When the ancients looked up and saw the constellation of Aries – they saw a Ram. A Ram is a male sheep, therefore Aries is a masculine Sign. In ancient times fleece was a valuable commodity, it provided rich, thick wool, which when shorn provided cloth. Rams are shorn in the spring, at the time that the Constellation of Aries was visible in the night sky.
It is this fleece that provided a livelihood for craftsmen who made garments, it was woven into cloth and was bought and sold. The fleece from the Ram was, in those days, precious. It was in ancient times, what oil is today in terms of the market. No nation could survive without the Ram. It wasn’t only for its fleece that the Ram was valuable, but for breeding as well. Often a man’s wealth was determined by how many Rams he had. For money, once spent is gone, while the Ram meant that there was potential for ongoing gain. Therefore Aries' gift is that of promise, of something that although belonging to the future, is also tangible now. Aries is a Sign that is able to see the true value of things before their Zodiac Signs. This is what makes them such good entrepreneurs, spotting trends before the rest of us.
A Ram needs to be the master of his own domain and in nature, a male Ram will have a harem of female sheep to copulate with. If another male comes into his territory, he will lower his head and rush forward in a ‘do or die’ attempt to prove that he's the ‘alpha male’. It isn’t to protect his sheep, it’s to protect and retain his place in the natural hierarchy. He needs to be No. 1, the alpha male or the top dog.
For Aries, as a Sign, it’s often the conquest or the quest for victory that holds the most excitement, which is why for an Aries, it's often the chase itself that they love. This is why Aries has a reputation for starting things that they don't finish, because when the chase ends, they lose interest.
In the sky, the Ram appears emerging from the waves (rising). Just as the Constellation of Aries does as it emerges from the waters of Pisces, its preceding Sign.
There are many myths surrounding the Ram, but the one associated with Aries, is that of the famous Golden Fleece, the fleece that set Jason and the Argonauts off on their epic quest. In mythology the Golden Fleece is said to represent enlightenment and knowledge – it embodies the spirit and the intellect. Thus, Aries is propelled to be forever on a quest. Jason grew to manhood, unaware of his destiny or who he was. When he was a baby his father, King Aeson of Thessaly was murdered by his brother Pelias and his crown taken from him. To protect the child from the same fate Jason was given to Chiron, the Centaur, who took care of him and brought him up (we meet Chiron in the Sign of Sagittarius). When Jason reached manhood, Chiron told him the truth about his birthright, but not before he had educated him in the arts of warfare and scholarly knowledge. On his way to avenge his father’s death Jason lost his footing while crossing a river and one of his sandals was washed away. Thus, he arrived at his uncle’s court wearing just one sandal. An oracle had previously warned Pelias that Jason would return to avenge his father one day and he would recognise him, because he would be wearing only one sandal. With the prophecy fulfilled his uncle promised to return the kingdom to him, on one condition, that he retrieved the Golden Fleece from Colochis on the Black Sea. He wasn’t being generous, he was being crafty, for he thought that he was sending Jason to a certain death. Because all who had tried before had all failed, he assumed that Jason would share the same fate.
Jason agreed and proceeded to build a ship (the Argo) and gathered around him a team of heroes to help him on his quest. These were the Argonauts, which included the likes of Hercules, Castor and Polydeuces, Orpheus and King Theseus of Athens and many more. This why you often find an Aries with a team around him.
Jason's journey encountered many obstacles and challenges as Jason and his Argonauts battled dragons, monsters, storms, becalming and even gnashing rocks, but he overcame them all and was eventually successful. Jason returned from his heroic mission and claimed back his father’s throne, but he found it hard to settle back into normality and the responsibility of running a kingdom and for the rest of his days yearned to be back on his epic adventure. For Jason and Aries energy prefer the thrill of battle or of the chase, than settling down to enjoy the spoils. Once one quest ends, the yearning begins for the next one.
Thus, Aries energy is that of leadership and the need for a quest, a fight or a battle to overcome. Not for victory sake, but for the thrill of the quest itself. Just like Jason, Aries energy is about building a team and inspiring others to join in their passion and drive.
Mars is the ruling planet of Aries. It has a cycle of 687 days, spending approximately 6 weeks in each Sign.
Blood Red in colour, Mars has always been linked with war, fighting and battle. Red is the colour of passion, fire and of the fighting spirit, all of which are associated with Aries energy. Mars has been visible to the naked eye since prehistoric times and the month of March, the month the Sun moves into Aries, gets its name from the planet Mars, which is prominent in the sky at that time of year.
In modern times we can stand back and see Mars for what it is. A planet not dissimilar to our own. The 4th planet out from the Sun and the 7th largest planet in the solar system, Mars has long been the planet of myth. It is the stuff science fiction stories are made of. The concept of Martians is one we all know. Even today we have our own Myths and it’s from this planet that stories of extraterrestrial life often come.
So in ancient and modern times Mars has been a planet of war, adventure and of the possibility of something different. It’s the thought of the impossible somehow being possible. Movies have been made about journeys to Mars or an attack from Mars. All these aspects of adventure, exploration and warrior quests are all qualities of Aries.
Ares, God of War, is the ruling deity of Mars and therefore of Aries. In the ancient world Mars ‘was’ Ares. Ares was actually a bit of an unlovable character, not too popular amongst the other Gods. Ares (pronounced the same way as ‘Aries’ the Sign, but spelt without the ‘i’) loved battle, though not because he was committed to the cause. Ares liked battle for its own sake. ‘Give me blood, give me glory’ would have been his battle cry. It was the act of war and the excitement it brought that was his motivation. Thus, Ares personifies the human concept of aggression and passion - he was a real commando for hire.
In mythology Ares rode a chariot pulled by two horses, one black, one white, named Deimos (Fear) and Phobos (Terror). In other myths they are known as his sons. Whether they were his horses or sons, Deimos and Phobos accompanied him into battle. Mars has two Moons and three guesses what they're called? That's right, Deimos and Phobos.
Ares lived for the thrill of battle and the smell of blood. However there is a soft spot to Ares, for he was in lust/love with Aphrodite, goddess of beauty, love and desire and the goddess behind Venus. Even though Aphrodite was married, Ares was so seduced by her charms that he gladly suffered humiliation at the hands of the other Gods, rather than give up his illicit love affair.
Most of the other Gods, especially Zeus and Athene, weren’t great fans of Ares, they thought he was too brutish and unrefined. However Aphrodite fell in love with his vigour and as women have done throughout the ages, she had a soft spot for a bad boy. Ares was a warrior and her weak husband Hephaistos (smith to the Gods) didn’t stand a chance against the virility of masculine Ares.
When Hephaistos found out about his wife’s infidelity he used his skills to forge a net so fine it was invisible, then he tricked his wife. He told Aphrodite that he was going out of town on business, knowing that she’d send for Ares. That’s exactly what happened, but unbeknownst to the lovers, he slipped back home, threw the net over them while they were lying naked on a couch, in the act of love. Trapped, the lovers had to wait while Hephaistos summoned all the Gods to come and witness their shame. Instead of being shamed, Ares’ ego was pumped up from being seen in the embrace of the most beautiful goddess in the universe. If Aphrodite was the goddess of love and he had seduced her, then that made him the ‘world’s greatest lover’ and he didn’t care how many people knew that!
Ares and Aphrodite eventually had a daughter called Harmonia, a name that symbolises the balance between love and aggression. Ares and Aries energy is about conquest, whether it’s love or of an epic quest. In the game of love, Ares (and Aries) fight for the object of their passion. Ares’ love for Aphrodite survived their embarrassment and strife they went through and is the reason why Mars and Venus share a close relationship and when they are found together, sparks fly.
Aries is the first Sign of the Astrological year and of the Zodiac and marks the beginning of spring. In the 21st Century western Astrology has spread out around the globe, just as the human race has, so whether you’re in the Northern or Southern Hemisphere, Aries marks the beginning of Astrological Spring. Our biological clocks, that are written into every DNA cell in our body, wakes up to this feeling of spring, even if you're in the Southern Hemisphere and instead of spring, it's autumn.
The Spring Equinox falls around the 21st March each year and it’s at this point that the day and night are of equal length, but from this point the days start to become longer, the nights shorter and the long winter is over. Dormant plant life begins to awaken, buds begin to burst out on the trees. Wildlife is born and all around there are signs that Mother Nature waking up.
In the ancient story of Demeter, Earth Goddess or Earth Mother (who we meet in Virgo), the beginning of spring marks the end of her period of mourning for her daughter Persephone. She prepares with hope, to welcome her daughter home, something she does year after year. There is an air of expectancy, roots are beginning to awaken and grow deep and strong beneath the surface and all around there is the promise of new life.
New beginnings, new energy and new life. It’s still too early to plant yet and most new life is embryonic and more the promise than anything sustainable on its own. The ground is still cold and hard and often waterlogged from the spring thaw, but this is a time of expectancy. Optimism returns and as the days become longer, the air of expectancy grows. Grandiose dreams are born and wild speculation is rampant.
The Sign that heralds the beginning of a season is known as a ‘Cardinal’ Sign, in that is a Sign of initiation, ideas and plans. It’s not up to a Cardinal Sign to carry things through, simply to give birth to them.
Aries is like the proverbial Ram, butting their way into situations, without thinking through the consequences first, unafraid to butt heads. Not content to wait for life, they go after what they want. They are fiery like the planet Mars. They’re passionate, warlike and like Ares and they’re instigators, inventors, planners and forward thinkers, just like the energy of the time of their birth. They’re also lovers, not just romantically but of life itself.
As a Cardinal Sign Aries are the ones who come up with the ideas that inspire and motivate the rest of us. Aries don't always finish what they start, but that’s not their role, that’s what other Signs do best. Aries energy relies on having a good team around them, that can follow through on the practical details, while they’re free to develop even better ideas, just like Jason and his team of Argonauts. Aries, therefore are inspirational leaders, inventors and they inspire passion and a fighting spirit in all of us.