Aries Myth

There are two myths which epitomize Aries, one an ancient one from Greece, the other, a medieval myth which is still beloved in our own day and continues to give rise to films, television series, and novels. We’ll deal with the second one first: the outlaw of Sherwood Forest, Robin Hood.

Now, Robin Hood is a perfect Aries character. Consider first the fact that he’s an outlaw. In one way or another, Aries tends to take this stance, for he stands for change and progress. So he often comes to blows with established authority in one way or another – sometimes literally, sometimes simply as the exponent of a new set of ideas or a new method of propagating an idea. The bulwarks of society often don’t like our Aries, because he makes trouble and keeps them on their toes. So Robin Hood, self-appointed champion of the oppressed poor and enemy of established, corrupt authority, represents our Knight quite well.

Consider also that Robin Hood has a band of Merry Men. He’s not a dark, sinister outlaw skulking about in narrow alleyways; he has a damned good time of it. This too is an Arien quality; for Aries, being a fire sign, is determined to enjoy himself. Life, to him, is exhilarating, particularly when there’s danger. The greater the danger, the spicier it is. You’d expect Ariens to be quick drivers, a little reckless. Many are. The idea is to be merry in the face of battle.

The whole background in which the Robin Hood myth is embedded is also very Arien. Here is a Good King – Richard Coeur de Lion – who is away fighting a Crusade for the recapture of the Holy City from the Infidel. There is a nasty, vicious younger brother – King John – who has usurped Richard’s rightful throne. There are the oppressed poor, and the overweaning and arrogant rich. There is another nasty, vicious figure in the shape of the eternal archetype, the Sherriff of Nottingham, representing authority empty of meaning, a law empty of mercy, class structure empty of rights.

You can see why this whole myth is so Arien. Even the lovely maiden Marian fits into the Arien dream; she always has to be rescued. Many Aries play Robin Hood in one way or another in their lives, shamelessly robbing from the oppressive enemy to succour the underdog. And, of course, at the end of the story, Good King Richard returns. And there’s a quirk to this whole tale that is also pretty Arien. For Good King Richard wasn’t a particularly good king. That, to Aries, doesn’t matter; he often misses the quality of the cause or person he fights for. Joan of Arc perhaps didn’t realize that the Dauphin, Charles VII of France, might not have been particularly worth getting burned for either. It’s the vision that matters.

Now let’s look at the other Arien myth. It’s about Jason and the Argonauts, and the capture of the golden fleece. Yes, of course it would be a golden fleece, for the ram is Aries’ symbol. You can take it, if you like, as a symbol of the ultimate goal of Aries – whether it’s the realization of his own individuality, or the achievement of his quest, or the rescue of the damsel, or whatever. Never mind. Jason, like a true Aries, hears about this fantastic fleece and is delighted to find that it’s impossible to find. That only encourages him. So he sets off with his band of merry men – the Argonauts – through one terrible danger after another, finally arriving in Colchis where the fleece is hidden, and capturing it.

The Jason myth doesn’t, however, end happily ever after. It highlights in certain ways the dangers confronting Aries on his quest. Jason is a kind of failed Aries, where Robin Hood is a successful one. His failure, wouldn’t you know, is due to his treatment of a woman.

In order for Jason to capture the golden fleece, he must enlist the aid of a sorceress-princess, Medea. Now Medea, daughter of the King of Colchis, falls wildly in love with Jason. He’s so bold, so heroic, so brave, so courageous, so noble. She is even willing to sacrifice the life of her brother to help him, so deeply in love is she. Everything goes well enough until they return. All that golden fleece goes to Jason’s woolly head. He begins to behave more like a very stupid sheep than a golden ram. He tries to discard Medea in favour of a younger, more suitable princess. This is a problem with Aries: once he’s reached his goal, he often forgets the help he’s received along the way. Or he becomes bored, and moves on. It’s a common pattern in Aries relationships. Medea is not the woman to put up with this sort of treatment. She was probably a Scorpio. Instead of retiring gracefully to make way for the new favorite, she slaughters her two children by Jason, poisons the young bride with a cloak that has been steeped in some dreadful witch’s brew, and escapes in her chariot drawn by winged dragons. Jason’s luck goes downhill from there. In a sense, you can say that he underrates or overlooks the power and value of the feminine. And many Ariens do; to them, the world is populated by heroes and noble deeds, but Aries can often overlook the power of gentleness, patience, sympathy, compromise, adjustment. Aries women too, do this: remember that Joan of Arc insisted on wearing men’s clothes. So our Jason comes to a bad end – not because he failed to capture the golden fleece, but because he wouldn’t take into account anything except his own wishes, his own vision, his own values. And incurred some pretty nasty vengeance as a result.

Both of these myths touch on the deeper needs and motivations in Aries’ nature. There is a need to have a goal – without the goal, like for Aries is meaningless. It can be a long-term or a short-term goal, but there must be a goal. There is a need for a quest – either some journey that takes one into danger but ends with a coveted but almost impossible prize, or some battle which runs many risks but defends the ideals and the visions that have given it birth. Aries is a sign of new ideas and a sign of change – and the need to promote change, to look to the future, to conquer the enemy is embedded deep in the sign. We can, if we like, look at the twelve signs of the zodiac as a cycle, beginning with Aries and ending with Pisces, describing the round of life and the cold and barren winter. All of nature heralds the spring with a burst of life and colour, sometimes precipitate, sometimes rash, sometimes premature, but a reminder that everything has a new birth, that no matter how dark or limiting or depressing the winter, it always ends with the spring. The whole world responds to the new hope and new life of the spring. For Aries, it’s a constant spring, a constant challenge to end the grip of winter, a constant effort to bring new life up through the frozen ground. However impatient or irascible and clumsy he may be, the Knight in Shining Armour makes it possible for life to progress and change and grow in a way, he must be a little crude or forceful or insensitive to do it; and perhaps in a more sober age, where we have forgotten knights and chivalry and courtly love, where we have learned to compromise too much, the voice of Aries is worth a little closer listening.

From the book “Astrology for Lovers,” written by Liz Green.

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