Just a day after the Sun ingresses into the airy sign of Aquarius, the Moon catches up with the Sun on January 21 at 12:53 p.m. on the West Coast.
I love Aquarius season for its totemic symbol, the Water Bearer. It’s a mythological figure that dates from ancient Greece and Egypt. In the long stretches of time before there was plumbing, of course, water had to be carried and delivered in jugs. In Egypt, the season when the Sun traverses Aquarius was when the Nile River would flood over onto its banks. (We’re having a similar experience as I write here from the Northern California coast.) Greek astronomer-astrologers later linked the constellation of fixed stars known as Aquarius to the symbolism of the Water Bearer who pours out a healing libation onto the Earth.
Modern astrologers later connected Aquarius with the planet Uranus, which was discovered until 1781 with the advent of telescopes. Once modern astrologers conceived of Uranus as the “ruling” planet of Aquarius, they also associated this curious sign with rebelliousness, as well as with the humanitarianism of the Water Bearer.
Traditionally, though, Aquarius’ ruling planet is Saturn, and in my view, this remains more plausible. Aquarius is the fixed air sign. Its qualities are staid and immovable, with an objectivity not unlike that of the mythic Water Bearer, who offers life’s sustenance indiscriminately, to all who thirst. Qualities associated with the enigmatic Aquarian personality include a kind of reserved detachment and analytical forte, like a cool, distant breeze.
But Aquarius, like the entrenched firmness of Saturn, the furthest out of the visible planets, is not to be pushed or trifled with. Opposite Leo—the sign of heightened individual creative expression—Aquarius is more about collective endeavors. What’s good for everyone?
Modern astrologers linked Uranus to the 18th century American and French revolutions that turned the world upside down. To me, it still makes more sense to hold Saturn as Aquarius’ primary ruling planet and here’s why: To preserve individual freedom is, now more than ever, a fundamentally conservative project, in the non-partisan sense of the term. It is now the duty of egalitarian movements to hold the line against anyone and anything that would storm the gates and tear democracy down.
The tightest aspect at the January 21 Aquarius New Moon is Venus in conjunction with Saturn, both in Aquarius, as well. Whereas Saturn has to do with the endeavors to build and achieve something, Venus is about our love for beauty and for other living beings. It would seem that at this New Moon time, there’s a confluence between hard work and love. The Venus-Saturn conjunction may call forth the effort necessary to sustain relationships, with the energy of the Moon inviting one to take initiative in that regard.
At this time, also, Mars has just recently resumed direct motion. It’s still in airy Gemini until March, but as of January 12, it is now moving direct. There may start to be fewer frustrations with all things related to mental activities and communications. Maybe. Mercury, the ruler of the Gemini Mars, is barely past its most recent retrograde period.
At the New Moon, the Sun and Moon are in a lovely, applying trine to Mars in Gemini, highlighting the air element and making this a particularly social time for exchanging ideas.
The four elements (earth, water, fire, air) are a cornerstone of esoteric philosophy and practice. Noticing and contemplating their subtleties can be a life-long practice. Much of astrology is based on the four elements, correlating also with the four directions of north, west, south and east.
It is in the east, associated with the element of air, that Day begins, symbolizing all that begins and becomes, symbolizing Creation itself.
Here’s what the 13th century Sufi poet Jelaluddin Rumi said in one of his most famous poems:
The breeze at dawn has secrets to tell. Don’t go back to sleep.
You must ask for what you really want. Don’t go back to sleep.
People are going back and forth across the doorsills where the two worlds touch.
The door is round and open. Don’t go back to sleep.
Consider what you really want, and notice where the door to it is already round and open.
Blessings for the Aquarius New Moon!