Jane Lewis writes: 'The sun reaching Aries at the spring equinox marks a great turning point in the natural year and also for the human soul. It symbolises awakening into greater awareness of the human condition which is that every person is both human and divine. This growing realisation is likened to the sun rising over the eastern horizon, and this is why Easter is celebrated shortly after. This sacred truth was passed down to the Christian Church from much earlier roots which go back at least to ancient Egyptian times.

The Aries point marks the horizontal axis of the four-armed Cross of Matter within the Circle of Spirit. At this place of intersection where sky touches earth, mutable water meets cardinal fire, and Spirit and Matter converge where the Fishes meet the Ram. Here the separative, duality-consciousness of the lesser mortal makes a giant leap, like a salmon up-stream, and knows for fact that All is One. A great and epic journey must be undertaken to reach this point of Self-Realisation, a journey so immense that it demands many human lifetimes, an odyssey fit for the heroes we can all become.

Over many cycles the soul must depart celestial realms and take form in a new physical body, symbolised by the sun setting below the horizon at the autumn equinox. The newly incarnated soul then enters the darkness of the underworld and unknowingly picks up the threads of its past journeys through this dark realm, forgetting the heavenly home it has just left and its many previous lives. Birth into physical matter is represented by the autumn equinox, the fall, the cusp of Libra and Virgo. The soul re-commences its underworld adventures through Virgo, Leo, Cancer, Gemini, Taurus and Aries until it reaches the spring equinox point when it can be born for a second time into eternal life. For the unenlightened soul, the journey from the fall to spring takes the soul through the land of the living dead, for in that state of consciousness the lesser human mind dominates, and sleep-walks through the illusive state of maya, still convinced that the three-dimensional reality of the physical world is all there is, mistaking terrestrial existence for the real and causative world which is in Spirit.

World myths of all ages and cultures tell this same uni-versal story, for there is only one story: how to navigate this perilous journey and successfully navigate the turning point. Aries symbolises the Hero: Gilgamesh, Odysseus, Hercules, Osiris, Dionysus, Jesus, whose examples humanity must follow. They are all one and the same. We might add Alice in Wonderland as a female counterpart heroine. The shift from dualistic to unitive thinking requires a truly heroic act which calls forth from the individual all the will, strength, courage, single-mindedness and vision of Aries. Once accomplished, the giant leap for the individual becomes a giant leap for all of mankind. Severe tests and sacrifices are demanded from the Hero on his Quest, because birthing into a new level of consciousness can only come about through a labour involving excruciating pain when the personal self dissolves into the ocean of universal consciousness and gains a new identity.

Whilst the constellations and zodiac signs are no longer aligned, as they once were when the spring equinox sun rose against the backdrop of the stars of Aries, the Aries point nevertheless retains this symbolism. Aries is still the Hero, the Spiritual Warrior who ‘wills the will of God’ which is to put love into action, and in so doing fulfils the Sun’s exaltation and embodies the first of the Seven Rays: Will and Power.

It is interesting to consider that the star map of the Fishes resembles the glyph of Aries, both looking like a ram’s head, or a fountain head, with a fish at each end of the ‘ram’s horns swimming in opposite directions. This suggests the convergence of two principles, the blending of water with fire, which in the natural world produces vapour and in the higher world ether, or spirit. Dualistic thinking creates mists of confusion, but they can be imaginatively transformed through mystical rituals. It is necessary for consciousness to rise above the hollows where mists gather into pools and obscure the understanding of the lower mind.

In the lesser state we are like fish swimming round a gold-fish bowl in a counter-clockwise direction moving from Aries via Taurus and Gemini to Pisces. It is easier to simply go with the flow, wherever that might lead, but at some critical point we realise we must stop. The Aries Hero within Everyman learns to develop the courage needed to chart new territory and take the road less travelled, which means learning to follow his own intuition, assert his individuality, and become self-determining in order to go against the flow of social convention and popularly received wisdom. At some point in its long series of incarnations the soul reaches a critical turning point and makes this about-turn. The ‘fish’ starts to swim sun-wise, or clockwise, following now the same direction as in the precession of the equinoxes which is from Pisces to Aries via to Aquarius. The Pisces/Aries cusp represents this critical psychological and spiritual turning point. It is a time of crisis because crisis forces fundamental re-orientation. The two Fishes are bound together by a chain, and as they start to swim further apart in opposite directions the tension increases until the strain snaps them apart and causes breakdown. But breakdown is for breakthrough.

The tension is strongest in the last decan of Pisces; the days just before the spring equinox, just as the hours before dawn are the darkest, as symbolised in the Easter story by the crucifixion of Jesus on Good Friday. These degrees are linked with phobia because the pull between diametrically opposed inner states causes the breakdown that allows the spiritual child to hatch out of its former psychic egg. The Easter story is a re-telling of the ancient mystery drama which all Heroes have acted out for mankind to witness, drawn out in the skies in the forms of human and animal images seen by imaginatively joining the dots of the stars in a certain way. They tell the story that our origin is in the stars, both allegorically and literally, both in the distant past and also today.

Aries under its ruler Mars is linked with conflict. When swimming ‘anti-clockwise’ with a dualistic mindset we define who we are through the lens of opposition by comparing and contrasting, defining what we think is good by what we think is bad. But Mars also powers forwards the re-unitive process whereby we return to Unity Consciousness. Mars is the divine force bursting out of matter, the divinely-inspired human urge to unleash spirit from within our own physical body as in a nuclear explosion. It is the upwards pointing triangle which represents matter rising up to fuse with spirit.

In order to make the leap we must learn to deal with paradox so that we are less unnerved upon entering an Alice-in-Wonderland world governed by unfamiliar laws. Like children, we need informed teachers and guides to help us make this massive about-turn in consciousness so that we are not simply ‘freaked out’ when we see the ‘whole pack of cards’ come tumbling down, just as they do for Alice at the end of her journey before her final ‘crowning’. Where is humanity without this guidance and instruction? How do we navigate the treacherous waters without even the most basic education in mythic-thinking in which astrology is embedded? When the mainstream is stuck in the mud of dualistic-mindedness and thinks that myth means that something is untrue? When it believes that something allegorical cannot also become embodied and turn into literal, historical truth?

The Cross within the Circle has many levels of meaning: it is symbol for Spirit encompassing Matter, for the Squaring of the Circle, and it is also the glyph for planet Earth. It is everything. It is both a symbol and a living force. Not only does it represent but it also actively helps us to make the transition from either/or consciousness to knowing BOTH AND. It is the Double Truth which permits both, indeed all possibilities to co-exist in the centre. We also see the perfect six-pointed star within it. We need to stretch our minds so it can accommodate all possibilities and let go of discriminative disfunction. Spiritual education, of which astrology can play an essential part, permits a both/and way of thinking. It helps us to rise above the mindset that celestial allegory and terrestrial history must be mutually exclusive. The six-pointed star shows the convergence of opposites in which physical and metaphysical laws co-exist because they reflect one another, as expressed in the ancient hermetic dictum ‘as above so below, as below so above’.

Nobody really knows the exact date of the New Beginning which some traditions call the Age of Aquarius, and others a new Golden Age, a new spring time in human consciousness. According to some reckonings, the Aquarian Age doesn’t start for another couple of hundred years, in which case we are still at the end of the Piscean era which is characterised by phobias and schizophrenic crises. Today, Neptune is at 20 degrees Pisces, the sign of its dignity, moving into Aries in the spring of 2025 so we are heading into that period of global psychic turbulence right now. It is important to know that this serves a good and constructive purpose in line with the Divine Plan, and it will become increasingly necessary to know how to work with this process in such a way that the great potential promised to humanity can come to pass. It is imperative to be informed, trained and prepared. Astrology itself has a role to play for, providing it is practised correctly, it develops our intuition and strengthens our relationship with our Guides and Teachers on higher planes, and with the planetary intelligences themselves.

Mars, ruler of Aries, is in Gemini at the time of the spring equinox this year, trine Saturn in Aquarius. Instead of conflict and seeing things in an either/or way, this is a good time to put love into action through conscious effort and by making the courageous, self-sacrificing acts that are needed to turn things around. The soul lesson associated with the Sun in Aries is Love in Action. This requires an act of supreme self-sacrifice by the lower ego, the lesser self as it surrenders to the greater imperative of the Higher Self which must acquiesce to the need to align itself with the collective good. It means finding within oneself those reserves of strength, determination and self-mastery in order to fight against the natural dualistic mindset and strive for unity between apparently irreconcilable demands. It is a time to rise above differences and seek the common denominator that unites all people which is the capacity to love one another without prejudice or discrimination. Today’s crisis is surely sign and symbol of this perennial process of spiritual re-birth into the second life when we will be baptised by fire and re-born into spirit.

To the egocentric mortal mind of undeveloped man it is foolish to give away one’s own possessions or undermine ones’ own position for the sake of others. This is why in the tarot deck the Aries figure is shown as The Fool who is depicted as about to step off the cliff edge, apparently falling down to his own destruction through his own idiocy. Is it any wonder that at these turning-point times we are being confronted on a daily basis with seeming dilemmas in the political-economic domain about how much money governments should ‘give away’ to support those in need, both at home and overseas. Is it madness to spend so much money in order to support the sick and needy in our own land and in others, or is this the severe test which the Hero must confront on his Quest? As the pressure mounts, will nations go to war and shed blood defending their own positions, or will we step up to the role of Spiritual Warrior and Hero?'