While Sagittarius and Capricorn were concerned with the transpersonal expression of the ego, Aquarius and Pisces leave behind the urge to strive (a cardinal quality) and the world of reality (the earth element), and instead desire to express or become a channel for something beyond the individual and social self.
When we have achieved some degree of material fulfillment, or have striven for it, whatever has been gained is given back to universal humanity through Aquarius. The self is completed, and the hero has conquered the dragon (Scorpio), gaining the kingdom (Capricorn). The boon he brings back is poured out for the benefit of everyone. Aquarius is like the Star figure in the Tarot, who on bent knee pours forth the distilled essence of all learning and experience, everything that has proved to be true and not true through fully living out life on earth. Aquarius is ready to take off into the cosmos with one toe still touching earth or feet planted firmly in mid-air. Only in Pisces does lift-off occur. Together, Aquarius and Pisces represent “Being” incarnate.
The air signs are the thinkers. While Gemini analyses and takes things apart, Libra synthesizes and puts together data, information and relationships. Aquarius synergizes, creating a whole that is greater than the sum of its component parts.
Like it’s opposite, Leo, Aquarius is a creative sign. But, where Leo) says, “Look at what I have created, at what I have done,” Aquarius says, “I am a vessel through which cosmic creativity flows.” Aquarius creates by becoming a channel for inspiration and is concerned with helping the collective life of earth evolve and grow.
Leo is an aristocrat,”I must be free in order to play, to create, to rule by divine right.” Aquarius is a democrat, a boddhisattva, “No one is free until everyone is free, and I will do all I can to help free you, for only then can I be freed.” There is a belief in the East, that a spiritual master cannot himself achieve complete, final liberation until a certain number of disciples have achieved the state of ‘jivan mukta.’ That is a level of realization in which, for all practical purposes, the ego has ceased to exist and no new karma is acquired.
Leo is a conformist. He needs social approval and validation for his wonderful creativity. Aquarius is a non-conformist, an iconoclast. He is detached and objective and has a kind of madcap humor that sees the utter foolishness, the blind ignorance in most human comedies and tragedies, and does not mind saying so. He is not afraid to shatter other’s cherished and unexamined beliefs, when he sees clearly that those ideas have no foundation whatsoever in fact or truth!
The Uranian Aquarian is a time traveler whose present is our future. He comes back, as it were, to us who live in his past like characters from history books. He brings us gifts, ideas and inventions from his time. These are people like Thomas Edison, Galileo and Copernicus. To the time traveler our own past is his ancient future.
There are however, Saturnian Aquarians, who live out most of their lives very much like Capricorns (Saturn is the co-ruler of Aquarius), until one day late in life, Uranian lightening finally penetrates their souls. If the person is lucky, he gets enlightened. If not, we have yet another old cracked-pot amongst us.
Aquarius is the archetypal anti-hero, while Leo is the hero. James Dean, more than 30 years after his death, with his Sun singleton (only planet in an air sign) in Aquarius, is the immortalized anti-hero, remembered for his starring role in “Rebel Without A Cause.” This is the sign of the reformer, the revolutionary and the rebel. Jesus was an honorary Aquarian for he defied the establishment, demonstrated the hypocrisy of authority and taught the spirit of truth in place of unquestioned tradition.
Aquarians tend to be magnetic, charismatic and strongly androgynous. The men tend to have a well-developed feminine side and the women are quite strong, capable and independent. The classic Aquarian body-type tends to be on the tall and slender side. The motto for this sign is “Nothing that is human is foreign to me.” They are sometimes surprised but never shocked by any human behavior.
Aquarian love (yes, as the opposite of Leo, there is love, sex and romance here too!) is perhaps the least understood or appreciated, for it includes all aspects: physical sex, emotional romance, tenderness and passion, as well as much mental friendliness and spiritual joy.
Some Aquarian archetypes are angels (messengers of gods), wizards, tricksters and “bearers of light.”
About the author:
Eleanor Buckwalter has studied, practiced and taught astrology in Los Altos, CA for more than twenty-five years, including three years with the late Richard Idemon, a psychological astrologer. Her primary astrological focus of interest is parent-child relationships and family dynamics.