Aries (from the Latin word for ram), the first sign of the zodiac, is a cardinal sign and a fire sign. It is a positive, masculine sign ruled by the planet Mars. Its symbol is the Ram, and its glyph is said to represent a ram's horns. It takes its name from the Greek god of war, making it one of the few signs with a well-developed mythology. Aries is associated with the head, and people with an Aries sun sign are prone to headaches and injuries to the head and face. The association of the head with Aries is the source of the word headstrong, which characterizes people with a strong Aries nature. As the first sign, the key phrase for Aries is "I am," representing the birth of awareness.
Although Zeus, king of the Greek gods, fathered many children, Aries was the only son by his wife, Hera. Aries ruled war and was said to delight in conflict. He was also impulsive, often defying the fates. According to most accounts, Aries never married but had many love affairs, best known of which was his liaison with the goddess of love, by whom he fathered Eros (source of the term "erotic"). His nature was simultaneously brave and insolent, and in ancient works of art he was portrayed as young and handsome.
Like its namesake, the sign Aries is youthful and impulsive. Arian nature can manifest positively as bravery in the act of standing up for one's rights. Negatively, the same nature can manifest as crudeness, pushiness, overaggressiveness, and even violence. Arians tend to be egotistical, though it is the unself-conscious egotism of a child (in contrast to the fully self-conscious egotism of those under a sign like Leo). They are quick to anger, but just as quick to forgive. As natives of the first sign of the zodiac, they are often pioneers, but they are infamous for the difficulties they have finishing what they begin— they enjoy the excitement of being the first into new territory but prefer to let others map it out. Like all fire sign natives, they are fond of physical and social activity.
The sign that the Sun was in at birth is usually the single most important influence on a native's personality. Thus, when people say they are a certain sign, they are almost always referring to their sun sign. There is a wealth of information available on the characteristics of the zodiacal signs—so much that one book would not be able to contain it all. Sun-sign astrology, which is the kind of astrology found in newspaper columns and popular magazines, has the advantage of simplicity. But this simplicity is purchased at the price of ignoring other astrological influences, such as one's Moon sign, rising sign, etc. These other influences can substantially modify a person's basic sun sign traits. As a consequence, it is the rare individual who is completely typical of her or his sign. The reader should bear this caveat in mind when perusing the following series of sun sign interpretations.
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A seventeenth-century manuscript page showing Aries the ram. Reproduced by permission of Fortean Picture Library.
One traditional way in which astrologers condense information is by summarizing sign and planet traits in lists of words and short phrases called key words or key phrases. The following Aries key words are drawn from Manly P. Hall's Astrological Keywords:
Emotional key words: "Courageous, enthusiastic, imaginative, energetic, excitable, proud, impulsive, audacious, not domestic, hasty, brusque, sharp, passionate, quick-tempered, intemperate."
Mental key words: "Executive, enterprising, pioneering, confident, ingenious, scientific, explorative, independent, expedient, precise, progressive or intolerant in religion [one extreme or the other], aggressive, competitive."
At present, there are various astrology report programs that contain interpretations of each of the 12 sun signs. A selection of these for Sun in Aries has been excerpted below:
By nature, you are very energetic and high-spirited. You are fiercely independent—you must be first in everything you do, and you enjoy taking risks. You are the one who will rush in where angels fear to tread. Quite brilliant at initiating new projects, you are terrible at following them through to completion. You are an enthusiastic leader but you tend to be a reluctant follower. Often you are quick to anger, but you usually recover just as fast, regretting later things you said when you were upset. One of your best traits is that you are simple and direct, blunt and honest—just be careful you do not hurt others' feelings. Your need to be competitive at all costs may provoke resistance from others, but, as long as you maintain your usual Sunny good humor, this should not prove to be a major problem for you. (From "Professional Natal Report." Courtesy of Astrolabe [http://www.alabe.com].)
You are a person who thrives on challenge, and you often feel that you must battle your way through life, depending upon no one and nothing but your own strength, intelligence, and courage. You believe in being totally honest, true to oneself and one's own vision and convictions, even if that means standing alone. Honesty, integrity, personal honor, and authenticity are your gods, and you have no sympathy for weakness of character in others.
You crave the freedom to do things in your own way, and you work very well independently. Cooperating with others or carrying out another's will is not your style. You like to be the chief—or to go it alone.
You love action and if others are settling down into a nice, comfortable little rut, then you are always ready to stir things up, do something new, make changes, bring in some fresh blood. Routine and sameness are like death to you. You are not afraid of trying something that's never been done before, and even though you may be seen as a fool sometimes, you also discover, invent, and initiate things that others will later emulate. Taking risks and following your own star are the breath of life for you, and you wilt (or get very frustrated and angry) if you cannot do this.
You are spontaneous, impulsive, direct, enthusiastic, and assertive. You believe in the power of positive thinking and positive action, and you think of yourself as a strong person—even invincible. You hate being ill or in any way in a position of dependency. Accepting your own human limitations and emotional needs is often difficult for you.
You are basically aggressive in your attitudes and have less facility in the receptive arts of relating to others, picking up subtle messages and nuances, listening, nurturing, and harmonizing. Often you are so fired up about your own projects or goals that you inadvertently run over or ignore other people's feelings and interests. Being receptive and appreciative of others' contributions, ideas, and feelings would go a long way in improving your relationships. Your impatience to get on with things causes you to be rather insensitive, and to therefore alienate others unnecessarily. You also frequently try to accomplish your ends by using anger or some version of a temper tantrum. You would gain much by learning to slow down, relax, and just let things be sometimes, but your energetic, restless nature rarely allows you to do this. (From "Merlin," by Gina Ronco & Agnes Nightingale. Courtesy of Cosmic Patterns [http://cosmic.patterns.com].)
Courage! That's what Aries is all about. Traditionally this sign is represented as the Ram—a fierce, frightening creature. That's a pretty good description of how this energy looks from the outside. Inside, it's different. Not the Ram, but the newborn robin, two days old, just hatched from its shell, living in a world full of creatures who think of it as breakfast. Does it cower? No—the little bird flaps its stubby wings and squawks its head off, demanding its right to exist. That's Aries: the raw primal urge to survive. Existential courage.
Courage is a funny virtue—it has to be scared into a person. In the evolutionary scheme of life, Aries energy has a disconcerting property: it draws stress to itself. You can choose a life of risk and adventure. Or you can choose a life of one damn thing after another. Refuse the first, you'll get the second.
With the Sun in Aries, there's a hidden spiritual agenda behind the dramatic tone of your life: you're getting braver. Every month, every year, you attract a set of challenges. As you've probably noticed, you're a magnet for stress. Sounds terrible, right? Don't worry: you have a choice. There are two kinds of stress: the kind we hate and the kind we like. The kind we like we generally call by other names, like exhilaration and adventure ... which, for you, is the path of destiny. Accept it. Live the gambler's life. Risk the lows for the sake of the highs. Do it, or all that fire inside you will turn sour, emerging as tension, argumenta-tiveness, and pointless trouble. (From "The Sky Within," by Steven Forrest. Courtesy of Matrix Software [http://thenewage.com] and Steven Forrest [http://www.stevenforrest.com.)
Among its several natal programs, Matrix Software created a unique report based on the published works of the early-twentieth-century astrologer Grant Lewi (1901-1952). Lewi's highly original delineations were recognized as creative and insightful by his contemporaries. One measure of the appeal of his work is that his books Astrology for the Millions and Heaven Knows What are still in print. The following is excerpted from the report program "Heaven Knows What":
"Here lies Thomas Jefferson, author of the Declaration of Independence, of the Statute of Virginia for religious Liberty, and founder of the University of Virginia." (Self-written epitaph of Thomas Jefferson, born in Aries, April 13, 1743.)
Aries' great independence is a symptom of vitality and physical energy and becomes intellectualized later in life, if at all. The highest type of
Arian becomes capable of idealizing and universalizing his love of independence, which has its source in egocentricity. The first ambition of the Arian is to be first. He is an inveterate contestant, a professional competitor. His object is not so much the material stake as the glory of winning. He will never boast about coming in second; the also-rans he beats impress him less than the one fellow who beats him and thus steals his rightful place at the head of the procession.
Literally as well as figuratively this first-ness shows. Your Arian walks one step ahead of his companions, goes through doors first, has the first word (and often the last) in any argument. He loves arguments, not as a means of arriving at truth so much as a means of demonstrating that he can come out in front. He often wins by sheer noise and vitality— that is, he makes the other fellow cry uncle. Aries is frequently original in his efforts to be first, and, when not original, is sure to be novel. Any Arian who doesn't understand the difference between originality and novelty should study the two words till he does. When an Arian is original he is a pioneer, an inventor, a great thinker. When he is only novel, he is putting first his ego ideal to be first and neglecting to make his ideas sound and his methods practical. He thus loses the benefit of his energy, his genius and his ambition. All the bugaboos of the ego beset the Arian, and he must beware of self-centeredness. This can make him arrogant, conceited, self-pitying, self-assertive, and in the face of opposition or restraint can lead to delusions of persecution in mild or acute form. To forget self, to become absorbed in mental matters, to put ideas first, and to make sure that originality (or novelties) rest on a sound basis of fact, to see the other fellow's point of view, and to regard the other fellow's needs, wishes, desires just as seriously as his own are the means by which Aries may emphasize his great good points, and insure that his desire to be first shall actually cause him to be first. (Courtesy of Matrix Software [http://thenewage.com].)
The following excerpt comes not from a natal report program, but from David Cochrane's recent book, Astrology for the 21st Century. Based on lessons for astrology students, it approaches the signs of the zodiac from a somewhat different perspective than the other short delineations cited here:
The usual interpretation of Aries is that it is ruled by Mars, the warrior, and inclines a person to be strong and independent. Aries is the pioneer and prefers to blaze its own trail rather than follow the crowd.
My personal observation of Aries is that it does indeed incline a person to prefer functioning independently and accordingly to their own instincts, and they often are very poor in cooperating with others. They do not solicit the opinion of others, and instead make decisions according to what seems best to them. I have not found Aries to be combative or physically forceful, although their reluctance to cooperate with others can cause problems in relationships.
No astrologer has a monopoly on truth, and I realize that my emphasis on Aries being independent but not necessarily forceful is not a view shared by a great number of astrologers. These views of Aries are just the opinion of one astrologer, and are based on consultations with clients for many years. Progress in determining consistently accurate traits is difficult because there are many hundreds of astrological influences in the birth chart (thousands if you use some techniques) and any of these astrological influences may be responsible for the trait you are ascribing to the person, and additionally there are many ways that a person can respond to the astrological influences. I remember one particular week when I had 3 clients whose Sun sign was Aries and overall all 3 of the people were rather gentle, even passive, but all 3 of them had problems in personal relationships because of their "lone wolf" approach to life; they simply did not share openly, cooperate, or compromise, and insisted on following a career path that suited their personal taste, and all 3 were uncomfortable in an employment situation where they could not be their own boss. This kind of anecdotal evidence is generally all that we have to work from, so from a scientific perspective all astrological theory is highly speculative and there is little wonder that there are a large number of opinions. (Courtesy of Cosmic Patterns [http://cosmic.patterns.com} and David Cochrane [[email protected]].)
Several specialized report programs have been developed that offer useful supplements to the generic delineations of general reports. The following sun-sign interpretation has been drawn from a program written by Gloria Star (originally part of her book, Astrology: Woman to Woman) that generates a specialized report for women:
With the Sun in Aries your independent way of thinking and doing things may be quite powerful. Your ego self is driven by a need for autonomy. You need plenty of room to move, and the idea of being penned in makes you feel unsettled. You simply do not like waiting, and prefer spontaneity to planned situations. You may also be more comfortable taking the lead, which can be daunting for some of the men in your life. Since your Sun indicates "who you think you are," you may realize that if you see yourself as autonomous, then situations in your life are more likely to develop which allow you to express yourself in a more self-determined manner.
Through your Aries Sun, you have the capacity to develop a strong level of autonomy and self-direction. You may be a self-starter and will prefer to address life on your own terms. However, you can have a little difficulty trying to figure out how to go after the things you want without alienating others. If your approach is too brash or abrasive, you'll meet with resistance and end up feeling that you're always defending yourself. Despite being a woman, you may be okay in situations with "the guys," especially if you're involved in sports or other activities in which there are more men than women present. Since you can be com petitive, you may set up situations which provide a challenge, but you do not need to feel that you're always doing battle. You need some positive outlets through which you can develop your willpower, and may enjoy a career path which requires you to forge into new territory from time to time. You're an excellent leader, and whether you're working in the world, guiding your family through a crisis or seeking spiritual clarity, you can forge a path which others readily follow.
With your Sun in Aries you'll enjoy forging a life path which challenges your sense of personal strength and courage. Your ability to blaze your way to the top in any situation is quite noticeable, although you can be a little abrasive if your eye is simply on the prize and you fail to pay attention to others around you. When a situation calls for leadership, you're the natural choice. (From "Woman to Woman," by Gloria Star. Courtesy of Matrix Software [http://thenewage.com] and Gloria Star [[email protected]].)
Responding to the revival of interest in pre-twentieth-century astrology, J. Lee Lehman developed a report program embodying the interpretive approach of traditional astrology. The following is excerpted from her book Classical Astrology for Modern Living and her computer program "Classical Report":
You are witty, quick to anger, yet lethargic, with a tendency toward headaches, especially migraines. You are noble-spirited, very courageous and valiant, and honorable.
In astrology the sign Aries is considered to be Cardinal. This means that you are better at starting new things than you are at finishing them. Aries the Ram, being a four-footed sign, means that you have a strong sex drive. This also means that you can be vicious or violent if angered.
Aries is also a Fire Sign, which, according to classical astrology is "hot" and "dry." The "dry" component means, among other things, that you see distinctions easily, and that you are more swayed by intellectual argument than by passion. Being "hot," you react to things quickly: by expressing your anger strongly and immediately, you don't tend to harbor a grudge. You may be perceived by others as angry, but that's only if they are not "hot" as well. You will be perceived as having high energy levels. You are often aware of a curious stillness amidst the seeming activity. You may need more sleep than colder types in order to recharge your batteries. (Courtesy of J. Lee Lehman, Ph.D., copyright 1998 [http://www.leelehman.com].)
Readers interested in examining interpretations for their Chinese astrological sign should refer to the relevant entry. A guide for determining one's sign in the Chinese system is provided in the entry on the Chinese zodiac.
Cochrane, David. Astrology for the 21st Century. Gainesville, FL: Cosmic Patterns, 2002.
Forrest, Steven. The Inner Sky: How to Make Wiser Choices for a More Fulfilling Life. 4th ed. San Diego: ACS Publications, 1989. Green, Landis Knight. The Astrologer's Manual: Modern Insights into an Ancient Art. Sebastopol, CA: CRCS Publications, 1975. Hall, Manly P. Astrological Keywords. New York, Philosophical Library, 1958. Reprint, Savage, MD: Littlefield Adams Quality Paperbacks, 1975.
Lehman, J. Lee. Classical Astrology for Modern Living: From Ptolemy to Psychology & Back Again. Atglen, PA: Whitford Press, 1996. Lewi, Grant. Astrology for the Millions. 5th ed. St. Paul, MN: Llewellyn, 1978.
Llewellyn, 1969. Star, Gloria. Astrology: Woman to Woman. St. Paul,
MN: Llewellyn, 1999. -. Astrology & Your Child: A Handbook for Parents. St. Paul, MN: Llewellyn, 2001.
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