Aries Zodiac Sign: Characteristics, Dates, & More
Aries Dates: March 21 – April 19
Symbol: The Ram
Mode + Element: Cardinal Fire
Ruling Planet: Mars
Mantra: I Am
Body Part: The Head
Colors: Red & Mustard
Tarot Card: The Emperor
Aries Traits & Overview
Aries is the first sign of the zodiac, and that’s pretty much how those born under this sign see themselves: first. Aries are the leaders of the pack, first in line to get things going. Whether or not everything gets done is another question altogether, for an Aries prefers to initiate rather than to complete. Do you have a project needing a kick-start? Call an Aries, by all means. The leadership displayed by Aries is most impressive, so don’t be surprised if they can rally the troops against seemingly insurmountable odds—they have that kind of personal magnetism.
An Aries sign won’t shy away from new ground, either. Those born under this zodiac sign are often called the pioneers of the zodiac, and it’s their fearless trek into the unknown that often wins the day. Aries is a bundle of energy and dynamism, kind of like a Pied Piper, leading people along with its charm and charisma. The dawning of a new day—and all of its possibilities—is pure bliss to an Aries.
Read today’s Aries horoscope.
Aries Symbolism & Myth
The Aries zodiac symbol is the Ram, named for the stellar constellation this sign corresponded to by the astrologers of the old world. The astrological symbol of the Ram goes back to Babylonian times when it was associated with agriculture and the god of shepherds.
In Egyptian astronomy, the Ram’s association continued through the sun god Amon-Ra, who had a human form and a ram’s head. Amon-Ra ruled over fertility and creativity, vital forces that set Spring and regeneration in motion. In Greek mythology, the Ram saved Phrixus and Helle, whose golden fleece became the prize in the story of Jason and the Argonauts. The name Aries is derived from “Ares”, the Greek god of war.
Aries Element, Mode, & Season
In the western tropical zodiac, Aries season begins at the Vernal Equinox, representing the yearly rebirth of the sun in the Northern Hemisphere, and the renewal of growth at the beginning of Spring. It begins on March 21 and ends on April 19. The Aries archetype is bursting with youthful enthusiasm, linked to the vital force of life reawakening after the long winter.
Aries is the first of the four cardinal signs of the zodiac, who all hold an elemental, initiatory energy that marks the beginning of the four seasons. Aries begins the Spring, the source of the Ram’s affinity for being a fiery starter, leader, and trailblazer.
Aries’ element is fire, the lightest, brightest element, thought by ancient astrologers to be akin to the divine light of the stars and the vital life-giving rays of the sun. The Ram’s affinity for inspiration, impulsivity, and assertiveness are kindled in the fire element.
Aries Planetary Rulership
Domicile of Mars
In classical astrology, Mars is the planetary ruler of both Aries and Scorpio. Aries was thought to be the day, or diurnal home of Mars, while Mars found a nocturnal home in brooding and secretive Scorpio.
In this fiery sign, Mars has full affinity and potency in the warrior archetype of this sign, being able to be as primal, combative, and fearless of a planetary force as it likes to be. Mars in Aries is found in the charts of courageous, often athletic people, that have deep reserves of power and martial courage when needed.
Exaltation of the Sun
In the Thema Mundi, the ancient birth chart of the world, Cancer was rising, positioning Aries on the midheaven of the chart. This is the place where the sun culminates in the sky at mid-day, in its full power and light. As a result, the sun is said to be exalted in Aries, giving it a special potency, and those born with the sun in this sign tend to radiate bold confidence in life.
Detriment of Venus
Aries is in polarity with the cardinal air sign Libra. Ruled by Mars, Aries likes to confront and conquer, where Libra, ruled by Venus, likes to connect and keep the peace. Venus, when in the opposite sign of her preferred home, is said to be in detriment, or at a sort of disadvantage in this sign.
Imagine the planetary goddess of love, luxury, and attraction having to stay in a military tent, with only weapons and war rations as her supplies to make a life. With this sign placement, Venus would have to compensate, presenting those born with Venus in Aries as people who would need to maintain autonomy and individuality in love. Sometimes preferring to fight for their freedom and embody a passionate, warrior-goddess approach in relationships by fully conquering their lover’s heart.
Fall of Saturn
In classical astrology, Saturn, the planet of duty and discipline is thought to be exalted in Libra, whose fair, just, and peaceable qualities blend well with Saturn’s stoic, discerning nature. When Saturn is found in this sign, the sign opposite from its exaltation, it is said to be in its fall, another kind of disadvantageous placement.
This can present in the lives of those with Saturn in Aries in their birth charts as people who tend to be impulsive and restless when it comes to expressing the Saturnian qualities of perseverance and patience. A theme of learning to trust elders and deferring authority may emerge in their lives as well.
Aries House Rulership
The First House
In the modern astrology system of the Twelve Letter Alphabet, each zodiac sign rules one of the twelve houses in the birth chart. This innovation was created by psychological astrologers to match sign affinities to related house topics.
Aries was assigned the first house of identity since its bold, initiatory energy was similar to the way the first house in the birth chart indicates how a person will present themselves to the world, and the first impression they will project. Since the sign of the Ram is ruled by Mars, this modern astrology system invites a Mars-like sub-signature to the significations of the first house.
The Sixth House
In classical astrology, Aries’ planetary ruler Mars was said to find his “joy” in the sixth house of “bad fortune”, health, and service of the birth chart. This is related to Mars classically being considered one of the more difficult, or “malefic” planets in astrology, responsible for conflicts, violence, and injuries in the life of the native when badly placed.
Since the sixth house has a connection to health challenges and hard luck, Mars is able to “joyfully” express its more unwelcome offerings here—or at least has a leg up on being “extra-Marsy” and powerful.
Aries’ archetypal traits are derived from its active, masculine, or yang qualities, making this sign oriented toward assertive engagement with the outer world. Alive in both an Aries woman or Aries man, those born with the war god as their rising, sun, or moon sign have initiatory energy in their core personality, like the power of rebirth in Spring.
As a cardinal sign, the Ram holds the qualities of leadership, making those with Aries in their charts great at pioneering projects, and taking the “front line” in strategies. Natives from this sign can be thought of as the “first responders” of the zodiac that will fearlessly and impulsively spring into action, reacting immediately to, and thriving in crisis or challenges.
Being ruled by Mars, the red planet of war, this sign seems to always be battle-ready, which is important in emergencies where swift action is needed but can be intense in day-to-day life when the stakes are not necessarily that high.
Aries natives will always be ready to take action and will tend to be direct when it comes to expressing themselves. You never have to guess where you stand with these folks, as they will always let you know. These folks do not tend to hold a grudge, preferring to air out differences quickly, and move on in life. Ruled by Mars, the fiery qualities of the Ram bring great courage and determination to these natives.
Like anyone else, Aries may feel the fear, but has learned to act anyway, always striving to overcome limiting beliefs and self-doubt. Although very individualistic, these folks can also be very loyal, treating friends as fellow warriors that they feel bonded to in life’s challenges. You can count on your Aries friend to advocate for you, defend you, and face any hard conversations on your behalf to help protect, encourage, and empower you.
Some sources of weakness or potential blind spots in the Aries archetype are the flip side of all of their great strengths. Aries’ directness can come across as blunt, harsh, and even cruel if they are not managing their stress levels well. Since this sign values quick decisions and acting on gut impulse, they may have trouble being a patient, receptive team player.
Communication is potentially the biggest challenge of all for the Ram, who may already be out the door by the time the conversation is getting started. Though they may benefit from listening to others, they may not enjoy hearing recommendations or advice, preferring to learn from direct experience. Again, this could be a strength in the right circumstances, but their rash decisions could be self-destructive and affect others as well.
Aries Life Purpose and Career
Mantra and Purpose
The battle cry and the expression of birth come forward in the Aries mantra: I am. The Ram’s sense of purpose is all about asserting individual expression and self-authority. Aries are the trailblazers, going forward into uncharted territory, to clear a road ahead for others.
We all have Aries somewhere in our birth chart, so we can look to the house that Aries rules to find the specific area of our life we approach in a direct way, or where we need to call in the Ram’s martial energy for mastery. Natives from this sign tend to be drawn to any pursuit where they are testing the edge of their capabilities, to learn more about themselves and their embodiment. Extreme sports and high-risk activities provide Aries an outlet for their potent energies and thrill-seeking tendencies.
Aries at Work
Aries’ sense of individuality makes them uniquely suited for professions where they need to work alone, take risks, and advocate for themselves. Their careers need to have some dynamic of danger, thrill, competition, or urgency to be fulfilling.
This could manifest in many professions, but likely will not be found in staid, routine-type jobs that require laboring over finicky details or analysis. Natives from this sign need challenge, movement, and space, so will not be content for long behind a desk. If they do have this aspect to their work, they need to counterbalance this with vigorous exercise.
Since Aries is ruled by Mars, the planet of war, a natural career fit could potentially be found in the many facets of the military. Any way that an Aries native can fight or defend themselves or others will likely be most fulfilling.
Training and competing in martial arts are another appropriate Aries pursuit, where the art of war can be channeled into a disciplined philosophy of self-empowerment.
Law enforcement is another field where the Aries character can be of great use, always ready to respond in the moment to protect the public’s safety.
Firefighting is a natural fit for this sign’s great courage and their affinity for the fire element, a profession that holds great risk and profound challenge.
Paramedic or emergency medicine can also be excellent fields for this sign’s “first responder” personality.
Racecar driving, professional sports, stunt doubling, acting in action films, these are all exciting ways an Aries may be drawn to perform and shine in the entertainment industry.
Aries’ affinity for risk and getting to the heart of a matter can be an asset as a foreign correspondent in journalism, taking them on-site in unstable conditions to report on the momentous political changes in developing countries during times of war.
When exploring overall love compatibility in astrology, it’s important to take more than the sun sign into consideration, as other planetary cross-connections will tell the whole story in relationships. That being said, these folks will tend to blend best with fire signs and air signs; and may need to work harder on relationships with water signs and earth signs.
Aries will typically find great affinity with other fire signs, as they will understand each other’s impulsive, spontaneous nature. Leo and Sagittarius can handle Aries’ heat and are individualistic enough to not take Aries’ need for independence personally. Aries with Aries has the potential to be a great match, as they forge an easy partnership in life’s challenges. Difficulties could arise however if they don’t have a common battle, as they may turn on each other to debate, compete, or fight.
Air signs bring a natural complementary energy to Aries, as air feeds fire, stoking it to grow and become more alive. Gemini and Aquarius bring playfulness, sociability, and curiosity to this sign’s sense of adventure. Libra, ruled by Venus, brings softness, fairness, and peacefulness to Mars-ruled Aries, and they potentially have an “opposites attract” connection together that can be magnetic, or polarizing. Aries teaches Libra to put themselves first, while Libra teaches Aries some tact, and the benefits of compromise.
Water signs may have the biggest challenge when relating to Aries, even though they may bring vulnerability and emotional intelligence to help cool and counterbalance Aries’ brash, reactive tendencies. Cancer can bring their nurturing, yet cardinal individuality to the relationship, which Aries can respect, but Pisces may be too sensitive and private to fully relax with impulsive Aries. Scorpio, who is also ruled by Mars, can bring some potency and affinity to the relationship, but there is potential for power struggles and deep emotional triggers between these two signs.
Earth signs can potentially stabilize Aries’ impulsiveness, with Capricorn, the authoritative cardinal earth sign, having the fortitude to stand their ground when Aries’ temper flares. Taurus may not want to change their methodical pace to suit impatient Aries, and Virgo may be too detailed focused to fully appreciate Aries’ affinity for chaos. In general, when Aries joins forces with earth signs in work, they can cover a lot of ground together, with earth signs offering the practicality and dependability to collaborate and help Aries see their bold ideas through.
In classical astrological medicine, there were four temperaments, that were connected to four vital fluids, and four essential constitution types. Being ruled by Mars, this sign is associated with the choleric temperament, which was thought to be hot and dry, and connected to the production of digestive bile. This temperament provides these folks with a fast metabolism and a tendency to run hot—both physically and emotionally. Those born with Aries rising, especially, may present an athletic body, high metabolism, flushed skin, and vulnerability to dehydration.
In classical astrological medicine, the entire zodiac was mapped out on the human body, starting with Aries ruling over the head, eyes, and upper vertebrae of the spine. Heat was thought to rise up in the body by ancient physicians, making. natives from this sign prone to the state of “hot-headedness”; getting easily angered or frustrated when under stress.
As a result, those with Aries prominent in their charts may be vulnerable to chronic headaches that cause pressure behind the eyes. They also can be especially prone to injuries of the neck, skull, and face. If this is your sign, please wear your helmet when climbing, cycling, skydiving, boxing… you get the idea. Aries natives need to keep themselves hydrated, balance their restlessness with some relaxation, and give themselves time to repair their muscles as well as injuries after their intense workouts.
Stinging Nettles are an important herbal ally for Aries, as nettles are ruled by Mars, which is connected to our blood. Nettles have a blood cleansing, nourishing, and anti-inflammatory effect that can be remedial for Aries health imbalances.
Aloe Vera is another great Mars plant and Aries ally. Its gel is cooling to skin inflammations like rosacea—which the Ram tends to be prone to—and burns that Aries may encounter while exploring or working with its natural element: fire. Aloe Vera juice is also a wonderful cooling, anti-inflammatory, hydrating supplement when taken internally.
Peppermint tea is cooling, soothing, and helpful for digestion for those with a hot choleric constitution. In oil form, it can make a great cooling balm for battle weary muscles or massaged into the temples to alleviate tension headaches. Peppermint aromatherapy can calm the mind and clear Aries’ head if they are feeling irritable, overstimulated, and overworked.
The Three Decans of Aries
Each of the twelve zodiac signs represents a thirty-degree slice of a 360-degree band of constellations, circling the earth. The thirty degrees of each sign can be further subdivided into three ten-degree decans, or faces, each with its own planetary sub-ruler placed around the zodiac in Chaldean order.
These decans can be used for timing magical rituals when seeking to evoke and harness Mars’ planetary power. In studying the Aries personality, we can use the faces of Aries to fine-tune the flavor and nuance of planets or points placed within these decanic degrees.
First Decan of Aries: Mars
Degrees 0 through 9 of Aries are ruled by Mars. This is the natural home of the Ram, making those with planets in the first decan of Aries very true to the fearless, impulsive, martial archetype. In terms of personality, the first decan of Aries can be more argumentative, combative, and brash, which in the appropriate circumstances can be a strong asset; but can also make them more prone to anger.
Second Decan of Aries: Sun
Degrees 10 through 19 of Aries are ruled by the sun. This is the exaltation of the luminary of the day, making those born with planets in the second decan very “solar”, in that they tend to “beam” confidence and courage. They are likely to demonstrate more social graces and friendliness than those born during the first decan of this sign.
Third Decan of Aries: Venus
Degrees 20 through 29 of Aries are ruled by Venus, the planet that is in detriment in Aries. Venus’ influence does tend to soften the typical Aries personality traits and makes those born with planets in the third Decan of Aries more drawn to creative pursuits, or to seek the thrill of love, romance, and passionate connections.
Aries Tarot Cards
Major Arcana: The Emperor
The Tarot card that correlates to Aries is number 4: The Emperor. This card depicts a resolute warrior-king archetype, seated on a throne decorated by the Ram’s head. This card tends to signify joining forces with a strong ally in challenges, facing a strong adversary, as well as moments in life when we need to call on the fearlessness of the to claim the personal authority of The Emperor to assert ourselves.
2,3, and 4 of Wands
In the Minor Arcana of the Tarot, the Suit of Wands, also known as Rods, is associated with the element of fire. Here, we see the 3 decans of Aries assigned to the 2, 3, and 4 of Wands, cards associated with the initiation of projects, the process of finding inspiration, and exhibiting courage in our spiritual and creative endeavors.
2 of Wands: Mars in Aries
The 2 of Wands corresponds to the 1st decan, or face of Aries. It carries the sub signature of Mars and was referred to in the Book of Thoth as the card of “Dominion”. This card appears when we are feeling isolated, stuck, and perhaps contemplating a new initiative. The Dominion card explores how “destruction may be regarded as the first step in the creative process.” (Book of Thoth)
3 of Wands: Sun in Aries
The 3 of Wands corresponds to the 2nd decan, or face of Aries. It carries the sub-signature of the sun and was referred to in the Book of Thoth as the card of “Virtue”. This card appears when we have achieved some success, yet are feeling restless and are considering the dynamic of positive change. The “Virtue” card “represents the establishment of primeval energy… the will… and gives birth to its manifestation.” (Book of Thoth)
4 of Wands: Venus in Aries
The 4 of Wands corresponds to the 3rd decan, or face of Aries. It carries the sub signature of Venus and was referred to in the Book of Thoth as the card of “Completion”. This card appears when we are feeling secure and are surrounded by life’s bounties and Venusian gifts. There is a risk, however, of becoming too complacent. The “Completion” card represents the establishment of “order, law, and government. It also… indicates that one cannot establish one’s work without tact and gentleness.” (Book of Thoth)
Collage art by Eliana