The first house correlates with Aries, commonly accepted as the first sign of the zodiac. Aries is a Cardinal Cross Fire sign. The order of the crosses and elements on the zodiacal wheel is worth pondering. Why begin with cardinality? Superficially, of course, it makes sense. Cardinal cross signs initiate primary activities of life. The cardinal cross is a mode of self-reliance and independence. But, beyond these, why cardinality to begin the Wheel? Similarly, why fire?
The beauty of contemplation is the exercise itself. Any answer or understanding that arises within the mind or rains down from the intuitive plane can only be partial. We can take refuge in that, enjoy the understanding, write it in a blog or tell friends, all the while may humility counterweigh the personal excitement.
In a way, Aries exemplifies all of the above: excitement and fun, insight and ideas, sharing with friends. Contemplation or pondering is an Aries trait when the brain is being lived at least equally to the brawn. Thus, first house planets can take on the dichotomy of brain or wisdom along side physical power and desires. The wise person lives these as a duo: using the body well while cultivating the mind and wisdom.
The first house is the beginning of the chart. Why the ancients chose to orient the Wheel as such and why we continue to do so is unknown but another worthwhile question. A circle is a whole and any point can be the beginning or end. The choice is arbitrary. Pointed questioning like this is an Aries’ mechanism. It can feel argumentative or jabbing or pushy. Yet, if Aries is being played wisely and for reasons of understanding the greater whole, or to grok the logic of something or determine if it is logical, or simply to question an accepted norm, these mental parries are useful and serve. When one is on the receiving end of planets in the first house, they can have a pointed or sharp feel to them. However, for the native, most first house planets are experienced as instinctually present thus innate and speak to attributes within that the native relies upon, with one possible exception: Neptune.
The first house is in the dawning position of the chart. The sun will rise through the horizon (thus ascend thus designate the Ascendant). Dawn will become day at the ASC cusp line. The 12th house represents the first two hours of sunlight. i.e. early morning and the 1st house represents the last two hours before day break. Due to this “dawning” quality, the planets in the first house can have a slightly mysterious side to them in addition to the blatancy of the first house. In other words, this house is another one where there is more than meets the eye to these planets or layers of depth that the native might currently not be accessing and living. Investigate 1st house planets for what more they have to offer. Read both esoteric and traditional literature, probe mythology related to those planets, then observe yourself with no judgement, then finally contemplate the expanded qualities as a method of familiarization. Integration will follow. This method can be applied to any planet in any house or sign.
First house planets tend to be like signs on a person’s forehead (oh yeh, Aries rules the head and forehead). Saturn – the placard reads ‘is responsible,’ Mars – ‘forceful’ or ‘demonstrative,’ Mercury – ‘quick wit’ or ‘quick mind’, Sun – ‘here I am.’ But, being responsible with or about what? Forceful? Is that so, if so why? Is a quick wit veiling vulnerability, sensitivity, dyslexia or attention issues? These considerations are only the beginning of going deeper. If a planet is in one’s 1st house something about it is dawning, is coming forward and, like the unstoppable sunrise, that newness will find all ways possible to advance. If you have 1st house planets reflect on this and what specifically has been dawning in you of that planet’s qualities, skills, traits or attributes. One will discover that when the newness has been lived, engaged, or cultivated that one was happy, probably excited too. When one tamped down or hindered that fresh way of being, one felt frustrated and limited. Lesson? Let the dawning have its way. Be bold, be new.
The first house begins the Wheel, thus is a house of beginnings, of initiating, starting, or commencing, and of the chutzpah to do any of these. Aries is a sign of fearlessness, pioneering, adventure, and of the fool. One need not need be a fool or foolhardy in any regard just as fearlessness need not be reckless. Pioneering into an unknown can be thought through and planned with the factors that are known. Think of space travel or doing a long road trip or extreme skiing or Louis and Clark with entourage setting off into lands then unknown by white men. These examples display Aries’ three rulers thus the planetary influences on the 1st house: Mars, Mercury, Uranus. But, before getting to those – not to get ahead of myself (Aries’ trait) – reflect upon your first house planets for this idea of beginning things. One would also ponder the ASC for this since it starts the 1st house. One could also reflect upon the house cusp that has Aries on it. I had a good friend who had Virgo rising; I have Sagittarius. We began things very differently; plus the types of things that got our juices going were different. The element of the rising sign is quite operative in how one begins plus if follow-through or sustaining of effort comes easily, naturally, or not at all. She was a natural with the whole process (Virgo/earth); me? I love starts, continuations are a lot of work unless it’s the garden, and completions are a bane (Sagittarius/fire).
As mentioned, the rulers of Aries are Mars traditionally, Mercury esoterically, and Uranus hierarchically.
Mars rules Aries and the first house
Mars offers vitality, vibrancy, vividness, and excitability to the first house. This is one reason why people can get excited about starting new things or get excited about themself and their point of view. The first house includes each of these aspects of one’s life. For the same vibrant reasons, some people get anxious or are afraid to begin or start something. It is the vibrancy, the intensity of the something that is being felt and intuited in their mind. Reflect on this for yourself. Remember that the Ascendant/rising sign sets the first house. As a result, fire ASCs tend toward excitement and rushing forward, earth toward caution, air says “sure/why not?” and water tends toward trepidation – toe in the water style. More on the ASC and the first house later in this article.
Mars is intense; intense emotionally, mentally, physically, and intuitionally. That’s just its nature. Think of a seed in the soil in Springtime and imagine the intense drive, push, and energy necessary to crack the seed shell, push the dirt out of the way both up and down enough to sprout and set root. Then imagine the boldness and intensity of life spirit to poke out of the ground into the unknown. The sprout does it all and then, without hesitation, says, “Well, look at this!” (itself, its effort, its accomplishment, and everything around the sprout). All of this is Mars. This intensity, then, is within first house planets as well as the energy of the Ascendant. Living that intensity requires wisdom, otherwise it’s reckless, pushy, and vibrationally too much or disruptive.
Nonetheless, if you have planets in the 1st house, you live them front and center. They are unmistakable in your demeanor, mental and emotional wiring, in how you set about things, and in your general way of life. 1st house planets can have a lunar/Moon familiarity and comfort to them, an ease in how the attributes of those planets and of the ASC are readily accessible to the native. As a result, projections onto or assumptions about others can stem from 1st house planets similar to how that can result from one’s Moon. Be heedful, wise, respectful, and kind with how you live these planets which are intensified by Mars’ influence as well as observant and mindful of what you expect from others.
Due to all that’s been said, planets in the first house will have a zing or spark to them and depending upon other factors in the chart can have a showy, “here I am” quality to them as well. Zing has become personal bling, in that regard. The zing of Saturn will be different than that of Uranus or Pluto, for instance, but present and unmistakable nonetheless. The first house is a power house: cardinal and fire house, plus first thus setting the wheel in motion. Zing can be understood like electricity also: think of the yank on the pull chord on an old lawn mower or chain saw which then roars to action. Mars stamina and strength pulled that cord and ignited the electrical components into motion. However, all of this required steadiness and balance while doing so, so as to not get hurt as blades started whirling. This metaphor should be meditated upon regarding first house planets. They can hurt you, hurt others, or be destructive without balance and wisdom. Mars’ influence on the first house signals that the 1st house is a house of raw power. And, since the Ascendant sets the 1st house thus the Wheel, then that power is fundamentally the Soul’s or higher nature’s, not the personality’s. Danger, destruction, argument, and collateral damage within oneself, around one, in relationships and finances result repeatedly when the personality thinks power is its own.
Of course, every planet, aspect, mode and temperament of one’s horoscope/chart must be lived with wisdom and compassion, with respect for others and self, and is present in one’s chart because you in your higher nature chose these features. Each is perfect. Each displays the past, is the cultivar of the present, and each portends attributes, qualities, karma and dharma for many future lives to come. Each foci in one’s chart IS the Path and illustrates fruition. Human beings want to make excuses, to rationalize and dismiss and, fundamentally, not take full, upright and joyously responsible for everything and everyone. In other words, for incarnating and Being. Yet, each of us can begin (Mars/1st house/ASC) where and however we want. Please do for the sake of the world, all beings, and your self, the rest of this life and all lives to come.
Though Mars is the traditional ruler of Aries and of the 1st house, it – like each of us – holds within itself a full range of qualities. These are accessible, can be brought forward and then integrated because they inherent. In Mars’ case, remember that it rules the sign of discipleship (Scorpio) and is the hierarchical ruler of Sagittarius representing the ascent which is the spiritual Path. The Mantra of the Disciple from Master DK well voices Mars’ capacity for spiritual dedication: “I mount upon my slain self,” in other words climb and surmount the heap of illusion/glamour/maya that is the nature of the conventional mind and personal life. The mantra continues, “and I strive, forgetting all reward. I forego peace, I forfeit rest; and, in the stress of pain I lose myself and find myself and enter into peace.” Each phrase is Mars and displays a necessary aspect of the spiritual Path while spiritual Path is necessary: strive, and like any hero or person in combat – forget personal reward. Forego peace means to recognize the somnambulism that comfort and distraction induce. That type of peace with its complacent mediocrity must be foregone, laid aside, renounced.
In order to do so requires mindfulness, attention to the trickster of the ego and its habits, thus one “forfeits rest” and cultivates diligence. The stress of pain is illustrated well by the Wicked Witch of the West melting when subjected to compassion. In trying to put out the fire that the Witch had flicked onto Scarecrow, Dorothy threw a pail of water at Scarecrow but dowsed the Wicked Witch as well. “I’m melting, I’m melting,” she wined as she disappeared. All that remained was her costume. Such is the sense of self. It actually doesn’t take much to undo the edifications of the self. Remember that habits of consciousness are self’s armaments and armor. A little diligence, steadfastness, dedication, plus enthusiasm for change and reality is all it takes – oh, a a bucket of compassion. The former list is Mars used on the spiritual Path on every turn of the spiral. The latter is every planet, sign, aspect, and the Wheel itself. We chose to live the chart as the Wheel of Deluded Existence or as the Wheel of Life and Awakened Being.
Mercury rules Aries and 1st house esoterically
Mercury applies a restless or fidgety quality to the 1st house because that is the planet’s nature. This being the soul level of rulership, this restlessness should be a response of the mental-emotional complex of the self realizing that one’s understanding of and participation in life either is or is not as a soul and/or with a sense of higher purpose. If one is living as a soul, then one wants to serve others in as many ways that factually benefit others as possible. If one is not aligned with higher purpose, doesn’t care about Path or others, then the fidgetiness will be from covetousness, greed, boredom, desire, and chasing. These will be as constant as the former type of restlessness. Mercury will also demonstrate in both these life manifestations in the use of cognitive, intellectual processes available within one in order to accomplish these goals.
I interviewed a woman recently who volunteers. Her efforts include giving time, energy, effort, and expertise or just showing up in these ways:
- for a county-wide food program that delivers boxes of staple food items to families in need;
- being mightily involved in her church, its restoration and its historical value;
she is an elected village (town) council member (not paid) for the town she lives in, and was the first woman elected at the time.
- This woman spearheaded the 1000 Flags in honor of veterans that are annually placed in the village square; now the Village Council manages that -but remember she’s on the Council, thus still manually involved.
- That’s not all, but enough to illustrate the point about Mercurial restlessness due to the aspiration to benefit others. When asked if she had parting words for the readers of the little newspaper in which the article will appear, she said, “Yes. Stop talking about and thinking about, and get into action. Please.”
Restlessness of 1st house planets can actually come from any of the three rulers. Mars is a horse ready to bolt at the race gate. Mercury is a bee always in motion, a butterfly flitting here and there, and the chatter of the emotion-mind complex. Uranus is kinetic energy grounded or ungrounded. Energy moves like wind does. Mercury is the wind; Uranus is energy. Uranus’ manifestations include the motility in water or in wind that makes it flow. Uranus is also in the magnetic pull of the moon on large bodies of water to make tides. First house planets will usually have this fidgety or kinetic – gotta release pent up energy – quality. On the esoteric level, release is through service which can be of many kinds. As Master Morya says, “Is labor only by hands and feet?” In other words, there are of subtle forms of service like teaching and mentoring, prayer and meditation for the world. These turn restlessness into beneficent action, too.
Mercury is associated with the mind. On the esoteric level, it is the bodhimind: bodhichitta. Bodhi means light, lighted, illumined. Chitta means the activity principle of cognizance. Inferred in the term bodhichitta is that the true mind is the heart of the mind which is self-same as the mind of the heart. Within these inferences is selflessness and fluidity of conceptual frames of reference so that dogmatism and separatism dissolve. Consider the volunteer woman and the variety of altruistic efforts she’s involved in as well as the variety of populations met by the services rendered. Furthermore, in all of them a group of other volunteers is working with her. In all of this, we see higher Mercury: collaboration, equanimity, no sense of divisiveness, and meeting the needs of as many as possible in ways that actually meet needs. For example, as a member of the Village Council, the reason she ran for election was concern for the future of the town; not through protectionism or segregation but through social services and infrastructure renovation, through the town library be properly funded, and schools having creative and socially conscious teachers. This is esoteric or higher Mercury as well as examples of applied bodhichitta.
Ideas of Mercury and of what esoteric are sometimes propounded as meaning abstract thinking or philosophizing or being adept with concepts. Not so. Those are simply refined and educated uses of the analytical, pattern recognizing mind. They are not higher mind. Higher mind is a phrase used by Master DK specifically and it means Soul – son of Mind, higher mind. Higher Mercury is one aspect of that. Mercury links, associated, bridges, blends, and connects. As Aries is associated with the head, Mercury can also symbolize the antahkarana, the rainbow bridge of consciousness that links the personality aspiring on the Path to/with the Soul which is the birth-point of its reflection (personality). Within this meaning of Mercury is Path itself because the spiritual Path is nothing but a cognitive process of how to embody the heart-mind and expand one’s capacity of service during incarnation. 1st house planets under this influence are tools of the Path, are mechanisms whereby the native’s antahkarana is being used and fostered such that one grows more bold, daring, and courageous in one’s life of service as well as in the exactitude and expansions of the spiritual Path. The ASC plays a significant role in all of this, of course; although the rulers of the houses are subtle, they are not small influences.
Uranus rules Aries and the 1st house hierarchically
Two themes have repeated through these articles when considering the hierarchical level of rulership. They are stability having been fairly established with the esoteric ruler’s gifts, thus the hierarchical is the manifest integration of one’s higher nature lived as normal. The profound is here and now; one’s beingness is what one is, and that is ordinary. The second theme has been emptiness (sunyata/shunyata). The latter is difficult to convey conceptually; and living it? Well, I hope that some of the articles have pointed toward that common and unmistakable way of being. It is as common as a rainbow or the blessings that happen each day but that are generally unnoticed as such thus unrecognized as the union of bliss-emptiness, form-emptiness.
In astrology, Uranus is change and brings it. It does so through illumination, a process which usually shatters concepts, ideas, and belief systems. For this reason, Uranus is considered a revolutionary.
Remember the restlessness mentioned before? Yeh, this is a big time itch to break the mold of conventional norms and bust out (Aries); but not for one’s self. This hierarchical ruler couldn’t care less about the native’s feelings of confinement in a comfortable life. If Uranus is influencing the first house, the intention is a revolt that, in some way, liberates others. There are many examples of people exhibiting this level of Uranus influencing the first house currently in the world. Many are individuals who have championed Mother Earth in various ways. Examples include the people who single-handedly started planting trees in devastated areas to hold back and renew the soil; those who have found ways to clean up plastic trash from the oceans, those who have pushed for legislation outlawing plastic bags or single-use plastics; or every person or family that is growing as much of their food in their own yards through permaculture or worm-iculture or in ways that are like homesteading in partnership with the Earth. Think of architects who are promoting using flat rooftops for planting or vertical gardens inside one’s home. These examples are of action (Aries, cardinal, fire) and revolution (Uranus), and they illustrate the shattering of old norms and a full-body integration of new – even if very old – ways of doing and being. The last sentence also describes emptiness as a mode of being.
These methods are also based on connectivity and connection. They exhibit the level of reorientation within one’s self and of transformation that turns restlessness into action which promotes and produces harmony. If your first house, inhabited or not, is under Uranus’ influence, you are a game changer and probably are doing so humbly and quietly. Your view is the big picture. You might get along with everyone but, inside, you’re a loner like Uranus spinning uniquely on its axis. Why? Because not many people are willing to revolutionize their life for the sake and well-being of others. And that’s alright. One tree at a time, one plastic bag at a time, one garden plot or yard at a time. It’s all good.