Zodiac Myths: The Story Behind Aries (2023)

Aries is the first sign of the zodiac and marks the spring equinox in the northern hemisphere. This is the start of the astrological New Year, so what better time to begin a new series on the myths behind the zodiac. Aries – as cardinal fire – is all about new beginnings.

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Aries is a masculine sign and is ruled by the planet Mars. It’s balanced and complemented by the opposite sign of Libra, ruled by Venus. Aries brings new ideas and a new hope – the rising of spring after a hard winter.

Like all fire signs, Aries tends to mythologize himself and wants to be the hero of his own story (or heroine!). Aries is a crusader with a righteous vision of life. Where there’s a mission or cause to be fought for, you’ll find Aries, armour glinting in the sunshine. The Aries myth is about the future and vanquishing the enemy, doing the noble deed with passion and adventure. Let’s see where the Aries drive and energy comes from…

Aries Myths – Sumer

The Aries constellation is the Ram and this gives us the first meaning of the sign: fertility. The ram is a symbol of virility and the renewal of the life force, and to find the source of this image we have to go back before the dawn of language in Sumer. There’s a cylinder seal dated c. 3,500 BCE that shows two rams standing on a mound, from which rises a double-headed serpent. Between the rams is a flower and standing on their backs is an eagle.

Zodiac Myths: The Story Behind Aries (2)

The drama playing out on the seal depicts the cycle of life and renewal through death: the rams look like they’re about to eat the flower and the serpent is about to bite the rams, while the eagle pounces from above. All these symbols relate to the ancient goddess cultures and later became associated with the Sumerian god Dumuzi, consort to the goddess Inanna.

“And since all of the figures represent the power of the same god, the mythological theme represented is that of the self-consuming, ever-dying, ever-living generative energy that is the life and death in all things.” – Joseph Campbell

Originally, the fertility of the earth came directly from the Mother Goddesses, but this evolved into the inclusion of a male consort. So the Aries ram is really a dual symbol: the ram and the ewe – the goddess and her son/consort. Male virility and fertility worked in service of the goddess and in harmony with the natural cycles of life.

This was achieved through the annual ritual of the sacred marriage in spring, where the goddess bestowed kingship on her chosen candidate. There’s evidence for this in Sumerian cultic love songs and myths, but it’s not clear if the ritual was performed ‘in real life.’ Either way, by uniting with the goddess, the king was given the power to ensure the fertility of the land.

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Dumuzi the Shepherd is the Sumerian god of vegetation and livestock, often depicted with his flock. He was also responsible for the abundance of dates, which were grown all year round – sometimes thought to be the fruit from the Tree of Life, another symbol of the Great Goddess. (She’s everywhere!)

(Video) The Messed Up Mythology of Aries | Astrology Explained - Jon Solo

As mentioned, Dumuzi is the consort of Inanna, Queen of Heaven and goddess of fertility, war and thunderstorms. She was also identified with Venus as the Morning and Evening Stars, and shares many characteristics with the goddesses who came after her: Ishtar, Ashtoreth, Astarte, and Aphrodite. Inanna is often depicted with lions so perhaps belongs under the sign of Leo, but she also embodies many personality traits of Aries:

She’s a force of nature and endlessly fertile, a source of great creative power. Although her main focus is fertility, it’s not in the spirit of the nurturing mother goddesses. Inanna is fierce and independent. She’s impetuous, wilful, and clever, with an unstoppable erotic drive. She never takes no for an answer and is always seeking further conquests to get more power for herself. In one myth, she steals the gifts of civilisation from Enki and gets away with it. She rampages around, shagging anything that moves, and pretty much does whatever she wants, until her dark sister, Ereshkigal, teaches her a lesson.

This is the Descent of Inanna where she attempts to gatecrash the Underworld and extend her power over the dead, only to end up a corpse herself. It’s often thought that Inanna goes down into the realm of the dead to rescue her lover, Dumuzi, but that interpretation comes from later, fragmentary myths based on the original Sumerian tale. In fact, she allows Dumuzi to be dragged into the Underworld because he doesn’t mourn her death while she’s gone.

Joseph Campbell says Inanna embodies the pre-patriarchal imperious manner of the earlier matriarchs. Maybe, but her purpose is to keep life moving, even if that means transgressing a few boundaries and stepping on a few toes. She isn’t averse to causing fights, and battles were sometimes called the ‘Dance of Inanna.’ Another myth says,

“She stirs confusion and chaos against those who are disobedient to her, speeding carnage and inciting the devastating flood, clothed in terrifying radiance. It is her game to speed conflict and battle, untiring, strapping on her sandals.”

The Dance of Diana – note the 8-pointed star of Inanna on her tiara…

War doesn’t appear to have much to do with fertility and the continuation of life, what with all the killing and death. But in ancient belief systems, blood is the source of life. To spill blood is to fertilise the land, so a battle becomes a mass sacrifice. If you want abundance, something must be given in return: a sacrifice must be made. The corn or wheat is sacrificed to produce the crop. The seeds are killed – threshed – to produce the bread of life.

Dumuzi plays his part in this cycle too. As god of vegetation, he spends half the year in the Underworld and returns to ensure the fertility of the land – a reminder that life depends on death and can only be renewed through the sacrifice of old, worn-out forms.

(Video) The CRAZY Myth of Aries | Zodiac Myths | Greek Mythology

In other words, life is always changing and becoming something new…

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Aries Myths – Egypt

In Egypt, Aries is associated with Amun and his consort Amunet, who together represent the life force of the universe. The Pyramid Texts describe Amun as the primeval creator and a symbol of creative power. His name means ‘the hidden one,’ and he’s the force behind ‘the invisible wind.’ Amun is also called, ‘He Who Abides in All Things,’ and ultimately, all Egyptian gods were seen as aspects of this one god.

So Amun/Amunet has a dual nature that embodies the masculine and feminine sides of creation. This means Amun is self-creating and can take many forms. Sometimes he’s seen as the Great Cackler: the goose who honked the first sound (the Word?!) and so gave birth to the universe. Sometimes he lays the World Egg, or fertilises the egg in his form as Kematef the serpent. Kematef is “the Primeval One of the Two Lands, Who made Himself” and rose from the watery abyss at the beginning of creation.

During the New Kingdom, Amun was syncretised with the Sun god Ra, becoming Amun-Ra, and was often depicted with a ram’s head. In this form he represented fertility and was responsible for the regeneration of life at the start of the year in spring.

The older symbols of Amun should be familiar as representations of the Goddess: the mound or world egg, the serpent, and a bird. In this case, they contain the opposites within them and so point back to an older source. There’s also an interesting connection with Vedic astrology which gives Aries a similar meaning to that of Amun:

Here Aries is Mesha, which means ram or sheep. But Mesha is also called Aja, which means unborn, or the unmanifest potential of life bursting to come into existence. Mesha is creative energy and future possibilities, vitality and life force. From VedicTime:

“The root or basis of Mesha lies in Spirit, but both its conflict and its purity arise from the paradox inherent in making spirit manifest in a world of matter.”

Compare this to Liz Greene in The Astrology of Fate:

“Ammon is the original creative spirit which out of itself generates the manifest universe.”

In the horoscope, the conscious self is birthed in Aries and the first house from the unconscious watery depths of Pisces and the 12th house. This represents a movement from source to manifestation, from collective to individual, from the oceanic bliss of the womb to the terrors of birth and life in the world.

(Video) Zodiac Myth: The Aries Asshole

Aries Myths – Greece

By the time we get to Greece, the myths have evolved again. Shepherd kings like Dumuzi were the son of the Ewe and were given the right to rule by the Goddess. However, the Goddess was sidelined by the rise of the Sun and Sky Gods and the ram became a symbol of male power, wealth and prosperity. But there are hints of the older myths if you know where to look…

The Greeks linked Amun (or Ammon) with Zeus, the King of the Gods and ruler of thunder, lightning and storms. He has immense phallic power and is always on the hunt for new erotic conquests – a bit like Inanna. Zeus is also the god of illumination and enlightenment, which links him to Yahweh of the Old Testament. This reveals the intellectual and visionary side of Aries; it’s not all about fighting! In The Astrology of Fate, Liz Greene says she’s seen more Aries types:

“who are dedicated to mental and spiritual enlightenment than…the traditional pugnacious sportsmen Ariens who live for physical combat.”

Aries is also associated with the golden ram who rescued Phrixus and Helle, the children of King Athamas, after his ex-wife tried to kill them. The ram carried the children away on its back, but Helle couldn’t hold on and fell to her death. Phrixus survived and sacrificed the ram to Zeus in gratitude. The golden fleece was then hung in a sacred grove, where it was guarded by a dragon or serpent. (So the grove belonged to the Goddess…Her again!)

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This brings us to a quintessential Aries myth: Jason and the Argonauts. Jason is sent by the gods on an impossible mission: to retrieve the golden fleece. Liz Greene says this quest symbolises the need to claim your individual identity by killing the negative father. It’s about claiming sovereignty over your own life and developing inner authority by accepting responsibility for becoming a leader.

The negative or Terrible Father is an archetype of extreme control and oppression. So this myth is about how new life overthrows the old order – or how life overcomes death. The king who sends Jason on his quest represents the old order that must be overthrown. The negative father stands for the collective values of society that have become too constricting, reflecting the fact that Saturn is considered to be in fall when placed in Aries – i.e. it doesn’t function well that sign. It may seem a bad thing to be oppressed, but being opposed provides the fuel for Aries to find himself (or herself). It forces the growth of new life.

So Jason must overcome the negative father to establish his own sovereignty or divine nature. The golden fleece symbolises the true father, or inner spiritual values. Gold is associated with the idea of incorruptibility and eternal life, as well as kingship and sovereignty. The golden fleece, then, also provides a connection back to Amon, the self-creating, ever-present life-force that informs all things.

So how does Jason fare on his quest? Well…not so good. He jumps at the chance to be a hero, but then does everything wrong and gets himself in a right old pickle. Jason succeeds in his initial quest for the fleece but then makes a fateful mistake. He only succeeds with help from Medea, but after returning home, he dumps her for another woman. Medea isn’t about to accept that kind of disrespect and goes ballistic, killing their kids and Jason’s new bride (in true Scorpio style).

Medea is a symbol of Jason’s anima, or unconscious feminine side – his soul. Jason apparently dumps her because he’s bored, and this reveals the shadow side of Aries: a tendency to forget that the world doesn’t revolve around him and his quest and to get bored when the fighting is done. But there’s more to Jason’s oversight than simple boredom.

Jason ditches Medea because he wants a queen more fitting to his new station as king. He overthrows the old order but then wants to seize collective power for himself, which he does by denying his own soul. They say you become what you fight against, and the hero who fights against tyrants often ends up becoming one himself. And so Jason becomes a tyrant. He ends up old and impotent, all meaning crushed from his life. Finally, Jason is killed when a timber falls on his head from his own rotting ship.

(Video) The Origin of the Aries Constellation

Jason fails because he’s out of balance. He undervalues, and underestimates, the power and importance of the feminine – and the goddess. He doesn’t honour the natural cycle of life and the need for renewal, and so death claims him.

The Meaning of Aries

A more positive embodiment of Aries can be found in the story of Robin Hood. He’s a champion of the poor and oppressed, redistributing the wealth that he takes from corrupt authority. He enjoys the danger and excitement of battle, but has a great time hanging out with his mates in the forest and waylaying unwary aristocrats. Robin Hood fights for change, progress and fairness – the perfect Aries.

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So what is Robin Hood doing right? As we’ve seen with Inanna, Aries has a lot of energy and it’s always seeking to express itself. Aries can’t just sit about and be nice. He has to do something with all that fiery passion. He needs a quest, a reason to live.

Aries needs to master his fighting spirit and channel his aggressive energy into positive growth. According to Dana Gerhardt, the labour of Hercules that depicts Aries is the taming of the wild horses that belong to the barbaric King Diomedes. Hercules gets a gang together and they grab the horses through sheer blind aggression, but one of the men is killed – you could say, sacrificed – in the process. Hercules finally manages to tame the horses by feeding them Diomedes’ flesh.

By eating their old master, the horses internalise the untamed spirit. This symbolises self-mastery: gaining control of the ego and its unending desires. Until Aries masters his lower nature, he’s liable to cause himself, and others, problems through his own wilfulness and blind aggression; whether that’s expressed outwardly in the obvious way, or inwardly through self-destructiveness or passive aggression.

Aries has immense power but it must be wielded in the service of life, just as the Shepherd kings used to serve the goddess to ensure the return of spring.

Aries on Film

There are loads of Hollywood movies that riff on Aries because it fits so well with the mythology of America and the rugged individualist or pioneer blazing a new path, saving the world and getting the girl… You can make your own list, but a good example is Iron Man:

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Tony Stark starts out as a weapons manufacturer, like his old dad, but gets captured by terrorists using his own bombs. He builds the Iron Man suit by re-engineering his own weapons and then escapes. But then has to fight his father’s old business partner, Obadiah Stane, for control of the company and to stop the killing.

Here’s a few more examples of Aries characters on film:

  • Jason and the Argonauts – obviously.
  • Robin Hood – ditto.
  • Luke Skywalker fighting to free the far, far away galaxy from Imperialist forces in Star Wars.
  • Han Solo fighting with Luke, but mainly for himself, and then slowly getting won over to the cause.
  • Xena: Warrior Princess fighting her way to redemption by defending the innocent.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer fighting evil with her friends.
  • Joan of Arc fighting to restore the rightful king (possibly) to the throne on behalf of God (possibly).
  • Tyler Durden/Jack finding himself by fighting himself in Fight Club, assisted by a gang of friends and leading them to destroy the structures that oppress them.
  • Wonder Woman searching for Ares, the god of War, in the world of Men, in a quest to end war and affirm the power of love and truth. Read more on this film here.

Next month we’ll look at Taurus Myths. Meanwhile, more on the wonderful world of Wonder Woman and the Amazons here.

(Video) Z1: First, full explanation of Aries Zodiac sign, in thousands of years. Maybe?

Discover more Zodiac Myths here

More on Aries:

  • Aries Keywords
  • Aries Traditional Correspondences
  • The Story Behind Mars

Images: Aries; Sacrifice of Isaac

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Zodiac Myths: The Story Behind Aries (9)


What is the myth behind Aries? ›

The myth behind Aries is based on a golden ram of Greek mythology. Legend states that Aries, identified with a golden ram, rescued Phrixus and took him to Colchis where he sacrificed the ram to appease the Gods. Later, Phrixus, in the face of death was saved by a golden ram with wings which flew him to safety.

What God is Aries? ›

Ares, in Greek religion, god of war or, more properly, the spirit of battle. Unlike his Roman counterpart, Mars, he was never very popular, and his worship was not extensive in Greece. He represented the distasteful aspects of brutal warfare and slaughter.

What are the 3 types of Aries? ›

July 8, 2022, 10:48 a.m. There's three types of Aries Suns: Aries who have Mercury in Pisces, Aries who have Mercury in Taurus, and Aries who have Mercury in Aries. Furthermore, Aries with Aries Mercury have Mercuries that are either in the morning phase, the evening phase, or combust.

Why are Aries called ram? ›

In ancient Egyptian astronomy, Aries was associated with the god Amon-Ra, who was depicted as a man with a ram's head and represented fertility and creativity.

Is Aries the leader of the zodiac? ›

Yes, Aries is Called the Leader of Zodiac cause is the First sign that start the zodiac wheel & lead the pack (the 11 other zodiac signs). As the very First sign of the zodiac, They embody every trait that a “firstborn” would.

Does Aries have 4 or 6 stars? ›

Aries is a relatively dim constellation containing only 4 bright stars. Hamal is the brightest star in the constellation with a visual magnitude of 2. It is an orange giant star located 66 light years from Earth. The second brightest star is Sheratan at magnitude 2.64.

How do Aries pray? ›

Aries natives can fight all odds by keeping their Sun stronger and hence they must worship Lord Surya everyday without fail. Aries natives should offer water to Lord sun every morning and chant 'Om Suryay Namaah'.

What is an Aries person called? ›

Background. Aries is the first fire sign in the zodiac, the other fire signs being Leo and Sagittarius. Individuals born between these dates, depending on which system of astrology they subscribe to, may be called Ariens.

Who killed Ares? ›

Ares pleaded for his life while reminding Kratos of the day that he had saved his life, and how he had only tried to make him a great warrior. Kratos ironically recanted that Ares had "succeeded" in doing that before he impaled him through the chest, and killed him.

Why is Aries so special? ›

Along with being creative and very imaginative, they are very kind and sympathetic. Aries natives are very punctual and keep everything well planned. They love being sorted when it comes to planning. With everything that makes them great, their faithfulness and honest is what makes their personality remarkable.

Which Aries is better March or April? ›

Aries are known for being one of the boldest and bravest signs of the zodiac, but April-born Aries may be even more drawn to life's wild side than March Aries. This is because about half of April Aries are co-ruled by lucky planet Jupiter, which is all about saying yes to adventures and expanding our horizons.

Do Aries ever apologize? ›

Aries people are confident, assertive and extremely honest. They are not afraid to stand up to raise their voice and won't hesitate to apologise when they do something wrong. They would acknowledge their mistake by taking whom they have offended out to a dinner or lunch to pamper them.

What is the age of Aries? ›

The age of Aries was roughly between 2006 BC to 6 BC. This was during the time or King David, King Solomon, and the birth of Christ. It was also the time of great philosophers such as Plato, Socrates, and Aristotle. The Arian age was a time of empirical growth and expansion.

Is Aries an Alpha? ›

Aries (March 21 - April 19)

Aries are alpha all the way. If they want something, they don't let anyone or anything get in their way. Aries are courageous, brave, and determined. Some may find them assertive to the extreme, but they don't care what anyone thinks.

What country is Aries? ›

ARIES. Countries that are ruled by Aries include(d) Palestine, England, Hong Kong (pictured), Germany, Poland, Syria, Israel, Lithuania, Senegal, Sierra Leone, and Zimbabwe. Cities that are ruled by Aries include Birmingham, Cape Town, Leicester, Florence, Krakow, Naples, Utrecht, Marseilles, and Georgia.

Who is Aries in love with? ›

Constance Stellas, author of the book Sex Signs: Your Perfect Match Is In The Stars, says that when it comes to sex and long-term relationships, Aries is a good match with other Aries, as well as the other fire signs, Leo and Sagittarius.

Who Should an Aries marry? ›

High Aries Compatibility: Gemini, Leo, and Sagittarius

There are three star signs with whom Aries' compatibility naturally soars: Gemini, Leo, Sagittarius. These pairings are most likely to result in relationships that are harmonious, passionate, and built to last.

What is the conflict of Aries? ›

Aries has never seen a conflict they weren't happy to take head-on. Aggressive, assertive Aries is ruled by Mars, the Roman god of war. This means they are happy to head into battle with anyone, anytime, anywhere. This sign loves instant gratification and would much rather confront an issue than drag it out.

What is Aries brightest star? ›

The brightest is the red giant star Alpha Arietis, also known as Hamal. Hamal has a magnitude of 2.0, which is about the same apparent brightness in the sky as Mars when the planet is at its farthest point from Earth.

What is the shape of Aries? ›

Aries is a small but distinctive collection of stars that is located in the Northern Hemisphere, between the constellation triangles, Perseus, Taurus, Cetus, and Pisces. The symbol of the constellation represents ram's horns. It's not surprising, because its name means “the ram” in Latin.

Which Greek god was an Aries? ›

Aries - Ares

Ares, the god of war, is representative of this strong and eager zodiac sign.

What is unique about Aries? ›

As the first sign of the Zodiac, they are bold and ambitious. They're always up for a challenge. They are passionate and confident leaders. They are uncomplicated and direct in their approach, without taking time for unnecessary details.

What did Ares do in Greek mythology? ›

Ares Is the Greek God of War

Ares is most famously known as the God of War. He was the first child of Zeus and Hera, and had a further three siblings: Eileithyia, Hebe and Hephaestus. Athena, the goddess of war, was his half-sister.

Why do zodiac signs start with Aries? ›

Earth's precessional wobbling causes the vernal equinox point to migrate around the ecliptic once every 26,000 years. This point was once in Aries the Ram, hence the term "First Point of Aries." The vernal equinox point is now in Pisces and in the late 26th century will shift into the Aquarius region.

Who killed Ares? ›

Ares pleaded for his life while reminding Kratos of the day that he had saved his life, and how he had only tried to make him a great warrior. Kratos ironically recanted that Ares had "succeeded" in doing that before he impaled him through the chest, and killed him.

What Aries named after? ›

We already mentioned that Aries stands for ram, the animal. This is a fitting name for the people that were born under Aries as they are known to be courageous, confident, and strong. Just like the other 11 horoscope signs, Aries was named by Ptolemy, the great Greco-Roman astronomer who lived in the 2nd century BC.

Is Aries a god or demi god? ›

Ares (/ˈɛəriːz/; Ancient Greek: Ἄρης, Árēs [árɛːs]) is the Greek god of war and courage. He is one of the Twelve Olympians, and the son of Zeus and Hera. The Greeks were ambivalent toward him.

What are 5 facts about Aries? ›

Aries Facts: Problem Solver, Leader, Strong-minded, Focused, Sarcastic, Savage, Romantic, Loyal, Truthful, Observer, Kind-hearted, Dangerous when provoked.

What is a true Aries? ›

Aries are spontaneous and courageous. They have a sense of adventure and love to explore. They're determined and bold, and are good at initiating new projects. They have high energy and can initiate quick actions. They can also be impatient, but are naturally active and don't like to waste time.

Is March or April Aries better? ›

Aries are known for being one of the boldest and bravest signs of the zodiac, but April-born Aries may be even more drawn to life's wild side than March Aries. This is because about half of April Aries are co-ruled by lucky planet Jupiter, which is all about saying yes to adventures and expanding our horizons.

Who is Ares in love with? ›

Ares, not always a warrior, was a lover as well. He was known for being the lover of Aphrodite aka Venus, shown with him here, who was married to Hephaestus aka Vulcan, the God of Fire. Seen here with his shield on the ground, Ares is embracing Aphrodite.

What color was Ares hair? ›

Ares has long red hair, brown eyes, light tan skin and a strong, muscular build. His attire consists of a purple cape, a metal breastplate, a lilac kilt, and armored boots.

What are 3 important powers of Ares? ›

Powers and Abilities

War manipulation: Ares has the ability to manipulate war, strife, combat, and other forms of conflict as the god of war. He has the power to influence all forms of conflict, including physical, mental, spiritual, and conceptual conflicts, regardless of the area and numbers of people involved.

What is the age of Aries? ›

The age of Aries was roughly between 2006 BC to 6 BC. This was during the time or King David, King Solomon, and the birth of Christ. It was also the time of great philosophers such as Plato, Socrates, and Aristotle. The Arian age was a time of empirical growth and expansion.

What color is Aries? ›

The first sign of the zodiac, Aries is ruled by Mars, the God of War, which is associated with the color red.

Who Should an Aries marry? ›

High Aries Compatibility: Gemini, Leo, and Sagittarius

There are three star signs with whom Aries' compatibility naturally soars: Gemini, Leo, Sagittarius. These pairings are most likely to result in relationships that are harmonious, passionate, and built to last.


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