Aries: On Your Marks, Get Set and Go!

And don’t forget to take your running shoes.

First up. I’m going to cheat with this post. I need to get it done fast as we’re running out of Aries time – there are only a few days left to go. I know I should have been off the blocks with this one weeks ago but hey, better late than never. And in my defence, I don’t have a single planet in Aries, so forgive me if my speed isn’t entirely at record breaking levels!

Fortunately, I’ve got a little bit of Aries stashed away for moments just like this. A short while ago I decided to write a series of ebooks (one of my many Gemini Ascendent projects) each one focusing on a Zodiac Sign. I decided to start with Aries – why not? After all, Aries is first on the list, symbolises beginnings and Arians are known for blazing a trail faster than anyone else. So, in a trial run, I’m going to run the first part of my draft ebook past you. I hope it resonates with those of you who have a Cardinal, Masculine and Fiery disposition. Here we go…

Aries is traditionally considered the first sign of the Zodiac and that’s a very appropriate place for a sign that hollers, ‘Me first’, at every opportunity. Brash, fiery, brave, bold and reckless – we’ve all heard of the stereotypical Arian charging into battle, often without even stopping to ask what the fight is about – but is that all there is to Aries? Even for Aries I think there’s a little more than that in the mix. So, let’s have a closer look at the qualities associated with the sign of Aries and dig deeper into the Zodiac’s most exciting – and excitable – sign.

Those three words up there on this page? Masculine, Cardinal and Fire? They describe the Zodiac groupings (dualities, triplicities and quadruplicities) which give each of the Zodiac Signs their particular characteristics. Aries is a masculine sign and though we certainly associate this sign with a high level of testosterone, ‘masculine’ in this context is way more than just a synonym for butch. For Aries (as with all masculine Zodiac Signs), ‘masculine’ describes how Aries expresses energy and this is in a positive, outward manner.

Positive outward energy? This means Aries loves a bit of action and can act up like no other Zodiac sign. This should be no surprise if you look at the other two words up there on the page, cardinal and masculine. I’ll  add now add fire to the mix as this element is, of course, hugely important in forming the basic Aries personality. Aries is a fire sign and probably the most sparky and combustible of all the fire signs. So, this means Aries energy is hot and quick to ignite being fuelled with high-octane enthusiasm and a fundamental need to take action. Aries being Aries, this shoots out into the world in accordance with the ‘cardinal’ qualities that make Aries one of the most ‘in your face’ of all the Zodiac signs. 

As a cardinal sign, Aries is outgoing  – it’s how they interact with the world. Aries is not, as the saying goes, backwards at coming forwards and Aries mode of expression is almost literally forwards at all times. Impulsive, forceful, pioneering, energetic and assertive, Aries is noted for initiating activities and pushing them on – not necessarily with any plan in mind – just usually to see how far they can go. As Aries is both tempestuous and highly sexual that can mean seeing ‘how far they can go’  – Aries lives for the thrill of the chase.

If this sounds familiar to you, you may have an Aries Sun, Moon or Rising Sign – you could even have a powerfully placed Mars in your Natal Chart. However, having an Aries Sun does not have the same effect on your character as having Aries as your Rising Sign and it doesn’t produce quite the same result if you have an Aries Moon. The reason for this is the Sun, Moon and Rising Sign represent different aspects of your character. Though all of you with Aries dominant in your birth chart (because you have one of the above placements) will share Arian traits, the ways in which your Aries traits manifest are going to be very different.

The Sun, Moon and Rising Sign signify the most deeply important parts of you – they represent who you are, how you feel and how you see the world. You can see from this that those three things tell you a great deal about what makes you tick. Now most of you who know something about astrology will know that to get the whole picture you need to look at your whole chart, with all the other planets in their signs and houses. That’s absolutely true, but all the information you need at a very fundamental level to really get to know yourself is contained in your Sun, Moon and Rising Sign. 

Your natal Sun defines your basic character and personality, your identity – all of the things that make you feel like the unique human being you are. The house position of your natal Sun is where you shine and your Sun sign is how you shine best as expressing your solar traits comes so easily to you. That  may seem quite straightforward but unless you get to know yourself well it can be difficult to use your solar energy to your best advantage. For Aries, as with all Zodiac signs, this means learning to express the positive characteristics of the sign and deal with the negative traits. You need self awareness to do this and the grace to accept that sometimes you need to do a bit of work on yourself – Aries can often have ‘might means right’ issues.

With Aries as your Rising sign, the emphasis is slightly different. You view the world through an Arian lens which means you approach life in an Arian manner – which is direct to say the least. In many ways, Aries is more visible when it’s your rising sign as its the side of you that’s on display to the world and it’s often how others see you as their impression of you is often based on your immediate responses. However, with Aries as your Rising sign, Aries is your surface overlay. Your true nature will be determined by your Sun sign – and if this is also Aries, what you see is what you get!

The Moon is all about your emotional responses, your needs and what makes you feel comfortable. With the Moon in Aries your deepest needs are Arian in nature. Even if your Sun or Rising signs are somewhat more placid, you may surprise both yourself and other people close to you with an underlying Arian emotional nature which can seem at odds with who you – and they – think you are. Of course, you need to be comfortable with yourself at an emotional level as you cannot be truly happy unless unless you can really accept yourself for who you are. Again, this means becoming aware of your emotional needs and satisfying them positively in accordance with the positive characteristics of your Moon sign.

When I was writing the above, I became aware of the complex interaction of the planets, points and signs that often dominate out chart, namely the Sun, Moon and Ascendent. We so often think of ourselves an simply our Sun sign and often reduce our understanding of that to just a few chosen characteristics – usually the ones we prefer and want to identify with. However, that’s selling ourselves short. So, in writing (or drafting my series of ebooks) I wanted to get up to speed on how we can become more self aware if we learn to recognise the qualities our important signs bestow on us and key to that is using – as many astrologers can testify to – ‘keywords‘ for each sign as a starting point for self discovery. So Aries, in that vein, I’ve written a check list for you to speed read and discard – in true Arian fashion…

Aries ‘keywords’. This is basically a list of Aries traits you need to be familiar with each time you work on your Aries Sun, Moon or Rising Sign. All Zodiac signs have key, identifying characteristics and we express them easily and without really noticing that we do so.  It’s important therefore that we are remind ourselves of what they are – and here I’m going to use an analogy – it’s like speaking your native language, you don’t have to think about it too much because it’s simply something you do. However, even native speakers need to improve their vocabulary and be aware of grammatical rules and this is what consciously learning your Aries keywords will do for you – they will give you the vocabulary to take ownership of your inner self and enable you to express yourself in the best possible way.

As I mentioned earlier, all Zodiac signs – and that includes you Aries – have what have been traditionally considered ‘positive’ and ‘negative’ characteristics. In days gone by, astrologers often seemed to put a binary meaning on this – you were able to express your sign’s energy well – or not – there was no middle way. However, life is more complex than that. You are all capable of expressing your Aries energy productively and unproductively and no doubt do so every day. However, if you find you’re expressing the negative (or less acceptable) face of Aries more often than not, please be aware that the potential for transforming this to a more positive expression is within you. To transform our habitual ways of being takes two things – self awareness and a desire to change, however, you have to employ both of these together – one will simply not do the job.

Aries|Keywords|Positive

Active, Adventurous, Affectionate, Ardent, Assertive, Bold, Brave, Candid, Child-likonfident, Courageous, Daring, Direct, Dynamic, Eager, Energetic, Enterprising, Enthusiastic, Explorer, Extroverted, Fast, Fiery, Forceful, Friendly, Incisive, Independent, Initiative, Intrepid, Leader, Passionate, Pioneering, Romantic, Risk-taker, Self-Starter, Selfless, Spontaneous, Tough, Urgent

Aries|Keywords|Negative

Aggressive, Antagonistic, Argumentative, Bad-tempered, Blunt, Brash, Bullying, Childish, Combative, Combustible, Crude, Daredevil, Demanding, Directionless, Dominant, Egotistical, Foolhardy, Headstrong, Impatient, Impulsive, Insensitive, Loud, Outspoken, Pugnacious, Pushy, Quick Tempered, Restless, Rude, Selfish

This is an indicative though by no means an exhaustive list – you may recognise some of these traits in yourself, not necessarily all of them – though that’s not to say they aren’t there! The important thing is you become familiar with them and learn to identify them in yourself. Remember, each ‘negative’ trait carries the potential to become positively used – they’re like two sides of a coin, all you have to do is learn to flip.

Yes Aries, all you have to do is learn to flip. Not at all easy for the most direct sign of the Zodiac but well worth doing. Why? It’s about being your best self and, Aries, if you’re going to enter the race you may as well ensure you’re in prime condition – otherwise how do expect to get anywhere near the finishing line? Use your knowledge to maximise your potential – in other words Aries, give yourself a head start. You know it makes sense.

Though I’m ‘Aries-lite’ in my chart, I have an angular Mars (Aries ruler) and regularly encounter Arians in my life. I’m always struck by their spontaneity and enthusiasm. Their speed and energy leaves me breathless and they almost never have to think to hard about anything – they simply get on and ‘do stuff’ – though it must be said only if the ‘stuff’ in question lights their fire.

And this I feel is the lesson we can take from Aries – whatever or sign – don’t get bogged down in the stuff that gets you down. Don’t let your fire burn out. Try and retain a child-like enthusiasm for life. In an Arian’s (and a child’s) eyes almost anything is possible. Why wouldn’t it be? There is nothing out there for you to be afraid of and life is just one big adventure. We can learn a lot from Aries – the child of the zodiac. Be a good parent to your fiery inner child and train him/her well. You will need your Aries courage your whole life long.

© Sara Shipman 2019

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Transits and Solar Returns: An Astrologer’s Guide to Future-proofing Your Life

There are some things you need to know…

Well, It’s been a while, but first, I want to apologise for my lack of posts over the past few weeks. About a month ago I had major surgery having been diagnosed earlier this year with a pre-cancerous gynaecological condition. Following my surgery, the histology report showed my condition had progressed to very early stage cancer – and fortunately it was curable by a total hysterectomy.

So, it turned out I had cancer after all – without knowing it – and when the cancer was confirmed, I had already had the surgery to remove it. I no longer have cancer – what a great thing to be able to say. I feel as though I have had an amazing stroke of luck, however, the surgery has left me physically exhausted and I have had to take a time out to recuperate.

The obvious question to someone with a keen interest in predictive astrology and who shares that interest with the wider world is, ‘did I see it coming’? Well, I was on ‘red alert’ for something as the signs were out there that this was going to be an eventful year – though I didn’t know exactly what would happen as astrology always gives you options! So, what I’m going to do in this post is show you how predictive astrology can give you the heads up on the kinds of situations that may be coming your way.

When I want to know what issues I may have to contend with in the coming months I turn to two astrological tools in particular. Firstly I examine the transits to my natal chart and then I look at my solar return chart for the year in question. I know there are many astrologers out there who will have their own preferences regarding the techniques they use for predictive work, however, my own preference is to use transits and solar returns. Why? I believe they are much more straightforward to interpret than some other techniques and are often more obvious to the person who is experiencing them.

However, as an Astrologer, I use these techniques because they work well together. Predictive astrology is an art but it needs the practitioner to follow a rigorous process – for me, transits (particularly the outer planets) are largely indicative of trends in your life which occur over a fairly long period of time. They function as a kind of background noise almost like traffic noise outside your home. The noise becomes becomes louder when you open the window or, in astrological terms, when the transiting planets make contact, by aspect, with your natal planets or with important points in the natal chart such as angles or house cusps.

Solar returns complement this often long term process by giving you a pretty good idea of the kinds of issues you may face in any particular part of your life during any one solar return year. For me, I find they work in tune with transits, adding a layer of detail to the big themes your transits are telling you about. With me so far? Good.

So, what did my transits tell me about 2019? The big story for me transit-wise is Uranus, currently transiting through my natal 12th house. Uranus has been there for some time and honestly, I’ve not really noticed until recently and the reason for this is that Uranus is now approaching the point at which it will activate the huge ‘T-square’ in my natal chart.

Now, my natal ‘T-square‘ is pretty heavy; Sun conjunct Neptune in the 6th House square Mars in the 4th House and a Moon /Saturn conjunction exactly on the Midheaven. Safe to say, I’ve been ‘expecting the unexpected’ in all of those areas and sure enough, health, work and daily routine (6th house), home, family and all things female (4th House) and my career and direction in life (10th House) have all shown increasing signs of stress in the past few months.

However, I also have Mercury in my natal 6th House. Mercury is my chart ruler and, though not close enough to my Sun/Neptune conjunction to be officially part of the ‘T-Square‘, it is connected to my Moon/Saturn/Midheaven conjunction with a square aspect. And Mercury was where transiting Uranus made it’s first landfall…

So, it’s fair to say in late 2018/early 2019 I became aware (Uranus) something was wrong at a subconscious level (12th House) because I noticed (Mercury) some unusual (Uranus) physical changes to my health (6th House). Uranus switched on the light and Mercury saw there was a problem. Mercury‘s aspect to my ‘T-Square‘ configuration is a square and squares demand action. I needed to take responsibility (Saturn) for my reproductive health (Moon) and this was a matter off some importance that could not be ignored (Midheaven). So, off I went to consult my doctor and be referred to a gynaecologist…

I feel I have to say that, of course, there were (and are) other transits happening, but this was (and is) a big one. It was also possible that the matters being lit up weren’t about my health at all. However, I had been feeling a sense of unease about my health, exercise (lack of) and daily routine, (6th house) my career and business – I work in construction and real estate (4th house) – particularly given the current economic and political uncertainty in the world (10th house) – and all of these matters were in Uranus’s line of fire. The health check? It was a good thing to do but this transit could just as easily have meant I needed to start taking my wellbeing seriously and change my habits and my job. It didn’t necessarily show there was a serious health problem to deal with.

So what did my Solar Return Chart have to say about this? Well, I feel it’s interesting. My Solar Return Chart’s ascending sign is Scorpio, the sign of power and regeneration. My Sun is found in the 12th House. The Sun’s only aspect is a trine to Neptune in the 4th house. Now, the 12th house is the sign we associate with, among other things, hospitals, healing, drugs, seclusion, escape etc. and the 4th house we know relates to home, food, family, women, parents and parenting, the womb etc. as well as land, homes, houses and all things domestic. The Sun is always the focus of the Solar Return Chart so the 12th house was going to be big for me this year and would always be connected to that 4th house Neptune

When I first looked at my Solar Return Chart for the year it made a great deal sense to me. I had recently lost my father (Sun 12th House) and was processing that emotionally. I felt the coming year would be a time of healing and acceptance (Neptune) for me and the family, especially my Mother (4th house). I also found I had to contend with some of the more traditional issues associated with Neptune‘s 4th house placement. ‘Water issues in the home’ came to the fore with leaks, hidden areas of damp and rot, broken cisterns, delayed repairs – you name it, it’s been happening. Maybe just maybe, that 4th House Neptune was reminding me that I hadn’t been paying attention…

And maybe that included paying attention to my own body. I found myself tracking the aspects to that 4th house Neptune to see if I could identify what else could be in store. Well, there was a sextile to Pluto in the 2nd House. Sure, the repairs were about to into my cash in a big way but I felt there could be more than that after all, the second house is the house of the body. It’s physical as well as material. So I followed the next aspect, a square from Pluto to Venus in the 12th house.

This stressful aspect between Pluto and Venus once more highlighted material circumstances. Venus signifies money and right now I felt the house repairs were something I both couldn’t afford to do and couldn’t afford not to do. It was cash (Venus) I didn’t have (12th house) as my income from my day job (6th house) was erratic (Uranus). I had to resign myself to stress and repairs and being broke or maybe initiate change by finding a new job (fast!). After all, I was clearly stressed with things the way they were (Uranus in 6th house)and perhaps needed to adjust to the fact that my business wasn’t going as planned (Uranus quincunx Moon in 10th house) and I’d been seriously over optimistic about it’s chances of success (Uranus quincunx 1st house Jupiter).

My interpretation made perfect sense to me – after all, the first rule of predictive astrology is that everything that happens to you happens in the context of your own life. Period. But there it was nagging at me. That Uranus in the Solar Return 6th house. Uranus was in the house of health and it made me uneasy – what surprises were in store?

Once again I followed the aspects. Potentially an unexpected health issue lay in store but related to what? Uranus opposed Venus in the 12th house. Venus is feminine. The 12th house is associated with loss as well as hospitalisation. An unexpected health issue connected with feminity and loss? Or something hidden? I moved on to Venus‘s square to Pluto in the 2nd house. Whatever the Venus placement meant it was connected to Pluto, and Pluto symbolises revelation and irrevocable change – Pluto removes the things you no longer need. Potentially, physically (2nd house) something was no longer needed and needed to be removed – a square aspect remember, needs to be acted on. What was the issue? Something hidden (Neptune)in the 4th house…

So, that brought me back to the beginning. I wondered if there was potentially an unknown health problem involving the 4th house. Not unreasonably I paid more attention to my mother who was due to have some minor surgery (and sure enough, that ended up with a sudden and unexpected complication…) Maybe that was it. But no. My own condition announced it’s presence and here I am recovering and with my outlook on life transformed. Many women who’ve had the same operation as me feel they have lost their femininity, and younger women lose their ability to have children.

How does my experience relate to yours? At a personal level maybe some of you will find yourselves nodding in agreement – after all cancer is common – and many of us will experience it in some form or know someone who has or is suffering with it now. However, what I want you to take from this is the following; astrology gives us a resource to increase our self awareness to know when we may need to look at our lives a little more carefully and move in the direction that’s right for us.

Many of us would love to know what’s in store for us – equally there are as many who do not. However, I think it’s fair to say most of us would like some help in making informed decisions that can help us plan our lives more effectively. As I mentioned earlier, predictive astrology can point out your options – and if you take some time to understand he direction your life is moving in and work with the direction of travel (rather than fighting against it), you will find your life becomes much easier.

That’s not so say a little advanced knowledge will make your life easy – far from it. we all have difficult moments in our lives or find ourselves at forks in the road and don’t know which way to go. Checking out your transits and solar returns can help you make an informed decision. The Universe is there to help you and when it speaks? Listen very carefully indeed.

© Sara Shipman 2019

PS I’m currently writing a book on predictive astrology – hoping extracts will be available on this website soon with full publication to follow!

Gemini Rising: The Write Stuff

Gemini Rising? You’ve probably written half a dozen blog posts today, had ideas for half a dozen more and are considering your options…

So, there I was yesterday with my creative juices in full flow, writing a chapter of my new book. Not, I hasten to add, the book I told about in an earlier blog post (‘When Saturn Comes Home to Roost‘), but an even newer book. It is the first in a series of books and the pleasure I felt while planning each one – the text layout, the cover artwork – was as good as writing the text itself. Not that I’ve abandoned the first book – far from it – it’s mapped out and is many thousands of words to the good. It’s just that, well, I had this idea and simply had to run with it…

That folks, is a Gemini Ascendant in action. Suffice to say right now I’m also project managing a new house build, spending large amounts of time in the car going to visit my elderly mother and then there’s the dog to walk… Gemini rising is never short of things to do – in fact the more things there are to do the better Gemini rising likes it – though he or she will also complain bitterly about being so busy while adding yet another item to their multitasking schedule. Boredom is anathema to Gemini rising.

Ruled by that flighty planet Mercury, those of you born with a Gemini Ascendant see the world through a mercurial lens. Mental agility, the ability to keep all of your numerous projects in the air at any one time is a cool characteristic to own and it extends not only to the things you do but the things you think and say. Gemini rising, whatever the individual’s Sun sign, bestows on the bearer a restless, inquisitive nature and a need to communicate about anything that catches their interest for even (and often) the briefest of moments. And it is a real need – Gemini Ascendants need to experience life through their mental peregrinations to feel it’s all been worthwhile.

Constant stimulation is a necessity for Gemini rising – and they are generally stimulating people to be around as their wealth of interests makes them interesting people. Masters and mistresses of doing two things at once, the duality of Gemini is unmistakeable. This, and all the qualities of your Gemini side are, as with all rising signs, consciously projected outward into the world. And Gemini rising has to be connected to the outside world – without a smartphone they would not survive. Rolling news, a need to know, passing on information, Gemini rising is a social creature – even if this manifests as simply a liking for gossip and hours spent on social media. Gemini rising is therefore perceived by others as a sociable, multifaceted and versatile. More often than not, they are also considered amusing and engaging if somewhat shallow – even if this particular Ascendant masks a more shy, retiring or deeper personality underneath.

It is said Gemini Ascendants are not only quick of mind but agile and dextrous. This doesn’t make them Olympic sprinters – they’re not generally regarded as one of the sporty signs – but in general there seems to be a ‘quickness’ about them. Personally, I’m always rather sceptical about descriptions of particular physical attributes by sign as, seriously folks, I think this belongs in the realm of biology. However, as a Gemini rising, I can tell you I walk quickly and have a good degree of manual dexterity. My own take on this is I think perhaps those of us blessed with a Gemini Ascendant process information quickly – and maybe that includes our physical responses too.

If there’s a downside to Gemini rising it is this; it’s very easy for people born with this Ascendant sign to become a dilettante, a ‘Jack (or Jill) of all trades’. Developing focus can be difficult for Gemini rising as it’s so difficult to commit to a single course of action/hobby/career/relationship when there are so many options available. If there’s a key however to resolving this issue (and not all Gemini rising people will want to as, quite frankly, life can be fun for a social butterfly) it lies in the rest of your birth chart, particularly in the condition of your natal Sun. Find your passion in life as directed by your Solar potentials, and integrate this with the qualities of your Gemini Ascendant. The result will be a great sense of inner joy. Not easy for a Gemini rising…

So, have I, as a Gemini rising, found a way to integrate my Solar and Ascendant qualities? Well, Astrology is a passion and has been for decades and here I am writing about it like a true Gemini rising. Yes, I’ve been distracted by many things along the way but I’m firmly of the opinion that such things add to life’s great tapestry (now there’s an idea for a new hobby…) and all experiences are ultimately a good thing. As for the new book I’m writing (as I mentioned earlier) it’s the first of a series of books the subject of which is Sun, Moon and Rising Signs. I’m beginning with Aries (of course) as my chart ruler Mercury falls in my sixth house so getting things in the right order is just how it has to be.

Oh, before I forget, having a Gemini Ascendant places your Seventh House cusp in Sagittarius. This is your relationship house and you may find yourself attracted to partners with Sagittarian characteristics, the complement to your own Gemini side. You may find your one to one relationships reflect Sagittarius in some way e.g. they are long distance, you met in a foreign place, you have multiple marriages etc. I’m going to be writing a different article on relationships in future so won’t dwell on this too long here but my own experience? For what it’s worth I’ve had two marriages, one to an actual Sagittarian and one to someone of a different nationality who was multilingual. Relationships to those who have the traits of the sign opposite your Rising Sign are not uncommon – now there’s an idea for another book!

© Sara Shipman