“When we lose sight of beauty our struggle becomes tired and functional. When we expect and engage with the Beautiful, a new fluency is set free within us and between us. The heart becomes rekindled and our lives brighten with unexpected courage. It is courage that restores hope to the heart.” – John O’Donohue, Beauty: The Invisible Embrace

Thlibrae Nodes of the Moon changed signs this morning, shifting from Taurus-Scorpio to Aries-Libra and marking a new 18-month phase of soul growth and deep learning. Moving backwards through the Zodiac, the South Node shows where to let go and heal the past, while the North Node points to the kind of energy to embrace to evolve your soul and move forward successfully.

The North Node in Scorpio, starting August 29, 2012, urged you to face your inner darkness, uncover your deepest desires, and follow your vitality and passion (see Diving into the Watery Depths). Meanwhile, the South Node in Taurus revealed stagnant emotional attachments to the status quo, the seemingly safe and comfortable but energetically dead “security blankets” that drain your vitality.

Now the North Node moves from watery, deep, intuitive Scorpio to airy, intellectual, sociable Libra – the only sign in the Zodiac represented by a machine (The Scales). Until November 2015, the North Node in Venus-ruled Libra calls forth the Lover, the Peacemaker, the Negotiator and the Artist. The Libra North Node recommends compassionate detachment, objectively weighing out all sides of an issue, and creating fair, just and beautiful outcomes. (Buckminster Fuller said, “If the solution is not beautiful, I know it is wrong.”)

Meanwhile, the South Node in hot, feisty, impulsive Aries stirs up old patterns of alienating others by over-reacting, and suggests it’s time to work on releasing old anger, or old ways of expressing or suppressing anger that aren’t working, as well as anger’s good friends impatience, rage (hello, road rage), frustration and even depression (astrologer Liz Greene asks, “Who are you depressed at?“). Aries is a sign famous for split-second judgments, and the South Node here advises taking some deep breaths (adding the Air element) and really seeing situations from another’s perspective before jumping to any conclusions.

As the North Node shifts into Libra, it meets up with Mars – the masculine – who is making an extended visit to the sign of the Scales. Due to his upcoming Retrograde, Mars will be in Libra for almost eight months, December 7 to July 26, whereas he typically spends only two months in each sign. Mars in Libra is the Peaceful Warrior, the Passionate Lover and the Courageous Artist, asserting justice, harmony and beauty.

ukraine protestor

Ukrainian protestor plays Chopin to riot police

On the shadow side, Mars in Libra can be manipulative, passive-aggressive, and argumentative (Libra is the great debater). Mars in Libra can argue about peace and fight for peace, or Mars in Libra can BE peace, as in Nelson Mandela (who had Mars in Libra), who befriended his jailers and forgave his oppressors. The piano-playing protestor in the Ukraine is another brilliant expression of Mars in Libra – a heroic artistic action, cooling off the heat of confrontation by playing beautiful music (thanks to Robert Phoenix, who shared this photo in his 2014 astro-forecast on Gaiam).

Mars will be Retrograde, the masculine part of all of us on a vision quest, from March 1 to May 20, but we’ve been “in the shadow” (feeling the influence) since December 27. Word to the wise – Mars Retrograde is not an auspicious time to launch a major new project or direction but rather a time for regenerating your life force by slowing down and turning inward. Take time to reconsider what you really want, what energizes you, and how to pursue your goals. For a reference point, you can look back to see what was going on for you during the previous Mars Retrograde, January 23 to April 13, 2012, which was in Virgo.

In Libra, this Mars Retro focuses attention on rebalancing the masculine and feminine, individuality and partnership, assertion and attraction. What do you really want and need in your relationships, and how do you honor the needs and desires of your significant others? What kind of partner are you, and what kind of partner do you want to be? What is the purpose of relationship? (Read about the dance of Mars, Venus and Saturn here.)

I’ll leave you with some Mars-in-Libran-style wise words from Rainer Maria Rilke, a quote I saw recently posted on Facebook (but otherwise have no idea where it’s from):

“Perhaps all the dragons in our lives are princesses who are only waiting to see us act, just once, with beauty and courage. Perhaps everything that frightens us is, in its deepest essence, something helpless that wants our love.

– Emily Trinkaus