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Mythology

Zodiac Myth: Aries

The Story of the Golden Fleece Ram

Back before the abundance of light pollution, which blocks out the stars, the night sky would light up with constellations. These are groupings of stars which ancient civilizations used to map out the night sky. The constellations are named after magical beings, gods and demi-gods, and humans which ascended past their mortal coil. Each one has a story behind it and today I am telling the story of Aries, The Ram.

The myth of Aries comes from ancient Greece and tells the story of a golden fleece ram who saves Phrixus and Helle from their evil stepmother who attempts to murder them. The father of Phrixus and Helle was king Athamus of Boeotia and their mother was the goddess Nephele. However, as many kings and absurdly powerful men do, he found himself bored with Nephele after a time. So Athamus abandons Nephele to go and claim his second wife.

His second wife was Ino, the queen of Thebes. Athamus had two sons with Ino, Learches and Melicertes, although they play a pretty insignificant role in the story of Aries. However, Ino was a very jealous woman. She hated her step-children Phrixus and Helle and due to the government system of Boeotia, Phrixus likely represented a direct obstacle in her own sons becoming king of the province. So Ino devises a plot to kill her two step-children without angering Athamus. 

Ino takes the seeds for next year’s crop and roasts them, killing the seed but still looking decent enough to plant. That following season, the farmers plant the seeds and nothing grows. They send a messenger to consult the Oracle of Delphi to find what is wrong but, Ino intercepts the messenger and bribes him to tell Athamus he must sacrifice his children, Phrixus and Helle, if the crops are to grow.

Despite his emotions about the matter, a good king makes sacrifices for his people and sends for his children. Nephele is a goddess so naturally she has some pretty cool things. One of these things is a golden fleece ram who was given to her by the god Hermes. She finds out about Ino’s plot to kill her children and sends the ram to rescue them. The ram goes to Phrixus and Helle and tells them to grab on to his coat, however they must not look down. They grab on to the coat and the ram flies away. Yet Helle, disobeying the instructions, looks down at the sea below. She loses her grip and falls to her death. The area of the sea where she fell was named Hellespont after her.

Phrixus is taken by the ram to Colchis where he meets king Aeetes. The king accepts him into his home and marries Phrixus and Chalciope, his daughter. Phrixus sacrifices the ram to Zeus and gives the fleece to Aeetes. In honor of his service, Zeus places the ram among the stars to be forever gazed upon by humans, thus the constellation of Aries was formed.

zodiac constellation
Image by DarkmoonArt de

The myth of Aries has several important morals. It highlights not only qualities of the sign but gives us principles that are valuable to our spiritual evolution, whatever your zodiac signs may be. I want to touch on a few that I find to be most important.

The first of which, are the evolved qualities of Aries. In the story the ram shows courage and sacrifice. It uses its gifts to help Phrixus and Helle, despite the harm that may come to it. In the end it is literally sacrificed to Zeus after rescuing Phrixus, which is symbolic of the sacrifice one will need to make to pursue great endeavors. Being remembered forever, is the reward the ram receives. A very powerful quality of Aries is the aspiration of being a pioneer. People born with prominent Aries placements often seek to leave their mark on the planet and achieve things never done before. Whether it is on a societal scale like Leonardo Da Vinci or a more personal scale like graduating top of your class, this sign seeks to be the first.

In addition, I believe Helle and Athamus to be symbolic of primitive Aries qualities. Helle looks down towards the sea only to fall off the ram and die. Aries can be very impulsive and at times short sighted. In order to accomplish great things, one must stay the path despite the emotions or impulses that come up. Otherwise, we will lose sight of what really matters. Her death is symbolic of someone who never commits to following through with their goals.

Athamus on the other hand, is a king and enables the whole situation to happen in the first place. An Aries soul is seeking to develop the “I AM”. Their behavior can be self seeking, and inconsiderate of others. Had Athamus not left his first wife to take a second, there would have been no “evil stepmother” type scenario. I believe this to be symbolic of yet again impulsiveness, in addition to the Arien tendency to start conflicts.

The next moral I feel this story gives us, is the behavior of Ino. She is filled with so much hate and envy towards her stepchildren and Nephele (possibly because she wasn’t first) that she plans a very elaborate way to kill them. Although it isn’t described in this story, many myths are interconnected and Ino’s personal story ends up with her pissing off Hera, the wife of Zeus. Hera curses Athamus with insanity and he precedes to kill his own son Learches. Ino and her second son Melicertes attempt to escape Athamus, only to fall into the sea and die. 

The moral here, albeit cliché, is karma and resentment. The energy we put out into the world comes back around eventually. When we are constantly plotting against others, eventually someone will plot against us. I believe it is normal to feel resentment and jealousy, it’s part of our animal nature. Although, part of spiritual growth is to overcome our animal nature. When we recognize there is infinite abundance in the world, we no longer need to fight over resources or be upset if someone has what we want, because ultimately, we have it to. 

Within this myth we are given principles of spiritual growth. Any zodiac sign can act childish, start arguments for amusement or lack follow through with their goals. Part of moving from a primitive sign to an evolved sign is developing strength of character. Each zodiac sign holds a piece of the puzzle for adopting the positive traits and transcending the negative ones. For the puzzle piece of Aries, we are told we must develop courage, follow through, the willingness to make sacrifices and let go of our resentments towards others.

I hope this brief article helped you with whatever rabbit hole you’re currently digging in. Make sure to check out my other posts or purchase a private lesson if you want to learn more. Don’t forget to link up with me on social media and if you had a different take away from the story I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments! 

May your seeking be fruitful and your findings bountiful!

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