Aries fire: individuation or war

We have entered quite a busy and somewhat turbulent time astrologically. The main emphasis of the next two months or so is on the sign of Aries. 

We have just had a lunar eclipse in the sign of Libra, which took place on the 25th of March, but as this was only a penumbral eclipse, its effect was not a very significant one. The same cannot be said of the Solar Eclipse on 8 April which is total and will be visible across Mexico, America and eastern Canada. This eclipse falls on 19° Aries and very close to the minor planet Chiron.  

A week before the eclipse, on 1 April, Mercury will station and turn retrograde spending the next three weeks appearing to go backwards through the sign of Aries including over the sensitive eclipse degree of 19° Aries. Mercury will turn direct on 25 April and only leave Aries on 15 May having gone over the eclipse degree one more time. Mars, the ruler of Aries, itself enters the sign on the final day of April and will cross the eclipse degree on 26 May before leaving Aries for Taurus on 9 June.  

Therefore, with a powerful eclipse in Aries, Mercury retrograding in Aries and then Mars passing through Aries soon after there is a clear focus on this sign at the present time and in the immediate future.   

Many American astrologers are getting quite excited and some, trepidatious, regarding this eclipse which will be the last total solar eclipse visible in the US for the next twenty years. As a result there are many articles and blogs written about it all over the internet. Some are talking of natural and man-made disasters and social conflicts while others are seeing the presence of Chiron as a sign of a possible mass healing event. It could turn out that all these scenarios take place or, of course, that not that much seems to happen at all. Predicting the future with astrology is not straightforward and often not very helpful as on one level we can be left feeling anxious and afraid of an impending doom that may or may not come to fruition and on a deeper level, regardless if the prediction is positive or negative, accurate or inaccurate, it can result in a sense of impotence and therefore passivity. This feeling of powerlessness can be very harmful to the soul as it severs any connection between one’s thoughts, feelings and actions and the impact they can have on world destiny. If I am a passive recipient of a pre-determined personal and collective fate, then it inevitably leads to weakening of the will and of any sense of responsibility for my life and towards society as a whole.  

A key quality of the sign of Aries is the fire of will and the assertion of individuality. This Aries period we are in is a time to take greater hold of our destiny, rather than relinquish it even more. Looking at the news it is understandable to feel overwhelmed at the enormity of the challenges humanity is facing with its wars, corruption, exploitation, destruction etc. In addition to all the negative news stories there is also the general social trends and currents that pull us all along. Most of us have adopted social media, to which we are more or less addicted as well as the perennial quagmire of the rat race, the pressure to be more materially successful and maintain or improve one’s social standing. We look to our left and our right and we see everyone struggling to deal with these challenges and contorting themselves to adapt to the world. The fiery Aries response to this all is to say enough is enough, it is not I that must squeeze into clothes that neither fit me nor appeal to me in any way but rather it is time to realise that I can find, or even make, my own clothes and determine a path that I have consciously and deliberately chosen rather than just follow the one that is expected of me. A healthy Aries psyche has a horror of just drifting along, allowing the general currents of life to take it where they will. Instead it seeks individuation and for that, courage is needed, as to individuate we must leave the safety of the group and the consensus within society and embark on a solo journey of self-discovery.  

Of course, like all zodiac signs, Aries has its dangers we must be vigilant in guarding against. Aries can be hasty and hot-headed with self-assertion easily developing into aggression towards others. Even if we do not have any planets or angles in the sign of Aries in our natal chart we can still be prone to these negative qualities as the cosmic emphasis on this sign has a collective impact on us all. 

One of the most problematic trends in recent years has been the ever increasing polarisation within society. Instead of there being four or five viewpoints for any political or social issue there now appears to be only two which are diametrically opposed and often in a perpetual war with each other. The majority of social media portrays a black or white approach to all current debates with the few voices that express nuance and shades of grey being largely ignored. For example, depending on the media we follow, we are encouraged to either hate Donald Trump with a passion or regard him as some sort of saviour. The terrible situations in Israel and the Ukraine are equally polarised and with complex and controversial topics such as abortion, public health, gender and sexuality the two opposing sides shout so loudly that the quieter and more subtle voices are drowned out. However, the moment we adopt a side in any debate then we inevitably slip into a ‘them and us’ mentality where true debate and discussion, let alone compromise and conciliation, are all but impossible. If we add to such a paradigm a strong Aries emphasis in the heavens then underlying animosity and seething resentment can easily escalate into more open hostility which even if it does not descend to physical violence still results in suffering and injury, with families divided and friendships broken. It is therefore not enough to encourage people to keep their anger and trigger-happy side in check, for despite our best efforts we are all likely to experience a rush of blood to the head at some point over these next two months or so. It is far better to consider, in the calmer moments, the danger of identifying with any camp in the first place and to be very wary if we find ourselves in any situation where we start to think in terms of a ‘them’ and an ‘us’.  

Returning to the earlier point regarding the danger of allowing oneself to simply drift in mainstream currents of life without questioning what is going on, it is when we initially become aware of this danger that we are most prone to joining like-minded people in working to combat what we see as the main problems humanity is facing. We are roused from our apathy and feel we need to do something to help this world. This is by no means a bad thing but it is very easy for this enthusiasm and passion to be diverted down sectarian and dogmatic lines which, by necessity, will ensnare the individual into opposition and conflict. There is also the tendency for those who have tried to bring positive change to the world for years and achieved little success, to grow weary and cynical. These individuals are in danger of relinquishing their striving and instead returning to the life that again just drifts in the collective currents.  

With Mercury retrograding in Aries, a powerful Solar Eclipse in Aries and then Mars also traversing Aries a short while later the challenge is for the fire of individuality to be raised in us all, to rouse ourselves from the feeling of being stuck in a life we didn’t choose and to seize our destiny, and therefore the world’s also, and yet to not fall in the trap of seeing all those who hold contradictory views as enemies who need to be attacked with words or deeds. The Aries force is a very powerful and noble one and is generally far better used to further our highest goals than to be used to shoot down someone trying to achieve theirs.  

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