Star Watch

by Terri Smallwood

Welcome Star Watchers to April — the month that brings the gentle unfolding of spring, as daylight hours begin to outpace the night, creatures meet and mate, and the Earth cycles forward towards rebirth and renewal.

April also plants us firmly into the time governed by Aries. From the misty waters of Pisces, a strong and fiery energy emerges to cross the Ascendant. Astrologically, Aries is the sign that begins the cycle of the zodiac anew. Buoyed by the compassionate love of Pisces and filled with the accumulated wisdom from the last cycle around the wheel, the soul is purified by the fires of Mars and ready to take its first steps in a new cycle.

Ruler of the 1st house of the natural zodiac, Aries is a sign that marks the transition from one cycle to the next and is gifted with the powers of renewal and rejuvenation. The energy of the 1st house is most strongly associated with the planets Mars and Pluto, and also carries with it a relationship to the Sun. All three of these heavenly bodies have one thing in common — a strong relationship with power, ego and personal strength. The 1st house is where one finds their most potent source of internal energy. This valuable resource becomes the building block for all the endeavours of the other houses. The 1st house puts a physical imprint on people — the sign ruling the house and the planets located within it will have a profound impact on your personal appearance. It also colours ones outlook on life and in turn provides a lens through which other people see us. The 1st house is the face we present to the world, and the strong ego energy of Mars serves a protective purpose here, giving us a core of confident strength, an internal fire we know we can believe in and trust. It’s the same confident strength present in Arians, and it’s what draws us to these natural born leaders.

Aries is associated with the phrase, “I am.” The “I am” energy of Aries takes many forms. The fiery nature of Aries, coupled his cardinal modality, puts Aries first in many ways. Socially, Arians are usually well liked and looked up to for their innate sense of leadership and their convivial natures. Arians are also competitive and their drive to compete and win puts them first in many of their undertakings. This drive to succeed and the occasional “win-at-all-costs” mentality that can accompany such a strong competitor can also be the downfall of Aries.

Sometimes labelled selfish, Aries can be so focused on winning the game that they forget to stay in touch with the people that surround them. This is the “I am” energy expressed to the utmost. It’s a lesson that most Aries individuals need to study at some point, and in looking across the zodiac wheel to their opposite, Libra, can help them find the right balance between being a successful self-starter and a self-absorbed tyrant.

The Aries/Libra axis is an interesting one. Like most pairings of astrological opposites, each sign can often find the key to resolving a particular flaw by looking at how its opposite copes with the same challenge. Aries can look to Libra and see how Libras manage their relationships with tact and diplomacy, yet still retain the mantle of leadership so natural to a cardinal sign. The warrior nature of Mars looks at compromise as weakness, and weakness is anathema to a warrior. However, viewed though the cosmic lens, the ability to compromise is anything but a weakness. Libra gains her strength by pooling the strengths of others, by leading through consensus and teambuilding. Where this becomes a weakness for Libra is when quick and decisive action is needed, when there isn’t time for endless pro-and-con debating, and its here that Libra can learn from Aries. The best part of a strong ego is the decisiveness it lends. Aries can see a problem and react quickly, unfettered by the opinions and desires of others. Aries, with all the potent power of Mars at his disposal, has no fear of going it along, no need to wait for the approval of others. This intrepid approach to life serves Aries well in the main, but by incorporating some of the lessons of Libra, the Aries native can find a balance that keeps its Martian ego in check.

Despite the occasionally selfish outburst, Arians are typically good-natured people who make friends easily and are admired for their good qualities: courageousness, vitality, clear perception and an attractive charm. They make inspired leaders, although they can lack the focus to consistently follow through on their ideas. An Arian businessman may create hugely successful ideas, but relies strongly on his team to implement them. By learning to share his ideas, courage and vitality Aries can use his influence as a natural leader to encourage and rouse others to great causes. In this way we see Aries fulfilling one of his most important roles, that of seed-sower.

The symbolism of Aries is ripe with references to spring. The Arian Ram shows up in many of the holidays and ceremonies of spring, from the blood above the doorways in the Passover story to the Easter-time references of Jesus as the “Lamb of God.” The egg, a symbol of untapped but potent creativity, also features strongly into the rituals of the season. Astrologically, Aries can be seen as the seed, another feature of spring.

A seed is a perfect source of creative power — creative, as in, the essence of creation, that energy that brings life forth from a dormant state into its fully realized potential. The power of Aries and his ruler, Mars, is the same latent power. Within each of us lies a kernel, a spark waiting for the right conditions to emerge. Whether it’s the unbridled potential of our own natal chart, the stirrings of an idea in our hearts and minds, or the growing of a beautiful flower from a tiny seed, it’s the rushing energy of Mars that pushes it forth into creation. This vital energy is the drive that keeps Arians so busy, their days and nights packed with movement and ideas. It grants Aries its gifts of inventiveness and inspires us to follow him as a leader. Always generous, Aries shares this energy with us all, especially now in his season of rebirth and renewal. The thrum of the earth coming to life again under our feet puts a lift in our winter-weary steps, and we thank Aries for his gift of energy, for this potent power that tingles as it comes through our fingers and impels us forward to create something new.