*Energy* Activity *Autonomy*Potency*Assertion*Individuation*Initiating Spirit *

Symbol: The Ram
Solar month: 21 Mar. – 21 Apr.
Element: Fire
Temperament: Hot/dry
Quality: Cardinal
Gender: Positive/masculine
Dignity of: Mars
Detriment of: Venus
Exaltation of: Sun
Fall of : Saturn
Archetypal faces: Warrior/pioneer/hero


Ancient & Traditional Aries

“The Ram having pass’d the Sea serenely shines, And leads the Year, the Prince of all signs.” “Of people, in the share of this sign are kings who are just and generous, warriors and fire . . .“ Aries is not the most prominent of constellations, the eastern portion of this figure is said to be inconspicuous and thus its stars were mapped inconsistently.

For instance, at some point, a horn was carried into Pisces and a leg into the asterism of Cetus. It is observed that the Euphratean astronomers mapped a constellation formed by three of the stars of Aries, it was called ‘the Scimetar’. Interestingly as one of the zodiacal twelve in China, Aries was the ‘dog’ and later became the ‘white sheep’.

Again, in China, the stars of Aries, Taurus and Gemini were combined to constitute the western of the four ‘great zodiac groups’ and this was called the ‘white tiger’. The astrological symbol of the Ram is not to be seen in the early Babylonian texts. It is thought that this figure became included in their zodiac when its stars began to mark the Vernal Equinox. The Babylonians came to call it ‘Lu Hunga’, ‘the Hireling’.

The culture of ancient Egypt is where the zodiacal ram is considered to have originated from.
Many think that the symbol was designed to represent the Egyptian king of the gods, reflected in a statue found at Thebes with rams horns. Thus the ram became associated with the symbol of the Sun god and therefore the vivifying potency of raw energy.

Aries was the constellation that culminated in the sky when the great star Sirius rose heralding the Sun and therefore this zodiac sign became strongly related to the Egyptian new year. The Egyptians called this sign the ‘Lord of the Head’ (‘Arnum’). The temple of the sun god Amon-Ra, Karnak, Egypt (built c. 1480 BCE), includes a corridor of ram-headed sphinxes, oriented to the sunset of the Summer Solstice.

The Jewish sacred period of ‘Nisan’ (our March – April), is connected to Aries, because it was stated that the Sun was in this sign when the Jews were released from their bondage in Egypt. During this same period of the year, in Assyria, a ram was to be sacrificed. It appears, even before Aries was included in the zodiac, that the ram was a prominent totem animal of many ancient cultures.

As a zodiacal component, in the traditional context, Aries was said to ‘act upon the element of fire’ by the ‘imprinting of temperate heat and dryness’. This a warmth and temperateness that causes the ‘beginning of natural motion’ (i.e; ‘change’), that is the natural motion causative of the individual emergence, growth and eventual multiplication.

The traditional classifications that have been applied to this astrological sign are as follows; The ‘day house of Mars’ , barren, bitter, commanding, diurnal, dry, equinoctial, fortunate, four-booted, hoarse, hot, hurtful, choleric, inflammatory, luxurious, masculine, mental, northern and violent.

* Some More Symbology & Mythology

The glyph for Aries is considered by many to be a literal pictorial representation of the head and horns of a ram. It is also regarded as symbolizing the nose and eyebrows of the human face, the head and face belonging to the governorship of this sign. On a more essential level this symbol is very indicative of a fountain of raw energy gushing forth with potency and effect, the dynamics of implosion and explosion into experience is captured.

Certainly such symbology reflects one of the primary themes of this sign, concerning the initiating of new beginnings. The ancient Egyptians are regarded to have introduced it as the first sign of the zodiac and it rises in the sky as a constellation with its ‘head’ turned backwards, as to view the other energies that are following its lead.

Some say the ram is in this attitude because it is admiring its own golden fleece. In the Northern hemisphere the Spring Equinox occurs as the Sun is viewed to ingress into Aries on March 21st, again the ram signifies the first stirrings of new activity and things to come.

Once more, represented is the thrust of the life force into nature and into the individual being. It was even observed that the ancient Arabic astrologer Abu’ Mashar (d. 886 CE) postulated that all creation took place when all the planets and the lights were conjunct together in this sign.

This animal is symbolically connected with the generative force as a symbol of active, masculine virility, it is also associated with solar power (the Sun is ‘exalted’ in Aries). Accordingly the ram was a chief sacrificial animal in many cultures. The Greek myth of the Golden Fleece is seen as representing aspects of the Arian archetype.

This fleece was sacred to Zeus (Jupiter) and it is interesting to note that the ram is also the special animal of the goddess Athene, who was birthed from Zeus’ forehead (a part of the body related to Aries). It is also significant to note that Athene was known for the defending of patriarchal concepts and zodiacally Aries is a ‘yang’, masculine sign.

It is noted that some of the ancient temples were oriented to this sign. Some of these are the Grecian temples of Athene and Zeus, in particular (from 1580-360 BCE), as the ram was associated with them. In the mythological story a ram, flying through the air, helps the hero-son Phrixus and his sister Helle to escape their stepmother.

Helle was to fall off into the sea, thus the area was named Hellespont. When Phrixus arrived safe and alone, he sacrifices the animal and the fleece becomes dedicated to the gods. This fleece was hung in the Grove of Ares (Roman Mars), where it transforms into gold and is guarded by fierce man-eating rams. The sign of Aries is ruled by the planet Mars who was the god of war.

The quest of the hero Jason to capture the Golden Fleece is a well-known myth. Jason’s journey is representative of the emergence of the individual ego, which is the essence of the archetypal ‘heroic journey’. In fact Jason, Athene and Mars are all very much aspects of the ‘warrior’ archetype, prepared to both battle and defend in some fashion. In the highest sense the Golden Fleece is a related metaphor and equivalent to that of the Holy Grail, both symbolising a quest for supreme strength of spirit through the purity of the soul.

This echoes the esoteric Christian symbology of the ram as the ‘lamb of God’, with Christ as ‘leader of the flock’. Here the lamb represents the ego of Man, the crucifix symbolic of the material world. The ram was also the sacred beast of Agni, the Vedic god of fire and a symbol of the Sacred fire in Hinduism, appropriate for Aries being the fieriest of the fire signs.

* Archetypal Principles

Will - to - Be . The Assertion of the Separate Self. Initiating the New into Action. Primary Archetypal Type: Warrior Pioneer Hero Examples of Mythic Representations All Gods of War - e.g, Ares, Nergal. - Warriors and Empire Builders – Heroes, champions and protectors; e.g, Jason, Hercules - All in competition or battle - Those who come ‘first’, or desire to. Examples of Archetypal Personas & Stereotypes Soldier, Gladiator, Jousting Knight, Frontiersperson, Invader, Explorer, Adventurer, Competitor, Leader, Champion, Emperor, Brat. Examples of Archetypal Objects and Symbols Single Flame, Blade, Sword (Weapons in general), Helmet, Phallus, Drums and Horns, Battleground, Golden Fleece, Lamb, Red Sportscar,. Examples of Key Manifestations Drive, action, energy, impulse, doing, direct, first, cutting, piercing, independence, courage, fight, conflict, anger, competition, confrontation. Primary Psychological Associations The ability and mode of establishing a sense of autonomous Self - Individuation – Motivation – Impulse - Clean Assertion - The focus and direction of energy - To begin, start, initiate the new - The drive to move forward - Potency in the world.

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