Anima Mundi – the Soul of the World.
The notion of the world and its inhabitants constituting a single living entity with its own essence, its own purpose and soul, may be traced back to ancient Greece, especially Plato and the Neoplatonists, and is also found in classical Indian philosophy as the concept of atman.
However it has continued as a thread throughout philosophy and religious thinking to the present day. It resonates to modern holistic and ecological worldviews and the concept of Gaia as a self-regulating planetary system.
The physics of the Earth’s orbit around the Sun are such that the defining limits of our seasons can be delineated by the equinoxes and solstices. At the equinoxes, the length of day and night is equal everywhere on the planet. At the solstices, the length of day and night is as unequal as is possible across the planet. Hence, at these times the greater context of the Earth-Sun relationship, and the solar system and all that lies beyond it, is emphasised at the same time across the globe; these quarter-points of the year bring a sense of planetary unity within the greater perspective of our cosmic, or extra-terrestrial, situation. This is why, from an astrological perspective, these times, unfolding successively quarter by quarter, describe the changes in whole-planetary consciousness, and stand as opportunities to meditate on the state of the world.
The horoscope cast for each of these quarter-points is known as a Cardinal Ingress chart. This is because the zero point of each of the cardinal signs Aries, Cancer, Libra and Capricorn is defined by the geometry of the Earth’s orbit about the Sun, and its relationship to the Earth’s equator, and at each solstice or equinox, the Sun is apparently situated at precisely 0º of each of these signs. The Aries Ingress corresponds to the spring or vernal equinox in the northern hemisphere, and the autumnal equinox in the southern hemisphere; the Cancer Ingress to the summer solstice in the northern hemisphere, and the winter solstice in the southern hemisphere; the Libra Ingress to the spring equinox in the southern hemisphere, and the autumnal equinox in the northern hemisphere; and the Capricorn Ingress to the summer solstice in the southern hemisphere and the winter solstice in the northern hemisphere.