In the spirit of Aries, I’m going to start this post by talking about myself.
I love driving. I am also deathly afraid of driving. I grew up in Manitoba and got my license when I was 16. I’ve been living in Toronto for over 10 years and never once have I driven here (see above, re: deathly fear).
But whenever I visit my family in Manitoba, the first thing I do is go for a drive. I roll the window down, blast the radio and sing bad top 40 songs at the top of my lungs. I feel the wind blow through my hair and sun stream down the side of my face. I love feeling the wheel in my hands, my foot on the gas pedal, and the fact that I’m the one in control.
When I hit a red light, I’ll admit I’m the guy who’s looking out the corner of my eye at the car stopped next to me in the other lane and inching ahead of them. As soon as the light turns green, I’m zooming forward and changing lanes to get in front of them. I’m winning the race and accelerating the gas faster than anyone else around me.
I’m not doing this to be a jerk. I’m not really trying to compete with them. I just want to be first! I just love going fast. I love the thrill, the adventure. It’s not about anyone else, other than me. And I just want to feel like I’m alive.
I’m also doing it because I’m shit scared. I have this quiet but persistent voice that tells me, every time I sit behind a wheel, I am literally making myself vulnerable to a gruesome way to die. There are so many unknowns. I can’t control anybody else’s bad decisions. Mistakes are not so easily forgiven. If I make a mistake, it could cost me or someone else our lives.
When I’m inching forward at that red light, I’m acutely aware of all of this. It’s not a conscious thought. But underneath the surface I’m like…If I move too slow I might get stuck. Traffic will fill up and I won’t get a chance to change lanes before I need to turn. I’ll panic and freeze. I’ll go in the wrong direction and I’ll get lost. Or I’ll try to change lanes but I won’t see someone behind me and we’ll crash and die. So yeah, I’m going to avoid all of that. I’m gonna get ahead first. Cuz I ain’t dying today.
All of that, in a nutshell, is Aries.
The fear, the fight, the thrill. Aries.
Aries is the beginning of spring. Seeds that burst into existence after a long and exhausting winter announcing to the world, I am here! It’s my time, NOW!
However, that little flower growing in the first moments of spring knows what the damn weather is like in April. One day it’s snowing, the next it’s +20, then it’s rain-hailing, then we’re sweating in our parkas in the afternoon, and shivering in the evening amidst a sudden cold wind. That Aries flower is constantly aware of the instability and threats in its environment, and has its heart, might and will set on one, simple thing – my survival.
I believe that all the zodiac signs are survivors in their own way. Some survive by disassociating. Some by connecting and building relationships. Some by paying attention to the little details. Aries survives by going to war.
Aries leaves home every day like a video-game superhero. Like when you know there are monsters and demons hiding behind buildings and bushes, and at any unpredictable moment they’ll pop out and attack you.
Aries says, when you’re in a fight, you can’t just think you’ll survive. You have to know it. You can’t wonder about it. You can’t hesitate. You might not know all the answers ahead of time. You may not be able to calculate the correct formula or equation for exactly how you’ll succeed. You don’t know what the odds are or if they’re impossibly stacked against you. It doesn’t matter. You’ll charge into the hornet’s nest and think later. What’s your best weapon? The fact that you know you ain’t losing today. When you’re in a fight, there is no other option, other than to win.
And Aries is never not in a fight. Aries is courageous, resilient, impulsive, an awesome problem-solver in a crisis, and always ready and waiting at the front lines of whatever they believe in. In fact, Aries needs a challenge in order to thrive. An Aries without a challenge is a restless Aries. An irritated Aries. A depressed Aries.
The truth is, I’ve done some of my best writing when I’ve been pissed off. I’ve accomplished some of my best work when someone pushed me past my breaking point. Instead of letting it destroy me, I created something special. Sometimes we don’t fully realize or understand what really matters to us, until someone/thing threatens to take it away. We then have the opportunity to feel it, learn it, know it, believe it, fight for it, much more clearly and honestly.
Aries is the voice that wants us to meet ourselves. That wants to see who we’ll become in high pressure situations. Because that’s when we really grow. That’s when we really create. That’s when we really find out who we are.
Aries is the 1st sign of the zodiac, the sign that birthed the whole cycle. Aries is both the leader and the baby of the zodiac. Pisces is the sign that ended things, and Aries and Pisces are like two sides to the same coin. (see my last month’s post on Pisces season here!) Beginnings and endings. Pisces holds all the emotional energy of the previous cycle. Aries, on the other hand, is like a premonition of the journey that is to come. Pisces is nostalgic and longing for what has passed. Aries is a spiritual calling for the future.
By spiritual calling, I mean purpose. That gut feeling, that spark, that flash of lighting from the sky that says, YES. This is me. This is my journey. This is what makes me shine. This is the thing that I came here to do. This is what I do better than anyone else. This is the path illuminated in front of me. This is the direction I must go. This is the example I must set, the trail I must forge in order for others to find their way too.
Pisces loves the whole zodiac cycle like, if any one sign goes missing, the whole world would deflate and I will melt into an inconsolable puddle of grief. Aries loves the whole zodiac cycle like, if I were to go missing, there’d be a fucking hole in the world too, and I’d be hella pissed off!
There’s something about Aries that I’ve never thought about until I sat down to write this post: that is, the spirit of Aries embodies the heart of interdependence.
I’ve learned about interdependence from movements for disability justice and decolonization, most centrally led by Indigenous, Black, trans, femme, poor, 3rd world, queer, disabled people of colour. Interdependence resists the capitalist, colonial, misogynist, ableist, classist idea that we don’t need each other to survive and live well. It reminds us that we rely on the land we live on, as well as the people and creatures we live with, in order to be nourished and loved. Thus it is our responsibility to take care of one another, respect the land we receive from, as well as respect each other’s unique contribution to the life we are collectively creating. Interdependence is the idea that as individuals we have differing needs, abilities, limits and strengths – so where we have extra resources we should share them, and when we have extra needs, we deserve to be supported.
Aquarius is usually the sign most commonly associated with the idea of interdependence – the focus on collective relationships, changing oppressive patterns and building new ones so that we can all be more liberated.
But when I ask myself through an astrological lens – what really makes interdependence work? I can’t answer that question without beginning with Aries.
As the initiator of the zodiac cycle, Aries is the spirit that dreamt up this whole business – the idea that the stars could tell us who we are – and Big Bang’d it into existence. Aries embodies the point and use of astrology, which I believe is also about interdependence.
Astrology as a system of knowledge helps us understand who we are, in all of our complexity, flaws and contradictions. In all our genius and madness. There’s a reason why so many find astrology healing and life-changing. What I tell people as an astrologer basically boils down to, dude this is the shit that makes you want to live, and you know it!
Astrology is also about the contradictions, complexities, genius and madness that exists within our relationships, individual, collective, global, galactic. And ultimately says the same thing as interdependence – we all need each other here to survive.
Interdependence works if we are committed to honouring our small but significant place in the sky. If we are actively searching for the best thing we can offer ourselves and each other. If we are seeking our best contribution in this lifetime, and finding the bravery to do it. Interdependence doesn’t work if we spend our time abiding by someone else’s expectations of who we are. It works when we fill our lives with things that energize and fuel our will to live, rather than becoming burnt-out and resentful of what we think we’re supposed to be doing. If we’re grounded in what makes us magic, then the ways we can support and uplift each other knows no bounds.
Aries truth: you didn’t come all this way, you didn’t travel so long and far to get to this body, this place…just to live somebody else’s life.
Did you? So what are you doing if you’re not doing you?
I’m going to take this Aries opportunity to speak about some shit that I hate (ageism!!!) and make a case for being selfish.
As the baby in my family, I have a soft spot for the kiddos, for the younger siblings on TV shows who everyone hates. (Dawn from Buffy, anyone?)
They are the ones usually called selfish, bratty, self-centered, annoying. But I’m always like, why doesn’t anyone notice how much these kids get bossed around, constantly told what to do, never allowed to make their own decisions, not allowed a voice or any agency in their lives? How do you expect them to respond?
Like yeah, sure, ideally that kid would say: Hey, you know that time you said or did that thing, I think it was really inappropriate. You were infringing on my boundaries, my autonomy, my individual sense of self. Maybe you could take some time to reflect on your own needs and fears, because that’s probably your real reason for trying to control and manage my life.
[super side bar: I may or may not have been watching way too many episodes of The Fosters, and maybe getting really riled up by Callie and Jude’s sibling dynamic.]
But anyway, sorrynotsorry, a 13-year old is not going to have the ability to articulate why they are upset at the complex dynamics of a situation (and shouldn’t have to), but they might stomp or scream or fume with some kind of “GUUGGHHG DON’T TELL ME WHAT TO DO %H#)%@*!!” And then be called a brat or punished for causing a scene.
Aries is the part of us, at any age, that has this visceral reaction when we’re in situations of control and manipulation. When we’re being harassed or degraded for who we are. When our divine way of being ourselves isn’t being respected. When our right to make our own decisions for our life is under attack. We don’t always react in the most polite, articulate and “reasonable” ways. Because fuck that.
Me and my fancy custom made “selfish” earrings by Femmeboyant Designs. Check out more of their stuff!!
I am reclaiming the word selfish for myself. Especially as someone who has been conditioned in family and society to take care of everyone around me at the expense of myself. And as someone who has experienced a lot of backlash from loved ones at times I chose to advocate for myself, because that choice was not convenient for them.
Here’s the thing: we may live in an interdependent world, but there is always a part of ourselves that is inherently alone, and that is a good thing. The way our minds work, what our bodies experience, what our spirit wants.
Nobody else knows what you know. Nobody else has your feelings. Your triggers. Nobody else experiences life the way you do. Nobody else can tell you what fuels your energy. Nobody else can figure out what makes you feel worthy. Nobody else knows your path. And nobody else is going to travel it but you.
So often we put our path in other people’s hands. We need validation and permission from external sources. Again, in an interdependent world, it’s important to get the support we need. We need therapists, psychics, friends, partners, lovers, parents, family (blood and chosen), mentors, teachers, art, inspiration; we need so many things outside of ourselves to give us ideas and pathways of what is possible.
But external sources can only show us possibilities. They can’t make our choices for us. When they try, well, that’s violence. When we believe we don’t deserve to make choices for ourselves, that’s what destroys our spirit.
What happens when our family, partner, mentor, the leader we trusted, stops understanding us? Stops advocating for us? Stops believing is us? Hurts or violates our boundaries? Doesn’t understand our experience and diminishes what we’re going through? What happens if the needs of the community, family or relationship comes at the expense of our own well-being? If we put all our eggs in other people’s baskets, if and when they drop us, we get broken.
Aries is the spirit that makes it really clear: regardless of what anybody else says or wants, this is what IS and ISN’T okay with me.
The spirit of Aries tells us – this is the kind of love I want. This is the kind of sex I want. This is the kind of family I want. This is the kind of fun I want. This is the kind of work I want. This is how I want to spend my time. These are the people I want to be around. This is what and who ignites and inspires me. This is how I want to be different than yesterday. This is how I want to change and grow. This is the life I want to live. THIS. IS. WHAT. I. WANT.
Nobody else can answer these questions for me, but me. That is the adventure I get to have in life, and it’s mine. All mine.
There’s always a time and a season for doing things without anyone else’s permission. Without anyone else’s approval. Without anyone else’s opinion. A season for moving forward in life propelled by nothing but the fire lit under your ass.
So this Aries season, just do it. Be yourself. Be the leader of your life. Be selfish.