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

This New Moon occurs in the fire sign of Aries - the "onwards and upwards" first sign of the Zodiac. Like the spring bulbs pushing their green shoots up through the dark earth to the sun's light, Aries symbolizes regeneration and rebirth. Wherever new life raises its hopeful face, innocently peeking out through winter's wasteland, we find the spirit of Aries.

Aries' innate curiosity and enthusiasm is further heightened this New Moon by a favorable trine from the planet Jupiter. The natural ruler of the ninth house of religion and philosophy, Jupiter is said to be the planet that rules faith. Barely moving in the skies above, Jupiter is especially powerful right now as it prepares to station direct on April 3rd at 8 degrees of Leo. Thus all matters ruled by Jupiter are even further magnified. Many may find themselves pondering the larger questions - What is the meaning of life? What sustains faith and gives hope? Why is there suffering?

In her book, "Faith," Buddhist teacher Sharon Salzberg writes that the tendency to equate faith with doctrine distracts us from what faith is actually about. Faith, she says, does not require a belief system, nor does it require being connected to a deity or God. Rather, she writes, faith "is an inner quality that unfolds as we learn to trust our own deepest experience." She tells the story of the despondent person who came to see her over his loss of faith. With compassion for his suffering, writes Salzberg, she responded, "That's okay. I have enough faith for both of us." The strength of her own faith, nurtured over years of practice, was enough to contain his doubt - until he could find it in himself once again.

This is a beautiful example of the kind of faith expressed in the planetary principle of Jupiter. It is magnanimous, large-hearted - and as instinctive a part of our human nature as love or hunger. It is the kind of faith that courses through the earth itself, the vital green force that enlivens the trees and flowers at springtime, re-animating the world with beauty after winter's grey vistas. It is the quiet but steady faith expressed by a friend of mine who lost her husband several years ago to cancer, who now closes each email with this line by the poet Ralph Waldo Emerson: "This much I know: Life goes on." And so it does, it seems, whether we have faith or not.

Thus this Aries New Moon is a star-given time to contemplate the great mystery of the awesome, ever-renewing spirit of life as it is expressed in the quality of natural faith. From the smallest grain of sand to the majestic galaxies spinning in space, this invisible Presence is never absent. To find it in yourself, dig deep in the soil of your soul. Like the dense web of roots that interlace beneath the Earth's surface, so a spiritual infrastructure infuses your whole being with life. This inner root system contains the essential nutrients necessary to sustain you throughout the worst conditions of suffering and despair. Even if you have lost hope, trust that this life force is strong enough to contain you through the dark night of your soul. Soon, like the hardy spring bulbs now bursting into brilliant fields of color, your faith will blossom once again into a mantle of new spirit.

(Look for the Libra Full Moon April 16, 2003.)

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