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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Uranus: Brexit? Trump? Chaos Has Come Again

Uranus is the planet of freedom, liberation and overturning the established order. As Uranus enters Taurus don’t expect a revolution – it’s already here.

Transiting Uranus. You only have to look at the news to see transiting Uranus doing what Uranus does best. Right now, it seems, it doesn’t matter where you live in this world, you would have to be crazy not to have noticed that things are… well… a little out of kilter one way or another. All of life’s certainties, the things we seem to have taken for granted over the years, are being undermined, overturned – call it what you will – change is underway and chaos is all around.

In the UK, we’re currently going through Brexit, and wherever your opinion sits on this one, I think we can all agree that chaos about sums up where the country is now. How we laughed on this side of the pond, when our American cousins elected Donald Trump. We marvelled at at the craziness of their democratic decision (the wall, federal government shut down, the hirings and firings and above all, those tweets…) and thought, ‘Well, that will never happen here’. Fast forward about two and a half years and here we are. UK in what seems like a revolutionary crisis, USA the same and a whole host of other nations too. It’s like the world has literally gone mad.

So, What’s that got to do with Uranus? Can the planets really affect world events? Am I really crazy just even thinking that? The answers my friends are 1. Everything. 2. Yes. 3. No. My apologies as that’s a tad superficial – however in my defence, Uranus is always one for a rapid response – so, lets try and put all Uranian impulses aside for a moment and drill deeper to try and work out why things are as they are.

To try and make some sense of this, I consulted an ephemeris to find out where Uranus is currently having an effect. Uranus orbits the Sun once every 84 years. If we are fortunate, that’s once in a lifetime (though increasingly, many of us are still around to witness a Uranus return). So, over that period, Uranus spends around seven years transiting through each sign of the Zodiac, disrupting world events, often in the manner appropriate to the meanings carried within each Astrological sign – or not. Uranus is like that – nothing if not unpredictable.

So, right now, Uranus is finishing up in Aries and about to enter Taurus. However, where Taurus is concerned, Uranus has been there before. For the past couple of years, Uranus has been hovering over the cusp of Aries/Taurus, mostly in the late degrees of Aries, but also passing into Taurus for the first time in 84 years during the summer and autumn of 2018. I’m going to take a moment now to remind you of some of the essential characteristics of Aries and Taurus. Aries is urgent, direct, warlike, assertive, brave yet often reckless. Taurus is materially inclined, stable, concerned with resources and values. It’s not too hard to see how this is working out in the Brexit arguments – ‘Remainers’ accuse ‘Leavers’ of being reckless (Aries) with the UK’s economic future while ‘Leavers’ (paradoxically sore winners!) demand ‘liberation’ (Uranus) from what they perceive as a restrictive EU – a body which is arguably Taurus personified.

When Uranus acts as the connector between the qualities of the two signs, Aries and Taurus, strange things happen. Uranus is essentially about change, and Uranus really doesn’t care about how that change occurs (or what happens as a consequence) the only sure thing is that whatever the change is that it’s revolutionary in some way – it’s rapid, unexpected, chaotic and often social in nature. Uranus encapsulates ‘group-think’ through it’s rulership of Aquarius, so one way or another Uranian change – which can seem so impersonal as it so often operates at a societal level – affects us all and reminds us we are part of the collective too.

So, getting back to today’s chaotic events, (particularly Brexit and Trump) where can we see the hand of Uranus in our current affairs? In 2016, a momentous year that saw the Brexit Vote and Trump elected, Uranus spent much of the year making stations in the last ten degrees of Aries. Still some way from the cusp with Taurus but moving ever closer and close enough for one of the most characteristic things about a Uranus transit to become noticeable – Uranus is noted for jumping the gun. When Uranus is approaching a planet or point by transit, there is often an event that is shocking in some way. It bucks the trend, seems to come out of the blue – but really it doesn’t. What Uranus is really doing is bringing something to light that challenges our expectations in some way – and this event is often the signifier of change to come rather than the change itself.

The shocking event becomes identified as the starting point for the changes to come – and right now, we can see how the fall out from those two fairly unexpected events in recent history is getting more chaotic as each day passes and Uranus comes closer to changing signs. Neither of those votes was supposed to go the way that they did, and in true Uranian style, the winning side in each case has become identified as a social, collective, populist movement protesting against that most Taurus of things, ‘the elite’. Yet, we can see clearly the Uranian paradox that both campaigns appear to have been orchestrated by the rich and powerful – so symbolically Taurus with their vested interests to the fore. Uranus has harnessed Arian energy – and sometimes violence – and pointed it at all things Taurus, yet in a typically Uranian fashionis happy to heap all the paradoxes and hypocrisies before us in a morally ambiguous pile for someone else to sort out.

So, right now we have ‘people’s movements’ headed by the ‘uber-rich’; governments that cannot or will not govern, isolationism masquerading as globalism, greed presenting itself as opportunity and opinion presenting itself as fact. There seems, no longer, to be any such thing as truth – blind faith has primacy over facts. It’s a mess, that we can all agree, but where’s it headed? The only thing I can say with certainty is it’s most likely headed to a new way of looking at the world. What that will be or how it will manifest I cannot tell you, however we can cast our eyes at history for clues as to what has happened in the past – and hopefully how we can try and avoid making the same mistakes again.

If we look back 84 years, we find ourselves in the 1930’s. Europe was in the grip of right wing populist movements and the US was pursuing a policy of isolationism. As today, ordinary people were suffering from economic hardship together with employment and financial insecurity. Many people lived hand to mouth while at the top end of the social scale the rich enjoyed wealth unimaginable to the working man and woman. As Uranus transited through Aries towards the cusp of Taurus, Hitler and Mussolini swept to power in Europe, with all the military trappings and power they could muster – and the rest is history. It is, I hope, an extreme example of the kind of ‘zeitgeist’ Uranus can inflame.

So, as Uranus finally moves into Taurus in March 2019, that period of change will be upon us. Unlike Aries, Taurus is slow and stubborn and it seems likely for a while we will remain entrenched in our respective positions unwilling to see the concerns of others from any perspective other than our own point of view. We are already divided and a compromise position seems very far away. Uranus affects the collective unconscious like no other planet and right now it seems we are in a war of social, political and moral values with no clear end in sight. We may even have to wait until Uranus approaches Gemini (another 7 years) before we can face each other again and get talking and listening.

In the meantime, I think we need to focus on what Uranus is really trying to tell us and it is simply this. We cannot go on as we have been doing in the years (if not decades) leading up to this point – and that includes wasting our natural resources and threatening life on earth – including our own. Good stewardship of the natural world is also a Taurean concern. If Uranus does one thing, it is this: it is to remind you that you, the individual are part of something more important than you so get over yourself – it’s not about you. Idealistic Uranus wants you/us to wake up to the issues that are really important for society to deal with and, to use a current and very future oriented phrase, ‘stay woke’. How we do this and how it pans out, none of us can tell. However, one way or another, Uranus will surprise us all, in ways we may find shocking or liberating and maybe not altogether pleasant in the short term – the choice is ours.

© Sara Shipman