Aquarius the Water-Bearer
January 21 to February 18 approximately
History, Mythology & Archetypes of Aquarius
Aquarius is one of the largest and oldest constellations of the zodiac first appearing in ancient Babylonian texts representing their god Enki, later known as Ea. Ea was often depicted holding an overflowing vase or with water flowing from both shoulders. Enki’s name means “Lord of the Earth” but he was the god of waters.
Ea may be a shortened form of Enki and may mean “Lord of the Waters” which is more his domain. There are many legends about Ea that has him helping humanity through protection from floods, performing magic and tricks, building reed boats to traverse flood waters, and more. Enki has been associated with myths relating to the Great Flood or deluge and he is attributed with creating life itself by inventing human beings from clay to fabricate buildings.
Enki/Ea was also the god of intelligence, artisans, crafts, wisdom, magic, sorcery, incantations, creation, and fertility—it was thought that the name Ea also meant “semen”, notable when reading the mythology of Uranus and Venus. He was kindly regarded as a benevolent god who risked the other gods’ disdain by being compassionate to those who suffered.
The symbol for Aquarius is the Water-Bearer who has a very special job as he was the cup bearer, or the servant who brought the monarch or master water. Aquarius is Latin for “water-carrier” or “cup bearer” and this was a very important role given only to the most deserving and faithful of servants. Water is a symbol of life itself and to the ancient Egyptians, Aquarius would put his vase into the Nile in the spring to symbolize spring flooding. Another myth has Aquarius or Ganymede, who is a beautiful boy, kidnapped by Zeus to become his cup-bearer.
Despite all these associations with water, Aquarius is a fixed air sign and Uranus is a sky god which only adds to the mystery of the most bizarre zodiac sign.
Relationship to Uranus
The ruling planet of Aquarius is Uranus, named for the Greek god of the sky. Uranus was a bit of a cold character; he hated his children, said to be ugly or deformed at birth and imprisoned them underground inside their mother Gaia which caused her great pain. The youngest child, Saturn with the aid of his mother and a flint sickle subdued Uranus then castrated him, tossing his genitals into the sea which blended with sea foam and created Venus, goddess of beauty and love.
This bizarre story fits Aquarius (Ganymede) who may have been kidnapped by Zeus as a youth for his beauty, then favoured as the official cup- or water-bearer to the king of the gods. Uranus is associated with bizarre and unusual events that may cause upheavals and these mythic events fit that rulership. Aquarius often has an unusual family or family background.
Technology, electronics and futuristic industries often interest Aquarians. Many Aquarians work in unusual jobs, or have odd working hours which all fit the planet of the unusual Uranus. The association of Uranus with Aquarius is likely because of the qualities they share: they are both electrified when in action, they both are all about change and look to the future. Neither is interested in traditional ways of doing things and operate at a level we can definitely call different.
Aquarius and Uranus are brimming with originality and unique skills especially if they involve innovation, new technology, invention and discovery, or anything that helps us move forward or realize potential. Aquarius and Uranus are symbols of enlightenment, intuition, progress, and ingenious ideas. Both may also be irresponsible, rebellious and bizarre at times with sudden changes of direction.
Relationship to 11th House
The 11th house in astrology is a house of hopes, wishes and dreams for the future. It has much to do with society, the community and civic affairs or charities. Aquarius is ever hopeful, able to keep moving forward and often fantasizes about the future.
The 11th house is a sociable house, opposite to the 5th house of fun and games but instead of association with fun creativity, the 11th deals with serious matters of the community, but also things like fundraising and charity events which can also be fun. In the 5th house we contribute to our need for fun and pleasure; in the 11th house we contribute to the community, finding pleasure in helping others. This very much suits the humanitarian and compassionate nature of Aquarius.
When working within the community we often see ways that we can contribute and be an instrument of positive change, recognizing that camaraderie and furthering the goals of society also helps ourselves. Aquarians are often instruments of societal change whether in a small or larger sense. Aquarians who become famous often do so for their contributions to society in politics, industry or the arts.
Social sciences are the domain of the 11th house, and Uranus is associated with science in general. Aquarius is well known for their scientific minds and ability to be detached from situations that may be too much for the rest of us. They are known to have a very strong constitution (fixed sign) and are also very flexible (air sign) which suits a house that is in service to the community.
Aquarius can be a very giving sign, recognizing when someone needs help and always ready to offer help to their fellow human to progress in life. They often look out for the underdogs of society, ensuring the vulnerable may be on a level playing field with others. An Aquarius probably created a neighbourhood watch program as they like to look out for others or the underdog. Lastly, both Aquarius and Uranus are considered “outsiders” to a degree; Uranus for upsetting the long standing planetary status quo with its discovery and Aquarius for desiring to be different from the rest.
COOL, DETACHED, INGENIOUS, PERCEPTIVE, UNCONVENTIONAL
Aquarius is an unusual sign as they tend to be people who are different from the rest. Just when you think you have them figured out they show a different side to themselves and leave you scratching your head. They are very independent and prefer to be not so attached to things although they can also have their obsessions, especially when involving their ideals. Once the fixed sign Aquarius has an idea in their head it is nearly impossible to dislodge it, until they suddenly decide to change their mind.
Their cool, detached nature convinces everyone they are unflappable but that is not true, they just don’t like showing any weakness so they monitor their reactions very carefully. But just when you start thinking you’re dealing with a sociopath they show you their warm humanitarian nature and you realize how very nice they are. Their cool, detached nature often hides a passionate person with very deep feelings.
Aquarius is unconventional because they are so perceptive and ingenious. They will come up with the solution or fix nobody else thought of. They can be very quick at analysis (and sometimes quick to judge) and their intuition and perceptive nature only adds to their ability to innovate.
They are also unconventional by standing out from the norm. They can be the oddball of the family or at work and this can be what is charming, disarming or inspiring about them. Their quiet mystery encourages interest to find out more about them and why they are so mysterious. Most are not trying to be mysterious or different, but they are trying to just be who they are. They know and don’t care that they don’t “fit in” and rarely do they want to as they value their independence very much.
With Uranus as their ruling planet, and being a dual sign, the basic character of Aquarius is unusual. They can be incredibly aloof but also friendly. They can be very proud like Leo, but also very humble. Aquarius may have a huge ego (which they deny) but also be very giving, helpful and generous to others. They believe they are not at all egotistic and are often unaware of this trait which is odd in itself as they tend to have a greater amount of self-understanding than other signs. Some Aquarians are far from egotistic as they truly think of others first and foremost.
Their lack of self-awareness may be due to their detachment, but also contribute to erratic behaviour, nervousness, irritability and unwanted sarcasm in some. An unhappy Aquarius can be dark and dangerous and they often harm themselves by suddenly striking out at others at the wrong time or in the wrong way and looking foolish.
Their detachment at times can be cold not just cool. They are very observant and if insecure may be opinionated and judgmental of others, appearing jealous and petty. Their attachment to their ideals may also show them to be insensitive clods when negative or just an absent-minded professor type when positive. They tend to lose track of time and deadlines as their mind may be on something else, likely their own agenda which is unconventional.
Aquarians are excellent at relating to groups, have an intelligent, scientific mind and can be noble and honourable people. They also can be manipulative, controlling, undisciplined and an expert game player turning the tables on you when you least expect it, and they may treat people like appliances.
Physiology, Health & Physical Appearance
Aquarius is a fixed air sign which is a bit of an odd combination. By appearance, fixed signs tend to be thickly or squarely built and solid while air signs tend to be slim, light on their feet and fluid. There is a bit of a conflict here which may account for their erratic behaviour more than unusual looks.
The air quality and Uranus give a rather high energy potential and many Aquarians are athletically built even if not into sports. Most Aquarians will have an unusual feature or two and often they are unusually good looking. Like Sagittarius and Capricorn, they can be leggy and good on their feet, but Aquarius will have thick, muscular calves and strong ankles.
Aquarians come in every size, shape and colour but their most outstanding feature is often their eyes which can be bright icy blue or any other colour of the sky, and even when brown or dark eyed their eyes appear bright and flashing. Eyesight may be an issue with Aquarius and they may wear glasses giving them a bookish look of a librarian, professor or scientist. Waterbearers may have a squarish face or head and full lips with luminous eyes.
Aquarius is the family member who may not look like or behave like everybody else. They are proudly non-conforming and may be attracted to unusual or progressive fashions. They are fond of wearing bright colours and are attracted to unusual textures and designs. Some Aquarians care not one whit about their appearance and may look like they were dressed by a committee whose members just couldn’t agree. Others are very aesthetically oriented wearing only the latest fashions and augmenting their natural exotic look. They are very comfortable being different from you and me.
Aquarius is a bit accident prone, perhaps because of their Uranus rulership, the planet of sudden accidents and changes. They usually hurt their ankles or shins which the sign rules. Waterbearers may be prone to headaches and stress-related illness. Their physical energy is erratic; going full tilt one minute then dead stop the next. Although they may have high stamina, a lack of proper rest can really manifest in illness with this sign resulting in their need to withdraw to recoup their energies.
Self-aware Aquarians are involved with health, fitness, and a good diet in their desire for equilibrium to conserve or bolster their erratic energy. They are also attracted to “new age” topics such as astrology, mysticism, psychic phenomena, meditation, alternative religions or philosophies and if physical health is one of their ideals they will usually stay on top of it. If not, they could care less what they look like.
Personality & Psychology
Aquarius may be the most idealistic sign of the zodiac. They are inventive and have a very progressive outlook on life. Being an air sign, they are often friendly and gregarious although they don’t “open up” right away as they do not trust easily. They are always original and can have a very quick wit enjoying deep belly laughs when they find something funny and in opposition to their normally serious and sober manner.
Like the other fixed signs, Aquarius can be very resourceful and are able to improvise when necessary. They are unconventional in personality and that can be good, bad or neutral. Aquarians are always ready to try something new and they are a true original. They are always coming up with new ideas but not all are practical to implement, although they may think so and stubbornly argue with you. Often ahead of their time they can be quite ingenious.
They tend to be aware of social reform and are known to fight for a cause. Their ability to be detached is helpful when others are getting very emotional about the topic enabling them to steer the issue in the right direction.
They appear immune to criticism but actually may feel insecure. Most critical comments just roll off their back as they really don’t care what others think about them but they themselves may think they don’t measure up somehow causing anxiety. Sometimes they can be very exacting with their criticism and may even appear mean and cruel. Their observant nature allows them to effectively and cruelly cut people down to size especially if they believe the person needs to “learn a lesson”. In this way they set themselves up as judge and jury, but only if the matter is of interest to them. If not they could care less how others behave.
When dealing with the Aquarian personality you can really beat your head against the wall. Although they are expert manipulators they cannot be manipulated too easily and if they disagree with you will just bluntly tell you. They can have a hair-trigger mind and sometimes a temperament to match. They tend to go about things in a scientific manner which may be completely inappropriate in personal, emotional situations and adds to their reputation for being a cold fish.
Although they are open minded and good at theory, in practice they are essentially inconsistent. They are prone to change their mind often and start things they never finish. Like the other air signs, they can be expedient however and make short work of things that may take others longer to do. They don’t worry about changing their mind but wonder why you are so concerned. Their inconsistency is something they are not aware of or they just don’t care what you think about it as they tend to be more relaxed or even a bit off the wall.
They are often eccentric and for some odd reason may attract too much admiration at times. They may receive high praise for doing very little and like a cat they often land on their feet no matter how crazy things get. Some Aquarians are fake and cold while appearing warm and caring outwardly. Waterbearers can be expert manipulators, manoeuvring others like tools and instruments and not at all treating them like human beings. Some Aquarians are very egotistic and selfish, and coupled with insecurity and antisocial behaviour can be very dangerous people as they seek revenge to even the score.
Aquarius may be able to make very passionate speeches and can encourage others to act kindly yet may be cold, calculating and very hurtful on a personal level. Some even appear to enjoy the pain of others and “twist the knife” when it’s not necessary as they’ve already won. The most observant signs such as Aquarius can hurt so deeply as they know how, where and when to strike and crazy Uranus as your ruler must be hard to process at times.
They tend to dislike and avoid confrontations and as they internalize so much they can have nervous disorders. Extreme stress can cause them to act out in erratic and unreliable ways. When they feel victimized or attacked Aquarius can be icy, sarcastic and they will just take what they want having no regard for the feelings of others. Aquarius is known to remove people from their lives with surgical precision and can be exceedingly unforgiving.
Like other fixed signs, Aquarius is people-oriented however and probably the most humanitarian of all. They love to read and learn and enjoy most forms of entertainment. They can be equally interested in arts and sciences.
Aquarius does better in group situations than in one on one relationships even though they’re an air sign. Their attachment to their ideals will not be compromised even for another person they may love. Their erratic nature in relationships does not usually suit the more staid and conservative signs.
Love, Family & Relationships
The Aquarius child is very intelligent and quietly smart. They don’t generally need to show off but often are born a bit ahead of their time. Many are born prematurely; they just can’t seem to wait to get out into the world. Aquarius children do things sooner than expected and are very bright, observant children.
When it comes to relating to people Aquarius is different and they do best with a spouse much like theirself or who will give them lots of freedom. They can be very detached at the personal level and their aloofness is often misjudged as uncaring.
They sometimes appear unable or unwilling to understand the feelings of others. Aquarius can hurt family members and others very deeply as they may have little capacity to understand another person’s stress. Although not generally dishonest—they need to learn the importance of always being honest in relationships to avoid issues and allowing these to get unnecessarily out of hand by sweeping them under the carpet.
Aquarius has a great sense of humour although it leans to the bizarre and sarcastic. Using humour is a great way to get them to understand an issue. Aquarius can be enjoyable to play or work with as they don’t make an issue out of everything and are coolly easygoing and offhand. However, they may be lacking in tact at times.
As a spouse, Aquarius is usually devoted but not always demonstrative. I’ll never forget the woman married to an Aquarian man for several years who told me that when she complained he never said “I love you” he replied, “I told you on our wedding day, why do I have to say it now?” He just didn’t seem to understand her feelings of needing to be reassured as he was so coolly detached. They are not at all into public displays of affection preferring to keep their private moments private. They can be passionate and loving partners but easily distracted; not by another person but by new ideas and they can have a lack of focus. They may need an unconventional marriage for it to work; they just aren’t like other people and the freedom loving signs like Gemini, Libra and Sagittarius suit them best.
Astrologers generally use sex and gender specific terminology in a way that is not necessarily denoting sex or gender but more as a modifier as in language. In English both a male and female cat is a cat. In French a male cat is un chat and a female is une chatte. The gender modifier is needed to make sense in the French language. This is also true to some degree in astrology which is also a language but of behaviour and events.
Aquarius excels at academics and may be the family success story. Parents and other family members may place all hope for a better future on Aquarius and they will not disappoint. They often become an expert in their field although they are multi-talented too. Aquarius may be shy and too cerebral for the party crowd but they love people and having fun. Their tastes in people like other things can be very eclectic.
As parents, Aquarius will expect their children to do well in school but can be fairly lenient in other ways. Although Waterbearers can be great parents their inconsistency may trickle down to the kids who can in turn manipulate them. Aquarius will try to always be there for their kids and may even dote on them a bit much, but they also expect the kids to be independent. Some Aquarians will spend less time with kids but have a lot of rules. Their relaxed manner in dealing with kids encourages their children to be creative and experimental.
Aquarius has a wonderful, dry and sarcastic sense of humour and quick wit. They can be self-effacing and don’t mind laughing at themselves but don’t be too critical. Aquarians are your oddball friends who like to have fun and spend lots of time hanging out sharing laughs. They are super spontaneous, will try nearly anything once so they’re great to have along on any adventure.
Creative & Hobby Interests
Aquarius is an air sign which, like the other air signs Gemini and Libra gives them a leg up on media. They can excel at languages and learning especially if it’s unusual. They may be a pro with electronic devices as these are based on language and Uranus is associated with electronics, electricity, computers and the IT industries and modern digital media. Even when pursuing hobbies and the arts their approach may be scientific.
They pursue arts that are futuristic or abstract, using materials and methods that are unusual. Aquarians can be very talented artists and their works display great insight and imagination. They love modern art, neon sculptures, new art forms, mixed media and experimental art, music and theatre. As an air sign, Waterbearers can be excellent musicians and performers and may become celebrated because of their innovation or specific approach.
They often enjoy most forms of music favouring jazz, blues, hard rock, electronic and meditation style, or classical music that is calming. Many world-renowned composers have been Aquarians and their style is often new or unique. The Weeknd, Mozart, Phil Collins, Adam Lambert, Schubert, Mendelssohn and John Williams are all composers and musicians that have a sound different from the rest.
Many Aquarians enjoy the animal world and they tend to be fond of birds, fish and unusual or exotic pets. Waterbearers enjoy the earth’s natural beauty and they may be down to earth people but don’t ask an Aquarius to care for a garden. They’re better at taking inanimate things apart and putting them back together instead of horticulture. They like to observe life through a telescope or microscope and will leave the real world care of nature to others as they’re more comfortable in the laboratory or at the computer.
Work & Career
Aquarius is a very modern and scientific sign with deep connections to technology. As they are ruled by Uranus many work in fields relying heavily on computers and technology but also the media arts. This sign is not always comfortable in front of a camera but behind the scenes they really shine. Many Waterbearers work in tech that support others in media, TV, film and entertainment. They can be lighting and audio experts, and they gravitate to anime, cartooning, the internet and other digital and video arts.
Perhaps because of the relationship of Venus to Uranus, many Aquarians work in the field of beauty and aesthetics especially the science of beauty or health. Your hairdresser, aesthetician, make-up artist or fashion stylist may be Aquarius. Some Aquarians are attracted to food science and can be excellent cooks but not generally traditional beyond what may be needed to obtain professional chef status. They love new and foreign cuisine in particular.
As an air sign, many Aquarians incline to work in media and education. They may become a teacher, professor, speaker, writer or work anywhere a skill in media and communication is well-used. Due to an evolved social conscience Waterbearers may work in politics, social work, human resources, medicine or engineering as they like to know how things and people work. They can be very efficient project and business managers and are attracted to hard sciences such as mathematics, physics, astronomy, and anywhere else a laboratory may be found.
Aquarius enjoys work in psychiatry, counselling, family therapy or astrology, religion and mysticism. Their career may be unusual in some way and they make a science of their work whatever it is. They are great at finding new ways of doing old things but beware, this sign is known to take credit for the work of others.
Like Aries, they are best at starting something and letting someone else finish or it will never get done. Their attention span can be short. With their independent streak, many Aquarians like to DIY or be self-employed but someone else better handle the money and business administration. Those kinds of details they are not usually good with. Self-help, self-care and personal growth industries are also prone to attracting Aquarians.
Due to Uranus, many Aquarians will work with electronics, computers or electricity in nearly any capacity. They may also work with power tools, large equipment and in factories or manufacturing. Alternative or sustainable energy will also interest them as will any new and emerging industry. They tend to not go for the usual 9 to 5 job and are more inclined to work shift work, an odd work week, a couple part-time jobs, by contract, or only when they need the money.