What Aries Has To Teach The Rest of Us: “I Think Therefore I Am”

Friday March 23rd 2018
Rene Descartes on the right chatting with Queen Christina of Sweden — Nils Forsberg (1842-1934) after Pierre-Louis Dumesnil the Younger (1698-1781)

Rene Descartes on the right chatting with Queen Christina of Sweden — Nils Forsberg (1842-1934) after Pierre-Louis Dumesnil the Younger (1698-1781)

I’m always interested in how obvious a person’s Sun sign can be — not from how they look but from how they are. So I wondered how philosophers’ Sun sign might show up. This is going to be an occasional series but clearly, it was right to start with Aries.

Aries learns best through direct experience — not through books or lessons.  So when Aries, working well, can be more authentic and pure than the rest of us. But we all benefit when Aries passes on what they have learned.

When I began thinking about this series, I thought about Aries and how you would tackle it. You would start from the one thing you are absolutely certain about, yourself, and build from there, and then I thought, “That reminds me of the French philosopher René Descartes’ aphorism, “I think therefore I am”. I bet he was an Aries.” So I looked him up and found that, indeed, the father of modern philosophy was born under the sign of the Ram — indeed he has a massive stellium in Aries.

“I entirely abandoned the study of letters. Resolving to seek no knowledge other than that of which could be found in myself or else in the great book of the world, I spent the rest of my youth traveling, visiting courts and armies, mixing with people of diverse temperaments and ranks, gathering various experiences, testing myself in the situations which fortune offered me, and at all times reflecting upon whatever came my way so as to derive some profit from it.”

Every Aries should take note of this, because this is a true and powerful way to live out the energy of your Sun. Your life is an adventure and you are the hero.

His birthdata is adjusted for the calendrical change. Astrotheme lists his birth time as 2am.

His birthdata is adjusted for the calendrical change. Astrotheme lists his birth time as 2am. This is really a stunningly revolutionary chart and — if the time is right — most of the planets are in the house of “mind”.

Rene Descartes, was a self-taught genius whose work “First Principles in Philosophy” is the foundation stone of modern western thought, taught in philosophy 101 across the world. His influence in the study of mathematics is equally important. Do you remember plotting x and y co-ordinates on graphs and turning those into algebraic equations? That was Descartes fault too.

But it’s really his revolutionary and vital philosophy which interests me.

You need to remember that before Descartes, philosophers were inclined to bookish arguments over texts and their interpretation. Ancient writers such as Artistotle were read as if they were absolutely true. They discussed the Bible, the Greeks, the Romans — but rarely did they have a good response to the most basic questions — for example: how do I know what’s true? Or how do I know I exist?

In his famous Discourse on the Method, Descartes explains his sceptical thinking process. He is sitting by the fire, pondering the existence of God and he realises through logic that everything he thinks he knows, he can doubt, including the existence of himself and of God. After all, a demon could be making him think these thoughts.

Eventually, he realises that the only thing he really knows for certain is that he is thinking. And so he overturned 2000 years of philosophy by sitting by his fire one night and distilling his thinking down to one point.

His logic owes something to that methodical Taurus Moon-Venus and his critical thinking to the Saturn in Virgo, but his distillation of the argument, his use of his own self rather than referring to other people and his courage in disagreeing with everyone else are pure Aries.

 

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  1. 44 and counting says:

    We all have Aries in our chart somewhere, so it’s not just the sunsigns that profit from it.

    Mine’s hidden away in the 12H and it’s only with the passage of Uranus through there that I’ve learned to trust myself and just do without hesitation or double-checking over and over. It’s been a realisation that I can handle what comes at me and adapt as required by any unforeseen demands.

    There is a place for the double-checking and planning, so it’s not as simple as saying “just dive in” but I suggest many of us frequently overthink stuff and are tentative when presented with good opportunities.

    Diving in headfirst can be good. That’s what Aries taught me.

  2. linda purdy says:

    Another thought: It seems like that the six aires planets in the natural third house of Gemini – the sign of rational thought, reason, and facts – might be a great influence on his Aires mind. Also, the Aires mercury is at home in the third house… and to top it all off, Mars in Gemini deposits all these Aires planets. I would say Aires/Gemini “I think therefore I am”

    • Iris says:

      I like this linda purdy.
      There’s an argument to be made (is made often in Psychology circles) that Descarte’s theory was a turning point that crystallised the dichotomising of mind from the rest of human experience, a dichotomy so entrenched in our Western culture now, in allopathic medicine, and in religion very definitely made explicit.
      What we absorb is something like (to oversimplify in order to make a point in a brief space):
      Mind = rational, logical, masculine, trustworthy, more ‘pure’, good
      Body/feelings = irrational, illogical, feminine, not trustworthy, less pure, bad.
      Non-wholistic. So in the West we still tend to think of our bodies and what we experience there as something seperate to our minds, minimising or overlooking that we can experience our mental fields only by being embodied. We cannot be separate.
      Whereas maybe Aries without Gemini would be more like: I experience, therefore I am.

  3. Vesta says:

    I have Libra AC, so Aries is my DC, and it’s true, I do put others before me. So Aries’ lesson to me would be to remember I exist too!
    Aries has indeed been instructive these last few years, with uranus transiting my 7th house, squaring pluto in Capricorn (my 4th house, foundations, the core of my being). As I’ve written before, these years have been incredibly difficult for me with loss after loss, leading to breakdown and loss of my identity. Tough as it is, I think it must be my Sag stellium that helped me look for positives. I thought, well, if I’ve been so dysfunctional all this time, why don’t I look to see what I can put right? Ideal time, seeing as I’m a pile of rubble. How am I going to rebuild myself? From there, I started a journey of self-help, journaling, reflection and so on.
    I realised there’s no such thing as identity, there is only what we tell ourselves. Because if you realised there’s a thought behind the thought, who’s having that thought? And if that’s the case, who’s having the thought behind that thought? It goes on ad infinitum. Which is funny because I have Saturn in Pisces. 🙂 All boundaries dissolve, hello universe.
    So then that told me it’s up to me where I place boundaries, how I define where I end and others begin. And that’s Aries. The ‘I’ bit.
    I haven’t figured it out yet. I also learnt during these years you can’t force answers to come to you. Best you can do is identify the question to ask, then ask it. Answers come in their own time. In the meantime, I can keep an open mind. I am not who I was, you don’t go backwards, wherever I’m heading is wherever I’m meant to be heading. That might be Aries faith, that naivety, or innocence of mind. Or just simply, trust.
    I have been keeping an eye out for other people’s experiences during the uranus/pluto years. It helps maintain perspective so I don’t lose myself in ‘poor me’ and so I can learn how other people handled it. Not that there’s anything wrong with ‘poor me’, if you can’t put yourself first when you’re in crisis, when can you. There are any number of stories about resilience and overcoming the odds beginning to appear. It’s another kind of Me Too going on right now. Which again, would be Aries, standing up for oneself, sharing one’s story. Even the power of personal stories.
    I have uranus and pluto conjunct in my chart, you’d think I’d have ready access to phenomenal power, but I don’t, they’re hidden in the 12th house, and they square off with venus and mars, and oppose saturn. I feel like a car that won’t start. I have lost pretty much all the friends I used to have, and I don’t particularly want them back. I want friends who care. So right now, I’m asking myself what that looks like. Aries on the DC, I’ve tended to attract selfish people. So how do I change that? Hmmm. ?
    In a way, I feel like I’m back to square one, after the uranus/pluto years. Which again would be Aries. That’s an interesting thought, I just thought of it just now. So then that means, once I’ve figured out my identity, I can rest and put my feet up once I reach Taurus! (I was just thinking of Jeff Jawer and what he used to say about Taurus and sandwiches. :D) No, I know what Taurus means, it means grounding new ideas so they’re solid. This is really cool! I was wondering how to proceed. This is as good an idea as any, follow the zodiac! Thanks, Christina 🙂 xx

    • lucy7 says:

      Vesta,

      I’m also Libra rising. Moon in Aries in the 7th. With transiting Pluto (and soon Saturn) in the 4th and Uranus in the 7th. These times are challenging. I look at this 4th house activity as a foundational change and try to follow the flow and leave myself time for “melt downs” in between shifts. My identity has also been dissolving. I follow someone named Adyashanti for help with that. Because for me, there is a spiritual component to all this which is an extraordinary gift. But not if I look to society to define it for me! Current society (unless you happen to live in India) would call this worrisome, frightening and even psychosis. But J. Krishnamurti said “It is no measure of health to be well-adjusted to a profoundly sick society.” ! So more power to you. Lets embrace the ride. Pluto is always lending so much strength wherever it is. Now, Saturn is joining the party in the 4th and though it’s a little dreary, I’m hoping Saturn is just what I need to set structure in place working with the Plutonian tear down process. And Uranus is doing her best to disrupt and tear down too. Its at least one possibility, that some long held dreams could come true here when all is said and done and the decks have been cleared, so to speak.

      • Vesta says:

        I screenshot your reply too, Lucy. Thank you! 🙂
        “It is no measure of health to be well-adjusted to a profoundly sick society.” – I couldn’t agree more. Hear, hear.
        I haven’t considered pluto as a helpful force. Or Saturn in the 4th house as helping me with new boundaries. That’s interesting.
        I haven’t dared to dream yet, to be honest. It’s not time yet. I’m still in Aries time – war. Maybe once I reach Taurus phase and I feel safe and secure, then I’ll start daydreaming. That makes sense to me. 🙂
        That’s a good idea, to allow time for meltdowns. I’m trying to, but also I get impatient with myself. Maybe not impatient so much as disappointed, because it makes me feel like I’m not coping. Maybe I’m not doing so bad after all then. 🙂
        I’m going to think about the spiritual component, it might also help me get a new perspective too.
        Thank you so much! And more power to you too on your journey. 🙂

        • lucy7 says:

          Hi Vesta,

          Like 44 and counting, I was also referring to enlightenment. Because the identity begins to deconstruct as natural awareness (enlightenment) takes its place. It often, but not always, begins through trauma or long silences like in retreat. Take good care…

          • Vesta says:

            Oh! 🙂 Is there anything I should read? I’m guessing it’s not all benign. :/
            Funny you should mention long silences – after the u/plu squares, or before they even finished – and they occured right on my chart angles! – Neptune sat on my Saturn in Pisces, and at the same time, Saturn sat on my moon in Sag. It was a pincer move. They waited till they were retrograde and they just sat there.
            But now that they’ve gone, I feel like a car that won’t start, not that I have a destination anyway, so there’s that too.
            Thanks for replying again, Lucy. 🙂 Take care too.

    • 44 and counting says:

      Vesta – the parts of that about no such thing as identity make me think you’re closing in on “enlightenment” ! Just seeing the world for what it is – not putting all the labels that the mind creates. There is no good/bad/poor me – just stuff that happens which our mind decides to label depending on how the ego wants to be defined.

      As for how your Aries DC stops attracting selfish people, you start owning it, When you become more Aries in your relationships (healthy version of selfish), the selfish people won’t want to hang around with you because they’re not getting it all their own way any more. And you won’t want to hang around with them because they’re not giving you want you deserve. Again sounds like elements of that are already taking place,

      Good luck!

      • Vesta says:

        Whaat?! ?? Wow now that’s something to ponder! Enlightenment. I wasn’t expecting that. I have been thinking about post-traumatic growth though, I was hoping I was doing ok with that. Enlightenment. I don’t really do labels, so that’s true. I’ve never labelled ‘negative’ feelings because I think it’s idiotic. (we don’t judge happiness, so what are we doing judging sadness?)
        I’m going to screenshot your reply, especially what you said about Aries DC, that’s a bit mind-bendy. I think I get it though? I’ve been working on boundaries, (from scratch, starting with tentative fences!) I noticed people I used to know tried to carry on as they always did and seemed surprised I wasn’t as I used to be. I mean, to be honest, what p’s me off most of all is a total lack of insight of what I’ve been through and how I might still be feeling. If there’s not even consideration for the basics, what am I doing giving them anymore of my time?
        Aahhh. And I have just illustrated exactly what you said. 🙂
        I’m still keeping the screenshot. I feel like I’m too emotional to think straight, I’m very angry in fact, Aries!, so that means I need time to process it all, find a way past, and then one day, with my nice Taurus sandwich, I’ll look back and get perspective.
        Thank you so much! xx

        • Vesta says:

          @44 and counting, I just realised today – I’ve always attracted men who see me as a ‘challenge’. I haven’t thought it all through yet, like how that fits with Aries DC, but the pattern has been they saw me as someone to ‘conquer’, then when they felt they had succeeded, they’d disappear. So if I’ve changed at a fundamental level, that shouldn’t happen anymore, should it? Now that’s exciting! Nice to have some hope return. 🙂

          • Vesta says:

            Thanks! That’s what I was thinking. Mercury is retrograde, I was thinking about how I’d feel if anyone from the past returned, and I thought ugh. 🙂 Then I started thinking about the kind of person who would feel right. ‘Me’. Oh, and again, we’re back to Aries! Makes sense, first and foremost, you need to know who ‘me’ is, or at least have some sense of self.
            There was someone else commenting here not long ago, can’t remember if it was you? Someone who had a difficult time in recent years who also felt hope returning. Anyway, I remember reading their comment and feeling all sorts, sad, upset, angry, like ‘forget it, it’ll never happen to me, why even go there’. But I don’t feel like that anymore, and I didn’t even try! 🙂 I didn’t try to turn anything around or heal, I just let things be. Wowwwww. 🙂 That’s blown my mind. haha

          • 44 and counting says:

            Let’s hope so! It really depends on whether you still present a challenge to be conquered. If you’ve fundamentally changed then you’ll find you’re attracted to a different type of person. The old type might even feel a bit repellent while someone who previously seemed boring or dull could just be “the one”.

  4. carline says:

    I think that the description of Aries fits. Only one “comment”- geniuses do not need any teaching (in reference to Descartes article). However Aries aren’t geniuses. Most are just ordinary people wanting to do things “their way” – even if it backfires.

  5. Theolyn says:

    I’m really looking forward to more of these. Being an Aries myself, I spotted Descartes Arian statement myself when I was studying philosophy for my first degree. Just like you I thought…I bet this guy’s an Aries! So I looked at some others.. Spinoza, despite his method, seems to me to demonstrate Sagittarian vision.. Hume the empiricist is Taurus… I attended a seminar on one occasion and heard my tutor tell a pertitent story. She said her mother, not an astrologer or a philosopher, had commented that, surely, anyone doing philosophy can only come up with reasoning or insights that are innate for them, based on their individual perspective of life, seen through their own lens. Her mother was stating the obvious really, that an individual’s philosophy is necessarily based on who they are, and, argue as they may, based on this or that ‘logic’, can never state a universal ‘truth’. That’s the beauty for us astrologers, I’ve often thought – we can see that each unique perspective is exactly that, and we don’t need to get exercised trying to convince other people to see the world through our star spangled spectacles!

  6. mimi says:

    Thanks for this article. Right on time for my birthday.
    I am an Aries and I can tell you there are all different sorts of Aries (they can be very shy too, you know and always aware of other people who need to be in the limelight of life as well. I know I am always aware of this.
    What I do know: my intuition is always very good and if I notice the slightest thought or feeling that something is not right I will not go ahead with my plans. It has never failed me. This is typical for Aries.

    What I like in this horoscope of Descartes is that Saturn is in Virgo (same as in my horoscope). It gives a critical mind and I think in my case it makes me love and appreciate astrology so much. It makes me understand the beautiful order of the universe.
    Thanks Christina.

    mimi

  7. Theolyn says:

    I’m a shy Aries – Sun in the 4th house. I often wondered if Descartes might have Sun in 4th as he spent a lot of time in his dressing gown, cogitating by the fire. Your article prompted me to dig out a poem (now 20 years old!) & thought I’d share, if you don’t mind me taking up some more real estate in the comments area -NB Descartes did consider a demon might trick him into thinking various thoughts were true, and used the idea of an applecart, discarding thoughts like ‘apples’ unless he could be certain of their veracity:

    Descartes had a demon
    a trickster
    a mixer of messages

    Descartes in his dressing gown
    sat beside the fire
    emptying the apple-cart
    of his mind.

    Oh dear, said Descartes,
    does God exist,
    or is being an illusion?

    My books, my room,
    the night, the day,
    of nothing am I certain,
    my hands,my feet,
    my beating heart,
    give no reassurance.

    Only my mind
    would not be missed:
    I think therefore I am.

    And so he lost his body
    in favour of his brain
    and we inherit dualism
    and he’s the one we blame

    A plague upon philosophers
    and their dry and dusty thoughts –
    I dance, I sing, I celebrate
    I AM! I AM! I AM!

  8. Cybelia says:

    Descartes was a nasty man: he nailed his wife’s dog to a door and dissected him while alive. Descartes believe animals had no souls (neither have women). To write about Descartes without mentioning his cruelty and stupidity seems rather inadequate, especially as this information is widely known. Descartes was a monster. I think therefore I am, yes right, that’s an old and right brain term, stupidity and cruelty show themselves in this chart. Disgusting man.

    • soab says:

      Didnt know this. Thanks for sharing.

    • Pamela says:

      Yes. An equally influential dark, very dark side. I was just about to mention it, myself.

    • Christina says:

      This article is not about Descartes “the man”, but about what we can learn from him and how we can see his ideas in his chart.

      Finding the negative is easy; finding what’s useful is better. Having said that, his behaviour is also clearly written in the chart.

      • Pamela says:

        It wasn’t until I read Descartes later in life that I learned he stated and popularized the notion that animals do not have souls, legitimizing much barbarism and cruelty. Men have sung his praises for centuries; his mistakes, it seems to me, are not so commonly known. We can and should learn from others’ mistakes. From Descartes this could be the egotism of “I . . ., therefore I . . .”, the heavy influence of masculine planetary placements, and the prominence he has long had in modern thought/ethics. We can do this without denigrating his positive contributions.

  9. Pamela says:

    I am thrilled that you are writing about philosophers. My DH was one, and an Aries. He was, to quote one of his best friends, “amazingly analytical and amazingly kind.” He was a 12th house Aries with Jupiter and Mercury conjunct in Pisces and Saturn in Sagittarias. He travelled much, taught and read incessantly.

  10. soab says:

    Actually he was not quite right, with his conclusion – I think therefore I am. Try this exercise. Turn the lights off and draw the curtains – if you need to. Make your self comfortable, in a cosy chair. Make sure you have removed most noise. Now close your eyes, and watch your thoughts. Do not get involved with your thoughts. Do not pick up a thread of one of the thoughts, and get carried away in your thoughts. Just watch them, come and go peacefully. After a while, maybe five minutes. Open your eyes and ask your self this question – if I can watch my thoughts, am I my thoughts?

  11. Isy says:

    Thanks for this. I have trouble sometimes simply being all right with my Aries signature. xo

  12. Theolyn says:

    And who am I when I transcend the warp and weft of the threads of thought… who am I when I am not thinking or observing that I am thinking? When, as Dylan sang, “I’m not there.’ ? At the still point in the centre of the chart?

  13. Andre says:

    I am a thought in the mind of God, therefore I am not.

  14. aqua says:

    Its my experience that those with strong Aires placements tend not to necessarily think for themselves, but are more likely , initially at anyrate, to be ‘sheep’ like in their need for a firebrand leader.

    And the tendency to do it their ‘own way’ means that they are often repeating processes, ideas and concepts that have been covered extensively already and that they miss because they havent payed attention.

    This era of Uranus in Aires has thrown up many ‘charismatic’ icons that have created slavish followers, who are convinced of their heroes uniqueness.

    Thats not to say that the Aires quality cant evolve into something more original and self directed, but initially at least, as the new born babe it represents, it looks up at its parent figure with uncritical eyes.
    This process seems to apply for every sign, before it transforms into its more evolved state.