The Wheel of the Year turns again. The seeds concealed in the womb of Mother Earth open themselves to the light. The burning fire of the new life pushes up, fighting against the weight of the earth still asleep. And as Nature awakens from its rest, so does the world of our senses.
The heat of the Sun filters through the clothes, in contrast to the winter wind that hasn’t left us yet. The bright light of Spring hurts our gaze, which still has to get used to the new season. And sometimes we come across some unexpected scent that calls us back to the present moment.
Nature begins to exhale its spiritual forces outwards. Enraptured by this flow we follow it blindly, attracted by the senses delights. From the inside out, everything starts moving again.
The cycle restarts. And with it, so does our journey through the Zodiac Virtues. With Aries, we get back to the first one: Devotion.
Usually, we find this word used in religious contexts. And when we approach a spiritual path we don’t really like using it that much. In fact there’s a difference between being religious and being spiritual.
Spirituality is a practice we choose to undertake. On the contrary, most of the times religion is part of our tradition. We don’t choose it. At least, not at the beginning. We met it when we were young, and we were asked to believe in it. That’s why we identify Devotion with religion so easily. Simply because it was first place we were introduced to the concept.
This identification can be so strong for some people that it might be difficult to separate the two later on. This is what we are trying to do with this post. We are trying to look at Devotion not as a religious practice. But as a strength that we can cultivate within, as part of a spiritual practice.
Devotion becomes Power of Sacrifice
“If we do not develop within ourselves this deeply rooted feeling that there is something higher than ourselves, we shall never find the strength to evolve to something higher”
— Rudolf Steiner, Knowledge of the Higher Worlds
It would be a shame to throw the baby out with the bath water. Devotion is not a prerogative of religions. It’s true, nowadays they might not respond anymore to the spiritual needs of most people in western countries. Nevertheless, the practice itself of Devotion is a virtue. And it can still help us strengthening the Soul to face the challenges we encounter in life better.
Astrologically speaking, we can understand Devotion by looking at the relationship between Mars and the Sun. This because in Aries, they are both dignified, as we say in astrology. Not only they are very strong here, but they can also express themselves at their best.
Mars is the Warrior Archetype. He is a fighter who eagerly needs to prove his worth. In Aries we say he is in his domicile.
The Sun corresponds to the King Archetype. He has already won, and he doesn’t need to prove anything to anyone. He is the best, the winning star. In Aries, we say he is in exaltation, which means that he is in a zodiac sign that brings out its best qualities.
Here, Mars is looking up to the Sun full of admiration. This because it represents everything Mars wants to become. The King Archetype in fact is the natural evolution of the Warrior Archetype.
Now that we have outlined both planets, let’s consider the elemental component as well. Being Aries a Fire sign, we can add this element to our reasoning. What we get is a burning devotion for something higher than us. In this way, our devotion becomes fuel for the Soul and its enlightenment.
It doesn’t necessarily has to be Devotion for someone. The Sun is a living representation of everything we hold in high regard. It could be a person, such as a teacher. But it might also be an ideal, or a concept. Rudolf Steiner for example talked about Devotion for the Truth and for Knowledge, not for people.
The Power of Sacrifice
We are all going to have a different way of looking at Devotion and interpreting it. This not only is normal, but also desirable. In fact we should be free to understand, process and adjust the indications coming from the spiritual teachers according to our individual nature. For this reason take these articles about the Zodiac Virtues just as a perspective on the matter.
Once we have developed this virtue for long enough, this impulse transforms. A burning Devotion for something higher gives us the strength to sacrifice for it. But not like crazy fanatics, not at all. Alike the term Devotion, Sacrifice is another misleading word which can be misunderstood just as easily.
Usually, we think about sacrifice as a kind of deprivation. And it sure comes with that part, too. We can’t deny it. But the term itself also means something else. It comes from the latin word “sacrificium“, a combination of the words “sacer facere” which mean “to make something sacred”.
When something becomes sacred, it’s not mundane or profane. It’s not normal or common anymore. It is something in touch with spiritual beings and realities.
This is the Power of Sacrifice. The power of getting in touch with something higher than us, and ultimately to become like it. Yes, in order to do it we will have to renounce something. But after all, aren’t we giving up the comforts of being cared for when we enter adult life? And don’t we gain our freedom in this way too? We should consider both sides of the coin.
The Aries-Lamb as a symbol of Sacrifice
In a previous article we talked about the chart of the new astrological year. There we saw how the Sun in Aries, in conjunction with Venus in Pisces, tuned in with the forces of Magnanimity and Love (the virtues of Pisces).
It’s almost like witnessing at the two virtues exchanging the baton, passing it from one sign to the other. With Venus representing Love and Magnanimity, and the Sun the power of Sacrifice. Isn’t it beautiful?
And if the power of overflowing Love shines on other people to help them, the power of Sacrifice goes even beyond that. In Abrahamic religions the lamb was the typical sacrificial animal. Due to its purity and innocence, its sacrifice had the power to restore the lost connection with the divine.
In Astrology the lamb corresponds to the ram, the Aries, in its purest form. White is the color of purity itself, and being a defenseless creature it was also the symbol of perfect innocence. Of course later on this symbol was assigned to the Christ, the Lamb of God, meaning that his sacrifice restored the broken link between mankind and the divinity.
For this reason it makes perfect sense in the western spiritual tradition to see Aries associated with the power of Sacrifice. Thanks for reading, as always if you enjoyed this article please subscribe to the Astronomicon Newsletter with the bar at the top of the website to receive weekly updates. Have a good week!
I consider myself a free researcher in western spiritual disciplines, in particular Rudolf Steiner’s Anthroposophy and the Neoplatonic Hermetic tradition. I have a three-year training in Astrology at the CIDA delegation of Trieste, the Italian Center for Astrological Disciplines. I graduated in Computer Engineering from the University of Trieste.