Astrology Mar 11 – 20 (♓️III): Before the Beginning

Astrology Mar 11 – 20 (♓️III): Before the Beginning

The Sun enters the final decan of Pisces on the 10th, and rises there, for the first time this year, on the 11th. A week later, on March 17th, the New Moon occurs in this decan, pinning the next fortnight to the decan’s themes. Only hours after the New Moon, red Mars joins Saturn and Pluto in Capricorn, beginning a pair of months where the going gets tough, and the tough get going. This span of days is pivotal, as it wraps up our time in oceanic Pisces and introduces the martial themes which will characterize the coming months. At the end of the last face of Pisces lies the equinox, which will usher us into a season yet to be discovered.

The Engine of Survival

The last third of Pisces is a place of both dreams come true and boundless dissatisfactions. The heart’s fondest wish dwells here, as does the price we are willing to pay for it — the life’s blood we offer in return. It forces the question — what is worth bleeding for? At the end of the day, when the credits are about to roll, the answer has always been, and will always be: Love. It does not matter what particular flavor of love it is, nor whether that love found in a single person, all sentient beings, or in the pure joy of a particular activity. Love is what is worth dying for, and therefore worth living for. As Leonard Cohen put it, “Love’s the only engine of survival.”

It is fundamental enough to be present at the beginning in the cosmogenesis of various systems. Why did the One become Two? In order to experience Love. As Crowley wrote in the Book of the Law, “I am divided for love’s sake, for the chance of union.” Love requires division between the known and unknown, self and other, heaven and earth, mundane and mysterious.

It is here, in the last decan of Pisces, generally held to be the very end of the zodiac, that the two fish spiral back to their origin point — the One that divided itself for the sake of Love.

Yet things get lost on their way into manifestation. The love which begins a romance gets buried, lost, obscured. The passion which once inspired the divine artist fades, and the art itself becomes rote and mechanical.

We must return to this mysterious source from time to time and sip its rejuvenative waters. For only love can justify suffering.

Yet the source is obscure, and trapped in the mythical past. There are not only temporal barriers, but metaphysical ones, which separate us from it.

The process of return, the grail quest, is therefore an odd one, for we often do not know where to begin. When our love is insufficient to justify life, we wander aimlessly, carrying with us an objectless dissatisfaction. As in Hamlet’s doleful monologue, “How weary, stale, flat, and unprofitable seem to me all the uses of this world!” All of the worlds’ horrors become unbearable when there is no reason to bear them. Every story seems to end in tragedy. This is the 10 of Cups inverted, the Unhappy Ending. Yet when we remember our love, the card is turned right side up, and the happy Hollywood ending suddenly seems not only possible, but inevitable, simply because it was all worth it.

We are constantly misplacing our love, giving it to the wrong people, attaching it to fleeting situations, refusing to feel it except under specific conditions. Love is not a product of those situations or people. They are the window through which we see the rainbow. Yet in order to recover it, to remember it, we must work backwards, through the times and faces.

The ork is an alchemical act of separation, sifting love itself from all names and conditions. They are the plumbing, not the water. Returning to the ocean, you can begin the water cycle again, from the beginning. Let it evaporate into clouds, then fall as fresh rain, to be absorbed by the earth and become part of living bodies. The end is preparation for the beginning. The last sign of the zodiac is the ocean from which the first emerges.

A Hierarchy of Madness

From this boundless, irrational love proceeds one of your most potent assets, your “good crazy.” Good crazy is your willingness to chase a dream down, despite what everybody, including the statistics, say. Angry may get shit done, but it can’t hold a candle to good crazy. Good crazy hails from the majestic, turbulent realm of the soul, does not give a fuck, and cannot be stopped.

The thing is, you don’t pick your good crazy. You discover it. Everyone gets some, but it’s not something you construct or create. It’s something you receive and accept. Good crazy is a result of surrender to something bigger, deeper and truer than the conscious personality.

Unfortunately, it is easy to confuse with bad crazy. There’s a lot of bad crazy out there, and it is easily transmissible. So how do you tell the good crazy from the bad? Love. Good crazy always has, at it’s core, an ecstatic embrace. It’s wiling to pursue its Beatrice through the Inferno and back because it loves, and loves hard. It wants to give, and give everything. Bad crazy, which is most crazy, is fundamentally about aversion. It hates this. It drowns itself in pleasure to avoid that. Its root is always negation.

Just as the varieties of socially transmissible madnesses out there are often treated as normal or even desirable, good crazy often gets a bad name. Even if you find it within, don’t expect everybody to praise and honor it. That’s for you to do.

Industrial Strength

Only hours after the New Moon in Pisces on the 17th, Mars enters Capricorn. In the goat’s sign, the red planet gains a chthonic, magmic power, and possesses a ruthless and strategic disposition. If Mars were alone in Capricorn, we might consider its presence there a blessing, but this year Mars joins both Saturn and Pluto. As I wrote in “The Astrology of 2018: The Lay of the Land:”

In traditional astrology, Mars and Saturn are the two “malefics,” meaning that they preside over various forms of difficulty, impediment and adversity. Mars is the hot malefic, and rules over adrenalized crisis moments, and Saturn is the cold malefic, and speaks to the challenges of deprivation and ordeals of endurance. The two planets are not considered to be terribly friendly with one another, though they can both agree on giving the human a hard time.

The periods where they share the same sign (“copresence”) sees them join their power, often generating extremely difficult or unpleasant situations and states.

Some notable difficulties will certainly befall individuals and peoples during this period. Yet it is not wholly negative, nor without value. Mars and Saturn together support fierce, powerful action, and there are projects which require this sort of merciless intensity. This period of co-presence, if approached correctly, presents us with an opportunity to dedicate ourselves to the accomplishment of outrageously difficult tasks. Mars-Saturn-Pluto together generate a destructive power, but if that potency is pointed in the right direction, it can accomplish great things. The net result of negating a negative is positive. An obstacle destroyed leaves behind a clear pathway.

With Mars’ entrance into Capricorn, we enter 2-months of Mars-Saturn co-presence. Not only that, but only a few days later, on the 19th, Mercury and Venus conjoin in Mars-ruled Aries, less than a week before Mercury’s retrograde station. This conjunction signals the shift we need to make as we move from The End of oceanic Pisces to The Beginning of martial Aries.

And so after our bath in the waters of primordial love, we must dry off and suit up. Get to the mech-bay, climb into our mighty exoskeletons and grasp our power-tools, as there is work to be done and hazardous environments to traverse. Remember though that the forbidding outside is to protect the tenderness inside. This is the duality we must straddle — to become harsh without forgetting how to become gentle again. This loud, heavy, industrial strength configuration makes the remembrance and recovery of love all the more important. Tough situations require more love to redeem them. This the lesson of the two fish. They are never separate except for when they dream they are.


Horoscopes are not a real chart reading by an experienced astrologer. They are fun and can be reasonably accurate, however. In addition to referring to your Sun sign, read from your Ascendant and Moon if you know them. If you don’t, find out! I’m a long time fan of the free chart generation software at
Aries: The Ram

As we swim toward the New Moon in Pisces on the 17th, let your fantasies and fears take you on an undersea journey, for beneath the churning surface is the submerged world of peace which you forgot. The reasons why you struggle and shine are somewhere down there. You will know you are close when the fish grow strange and deep sea nightmares swarm just out of sight, for these are the guardians. Beyond that fearsome ring is a chest, long sunken, which contains your heart’s golden treasure, encrusted by barnacles but uncorrupted.

Recover what gold you can, and inlay your armor with it, because Mars’ ingress into Capricorn on the 17th, only hours after the New Moon, begins a two month period of professional and personal challenges. There is work to be done, and there are asses to be kicked. Be patient and efficient, though, for although there will be points that require you to fire on all cylinders, this is primarily an endurance run, not a sprint.

Taurus: The Bull

As the lunar month rolls to a close on the 17th, remember your friends and your community. They are the window through which we often see love shine. Though some relationships may have gone wrong, the desire to love and support, and be loved and supported in return, was always right. Work back through the past until you recover the fundamental motivation, as it is a treasure impossible to replace.

Just after the New Moon on the 17th, Mars enters Capricorn, beginning its 2-month copresence with Saturn and Pluto. Though there may be some external challenges, the principle struggle this configuration highlights is an internal one, concerning the direction you’re taking your life. Look to the horizon with determination, for although many things can slow you, nothing can stop you.

Gemini: The Twins

As we close in on the New Moon in Pisces on the 17th, look for your lost love in the wide ocean of your professional dreams. We all want to do what we love, and sometimes we do, but even then, our raw passion is easily obscured by worry and ambition. It can be summoned again by remembering. Let go of the reasons you can’t do what you love, or can no longer find the love for what you do.

After the New Moon, Mars joins Saturn and Pluto in Capricorn. This trio highlights the exchanges of time, money and energy between yourself and others. You may see some relationships tested, with some confirmed and others exposed. It is not a time to trust blindly, yet it is also important not fall into paranoia. Be firm but wise in your judgments about who owes who what, and make sure to hold yourself to the same standard you hold others to.

Cancer: The Crab

The New Moon in Pisces on the 17th asks where love fits into your world-view. Is it accorded its invisible, fundamental place, or have you mapped the mechanics but forgotten about the golden fuel upon which the living clockwork runs?

The ingress of Mars into Capricorn later on the 17th begins a 2-month period wherein relationships become a doorway for challenge and ordeal. You may need to be there for someone in order to help them shoulder a greater burden than normal. Conversely, you may have to draw firmer boundaries with those around you.

Leo: The Lion

The New Moon in the third decan of Pisces on the 17th points to the exchanges of time, money and energy between yourself and others. The flow of resources can easily obscure the fundamental desire to give and receive love which is, in fact, the original impulse behind many givings and takings. Time, money and energy are things in and of themselves, but they are also symbolic vessels for love. When we forget what the symbols mean, they lose their power. Remember why you share what you share. It may be that you’re trying to offer love, or request it, even as the transactions themselves cease to carry it.

Later on the 17th, Mars enters Capricorn and asks you to suit up for heavy labor, as the next 2-months are likely to present an industrial-strength serving of work. Get out there and get it done, but don’t forget that the harder you run the machinery, the more care and maintenance it requires.

Virgo: The Virgin

The New Moon in the third decan of Pisces spotlights the most obvious site for love lost and found — your relationships. Go backward through the stories until you come to the golden beginning, and then begin again, from there.

Shortly after the New Moon on the 17th, Mars enters Capricorn. These two months highlight your creative potential, and asks you to consider what’s stopping you from constructing exactly what you want. The solve may be as simple, and as hard, as persistence and determination.

Libra: The Scales

The New Moon in the third decan of Pisces points to the joy so easily lost in the mundane details of life. Yet there are small acts of love and service which redeem the smallness of daily tasks. We take care of the world out of love, we serve our houses with love and care, we cook and clean to restore and renew, for ourselves and for our loved ones. We don’t only do it because we have to. There are better reasons — remember them.

Mars’ ingress on the 17th casts a red eye at family. There may be contention in your clan which will require both self-protection and patience on your part. Mars’ time in Capricorn also spotlights work to be done to improve and/or repair your living situation. Consider how you might fortify your position.

Scorpio: The Scorpion

The New Moon in Pisces on the 17th asks you to take another look at the art and entertainment you enjoy. Look through your current patterns and see if you can find the root of your pleasure. It doesn’t have to make sense or agree with what anyone else likes. That spring is not only your well of joy, it also your fount of creativity. It is what you want to see in the world, whether you or someone else creates it.

Mars joins Saturn and Pluto in Capricorn immediately after the New Moon, and the trio conspire to fill your calendar with both accomplishment and ordeal. If it hasn’t already been figured out for you, sit down and decide on a heroic grind to challenge and empower you.

Sagittarius: The Centaur

The New Moon in Pisces asks you to take another look at where you live. It’s easy to look around and only see sinks that need to be fixed and bills that need to be paid. Those things may be true, but they are hardly the only truths. Your home is your nest, your womb. Its function is to support and restore you. But in order to love you, it needs to be loved, too. Ask yourself how you can better love your home, and then get to it. The support will be returned.

Mars’ entrance into Capricorn on the 17th begins a two month period which may put extra pressure on your finances. It wouldn’t be unwise to plan on remaining a little more tightfisted than usual with your spending. Having a war chest, no matter how small, is a nice thing, just in case one planet or another launches a sortie against your bank account.

Capricorn: The Goat

The New Moon in Pisces asks you to remember the reasons behind your routine. Trace backward. You do X because of Y and you do Y because of Z, etc. Eventually you’ll come back to your actual reason for doing what you do. Once returned to that source, work outward again, from fundamental motivation all the way back to the work and play you have on your calendar. Your schedule may or may not change as a result of this process, but its meaning will be restored.

That re-integration with your purpose will be of great use over the coming months, as Mars’ ingress into Capricorn on the 17th sees the red planet join Saturn and Pluto in your sign. Some tough moments and hard decisions may well wait during this span of time. Take it as it comes, and take care of yourself.

Aquarius: The Waterbearer

The New Moon in Pisces on the 17th asks you to look at your bank account and see more than numbers and anxiety. Although money is not love, it helps us to fund our passion and provide safety and comfort to those we adore. Yet it is easy to forget the purpose of money, to get caught up in the whole worry and anxiety of it. But money for money’s sake doesn’t inspire most of us. In order to go out there and do what needs to be done, we need a deeper reason, a more enduring motivation. Money is a means to something worthy, to support something or someone you love. Remember that, and return to the real reasons.

Shortly after the New Moon, Mars enters Capricorn, beginning a pair of months which will highlight some of the scarier monsters lurking in your shadow. Be prepared to confront old patterns without slipping back into them. It’s easier when the monsters stay under the bed, but it’s impossible to make deep progress during such an uneasy truce.

Pisces: The Fish

The New Moon in Pisces offers you an opportunity to relocate the good crazy inside you, the divine madness which is the secret ingredient in your special sauce. Unfortunately, if you were born to the Fishes, there’s lots of not-so-good crazy in there, too. Although you can filter out some of it, that fish tank is never going to be completely clean. The trick may be to make sure the rest of the crazy follows the good crazy’s lead, and not vice versa.

Just as you’re getting your crazy sorted, Mars joins Saturn and Pluto in Capricorn, setting the stage for an intense pair of months. You’ll tend to see these patterns play out in your social sphere. It may be that people act up, or it may be that some friends go through some exceptionally hard times. Be ready to shore up your boundaries against ambient drama, and strap on your hero’s mask and ride to the aid of a worthy friend or ally.

Austin Coppock is a writer, esotericist and astrologer based in Ashland, OR. He published paperback Almanacs from 2011-15 but began posting his prognostications online last year, referring to his collection of weekly, monthly, yearly essays and daily delineations as “The Online Almanac”. This work is made possible by his supporters on Patreon. Austin was President of the non-profit organization “Association for Young Astrologers” from 2012-2016. His most recent book is “36 Faces: The History, Astrology and Magic of the Decans”, published by Three Hands Press.


  1. Al 2 years ago

    Beautiful yet Balanced. Very picturesque writing.

  2. james 2 years ago

    >> The thing is, you don’t pick your good crazy. You discover it.

    Suggestions for effective ways to successfully identify our ‘good crazy’ and not mistake ‘bad crazy’ for it would be most gratefully accepted!

  3. Azr 2 years ago

    Like that woman said in The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus, “You are such a wonderful speaker!”

  4. Florence 2 years ago

    Austin, you da BOMB!

  5. Susan E. Crandall 2 years ago

    Thank you darling man for helping me remember myself. I almost forgot I am a dragon.

  6. Julie Evans 2 years ago

    Right on, right on, right on

  7. Spike Neuberger 2 years ago

    Yikes!!! I have sun and moon in Pisces!!! Fastening my seatbelt Austin!

  8. Tor 2 years ago

    Reading this feels like what you’re supposed to feel when you go to church.

  9. dirkdev 2 years ago

    Another magickal mystery tour through the sky. As a Pisces ASC in the last decan, this posting hit the mark. Thanks again Austin.

  10. Adam C. Madison 1 year ago

    When we are in touch with the differing zodiacal energies in our chart, more than one horoscope becomes pertinent. I read the Sag, Scorpio, Libra and Aries ‘scopes, for I embody these energies far more than most, although my awareness of the other energies — specifically Capricorn and Gemini in my current journey — steadily increases.

    Scorpio: my pleasure lies in going deep into serious, pertinent mysteries of life; old pleasures (sports) are cast aside or otherwise simplified into metaphors and narratives tangential to my nascent primary interest (politics).

    Aries: Martian themes are fun to me and help me feel most alive; the test of my endurance the current transits highlight are manifestations of my Saturn Return / natal Saturn-Aries square in my chart. It feels good, holistically, to become, to quote Alan Watts, more of what I am, even if the Ego futilely bucks.

    Sag & Libra: Moving and family themes are highlighted: business-wise moving is a non-starter; freedom-wise moving would assuredly unlock more of my soul in the sense of forcing me to monetize talents on an expedited timeline; through a partner there is pressure to move. Yet the Sag in me desires worldwide travel, not temporary travel; to ensure this requires patience upon patience upon patience. In the end, man is as free as he can afford to let alone, right?

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