Planetary rulers: Mars and Venus
Natural houses: 1st/7th
The Aries/Libra axis concerns the struggle to find the balance
between autonomy and compromise, self-assertion and cooperation, respect
for the self and respect for the other. Naturally associated with the 1st/7th
houses, this is a cardinal, fire-air axis ruled by Mars and Venus, mythic
lovers and antagonists in equal measure. It describes the inherent tension
that exists in all relationships: the struggle to find a balance between
personal freedom and autonomy on the one hand, and the support, approval
and appreciation we all need from others on the other hand.
The question is, how can we be independent and focused on the achievement of our own goals, and at the same time find completion and fulfilment in our relationships? Like all apparent contradictions, this conflict can be so uncomfortable that we usually identify with one side or with the other. If this axis becomes particularly polarised, the split-off side can become so powerful that it can start to dominate our lives. For example, if we choose total independence and autonomy, we can end up feeling lonely and isolated, having nobody special in our lives to fight or strive for, and nobody with whom to share our triumphs and disappointments. Ultimately, there is no inherent meaning in being strong and independent and focused in isolation. It is much easier to gain a sense of personal fulfilment and achievement if we are fighting for a principle, such as justice, or on behalf of another person.
On the other end of the spectrum, if we choose to live solely for and through our relationships, we can end up feeling angry and resentful that we have sacrificed our self-development and independence. Say, for example, we are identified with the civilised, cultured Libran end of this axis, with its strong sense of fairness, its love of peace and harmony, and its diplomatic talents. Then, no doubt, we will constantly find ourselves surrounded by extremely selfish people who show no consideration for others. This could well make us extremely angry, and anger, of course, belongs to Aries, not to Libra.
Audience: So we end up acting out the negative aspects of the other side of the spectrum?
Clare: Exactly. And of course, neither extreme works at the end of the day. Both sides need each other, so ideally we will find some kind of relationship between them. For example, we know that heroes in mythology are always dependent on the help of others.
John William Waterhouse, 'Jason and Medea' (1907)
Theseus could never have killed the Minotaur in the Labyrinth without the help of Ariadne and her golden thread. Jason could never have stolen the Golden Fleece without Medea's magic, and Perseus could never have rescued Andromeda without the sword and mirrored shield given to him by Athena. It is therefore the support of our partners which not only enables us to achieve our goals, but also gives our achievements real meaning, because they can be shared.
Audience: Are you referring to the Aries/Libra axis in general?
Clare: Yes. We all have this axis somewhere in our charts, so these themes are archetypal, although they will find personal expression in the houses across which these signs fall. But the Aries/Libra axis is also naturally associated with the 1st and 7th houses of relationship, so these themes will also be present to some extent across the 1st and 7th houses in every horoscope.