Thursday, 26 March 2015

Aries in the Druidcraft: The Two of Wands

This year I’m going to do the astrology in tarot thing a bit differently... I’ve been working with the Druidcraft, so thought I’d see how – or if – the astrological associations work with this deck.  The Druidcraft follows – obviously – Druid traditions, and was not created with astrology in mind.  Instead it focuses on the elements and the seasons.  Some of that may link to astrology – some of it may not.  We’ll see!

I’m starting off with a dip into the Minor Arcana.  In the astrological correspondence system that I follow, Aries is linked to the Two, Three and Four of Wands. Today I’m going to look at the Two of Wands, which corresponds to Mars in Aries, and to the first ten days of Aries – so from the 20th–29th March.

Aries is the first of the three Fire signs encountered in the zodiac, bringing drive and passion to the creative process.  It’s also thought of as ‘masculine’, or ‘active’ – ‘yang’ energy.  Aries is also the first cardinal sign we meet - so we’re looking at fiery active creativity, some new project that’s about to be initiated.  

Mars rules Aries, so is very much at home here.  Mars brings determination and drive to Aries – the love of battle, the need for challenge, the longing for adventure. The passion, the emotion – which could mean a certain hot-headedness or impatience!  The combination of Mars and Aries gives us the pioneer, the explorer, the initiator. It can also indicate a flair for starting a new business – the Wands are often associated with entrepreneurship. 

So how might this play out in the Two of Wands in the Druidcraft?  The imagery here is not unlike the more ‘traditional’ Rider-Waite-Smith-based decks – a man standing between two staffs (or is that staves?).  When I look at this image, it seems to me as if the figure is using the staffs to balance himself, much as walkers use walking poles.  Yet he’s upright, suggesting that he’s only at the start of his journey.  He’s in command of himself, in control – very Mars-like!

The two staffs/staves, or wands, are said to represent hope and fear – with the figure standing between them; we need to balance hope and fear so that one doesn’t override the other.  We don’t want to be swamped by fear, but at the same time, we need some element of caution as we set off! It’s about maintaining a sense of equilibrium.

So, yes, it seems to me that there is an element (oh, sorry, no pun intended) of Fire-y Mars in Aries here!

Druidcraft Tarot created by Philip Carr-Gomm and Stephanie Carr-Gomm, illustrated by Will Worthington, published by Connections

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Feeling RAM-bunctious?

Traditionally, astrologers view Aries as the first sign in the zodiac. It’s also a cardinal sign, so it’s a ‘mover and shaker’. Aries is the initiator, the pioneer – the one who comes up with the ideas.  Again, apologies for the northern hemisphere bias – but Aries, for me, really does connect to the ‘first breath of spring’.  To take a breath in is to in-spire; this is the time for inspiration, for setting intent, for coming up with the seeds of ideas.  Ideas hatching from the egg.

Aries is the first of the three Fire signs encountered in the zodiac, bringing drive and passion to the creative process.  It’s also thought of as ‘masculine’, or ‘active’ – ‘yang’ energy.  The name ‘Aries’ is Latin for ‘lamb’; its glyph is meant to represent the horns of a ram. 
‘Aries’ ©Alison Coals

 In the sky, it was originally referred to as a farmhand, but in late Babylonian times, through associations with shepherds and the ‘shepherd kings’ of ancient Syria, it became associated with the figure of a ram. Amun, a Kush deitry, was often shown as having a ram’s head; later, Amun became merged with the Egyptian sun god Ra – another ram’s headed-figure, representing creativity and fertility.  Through its position at the vernal equinox, Aries became known as the ‘Indicator of the re-born Sun’, and also the ‘Lord of the Head’.  Today, Aries is still said to rule the head in astrology.

Aries is ruled by Mars, the planet named after the Roman god of war.  This gives Aries its drive and determination, its enthusiasm for things new. Mars is emotional and passionate about the things it believes in, and will defend self and others against attack. It also symbolizes the thrust for life, and the enjoyment of a good battle, of challenges and competitions for worthy causes.  Champion of the underdog, maverick...that’s Mars, and by association, Aries.  (The Ram’s Head Device, or Military Mountaineer Badge, is a military special skill badge of US Army National Guard.) 

‘Alchemical Aries’ ©Alison Coals
It’s not all about war and battles, though. Although we tend to think of the ram when we talk about Aries, the lamb represents the other side of this sign – the compassion and the willingness to sacrifice for the greater good.  The Lamb of God (‘Agnus Dei’), the Paschal Lamb of Passover, refers to the sacrifice of Christ. This – again in the northern hemisphere – is the time when we see lambs bouncing around in the fields.  And note that Easter and Ostara fall in Aries.  We come back to the idea of breaking out of the egg, representing new, or renewed life, waking up and seeing the world with fresh eyes – it’s all part of the ‘first-ness’ of Aries.  The time to set your intention for the coming year – and enjoying the vision, the rush, the buzz of it NOW!