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Macmillan Childrens Publishing Group

Astro Poets

Your Guides to the Zodiac

Alex Dimitrov and Dorothea Lasky

Flatiron Books



March 21–April 19

I look

at you and I would rather look at you than all the portraits in the world.

Frank O’Hara, born March 27, 1926

The Aries

It was the year 2016. New Year’s Eve. The United States was still reeling from a pretty intense election, and the mood was raw. Apocalyptic.

During the ritual New Year’s celebration in Times Square, almost everyone was looking for even a momentary distraction. A night of song and dance, with the giant disco ball dropping from the sky at midnight, might prove that things were normal and as they should be.

Cue the quintessential Aries: Mariah Carey. Born March 27, the same day as the poet Frank O’Hara, the moviemaker Quentin Tarantino, the actress Halle Bailey (and me, the poet Dorothea Lasky—hi!).

Mariah has been here before. New Year’s Eve is practically her own show. So she proceeds to try and save the world in her own strange Aries way. As her first song begins, she stands framed in an endless arc of hot male dancers worshipfully holding these white feathers in the air at odd angles to frame her, her body wrapped in a slinky glittery gold dress. It’s just all so … comforting.

But as the opening notes of the Aries-apropos song “Emotions” comes on, Mariah realizes quickly that she can’t hear the song in her earpiece. In a flash, she becomes very angry. That is to say, Aries angry. Which itself is a mix of the immense red flame—ready to scorch anything in its path—and the intense cold blue flame at the center of all fires. Yeah, she’s really mad, but she doesn’t freeze up the way a Cancer might. Instead, she visibly blames an unseen other for the technical problems. She performs her displeasure. Into the mic: “We didn’t have a sound check for this song, so we will just sing. It went to #1. And that’s what it is.”

Oh yes. No Aries would ever miss a chance to let you know something they did was #1. If it didn’t go to #1, they might tell you it did anyway. Because Lord knows, it probably should have.

The show goes on, somewhat painfully, as Mariah smiles while seething in anger, but it does still go on. To an Aries, the saying “the show must go on” has vital meaning in everyday life. An Aries will let you know they’re angry, but they will also always perform their way through adversity.

Because above all, Aries are great charmers. Even the deadly sparkle of Gemini or the deep seductive power of Scorpio is no match for an Aries in full power. Not even the slick cunning of a Capricorn can stop an Aries with a job to do. As the performance tanks, Mariah thinks of a way to make it better. “I am gonna let the audience sing, okay.” And she holds her microphone out. “We didn’t have a sound check but it’s New Year’s, baby, so that’s okay, you guys,” she tells the audience half-convincingly, with a fiery smile.

The terrible performance goes on so insanely long that you have to wonder if there wasn’t a vengeful Pisces at the controls. “I want a holiday, too,” she tells the audience at some point, half dancing. “Can I not have one?” The audience has no answer. But the universe itself has answered that question for every Aries who has asked it, every second of every day, or at least once in a while. Uh, no, says the universe. You came here to entertain, not to sleep your days away. We have Libras for that.

At the end of it all, Mariah, in partial despair, partial exhilaration, partial ruthlessness, says, “It just don’t get any better.” And then she leaves the stage without much fanfare.

She was just being honest, something all Aries are known for. A stage, a crowd, some tunes, and glitter. To an Aries, no, it just doesn’t get any better than that. Mishaps and all. It’s what they live for.

Things you might want to know about Aries

Aries is a cardinal fire sign, and the first sign of the zodiac, which means that it kicks off the karmic trip around the zodiac wheel. Because of this, Aries is often associated with new beginnings: the start of spring in the Northern Hemisphere and all of its symbolic associations—new flowers, baby birds in love with their mothers, fresh pea shoots out of a freshly mown grassy landscape, holding a person softly in the warm electrical floral air, lightly dusted dryer sheets, the possibility of summer somewhere on the horizon. A fresh start. Aries is the chance we have to get it all right again.

Aries is the sign of birth, and indeed it could be said that all babies begin life as Aries. It’s just that everyone else changes into something else, while every Aries kind of just sticks with it.

Like a baby, an Aries carries tremendous energy and potential. An Aries can also be naively innocent and forgiving. They crave your attention and try to get it with all means at their disposal. Like a baby, an Aries will approach you with the expectation that you will love them. Truth be told, most of the time, it will be very hard not to. The world is always a bit new to them, even if they are not young in age, and they tend to assume that good will always overcome evil. To anyone searching for a shred of optimism left in this crazy world, that’s intoxicating. Hence that famous Aries charm.

Most of all, like a baby, Aries needs love. Have you ever heard a baby cry in the middle of the night? It may need something in particular—it may be hungry or need to be diapered. But more often than not, that baby is crying because they want to know that the expression of their discomfort gives rise to some profound human emotion in you, and that you will come running to them. Aries cry out into the night because they want to see that someone will care. And, as with a baby, you can never come running fast enough, but if you do get there quickly, all will be right with the world again. If you don’t, you will begin to see the Aries’s dark side. If you have an Aries in your life, remember this.

Another way to think of an Aries is through the word classically associated with them: passion. When an Aries is into something, they are definitely really into it, and they will do absolutely anything for it. Their passion can sometimes border on obsession, and to an Aries, this is what makes it all the more exciting. This obsession can be a new project or an idea (an Aries usually believes they invented all new ideas). Or it might just manifest as the pallets of water bottles you notice in their apartment after they read a 100-word article online that said drinking alkaline water can help them live longer (which I do believe it can).

If an Aries is into you, then buckle your seat belt. If you have shown anything remotely resembling interest, they are three seconds away from being at your front door. Don’t worry, they won’t move in. Although for a little while, they may try to.

Some believe that the key to understanding an Aries is their contagious laugh. Whenever I listen to audio of myself laughing, I cringe with disbelief that I sound that ridiculous most of the time, but I have to believe all the people who’ve told me my laugh gets them laughing along with me. Certainly, as an Aries, it’s nice to get lost in humor for a few moments, allowing my heavy ego to be dissolved into the ether. But I don’t think laughter is the key to my personality. That’s just performance; that’s just Mariah on a good (or bad) day. The key to understanding an Aries isn’t to be found in their display of charm. Instead it’s revealed when they very much are not trying to charm you.

If you have ever known an Aries for longer than a moment, then you have undoubtedly begun to know another important characteristic of their personality: anger. Again, think of a baby clenching its fist in rage. Aries can get mad about a lot of things (and they reserve the right to get mad about anything AND everything, thanks so much), but the thing that drives their temper mostly is control.

That is to say, they need it. They strive to have control of their lives in almost every moment, and anything that stops them from having control over themselves and the situation at hand is going to make them more than a little cranky. They need to be free.

Generally, this means that the Aries in your life is going to need to plan their days as they wish and you’d best not do anything that cuts into their absolute freedom to do whatever the fuck they have planned. This means no obligations, especially ones that involve routines or rituals that they find meaningless or that have nothing to do with them, or in which they cannot engage as the ultimate winner.

Hence the conspicuous lack of Aries at any school reunion. I’ve never been to any of mine. Because isn’t that shit beyond depressing. Am I right, my other Aries out there? It’s asserting that period of time was a peak in life, and no Aries wants to believe that they’ve already peaked.

When an Aries plans their days, these plans will not have any foreseeable focus or goal, the way a Virgo’s might. Their to-do list doesn’t say “Write important contacts,” like that Virgo’s does, but they will have in their head some tasks to do that they feel will keep them at the top of their game. What this looks like varies from Aries to Aries, of course, but usually it means creating something that hasn’t ever been there before. The most happy Aries will start something new every day where they can be the top boss and delegate tasks. They always want to top something or someone, if they can, because being in charge cures their underlying and ever-present sadness. Every Aries detests being bored. Calling the shots can be a natural antidepressant to an Aries.

This is not to say that they can’t sometimes work well with others. If an Aries sees some interaction as important or they truly like someone or something, they can be dutiful and work the long hours no one else would ever dream of putting in. But Aries aren’t ever that good at finishing things. If you tell them they have to do it because you said so, that’s the quickest way to: a) make sure the Aries never does it; or b) drive them into a complete desperate melancholy. I have a magnet I keep on my fridge at all times that says: “I like group work, as long as I’m in charge.” Nothing could be more Aries than that statement.

Copyright © 2019 by Alex Dimitrov and Dorothea Lasky