Spring Equinox

Mars, Aries and the Solar Plexus Chakra

Having now entered into the Tropical sign of Aries with the Spring Equinox on 21 March, the focus shifts to our Manipura or Solar Plexus (3rd) chakra located just above the navel area. This is the natural New Year where we can finally grow a little further above the surface of the earth, but it is still a vulnerable time (especially this year astrologically as you will see below). Aries is a cardinal sign - all cardinal signs mark the big seasonal changes during the year and this one is represented by the element of Fire which ignites new life and the solar force beginning to strengthen in the natural year. Mars is the ruling planet of this sign and chakra and also rules Scorpio associated with the fixed Water element. Fire and Water go hand in hand in the early stages of creation (remember that the previous Sacral chakra is also associated with these two elements). I see the Sacral chakra at Pisces time as the more gentle, feminine creative and intuitive force (mutable Water) in which ideas are nurtured in the womb before being realised out into the world at the masculine driven Solar Plexus during Aries (cardinal Fire). 

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The Solar Plexus is all about willpower and in the case of Aries we can see this very clearly in the   representation of the Ram's head (headstrong), Aries does actually rule the head in medical astrology and sticking one's head above the parapet and coming out of hibernation are resonate with Spring. So essentially this is finally when we can begin to take practical worldly action towards manifesting our dreams and goals conceived during Aquarius and Pisces, by making use of the action based driven qualities of Mars to support us. I would say this with a caveat this Spring however, as Mars is actually currently in conjunction with Saturn in Tropical Capricorn (ruled by Saturn) and this can cause some delays as Saturn constricts and slows everything right down. He is also approaching his retrograde period (April 17) so is even more potent in energy as he comes to a standstill. We also have a retrograde Jupiter and invisible and retrograde Mercury to contend with at this time, so please don't be surprised if things don't take start to take solid shape just yet. Delays are all part of God's plan it seems at this time and we are being tested to find that extra Fire within to nourish and flourish this year! There will likely be a revisiting of the earlier part of the year as Saturn retraces his steps, so it is literally a question of going over old ground and revising or redefining plans etc at the Root chakra level. Patience is key but with extra hard work Saturn always rewards so don't give up! As an aside, I sense that the repeated and sudden cold snaps in the UK are also to do with Saturn exerting his power over Mars (remember that he rules Cold / Dry Earth element).

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On a physical level the Solar Plexus is associated with digestion and so here the Fire element really comes into play. If natally your Mars or Aries is strong and emphasised then you might find you have a strong Fire constitution and tendency towards heartburn, indigestion, anger, frustration, stress and inflammation in general, but especially at this time of the year. Again as with the Sacral chakra, balancing this out with some Water element qualities, adding alkaline nutrition and avoiding/limiting stimulants from your diet can help to cool and aid with natural flow and of course vice versa if you have a Fire deficiency. As with all constitutional work, best to find out your type to get a better understanding of the nutrition, herbs and exercises that you can work with to best suit you as an individual. Please note, as I mentioned before in my previous blog on Pisces, there are many systems of working with the elements such as medical astrology, TCM and Ayurveda and different bodily rulerships are looked at - here I am simply focussing on the chakra / zodiac perspective! Ideally we need a good balance of all the elements, but it is good to work with the seasons as the prevalent elements at those given times become triggered and more active in our consciousness and natural environment. 

In general there are some easy things one can do to support the Solar Plexus including exposure to sunshine (Vit D) and warmth - essential in early Spring when we are coming out of the Winter darkness. The more physical yang/Sun based Western yoga is also very much a Solar Plexus / masculine orientated practice (as opposed to Yin or Moon Yoga). Although it is Mars that rules the Solar Plexus, as its name gives away, the Sun is also of importance - both share heat as properties and Fire. Moderate according to your constitution, but this practice would help someone with underactive Fire especially, not those who are heavily yang in constitution - then you are best suited to Yin or Moon practice to bring out the feminine flow. If you find you have surges of energy at this time as is natural during Spring then try to channel these into exercise, creative pursuits, gardening and helping others so that the energy flows (Water element) up and out of the body and doesn't remain stuck - this is the time for more external activity (increased daylight hours) and being proactive (Martian qualities).

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In terms of the Tarot, Temperance and the Strength cards relate to Mars - the former being the feminine qualities (notice the Water in the image - keeping the Ego in check) and the latter the masculine (Courage to face fears and challenges). So again one can exercise Temperance with an excessive Mars / Aries / Fire bringing in more of the feminine Scorpio / Water side of things and vice versa. The two go hand in hand and are essential for maintaining health and building dreams throughout the natural year. In Cardology (reading the Playing Cards) the suit of Hearts comes into play at Spring Equinox and represents Water and the Fruits in nature - it is preceded by the Spades, which represent Fire and the Life Force in nature - so again we can see obvious synergies and interchanges with these two elements moving from Winter to Spring and encouraging new sparks (Fire) and shoots / fruit buds (Water) of life.

Keep an eye out during Aries for more on the Solar Plexus including herbs, recipes, crystal info and aromatherapy! Do also check out my Spring sale with 30% off selected items in honour of the 3rd chakra!

The REAL New Year and How to Prepare

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It's that time of the year again when most of us are in a slight blur from overindulgence of food, family, people in general, shopping and tv. This natural rise in energy that peaks in the days running up to Christmas has been a long standing part of modern day life. It is really no wonder that as we hit January it often brings dissolution and lackluster feelings, especially once we get into weeks 2-3 after the initial excitement and good intentions wear thin.

I believe that if we tune into the natural cycles of the seasons then really the true "New Year" is is marked by the Spring Equinox (the time when the plane of the equator passes over the centre of the sun), landing on Tuesday 20 March in 2018 - just 81 days from now. Just because the Gregorian calendar marks 1st January as a starting point doesn't mean that it naturally is or always has been. The Spring Equinox date marks the start of the astrological calendar in the sign of Pisces (Sidereal Zodiac) and Aries (Tropical Zodiac). With this in mind, I would recommend giving yourself a break here with the hasty resolutions and instead first release the old and take your time throughout January, February and early March to let your dreams unfold and sew the seeds as they come. Here are some tips to get you prepared for the REAL New Year:

  • Use the remainder of this week to give thanks for all the experiences of 2017 post Spring Equinox, (which was also 20th March this year as it happens), be they perceivedly negative or positive to you - remember we and our personal journeys are part of a much bigger and incomprehensible picture. To take this a step further, list these experiences on paper and then on the night of 1st January (note the Full Moon energy will already be in effect as it reaches 100% at around 2:25am GMT on 2nd January) take a quiet moment, light some candles and release your list of memories from the year by burning them and giving prayers of thanks. You can in fact repeat this for the next 2 Full Moons that occur before the Spring Equinox (Wednesday 31st January and Friday 2nd March) and add anything else that occurs during those moon cycles that you wish to release. Remember 3 is the magic number! The full moon is all about culmination and release so this is an ideal time to let go whatever no longer serves you. It really is not the best time however to start anything new e.g. good old resolutions, unless you set intentions for it/them at the last Black and New Moon and have actually taken solid action as the moon has been waxing, a moment after the moon is 100% full you are working with waning energy so it won't support you so well in any new endeavours. The following step will guide you on working with the Black and New Moon for intention setting.
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  • January is an excellent time to start considering your wants and needs for the true year ahead so start planning your goals and dreams and make a list. When you hit the Black Moon on Wednesday 15th January set the intentions you have via ritual and prayer, no burning involved this time! Follow your instincts, but I would recommend leaving your list somewhere sacred to you or even start creating a vision board for the year with images to back up your ideas. This can be added to as you come up with new things throughout the first half of the year (I would suggest adding at the Black Moon each month for extra power). Once the moon becomes visible it is the New Moon (3 days after the invisibility of the Black Moon) e.g 18th January you can start to take baby steps of action towards your goals and intentions, but the real call to action for major steps forward and exposure would be on the Spring Equinox itself as the New Moon lands only a couple of days before on Sunday 18th March so will be visible at this time. You can of course keep sewing seeds of intention after this point whilst the ground is fertile so to speak, but as a cut-off time for 2018 additions I would use the longest day of the year - Summer Solstice on Thursday 21st June. This still allows time for seeds to germinate and create a rich harvest in the Autumn. Anything after this point may not come to fruition as quickly as you may like, BUT do go with your own instincts on this if you feel differently. 
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  • Remember to keep well nurtured and rested until the Spring Equinox, this is still hibernation time for recharging the batteries and really not ideal for excessively hitting the gym or doing anything of great physical exertion! You can't go far wrong expanding your mind by delving into good books and educational videos, alongside spiritual practice, nutritious foods, warm teas and the odd bit of period drama! Just remember to keep some gentle exercise in, walking out in nature, and/or a swim and then hit the sauna if you can (health permitting) to keep some dryer warmth in the body during this cold and damp time. This can be particularly good for those with poor circulation who get cold at the extremities, but do read the safety notices before entering a sauna, or check with a medic if you have a diagnosed condition and are unsure.
  • On the nutritional side I would really make an extra effort to eat the chakra rainbow! This will keep you sustained and immunity boosted to get you through the rest of the year. Some of my staple favourites to include are: jerusalem artichokes (full of prebiotic inulin that feeds probiotic organisms to help boost immunity and prevent "bad" bacteria from growing), beetroot, ginger (antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, anti-spasmodic), turmeric, steamed leafy greens, cinnamon, pears and elderberries (truly the best for Vitamin C and can be found in my winter warming Chaka Tea Flame). For more organic, plant-based recipe ideas for the winter months and nutritional information check out my cookbook The Chakra Kitchen.
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  • Invest in Eucalyptus essential oil to diffuse in the house, this will keep germs at bay and create a lovely fresh and energising atmosphere. Combine with Rosemary for clarity and a brain boosting combo to aid in stimulating new ideas for your vision board or try my new Creativity and Insight Chakra Aroma Rollers to help you on your way.

Whatever it brings, I wish you all a very Happy 2018 and hope that it is filled with lots of good health, adventure, courage and love and that you start to reap the benefits of working with the moon and the natural cycle of the seasons. 

Sarah x