The deeper meaning of the symbolism of Aries…
Aries is the first sign of the zodiac and that in itself is symbolic: Aries is the sign of pioneering leadership. Aries is associated with inspiration, initiation, innovation, boldness, courage, impulsiveness and spontaneity. Going first, taking the initiative, pushing forward, and pushing through obstacles, are all key Aries themes.
No surprise then that Aries is the sign of the ram (the name ‘Aries’ is actually the Latin word for ram, battering ram, beam or prop). The battering ram was a contraption used in ancient and medieval warfare to ‘push through’ and break down an opponent’s defences.
When the Sun is at 0º of Aries it is the astrological point of Spring Equinox and the beginning of the astrological year. So Aries is symbolic of change, spring, new life, and new cycles.
The Glyph for Aries
The glyph for Aries – a single line that divides into two – looks similar to the horns of a ram, but it also looks like a new shoot that has broken through the surface of the earth in spring, ready to burst into life.
Indeed every spring, as new life bursts forth, millions of tiny new seedlings are themselves like battering rams in their journey from deep in the earth to their new life above ground!
The immense force these tiny, tender, shoots display as they push their way up through the earth, overcoming all obstacles such as rocks and tree roots in their mission to reach the light, is symbolic of the journey of Aries.
Aries is the sign of existence itself and in Esoteric Astrology it is said to be the sign that is ‘closest to God’. In fact, in Esoteric Astrology Aries is described as a ‘point of light in the mind of God’. Aries is the first spark of creation, the original concept that manifests into form from the realm of the formless and is very much associated with ideas and concepts themselves.
As the Cardinal Fire sign Aries is very much associated with inspiration and intuition and part of the spiritual purpose of Aries is to inspire others with Divine ideas.
Some of the qualities associated with Aries are those associated with spring: boldness, courage, inspiration, new ideas, pioneering, forging ahead and overcoming obstacles.
Aries can be a driving force behind new initiatives, and their ability to clear obstacles out of the way can be a breath of fresh air as they create the space for something new to manifest into existence.
There aren’t many different symbols associated with Aries as there are with other signs (see Scorpio for example) and such simplicity and directness is itself characteristic of Aries. That said, don’t be fooled by appearances. The simplicity of Aries belies the raw, direct, power of Nature, and when it comes to initiating a new project or idea Aries can be a force to be reckoned with. Indeed the ram itself is a symbol of power and force.
The Ram in Ancient Greece and Egypt
Because of it’s association with power and fertility, the ram was a sacred animal in many ancient cultures. Ancient Greek mythology tells the story of how the god of the Sea, Poseidon, took the form of a ram to sire a winged ram with a golden fleece . Later the goddess Nephele appeared in the form of this golden winged ram to carry her son Phrixus (who was due to be sacrificed) to safety. In return Phrixus returned the ram to Poseidon by sacrificing him, whereupon the ram became the constellation Aries.
Even earlier, in ancient Egypt, sacred rams were often kept as temple animals. We can see rams depicted frequently in ancient Egyptian art: at karnak temple in Luxor (ancient Thebes) there is an avenue of rams leading to the entrance to the temple, and many ancient Egyptian gods are either depicted as having ram’s horns or even a ram’s head.
Interestingly the name of one of the most powerful Egyptian Pharaoes, Rameses, means “born of Ra”. Ra means the source, or ‘supreme God’ so the name Rameses means one who is born from the supreme source. So here again we have echoes of the esoteric theme of Aries, which is that first point of existence, arising from source or the void. At it’s highest then, Aries represents the emergence of Divinity into existence. In Christianity this sacred symbolism lives on in references to Christ as the “Lamb of God”.
Aries creates the space to exist. As the ultimate symbol of spring, creation and new life Aries represents the power of the Divine, life force energy itself, pouring into existence from a single point (or source). If we look closely we might even see in the glyph of Aries, a resemblance to a water spout: a fountain of Divine energy, or life, spouting into existence from it’s single Divine source. a
You can learn more about the Soul Path and Purpose of Aries in the video “Aries Rising: The Aries Soul”.