I’m always interested in how obvious a person’s Sun sign can be — not from how they look but from how they are. So I wondered how philosophers’ Sun sign might show up. This is going to be an occasional series but clearly, it was right to start with Aries.
Aries learns best through direct experience — not through books or lessons. So when Aries, working well, can be more authentic and pure than the rest of us. But we all benefit when Aries passes on what they have learned.
When I began thinking about this series, I thought about Aries and how you would tackle it. You would start from the one thing you are absolutely certain about, yourself, and build from there, and then I thought, “That reminds me of the French philosopher René Descartes’ aphorism, “I think therefore I am”. I bet he was an Aries.” So I looked him up and found that, indeed, the father of modern philosophy was born under the sign of the Ram — indeed he has a massive stellium in Aries.
“I entirely abandoned the study of letters. Resolving to seek no knowledge other than that of which could be found in myself or else in the great book of the world, I spent the rest of my youth traveling, visiting courts and armies, mixing with people of diverse temperaments and ranks, gathering various experiences, testing myself in the situations which fortune offered me, and at all times reflecting upon whatever came my way so as to derive some profit from it.”
Every Aries should take note of this, because this is a true and powerful way to live out the energy of your Sun. Your life is an adventure and you are the hero.
Rene Descartes, was a self-taught genius whose work “First Principles in Philosophy” is the foundation stone of modern western thought, taught in philosophy 101 across the world. His influence in the study of mathematics is equally important. Do you remember plotting x and y co-ordinates on graphs and turning those into algebraic equations? That was Descartes fault too.
But it’s really his revolutionary and vital philosophy which interests me.
You need to remember that before Descartes, philosophers were inclined to bookish arguments over texts and their interpretation. Ancient writers such as Artistotle were read as if they were absolutely true. They discussed the Bible, the Greeks, the Romans — but rarely did they have a good response to the most basic questions — for example: how do I know what’s true? Or how do I know I exist?
In his famous Discourse on the Method, Descartes explains his sceptical thinking process. He is sitting by the fire, pondering the existence of God and he realises through logic that everything he thinks he knows, he can doubt, including the existence of himself and of God. After all, a demon could be making him think these thoughts.
Eventually, he realises that the only thing he really knows for certain is that he is thinking. And so he overturned 2000 years of philosophy by sitting by his fire one night and distilling his thinking down to one point.
His logic owes something to that methodical Taurus Moon-Venus and his critical thinking to the Saturn in Virgo, but his distillation of the argument, his use of his own self rather than referring to other people and his courage in disagreeing with everyone else are pure Aries.