We’re about to encounter massive change on a societal and personal level as Pluto, the (dwarf) planet of transformation (astronomically dwarf planet, but… who cares) changes signs into Aquarius on March 23rd, 2023. Pluto will change back and forth between its former sign, Capricorn, and Aquarius for the next two years until it fully settles into Aquarius in November 2024 – but overall, the changes will start soon.
So, this seemed like a great idea to talk about the sign of Aquarius in detail, especially for people new to astrology – or people who aren’t new but don’t understand the sign. Aquarius is, for some reason, the hardest sign for newbies and professional astrologers alike to get - which always throws me because it was the first sign I immediately "got" in my journey of learning astrology. So, I've been spending years explaining this archetype to other people. In my experience, it makes the most sense to dive deeply into the mechanics of this zodiac sign – without muddling it up with the energies of the “Aquarius as your Sun/Star sign” or “Aquarius Rising,” but just the pure expression of the sign: so this is what we're doing.
Please know that everybody has Aquarius somewhere in their charts, regardless of whether you have a planet (such as the Sun or Pluto) in there or not. Therefore, it’s part of us all – its importance just varies from individual to individual. Also, astrology shows you your potential, it doesn’t determine your choices. Therefore, you get to decide what you do with the energy: you can express it, alter it (as per your natal chart), or suppress it. It depends on you.
Lastly, Aquarius doesn’t exist in a vacuum. It signifies only one of twelve different zodiac signs – the other ones (and the planets and houses) bring other information in that can amplify, complete, or modify the effects of Aquarius. Just like human beings aren’t one-dimensional, neither is astrology… but in order to really understand a single facet, we have to take it out of the context it lives in long enough to explain it - which is what we're doing now. Still, the context exists and it matetrs. Please keep that in mind while reading the rest of this article.
Aquarius is the 11th sign of the zodiac, and – sparing you all the technical Astro-detail – it’s concerned with group settings, true individuality, rebellion, innovation, and future thinking. Zodiac signs always talk about needs within someone’s psyche… so, astrologically speaking, Aquarius as a sign is important for each and every one of us, regardless of whether your Sun, Rising, or other planetary players “live there” or not. (Again, everyone has Aquarius in their charts somewhere).
All zodiac signs (and all other parts of the chart) are intrinsically neutral. There’s no “good” sign, planet, house, or aspect, though there are some that people are generally speaking more comfortable in than others. But all parts of astrology have good AND bad expressions. In the world of Dungeons and Dragons, astrology’s alignment is always True Neutral: not good, not bad, but what you make of it. All options are possible.
This means that going forward, we’re talking about positive and negative expressions of Aquarius with little to no judgment – and the awareness that, whatever you make of it is fully up to you. It’s also just one piece of the larger puzzle of your birth chart (your personal astrological blueprint), so please don’t take this information and reduce yourself to what you read here.
Let’s get deeper into the sign.
Aquarius: Unique But Group-Oriented
How can you be social and stay true to yourself? How can you be fully unique and part of a group? On the surface, those questions may seem antithetical, but in reality, they make perfect sense. Staying true to yourself is a given if you’ve never met anyone in your life that could influence you, pressure you to act in certain ways, or role model “societally acceptable” behavior. However, when you are with other people – people you love, people you admire, people with more power than you – then you’re naturally influenced to adapt your behavior to fit the mold – and sometimes even your values or personality traits. However, you don’t necessarily change over much... and you don’t necessarily lose yourself in a fake personality, either. Aquarius is the part of each and every one of us that’s responsible for your ability to hold onto who you are. It allows us to be in groups of people while still being ourselves. Other parts of our charts (for instance Libra) allow us to meet others halfway, to truly learn from others so cooperation and social relationships are possible, and even to lose ourselves in others. Aquarius is where we get to hold our ground with others so we don’t become carbon copies or walking ads for “civilized living.”
Humans run with other humans not just because we’re social creatures, but because each person brings something unique to the table that others may need. And each person has weaknesses other people can help with. This means that trying to suppress your own difference from others or trying to self-isolate robs the community of a gift that you have – and it robs you of the gifts you can get from other people. This is the crux of Aquarius: cultivating differences because they can be brought to a larger group of people and make them better – and their input can make you better (though Aquarius ain’t always great at receiving from others).
That doesn’t mean that every person has one talent that makes them the best at (insert field) compared to the other 7 billion people on the planet. You don’t need to be the strongest person on Earth to use your strength to help five of your close friends move furniture – but your strength still brings them benefits. Similarly, it’s nice that there’s a person out there who’s kinder than Auntie Suzie, but your world gets better when you get to ask her advice or cry on her shoulder. Clara might not be the smartest person on Earth, but if Giacomo and Tanique are stuck in a math problem that she knows how to solve, they benefit from where she’s different (she knows math). And likewise, if she absolutely can’t figure out how to fix the dishwasher and Tanique can, then she benefits from Tanique’s difference from here, too. And if Giacomo gives stellar advice on dating (where she’s prone to make a bunch of stupid mistakes), then he brings something to the table too that she really needs.
We make each other better because we’re different – and therefore, Aquarius gives us this strong sense of where we’re different, as well as the courage to unflinchingly be different from other people. This can be tough because wherever Aquarius is situated in your chart, you can’t be like “other people,” other people being the people who influence(d) you. You may also really not care if others like that odd part of you or not – it depends on planetary placements or the overall chart. But Aquarius also gives us the drive to try and find people whom we can complement: which means people that are similar enough to embrace us and different enough that we gain from knowing one another.
So: where Aquarius lies in your chart, you’re prone to encounter other people, you’re prone to be different than others, and you’re prone to be called to embrace that difference rather than squash it to fit in.
Standing Apart, Creating Change
Where Aquarius lies in your chart, you’re fine with walking the road less traveled. As a matter of fact, you’re often not given a choice. But whether you like the fact that you can’t fully conform or not, you have the innate strength to stand up against oppression of who you are or a system that decided you have no place there. (Whether you do stand up or not is your choice though). Generally speaking, Aquarius likes to get a group full of people at one table and then get them all on the street to protest – or do other things – as a matter of evoking change and expressing the self. But it’s also the part of us who’ll just quietly swim against the current when no one’s there to support us. Where Aquarius lies, you need no validation, you just are who you are and do what you do. Others can deal – or not. Who cares?
The potential extreme of that is to become a complete outcast. This can happen for two reasons: 1), your nature is so incompatible with the values of the society and community you live in that you just can’t fit in, no matter how much you try, and 2) you don’t want to learn to be yourself in the society of your choosing, you only want to disrupt, and eventually, people throw you out. So, persecution/ostracism or becoming a genuine threat with the inability to participate in social life. Just destroying something rarely leads to the changes you want to see. Similarly, there are times when you forget that you can bend for others while holding on to your core. A clearer way of saying this is: you may throw a fit to “be yourself” in situations where you could be yourself without necessarily burning the house down and starting a conflict. This then creates more problems than it solves.
This leads us to the most commonly known theme of Aquarius: rebellion. No society or life form ever survives without adapting to the changing realities of its surroundings. Aquarius is the part of us (next to Uranus and Neptune) that divines those changes and sees the coming future… and it’s also (like Uranus, unlike Neptune) the part of us that then seeks to change what we have so the future will be better. Aquarius is also very egalitarian, very democratic, very idealistic, and very freedom-seeking. If you notice a lack of all those things (equality, democracy, ideals, freedom) in the area of your life ruled by Aquarius, you’ll be very, very dismayed. And then, in true Aquarius fashion, you’ll rock the boat to create the change. But the extreme potentiality here is that you can fall so deeply in love with “how rebellious you are” that you get out of touch with your values and start to just take the opposite point of view from what’s mainstream and then fight to have it. “Oh, it’s mainstream that democracy is cool?! HA! Now I’m anti-democratic, just to stick it to you! GIVE ME A TOTALITARIAN REGIME MUFUS!” – that’s the kind of thing we’re talking about. This is the shadow of Aquarius: rebellion against something just for the sake of rebelling against something. It’s not smart, but intellectualism generally only thinks it’s smart, it ain’t fooling anyone else though.
Mind Over Matter
Our brains are beautiful, complex, and powerful machines that help us make complicated decisions, process and synthesize stimuli, and generally speaking live a very good life. However, the head should never be the sole part of yourself that makes a judgment. You’ve got your heart, your gut, (in my opinion also your soul), and so on – logic should only be part of your decision-making because these other parts of you have information that logic doesn’t quite have access to. But Aquarius on its own is all logic, with no heart, gut, or soul involved. Obviously, we have other parts of our charts that “take up the other functions” (it’s a bit more complicated than that, but this works for now). But when talking about Aquarius, we have to look at the shadow and the light aspects of its particular modus operati.
Aquarius is the place inside of us capable of ignoring the fact that we have physical needs as a human; that we have feelings that determine our quality of life, and that our minds aren’t smart enough to figure out everything on their own, that we have intuition that may be smarter than our logical minds. That’s the big shadow side of Aquarius. The problem with being too enamored of thought processes and logic (which Aquarius can be) is that you lack awareness of intuitive knowledge. And intuition is to some extent just your unconscious and subconscious passing on information that you’ve processed through your senses but that didn’t quite make it in its entirety into your consciousness. What’s being passed on is a vague gut feeling, but because you “can’t explain it,” you value it as “not important” and therefore don’t listen. This can get you in trouble. Humans have honed their intuition to become a finely tuned survival mechanism, so “vague” as it may be, it’s still worth taking into account. Similarly, it’s nice that intellectually, something “should be like this.” But just because you use the word “should,” doesn’t mean that it is that way.
Part of the human experience is emotional. Part of the human experience on Earth is inexplicable, and therefore, all the logic in the world ain’t going to help you figure out everything – so there are times when listening to your heart and prioritizing feelings is important. Not just that, but there are social questions that are inherently emotional. How are you going to solve them with just your logic involved? How are you going to live a full experience as a person if you completely ignore your body? The truth is, you can’t. People try (lots of times), and it just leads to broken relationships, dissociation, and mental health issues.
The gift of Aquarius is the exact same thing: where Aquarius lies, you can put everything aside – your feelings, your intuition, your physical needs, the feelings of other people, and material reality – in order to think about things (logically). That means you’re able to function mentally in a time of crisis, you’re able to think yourself out of a threatening situation, and you’re able to compartmentalize your break-up with the love of your life to get an A in the math exam you studied for. You’re able to set aside your anger to see if the person who courted it was in the right. You’re also able to translate your feelings, thoughts, etc. into a logical construct that can then be used to a) explain your unique situation to someone who isn’t involved or b) can be used on its own in order to find a solution. Pretty sure the person who invented complex mathematics was very Aquarian. Compartmentalization, seeing things from an outsider’s perspective slash “zooming out” in order to see your problem from multiple sides, and analytical and critical thinking are also gifts that arise from this.
So, where Aquarius lies in your chart you both have the blessings and the shadows of logical thinking.
This brings us to the next facet of Aquarius that we’ll talk about is love for humanity. We’ve all heard it, “oh, you’re an Aquarius, you’re like, totally humanitarian!” The thing is, Aquarius loves the idea of humanity much more than the real thing… in the sense of: “Oh, humanity, I love it! As long as I don’t have to actually hang out with humans, ‘cause they suck.” (Obviously, this is satire and an exaggeration.) Still, the love can be a bit of a… theoretical concept, as again: Aquarius is very logical and can forget that emotions matter.
Aquarius does dream up a bigger and better future for the sake of all (and dystopian ideas of how it could all go wrong, which is also a way of expressing love – cause it’s a guide on how not to progress into the future.) It also deals with high interest in questions of social nature and in topics that could (as per your opinion) make the world a better place for humans. However, the problem is still: this is a very theoretical love based on an ideal about humanity, more than the real thing – and once the ideal is challenged (you hang out with a person that disproves the ideal) the love falls down the priority list for a while before rebounding… as you remember “what a good idea” humanity really is.
And that’s the crux of Aquarius. Aquarius brings wonderful and intricate visions and ideals for all number of things, but they are not necessarily doable or rooted in reality. The good news is: if you can’t dream up the impossible, you’ll never be able to have ideas that are big enough to bring change. But the problem is that Aquarius can deal with fanaticism in ideas, and in dreaming, dreaming, and dreaming about a better world while getting completely out of touch with how the world actually is. Think of all the experts on child rearing whose closest relationship to a kid was seeing one while grocery shopping, but who otherwise just read lots of books and the results of studies they or someone else planned. They can still be right about what they say, but most of them invent outlandish theories that just aren’t applicable to human nature or child-rearing. That issue is a shadow side of Aquarius in general. That being said, the people who live in their ivory towers and stay away from humans are also the ones with the best ideas for technical inventions as they are often the ones who dream up and make real what others just can’t even think of. This is also a facet of Aquarius: being an outcast, outsider, and lone wolf who uses the perspective from the outside as a massive advantage. Their minds, unflavored by mainstream perspectives, can come up with innovative ideas and solutions others would never think of. This is why Aquarius rules genius.
Democracy and Equality
Aquarius is undoubtedly the zodiac sign that’s symbolizing our need to be seen as equals to other people and our need to include people from all walks of life. While prescribing an ideology can mitigate the effect, Aquarius in and of itself stands for the wisdom that two sets of eyes see more than one, and the eyes of a group see even more than two sets. So, if you allow everyone to have a voice, you’re probably going to have a better end result than if one person does the decision-making.
In people’s personal life, Aquarius placements also have another effect: friendship and other forms of equal relationships are incredibly important to you, to the point that you may shoot yourself in the foot to keep meeting the other person on an eye level. In a hierarchy, you may include people below you much more than you should for the sake of efficiency – or threaten the people above you much more than you should, too. Especially with Aquarius tied to significators for authority figures and career, this can prove difficult – but you can still have great relationships with your bosses, subordinates, and so on, it depends on you. If Aquarius is tied to the significators for romance, you’ll likely prioritize a foundation of friendship for intimate partnerships much more than others… and you’ll also prioritize your freedom and time away from your partner. And so on.
Rules and Ethics
Aquarius has a very flexible relationship with rules. Mainly, they’re there to be broken or to be “guidelines,” at least according to people with lots of Aquarius in their charts, and that’s a great thing when you’re in a situation where the rules are outdated and don’t make sense… (the problem, of course, being when the rules are genuinely good ones that keep people safe). Sometimes, breaking the rules is even deeply necessary – for instance, if they’re there to ensure compliance with power abuse. (Think of Hermione Granger from Harry Potter and how she single-handedly set up the foundation for large-scale and extremely efficient anarchy as soon as Umbridge started her reign of terror). Aquarius is part of each and every one of us who’s capable of bending and breaking the rules if necessary. It’s the part where we refuse to become sheep that follow the flock unquestioningly and where we want to co-write the rules we prescribe to. Because of this predilection, Aquarius is sometimes associated with less-than-upstanding behavior. Obviously, this is mainly up to the person who has Aquarius in their chart: no matter what potentiality you carry within you, it’s up to you to choose how to live into it (if at all).
Let’s talk about a major shadow side of this. Aquarius may rule ideals or ideology, but the problem is that it doesn’t signify ethics, just singular beliefs you really hold dear in your heart. A.k.a., Aquarius on its own (and it never is on its own, we all have enough mitigating factors in your chart for this) can cause a lack of morals/ethics. Think of a cult or fanatic version of a world religion where the underlying ethical belief system is twisted into something it never was before. Or the French Revolution where liberté, égalité, fraternité suddenly meant indiscriminate murder based on someone’s lineage, even if the victim in question was 6 years old. That’s the shadow.
The good news is that the positive effects of the same process can allow you to take belief systems that teach ethics and morals and adapt them to become better. For instance, having a belief system that (among many things that it does that are good), discriminates against the LGBTQ+ community… but you choose to help the LGBTQ+ community, even though you still deeply believe in your belief system. You just don’t agree with that one aspect of it.
Fringe Themes: Technology and the Ancient Future
Aquarius has two more fields we need to talk about before we head off. One is the concept of the ancient future, and the other is technology.
Technology and scientific innovation is just as much part of Aquarius as breathing is part of being a (living) human. Therefore, people with a bunch of Aquarius in their chart often like working with technology in the area of their lives that’s signified by their houses and planets. For instance, you can have someone with Aquarius in the fourth house who chooses a lot of technological involvement in fertility or giving birth. Or you have someone with Aquarius in the 10th who may choose to work in a field that has to do with tech. (Or going completely against the mainstream in some way). It depends on the overall chart.
Now, let’s come to the ancient future – the walking oxymoron. Fact is, humans nowadays think we’re so much smarter than people who lived before us, but that’s actually not the case. Human intelligence did not sky-rock sometime in the 19th century: religious belief systems of the past just destroyed a lot of knowledge, invention, etc. of past cultures that shows the intelligence that used to exist. This destruction of knowledge is also the reason why so many monuments exist nowadays that we couldn’t have built today. Not in that quality, or not at all – and definitely not with the same technology that f.e. ancient Egyptians had. So much has been lost. Some stuff also hasn’t been lost, but just got out of fashion (like farming principles that aligned with the seasons and the moon in different ways). The ancient future means that some of the things from the very distant past eventually come back into our consciousness and make a comeback in our lives. Aquarius rules that.
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No matter which planets, houses, or mathematical points you have in Aquarius, it’s an interesting sign that’s highly relevant to each person’s psyche and survival in this wonderful world. We literally couldn’t function as humans without it: and I hope that I explained the sign enough so you understand it a bit better than you used to.
Links for learning more about astrology:
Links for current transits:
If you’re interested in reading about the paradigm shift of Pluto entering Aquarius, here’s my article on this.
And my articles on the other paradigm shift we have right now:
See you there,