May 29, 2020
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ariesAries (♈) (meaning “ram”) is the first astrological sign in the Zodiac, which spans the zodiac between the zero degree and the 29th degree of celestial longitude. The Sun enters Aries when it reaches the northern vernal equinox, which is usually on March 21 each year, and remains in this sign until around April 20 (sometimes the dates vary slightly). Individuals born during these dates, while the Sun is within this sign, are called Arians or Ariens.The ancients (Isidore and Varro) saw a link between the word Aries the word ara (another constellation Ara), meaning altar, Isidore says: “The ram (aries) is either named after the word Ares, that is, after Mars‘ – whence we call the males in a flock ‘males (mas, genitive maris) – or because this animal was the first to be sacrificed on altars (ara, genitive aris) by pagans. So, the ‘ram’ because it was placed on the altar; whence also this (Sedulius, Paschal Poem1.115: The ram is offered at the altar.”[9] The Greeks associated Aries with the Ramwho carried Phrixus and his sister Helle on his back to Colchis (the Georgian region of the Caucasus) to escape the evil designs of their stepmother, Ino, who was about to kill them. In crossing the strait that divides Europe from Asia, Helle became giddy and lost her hold, falling off the Ram into the sea when she disobeyed a warning not to look down, the place thereafter became the Hellespont which today separates Greece and Turkey. Continuing his flight, the ram bore the boy to Colchis, at the eastern end of the Euxine or Black sea. On reaching his journey’s end Phrixus sacrificed the ram and hung its fleece in the Grove of Ares where it was turned to gold and became the object of the Argonauts’ (Argo Navis) quest. One possible consequence of Helle falling off the Ram might be symbolic over-representation of the masculine element in the Arian psyche. According to Apollonius Rhodius, Phrixos had journeyed to Aia (better known as Kholkis, or Colchis); “bestriding a ram which Hermes had made all of gold.”[10] Rams or lambs were sacrificed to redeem the firstborn of animals and humans, to make atonement for sin, as God told Moses to do in Exodus 12:29. The jubilee was proclaimed by the sound of a ram’s horn on the Day of Atonement. As the first sign of the tropical zodiac, Aries is seasonally associated with spring and according to astrologers represents a strong sometimes creative thrust and powerful expression of energy. The sign is governed by Mars, the planet of activity and assertiveness, which astrologers believe adds the traits of competitiveness, impulsiveness, and the instinct to act spontaneously. The Sun is also strongly associated with this sign, which it governs by exaltation. The solar-association is seen as adding expression of the ego, and the desire to make a mark as an individual. Joanna Watters (2003) defined a keyphrase for this sign as “I am”.[11] Martin Seymour-Smith (1981) suggested “Initiative is expressed aggressively, impulsively and probably very emotively”.

In Hellenistic astrology, the sign of the ram was mythologically associated with the golden winged ram that rescued Phrixosand his sister Helle from the altar where they were to be offered as a sacrifice to Zeus. The golden ram carried them to the land of Colchis but on the way Helle fell into the sea and drowned. When Phrixos arrived at Colchis he sacrificed the ram to Zeus and presented the Golden Fleece to his father-in-law, the King of Colchis. The fleece was then hung upon a sacred oak and guarded by a dragon until rescued by Jason and the Argonauts. The myth recounts that Zeus was so moved by the ram’s fate that he gave it the greatest honour of being moved to the heavens.[12]According to Alan Leo, generally considered to be the founder of modern psychological astrology and sun sign astrology, people born with the sun in Aries are “always looking forward, they are leaders in ideals and pioneers of advanced thought. They have great mental energy but are inclined to be very headstrong and impulsive. They are always prophetic, and love to predict things that will happen. They can look ahead into the future and foresee things with remarkable clearness of vision. When freed from other influences and not slaves to their personality, they become truly clairvoyant, and are remarkably gifted in this direction. This sign gives extreme ideality, and those born under it are more ideal than practical. They are always full of new schemes and plans, ever exploring and originating. They are fond of constant change, loving novelty, romance and speculation and nearly always live in a world of theory. They are very highly strung, sometimes hyper-sensitive and are remarkable for their perception. They seem to live more in the perceptive region of their brain than the reflective, and they are rarely deceived where perception is concerned.”[13]In classical times battering rams were used to break through doors and walls.[14] The zodiacal sign Aries rules the head in general. When a baby is about to be born, the head acts as a battering ram until the cervix is wide enough to let the head through. To act as a dilating wedge against the cervix, the infant’s head must push against it with a rhythmic force. A battering ram is a crude yet accurate metaphor.The ancients (Isidore and Varro) saw a link between the word Aries the word ara (another constellation Ara), meaning altar.[15] The Roman god of war, Mars, was identified with the Greek god Ares. His name is the basis of the words; martial(as in martial arts or martial law), March (the third month of the year), the names MarcusMarkMartin. Roman Mars/Greek Aries represents the masculinearchetype; Isidore sees a relationship between the words Mars and male, from Latin masculus, diminutive of mas, male. Isidore thinks the word marriage is also a relative.[16]


[9] Isidore, The Etymologies, 7th century AD, p. 247.
[10] 2.1143-45; Seaton 1912.
[11]Joanna Watters (2003), Astrology for Today, London: Carroll & Brown, p.13.
[12]Marilyn Reid (2007), Mythical Star Signs, p.15.
[13]Alan Leo, Astrology for All (L. N. Fowler & Co., 1899), p 11
[14] According to Isidore of Seville, “The battering ram (aries) gets its name from its appearance, because like a fighting ram (aries) it batters a wall with its impetus. A head of iron is fashioned on a strong and knotty tree-trunk, and, suspended by ropes, the ram is driven against a wall by many hands, and then drawnback it is aimed again with a greater force. Finally, beaten with frequent blows, the side of the wall gives way, and the battering ram breaks through where it has caved in, and makes a breach.” (Isidore of Seville, The Etymologies of Isidore of Seville, p.364.)
[15] “The ram (aries) is either named after the word Ares, that is, after ‘Mars‘ – whence we call the males in a flock ‘males‘ (mas, genitive maris) – or because this animal was the first to be sacrificed on altars (ara, genitive aris) by pagans. So, the ‘ram’ because it was placed on the altar; whence also this (Sedulius, PaschalPoem1.115: The ram is offered at the altar.” (Isidore, The Etymologies, 7th century AD, p.247.)
[16] “But ‘husband’ (maritus) without an additional term means a man who is married. ‘Husband’ comes from ‘masculine‘ (mas, adjective) as if the word were mas (i.e. ‘male,’ noun), for the noun is the primary form, and it has masculus as a diminutive form; maritus is derived from this” (Isidore, The Etymologies, 7th century AD, p.210.)


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