Aries, I am. Excerpt from Capricorn Rising
The Call to Adventure:
Welcome to my life through Astrology. I will briefly apologize for any confusion in regard to questions you may have on whether this is an Astrological Text, Memoir or Biography.
It simply is a reflection of my desire to share my life thus far; experiences, the results of experiences, insights and learnings, “hidden” knowledge and more importantly- how I have been able to “ get though it all” using knowledge and insight on the cosmic mystery of existence.
Now to begin.
I think most of you would agree that the beginning of any story as extremely important.
Perhaps, even the most essential part of a story’s success. This is where the storyteller invites personal connection with the reader or listener, so that they can engage them in committing to the unfoldment of the story.
It’s the “call to adventure” as articulated by the great Joseph Campbell, whose essays and writings illustrated the “Monomyth” of our human experience through the world’s folklore, myth and religion.
I would like to invite you into my story, which begins, naturally at the beginning.
In Natal Astrology, the start of the story as the moment of one’s birth is most beautifully displayed within the construct of the Chart Wheel.
A circle with a cross in the middle, 12 natural “houses” aligned to begin with the Vernal Equinox, the beginning of Aries and the Astrological year.
To determine yours, you must use the time, date and place of your birth.
It’s your very first statement, saying
It’s said that one’s chart is a moment captured in time, a formation of energies that a human soul enters and encapsulates. The actual time of birth is your Ascendant or Rising. It describes the style in which you express the myriad archetypal expressions within you- which are represented by the planets and their positions and relations.
I have Capricorn on the Ascendant or Rising, the natural “house” of Aries.
A first child, I was born under a Full Moon, just 18 minutes after Sunrise on December 28th, 1966. A double Capricorn, Sun and Rising! Whatever day you were born, if you were born at Sunrise you will share your Rising Sign with the Sun.
According to my Mother, it was a bit of a difficult birth- which is not surprising with Saturn ruling my chart. He seems to create challenges to overcome wherever he is placed.
Apparently, I was sideways in Utero and it took several tries to reposition me as well as a pair of forceps to move my little body into position and extract it from the comfort of the watery womb. A challenge indeed.
An interesting exercise I have used and recommend you do too, is to meditate on your moment of birth, to creatively envision the experience from your current place of being.
I imagine the morning as bright, a sunny classic California winter day, cold but very clear. I imagine my Mother tired, and semi drugged in the style of time, but also exuberant. Father and Grandparents banished to the Hospital’s waiting room eagerly awaiting the beginning of the next role of their own lives. I see the Moon full in the sky above, placed in the sign of Cancer, a benevolent goddess providing domestic harmony- for a time at least.
Early photos of my life show an attractive young couple with their smiling infant, happy and glowing. My Father the young gallant, an Aries Ascendant. Mars ruled, arms draped protectively across his wife and child. It’s interesting that my very first memory of my Father is as dressed as Prince Charming in medieval costume, accompanying my Mother, as a Native American maiden to a Halloween Party. It seemed the perfect apparel for him, as at that time he seemed everything a Young Knight should be, beautiful, powerful, adventurous, principled. Ready for his great Quest. I remember longing to be able to attend with them, and the disappointment of their denial.
Mom used to have funny little stereotypical phrases for all the Astrology Signs, a quick little shorthand into the ironic essence of the style of the seasons we were born into.
“Arrogant Aries Asshole” was cheerfully sing-songed into conversation whenever possible- and it was often possible with Aries Rising Father, Aries Sun Brother and later- Mom’s Aries Boyfriend in the mix. She would laugh at Aries’s complete self-absorption and egoic certainty. Her own Descendant was Aries, and she did truly love their adventurous, energetic and self-orientated focus, so different from her own careful, balanced and removed one.
My own Chart’s IC, that’s the Imum Coeli (Latin for Bottom of the Sky) or 4th House Cusp is Aries 23 degrees. The IC and MC (the bottom and top of that cross in your chart) describe your
“roots and wings”. Where you have come from, your family/ancestry/foundation vs your vocation/career/direction. They also can be used to describe the parental unit, with the hidden or passive parent at the bottom and the active at the top.
It’s an amazing fact my Father’s ascendant conjunct (right on top of) my IC and my Mother’s my MC. Take a look at your own. Could your parents be described by the qualities on them? Do your parents planets or angles of their charts hit these points?
Less than 16 months after my birth my brother Matt was born, smack in the middle of Aries season. Three planets in Aries, a young warrior with a head full of bright hair; brilliant, ungovernable, always moving. He was the boy who always would get into fights at school, later forging a deep comraderie with his opponent. I always think of Lancelot for Aries or the Character of Arya in “Game of Thrones”. Dedicated to their driving passion or inspiration, action oriented, leaders, but more importantly orientated to leading themSELF into directions that are inspired by their inner call. Not all Aries are necessarily overtly assertive, but wherever you have Aries, by planetary placement or house rulership, you will need to be your own captain, your own knight, warrior, to be a leader and to be brave enough to go your own way.
So, my little Aries brother and I were joined by another sibling- my brother Josh in 1970.
This is the time of Chiron in Aries. Great strides were made in the late 60s and 70s in individual and civil rights. Young people (Aries/Mars) organized, marched and generally rebelled against the “establishment” of (Capricorn/Saturn). Tremendous social progress was made by people taking action ( Aries) against the painful (Chiron) structures and processes of society.
Against the exciting backdrop of major Astrological collective energies like Chiron in Aries, our Aries Ascendant Father and Aries Descendant Mother split- ostensibly so my Dad could pursue “Arian Adventures” beyond familial responsibility, and in fact Dad was a Yacht Racer, Sea Captain and Smuggler- which I will get into later. But for now, it’s 1973 and we are living in the mountains of Santa Cruz in a communal home our Mother named “Rancho Wombo”.
A huge mid-century ranch home at the end of a private road in the middle of a redwood forest- our new home was a virtual paradise, for both us kids and “the grumps” the extended family of friends and relatives who now all lived with us.
What I most remember about this time was the freedom and the creativity of both the lifestyle and its inhabitants of our little community. Literally everyone was gorgeous, dressing in the creative, hippie styles of the day. We had our own Rock and Roll Band-the Feltones, rehearsing in the studio, photographers, dope dealers, artists mingling.
In this part of my life my impatient Father left- not be heard from for 5 years, Odysseus in his travels- a sad story for my brothers and I, and as I look back at this tumultuous time in my childhood, Uranus, the planet of revolution, freedom and change, stands at the very top of my chart by transit and conjuncts my midheaven. Opposing my 4th house- this time in my life, was both painful and poignant.
The beginning of an activation of wounding that would takes decades to unravel.
The Sign of Aries is the beginning of Spring, and its mode of expression is active, “Cardinal” as we say in Astrology. It describes youth and initiations, the renewal of life, the thrust of growth, inspired action. Its element is Fire- which can warm and burn. In shadow, Aries can be martial, aggressive, completely reactive, self-centered and overtly competitive.
Aries compels us to take charge. When I was about 6 years old, in the summer of 1973 my father’s abrupt leave-taking took a toll on our Mother. Years later when I was undergoing the tumult of the square of Uranus in Aries to Pluto in Capricorn my life exploded. In an attempt to heal I found various therapeutic modalities including shamanic journeying and soul retrieval. During a session I found myself back in my 6-year-old self, in front of my Mothers locked bedroom door with her sobbing inside. In that moment I realized I made a contract with whatever was in charge, to my brothers and little family to take responsibility as leader and make up for the loss of my father.
Now, this is not just my Aries experience of family, but my Capricorn Sun, and Cancer Moon separate “selves”- yet I recognize that call to action as one that left me with the wounding of a lifetime.
My 6-year-old self- having never before witnessed my Mother break down or cry was terrified. Would she abandon us as our Father did? Was this the end of the world? It understood it as the end of our family as I had known it. In retrospect, a small event affecting a parent can be, for the child- a much greater experience. This caused much unconscious and conscious pain in my later life. It was an early breakdown in my own sense of the security of life, and how I took action to deal with it became a long lasting and unconscious pattern.
The Egoic impulse to take responsibility for any apparent problem- of my own doing or not, now became both a part of my defensive armor and a tool to wield in order to find emotional and physical security. I recognize also, that as a child of a “broken family” I had a wound of self-identity, much like those with Chiron in Aries natally. Self-confidence and self-esteem- especially with male relationships- would be a life long struggle for me.
Approximately every two years Mars returns to the place he was when we were born.
Mars as ruler of Aries is responsible for what is called the “ Terrible Twos”.
This time is an opportunity for a child to exercise his or her own will, find their passion and a mission to accomplish on their own. At 6, and under the energetic force of my third Mars return, I was acting to make sense of the changes in my life, to protect my family, to protect myself from an unknown and insecure future.
Mars needs a Mission. Which is a shortcut to understanding its energy in your chart and life. Where you find Mars, you will need to take action, to have a plan or a quest to undertake.
In Medical Astrology Aries rules the Head. It’s interesting to think that the phrase “headstrong” is used to describe personalities that are impulsively active and self- oriented.
My Aries Rising Father ALWAYS had a laser focus on where he was going next, who or what he was competing against. Mars is his chart ruler and his Mars was also conjunct his Sun.
My own Mars is placed in its detriment, Libra.
Exaltations and Detriments (Fall) of planets or points in Astrology originated thousands of years ago from the relationship or strength between the Planets and their signs of rulership. Mars rules or has “Domicile” in Aries and co rules Scorpio. In these Zodiac signs it expresses itself clearly and without impediment. In Aries opposition Libra- it is weak, it vacillates and tries to balance desires . My Mars in Libra has been responsible for lots of frustration. Getting my own needs met often took a back seat to catering to others, including my Mother, Brothers and Grandparents. I have a need for harmony that impedes my desire to win over others and sublimates my own direct expression of self assertion. It’s a passive aggressive Mars!
Where you find Mars in your chart you can see how your instinctual warrior behaves. Do you act out Politely like Mars in Libra or See Red like Mars in Aries? Do you vow to seek Revenge like Mars in Scorpio or Go off on a two hour Verbal assault like Mars in Gemini?
Where is your Mars?