One day, driving back from an otherwise uneventful trip to Trader Joe’s, I became so angry at a fellow motorist that I screamed – and it felt so good that I screamed some more. I screamed so enthusiastically that my husband, over in the passenger’s seat, started to get kind of concerned. He later told me that my screaming and anger had made him feel “as though someone was standing on my chest.”
Oh, dear. I know that feeling. I’ve been on the other end plenty of times, watching otherwise rational people rage out of control in a way that makes me fear for their safety and their sanity. I feel that way at family gatherings when talk turns to politics and controversy quickly ensues, and when I don’t click past the cable news shows fast enough while channel-surfing.
It’s worth noting, at this week’s Full Moon in Aries – ruled by Mars, the god of war – that anger has its place in the vast scheme of things. It’s a warning sign that something or someone is being threatened, and acts as a motivator to remove the threat. And in my defense, I will say that although I overreacted, my fellow motorist had jumped his turn at a four-way stop and nearly rammed his SUV into the side of my tiny Toyota. I was, indeed, threatened. Except that I can’t see that anger really helped me in that situation. And in fact, it probably harmed me, stoking up my blood pressure and upsetting my sweetie as well.
My over-the-top reaction to a minor traffic incident got me thinking, and it dawned on me that earlier that morning, I’d had my feelings deeply hurt by someone who I felt hadn’t recognized and appreciated me. I had swallowed those feelings whole, because they embarrassed me; but they were still there, festering, until an inattentive motorist “overlooked” me and triggered my little emotion bomb.
No matter how old we get or how confident we may seem, there’s a vulnerable, newborn Aries baby inside all of us who wants to come first. And when it doesn’t we scream bloody murder, like an infant who hasn’t been fed quickly enough.
The emotion of last resort
Anger is the emotion of last resort, which kicks in only when other warning signs have failed to get our attention. When someone crosses the line with you, a quick and assertive response is in order. We need to stand up for ourselves, and when fear, good manners, or pride keep us from doing so, anger is the natural result. But anger is the nuclear weapon of the relationship arsenal – its power lies in its ability to intimidate or frighten others. Anger stamps a vintage from the grapes of normal, healthy, Aries wrath, bottles it up and places it in a dark cellar for months. What results might be a great wine – but will more likely turn to vinegar, corrosive and sour.
These days, it seems that anger has moved from being the emotion of last resort to the first line of defense. There’s plenty of righteous anger to go around, and also quite a bit of misguided wrath. More and more, we’re seeing angry, organized groups take to the streets in a sense of outrage. Unfortunately, there are still plenty of people who are cultivating anger as way of life without much self-reflection. They’re screaming, screaming, screaming behind the wheel of a car, and it doesn’t seem to be doing much good.
I can’t help but wonder how much of this anger is misdirected embarrassment about other matters altogether. It’s difficult to admit, even to yourself, that you’ve made mistakes. It’s even hard to admit when you’re in difficult circumstances despite doing everything “right.” Maybe you can look back and see where you were duped or could have done things differently; that’s a hard pill to swallow. But at some point, swallow it we must, and then move on.
The Aries Full Moon demands action and courage, not anger or blame. The most effective Aries people I’ve known are people of action. They are not saints – they have tempers, and don’t always exercise the best judgment; but neither do they blame the world for their problems, or meekly accept their helplessness at the hands of fate. Even if it’s something as simple as marching in a demonstration, writing a letter to the editor, volunteering for a charitable organization, cutting down on their gasoline consumption – they do something. And if they have a beef with you, they come right out and tell you instead of letting their resentment fester.
First, make a plan
The path to action is not so straightforward at this New Moon, though. Mars – Aries’ ruling planet – is moving toward a rendezvous with Pluto in Capricorn, with this volatile combination in a powerful t-square to the Sun, Mercury, and Jupiter in Libra, and the Moon and Uranus in Aries. It’s no wonder the U.S. presidential election has devolved into an unholy mixture of pissiness and physical intimidation. Half the sky is at war with the other half.
But look deep beneath the surface of fear and frustration, and you may be able to locate Capricorn’s voice of cool pragmatism. “Go ahead and take action,” Capricorn advises, “But first, cool off and make a plan.”
Look to the house of your chart where the Full Moon falls, at 23.14 Aries – it tells you where you’re ready to take much-needed action in your life. The true source of any anger that emerges around this New Moon can be found in the house where Mars and Pluto meet, at 15 Capricorn. This indicates where you must find a strategic plan for holding your emotions in check so you can get what you really need. (Need help finding where these fall in your chart? Click here.)
Aries isn’t partial to strategy; it’s the part of us that prefers to shoot first and ask questions later. But while temper tantrums and name-calling may temporarily feel satisfying, this Full Moon’s most effective warriors will be those who are disciplined and organized. Don’t get angry – get effective.
© 2009, 2016 April Elliott Kent