Aries qualities and attitudes are youthful, and it is often difficult for them to mellow as they grow older. Because the sign is the first of the zodiac, self-awareness does not come easily, even as they age. So they keep fighting, keep needing the challenge, and in a way this is refreshing and admirable. But you also want them to be able to stand back and have an ironic take on this continual need for challenge.
Otherwise life is likely to hit them with something. I know one Aries who has spent 30 years living in tough physical conditions, enjoying the battle and the romance of it. But it has taken a breakdown in his health that could have killed him to get him to move on. They are very tough, and will die for their cause, but that toughness can become obstinacy.
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It’s not just Sun in Aries. Moon in Aries can be the same. Bill Gates is a Scorpio with Moon conjunct Midheaven in Aries, opposite Mars. There was the early brilliance and desire to beat off the competition. What is interesting about Gates is that he has changed. He no longer runs Microsoft, and is instead putting his wealth into conquering malaria worldwide. It’s still a very Aries thing to be doing, but he is not fighting people in the form of other corporations anymore: his business had for many years a bad reputation for squeezing out and destroying the opposition.
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Steve Jobs had Moon and Mars in Aries, and he remained clearly Aries through to the end. Illness seemed to intensify rather than mellow him. And he seems to me of an example of an Aries who wouldn’t change, being hit by something that might just break the mould. But as I say, Aries will die for their cause, and in a way Steve Jobs did that. And it is now his company that has the bad reputation, in this case for controlling and overcharging its customers, and for having an unhappy, pressurised workforce.
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To my mind, this is Aries at its worst. It would be understandable, if naïve, in a young Aries, but in a man in his 60s? It is Libra, the opposite sign, which has ‘the live and let live’ quality that Aries needs. Religion in a way is awful, but it is just another manifestation of mass unconsciousness, of collective dynamics, in a way that membership of political parties can be, or the blind worship of science and reason. It’s just part of the human condition. Aries perhaps more than any other sign is likely to be fighting its own shadow, and I’ve often thought that the New Atheism has, in its zeal and fundamentalism, the characteristics of a religion.
Religion does trap people, but it’s often where they are at, they need that kind of security, they would fall apart without it, so you need to let them have it. And, in its favour, it does advocate a view of reality that is non-rational (as well as often irrational, unreasonable.) It is saying that not everything can be reduced to reason, reason is just a tool, and there is a place, a need, for some kind of faith as a foundation, even though the object of that faith is often crude and intolerant of other faiths.
I have Moon conjunct Saturn in Sagittarius, so the idea of what to have faith in has always been important to me. Particularly because in our age, everything tends to get reduced to reason. But the quest for faith gets confused with the need for certainty (which science is just as capable of providing). And so you always have to look beyond the images and the doctrines and to your own experience, and to a sense that comes and goes that there is some kind of unifying beauty in the universe – or something like that – which can never be pinned down.
Hitchens had a yod in his chart, which is 2 planets that are sextile, and both inconjunct a 3rd planet at the apex of the triangle. I’m not sure I know what yods mean, but they are supposed to indicate some kind of fated element in your life that can never be resolved, but has to be accommodated.
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In Hitchens’ case, Jupiter in Aquarius was at the apex (faith in humanity), with Saturn (tradition) and Uranus (science) at the base. This suggests an ongoing attempt to reconcile religion and science. But Jupiter was square to his Aries Sun, suggesting that his crusading temperament may have got the better of that other dialogue.
In my piece Blair vs Hitchens, Religion vs Science, I gave a recent quote from Hitchens that to my mind is not consistent with the tone of his attacks on religion and to some extent sets the lie to them:
“… the sense that there is something beyond the material, or if not beyond it, not entirely consistent materially with it, is, I think, a very important matter. What you could call the numinous or the transcendent, or at its best, I suppose, the ecstatic. I wouldn't trust anyone in this hall who didn't know what I was talking about. We know what we mean by it, when we think about certain kinds of music perhaps, certainly the relationship or the coincidence but sometimes very powerful between music and love. Landscape, certain kinds of artistic and creative work that appears not to have been done entirely by hand. Without this, we really would merely be primates.