On March 20, the Sun entered Aries, marking the beginning of a new zodiac year. In many traditions this also marks the first day of spring (or autumn in the southern hemisphere). It is a time of new beginnings, new growth: a time of creation. What better time to begin a new series exploring the contrasts between the personality and soul expressions of each sign, beginning with the inspirational, innovative and impulsive sign of Aries?
Your soul is indicated by your Rising sign (Ascendant). This is the sign that was rising on the horizon at the time of your birth and, as such, is considered by soul-centered astrologers* to be the most important sign in astrology, precisely because it indicates your soul’s path, purpose and expression. If you have Aries Rising, you could say that you are an “Aries Soul.” Simply put, if you have Aries Rising, you are here to express the highest spiritual purpose of Aries, to the degree that you can, in this lifetime.
[callout]The soul is the reality lying behind the persona, the mask of the soul. It is the soul or higher self that comes first, as does the Rising sign. The Rising sign, the soul and the soul’s purpose are therefore one and the same. ~ Errol Weiner, Transpersonal Astrology[/callout]
Whether you will experience and actualize the full spiritual potential of your Ascendant or not depends upon your level of consciousness. If you are spiritually asleep, you will naturally experience the qualities of your Ascendant as an inherent part of your personality. As you awaken to your spiritual purpose, you will feel a quickening, experiencing the subtle stirrings of your soul’s calling, through your Ascendant. The Ascendant bridges the worlds between sleep and awakening.
[callout]This physical awakening experience is directly related to the fact that the Rising sign is the central factor connected to spiritual awakening. We incarnate into a new life, we awake each morning into a new life; and we are born again into a new life when we awake to spiritual purpose in our lives. ~ Errol Weiner, Transpersonal Astrology[/callout]
If we think of the octaves of the musical scale, we can get an idea about the lower and higher vibrations of each sign. The lower octaves are fear-based and come from externaly imposed ideas about how we ought to be, while the higher octaves are love-based and arise purely from within our own heart. This is an important key, not only to understanding the lower and higher expressions of each sign, but for knowing how to shift from lower to higher expressions. The shift is from fear to love, but this is meaningless until we experience the shift in perspective that comes from navigating the octaves on the spiritual spectrum. When you come from a place of love within, you will naturally express the highest octaves of your soul sign.
Each soul sign is here to learn and develop in specific ways, in this lifetime. We are here to grow into what we may become: our full potential as a spiritual being. Just as an infant who is learning to speak isn’t learning a lesson as such, but is rather unfolding his natural potential, so it is the same with our soul work. Likewise our soul work shows up naturally, as major themes throughout our lives, calling us to awaken, live, and rise to the highest octaves of our soul sign.
The Rising sign is the powerhouse – the central electromagnetic centre of one’s life (chart) and this energy begins to be released when one awakens. ~ Errol Weiner, Transpersonal Astrology
At soul level, Aries is a sign of higher mind and plays a vital role in the development of the antakharana, or “Rainbow Bridge” between higher and lower mind. This is why Aries is associated with the brow, forehead, and eyes, and is symbolized by the horns of the Ram. It is commonly believed that the eyes are the windows of the soul, and it is through the eyes that we can glimpse higher mind, or soul. This is why Aries is also highly intuitive, and the type of intuition associated with Aries is that of direct knowing. Once one can attune to the subtle spiritual energy at soul level, wisdom reveals itself fully and completely without having to go through the lower mental process of thought, which is relatively slow. So this Arian type of intuition is an immediate direct knowing that is beyond thought.
To be aware of knowledge at this level, one must cultivate awareness, through direct perception of the full spectrum of energy, from the grossest energetic movement to the finest spiritual subtle ripples. Yet at personality level Aries can be anything but subtle and may even develop a reputation for being direct to the point of bluntness, self-absorption, and oblivion to the needs of those around them. In fact, this is all normal and is part and parcel of what Aries is learning at this stage of soul development.
As the first sign of the zodiac Aries is, in many ways, the “baby” of the zodiac. There can be an innocence and naïveté around Aries, with an expectation that life events should just be easy and somehow simpler than they often turn out to be in practice. It’s as if they have no experience of life which, in a sense, is true at soul level. In Esoteric Astrology, the Tibetan describes the soul in Aries as a “point of light in the mind of God,” and this simple phrase can tell us much about the soul experience in Aries. Remember Aries is a sign of the mind, so Aries comes filled with excitement, ideas, inspiration, and enthusiasm for the journey. The whole blueprint for the journey ahead is mapped out in his (or her) mind, and Aries brings the drive and the impetus to get started. It’s like that stage of a vacation or trip where you know where you are going and why, and the day has finally arrived. The time is now! You are full of enthusiasm, brimming over with excitement, and you take your first eager steps down the road.
That is the energy of Aries. Nothing has happened yet to dampen your enthusiasm. You haven’t hit any obstacles or glitches, and because you can’t even foresee that there could possibly be any, you haven’t planned or prepared for them. Because you have never walked this path before, you can’t possibly imagine what could happen, which also means you have very few coping skills. Arians are great people to have around at the beginning of a project, because their innate inspiration and childlike enthusiasm can really put a light under the fire, ignite the project and get it started. But if you leave Aries managing the dull, day-to-day problems that will inevitably arise, you will soon see his feathers droop and his light go out, like an eagle caught in a rainstorm pathetically sitting dripping in a tree waiting to dry out before he can majestically soar again.
Often Aries has the initial idea or impulse and lacks the next step. He can also be childlike in his expectation that his ideas should just instantly manifest into reality, with no further effort on his part. It’s as though the idea of cake should be enough in itself. “I just thought of it, so where’s my cake?” Like a small child he seems oblivious to the reality of what resources, skill and effort may be required to create cake. Associated with this is Aries’ tendency to just put out ideas and expect others to pick up the ball. There is an important balance needed whereby Aries tends to his own creative projects (the “seeds” of his inspiration) long enough for them to manifest and become established, before he hands them over too quickly to others. This way Aries learns to add skill to his amazing vision.
Aries is a sign of vision, courage, boldness, leadership and drive. Imagine the military commander who can see a way forward through the forest. He isn’t personally going to cut down the trees! He’ll order someone else to do that because he is keeping his eye on the horizon, on the vision, and his concern is on driving through, pushing ahead, reaching that goal. Also, in his narrow focus, he may have given little thought with regard to the wider implications of cutting down trees and what that could mean in the long term. So we can see that Aries can also sometimes have a tendency towards blinkered vision: being preoccupied with only his own immediate issues and not considering the wider implications of his actions on others and his environment.
Aries is not a loner, he is a leader, and a leader needs someone to lead. That is why Aries is the sign of the Ram. A Ram needs a flock, and wherever Aries goes, people follow. Because of his innate intuition and inspired and inspiring vision, people are naturally drawn to Aries. His confidence and vision are magnetic, and people naturally want to follow. So this brings Aries a vital lesson in responsibility. As much as he would like to be a free individual, Aries is part of the flock, and wherever he goes others follow. So he needs to carefully review his motives, raise his sights, and ensure that he is leading his flock onto the highest path and not the lowest.
When Aries awakens spiritually and listens to his highest calling, he is an inspiring spiritual leader, guiding others with his altruistic vision towards the highest goals of all: self-realization, spiritual awakening and enlightenment. If he is sleeping (in a spiritual sense) he may be mis-leading people, taking actions and decisions that are either selfish impulses from his own ego, or simply leading others from ignorance, through being too caught up in a materially-driven, selfish and destructive society.
The soul work of Aries, which show up as major themes throughout life, may relate to these areas:
• Cultivating self-awareness: awareness of both your own energy field and the effects and impact of your energy and actions on those around you. This will also awaken awareness of your spiritual energy.
• Taming your mind: evaluating the billions of ideas that pass through your mind and learning to exercise judgment about which ones to pursue.
• Focus, effort and tenacity: sticking with your creative projects and ideas long enough to birth them into reality, and applying the necessary personal effort to make it happen.
• Expand your mind. Look deep within to see where your own worldview may be limited, and limiting you. You are on a fantastic journey from lower to higher mind!
• Through meditation, become familiar with the Rainbow Bridge from lower to higher mind, so you can distinguish between an “impulse to act” that arises from lower mind, and one arising from higher, Divine Mind.
[callout]The Ascendant is directly concerned with the purpose and the plan, and the more one is prepared to attune to and co-operate with the higher self the more one can unfold and manifest the energies of the Rising sign and thus fulfil one’s purpose. ~ Errol Weiner, Transpersonal Astrology[/callout]
If you have Aries Rising, you are here to ignite and inspire others with an infusion of Divine ideas, sacred fire, and spiritual energy so they may realize their own spiritual potential. Before you can do this, you must cultivate self-awareness and realize your spiritual potential, so you can skillfully navigate the full spectrum of the Rainbow Bridge at will: accessing the highest realms of consciousness that are currently humanly possible, and living your life as the true spiritual “Rainbow Warrior” that you are.
* For a deeper exploration of the importance of the Ascendant in spiritual awakening, see Shapter 6, “The Rising Sign and Its Deeper Significance,” in Transpersonal Astrology, by Errol Weiner.
Ruth Hadikin – Soul Astrologer
About the artist: This oil painting, the first in the Empowered Feminine Zodiac series by Seattle artist Karen MacKenzie, features Aries as a warrior of peace as new life bursts forth in Spring. For more information about the symbolism in this print and to view other works in her ongoing series, check out her website, Karen MacKenzie Art (her prints are very affordable).