In the film “Up in the Air,” George Clooney plays Ryan Bingham, whose career takes him all over the country to fire employees for companies that are downsizing. Ryan moves through life quickly, precisely, and without hesitation. He wields the machete of professional job termination with efficiency and (at least superficial) kindness, and once he has finished a job, he doesn’t look back. As Ryan tells a rapt audience of colleagues in a distinctly Aries-tinged monologue:
“The slower we move, the faster we die. Make no mistake, moving is living. Some animals were meant to carry each other, to live symbiotically over a lifetime. Star crossed lovers, monogamous swans. We are not swans. We are sharks.”
But at the zenith of his career, Ryan’s lifestyle of perpetual travel and unfettered independence is threatened both by new technology that could mean an end to his solitary life on the road, and by the realization that relationships mean more to him than he’d suspected.
Clooney’s Aries-like character (a confirmed bachelor) encounters the Libran other in the form of a fetching woman he meets on the road, but also in the wedding that reunites him with his family. Ryan seems surprised at the tenderness he feels for the sisters he essentially abandoned when he left their prosaic home town. As he tries – tentatively – to reconnect with them, he finds that they, too, have moved on, and that there is no easy place for him in their lives. Not only is his bachelor apartment in far-away Omaha stark, utilitarian, and not really a home; but he finds he doesn’t belong among his family, either. When someone on an airplane asks where he’s from, he simply answers, “Here.”
As countless generations have found, leaving home to conquer far away lands means jumping—perhaps permanently—from the warm, Cancerian waters of family. Not to mention that the Capricorn career in which you have taken refuge from the demands of a partner or family may eventually pose an equal threat to individuality and mobility. As Ryan Bingham and his hapless victims found out, you can quickly find yourself out of a job or with your entire way of life rendered obsolete by new technology (or, more recently, a pandemic).
Then, too, one reaches a point in life when it becomes difficult to switch careers—not only because of our obligations to others, but also because fitting into corporate machinery inevitably requires that we check some measure of autonomy at the door. And once it’s been surrendered, it can be difficult to reclaim.
The work of each year’s Full Moon in Aries is to balance the needs of self with those of community. Who are you, apart from your family, your career, and your partner? Among the cardinal compass points that orient us to our world, the point of self—the rogue element that is seen as a potential threat to the security of family, the order of society, and the fidelity of marriage—is one that is often misunderstood. Unless we’re true to who we are and our needs, we can’t be fully present with others. But like Ryan Bingham, we might lean a little too hard into a self-serving version of individualism, hiding in our work, failing to nurture relationships, and ending up isolated.
But that’s when we’re not getting Aries right. As a midpoint between Cancer and Capricorn, the parental signs, I find it helpful to think of Aries as a symbol of the divine spark, the catalytic impulse that united your parents in an act of creation. It is the part of you that won out over all the other spermatozoa in the race to fertilize the egg, the part that emerged from your mother’s body bloody and screaming and ready to fight for what it needs. The part of you that is, simply, unalterably, matchlessly, you.
Even if you have no planets, nor the Ascendant or Midheaven in this sign, Aries is simmering somewhere in your horoscope, calling the shots from a house cusp or two, or hiding out intercepted in a house. He’s the symbol of pure, unbridled life force, the energy to explore and conquer new territory. Unless you were born with Mars, his ruling planet, in a more strategic sign (say, Libra or Capricorn) or aspect (such as to Saturn), this is not a part of you that thinks ahead and tries to figure out how to capitalize on all that energy. It is, rather, the part of you that simply loves to be in motion, conquering new lands and rising to new challenges.
Standing at this particular Aries Full Moon, remember to feed this part of yourself with just as much food and oxygen as you give to your family, partners, and worldly responsibilities. When it is well and properly fed, the Aries spark will lead you in exciting new directions that make you feel alive. But when individualism becomes an excuse for letting others down or failing to really connect, it can turn into a shark—gliding silently, dangerously, and hungrily just beneath the calm surface of your life, waiting to take a bite.