This article first appeared on Mooncircles. It is reprinted here with permission of the author.

The April 12th New Moon in Aries ignites the new year inaugurated at theSpring Equinox with the flame of hope. The Sun has just conjoined Mercury in Aries, marking the superior conjunction or the "Full Mercury" in the Mercury cycle.

Mercury is still very close to the Sun and Moon in this lunation chart,rising ahead of the Solar Hero in his role as messenger of the gods -herald of a fresh infusion of energy. Uranus the awakener, too, plays a role, gently enlivening Sun, Moon, and Mercury - but rudely jolting Mars.

While the Pisces New Moon "closed the circle" by reflecting on the pastyear, the Aries New Moon encourages us to look forward into the future.Aries energy is Ram energy: assertive, enthusiastic, initiatory, andoptimistic. As the leader of the Zodiac, Aries guides the other signs on yet another round of adventures into unexplored territory. Aries, in fact, is the hero of the individuation journey as it unfolds through the 12 signs of the Zodiac. Shaking off the strictures of the past, we follow jaunty Aries' example, inspired to take up challenges and bring cherished dreams to fruition. Some astrologers, in fact, say that wherever Aries falls in the individual natal chart is that place where we can turn for renewal and rebirth.

If Aries is in the first house, for example, we may experience renewalthrough re-connecting with our unique sense of individual selfhood. In the second, we may want to initiate a new financial plan, or touch base with our core values. In the third, Aries may feel re-energized through puttingthoughts into writing or speech. In the fourth, Aries is reborn throughspring cleaning, redecorating, or even moving. Aries receives inspirationin the fifth house through creative expression, or through rediscovery ofone's inner child. In the sixth house, Aries gets a fresh start by takingup a new health regimen, or reorganizing the office. In the seventh,relationships are the medium of rebirth, as Aries faces "the other," whilein the eighth house Aries mines new energy from the depths of theunconscious. In the ninth house, Aries is reinvigorated by a book ofspiritual teachings, or a philosophical truth that puts life intoperspective. In the tenth house, Aries leaps headfirst into tackling newcareer objectives. In the eleventh house, it is through commitment to asocial cause that promises renewal. And, finally, in the twelfth house,Aries is reborn through dissolution into universal consciousness, divingdeep into the ocean of bliss, then emerging reborn.

The old myths teach us an important lesson about moving forward: don't lookback. In the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice in the underworld, for instance,Orpheus finally wins permission from Hades, lord of the dead, to rescue hisnew bride Eurydice from the arms of death. Yet if he should look back, heis told, Eurydice must return to the underworld for eternity.

Tragically,Orpheus is unable to follow this advice, and, on the verge of emerging fromthe depths, he looks back and loses her forever. The lesson in this, Ithink, is that just when we have committed to moving forward in a newdirection, we are tempted by doubt, looking backwards into the past withnostalgia and regret - yet in the process undermining our faith in ournewfound purpose.

To every purpose there is a season, as it says in the Bible. Thus while thereis a time to reflect upon and learn from the past, there comes another timewhen, prompted by the hand of fate at our backs, we must allow ourselves to be carried forward with the evolving forces of life. Aries New Moon is the appointed time in the astrological cycle for embracing the future. Especially this month, we canask to be led by Mercury, guide of souls, as we cross the threshold into anew year and a new cycle.

(Look for the Scorpio Full Moon April 26, 2002!)