From March 20 until April 19, the
Sun journeys through Aries, the sign of the zodiac assigned to the emperor trump of the
tarot. The sign Aries belongs to the element fire and is ruled by the fiery planet Mars (the Greek war god Ares),
which is associated with the tower trump of the tarot.
The tarot’s fire suit of rods or wands, symbolic of new birth at springtime, illustrates typical scenes of daily
life related to enterprise, ambition, enthusiasm, challenge and competition.
Aries Begins the Zodiac
Aries (Latin for “ram”) is the first sign of the
zodiac because zero degrees of Aries marks the Vernal Equinox, the first day of spring in the Northern Hemisphere
and the start of a new cycle of birth, growth, death and regeneration. The Vernal Equinox occurs when the
Sun crosses directly over the Earth’s equator in its apparent motion from the Southern to
the Northern Celestial Hemisphere. On the day of the Equinox there are equal hours of day and night.
Aries and the Egyptian God Amon
In ancient Egypt, the god Amon was associated with
the wind, hidden things, invisibility, impartiality and protection of the oppressed. Amon was identified with the
Sun god Re and, as Amon-Re, he became a universal deity, revered as the king of the gods
who intervened through oracles in human affairs. Amon-Re was often depicted as a Ram, associated with the
constellation of the Ram (Aries) in the heavens. When the Greeks invaded Egypt, they associated Amon-Re with their
own god Zeus (Jupiter). The connection of Aries with the planets Mars and Jupiter and with the
Sun god Amon-Re led astrologers to regard the Sun as being exalted, or especially
powerful, in the sign of Aries.
Aries and the Golden Fleece
In Greek mythology, Jason could only obtain his
rightful inheritance by retrieving the golden fleece, which belonged to the ram that helped Jason’s cousin Phrixus
escape from being murdered by his wicked stepmother. After his escape, Phrixus sacrificed the ram in gratitude to
Zeus (Jupiter) and hung its golden fleece in the grove of the war god Ares, where a vicious dragon that never
slept protected it. The tale of Jason and the Argonauts reveals the traits of courage, daring and enterprise that
are associated with the fire sign Aries and the tarot’s suit of wands.
Aries, the Rite of Easter and the
Easter, the spiritual high point of the Christian
calendar, is celebrated on the first Sunday following the first Full
Moon after the Vernal Equinox, the entry of the Sun into the sign Aries. Easter is not
only the Christian festival of spiritual rebirth, but it also refers to the feast of the Teutonic lunar goddess
Eostre whose feast occurred as the Sun entered the sign Aries at the Vernal Equinox. The chief symbols of Eostre
were the fertile rabbit and the cosmic egg of creation, with its golden yolk symbolizing the Sun god. The
traditions of Easter bunnies, Easter eggs and “spring cleaning” derive from the celebration of the arrival of
spring with its renewal of life.
The Emperor and the Tower Cards of
Rider-Waite-Smith emperor card, numbered four, depicts a mature ruler holding his scepter and
sitting on his throne, which is decorated with figures of rams. The emperor card contains references to the Sun
god Amon-Re; the Greek Zeus (Jupiter), king of the gods; Jason, having regained his throne by capturing the golden
fleece; and Jesus having risen from the dead on Easter Sunday to rule a spiritual empire.
tower trump, numbered sixteen, is often called the lightning-struck tower. Lightning bolts were a favorite weapon
of Zeus (Jupiter) for punishing the transgressions of his enemies. The tower card also refers to the Tower of
Babel, a symbol of human arrogance that was punished by the deity of the Bible. The phallic nature of the tower
and the destruction depicted on the card are linked to the planet Mars, the Greek war god Ares.
Tarot Meditations While the Sun Is
The period when the Sun transits through Aries is
an excellent time to meditate on the tarot’s emperor and tower cards, as well as the suit of wands of the minor
arcana. Consider your spiritual journey and where you might need courage and renewal in your life. Have you used
your enterprise and daring to become a mature ruler of your own life? Have you acted in too arrogant a manner and
called down the wrath of the gods upon yourself? What
aspects of your life require “spring cleaning” at this time?
To prepare for mediation, sit or lie in a
comfortable place and allow your body to be free of tension and distractions. Pay attention to your breathing.
Feel your breath go in and out as you inhale and exhale. If distracting thoughts enter your mind, simply observe
them and allow them to float by as you gently return your attention to your breathing. When you have established a
steady, comfortable rhythm of breathing rhythmically in and out, turn your focus to the tarot card you have
selected for meditation.
Observe the card and contemplate its images.
Imagine yourself as a character or element in the card. In your mind’s eye, enter the card and become part of its
scene. What are you thinking and feeling? What questions are you asking of the other characters in the card? What
do they expect of you? What is the story that underlines the scene on the card? How does that story relate to your
own life? Take your time playing out the story as if you were in a dream. When you have completed your meditation,
you may wish to record your observations in a tarot notebook for review later on.