Spring has sprung, and on this the first, second, or third day of spring is a perfect time to continue our look at Astrology for Writers. At first I wanted to begin with the basics of charts and zodiacs and the symbols for all the planets, but I realized it’s a lot to throw out all at once. So I thought we’d begin with the signs and work our way from there.
So, first off — Happy New Year! Yes, for astrologers, and for those in the western hemisphere who follow the old calendars, the vernal equinox marks the beginning of the New Year. Old Man Winter is well on his way out, and the Darling Buds of May are on their way in. There is new birth all around, from new green shoots on the trees, to the spring lambs, and the sun has moved into the constellation of Aries. This is a good time to remind you that’s where all the “signs” in astrology come from. Back in the day, the big theatre was up in the sky. Star gazing was about all you could do at night time, so the night sky became the big “screen” so to speak where ancient story tellers, sitting around camp fires extolling the exploits of gods and goddesses, and re-telling the myths of the day could then point up to the sky and say “look, kiddies, there’s Aries looking down at us now.” The constellation Aries shows a series of stars depicting a ram lying on the ground with his head to the right. Here’s what it looks like:
The sign Aries, looks like the horns of a Ram, and “Aries” is latin for “ram” but then we get into the whole Greek/Roman smack down, as Aries is the Greek god of war. Who came first? The constellation, the ram, the god? Who knows? Actually a bunch of people do know and here is a great article from Wikipedia, if you want the nitty gritty. But in the end they agreed that Aries is the constellation and the sign we’ll be talking about.
Now as for the sign and what it “means” we get to talk about how most people first encounter astrology. They read it in a newspaper column, or a magazine that all use a bunch of key words like head-strong, energetic, innovative, pioneering, original, aggressive, enthusiastic, self-assured. These characteristics derive from what the astrologers saw in their daily lives during this time. Children born under the sign of Aries displayed a lot of these behaviors. The world around them, as new plants were growing, new energy expressing itself, lead the astrologers to classify Aries as on of the Fire signs. And this is the glyph or symbol for Aries:
The elements are also classified in terms of degrees, they are called Cardinal, Fixed, or Mutable. Aries is a Cardinal Fire sign. What does Cardinal mean? The word comes from the French “cardo” not to be mixed up with “cardio” which is what you should be doing every day to fire up your heart healthy, but I digress. Hmm, starting a new spring workout schedule? Aries can help fire that up. Because “cardo” means a hinge, on which something turns. In this case, the New Year, hinges on the vernal equinox.
Am I getting too technical? Let’s just say that Cardinal signs are the first, the premiere, the initiator of things. Add that to fire and it melds perfectly with the story we are told of the Greek god Aries. He was the god of war, how much more fiery and impulsive can you get? According to his mythology, he was the only son of Zeus and Hera, although Zeus was famous for his liaisons with other women. Aries ruled war and was said to delight in conflict. He fooled around with Aphrodite, the goddess of love and their son was named Eros (yes, where we get the word, erotic).
Now, how to put this in perspective for writers? When you are looking at your characters, do any of them express a fiery, impulsive attitude? Do they jump first and ask questions later? Have you thought of assigning this character other fiery associations? Does he or she smoke? Does your story hinge on their actions? Do they create messes that other characters have to clean up later?
When we create characters we want to give them as much depth as we can, to make them three dimensional, and along with their positive characteristics, we should examine their negative side. One of the hard parts of being a leader, and the first one to start something, is often Aries “natives” don’t finish what they start. How would that kind of action affect your other characters? I bet they are complaining already.
Just for fun, here are some famous Aries people that you may have heard of. Sarah Jessica Parker, Reese Witherspoon, Jackie Chan, Eddie Murphy, Alec Baldwin, Marlon Brando, Robert Downey, Jr., Russell Crowe, Quentin Tarantino, Celine Dione, Diana Ross, Mariah Carey, Aretha Franklin, Billy Holliday, Rosie O’Donnell, Conan O’Brien, and David Letterman. They managed to harness that Aries fire and it made them all famous in their own rights. I for one wouldn’t want to be in a room with all that energy, but you know the fireworks would certainly be a great show to watch.
Okay, all my Aries peeps, does any of this make sense to you? Hmm? And friends from other signs, have you had to deal with the messes our Aries friends leave in their wake? I do, my mother is an Aries and you’ve already heard me go on about her. I’d love to hear from you, and your favorite Aries characters.