It is difficult to visualise fixed air except symbolically, as fixed ideas and ideals or, perhaps, as the structured intellect or rigid thinking. What we can certainly say is that, when we look at the sign of Aquarius, we are once again reminded of the duality of the air signs generally and immediately confronted with a sign which contains radical contradictions, described by the very different motivations of the two planetary rulers of this sign: Saturn and Uranus.
Saturn and Uranus are opposites in almost every sense. Saturn stands for tradition, structure, order, hierarchy, authority and the status quo. Uranus stands for the force which seeks to break down the status quo and the old structures which Saturn seeks to preserve. Uranus is an innovator - the carrier of new ideals for the benefit of the collective. Uranian ideals are utopian to the extent that they concern openness and honesty, democracy and equality, and the possibility of humanity raising itself to a level where we can respect each other's differences and work together for the greater good of all.
Aquarius is the most civilized, developed, humanitarian and mature of the air signs. It concerns social structures and organizations and political systems whose goal is to help society advance and improve the condition of ordinary people. It is humanitarian, socially opinionated. The Saturn ruler describes the social structures and the Uranus ruler gives this sign an extra charge because of its foresight, ideals and sense of the future possibilities for the perfection of humanity. Can you see how both these planets, in spite of their radical differences, can be associated with this sign? The integration of the Sun, which is in its detriment in Aquarius, can be an important clue to the fully mature expression of this sign. As the planet of individuality, the Sun indicates that, ideally, individual values and personal self-expression will balance the collective concerns of this sign.
Audience: I have the Sun in Aquarius.
Clare: Do you feel you are in touch with some kind of knowledge or foresight or vision which would be useful to mankind?
Audience: Well, I certainly have an unconventional way of seeing the world. I tend to think in an entirely different way from other people.
Clare: Yes. Aquarians have a tendency to turn things on their head, to come at things from a different perspective than the norm, to think 'outside the box'. Would you say in your experience you feel both your Saturn ruler, which makes it important for you to achieve respect in the community or in the group, and also this extra something that makes you different, that wants to challenge the group, break down the old structures and replace them with something better?
Audience: Funny you should say this, but this is exactly how I feel.
Clare: I think it is important for Aquarians to come to terms with this paradox, because the sign is inherently opposed to itself. Saturn, for example, cares what other people think, and Uranus doesn't give a damn. This is where the famous Aquarian phrase comes from: 'I love humanity, it's people I can't stand.' In spite of its inherent contradictions, the fixity of Aquarius describes its tremendous loyalty and its high ideals of friendship. There is a real clarity and detached honesty and truthfulness and open friendliness about this sign, and nothing which is gooey or mushy. Those of us who have Aquarian friends can count ourselves as very fortunate.
There is often a tremendous sense of liberation for Aquarians when they get to the point of not caring what other people think, because they have always been and always will feel different from the norm. When we are young, this can be extremely uncomfortable and many Aquarians spend a great deal of energy trying to 'join the herd' by behaving and dressing like everyone else in order to cover up this sense of separateness. Saturn's influence in the first half of life brings a sense of inadequacy and a fear of being exposed or ridiculed in any way. As the Uranus ruler of this sign becomes stronger, people with an emphasis of planets in Aquarius tend to become more and more comfortable being who they are and start to enjoy deviating from the norm.
Audience: This is very helpful, because as an Aquarius I have always felt very different, but at my Saturn return I stopped minding and started to enjoy it.
Clare: Yes, it seems that by the time of your first Saturn return you had earned the experience and self-knowledge to give yourself permission to be different.
Audience: Yes, it was very reassuring. Until then I didn't feel as if I was being truthful to myself, which is difficult for an Aquarian.
Audience: What about the Aquarian shadow? How does that work?
Clare: If we approach this from the point of view of water being opposite to air, the shadow side of Aquarius can be described as an undervaluation of ordinary human feelings and emotions. There is a kind of ideological rigidity or totalitarianism to Aquarius which can be autocratic, uncompromising and brutal to the extent that it rides roughshod over ordinary human concerns. With their inherent sense of superiority, Aquarians can be critical of ordinary mortals, who can be too slow or flawed or stupid to appreciate their brilliance, truth and clarity.
Audience: And when the world eventually catches up, the Aquarian has moved on to the next vision.
Planets in Aquarius
Audience: I don't know if this is significant, but my Moon is in Leo and my Sun is in the opposite sign of Aquarius.
Clare: So what we need to be looking at a great deal in your particular chart is the Aquarius-Leo polarity and the importance of integrating this polarity. You were born around the time of a full Moon, when the Sun and Moon are as far apart from each other as they get. This means that you have this polar opposite within, which will give you maximum objectivity about these two principles in your chart. The task is to find out what they mean as separate principles and then to integrate them, because we need to integrate the opposites if we are not to be pulled apart by them. We will be looking at all this in much more detail next term.
Audience: I have Moon in Aquarius, but surely this is a contradiction in terms. The Moon is about the emotions and about neediness, and is watery, but Aquarius is about detachment and ideas.
Clare: The Moon simply describes what you need in order to feel comfortable and nurtured and safe. Moon in Aquarius actually needs space and detachment, honesty, loyalty, truth and equality in friendships. It is ideas and ideals which will feed you. The lunar bond is created with people with whom we share like minds. This is just as strong a need as anything watery. People with an Aquarius moon often have the feeling that they have been born into a family with whom they have nothing in common: 'Who are these strangers?' It can also indicate that your mother doesn't fit the normal 'mothering role' but is unusual in some way, perhaps a woman ahead of her time, someone who is more comfortable being your equal and your friend now that you are grown up, than she was when you were a baby.
Sally has Sun, Venus and Mercury in Aquarius. Mercury in Aquarius indicates that she is likely to be intelligent, rational and detached, fair-minded and logical. Her thinking will be structured and scientific in its approach and she will expect others to be her intellectual equals and to hold the same ideals that she does. Venus in Aquarius indicates that she values honesty, truth and loyalty and will be an extremely loyal friend. The Sun indicates that she will identify strongly with her values and with her ideas. This is a very highly principled, possibly autocratic, unyielding combination. The integration of the opposite sign of Leo and of its ruler, the Sun, will help her develop an appreciation of the importance of unique individual values in the implementation of collective ideals.
David, on the other hand, has Saturn in Aquarius. This is a more cautious placement and indicates that he may be very sensitive to being judged by others or being thought to be stupid. He will tend to look to authority figures for the answers and seek to conform to collective norms and expectations in order to avoid being exposed or excluded. Eventually, he will develop his own knowledge and expertise and become an authority on his own terms. He has a disciplined and structured mind and this combination is often found in the charts of scientists and strategists.
Audience: I have Chiron in Aquarius.
Clare: Yes, how many people have this placement? Three or four of you. This is really an extension of what we have been talking about. Chiron is the outsider, the maverick, the one that doesn't belong and is therefore often scapegoated by the group. Chiron in Aquarius, the sign of the group, often describes a person who has made many attempts to be accepted by others and has had many painful experiences of being the one that didn't fit, the one that was picked on, excluded and rejected by the group. This can lead to a wounded rejection of any collective situations, the rationalization that 'I never wanted to join anyway,' which can in fact be simply a defence against being rejected again. So the wound of Chiron in Aquarius is about being isolated from or rejected by the group. Eventually, rather than cutting ourselves off altogether, we can come to accept ourselves just as we are, without needing the permission or even the understanding of others. It is not unusual for astrologers, for example, to find themselves at the receiving end of the judgements and criticisms of 'normal' people because we have a particular way of thinking which is not shared by the collective. However, when we find ourselves in a group of other astrologer mavericks, then we can all be outsiders together, which is very comforting, and once we have accepted ourselves just as we are, then we no longer have to fight to be accepted by others.
Audience: But surely, in the end, the eventual outcome is that there is a collective moving forward which gradually brings more knowledge and clarity.
Clare: Yes, I think we would all like to believe that this is true. There is no doubt that there has been an exponential increase in scientific discoveries and inventions since the discovery of Uranus, which does indicate a collective leap, a new kind of collective intellectual capacity with which to address and resolve our problems. What seems to be hanging in the balance, however, is whether we can harness our undoubted potential with real wisdom and compassion.
Let's try and get into some water now. We need to plunge down from the clear, distant, rarified heights of Aquarius, into the murky depths of water, where we are dealing with a much more mysterious and archaic world.
Copyright ©2005 by Clare Martin.
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