Michael Barwick


Insight for Every Purpose under Heaven

Happy Birthday Aries!

Congratulations! The transiting Sun entered the tropical sign of Aries on March 20 at 5:58 pm EDT. If you’re an Aries, your birthday is happening over the the next month! Birthday greetings to you and all the best for you over the coming year.

Birthday Readings Sale for Aries Folks Only!

Save $60! While the Sun is in Aries (now until April 20, 2019), my All About You reading (what I recommend for new clients) and my Time of Your Life reading (what I first recommend for returning clients) are available for $120 Canadian: one third off the regular price!

To book, or for more information, contact me.

About Aries… and being one

In the beginning…

Even if you are not an Aries, the sign exists somewhere in your personal horoscope, interacting with other factors as part of your make-up. Remember, everything in the universe had something to say about you when you were born! Somewhere the stirring energy of the beginning of spring Western Astrology associated with the sign dwells within you. You could easily be born under a different sign, yet have one or more other significant factors placed there. And every year at this time, in whatever way you are connected to Aries, the Sun’s transit through the sign coincides with its personal activation. Plus you may know some Aries folks, and the below might be helpful to know what they are going through.

Aries is the simplest sign because it is the primordial origin. There have been other suggestions regarding what sign should start the Zodiac, but Aries somehow always ends up first.

Aries is the something that comes out of nothing, even in science today. Before was nothing (end-state Pisces is so diffuse, can we really say there’s anything left?), then, by some miracle, there is a very tiny something out of which everything comes (Aries). The Big Bang is just the latest human thinking on this archetypal transition reflected in Zodiac symbolism.

Every ethnos at every time we know of has cultural forms to answer the ancient fundamental question how things came to be. Through the ages, humans have sought understanding through legends, folk tales, myths, sacred scriptures, philosophies, theologies, and now in our age, modern science, to understand the universe’s origins. It is still not fully understood, although science continues to work on the problem, at least from the perspective of the physical universe anyway.

Regardless, the mystery remains and it’s still miraculous: why is there something rather than nothing? And a second up-close-and-personal question is such an obvious concern, most ask our parents early on: where did I come from?

Such intellectual probing isn’t typically associated with Aries, the cardinal (directed outward) fire (spirit-driven) Zodiac sign, better known for being ardent, enthusiastic, impulsive, and action-oriented (and perhaps, at times, a little pushy, willful, and aggressive; or so much of the literature reports).

However, traditionally the part of human anatomy associated with Aries is the head, and there are plenty of thoughtful and brilliant Aries folks engaged in inspirational and original work on numerous battlefields, including academic ones. Being on the cutting edge anywhere tends to bring out the best of Aries.

Without there being any really significant discussion about the matter, it has been assumed that Sun sign psychology is equivalent to a set of traits. While such keywords are helpful for beginners, a more mature framework is required for grasping of what it means to have the Sun placed in a sign.

Folks born when the Sun was in Aries will fit on a spectrum of these traits at different points in their lives, just like any other group of people. However, words such as these are inadequate because they have no context: your opinion of a trait can vary greatly depending on where you are in relationship to it. It can be very clear and obvious to me that you are being headstrong and belligerent, but I am really dynamic and pioneering!

Boo-Hurrah traits associated with the signs can even provide the justification for folks who know a little astrology to shame others when they think someone is exhibiting one or more of their so-called Sun-sign “bad” traits. “If only you would stop being…” A little knowledge can be a dangerous thing, and humility before the mystery of every person is always a good idea, particularly if you are going to use astrology as a healing tool. How qualified are you to discern something is “bad” and you are not trying to talk someone out of an important part of their identity, despite how ‘unevolved’ you may think it is currently?

Another perhaps more useful way of understanding what it means when the Sun is placed in a sign is to see it as a non-linear dynamic process occurring primarily between four dimensions:

  • Purpose – what is the sign’s natural best intent?
  • Virtue – what quality is required for this goal to be achieved?
  • Challenge – what state must be overcome when the Virtue is seemingly absent or under-developed, aka the Negation?
  • Over-compensation – what happens when the Negation masquerades as the Virtue?

This sounds complex I am sure, but it’s relatively simple. The dynamic gives rise to the signs that can be thought of as thin distinctly coloured semi-transparent membranes through which the planets, which psychologically symbolize the primary set of drives of the psyche, are stylized and fueled.

Let’s quickly analyze Aries according to our four dimensions:

  • Purpose – The Aries purpose most simply can be described as one of individualization; it is to form a sharp singular identity whose expression generates a self-supporting and distinct individual with focused purpose.
  • Virtue – What does Aries need to realize this purpose? Consider a possible answer suggested by the Cowardly Lion’s speech in the Wizard of Oz 1939 film:

What makes a King out of a slave?
What makes the flag on the mast to wave?
What makes the elephant charge his tusk in the misty mist, or the dusky dusk?
What makes the muskrat guard his musk?
What makes the Sphinx the 7th Wonder?
What makes the dawn come up like THUNDER?!
What makes the Hottentot so hot?
What puts the “ape” in ape-ricot?
Whatta they got that I ain’t got?

COURAGE! shout Dorothy, Scarecrow and Tin Man in response.

Based on my experience, it takes real guts to be an original. Every Aries knows this in their hearts.

It is beyond the scope of this article to document all the planetary symbolism in the 1939 classic film, but briefly, it is significant that our hero Dorothy, dutifully following a yellow(!) brick road, is the Sun, and the three companions she encounters, the Scarecrow who seeks a brain, the Tin Man who seeks a heart, and Lion who seeks courage are one-for-one disguises for the interpersonal planets: Mercury, the drive to notice, articulate, classify and manipulate the connections between phenomena (Scarecrow); Venus, the drive to appreciate and share experience based on their aesthetics, pleasure, and value or “love and art” (Tin Man); and Mars, the drive to mobilize and apply energy to protect and assert one’s agenda as required (Lion).

Enabling these characters to attain what they seek becomes integral to the quest of the film. It’s an important thing to remember: if all you know is your Sun sign, you only know a little something about your inner Dorothy and nothing about her whole team!

The common understanding of the Signs of the Zodiac is derived according to the Sun’s placement in the sign. The Sun symbolizes the set of drives pushing the development of identity and power. In a chart, it is the celestial orchestra conductor: its purpose is to make all the planets make sweet music together in concert. Dorothy’s task is to lead all to the solution to their problems.

We are all charmed when someone tells us we are like our Sun-Signs because it means they see this brightest light within us. Self-development has taken place, and it’s genuinely difficult not to swell with pride when others notice it. But the Sun in the sign always stylizes it in a solar way: more extroverted, more about our potential and path for realization of self, and hey let’s face it: as a star, the first among equals maybe even. But the Sun is really only one of many factors and given that it always represents potential, there’s always more growth possible there.

If Mars is Lion, we have to pay attention because Mars traditionally rules Aries. (Mars also traditionally rules Scorpio, but therein lies another tale entirely. You’ll have to wait until October.) The Aries journey is all about the courage to put yourself out there, to be the tip of the spear, and to run all the risks being the first, and getting in on the ground floor.

  • Challenge – Aries must contend of course with what the virtue of Courage represents the mastery of: fear. Those folks born an Aries who let this challenge get the best of them can appear more like lambs than the traditional Ram image and all its stereotypical traits.

It always seems to shock people when I as a professional astrologer with considerable experience tell them that the Sun Sign doesn’t automatically make anyone anything and to realize one’s full solar potential always means struggle and pain. The Sun in your horoscope represents your inner hero’s uncomfortable, difficult, and dangerous journey towards becoming who you have been called to be, and make a difference.

In real life, a Disney ending is not inevitable. The poverty, violence, injustice and oppression of our broken world thwarts, stunts, and destroys the individuated expression of many on good planet Earth. Yet some, despite all the odds against them, find a way through to succeed despite initial hellish beginnings and traumatic experiences growing up. The mystery of the person and their response to the environment they are born into remains no less mysterious for all our lenses to understand the phenomenon. It seems anecdotally true in many cases, that the appearance of one or more mentor figures at key junctures can make a difference, but why are some fortunate in this regard and others are not who can say?

  • Over-compensation – When fear pretends to be courage what results can be recklessness: the fear of not getting there fast enough drives Aries into the kinds of impulsive behaviour that doesn’t look first at what it is leaping into with tragic results. This rash quality of the sign is better documented because it is obvious; fear secretly in the driver’s seat generating the behaviour is generally not understood. The fear can take numerous forms: fear of not getting there first – like all the cardinal signs, and perhaps in particular because of its Mars rulership, Aries usually likes to win and is sterotypically competent, fear of not appearing important or worthy, fear of appearing cowardly or chicken, or even our current popular anxiety, fear of missing out (FOMO)!

Whereas the demand on the previous sign Pisces was to believe, Aries is asked simply to be. Woody Allen famously remarked that 80% of life is showing up. However, the energy it can take to ‘just do it’, and the wisdom to keep setting up attainable targets to keep doing it, can be significant. Fortunately most Aries folks seem to be blessed with enormous vitality to keep pushing the ball forward. Their showing up is being fully present and being prepared to move things where they need to go. An inspired Aries is truly something to behold as there is so much dynamism, they can appear more like human doings who never stop, leading others around them ever forward.

Aries Considerations 2019

Making individual predictions for an entire year based on a single factor in a person’s horoscope is never entirely satisfactory because every person’s horoscope includes multiple factors and is distinct, guaranteeing that all things are never equal for all persons born under the same sign.

Nevertheless, here a couple of things to keep in mind Aries over the year ahead:

The Discipline of the Capricorn Alignment

I have written about Saturn-Pluto coming up to their conjunction in 2020, and just before, Jupiter joining them in that sign. For all of us, there’s a push to clean up our acts… or else.

For Aries, this theme tends to accompany constraints on the sign’s powerful will. Most Aries folks have already been through the worst of this, but those born during the last third are either in it or soon will be. You’ll get the exact Saturn-Pluto in your particular neighbourhood of the sign. It can boil down to feeling circumstances, perhaps some authority or compulsion that you feel you must obey, is robbing you of your autonomy to be who you want to be or do what you want to do. Feeling blocked and unable to do anything is a possible personal response. But equally so, is relishing the stressful change of driven by the necessary shifting towards new roles and responsibilities that represent a victory only made possible from the work you’ve done in the past. Anything Saturn touches is really a test of how much effort i.e. how much time and effort -no bullshit- have you put in on the work? Everyone falls short of perfection and is graded accordingly.

Regardless of your score, the issue is discipline: focusing Aries firey enthusiasm to manifest real world effects and learning as much or more from your failures as you do from your successes. I believe we are capable of doing much more than we realize and that much in the world can be shifted if you recognize that there are times, as they say in the military, that you have to embrace the suck and get on with what must be done.

A Lucky Horseshoe in Sagittarius for You

I have written about Jupiter’s adventures in his own sign of Sagittarius this year, including the planet’s interactions with Neptune in Pisces. For all of us, there are feelings flooding the collective filled with inspiration for some, but confusion, delusion, and self-righteous judgement for many. It’s a duel between the distortion of alt-facts and the insight of divine revelation. We all need to watch that our imaginations do not run away with us in both their nightmarish and hopeful faces, yet must carefully discern what’s ultimately real and possible.

However, for Aries, Jupiter in Sagittarius on its own must be the best of news. Constraint says Jupiter? The storm may rage and it might take me longer to find you than usual, but Santa is still going to give you what you deserve come Christmas morning, or so the contemporary myth goes. Traditionally considered highly dignified in Sagittarius, every point in Aries that Jupiter touches is through the harmonious 120 degree angle called a trine. This is is such a traditionally “good” thing, you might be tempted to use it to avoid or defer more likely to what the Capricorn Alignment is pushing you to face. And that would not be a good thing. One might wonder in astrology as Bill Murray famously quipped in the 1984 film Ghostbusters, “I’m unclear on this whole good-bad thing.”

It’s perfectly understandable that clients desire from the astrologer a classification of an astrological feature as good or bad. But the truth is that it is not that simple. Traditionally good things, like an Aries Sun being favourably aspected (trined) by transiting Jupiter in Sagittarius, are not good or bad in themselves: it’s what we do with them that makes them so. It’s important to know there is a lucky helpful energy out there for you, but what are you prepared to do with it? The trouble with alignments like these is they tend to be passive and represent states rather than events. Stuff falls in your lap at the right time maybe, but you don’t really notice: it eases conditions, but below the threshold of awareness. Or possibilities that arise that look promising, and you get your hopes up, but they don’t turn into anything real. Jupiter can accompany only expectation, which a wise woman once told me was the best part of Christmas. It is also true that our primate brains are problem-solvers who are always looking at what needs to be fixed. But it is true of the big outer planets, Jupiter moves the fastest, indicating these expansive windows of opportunity associated with it in time are more fleeting.

Another thing to remember about Jupiter is this: if you want to win at gambling, you have to ante up. Can’t win the lottery if you don’t buy a ticket. It takes some kind of faith to make Jupiter work at all, and when the Sun is involved, it’s all about bringing your self-confidence to the fore. You don’t have to be an astrologer to know that if you enthusiastically promote your truly highest self, visions, intents, and causes; doors are considerably more likely to open to you. At the moment, the universe is reminding Aries folks that now is such a good time.

Aries folks born during the first half of the sign have already had Jupiter make this transit, but there’s always insight to be gained by whatever Jupiter brought: did you notice anything? was it just an easing of conditions? was there disappointment? or, did you get a lucky break? Even when Jupiter coincides with the arising of a possibility that doesn’t pan out, there may be wisdom in what it was that inspired you for that moment and what it might point to regarding what you are really seeking for yourself.

Jupiter is moving to station in April late in Sagittarius back to the middle of the sign and then forward again to the end of the year when it enters Capricorn, just before the dreaded Saturn-Pluto conjunction. Some of those Aries folks born from the middle of the sign to the end will experience three passes of Jupiter making the exact aspect; others at the end will only experience it once before Really the question to ask yourself here is: what do I want to tell the world about myself now?

Take advantage of Jupiter in Sagittarius as the planet moves to Capricorn before the end of 2019.

You can learn more about Aries here.