The Archetype of Aries
by Jef Bartow
As the spiritual new year begins at the spring equinox, Aries is typically associated with new beginnings. This seems appropriate with the cycle of the seasons beginning with a fresh sprouting of new vegetation each spring. The Aries archetype can be used as a powerful means of breaking from the past and initiating new activities in our spiritual quest. Mythologically, the Greek god Ares is equivalent to the Roman god Mars. "Ares is the personification of bold force and strength, and not so much the god of war." "Ares did whatever possible to incite war and turmoil, and was probably the most single-minded of all the deities." Interestingly, Mars in Roman tradition does not have the fickleness that Ares possessed. Additionally, Mars was originally considered the god of fertility and vegetation.Each of these descriptions go right to major archetypical influences from Aries. As we have done in earlier articles, we need to embrace the archetype of Aries at three levels: personality conditioning, individuating the Self and living our spiritual nature.
As a fire Sign, Aries natural tendencies include being fiery and willful, courageous and daring, ambitious, inspirational, pioneering and initiating. This normally becomes expressed as excitement, drive, urge to be first, decisive and impulsive. Aries being the first sign in the zodiac, it's fire tends to be released as fearless on the outside, timid on the inside. There's a strong sense of discovery and impatience to experience the world. There is a strong desire to press forward, pushing onward against all obstacles with a directing, controlling urge for expression.
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At its most instinctual level, it expresses as an unconscious me first, undirected impulsiveness and “raw assertion of ego energy.” Negatively expressed, it's energy lacks persistence and stamina, being rather aggressive, headstrong, ambitious and competitive with an impatience in its “compulsion towards self-determination.” Within the personality, this can result in excessive pride, rebelliousness, self-centeredness and a high need for personal recognition. Positively, Aries provides a supreme self-confidence in the “urge toward outward expression.” This irresistible force instills a daring to do the unprecedented, to pioneer as a true innocent and "go where no man has gone before." Its action-initiating original and independent focus becomes an inspiration to others as well as self. Further, its inventive spontaneity and enthusiasm instills in us an unwillingness to become compromised by acting falsely or deceitfully. A simple key phase for Aries is "actively inspired."
Individualizing the Self through "the Search for a Separate Identity"
Kathleen Burt hits the nail on the head in identifying that Aries epitomizes our search for a separate identity. This becomes our "quest in the outer world." Aries is what helps us develop a sense of selfhood, of individuality. Interestingly, she identifies the way of developing a sense of separateness as through "developing the mind." She takes this from the fact that the esoteric ruler of Aries is Mercury, the intellect to begin and later our "messenger from the gods." Our voyage of self-discovery is instigated by creative new beginnings and a willingness to sacrifice for high ideals. Through an “impetus to manifest our soul,” we use the Aries energy as a purifying fire. This fire of aspiration helps us to express the "will to be and do." In the process, we "unfold the power to manifest” and "infuse new spiritual awareness into any activity." Within our astrology chart, Aries represents the area of life which is to become our "birthplace of ideas" and the creative expression of will and power.
Living the Heroic Life
Aries at the spiritual level is associated with the first Ray of Will or Power. Having individualized our spiritual identity, this power becomes our "conscious personification of the Will-to-Good." Everyone, not only first Ray types, internalizes an aspect of spiritual Will in living a heroic life. This heroic life is not just about being an adventurer, but about bringing spiritual impulses into concrete form. From a "birthplace of divine ideas," we bring the life of our internal God (i.e. Monad, God Within) into outer activity. In this way our "transcendent and immanent Presence of Spirit" fulfills, through the personality, the essence of the Aries archetype: I Rule.