MARCH/APRIL - The Spring Equinox, one of two times of year where day and night are of equal length, signals the sun turning into the sign of Aries. This is the start of spring, sometimes called the Vernal season. The sun’s rays grow stronger as the days grow longer, melting drifts of snow in the warmer valleys below. Trees begin to bud tiny green pockets of leaves, and the orchards bloom in swaths of pink and white blossoms. Small grass shoots poke out, drinking cold, muddy water out of the melting snow. Animals begin to wander north from their southern migrations, fluttering against wet branches and padding across the plains. They give birth to new spring calves, kids, fowls, and lambs. Snow turns to rain. While the mornings are frosty, the afternoons are sunny and warm. And the earthy scent of dirt and grass returns, baked under the heat of a new solar year.
In older times, when people were tied to the land and their lives were dictated by seasonal changes, the farm very quickly became a very busy place, full of new and important work to do. It was during the start of spring that wet fields were freshly ploughed, the invading grasses weeded, and the soil sown with new crops. Typically, half the field was sown with new plants while the other half was growing spring crops that had been planted the year before. Birds had to be scared away so they would not eat the freshly planted seeds. While this may seem like hard and boring work (and it certainly was) it was exciting to those who had not eaten or moved much in the past three or four months. Spring ignited the brains of people as much then as it does now, sending them running outdoors, excited to be out in the warm sunshine again after such a long and difficult winter.
In Europe many pagan and Germanic cultures celebrated the spring goddess Ostara with fires and egg decorating to welcome the world’s new fertility, light, and “rebirth”, with many associating this time of year with the goddess Ēostre. The West Frisian Calendar called this “Grass Month” for the tiny green stalks pushing up out of the dirt. Today many Christian-derived nations celebrate Easter as the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ (itself now another symbol of the rebirth of the year in spring). But our fertility symbols and traditions, such as egg decorating and the Easter bunny, are all passed down from our Pagan-European roots.
In ancient Babylonian astrology, this constellation of stars was actually called “The Agrarian Worker”, seen as a soldier or a man working the land. In Egyptian astrology this sign was referred to as The Sheep, and Ptolemy later depicted the constellation as a Ram. In Greece the myth associated with the constellation told of the ram with the golden fleece which rescued Phrixos and Helle from being sacrificed to Zeus by their murderous step-mother. The ram flew them to the edge of the Mediterranean (losing Helle along the way) and was sacrificed in Colchis. It was placed in the stars to honour its bravery, and its fleece was guarded by a dragon until Jason and the Argonauts came to claim it as their own.
Rams, sheep, and lambs all have different meanings behind their symbolism. Lambs, being as they are born in the early spring, represent the season’s fresh new beginnings, as well as innocence, purity, and sacrifice. Sheep are a more negative symbol, because they flock together when scared and blindly follow whoever is leading them. But the ram has a more positive connection to guidance and independence, as they are the one that bravely takes the lead and walks in front. Rams are universally regarded as a symbol for leadership, determination, and masculine aggressiveness. They are well suited as the first sign because they fight other males, take charge, and lead their flock to safety. They are also a symbol of fertility and virility, an image of aggressiveness and sexual potency chosen to represent the fertility of the spring year.
The glyph used to represent Aries is two symmetrical lines that curl up and then descend down to a meeting point. The symmetry of the symbol represents the equal length of day and night at the spring equinox. The glyph itself represents the curled horns and head of the ram. As well, for medieval medical astrology, Aries was said to rule the head and face, so the glyph is also a profile of the eyebrows and nose of a person.
Aries is a combination of the Cardinal Quality and the Fire Element. Because this Sign is so traditionally masculine, it is usually easier for one to be a male Aries than a female one. If a man is aggressive, competitive, sexual, courageous, driven for success, independent, and forceful, he is fulfilling his role as a man. But if a woman is all of those things, she gets called an obnoxious bitch. We have different ideas about what a woman's role should be: she should be submissive and yielding, a natural caregiver, an aspiring mother, passive, and a sexual object for other people's pleasure. Aries women say "FUCK THAT" and become a business woman, a tomboy, a warrior, a badass, and a sex symbol who demands to be heard and respected.
But beyond the male warrior archetype, Aries is as innocent and as childish as they come. Sure, they have explosive episodes and their ego is out of control some days. Sometimes their bluntly-spoken honesty can hurt your feelings. But they are also sentimental, kind, generous, and open-hearted people who become romantic, selfless heroes, and comedic fools in different situations. They leap from one thing to the next on impulse, often without any understanding as to why they do the things they do. They run off of pure emotion and gut reactions, without any logic or forethought. And as a result, they can get themselves into some sticky situations as often as they can find good stories to tell.
They are excitable people, drawn to fun and adventure and challenge, led by visions of grandeur and an idealistic point of view. Through their tendency to get really excited and jumping right in with all their heart, Aries can sometimes get themselves into poorly-thought-out business ventures, projects, or relationships. But because of their pride and persistence, they can't admit they were wrong and climb back out again. They are afraid of being shot down or told that their ideas won't work out how they think they will, and hate being told that their expectations are unreasonable. They want you to share their excitement and enthusiasm, not shoot them down! But Aries could stand to listen to some wise words of caution from those wet blankets And they can also shoulder some of the blame and responsibility when they fail.
Deep inside, Aries are secretly very sensitive, with deeper problems stemming from feeling inadequate or weak. Do not think they will ever admit it, though. They have traumatic memories of being made to feel weak, of losing, or things being their fault, and they can't deal with them, so they cover it up with defensive egotism and aggression. Aries seldom realize this about themselves, as they resist deeper introspection and refuse to let anyone in to see the deeper aspects of their personality. Even if they actually want somebody to explore this secret side of them, they will viciously fight anybody that tries to get close. They can't own up to being weak. But even though it is difficult, as a matter of healing, I suggest they try.
I once was told by a mom than she had a video of her Aries son as a toddler running through the house, running head first into a wall, falling flat on his back, getting up, and giggling as he ran off again. That is pretty much the perfect example of what Aries kids are like: positive, reckless, constantly hurting themselves, full of energy, and hilarious to watch. But having an Aries child is no cake walk. Aries always needs to be number one, the winner, the center of attention, and they get jealous if you pay attention to other kids. They will throw the wildest temper tantrums you've ever seen and actively rebel against every order you bark at them. But occasionally, you will see such genuine kindness and generosity (and such raw creative or athletic talents), that you will also be the proudest parent in the world.
Aries kids are usually closer to their father than their mother because they enjoy fun activities more than cuddling. They need parents who are A) very patient, B) willing to spend a lot of time playing with them, and C) able to keep up with their endless amounts of energy. These are not the kinds of kids you can plant in front of a television while you go off and do your own thing - they will have gotten into something and hurt themselves in the time it takes you to walk back into the room! They need sports, games, puzzles, and creative outlets that are fun and exciting, and they need you right there watching them win. They need to be outside running, jumping, climbing, fighting, biking, and going off on adventures, and they need constant supervision to make sure they aren't getting into trouble. Occasionally, some Aries kids prefer to sit alone and read or draw, privately and independently. If you are so lucky, enjoy the quiet while you can!
As Aries kids grow older, the energy of this Sign becomes more intense. They are just as reckless and impulsive as before, but now they have the power to leave the house and go off on their own. A lot of parents react by enforcing stricter rules and making demands. But that's the wrong way to go. If Aries aren't given the freedom and independence to make their own choices (and their own mistakes), or if their enthusiasm is squashed with boring rules, they will act out. This usually coincides with their teacher telling you they think they have ADHD, or when they get suspended for fighting, or when they complain that school is "boring" and skip the classes they don't like. They may start having sex or hanging out with a crowd you don't like. If this happens it is because they are being ignored, or because their drive, aggression, and energy doesn't have a positive outlet. But instead of getting mad and punishing them for being disobedient, you should reroute your frustrations and see if there is something you can do for your child to make them happier.
Often parents don't know how to make their Aries kid listen to them, so turn to spanking and more heavy-handed discipline in order to get their way. Many Aries kids grow up in a climate of screaming, crying, violence, or abuse because of their strong emotional ups and downs, or because parents and older kids were driven to the edge by their behaviour. But hitting and threatening each other is never okay. If you are the parent of an Aries child there may be days when you are driven to tears because you don't know how to handle your kid. But maybe it is because the only way you know how to react to their behaviour is by bringing the hammer down, and it obviously isn't working.
Aries kids need freedom. They need to feel like they are an independent person with their own say in their own life. You can help them and escape their childhood with your sanity more-or-less intact. Let them earn an allowance and let them choose how to spend it. Allow them to make their own choices about their religion, career, and relationships. Guide them with wisdom, but don't force them to make the same choices you did. Don't let them use their own aggression to dominate you, and don't give them money for nor reason, or they will take advantage of you without a second thought. They will respect you more if you put up boundaries they can't knock down and if you only reward them once they've followed through on their responsibilities. If your relationship with them is rocky when they are living at home, it usually improves ten-fold once they move out of the house. It isn't always easy to raise an Aries child. But they can give you a lot to be proud of too!
Many of Aries' relationships are brief sexual affairs: one night stands that are exciting for a moment before they move onto the next one. But when they do fall in love, Aries fall very hard, very fast. Once they are captivated by a person they confidently begin the chase and effortlessly seal the conquest, capturing a lover with charm, humour, and sexuality. Who can resist the heavily muscled, generous, yet sweetly charming Aries man, or the vibrant, rowdy, sexy Aries woman? No one, once they have their heart set on getting you to like them. Once struck they cannot tell the difference between true love and simple infatuation. They put you on a pedestal and swear their unwavering loyalty. To them, all those emotions are the same thing. So before they stop and think about what they are doing, they are jumping into bed and into a committed relationship without any doubt or uncertainty. And that is why many Aries marry early so on in life, and often to the wrong person.
You can't really blame them. Nothing Aries does is ever done halfway, or half-heartedly, or with any caution. They run into new love and new sex with confidence and enthusiasm, brightly lit with idealistic dreams, surging with energy and life. Once selfish, insensitive Aries becomes so much more kind, generous, and receptive when in love. So much passion so early on in the relationship, however, turns out exactly as you might expect: it is a bright, surging explosion, which is hot enough to burn anyone who touches it one minute, and gone before you realize it even happened.
Perhaps it is because this is no easy Sign to be close to for very long. The energy is far too overwhelming (and exhausting) for most people, and only the toughest can survive. Aries are notoriously arrogant, spoiled, and entitled lovers, absent-minded to your feelings, hurting you not out of a desire to actually hurt you (unless it is in a surge of violent anger) but because they are just careless. Unfortunately, many people don't stand up and say they are hurt, as they should. They turn away and sulk, hoping to guilt Aries into apologizing by making them feel bad for what they've done. But Aries won't understand. Call it blissful ignorance, but they don't understand people who hold all their anger inside, or worse yet, unleash it later out of revenge. You might think you are saving the relationship by not confronting Aries, but holding a silent grudge will do more to damage the relationship than it will to save it.
Aries are committed and monogamous when they are happy and secure in the knowledge that their partner loves them more than anybody else. But when their partner refuses sex or ignores their demands for attention, they will stray, and they won't feel guilty about it. The School of Life actually made a video where they insightfully explain why so many people end up having affairs. Some do it because they feel too close to a partner and need more distance, and others because their partner is too distant and need more of closeness. With Aries, it might seem like they have sexual affairs on impulse, reasserting their independence. However, I would say that more often than not it is the Aries trapped in a relationship with someone who is giving them the cold shoulder looking for someone who will give them the love and attention they deserve. Underneath it all, this Sign is intensely vulnerable and sensitive to rejection. And they simply can't be with somebody who shuts the door in their face.
An affair with an Aries will be exhausting at times. But through it all the relationship needs to be sustained by mountains of love and support. Aries needs someone who gives them the freedom to chase after their dreams without dampening their spirit with disapproval and doubt. They need a partner who can match their drive, their willpower, their enthusiasm, their pull towards new adventure, and their incredibly high sex drive. They need a person who will stand up to them when they are being an asshole and forgive them as soon as the fight is over. Any relationship with an Aries, whether it is romantic, sexual, or even a friendship, will have moments where you need to stand up and fight it out, viciously, until it is done. Then you can both get over it and move on, and hopefully, you will know what it is like to be loved by an Aries for the rest of your life.
As you may have already guessed, Aries are not the best at following other people's orders. That's why they usually either own their own business or work their way up to a leadership position, answering to one boss or nobody at all. Like other Cardinal Signs, it is better that they are in a leadership position anyway, as their drive and determination is best expressed from the driver's seat, not nagging from the back. But that doesn't necessarily mean they get along with everybody under their charge. Sometimes having an Aries coworker, employee, boss, or client can be just as difficult as being their parent or spouse.
Aries need a few things from their job in order to stay happy. They need constant challenge and excitement to keep themselves engaged in what they are doing. They also need creative freedom and the ability to make their own rules, follow their own schedule, and take command of their own projects. Being as they have so much energy to spare, they need a job that has them constantly moving (the more physical activity the better). Even if the line of work can stress other people to tears and an early grave, Aries can handle it because they can act (and lead) under pressure. But perhaps most of all, Aries need praise and attention for all the amazing work they do.
If you have an Aries employee or coworker, you need to be strong enough to endure them constantly testing you. Aries are competitive by nature. They fight for leadership positions, sort of like a lower wolf challenging the pack leader, and will butt heads with everybody at some point or another. They ignite strong reactions from other people - usually anger, from those who are easily hurt or who don't like to be bossed around, but also respect from those who admire their creativity and their work ethic. If you work with an Aries, I suggest you put up strong boundaries and respect their ambition. And stay out of their way when they get going, or else you will get run over!
If you have an Aries employer, you will probably likewise either love them or hate them. They can be angry slave-drivers, barking orders and expecting those beneath them to be totally subordinate. Yet they can also be open and kind-hearted, and well-suited for goal-oriented and independent people. Somewhere in the middle is a boss who both gives and demands a lot, as described by Hazel Dixon-Cooper in her book Work On A Rotten Day. "On one side, she can be generous to a fault with advances on your salary, liberal vacation time, an extra days off with pay. On the other, it means nothing to her to ask you to cancel your plans for the weekend to help close a big deal. She does it. So should you."
Aries always has a strong start on any new business, career, or project of theirs. But the second they get bored, or their energy stagnates, or if they start to feel ignored or unappreciated, they begin to falter. This is why, like in their relationships, they tend to start new things full of brightly-lit energy and enthusiasm, but them drop out when things cool down. Aries are not one for details, routines, or tedious grinding. Unfortunately, this means that while they start strong, by the middle of their term things may already be falling apart due to poor planning and poor money management. If things don't go the way they wanted them to (which is often, since they are often more idealistic than realistic) they are reluctant to admit it. So I would advise Aries to save themselves a lot of headaches by working with someone with thick skin who loves to do all the things they hate.
I have my Mars in Aries in the 7th House. I also dated an Aries. But those are stories for later articles. Right now I want to talk about the other Aries I've known in my life, and how I see this Sign in them.
I have an old friend who has her Sun and (retrograde) Mercury in Aries in the 1st House. She's always been kinda quirky, kinda weird, but also so very sweet and supportive. We bond over being creative and through our love of writing fantasy stories. Growing up she never drank, never did drugs, never dated anyone, never did anything wild or dangerous. Instead she read in private and obsessed over Harry Potter, fueling her Aries fires with idealism and imagination. When we graduated she moved away to Disney World, and since then has lived and worked everywhere from Florida to Victoria Island to the U.K, feeding her adventurous spirit from travelling and creative pleasures. She is still a crazy Aries girl - just one who puts all her fiery energy into following her dreams, rather than burning out on reckless indulgences.
On the other hand, I have a cousin with an intercepted Aries stellium (Mercury, Venus, Ceres) in his 10th House. I can't really figure out if he does what he does because he is rebellious and independent, or if he is just trying to be cool and impress the wrong people, or if he is trying too hard to show off a "tough guy" image. When he was a kid he was really hard to handle, always full of energy, always running around, always trying to fight everyone. He spent a lot of years outdoors and in a lot of sports (which he was really good at!) but as a teenager he fell into a bad crowd, which is making his young adult years difficult. From what I've seen and heard, nearly everyone with a strong Aries influence in their chart has a wild youth full of parties, drugs, alcohol, sex, and breaking the law. Usually it's just a phase - a consequence of that stupid, crazy Aries energy - that calms down as they get older, learn from their mistakes, and settle down into family life.
For example, my grandad had his Sun, Mercury, and Uranus in Aries. He was my mom's step-dad, technically, but we've never divided our family that way. I remember him sitting at the kitchen table every morning with my Scorpio grandmother, telling her how beautiful she was, and how much he loved her, all day, every day, while she nodded and did her crossword puzzle. I remember how much he loved little kids and how excited he got whenever he got a new grandchild (he had 8 kids, plus my mom and my uncle, so there were a lot of us). I also remember how childish he was - putting socks in our shoes so we couldn't put our feet in them, pretending to lose his teeth so my grandma would go looking for them, dressing up for Halloween well into his 70s. He had quiet moments of gardening and watching old western movies on TV. But in his younger years he had stories of race car driving, the curling club, camping, hunting, fishing, being a cowboy and herding cattle over the hills of the Okanagan, hauling logs down frozen mountain roads, and the many, many parties he went to, and all the money he spent on friends (and women) at the bar. Once he told me stories of his violently abusive father and siblings, and I heard about how mean he was when he was a young dad, but I only ever knew him as a gentle grandfather, and my mother and uncle both said he was a better father than their own dad ever was.
the aries transformation
As the Sign of Aries matures it turns into Taurus. All that burning fire, the feistiness, the aggressiveness, the impulsive risk-taking, and all that rage simmers down. It is exhaled, flattened, and becomes quiet. The ram is gone and what stands then is the bull - just as strong, just as single-minded and determined, just as self-righteous, but stubborn in place of persistent, sensual in place of sexual, and much, much, much calmer. The wild and erratic flames have given way to a towering figure of solidarity and endurance. Earthy, deeply thoughtful, and content to plod the field by themselves, the cycle turns to its second Sign, and moves on further into the middle of spring.