• Basha

Mythology of ARIES the Golden Ram

Updated: Apr 21, 2020

Recalling on the Astrological Basics of Storytelling, I am reminded that Aries and all the other Zodiac signs are a set of characteristics, or archetypes. These 12 sings are the roles played by the Astrological "actors;" The Gods, aka, the planets. In Aries' case, the role is best played by Mars: God of War.

Mars, or Ares (Greek), is the godly ruler of the sign of Aries. The Red Planet reminded ancient stargazers of all the bloodshed during times of war. Just as Mars became the Warrior God, Aries, in turn, took on its warrior archetype.

However, when it comes to the mythology of the constellation of Aries itself, you may be surprised to know that it has little to do with the planetary-god, Mars. In ancient Greek mythology, the constellation of Aries symbolizes the Legend of the Golden Ram.

A rough translation of this myth goes as such:

Once upon a time,

in the ancient Greek kingdom of Boeotia,

there once lived a Prince named Phrixus...

Phrixus and his twin sister Helle, were the firstborn children to King Athamas of Boeotia. The royal children's mother, Nephele, was a mystical Cloud Nyph who King Athamas had once captured by stealing her magical robes, preventing her from flying away...

You see, not only were both Phriuxs and his sister heirs to the royal throne, but they also were not ordinary humans. Their lineage was touched by the royal Gods on their mother's side. Nephele was created from a cloud by the god Zeus (Jupiter), in the image of his wife, the goddess Hera (Juno).

This made the prince and princess "half-gods," or demigods. As royal children of both the earthly realm and Olympus - it was certain to all who knew of them, that these celestial twins were destined for a legendary fate...

As many Greek kings and Gods tended to do in ancient times, Athamas grew tired of his wife, and left her for another woman. Phrixus and Helle's new stepmother, Queen Ino, was the epitome of evil-stepmothers. Filled with jealousy of the demigod children, Ino hated Phrixus and Helle. She wanted to be rid of them at any cost, wishing that her own two sons would be next in line for the throne. So, the new queen came up with a creative & devious plan to make it seem as though The Gods themselves wished for the demigod-children's death.

As the early sings of spring began to awaken & stir,

Queen Ino began manifesting her evil plan.

Through back-door-deals, and secret meetings, Queen Ino single-handedly plotted for a famine in Boeotia that year. Right before it was time for the farmers to plant the new year's crops, she gathered all the seeds in the kingdom and roasted them, making sure the harvest would fail.

Unaware of his new wife's plotting, King Athamas sent a royal messenger to consult with the Oracle of Delphi. In ancient times, when the seasonal patterns erratically deviated from their regular cycles, kings and subjects alike consulted with these mystical individuals. The Oracle was an earthly portal to the Gods, and would communicate their celestial divinations to humankind. A prophecy from an Oracle was taken as seriously as life and death.

Surely, a message from such a knowledgeable, and insightful person would have brought an end to Queen Ino's deadly scheming. But for this too, the devious queen was already prepared. She intercepted and bribed the royal messenger to do her own bidding. Finally bringing her evil plan to fruition, Ino ordered him to tell King Athamas her own prophecy and to say it came from the Oracle.

When the trickster-messenger returned to the King, he followed the Queen's orders, and delivered to Athamas the false prophecy. The messenger declared that the Gods were angry with the people of Boeotia, and that they had placed a curse upon the kingdom. The messenger added that the "Oracle" forewarned of more famines and disasters to befall the kingdom, unless the curse was lifted. Shocked and panicked, King Athamas eagerly asked the messenger if the Oracle informed of a way to lift the deadly curse.

The deceitful messenger informed the king that the curse would only be lifted, if Prince Phrixus was to be sacrificed to the Gods.

Now, you would think King Athamas would have the slightest clue of all the plotting, conspiring, and manipulation that his wife inflicting upon him and his children. But alas, the King was a fool. Without the slightest suspicion, he believed the trickster messenger's fake prophecy, and took the false-Oracle's advice. King Athamas ordered the sacrifice of his firstborn son, truly believing that this was the only way to please the Gods, and and regain their favor...

Meanwhile, more conspiring against the king of Boeotia was taking place in the mystical realm of Olympus. After Athamas' betrayal against his firs wife, Nephele had returned to Olympus to consult with Hera, the Goddess of Marriage. Nephele wished for the goddess to help her in punishing Athamas for violating their royal partnership. However, as news from Greece reached Olympus, Nephele decided to postpone her revenge. As soon as she learned what the evil Queen Ino was up to, the Cloud-Nymph stepped into action immediately

Nephele summoned a mystical creature to rescue her children:

a Golden Ram, named Aries,

Just as the demigod twin was about to be sacrificed, Aries fearlessly flew down from Olympus to Greece to rescue the prince and his sister. Phrixus and Helle climbed onto the Golden Ram's back, and the three of them began flying away from the kingdom at a godly speed. The demigods tried to hold on to the Ram's horns at tightly as they could, as Aries embarked crossing the entirety of the Black Sea to get the children to safety.

Just as they were about to reach land, disaster fell upon one of the twins.

In a moment distraction, Princess Helle lost her grip on the flying ram's horn, falling a great distance to where the ocean met the land. Though she was a demigoddess, Helle was still mortal - and her great fall was sadly fatal. The fallen twin crossed the veil, where she was accepted by the Ocean God, Poseidon (Neptune). He named that part of the ocean Hellespont, in honor of the demigoddess.

The runaway Prince had no time to process his sister's death. In order to survive, his focus had to remain fixed solely on his grip of Aries' horn.

In that moment, something shifted within Phrixus, as primary concern became his own survival. This shift awakened a warrior within him.

Filled with a newfound animal-like rage that seemed to strengthen him, Prince Phrixus grip on the ram's horn tightened long enough to cross the remainder of the Black Sea. Landing in the ancient kingdom of Colchis, the prince reveled in his survival.

As the epic escape was unfolding on earth, in Olympus, Nephele was informing The Gods of Queen Ino's devious plan, and how she sent Aries to rescue her children. The Gods watched, first in horror as Helle fell to her doom. Then, in celebration as they witnessed Phrixus' survival. Zeus, King Olympus, was very impressed by the runaway-prince's bravery, and chose to reward the demigod. The God of Thunder granted Phrixus good fortune, in his travels and endeavors through the foreign kingdom.

Receiving this blessing from the Gods, the runaway prince soon-after encountered the ruler of the new and unfamiliar kingdom. The King of Colchis was a jubilant monarch, named Aeetes. He was delighted to meet Phrixus, and very curious to hear the traveler's story. After the demigod told his tale, King Aeetes joyously informed Phrixus that he was a demigod as well - a son of Helios the Sun God. Seeing this divine coincidence as a blessing, the King chose to grant the runaway prince passage to his kingdom. Not only was Phrixus given shelter and refuge, the generous king also chose to offer the prince his daughter's hand in marriage. Aeetes declared that a demigod prince as courageous as Phrixus was deserving of his only daughter, Princess Chalciope.

Phrixus accepted the magnanimous king's offer,

And thus having survived the deadly attempt on his life, the demigod son was re-born as a prince - an heir to a throne once more.

Out of gratitude for The Gods & the benevolent King Aeetes' blessings, Prince Phrixus sacrificed Aries to the king of the gods, Zeus. He then gifted the Golden Ram's fleece to his new King.

Meanwhile, back in Boeotia, King Athemas and Queen Ino had fallen deeply out of The Gods' graces. Both, the foolish king, and the covetous queen, would eventually receive the retribution they deserved for their malevolent acts.

[But this story isn't about them, so I'll save the gory details for another time.]

This is the Aries legend about Phrixus, the demigod who survived an extraordinarily-wicked attempt on his life. The spring equinoxal re-birth of the Prince of the Zodiac. In his new home of Colchis, with his benefic king, and his new princess-bride. All would be well in his kingdom from then on.

And that, my Astro-babes, is how Aries the Ram gained his symbolism...

Join me next time as I further explore


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