With Spring still fresh in the air, we once again turn to examine this alive, fresh and exuberant spirit of life. Aries, our first sign of the zodiac, is a cardinal fire sign whose energy is fast and hot. It is ruled by Mars, the God of War, known to the Greeks as Ares. The symbol for this sign is the Ram, whose competitive spirit head butts others out of his way. The planet's red color is indicative of its fiery nature. On the high side, this theme concerns itself with bravery, courage, valor and honor. These are the best men, ready to take the lead and pioneer new directions. Personal pride is incredibly important to them. They confront their adversaries man to man, are incredibly competitive, and strive for victory. Indeed, the Homeric Hymn to Ares claims him as the 'Father of Victory.' On the flip side, they can be seized by fear and are cowards, trembling in the face of danger, and running away from the action. In the body, Aries rules the head and the face. It is thought of as the male gender, and the symbol for this planet is also the modern symbol for man.
In the Iliad, the mythological first born of Greek literature, Homer framed his work so as to encompass the seasonal order of the zodiac. The first sign (Aries) corresponds to the first chapter, and following our first dozen chapters, Homer goes through the entire series again, for a total of twenty four chapters. In Chapter 13, the image of Ares as God of War comes up over and over again, with precisely these themes being interwoven throughout this book of individual combat. In the first image which we will evoke, the Ram even leads the way!
"Troops moved up
The Iliad is an astrological primer for those studying the ways of the skies. It is for the beginner, just learning heaven's will. Fire, for instance, appears throughout this chapter, and it's image is used to show how action and courage infuse men to fight.
"Now like a storm or prairie fire, swarming
"Here this madman,
In these lines, we find fire, the troops moving as one man, the best men, and a conflagration; all excellent Aries images. Here is one more example, a single line, from among many in this chapter:
"And the rest fought on like fire's body leaping..."
This fire infuses men to action, as part of the 'Divine Fire' referenced by the Stoics centuries later. It fills us even today, whenever we are moved to some great enthusiasm. Homer has described how this may be seen objectively, by observing Hektor as from those around him, but he also describes what it is like to feel it from the inside, as the spirit begins to rise in Aias and Aias, the two Greek champions, who are readying themselves to respond to this onslaught.
"I knew him for a god.
'And Telamonian Aias answered:'
"So it is with me:
'So they assured each other, in that joy
This is also the sign which rules the head. In the outrageous acts of war which can emerge born of rage, Aries energy stands out, once again.
'Then from his tender neck Aias Oilades,
This chapter abounds with examples, as the action is fast and furious. Although Ares never once appears on the battlefield, his image is everywhere evoked as worked through the mortals who respond to his call.
'Meriones, peer of Ares, in a flash
The gods influence the outcome of all things according to the pagans, and they worked through people, often taking their form in order to mold events. This is astrology, heaven on earth, authoring affairs through the inhabitants of the earth.
"I say I am not- not, I say- a man
So says Aries, our first sign of the zodiac.