When the Zodiac is dealt with as a whole, you can see a cosmological pattern emerge in which the signs are series of twelve archetypes. And that pattern speaks to the thinking behind astrology and it’s continued popularity in the face of astronomical science. In astrology, in an effort to create a “theory of everything” quite difference from that of Stephen Hawking, the signs have been given certain characteristics. There are three “types” of signs, cardinal, fixed, and mutable. The signs are also assigned to one of the four ancient elements, earth, air, fire and water and one of the seven ancient planets, which include the sun and moon.
The first of the the twelve Zodiac signs is Aries. as it occupies the first 30 degrees of the zodiacal circle. When the zodiac system was developed in Babylonia, some 2,500 years ago, the sign was in the same place as the projection of the constellation of Aries, and so it was given the name of that constellation. Due to the precession of equinoxes, the projection of the constellation shifted, while the sign of Aries was left behind to start at the first day of spring. It is classed as a cardinal fire sign.
Most people reading the horoscope never consider the origins of the constellation but it is a fascinating story that tells a lot about what has come to be atributed to the sign. Poseidon, the god of the sea, turned a nymph into a sheep, to keep her away from her many suitors. Then in order to make her his own he turned himself into a ram. The nymph in turn gave birth to another ram, which being the offspring of a god, could fly and had a fleece of gold. This same golden ram, called Chrysomallus, was later instrumental in saving the children of a displaced queen, Nephele, who were about to be killed as a sacrifice.
Nephele induced the ram to fly them to safety in the the state of Colchis, an ancient region on the coast of the Black Sea. The daughter, Helle fell off into the sea. The place she fell was named for her, the Hellespont, the ancient name of the narrow passage between the Aegean Sea and the Sea of Marmara, now known as Dardanelles. The son Phrixus, arrived at his destination and promptly sacrificed the ram to Zeus and gave his golden fleece to his father in law, King Aeëtes, who locked it away and assigned a dragon to keep it safe. Chrysomallos was afterwards placed amongst the stars as the constellation by the gods.
The fleece became a symbol of authority and kingship. The story of Jason and the Argonauts is of great antiquity and was current in the time of Homer (8th C. BCE) They sail out on a quest for the golden fleece by order of King Pelias, in order to place Jason rightfully on the throne of Iolcus. Pelias in on that throne and does not want to give up his power. He tells Jason that if he returns with the fleece it will be unmistakable proof he had a right to the throne and Pelis would abdicate.
Aries is classed as cardinal fire sign, beginning on the vernal equinox and marking the first day of spring. It is held to mirror the rising, restless energyof the season. Jason typefies the archetype of Aries, the single-mided, adventurous warrior king. The list of such characters is long and embeds the archetype in human consciousness: QinShi Huang, unifier of China, Ghenghis Khan. Thutmose III, Alexander the Great. It is the energy of ego, the desire for power and assertion, but also the courage to face challenges head on, like the charging ram. It can be carried to excess. But this kind of energy in humanity’s makeup also produces great inventors, astonauts and explorers. It is the archetype of the initiator, whether of a dynasty or a corporate empire. You can see the way the template can be applied to ancient kings and modern innovators. to referback to another myth, Proteus was a shape-shifting sea god whose name gave us the adjective protean, meaning that which can take on various shapes, forms, or meanings. This flexibility and adaptibility of the archetypes is why the myths still resonate and why astrolgy still has so much allure.
You don’t have to believe in astrology to channel the adventurous energy of Aries in your favor. The sign does mark the first day of spring after all, a great time to start something new or plan that summer adventure,