There’s a line in the Will Ferrell movie Talledega Nights that my husband has been known to pull out at non-sequitir moments. The main Will Ferrell character, Ricky Bobby, has a rough and tumble drug addict dad and at a key point in the film (the last time he sees dad) dad’s parting words are burned on Ricky’s brain: ‘if you ain’t first, you’re last, Ricky Bobby’. Dad’s last words may be Ricky’s ‘driving’ motivation for Ricky’s career as a NASCAR driver, forever vying to be first place in the eyes of dad. That is, until one day when he’s beaten by a Frenchie (played by Sacha Baron Cohen). This prompts Ricky’s attempts to win back dominance which of course can only end badly – in a car accident. Awakening in a hospital, Ricky believes he is paralyzed, dramatically telling his wife to ‘go ahead and pull the plug’. We laugh but the joke’s on him – he has no apparent injury. You can walk, urge friends and doctors. Ricky refuses to hear it. He has what abnormal psychology might call a somatization disorder. In reality, Ricky has simply lost his nerve.
In Talledega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby I hear Everyperson’s story. You know the story. It’s the one where the main character is on the threshold of a major breakthrough in life – on the precipice of a personal victory, a real victory for selfhood. Daily life offers multiple examples, though you surely have your own. Maybe our Everyman business guy is looking to make a career leap had that synchronous conversation with a colleague in the elevator one day, a person who gave him some really great job leads. Our up and coming Everywoman writer landed the agent of her dreams and this dream agent re-concepts the book she was to write in order to make it marketable. Our Every person jewelry-maker has a sister who lives down in L.A. who surfed with Pink last weekend. And Pink happened to comment on the belt our Every person’s sister was wearing. And Pink happens also to be connected to *all the right people*. Hunh.
That’s the setup. This too may come to pass, goes the biblical saying. But what if it doesn’t? After all, many of us have had the experience of being poised for very big and great things, but a much smaller subset of us have actually had those things come to pass. About those who experience a success, perhaps not on such a grand famous person scale, but a grand scale to that person. We may think they have their Part of Fortune conjunct their Jupiter in the House of Destined For Very Big Things. We may say, ‘oh, they’re lucky’ or ‘they must have past life karma with Warren Buffet.’ And from the outside looking in, the running commentary goes something like this. Announcer: ‘Jim, it looks like the main character is on the threshold of a major breakthrough in life. Yes, they’re clearly on the precipice of a real personal victory and… wait a second, what’s going on over there, Jim? Ouch! It looks like they dropped the ball. Now Jim, that’s what you call a fumble.’
Aries is the sign of selfhood. To properly honor it’s archetype we must leap blindly into the unknown, not knowing how it will all turn out or end up. We must say Yes again and again. Aries doesn’t suffer those fools who rush in, gladly, but if we have a sense of what’s coming next, a healthy respect for reality, and are semi-good at trusting our instincts, Aries rewards this self- instinct, this instinct that other signs might deem, ‘foolhardy’ behavior, with ‘beginner’s luck’ by sprinkling our high mission with gold dust. Yet when we’re given that ‘once in a lifetime opportunity’ to reach for our high destiny, reach we must, because although it may happen again, it may not roll ‘round again in quite the same way. It’s a funny thing, Aries luck, merely requiring that you put nothing less than your whole self forward and leap in with both feet. An Aries time (or Mars transit) is no time to be shy or hesitant. Throw your name into the golden pot. Yet Aries needs your self-consistency, to work. You can’t ask for something big and let your actions say you want something else. Or, as Steven Forrest said to one of my fellow’ apprentices this weekend: ‘if you want your name to be drawn, you’ve got to put your name in the hat.’ Simple Aries Moon logic.
This is how it looks in real life, in hidden moments. Our Everyman business guy keeps his colleagues’ business card in his wallet, pulling it out to thumb over it absentmindedly from time to time, putting it back in. Our Everywoman writer, after having her dream agent tell her how to write a bestseller book, mysteriously loses interest in the topic she was once enthusiastic about. Our Every person jewelry maker who has a penchant for procrastination, simply doesn’t follow up on getting that sample down to Hollywood. Sigh. It’s not the big things that sabotage our personal success, it’s the little things that screw us up. The fallout however is big traumatic. Working so hard for a breakthrough, receiving an affirmative signal and not responding in kind is a little like being given a direct line to G** and not picking up the phone to return the call.
This is a Full Moon in Aries with Libra Sun to contend with and, oh, I look around and notice, how hard this is to do. The warrior is afoot. Courage is called for, and in my experience courage is a healthy response to the fear that will always happen right when we’re at that brink of a tremendous personal success. Libra replies: It’s gonna take work. If only it were so easy. Yes but… we are that afraid. And what if no one likes us? Pluto is square this Full Moon, too, reminding us of our deepest wounds, and the potential to re-activate those. Which brings me back to the Ballad of Ricky Bobby. Like Ricky, we may find our self on the precipice of a real victory, and fumble. I doubt we intentionally mean to back off that ledge right when we’ve been given the wings to fly, but we do, and classically, it’s that same small dark thing we always do. Maybe the greatest risk we face at this Aries Full Moon is not what will happen if we claim that personal victory, but what won’t happen if we lose our nerve.
Ask any Aries person if they’re familiar with what it means to be ‘self-destructive’ or ‘self-sabotage’ and I bet you’ll be greeted with an awnry smile and a list a mile long. Self-destructive is a strange word, causing one to think of things overt and obvious and maybe even violent, but commonly it’s a far more silent assault… to personhood, to personal victory. If we asked our Aries friend about their self-sabotaging list, I bet the list would contain less things like, ‘binge drank again’ and ‘was angry at boss so kicked cat’ – though they may be there, too. I bet this list would more resemble something like this: ‘pushed a person I loved away’; ‘didn’t follow through on the project I began’; ‘didn’t do (your verb here) that I know would’ve made me feel really good’; ‘banged my head on the same old wall again.’ It’s those risks not taken, and our willing ignorance toward that same self-destructive thing we always do, that are the real affronts to Aries, and the real confidence killers.
As I write these words, the Moon is in Pisces, a sign of things set into magical motion, things that travel on the ethers of inspiration, hope, belief. It’s called synchronicity, and it’s the invisible place where big successes whisper. Inspiration. A conversation. A lucky happening. While that may be very cool, it’s not how success happens, it’s only potential. Aries-Mars knows this. When you get right down to the nuts and bolts of it you need to act on that potential, and such initiative takes guts. It takes raw nerve to have that conversation with our lover that we know we must have. It takes Aries honesty to admit we want something so badly and that we’re desperately afraid of getting that thing at the same time. It takes grand gumption to (and a lot more nerve) to pony up the courage to think we’re worthy of having the dream we want.
Here’s an Aries Moon secret for you: Fear is excitement in disguise. It takes the edge off of all that fear to just respond to the challenge at hand with an enthusiastic and resounding Yes! Yes! Yes! Be that ‘Yes’ to our agent, to G**…or to Pink.
When you do just that, you’re what we Aries Moon people call ‘golden’. Sure, we will fumble in our fear, that’s a given – we know that going in. But on a deeper, truer level we know we’re fumbling toward victory.