IS IT NOT SURPRISING that the birthday of each of the following Four occurs under a single zodiacal sign: Aries, the sign of Mars, God of War?
Richard Dawkins - March 26, 1941
Daniel Dennett - March 28, 1942
Christopher Hitchens - April 13, 1949
Sam Harris - April 9, 1967
In the ravings of St. John the Divine the quadriga-drawn chariot of Mars Victorious is transformed. Classical gods are overthrown and the four horses are individualized: white, red, black and pale. Each receives its own rider, but the entire figure turns from glory to destruction. The riders bring not victory but horror: sword, bow, famine, pestilence, savagery, chaos and death. This ghastly archetype, the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, has been revived in the media-friendly crew known as the Four Horsemen of some sort of Atheism . . . new, militant, apocalyptic, even.
The chances of any four random individuals being born under the same sign of the zodiac are about seventeen hundred to one against. Skeptics are quick to point out that seemingly improbable things happen all the time. But the traditional association of Aries with bellicosity is too apt ignore. A crumb of possible meaning suggests the coincidence is not entirely without cause. Moreover, the traditional astrological association of Aries with things martial can be upheld.
No need to dwell again on Christopher Hitchens’ drunken belligerence. Richard Dawkins, for the Observer, is ”above all, an intellectual pugilist,” while in the Spectator,
“to be Dawkinsed . . . is to be squelched, pulverized, annihilated, rendered into suitably primordial paste.”Tales of the less flamboyant Daniel Dennett’s contentiousness have been scrubbed from the Internet; his newest book is an image changer about how to argue nicely. Still, Dennett’s name remains a sock puppet for anonymous atheists too spittingly angry to use real names.
Sam Harris, chin out the farthest, is a martial artist, who left this impression on an interviewer last year in an article titled “The Atheist who Strangled Me”: “Harris thinks about violence more than almost anyone else I have ever met.” (It’s worth mentioning that the interviewer, Graeme Wood, has been covering the mid-east on the ground for a decade, and presumably has met some violent people.)
As distinguished from peaceable freethinking, the militant or crusading faction of ‘new’ atheism construes God as the personification, and religion the institutionalization, of simple, demonstrable lies: evil antagonists who must be defied and exposed. The association of the Horsemen with the Ram and Mars spotlights their aggression; but more pertinently, their Islamophobia, which was recently challenged by Glenn Greenwald: “That is the hallmark of this New Atheist movement: exploiting rational atheism to support and glorify US state power and aggression; they have become a prime source for pseudo-intellectual justification of US government conduct.”
With respect to Harris and his supporters Greenwald wrote: “I can say that I haven't encountered such religious-type fervor and jingoistic and tribalistic self-love (My Side is superior to Theirs!!) in quite a long time.”
Salon’s recent “Confessions of a Secret Muslim” by Sarah Harvard was chilling reading. Ten-year-olds are being taught the preposterous and medieval notion that one quarter of the world’s population worships evil, and many educated adults agree, well-supplied with arguments by the Horsemen. Casual bigotry is sufficiently widespread now that American Muslims who can ‘pass’ do so, out of fear. The potent polemic against Islam coming from militant atheism serves this situation well. That four Aries natives galloped to the leadership is an alarm bell, because Aries natives have played a leading role in the history of modern violence.
As rainbows only occur under special circumstances on special occasions, so the role of Aries natives in generating a discourse of violence is now, thanks to the Four Horsemen, a special vantage point from which even those who are resistant to the idea may catch a glimpse of astrological meaning.
ARIES POLITICAL: HUGO GROTIUS AND THOMAS HOBBES
Monuments in the history of violence show up Aries. Hugo Grotius, ‘the father of international law’, one of modernity’s foundational thinkers, created the still current intellectual and juridical justification for war. Grotius’ intention was to limit the savagery of the battlefield, so he formalized what had previously been helter-skelter, and designed the system that gave Europe more polite and efficient battlefields, in his 1625 rulebook for monarchs and generals: De Jure Belli ac Pacis. For centuries hundreds of thousands slaughtered each other under Grotius' administrative program.
Grotius' contemporary Thomas Hobbes, the atheist Monster of Malmesbury, proposed that people are entirely motivated by self-interest and fear of violence and death, natural enemies in continual “warre of all against all” unless controlled by powerful authority. In the absence of God there can be no foundation for ethics, so might is necessarily right, there being no other candidate left standing.
Hobbes dwelled on early humanity’s barbarism with the unforgettable phrase: “nasty, brutish and short”. He effectively placed an image of the cave-man as the starting point for thinking about human society.
The seventeenth century Englishman was the first to distill the themes of egoism, violence and authority central to modern political philosophy, and to explain that the world is rightfully ruled by despots. Called 'menacingly terse', Hobbes is the model of the intellectual bully. As John Farrell puts it: "Hobbes is one of the style-setters of paranoid modernity . . . His ironic empiricism and satirically reductive materialism were to become central instruments in the arsenal of the modern, perennially available for deployment against idealistic opponents whenever they might emerge."
The paranoia referred to above is not to be overlooked. Aries is the first sign; the infant of the zodiac, and in the clutches of the primitive fight-or-flight reaction. It is a truism that the habit of violence is essentially defensive, that bullying hides insecurity. In Aries the process of secure identity formation is only just begun. Aries’ is haunted by unmediated contact with pre-natal nothingness which makes fear a constant presence, and troubles its relations with the ‘irrational', the ‘feminine’, the 'Other'. Hobbes' mother went into premature labor in alarm of the approaching Spanish Armada. At the age of 84 he wrote in a verse autobiography that:
“ . . . my Mother Dear / Did bring forth Twins at once, both Me, and Fear.”Aries frequently identify themselves with their perinatal traumas. The atheist Samuel Beckett recalled from within the womb attempts to abort him with a wire hanger. No sign has a more piercing sense of the abyss. The notoriously abrasive geneticist James Watson admitted, "I panic at voids."
ARIES AND AUTHORITARIANISM: GERMANY AND RUSSIA
Roman astrologers related the barbarians of northern Europe to Aries. Otto von Bismarck, the man of ‘iron and blood’, the icon of Germanic militarism, was an Aries. So was Ernst Junger, the World War I soldier who wrote two paeans to war as mystical experience, “Storm of Steel” and “Fire and Blood,” both of them bibles of the Hitler Youth movement. Junger also published seven volumes of WWI photography (much of it taken by himself) that contributed to the resurgence of militarism. Ironically, he was anti-Nazi. He continued, throughout his long career under several regimes, to write passionately about war, and died in 1998 at the age of 103, a revered symbol of Germanity.
Regarding Mr. Hitler, the Fuhrer was born exactly on the cusp of Aries and Taurus, so neither sign can be held fully to blame. Emphatically an Aries, though, was the man sometimes honored with the title ‘father of fascism’, Joseph de Maistre, who wrote “Ever since I could think, I have thought of war”. He held a stark view of the violence at humanity’s core, and wrote:
“Man is insatiable for power; he is infantile in his desires and, always discontented with what he has, loves only what he has not. . . . . We are all born despots, from the most absolute monarch in Asia to the infant who smothers a bird with its hand for the pleasure of seeing that there exists in the world a being weaker than itself.”A friend of de Maistre commented: “For him, one deed alone was constant in the history of the universe: the shedding of human blood. He would often wake up in a mood for revenge, with his sword drawn. Then fury would seize him and he would wish to destroy everything.” Yet de Maistre was also an “immensely amiable” diplomat and courtier. More recently Christopher Hitchens proudly said he awoke every morning angry and looking for a fight; and yet many can be found to describe him as rather charming.
Aries lit the torch of modern authoritarian excesses. Vladimir Ilych Lenin (born April 10, NS) invented organized mass violence. According to the scholar Joan Witte, Lenin “evinced an addiction to violence that caused him to overlook or foreclose other, less radical, political methods for accomplishing his goals.” (Terrorism & Political Violence, 1993). He also set in motion the USSR’s merciless League of Militant Godless. The only other Soviet leader born under Aries, Nikita Khrushchev, is immediately recalled banging his shoe on the podium at the United Nations.
ARIES ONTOLOGICAL: I AM !
By whose ancient decision was Aries made the first sign? To punctuate with a Beginning the seamless nirvana of night's celestial circle was a fiat of early homo sapiens, as the emerging neuro-visual, geometrical and phantasmal competencies co-evolved. The introduction of a mathematical starting point into the infinitesimal fluidity of the circle may be taken for the primal shared Thought that initiated the development of cultural reality; and the constellations, crystalline totemic projections around which the human umwelt was precipitated. Why shouldn't our humanly constructed existence bear indistinct residues of these formative visions?
From a modern, personalist application of astrological metaphors, Aries bears the idea of the birth of the Self, the coming into being of the conscious Subject. Aries is branded with the ontological dilemma of origin, is immediately the 'barred Subject" pursued relentlessly by Aries psychologist Jacques Lacan. The relationship of Aries to war declares that every true birth is an emergency, involving phallic violence.
The infant comes naked and with the passionate energy of newly discovered self-hood it clothes itself in individuality, to make the most of its unique, unshareable position in space-time. The Aries-born always stays close to that need. A frantic creativity picks up the instrument, or weapon, nearest-to-hand. Aries is clear and distinct, never bland, often noisy, needing to act and be heard to know itself. The terror of regression, of being dragged back into non-being, the imprisoning but alluring maternal womb, fuels a tactic of pre-emptive aggression with pre-rational force. No sign is quicker to ‘cry havoc and let slip the dogs of war’.
RENÉ DESCARTES' THUMPING FIST
Aries is branded with the motto “I am”. And here comes perhaps rationalist modernity’s foundational philosopher, Rene Descartes, born March 31, 1596, with his reverberating motto: “I think, therefore, I am!” Some call it the birth cry of modernity. As Aries is the origin of the Zodiac, so all the natives of the sign carry reverberations of the originating Big Bang and the infant’s scream. Paul Valery called the cogito “a fist coming down on a table" and "the explosion of an act, a shattering blow . . . an appeal to [Descartes’] essential egotism . . . the clarion call to his pride and the resources of his being.”
We might also call the cogito a great “performative” utterance, rather than a logical one, with a nod to the Speech-Act philosophy of J. L. Austin. Or we could liken the cogito to the heroic sword that cut the Gordian knot of pre-scientific obfuscation.
A study titled “The Quest for Power: Hobbes, Descartes and the Emergence of Modernity” dwells on this formulation. It was Descartes’ project to harness rationality, to make it a reigning force. For Hobbes might makes right. The two converge like the point of a knife in Sam Harris’ remark to Graeme Wood:
‘I’ve had debates where it’s absolutely clear to me that my opponent has to tap out. . . They are wrong—just as demonstrably as you’re wrong when you’re being choked to death in a triangle choke.’Grotius’ armies take formation on the plane of Cartesian coordinates. Cartesian science is fueled by the arms race. Descartes himself was forceful. He carried a memorable silver foil and used it. He appears in Frans Hals’ famous portrait a rakish, low-browed swashbuckler. His story contains several D’Artagnan-like adventures — he crossed swords on the Orleans road, he disarmed Freisian bandits on a ferry. Famously touchy, he feuded by correspondence with many of the major minds of his period, and turned on friends inexplicably. In fact, according to one biographer he ”fought with almost everyone he encountered.” Witty Thomas De Quincey imagined Rene’s enemies “spitted like larks upon a Cartesian sword.”
For no discernible political reason he chased across Europe to volunteer at major battles. Descartes launched the modern technological project “to render ourselves the masters and possessors of nature”. The development of munitions generally lead the way. The battlefield was the laboratory of early mathematical physics and mechanics. Descartes’ mathematics and physics of motion and force enabled the missiles and rockets to Werner von Braun and beyond.
His absolutist conception of truth and knowledge presaged a world ruled by Science, a rational authoritarianism where (in Paul Valery’s words) “the word Knowledge is increasingly denied to anything that cannot be put into figures.” He invented triangle-choke Reason. (Though forthright in his rationalism, he was coy about his atheism. Both Hobbes and Pascal called him on that hypocrisy, from opposite sides of the fence.)
He compared the attainment of knowledge to a battle and intended his philosophy to clear the field for armies of laboratory workers to come, salaried, he advised, so they would follow orders and not ask time-consuming questions (technical? moral?). He warned against spending more than “a few hours a year” on philosophy, which draws “the mind too far away from physical and observable things, and make it unfit to study them.” He disdained books! Though it was in the womb-like space that he called 'a stove' (une poele) that he dreamed his famous three dreams presaging modernity, it was also in the midst of a tumultuous military action.
The mobilization of reason, the rationalization and implementation of power, energy, heat and light, these are the materiel of the Aries campaign, not carefully weighed analysis or well-digested historical experience. Following the powerful start-up given by Descartes and Hobbes philosophy needed no more of Aries for 250 years (until neo-Cartesian Edmund Husserl attempted a new version of the Subject), but mechanical physics continued to develop to Descartes’ plan: Christian Huygens (the wave theory of light), Leonhard Euler, (the Euler identity, which is the cogito in mathematical terms), Pierre-Simon Laplace (who discovered velocity potential and murmured atheism into Napoleon’s ear, while serving as ballistics engineer), Joseph Fourier (the theory of heat); including Descartes, these five Aries arguably belong among the top dozen early physicists. That is remarkable.
Descartes, one of the first methodical vivisectors, was up to his elbows in blood, purposely living near slaughterhouses to further his anatomical studies, plunging his arm into the open chest cavities of living animals, rabbits and dogs, measuring pulsations along the aorta with his bare hands. "I have spent much time on dissection during the last eleven years, and I doubt whether there is any doctor who has made such detailed observations as I.” His conviction that animals are machines enabled him to torture them with an ease that shocked his time. It was said that the test of his followers was “whether they would kick their dogs”. Even now, in the nursing profession, ‘Cartesian’ means lacking compassion.
Descartes was in communication and competition with William Harvey in pursuit of the solution to the problem of the heart and the circulation of blood; Harvey got there first. Harvey was also an Aries hothead, “very cholerique; and in his young days … would be too apt to draw out his dagger upon every slight occasion.” (see Aubrey’s Brief Lives.) The profound relationship between blood and iron, Mars' metal, is worth noting: chemically iron is blood's quintessential element, the source of its red color. The most renowned doctor of the 19th century, the great surgeon Joseph Lister, said to have amputated over three thousand limbs, was an Aries.
Hobbes’ violent state of ‘original’ nature prefigures Dawkins’s ‘selfish’ genetic determinism. Analogously, Descartes’ discovery/invention of the Subject, the ‘I’ who thinks and is the only indubitable existent, underlies the current neurophilosophy of mind and consciousness, of the meat/brain mind and mind-in-vat consciousness, dominated by Horseman Daniel Dennett, and David Chalmers, another Aries-born philosopher (and sometime performance artist). It might be mentioned here that as the first sign, Aries has a particular relationship to the head and brain.
Dennett and Chalmers claim much of the attention in their field because of their use of the popular figure of the zombie. For some reason a pursuit as abstract as philosophy of mind leads us back to an epitome of violence and terror. Hobbes, in the very first sentences of Leviathan, raised the hypothetical specters of ‘Artificial Animal’, ‘Automata’, and ‘artificiall life’. Descartes was rumored to travel with a mechanical daughter identical to his dead child. (Until, during a stretch of bad weather, the Captain threw the cursed thing overboard.) The Zombie is the reductio ad absurdum or Jungian shadow that haunts Cartesian rational materialism.
Like the creepy replicant genes of Dawkins, a pre-human vitalism, activity without soul, unthinking energy, and primitive animism propel the Aries process. Aries philosophers as dissimilar as Dennett and Edmund Husserl both entertain quasi-vitalistic concepts with the very same terminology: emergentism and intentionality.
OTHER RECENT MILITANT ATHEISTS UNDER ARIES
Let’s return to the Aries milieu of the Four Horsemen: when Christopher Hitchens fell in battle in 2011, contentious Aries-born philosopher A. C. Grayling had already been tagged ‘Fifth Horseman’. Grayling has atheist and combat credentials: his heroic tirades “Against All Gods” and “The God Argument”, as well as distinctive studies in belligerence: “The Quarrel of the Age”, a biography of the vivid 19th century Aries atheist William Hazlitt (whose chef d'oeuvre is the boxing classic The Fight); and the deeply serious “Among the Dead Cities: The History and Moral Legacy of the WWII Bombing of Civilians in Germany and Japan”.
Grayling is a feisty controversialist in his newspaper column, and, as First Master of New College of the Humanities, where both Dawkins and Dennett are on faculty, a much-attacked intellectual entrepreneur. As if to reconstitute an Aries Gang of Four, Grayling’s other celebrity appointment to the New College faculty is the gloriously pugnacious war historian Niall Ferguson, b. April 18, 1964.
The godmother, the fiery Amazon among this angry posse is Madalyn Murray O’Hair, the infamous battle-ax, also an Aries and perhaps the first modern media atheist. A sociopath by any standard, she brutalized her family and embezzled her followers. She enjoyed employing ex-convicts, especially murderers, one of whom hacked her to bloody bits along with her son and grand-daughter, in 1995. An atheist martyr, perhaps.
Aries provides us an atheist who was literally a fighter: Jack Johnson, World Heavyweight Champion from 1908 to 1915, who was the first African-American to win the title, shortlisted for ‘greatest boxer ever’. Johnson notoriously disrupting religious services in the South, seizing the pulpit to denounce the church’s domination over black people’s lives. A brawler outside the ring, h defiantly dated under-aged white women, and pummeled the “Great White Hope” in 1913, triggering the first nation-wide outbreak of race riots. (Similarly, Rodney King triggered the 1992 race riots, and later did celebrity boxing matches, an Aries violence magnet.)
Although macho Aries actors have taken many great boxing roles, we find no more Aries among the supreme pugilists (although I haven't checked the lighter weighs, and Aries tend to be compact). It is as if Aries excels in the talk and the representation of violence, the strength of intimidation and threat, rather than the thing itself. And the swagger, as heard on boxing.com/forum.
Of course, you can be an atheist without taking on all comers: most of us are. And Aries natives are not all fated to violence, though they may bear a few more scars than some. The domesticated, modern Ram is lively, active, direct, rarely timid and altogether commendable when self-regulated. As criminals, they’re usually too impulsive to avoid jail, as this study of 2011 arrests in Ontario indicates:
There's an outstandingly cousinage of violent major poets born under Aries. Charles Baudelaire, Algernon Swinburne and Paul Verlaine all brandished shocking blasphemies as part of a principled assault on conventional values. Baudelaire was an ardent reader of de Maistre; both took the hangman to be the world’s true ruler. Swinburne was an ardent sado-masochist, obsessed with whipping and caning, but it was because of his outspoken atheism that he was denied the Poet Laureateship. Verlaine famously shot Rimbaud in the hand. He also physically assaulted his mother. The young dadaist Isidore Ducasse, Comte de Lautreamont, author of Maldoror, can be added to this group. All extended atheism in the direction of Satanism, for rhetorical effect. (So also atheist/satanist Anton LaVay was an Aries, with no supernatural beliefs, but quite violent.)
THE SWORD AND THE PHALLUS
Commenting recently on the web, Maggie-from-Morristown expressed one popular take-away on Cartesian violence: “Never forget that at Descartes’ feet we can lay the blame for the human/nature disconnect that has resulted in the general rape of the land, pollution of the oceans, horrific treatment of (other) animals, and a general derailing of the human's consciousness of his/her relation to the earth and everything else in it.”
The operative term there is ‘rape’. The symbolic identification of sword and phallus is longstanding. Among the egregiously phallocentric Aries we have: Pietro Aretino, the great Renaissance pornographer/adventurer; John Wilmot, Earl of Rochester, the obscene Restoration poet and, according to Grayling, “harvester of maidenheads”. (Continually drunk for a decade, Rochester committed two my-bads, boxing a man’s ear in front of the King, and trashing the King’s fabulous glass astronomical models, for fun); Giacomo Casanova, celebrated seducer; Wilhelm Reich, the Freudian who proposed great orgasms as a panacea; Jacques Lacan, notorious seducer and phallosopher; Hugh Hefner, Marlon Brando, Warren Beatty and many other front liners in the battle against sexual repression.
But if anyone takes the prize for combining priapism and violence (and perhaps zombism as well), that would surely be the Aries Henri-Desire Landru, who wedded, bedded and murdered at least ten women, hacked them to pieces and incinerated them in a (Cartesian?) stove which, during his trial, fascinated the public. Landru’s chart had fully five of the ten astrological bodies, including both Sun and Moon, in Aries, ‘afflicted’, needless to say. Another famous Aries, that harvester of maidenheads Charlie Chaplin, himself the child of a lunatic mother, was in private life, a recent biography reveals, an explosive tyrant. ‘The violence of his anger was always so out of proportion to the object that had stirred him that I couldn’t help being frightened of it,’ said one of his sons. Two of his most acute creations were Landru (M. Verdoux) and Hitler. Hitler screened The Great Dictator twice. Lenin said that Chaplin was the only person he wanted to meet.
Dropping from high culture to low (in astrology’s disarming way): Take note the run of Aries natives who popularly represent life-philosophies centered on combat and force: Eugene Sandow, the first bodybuilder; kung-fu master Jackie Chan, black-belt Steven Seagal, 'Gladiator' Russell Crowe, 'Iron Man' Robert Downey Jr, Amazon warrior Lucy Lawless, eternal samurai Toshiro Mifune as well as Akiru Kurasawa who made the samurai movies in which Mifune appeared. Mayhem-meister Quentin Tarantino put out: "Violence is one of the most fun things to watch."
The philosopher, John Gray, is an Aries, and an atheist, but too sophisticated and independent to join the Horsemen. In fact he is their mordant critic. But his Aries metal gleams; he is a Hobbesian for whom humans are “weapon-making animals with an unquenchable fondness for killing”. At Wikipedia: “Gray sees volition, and hence morality, as an illusion, and portrays humanity as a ravenous species engaged in wiping out other forms of life.”
Recently Gray grappled horns with his always overheated fellow Aries Slavoj Zizek over the subject of Zizek’s 2008 book, “Violence: Six Sideways Reflections”. Flirting with the terrible glamor of violence, Zizek inflates the meaning of the word to include metaphorical violence, metaphysical violence, systemic, capitalist, objective, subjective, divine violence, etc, suggesting that revolutionary bloodshed is merely one, perhaps salutary or necessary or even minor manifestation of the order of violence in which we exist.
I haven’t come to a decision on atheism. There’s so much to read. Really, I find astrology mysterious enough; God is way beyond me. But the Horsemen and their devoted fanboys are such disagreeable, self-satisfied dogmatists, and invariably skeptics to boot, deploying their Hobbesian clubs "against idealistic opponents whenever they might emerge". All of them continually subject astrology to knee-jerk abuse. I’m forced to take my advantage when it presents itself, as now. I could not allow the remarkable trifecta of four Horsemen’s birthdays under Aries go unnoticed or unintelligible.
In the atheist/skeptic community the very term "astrology" is synonymous with "nonsense". What I present here is purely empirical, but evades statistical analysis, calls upon our subjective everyday freedom to weigh probability and seek causes, a contemplative rather than active occupation, and not for everyone.
Some like to imagine that occult influences have played a dark role in history. I don’t know about that, but it appears that a cabal of Aries types, a cultus devoted to Mars, is beating drums, which should alert us to simplistic thinking about the Other, wherever we hear it. No matter how convincingly Aries may argue that primitive force is unanswerable, the civilizing Zodiac eternally offers, in principle, fully eleven further successive stages of development to acknowledge . . . . so long as Aries swords are kept sheathed.
I regret that my polemic/didactic brief has made it impossible to also be fair to the diversity of Aries temperaments and accomplishments. The above is a very a one-sided picture of Aries, a sign which is often courageous, creative and inspiring. We can see the best of Aries in the fact that for several generations most of the important orchestral conductors were born under Aries: authoritarians, yes, but in the service of beauty. Aries has provided radiant teachers, preachers, activists and saints: St. Teresa of Avila (March 28, 1515) for one. Aries’ contributions to music and poetry have been all too briefly mentioned. Aries has given us vivid and important personalities, from Thomas Jefferson to Gloria Steinem, J. S. Bach, for goodness sake! and passionate defenders Emile Zola (“I am here to live aloud!”) and Clarence Darrow (two more battling atheists, come to think of it) and the flaming Vincent van Gogh (“There is only a constantly being born again . . . a constant going from darkness into light.”) and Bette Davis, Joan Crawford and Lady Gaga. Let the terms Energy and Bravado counteract the pall cast by Violence on the Aries reputation.
GOD BLESS THE CHILD
The infant’s wail can be heard in the raw pain of the blues, in an astonishing run of Aries greatness: Bessie Smith, Billie Holiday, Sarah Vaughan, Pearl Bailey, Alberta Hunter, Aretha Franklin, Diana Ross, Mariah Carey, cry out and are self-born from the mixed oblivions of slavery, blackness and femaleness. Maya Angelou, a singer as well as a writer, gave this theme a name: “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings”. We are still talking of violence, the receiving side of violence and rape. The sacrificial lamb is the other side of the Ram’s dual symbolism. Some of the women above were tough as nails, though, particularly Bessie Smith, a six-foot alcoholic bruiser of legendary fearsomeness. Nor is this wail limited by gender: even Muddy Waters was an Aries.
Some happier instances of Aries are at astrodreamer.squarespace.com/blog/category/aries and there's more on astrology and philosophy elsewhere here at philosophical-investigations.org I’ve also published pieces on poets Elizabeth Bishop, Anthony Hecht and James Tate on http://blog.bestamericanpoetry.com/the_best_american_poetry/astrological_profiles/