The spring of vernal equinox officially occurred this morning, although actually, technically it happened on 17 Match when sunrise and sunset happened at 6. 05 Am and 6.05 PM. Sunrise today was at 6 AM and sunset will be at 6.08 PM.
This event pretty much marks our farewell to the zodiac sign of Pisces for this year. Tomorrow we enter the turf of Aries the Ram, marking the beginning of the new astrological year in Western (Tropical) astrology.
Date of Birth: variable 21 March to 20 April
Ruling planet: Mars
Lucky Day: Tuesday
Energy: Yang (Masculine/Extrovert)
Quality: Cardinal (the start of the season of spring)
Key phrase: I am
Body: Head, neck
Birth Stone: Topaz, Aquamarine, Diamond
Herbs/Flowers: Honeysuckle, tulip, thistle, bryony, peppermint, tiger lily, geranium, hops, impatiens, onions, hollyhock, thorn-bearing trees/shrubs, some firs
Tarot Card: Major Arcana: The Emperor (Masculinity, Fatherhood, Government, Law and Order, Courage, Stability)
Image from The Legacy of the Divine Tarot, illustrator Ciro Marchetti
The Minor arcana cards associated the cardinal sign Aries are the 2, 3 and 4 of Wands.
The 2 of Wands, agreements, career choices, direction, partnerships
The 3 of Wands, making ready to launch a ‘ship’, or a ship comes in, trade, export, new horizons, exploration, but the timing and the planning has to be right. No rushing this. No cutting corners.
The 4 of Wands: a house becomes a home, a business puts down solid foundations, professional achievements, qualifications.
Aries is a small, rather dim constellation located in the Northern Hemisphere between Pisces to its west and Taurus to its east.
The brightest star in Aries is Alpha Arietis, or Hamal, from the Arabic Al Ras al Hamal, ‘the Head of the Sheep.’ Hamal is the third star up from the bottom, a red giant with a magnitude of 2.0, and is visible to the naked eye, shining about as brightly as Mars when the planet is at its farthest point from Earth.
Below Hamal, the two bottom stars in the photograph are the stars Beta Arietis, also called Sheratan, a blue-white star, and Gamma Arietis, also called Mesarthim, a whitish binary star with two components. These are the horns of the Ram, and their names mean the Two Signs, meaning these ‘horns’ were seen as the two first signs of spring.
Precession –The Wobbling World
Today, 20 March, the equinox is happening during the zodiac sign of Pisces (just about) and the actual conjunction of Aries’s brightest star Hamal and the sun now happens on 24 April. But long ago this happened during the March equinox, hence Aries was seen as the harbinger of spring dating from that time.
Why is that? The zodiac signs are not to be confused with the constellations for which they were named. They no longer line up with the actual constellations overhead as they did when the zodiac sign system was designed as an arithmetic model by the Greek mathematician Ptolemy in the 2nd century AD.
The sun moves westward in front of the backdrop of the constellations by about one degree (two sun diameters) every 72 years. This drifting is due to a motion of Earth, a wobble on its axis, called precession- or the precession of the equinoxes.
2,500 years ago, the annual conjunction of the sun and Hamal happened right on the March equinox, and this was the data used in the astronomer, mathematician and astrologer Ptolemy’s model of Western/Tropical astrology in the 2nd Century AD.
But for historical reasons the spring/vernal equinox is still referred as the First Point of Aries. though the vernal equinox in 2020 was according to Space.com the earliest spring in 124 years. More about that HERE
The best time to see Aries.
The three stars of the Head of the Ram are the stars to look out for, especially December around 9 p.m. local time, seen rising in the east. December is an especially good month for viewing Aries, when the Earth is on the other side of the sun .
A Northern Hemisphere spring or Southern Hemisphere autumn is the worst time of year. Aries is lost in the glare of the sun. In late October, Aries rises in the east at sunset, reaches its highest point in the sky at midnight and sets in the west at sunrise.
Aries reaches its highest point in the sky – at about 10 p.m. local time (the time in all time zones) in late November, 8 p.m. local time in late December and 6 p.m. local time in late January.
History and Mythology in Western astrology
The spring equinox was a time of renewal throughout the northern half of Earth, an event of great significance to people who were much more aware than we are nowadays, of human dependence on the land and sky.
Aries marked the main lambing season of wild sheep in Europe, 21 March – 20 April. The lambing season extended with agricultural husbandry.
Sumeria is one of the oldest known urban civilizations in what is now called Southern Iraq, during the Neolithic-Bronze Age, 4500 BC to 1500 years BC. The ancient Sumerians called the sun, Subat, meaning the Ancient Sheep or Ram and the planets were the Celestial Herd.
In ancient Egyptian astronomy, the constellation known to us as Aries was called ‘Lord of the Head’, referring to its symbolic significance, and it was associated with the sun god Amon-Ra, who was depicted as a man with a ram’s head and represented fertility and creativity. Because it was the astronomical location of the spring (vernal) equinox, it was called the ‘Indicator of the Reborn Sun’. Sources suggest the position of Aries at the zenith coincided with the rising of Sirius in the east and flooding of the Nile.
To the Sumerians, the stars of Aries were a herdsman. Aries was not fully recognized as a constellation until classical times when the ancient Greeks from about 1580 B.C. to 360 B.C. oriented the construction of many of their sacred temples to line them up with the star Hamal.
In Hellenistic astrology, the constellation of Aries was associated with the golden ram of Greek mythology that rescued Phrixus and Helle.
The brother and sister, Phrixus and Helle were the children of the Boeotian king Athamas and the cloud fairy, Nephele. But Nephele died, the king remarried, and his new wife, Ino, feared and hated them as a perceived threat to her own two children by the king,and planned to have them done away with.
They fled, rescued by a flying golden ram sent by Hermes at the plea of the dead Nephele, watching in anguish from the other world, but poor Helle fell into the sea below and was lost in the Dardanelles, named the Hellespont in her honour. Later, safely in Colchis, Phrixus (rather ungratefully?) sacrificed the Golden Ram, as a way of returning it home to the gods, and presented its fleece as a gift to King Aeetes, who placed it on a tree in a grove under the guard of a terrible dragon, the hideous Hydra, whom Jason later killed in order to steal the magical healing fleece.
Founded in a society and at a latitude where ‘shepherds watched their flocks by night’…with a clear view of the night skies much of the year round, Aries speaks of God as The Shepherd, and Jesus as The Lamb of God.
Of course there is no such thing in reality as THE Aries personality and the same goes for all the zodiac sun signs. Your sun sign is an archetype, a keynote, but it is not your full astrological portrait. We are all unique and it could never be the whole story.
But the archetypes did not come into being for no reason. And you don’t mess lightly with The Ram. Aries is number one, the first sign in the Zodiac year, youthful and exuberant. But it is also the sign of a king, and not only that, but a warrior-king, as illustrated in the watchful, slightly weary, Emperor card in the Rider-Waite Tarot, ready armoured, always on guard. Note the Ram’s heads decorating his throne.
Aries is ultra-virile, with a warrior spirit, just as a ram will charge headlong at an intruder, and may even kill a person who enters his field, threatening his ewes and his territory at the wrong moment.
Aries is known for its determination and zest for life, and in the same spirit, Aries can be reckless and with it, accident prone in its general haste to get on and do whatever is the next thing. Aries are at a statistically increased risk of road accidents, in particular with head and neck injuries in comparison with other zodiac signs, and must beware of impatience leading to risk-taking behaviours.
Aries is ready to experiment or pioneer but may not finish what it starts. They are determined but run on a short fuse, and can be sabotaged by their own impatience if they don’t get quick results.
Aries subjects may exhibit careless or even ruthless behaviour with a disregard for others in their desire to achieve and excel. They can bear grudges but, though sensitive themselves, and occasionally a touch too quick to take offense, they are prone to be careless about the sensitivities of others.
However, in their personal relationships Aries are lively, affectionate, pleasant, frank, direct and generous. Full of bounce and joie de vivre, there is much to like and admire about the early springtime subjects of fiery Aries, the Mighty Ram.
2020 was a testing year for most people way and another, but Aries may have had quite a bit of anger going in in 2020, has been suggested by Mars in retrograde in its home sign, Aries. This may have been experienced at its most intense July- November 2020. There may have been a resurgence of long held griefs or resentments. This will pass if you let it. Independent as you are, in 2021 you will get a lot more done by smoothing the waters,not trying to go it all alone.
2021 is tricky but overall more cheerful. Choose your battles wisely and be the bigger person and welcome breakthroughs look likely on the career front after a hard slog in the past few years.
Famous Aries in history
The Holy Roman Emperor Charlemagne. Oh wow. Now there is a surprise. I mean, look at him for goodness sake…..
More famous Aries HERE
Video via National Geographic.
Till next time 🙂