toward goals like a hippo charging a target, the phrase “hippopotamus energy” became a way for me to identify people who shared her approach, which did not work for me. Eventually, I learned, she burnt out, too, and had to change her approach.

Aries New Moon has springtime energy. It charges at life with gusto. It’s full of enthusiasm and verve, passion and vivacity. One of my favorite words for Aries is moxie, a word that embodies its sexy energy and nerve. I see this in Aries friends, who don’t belabor and fret over a project, they just do it. I’ve seen my own Aries Moon’s easy ability to get fired up, a day later having produced a piece of writing, cleaned the house and started a new project. Aries rules the head, all “go, go, go”. That doesn’t always mean the head knows what the heart and body are doing. Often they don’t. Often we’re impatient, we rush boldly ahead, and make mistakes that we wouldn’t have made had we paused.

I’m also talking about the archetype of Uranus, here, too. Who hasn’t chased a picture of a unicorn while running on a treadmill? It’s exhausting. Whether the unicorn comes in the form of women’s body image baloney, the pressure to build an author platform, or get married by a certain age… We’re vulnerable to a veritable tidal pool of internalized expectations and fixations about how, what, who we’re supposed to be. These pressures are so ubiquitous that they could be in our DNA. Its favorite word: should. Under the “should”, we slog along in and slowly lose our liberty and enthusiasm for life. Until the day we are pushed too far. The corporate exec flies into a sudden rage and is fired. A woman, harassed for the last time, speaks out on sexual abuse. Or we push our physical body hard, in a direction not our own, and burn out. This is Uranus in Aries, alive in our culture right now, an era of adrenal fatigue, call-outs, about-faces and open anger. It’s a time of collective awakening – to injustices and oppression (Uranus), corruption, greed (Pluto) – we are each touched by this dynamic force. But we are also, one by one, waking up to who we are and who we are not. We are each, and all, waking up. That’s the power of outer planets.

Aries likes to be engaged- in a task, a project, a cause, a fight to fight. I once read the Gottmann Research Institute that having a shared common enemy can deeply unite a couple (I offer this to clients who have strong Aries in their relationship’s composite chart, a pre-emptive form of conflict prevention for their relationship). Stress is a good one. So are poor eating habits, debt, or a shared perceived threat. At this New Moon, which squares Pluto and conjoins, Uranus, the Great Awakener, we want to engage in something new, and maybe even find an enemy to fight. But with Mars and Pluto getting ready to retrograde (4/17), people will be easily and perhaps righteously fired up, and so we might take care where we place our anger, and examine its true roots. We might also wake up to a desire to be more engaged with the unfolding events of the world around us, not just be the witness. A friend has been exploring the question “how can I be of service during these changing times?” My rule of thumb: If it’s happening in front of you, there’s your personal, perfect-for-you invitation. Start right here.

I’ve been awakening, myself, courtesy transiting Uranus opposing natal Uranus and touching off all angles of my chart. Over the years I’ve become more committed to being awake, no matter how uncomfortable that is. I’m even willing to have the rug pulled out from under me for this – an amazing thing to say considering this was one of my big fears less than six months ago. I am deeply understanding how my ego has been trying to run the show for so long, and how that has created intense periods of struggle for me (Adyashanti, spiritual teacher, author of The End of the World As You Know It, calls ego simply “resistance to what is happening”. I love this). In short, I’m unshackling myself from old programming, surrendering. Every day, I wake up wondering who I’ll be today. As unsettling as this feels for the ego, it is refreshing, and surprisingly peaceful, to not need to have an answer.

Aries season is aspirational. We want to start projects, clean house, start something new. Follow your passion to see where it leads. Take a journey outside your comfort zone. Begin an endeavor that excites you. Yet as those with Aries planets know, it’s easy to allow our enthusiasm head us into directions that veer us off course, cause us to make dumb mistakes. Consider this New Moon a pre-Mars retrograde truth serum, a time to pause and deeply consider: What are your true values, and are they compatible with your actions and behaviors? Where are you investing your energy? Where do you want to be? What will it take to get there? Aries energy is initiating. It can surprise you with a burst of uncharacteristic moxie. So let Aries season get you fired up, but don’t let it make you foolhardy. Follow your enthusiasms, but take a pause and deep breath before you hit the send button on that fiery email. We all have more courage to act than we think, especially when we check our ego at the door. A little humility and patience never hurt anyone.