"Of the four seasons of the year, spring, summer, autumn, and winter, spring exceeds in moisture on account of its diffusion after the cold has passed and warmth is setting in; the summer, in heat, because of the nearness of the sun to the zenith; autumn more in dryness, because of the sucking up of the moisture during the hot season just past; and winter exceeds in cold, because the sun is farthest away from the zenith. For this reason, although there is no natural beginning of the zodiac, since it is a circle, they assume that the sign which begins with the vernal equinox, that of Aries, is the starting point of them all ..." (Claudius Ptolemy, "Tetrabiblos")
The natal chart of Creation, Thema Mundi, is probably the most ancient of all astrological hypotheses, very consistent in its structure, established over a long period of time and accepted by the oldest authorities in astrology like Firmicus, Paulus Alexandrinus, Macrobius. Regarding this eternal controversy about which point of the ecliptic should be taken as a starting point, Macrobius said:
“They say, when that particular day began, which was the first of them all and thus properly named the birthday of the world, Aries was in zenith and since zenith is, as it always was, the apex of the sky (mundane meridian in the Sun’s primary motion) so Aries was likewise considered the first among them, the one representing the forehead of the world when the light was born. And they state the reason why these 12 signs were assigned to the powers of various gods. For, they say that in that particular diagram of the world, while Aries, as we said, was occupying zenith, the sign of the horoscopos (Ascendant) of the world being born was Cancer, embracing the Moon. The Sun was ascending next with Leo, Mercury with Virgo, Venus with Libra, Mars was in Scorpio, Jupiter in Sagittarius, and Saturn was wandering in Capricorn. Thus it came about that they said for each of these to be the lord of that particular sign which it was believed to had been occupying when the world was being born. The ancients assigned to the lights only the signs, one to each of them, which they then occupied, Leo to the Sun, and Cancer to the Moon. Beside these, to the remaining five stars however, alongside the signs they occupied, the ancients added another five so they may start a new sequence at the end of the first. We said earlier that Saturn, as the last of them all, was in Capricorn, so the second division put the formerly last one in the first place and Aquarius, following Capricorn, was also given to Saturn. To Jupiter, which preceded him, Pisces were assigned...”
The problem regarding the starting point of the zodiac is as old as the zodiac itself. It was not only Ptolemy who pointed out the relativity of this rule, but also the astrologers before and after his time. So for instance Rhetorius, the astrologer living at the end of the 5th century AD highlights the fact that even after its thousand’s years existence some astrologers still take the sign of Cancer as its starting point because this sign stood at the Ascendant of Thema Mundi, whereas others mark the initial point of the circle in the fixed sign of Leo which belongs to the Sun, the central planetary sphere. However, by far the greatest number of astrologers of old (and contemporary ones) take the Aries as the starting point of the zodiac because after passing the point of the vernal equinox, the Sun begins its transit toward masculine, northern and higher heavenly hemisphere. Following this simple astronomical fact Aries was designated as a sign of the exaltation for the biggest and visibly the most important heavenly object, the Sun. In accordance with the fact that the real astronomical year starts in spring, Aries is in its primary signification a symbol of all the beginnings, pioneer enterprises and novelties. In horary, when Aries contains a relevant significator it will symbolize just this, a new or an initial situation or circumstance. In its highest signification this sign, as a part of the cardinal quadruplicity, symbolizes the creation of all the conditions in this world, especially those which refer to sudden events. In space, it designates east and great depths in borderline areas, like depths in the eastern parts of the great waters or depths in the caves on the east slopes of the mountains, volcanic craters, etc. If a significator representing the quesited or an event occupies this part of the Zodiac, it will designate a person of a choleric temperament, very impatient and rash, of slender but muscular body, medium in height(unless the significator or the cusp of a relevant house is in a close aspect with a planet or a star of different quality), with a long face and broad forehead, and narrow, pointed chin. The eyebrows are often very prominent, as well as hair which is thick or curly. The upper part of the body is conspicuously more developed than the lower part (narrow hips). It is a sign of bestial (animal) group. The person signified primarily by this sign is rash, very quick, of a strong voice and conspicuous gesticulation, often tactless and brusque.
In other kind of significations Aries symbolizes new settlements in urban areas, new parts of the city, outskirts, unknown places. In rural areas it symbolizes small, hilly areas with pastures, pens, deserted and depopulated places distant from inhabited areas and recently ploughed land. In a house or apartment it refers to the ceiling, but also to the walls, especially those to the east and all sources of heat, stoves and fireplaces. In the questions regarding weather conditions it symbolizes moderately warm, dry and clear weather. Aries rules east, but in geographical division of Claudius Ptolemy it comprises the north-western quadrant of the inhabited world, that is, it symbolizes the British islands, France, Scandinavia, Germany and all the Slavic lands all the way to Urals and Carpathians. Outside Europe it symbolizes Syria, Palestine and Israel although this region is primarily signified by the earthly triplicity so Aries is present just as a secondary significator. In the rest of the world Aries rules all the borderlands and eastern parts of the continents. Belgrade, Naples, Florence, Verona, Utrecht, Padua, Bergamo are some of the cities under the primary rulership of this sign. Aries also signifies sharp edges and angles of all objects.
In medical questions Aries refers to the diseases in the head, problems with eyesight, epilepsy, all the diseases of the brain, migraine, toothache, the loss of hair and its weakness, problems with skin on the head. It never indicates diseases with mortal outcome, unless the main significator of the illness occupies the 1st degree of a sign referring to the 1st lunar mansion. In the dual classification of the elements Aries belongs to fire, that is, to heat and dryness.
Author: Natasa Karalic Koprivica