The History of Aries
Zodiacal sign of Aries is an abstraction from the physical constellation of Aries. It represents the first twelfth of the full circle, or the longitude traversed by the Sun in about 30.4 days, starting from the moment of vernal equinox – the beginning of spring. It occupies the first 30 degrees of the zodiacal circle.
The name of the sign is based on the fact that the beginning of the sign of Aries was in the same place as the projection of the constellation of Aries, when the zodiac system was developed in Babylonia, some 2,500 years ago, during the “Age of Aries”. Due to the precession of Equinox, the projection of the constellation shifted, while the sign of Aries was left behind to start at the first day of spring.
Constellation of Aries, like any other constellation, was imagined into the night sky in order to tell a tale. It was named by a ram, an important actor of one of the myths ancient Greeks have told. The constellation of Aries doesn’t represent a ram to every culture. The Chinese see the constellation as twin inspectors and at Marshall Islands, it is a porpoise.
The myth of Aries
The ram with the Golden Fleece was conceived in an unusual way. Poseidon, the god of the sea, turned a nymph into a sheep, so he would distance her from many suitors she had. In order to have sexual relations with her, he had to turn himself into a ram and as a result, the nymph gave birth to a ram with the Golden Fleece.
Not only did this ram have a Golden Fleece, but it could also fly and he is most famous for his help to a mother of two children, a boy and a girl, Phrixus and Helle. They were the children of Nephele and Athamas who got divorced for Athamas’ second wife, Ino. In order to justify the separation, he accused his first wife, the mother of his children Nephele for insanity.
When her son was wrongly accused of rape and she realized that both of her children’s lives were in danger, Nephele gave them to a ram hoping he would fly them away from their stepmother. While flying through the narrow passage between Europe and Asia, Helle fell of the ram taking one of his horns with her. It is said that the god of sea Poseidon purposefully saved her in order to rape her (although this was referred to as “sacrifice to gods”) and she gave birth to his son afterwards.
Phrixus arrived safe to his destination and as a sign of gratitude, sacrificed the same ram to Zeus and gave his golden fleece to his father in law, who locked it away and assigned a dragon to keep it safe.
The connection between the myth and the Aries zodiac sign
This is a myth that shows a deep connection to the sign and the constellation of Aries with all sorts of stories we could apply to the time we live in. When you see a planet in the sign of Aries, you can imagine a story about a girl who wasn’t saved, fell to her death or was saved only to be sexually abused. You can imagine a story about someone born out of a possessive relationship, where their father distanced their mother from her opportunities in order to have her for himself. You can see a father who pretended to be something he is not, only to have them as a child. There is also a very “popular” story about the crazy ex-wife and the evil stepmother.
The key story here, however, is the one about betrayal. Although there are several endings to the myth, mostly the sign of Aries is in relation to the male child that was saved, only to destroy the ram after that. This can also be a friend, a son of a friend, any male figure that might have lost his sister in the same way Phrixus did or simply anyone that was saved.
The positive side to this myth, which manifests in case of an extremely strong position of the sign of Aries and its ruler in someone’s chart, is oriented to the moments when a ram with Golden Fleece was born, the fact that he had Golden Fleece, was fearless and able to fly. Mostly, from an optimistic perspective, the story of Aries is the story of avoiding certain death and being saved by an unbelievable, strong, rich person. This gives additional explanation to the need of Aries to be the hero who saved the day.