Saturday, March 25, 2017

Aries Considered

In his book, Astrology published 1964, Louis MacNeice, not an astrologer, but a poet and scholar, gathered together much of interest from a variety of sources, ancient and modern. On zodiac sign Aries, through which the Sun now travels, he wrote the paragraphs below, quoting from some professional astrologers whose works may now be less known by the average astrology fan. Some related links identifying those astrologers are added at the end of this post. The excerpt has been copy-typed by my own fair fingers, rather than copy-pasted from elsewhere on the internet. Illustrations here were added by me.

Though Aries is the first sign of the zodiac, it is the last of this monthly series; for some reason I began, last year, with Taurus. The whole set of 12 posts can most easily be accessed by clicking on "Louis MacNeice" in the Label Cloud in the sidebar.

Aries the Ram
March 21 to April 20

The hieroglyph for Aries looks like a ram's horns (though Morrish says it might just as well represent a fountain). A cardinal fiery sign, ruled by Mars: cardinal in that it serves as the ignition key for the year, fiery in that it symbolizes the explosive suns of spring. This is the sign of the vernal equinox when the ecliptic crosses the equator and day and night are of equal length. To the ancients it seemed natural to begin the astrological year on March 21 with the first degree of Aries (0 Aries), though the people in the southern hemisphere were not consulted about this. That Aries is a "priority" sign in almost every respect is shown by the instructions given in some of the early Hermetic writings as to the use of " Zodiacal plants" for magical purposes: Whatever the plant and whatever other sign is concerned, it should be picked and its juice extracted when the Sun is in Aries.

 Aries by David Palladini
Aries is in general the adventurous pioneer sign and, like all the other signs, has the vices of its virtues. It had been assigned to Mars and its basic character stablized by the time of Ptolemy, and the association of Britain with Aries goes back to that time. The traditional qualities of the Aries man were briefly and clearly outlined by Raphael in he early 19th century: "Aries, the house of Mars and exaltation of the a vernal, dry, fiery, masculine, cardinal, equinoctial, diurnal, moveable, commanding, eastern, choleric, violent and quadrupedian sign." It will be remembered that, apart from the sign that a planet "rules", there is usually another sign in which he feels particularly at home; this is the sign in which he is said to have his "exaltation." So Aries fiery furnaces are kept doubly stoked, by Mars who rules it and by the Sun who is exalted in it.

On the other hand, a planet who is not at ease in Aries is Venus. André Barbault stresses that the fire of Aries, in contrast with that of the other two fiery signs, Leo and Sagittarius, in the PRIMAL fire that both creates and destroys. So the Aries type of person tends to be an impetuous juvenile type taking no thought for the morrow. And not only juvenile but primitive: Ingrid Lind says there is something of the cave man about him.

There is general agreement about the character of the Aries man: He is an enthusiast, tough, rather reckless, impetuous always and irritable sometimes, and he falls in love like a thunderbolt. Aries moves much too fast for the Taurus type and is exasperated by the fussiness and exactitude of Virgo. From early times astrologers have also described his physical characteristics, making him strong, with powerful shoulders, and so on. After a warning about Zodiacal morphology, Barbault suggests that the Aries type does tend to look like a ram (Gleadow writes that "his nose, even when small, has an energetic arch") and notes that he walks rapidly and has a strong, quick hand-grip. He is something of a menace as a driver, and does not like wearing a hat. As for Aries women, in dress they don't wish to follow the fashion but to lead it; on the other hand they are almost aggressive in their non-use of make-up.

 Aries by Erté,
As examples of Aries types, Barbault gives Louis Armstrong (who invented "hot" jazz), Marlon Brando, George Sand ("the first feminist"), Savonalrola, and St. Teresa of Avila. To prove the point that two Aries types can be thoroughly Aries and yet, owing to the positions of the planets, in many ways very different, he contrasts two French writers, Baudelaire and Zola. Each of them had a notable conglomeration of planets in Aries but whereas Zola had the Sun, Moon, Mars and Pluto, and at that in trine (a good relationship) with Saturn, Baudelaire had the Sun, Venus (bad, as just mentioned, in this sign) Jupiter and Saturn - and at that in eighth house, the house of death.

Morrish's evolutionary theory has already been mentioned. According to this scheme - in which the whole Zodiac symbolizes the universal "Wheel of Life and Death" - Aries, the first sign, represents ignorance (at whatever level) in contrast with the last sign, Pisces, which represents universality (at whatever level). Focusing in, Morris makes the first three signs stand for "unit germination." Aries here stands for the male creative impulse (to be quickly followed by the traditionally feminine sign, Taurus, which represents matrix or matter).
Morrish, like many artists, believes in the fertilizing effects of conflict, and stresses the importance of Zodiacal opposites; for example, "in a physical analogy Libra (air) is required to enable Aries (fire) to 'burst into flame' ." As well as making Aries play the male to the female matrix of Taurus, Morrish makes him stand for motion in contrast with the Taurine inertia. This evolutionary scheme of Morrish's, which involves the concept of yoga, is a peculiarly modern outcrop to which we shall return later. But, on the traditional premises, he has not miscast either Aries or Taurus.

Astrologers mentioned:
Morrish (L. Furze-Morrish?)
André Barbault
Ingrid Lind
Rupert Gleadow

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