Aries: Birthplace of Ideas
The sign Aries rules the head and Aries people have a reputation for bashing their heads. The energy of Aries is the circus dog jumping through a hoop of fire: emergent, excitable, energetic and full of itself. After experiencing the great merge in the collective waters of Pisces, we emerge into individuality in Aries: ‘The first impulse is awakened in Aries, for Aries is the place where the initial idea to institute activity takes form. It is the birthplace of ideas, and a true idea is in reality a spiritual impulse taking form – subjective and objective.’1
Aries energy is the will to be and to do. It is creativity, action and the idea or spark of life that creates the impulse towards incarnation. Reflecting these qualities, the Aries native is often impulsive and headstrong, hence the bumps to the head. A head injury, a scar on the face or a broken nose are good indications that Aries, Mars or first-house energy is not being constructively channelled. Aries is, of course, ruled by Mars, which provides the qualities of strife, struggle and combativeness associated with the sign. Mars can operate with great belligerence and disregard for others. It can be frankly charmless, and is therefore not much loved by those who would consider themselves charming. Aries energy is also fiery and masculine. All in all, this is difficult energy for those who do not consciously identify with the ‘masculine’ (or yang) aspects of their beings. This is a problem, for it means that Aries and Mars are often suppressed and thwarted within the personalities we present to others and therefore we cut ourselves off from the vital energy they provide, cultivating falseness and a quality of repression in our identities and depriving ourselves of constructive outlets for our Mars energy. Mars without a constructive outlet manifests as anger, aggression and destructiveness. This can be turned in upon the self or out upon others. When turned in upon the self it becomes a potent source of depression, fatigue, headache, muscular pain and inflammation.
Aries requires us to find a positive outlet for our Mars energy. Mars must be marshalled. This is the energy of self-actualisation and assertion; through Mars we project our selves and focus our effort. The exhilaration and joy of the little dog jumping through the hoop of fire should not be overlooked. He is full of life and activity: ‘I’m here!’ These qualities of sheer presence are the gifts of Mars, which delights in adventure, exertion, liveliness and the full expression of strength. So while Mars has a bad press among those of us who see ourselves as refined and civilised (and we are many!), it is actually our source of passion, engagement with life and motivating power. Without Mars we are bodies without muscles and brains without ideas.
Howard Sasportas describes Mars as the ‘henchman of the Sun’,2 inferring that Mars is the energetic principle by which the Sun seeks to enact its purpose. Therefore, we can suggest that when Mars is problematic it is because an individual is not sufficiently engaged with the Sun energy in the chart (which, after all, organises and calibrates the energy of the being and of the lifetime as a whole). It may be that a person has not fully identified the requirements of their Sun, by sign and house placement. Liz Greene writes: ‘Whatever the natal relationship between these two planets [the Sun and Mars], they need ultimately to be friends, for Mars must offer the Sun its fighting power and the Sun must provide meaning for Mars’ battles.’3 Mars conditions manifesting in the body (fever, inflammation, fatigue, hyperactivity) or in mental states (aggression, anger, depression) can be examined by interrogating the relationship between the Sun and Mars and the factors within the chart as a whole that might be undermining it. The placement of Mars and Aries in the birth chart will show where and how one needs to galvanise the will and convert energy into activity that serves the purposes of the Sun. These placements will similarly show where problems might arise in the being and the body due to Mars not being provided with outlets.
The Sun’s entry into the cardinal sign of Aries marks the moment of the vernal equinox (around 20th March). The balance of day and night forces is the defining moment for Aries, and from this point on until the Midsummer Solstice (the Sun’s entry into the cardinal sign of Cancer) the dayforce waxes (in the northern hemisphere). The Sun is the representative in our corner of the universe of a higher order of being (the stellar level); our star is related to purpose and consciousness and confers these qualities upon us through the principle of identity. Likewise Aries, the time when day overcomes night, is related to the initiation of consciousness and awareness of being (the signs of the cardinal cross – Aries, Cancer, Libra and Capricorn – are concerned with inaugurating or initiating phases of activity4). The vernal equinox is the time marked by the great budding and blooming of spring, and this creative activity reflects the energy and focus of Aries. Aries has the capacity to break through just as new plants break through the earth, powered by moisture and the growing heat of the Sun. For this reason Aries is a good fighter on the front line. Positively expressed, it focuses courage and willpower and, as Aries is straightforward and not of itself concerned about popularity, it can achieve a great deal. Negatively, this force can be expressed as heedlessness and unremitting self-assertion for the sake of it.
Hay asserts that migraine can be averted by sexual release. This is interesting in the context of Mars, as Mars energy fuels sexuality and the desire nature. She associates headache with self-invalidation, self-criticism and fear; headache attacks may testify to Mars energy turned inwards upon the self as the inner enemy. When self-assertion is abdicated it is often because we are afraid of the power of our rage, or we fail to see it as an aspect of our personalities, and it is therefore rejected as irrational. Rage that has not identified its appropriate object, like energy that has not found its appropriate function, is often unleashed upon the self:
The rage of a blocked Mars can be directed against oneself as well as against the world outside. This is particularly the case with a gentler … temperament… . This may result in self-destructive behaviour, emotionally or physically (difficult Mars aspects are known for being accident-prone); or it may lead to a typical group of illnesses which seem to embody frustrated Martial energy. No other planet turns up so frequently as a trigger by progression or transit, or as a natal “hot spot”, when emotionally linked symptoms (such as migraine headaches and colitis) erupt.5
It is important to remember that Mars is a great triggering principle: by transit and by progression it triggers the effects of natal aspects, eclipses and long-term transits of natal planets by transiting outer planets. For example, the conjunction of transiting Mars and Pluto in Sagittarius releases Plutonian energy at a more conscious level and triggers Pluto transits to natal chart placements where these are in effect.
As we all know, anger can find some very canny ways of manifesting, and the sick person can assert themselves and project their presence (functions of Aries) in controlling, yet seemingly passive ways. The migraine syndrome springs to mind. No one suffering with a migraine headache would react well to being called manipulative and controlling, but we should remember that the physical problem (in this case, the migraine attack) is merely the manifestation of a problem occurring in consciousness. The sufferer is not wittingly cultivating a disabling condition. However, if someone really wishes to cure such a problem they need to look at it with honesty and cool objectivity; it is surely worth interrogating the patterns and triggers surrounding the problem – in such simple ways sometimes we can come to greater consciousness.
Fever, a typical manifestation of Mars activity in the body, is often today seen as a bad development in the course of infection; we often try to bring a fever down. However, fever is the response to infection of a constitutionally strong body: infection and toxins are driven out of the body. This is reminiscent of the esoteric significance of Aries: ‘Uranus [hierarchical ruler of Aries] leads the soul to the burning ground during the final stages of the Path, when the fire of Aries and fires engendered through the potency of Uranus produce the flaming heat of the final burning ground.’6 Aries can purify the being by burning off the dross, just as it can cleanse the body through the expression of a healthy fever:
For it is not only the fever that is healthy: grappling with our conflicts is even healthier. And yet people everywhere do their utmost to smother both fevers and conflicts at birth, even to the extent of being positively proud of their skills in suppressing them.7
Aries energy inaugurates activity, using the will-power and combative energy of Mars, in order to bring ideas (spiritual impulses) into manifestation. Aries can cut to the chase: it is the energy of the activist for spirit, the warrior and the pioneer. An ancient statement remarks that Aries ‘”awakens the will to reach the lowest and there control, to know the uttermost and thus to face all experience”’.8 Not only does the first impulse towards physical form express itself in Aries, Aries also governs the Path of Discipleship: the will to return to the Source. In this sense Aries initiates beginnings, but also the beginning of the end – Alpha and Omega.
Bailey, Alice, Esoteric Astrology (London: Lucis Trust, 1951).
Dethlefsen, Thorwald and Rüdiger Dahlke, The Healing Power of Illness (1983; Shaftesbury: Element, 1990).
Hay, Louise L., You Can Heal Your Life (Carson, CA: Hay House, Inc., 1984).
Hilarion, Body Signs (Queensville, Ontario: Marcus Books, 1982).
Greene, Liz, ‘The Warrior and the Womaniser: The Mythology and Psychology of Mars’, in Greene and Sasportas.
Greene, Liz, and Howard Sasportas, Seminars in Psychological Astrology, Volume 4: The Inner Planets (York Beach, ME: Weiser, 1993).
Sasportas, Howard, ‘Henchman of the Sun: Mars in the Horoscope’, in Greene and Sasportas.
1 Alice Bailey, Esoteric Astrology (London: Lucis Trust, 1951), p. 92.
2 Howard Sasportas, ‘Henchman of the Sun: Mars in the Horoscope’, in Greene and Sasportas, Seminars in Psychological Astrology, Volume 4: The Inner Planets (York Beach, ME: Weiser, 1993), pp. 223-259.
3 Liz Greene, ‘The Warrior and the Womaniser: The Mythology and Psychology of Mars’, in Greene and Sasportas, Seminars in Psychological Astrology, Volume 4: The Inner Planets (York Beach, ME: Weiser, 1993), p. 194.
4 In Esoteric Astrology, the phases of activity ruled by the cardinal cross are as follows: Aries pertains to Creation, Cancer to Manifestation, Capricorn to Initiation and Libra to Legislation.
5 Ibid, p. 189.
6 Bailey, p. 100.
7 Dethlefsen and Dahlke, p. 100.
8 Quoted in Bailey, p. 92.
Taurus: Refining Desire
Astrologically, Taurus rules the throat and the throat chakra, vishuddha, which is the etheric counterpart of the thyroid gland. Taurus is ruled by Venus, which represents the principle of attraction. As Venus also rules Libra we need to establish a distinction between the planet’s activity with regard to body parts and processes in the two zodiacal signs respectively.
In orthodox astrology Taurus and the second house of the natal chart describe the values and resources of the individual, whereas Libra and the seventh house describe partnership. Venus in Taurus pertains much more to what (and how) one likes, loves, desires and attributes value; while Venus in Libra suggests how these things are embodied in ‘other’ and encountered in relationship. Taurus, belonging to the earthy triplicity, reveals appetites and modes of sensuality and how these are expressed materially. It refers to our self-expression as well as to how we engage, sensually and practically, with our environments. Libra (belonging to air) is more social than sensual in character, and shows how we interact with others one to one, and with whom we choose to interact.
Venus in Taurus rules the throat, neck, mouth, adenoids and lower brain; with Mercury it rules the larynx, tongue and thyroid; with Pluto, the tonsils. All these body parts pertain to speech, self-expression and ingestion. The mouth is the place of nourishing and, in Freudian psychology, the primary site of erotic activity. Babies investigate the world through their mouths: everything is tasted and felt out through sensitive oral enquiry. How we feed, how we learn and how we love – our human hungers for nourishment, knowledge and sexual fulfilment – all begin with the mouth. Taurus represents these primary needs and how we go about meeting them.
In Libra, Venus rules the bladder, kidneys, urethra and the skin. The kidneys are organs of discernment, eliminating what is not good for us while retaining what is good for us; they restore the blood to equilibrium. The skin is our boundary with the world; the largest organ of excretion, it is also our sheath of protection and, as we receive through it the sensual impacts of the world outside, a great source of impressions and perceptions. Here Venus is involved in balancing, sensing and bringing the inner (self) into relationship with the outer (other).
Problems such as eczema, psoriasis, cystitis and kidney weakness pertain to Libra and the seventh house; while such problems as throat infections, stiff necks and thyroid imbalances relate to Taurus and the second house. The role of Taurus can be made clearer by thinking about the function of the throat chakra, which comes under its rulership.
The throat chakra is the vortex of force concerned with creative self-expression. It is located at the back of the neck and reaches up towards the base of the brain and the medulla oblongata, and down towards the shoulder blades. All problems emanating from this region pertain to throat chakra imbalance. This chakra is positioned to link the head chakras with those below the throat. In this way it represents what theosophy calls the antahkarana, the energetic bridge that links the mind, the brain and the soul, thus allowing higher spiritual forces to flow into the embodied individual:
Of this connecting ‘bridge’, the neck itself is the symbol, as it relates the head – alone and isolated – to the dual torso, consisting of that which lies below – the symbol of the soul and the personality united, fused and blended into one.1
This symbolism reveals that an aspect of the throat’s function is to create a conduit between higher and lower, and between higher, unified forces and the duality experienced in the earth realm.
The throat chakra is in an energetic relationship with the sacral chakra (ruled by Scorpio and the eighth house: the polarity of Taurus and the second), which illuminates the fact that these two chakras are involved in procreativity, creativity and the transmutation of sexual desire into spiritual aspiration. In developmental terms, creative activity is raised from the sacral centre to the throat centre in the disciple; the raising of creative activity from the throat centre to the ajna centre (brow chakra) is the mark of the initiate. Therefore, the sacral centre is the lower correspondence of the throat centre, which in turn is the lower correspondence of the ajna centre.
The throat is the avenue of expression. It is a channel for expressing matters of the head (thought, inspiration) and of the heart (feeling, emotion). Its connection to both head and heart suggests that the throat chakra has a part to play in bringing thought and feeling into right relationship. As we represent ourselves in speech or creative activity, we become more aware of the preoccupations of our minds and hearts, and thus create some possibility of building a bridge between them. When we resist self-expression we cultivate (perhaps quite inadvertently) inauthenticity; head and heart are then susceptible to becoming separated and unrelated to each other. The alienation of head and heart is a serious rupture between thinking and feeling; it causes a strain to develop in the throat that is attempting to bridge the two areas. Strain in the throat is often the result of a fear of unworthiness or anxiety about being inadequate. Holding in our speech is a way of hiding from our selves and from the world; it signifies that we do not trust the world to accept us as we are.
The more the activity of the throat centre is withheld, the more alienated from each other grow the head and the heart. We get to the point where we are not even sure what we think or feel. Our heads seem to be severed from our bodies. Alice Bailey refers to the resistance of the personality to the influx of soul force affecting the activity of the throat.2 If the throat is not kept active, expressive and open, self-expression is starved of true thought and true feeling. The correspondence of this starvation at a more refined level is the personality refusing the nourishment of the soul. We do not readily swallow (accept) what might upset our perceived, cherished stability; we resist accommodating the requirements of our higher selves because we are emotionally attached to our views, reactions and personal identities. In this way, we are prone to becoming exceedingly stuck in personality conditions.
The loss of relationship between head and heart is an emblem of the general disconnection between the individual and the environment. We have forgotten our relation to the six directions: north, south, east, west, above and below. We currently exist in a state of chronic forgetfulness that requires we consciously invoke our relationship with the directions and with the elements (fire, earth, air and water) they represent. To join our heads onto our bodies, our feet to the earth, and our beings to the cardinal directions is a work of healing that many individuals are having to undertake at this time of increasing instability in conditions both external and internal. This healing is an act of intention and imagination working in unity; it requires us to come to consciousness about the fact of our being human and the qualities and responsibilities humanity confers upon us.
It is through human beings that the material and the spiritual realms can be brought into alignment; we are bridges that link the worlds; we walk between worlds; similarly, we are the conduit through which planetary and extra-planetary forces can be brought into alignment.
There is a great deal of bridging work going on it seems! It finds it symbolic correspondences in many areas of the body, but very particularly in the neck/throat area, which shows how important the energy of Taurus is in bringing spiritual illumination to physical conditions:
For the great task of Taurus is not the simple instruction to ‘go forth and multiply’ but the far deeper one of ushering in the physical manifestation of the exquisite harmony of the spheres. Into the heart of life on earth, into daily toil, into family life, into spheres practical, mental, emotional and artistic, Taurus must bring down what his spirit has learned when he pastured in the fiery stars. … Mankind must gain mastery over the powerful, vigorous bull of its animal nature, and make of it a sacrificial offering so that the vitality of its blood might be poured upon the germinating seed of the spirit, the Light Within.3
Taurus is the birth sign of the Buddha, and the Buddha is the exemplar of enlightened human life. It is through bodily experience that consciousness arises; this is, in a basic sense, the foundation of Buddhist teaching. Through mindful observation of the arising and ceasing of physical, emotional and mental phenomena we come gradually to awareness of the true nature of mind. Our physicality is continuous with consciousness. Taurus energy can be caught up in a driving desire for the satisfaction of physical appetites, or it can be a powerful force motivating spiritual aspiration; to which level a person applies their Taurean energy is entirely dependent on the level of awareness. A person’s vibration may be coarse and oriented towards the physical plane, or refined and oriented towards higher planes of being. But as there is a relationship of correspondence between higher and lower, we can hope to raise our vibration according to the law of resonance, whereby like is attracted to like. The action of resonance is the energetic domain of Venus, which not only functions to connect higher and lower within the self, but also creates situations of resonance through the agency of other people. The agency of other people is what we commonly call relationship, and situations of resonance between people we commonly call love or desire.
It is often through the agency of other people that we are able to find lost or forgotten aspects of ourselves that need to be worked on and integrated into our idea of self in order that we make progress in life. Relationship presents us with a mirror that reveals what we are attached to in ourselves, but also what has been rejected; we love and reject the qualities of others accordingly, paying little regard to the enormous projections that take place between friends or lovers.
The desire and aversion we experience in our relationships are grist to the mill of the spiritual project of transmutation undertaken in Taurus. The energy of these reactions, when observed and ‘owned’ and seen for what they are, can be used to relate the lower nature to the higher self:
Men have sought through physical expression to produce the inner fusion and harmony which they crave and this cannot be done. Sex is but the symbol of an inner duality which must be itself transcended and wrought into a unity. It is not transcended by physical means or rituals. It is a transcendence in consciousness.4
The quotation above is entirely categorical: what we crave in our sexual relationships ‘cannot be done’. The necessary dissatisfaction and disenchantment arising from frustrated desire potentially serves the purpose of raising consciousness and fomenting spiritual aspiration. It is as if we have to reach a certain pitch of desperation before we get real about what might be an appropriate object for our love energy.
As attached as we are to our physical appetites (and Taurus, being a fixed sign, can become attached to the point of being totally stuck), the ultimate impossibility of their satisfaction is hard to swallow. Swallowing life’s lessons is very much the domain of Taurus and the throat chakra. Something sticks in our craw; we cannot swallow it; we are choked; we reach to throw up: these are symptoms of rejecting what is happening in our lives: aversion. A secondary response to aversion can paradoxically be the desire to over-indulge in food and alcohol or cigarettes: we throw things down, swallowing hard, to keep difficult emotions from rising out of our mouths and finding expression maybe in unruly or unseemly ways. We avoid polluting our modes of being and self-presentation, because this threatens our identities and is potentially alienating.
Thorwald Dethlefsen and Rüdiger Dahlke write about swallowing representing integration and incorporation. Problems with swallowing or with vomiting are indications of unwillingness to accept (or downright rejection of) something that is happening in life.5 Louise Hay’s analysis concurs with that of Dethlefsen and Dahlke:
The energy center in the throat, the fifth chakra, is the place in the body where change takes place. When we are resisting change or are in the middle of change or are trying to change, we often have a lot of activity in our throats.6
She suggests that problems with the throat indicate stifled creativity and a sense of inadequacy. A sore throat (being inflamed) suggests anger. Coughing indicates resistance and stubbornness. Hay relates tonsillitis and thyroid problems to not being able to do what you want to do.7 If we cannot do what we want to do, we feel disempowered and separated from that which we love. This can bring an experience of humiliation, which Hay thinks underlies thyroid symptoms: ‘I never get to do what I want to do. When’s it going to be my turn?’8 There might well be very significant resentments behind symptoms arising in the neck and throat. When the neck is affected the quality of stubbornness comes to the fore; we speak commonly of having a ‘stiff-necked’ attitude. Inflexibility is strongly represented by the immobility and fixity of view incurred by a neck complaint.
The quality of the throat chakra energy will be reflected in self-expression and the quality of the speech. When energy is balanced in the etheric vehicle, speech is clear and resonant. Sound vibration has always been used to call the body into balance; spiritual practices have always included mantra or vowel song. Sound resonates through the whole body, making energy travel up and down the spine, thus re-membering the connections between the energy centres and our connections to the six directions. Sound can be used very practically to invoke this connectedness and inter-connectedness, and to call our selves into the fullness of being. Working through the throat in this way is a good way forward for problems pertaining to Taurean, Venusian or second-house energies. As Venus is to the Earth what the higher self is to the personality, the potential of reviving and re-invigorating the throat may be truly illuminating:
‘The question is: Will the Bull of desire or the Bull of Divine illumined expression succeed?’9
Bailey, Alice, Esoteric Astrology (London: Lucis Trust, 1951).
———- Esoteric Healing (London: Lucis Trust, 1953).
Dethlefsen, Thorwald and Rüdiger Dahlke, The Healing Power of Illness (1983; Shaftesbury: Element, 1990).
Hay, Louise L., You Can Heal Your Life (Carson, CA: Hay House, Inc., 1984).
Nahmad, Claire, Earth Magic (London: Rider, 1993).
©Kate Hubert 2001
1 Alice Bailey, Esoteric Healing (London: Lucis Trust, 1953), p. 153.
2 Ibid, p. 137.
3 Claire Nahmad, Earth Magic (London: Rider, 1993), pp. 29, 34.
4 Alice Bailey, Esoteric Astrology (London: Lucis Trust, 1951), p. 385.
5 Thorwald Dethlefsen and Rüdiger Dahlke, The Healing Power of Illness (1983; Shaftesbury: Element, 1990), pp. 130-1.
6 Louise Hay, You Can Heal Your Life (Carson, CA: Hay House Inc., 1984), p. 130.
7 Ibid, pp. 130-1.
8 Ibid, p. 186.
9Esoteric Astrology, p. 378.