AriesWith the Sun less than half a degree into Aries as I write this, it seems a good time to ruminate on the first sign of the Zodiac, and the first Sun sign of the astrological year.

A couple years ago, a friend and I had a good brainstorming session coming up with evocative phrases or titles to capture the essential role of each sign. Aries is the Finder of the Flame.

Aries is a kindler, an energizer, self-propelled motion in its most basic manifestation. Aries is outgoing, decisive, impulsive, and forceful. These qualities make Aries a natural leader and motivator. Aries is a “firebrand” and a person of action. Aries sees something worth doing and charges in. This way of approaching things has little concern for other people, for long-term consequences, or for subtlety. But it is an excellent way to break the surface tension and get the ball rolling. Onlookers will often admire the energy and initiative of the Aries leader, and find themselves inspired to follow along, even though the Aries leader may not have offered much in terms of persuasion or sweet talk.

The traps that Aries energy may fall into include insensitivity, impatience, and lack of follow-through. Aries must rush in with torches, clearing the brush and burning a new road forward. That they may burn through someone else’s orchard or hit a dead end is something that seldom concerns them, at least at the outset. If an Aries messes up, they are not too likely to try to fix things. It will just be full speed ahead again, in a different direction with a new project.

Aries is ruled by Mars, the god of war, and partakes of his competitiveness, athleticism, and sex drive. It is a masculine, cardinal fire sign, direct, creative, and energetic.

People new to astrology are often perplexed by the fact that people do not always show the traits associated with their Sun sign in a simplistic way. Newspaper astrologers and other mass-market astrology publications often deal exclusively with the Sun sign, since this is the only part of a person’s chart that can be known simply by knowing one’s birthday. It’s a very incomplete picture, though.

The three most important contributors to a person’s overall personality are the Sun sign, the Moon sign, and the Rising sign, or ascendant. In simple terms, the Sun sign shows our core purpose, the person we are becoming in this life. The Moon sign shows our comfort zone, our subconscious needs and private persona. The Rising sign is the mask we don to meet the world. Many people, especially in the early and middle years of life, exhibit the qualities of their Rising sign and Moon sign more clearly than those of their Sun sign.

People with the Sun in Aries are on a mission to develop their own self-leadership. As they grow into this role, they must learn lessons of independence and energy management. For some, it is a short sprint into selfhood. But for most, this is a long and challenging journey, especially if they begin from a Moon sign, Rising sign, or childhood environment that does not support self-motivated activity.

People with an Aries Moon find a rich satisfaction in doing things on their own, especially physical things. This may not be something that expresses in career or in their social persona, but may show most strongly in their choice of hobby or recreation. The Aries Moon person may be an accountant during the week, but a downhill skier on the weekend. Such people may have difficulty in relationships, since their emotional needs are met mostly by self-powered activity.

With Aries as Rising sign, one is likely to present a bright, energetic face to the world. Such people are often extraverted and self-reliant, in appearances anyway. They often find themselves out in front of group projects or the first one in a social group to try something new. For some, these qualities may aid them in finding their life purpose; for others. they may just be a distraction and a way to channel off energy.