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Down the Rabbit Hole
Paul Kiritsis, PsyD candidate, DPhil., MA (Psychology), MA (History)

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The Zodiac: Aquarius the Water-Bearer

Paul Kiritsis - Friday, May 25, 2012
Aquarius the Water-Bearer, showcasing the constellation, the zodiacal imagery, and the shorthand symbol

Date of Rulership: 19th January-18th February; Polarity: Positive, male; Quality: Fixed; Ruling planet: Saturn/Uranus; Element: Air; Body part: Circulation, ankles; Colour: Turquoise; Gemstone: Aquamarine; Metal: Aluminium

 

If we could transpose the zodiacal sign of Aquarius into a psychological archetype, it would no doubt be the rebel or the nutty professor. Unlike many of its predecessors, Aquarius signifies a state of being that is all about rocking the boat and ruffling the feathers. Save for the fact that personal differences, originality and quirkiness support biodiversity and make our world an interesting place to live, the Aquarian formative force understands that one’s courage in losing sight of the shore or diving into the deep, abyssal oceans of the ethereal or material worlds is what spurs further evolution in the underlying nature of reality. Society won’t be moving forward any time soon if people sacrifice their true selves for the sake of uniformity and social cohesion. What’s the point in conforming to styles, tastes, perspectives, opinions, philosophies, fads, or ideas that have been expressed about a million or so times before? Do you really want to be just another one of a hundred million woolly sheep grazing in the green pastures? Or would you rather be a black wolf, a creature markedly different, unusual and original with respect to its approach to life? One must always remember that a meaningful existence is rife with vibrations that are markedly different from everyone else’s in wavelength. According to the flamboyant Water-Bearer, salvation must be wrought by bending the rules, thinking outside the designated square as well as the accepted conventions of the time, and embracing one’s psychic dowry and innate qualities irrespective of whether they are communally linked with positive or negative connotations.

Of course, a great many would be dying to know how the Water-Bearer arrived at such magnanimous and grandiose conclusions. Simple really. It climbed onto a reclining chair one night with a mug of hot chocolate in one hand and an encyclopaedic tome of world history in another, turned to the chapter on the history of ideas and looked long and hard at the entire matter with a magnifying glass. In scouring the commendable figures of world history that made worthy contributions to our collective repository of wisdom and knowledge and possessed an unnerving talent in predicting the future, the Water Bearer discovered that most of them were oddball eccentrics and some were even raving lunatics. A list of the worthiest thinkers with mental horsepower to rip a hole through the ozone layer would include names like Pythagoras of Samos, Democritos of Abdera, Plato, Aristotle, Sir Isaac Newton, Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Emmanuel Swedenborg, Johannes Kepler, Martin Luther, Galileo Galilei, Ludwig van Beethoven, Albert Einstein, Robert Boyle, Immanuel Kant, Benjamin Franklin, Amadeus Mozart and Nicolaus Copernicus, to name a few.

Strange is definitely an adjective that might be used to characterise the majority of ingenious thinkers. Further, it appears that the most important figures of the Early Modern Period that made crucial discoveries in the disciplines of physics, chemistry, and science were more interested in the esoteric disciplines–alchemy, astrology, theurgy, kabbalah and natural magic–than anything that might be described as contemporary science. Hence, the Water- Bearer made a qualitative link between concepts like ingenuity, IQ, intelligence, detachment, determination, individuation, originality, oddness, reclusion, and mastery. To be noticed in a vast, desolate and chaotic ocean of cosmic noise and cleave a set of mental vibrations that would continue to resound even after physical death the Water-Bearer reasoned that one had to possess as many of these qualities as possible. Anything that moved in the opposite direction and distracted from the impersonal and cerebral nature of these activities or distorted the truth-seeking ways of the ambient mercury in the cosmic thermometer (i.e. emotions and feelings) was branded a dangerous enemy, an ailment that had to be jettisoned as to forestall counter-productivity and self-destruction.

Unlike some of the just mentioned polymaths and intellectuals, Aquarius does not wish to alienate itself completely from a society it hopes to advance. Nevertheless it will never, ever sacrifice its own nature and mode of being in order to impress another or conform to society and will rarely, if ever, succumb to the mindless, tribal mentality of peer pressure. The Water-Bearer encompasses an uncanny ability to weed out musty traditions and belief systems that have passed their due date and reinvent them so that they appeal to modern-day people. It feels that social fetters and limitations tailored to a majority should be challenged whenever they undermine the rights of minority groups. Diversity is one of our most valuable and beautiful assets, and every possible measure should be taken to ensure its continued existence into the future. Can you imagine how lacklustre and banal everything would be if everyone walked, talked, felt, cognized and looked the same? The Water-Bearer is an extremely tolerant, flexible and far-sighted idealist; it embraces, loves, and respects differences between individuals and cultures, understanding that the exterior front that we call a personality and which we use to confront the world is moulded for us by our immediate environment. In most cases people can’t help who they are, where their biases lie, who they choose to love, and what they choose to do with themselves. Thus there’s absolutely no room in its life for narrow-mindedness, bigotry, racism, hatred, and any other sentiment which aims to compartmentalize and divide human beings from one another. The Aquarian believes in its heart of hearts that life becomes a much more pleasant, rewarding, and worthwhile experience when we choose to see the good in people, to swim along the powerful psychic current on which our innate talents, proclivities, and tendencies lie, and to keep our mentality anchored on the rudimentary seabed of things that unite us as a cosmic family instead of things that divide us and spur senseless and self-destructive wars.

Aquarius tends to view the world with telescopic lens that are both distant and impersonal in nature and this orientation extends to the kinds of friendships and relationships it likes to entertain. The world is full of very deep, charming, and absorbing personalities so it’s best to dillydally in as many as possible rather than poor all of one’s time and energy into a single one. In doing this the Water-Bearer can avoid unnecessary by-products that usually arise when there is hefty, intimate involvement between two individuals like possessiveness, co-dependency, fixation, and emotional attachment. Whilst being unhealthy, time-consuming, demanding, and psychologically incapacitating, bonds of this type are saturated in raw feeling and emotion (the scheming enemies of reality) and detract from the transpersonal cognizance of the Self, the totality of being that an Aquarian man or woman hopes to commune with through the course of his or her life and eventually become. Hence one that takes pride in and values their highly-rational conscience and mental health should stay as far away from them as possible.

This idea certainly brings to mind the mystical philosophies of Eastern religions like Tibetan Buddhism, the Hinduism of India, and the Taoism of ancient China which teach that a condition of remaining unattached to all things corporeal is a prerequisite if one is to live in complete harmony with the obscure and ineffable metaphysical force that brought the entire universe into being. For such an essence to preponderate the crowning intellect must not under any circumstances be usurped by the will of the heart. An Aquarian may sometimes adhere to such altruistic and spiritual notions with such a faithful fervour to the detriment of the subtler and more personal aspects of existence. Having isolated itself from the fleshly, desirousness, and self-fulfilling realm from which the ego operates, the Water-Bearer can find it especially hard to relate to others on an emotional and sentimental level. It can also express exasperation with minds and mentalities that are humbler, slower, timid or less gifted than its own and act in fairly undiplomatic, blatant and abrupt ways when it’s Promethean and progressive ideas concerning society and the cosmos at large are met with either resistance or rejection on their part.  

Nevertheless, the Aquarian archetype has an innately felt secret or two up its sleeve to tip the scales in its favour. The most impressive of these, indeed one that is unprecedented in the Western zodiac, relates intimate knowledge pertaining to the faculty of imagination. Unlike the vast majority of the other zodiacal houses which remain ignorant of this illuminating cosmic gift, the Aquarian formative power recognizes that to imagine is to create. From its investigations into the nature of the macrocosm, the microcosm and their symbiotic existence, the Water-Bearer discovered that the contents of the Empyrean can only be contemplated through images or “forms” that pass through the individual imaginations of human beings and materialize as fantasies, visions, dreams, and prophecies. The images themselves inhabit the apeiron, an infinite space of nothingness, and are made conscious by those who actively partake in hypnagogic or unconscious states. In successfully tapping into the immaterial and ethereal realm beyond our corporeal world in which past, present, and future converge at a single point, one can pry the information universe containing an agglomeration of images from all times and places and descry the future. It just so happens that the imaginings of science fiction first became possible, then probably, then fact. The Aquarian reasoning behind such speculative logic is that all the images that are imagined eventually incarnate. There are incalculable examples of it in world history. Think of Roger Bacon’s futuristic ramblings about automobiles and submarines, the warped flying inventions of Leonardo Da Vinci, the homunculus of Renaissance physician and alchemist Paracelsus, and the clone-infested dystopia of Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World. Weren’t they all speculations of the human imagination that eventually came to pass or are coming to pass now? Aquarius believes that such complex insights into the inner workings of the cosmos can propel humanity to the stars and spark the requisite conditions for the formation of a utopian society where each boy can grow into a mortal god and each woman into a mortal goddess.

“I’ve found the answer to it all!” cries Aquarius from its place in the celestial regions. “I know of what substance our cosmos is hewn, who made it, and the reasons for its existence. My approach to life is multidisciplinary and comprehensive and I only ever tackle problems using the birds-eye-view approach. If you care to listen, I could also tell you a great deal about fate and free will, corpuscular theory, quantum mechanics, the New Age fad, esoteric spirituality, the inextricable connection between the mind and brain, neurogenesis, quirks and atoms, evolution, and a host of other contemporary issues and concerns. When it comes to moving forward, there can only be one way–and that’s the way of the contentious networker! If you wish to get the best out of life and accumulate a wealth of worldly experience in the process; if you wish to become all you were meant to be or the best you can be at a chosen hobby or profession, then it is essential that you fraternize with the right kind of people and learn to be a team player. Everyone can contribute something valuable to the collective interest of a lobby group, a foundation, a brotherhood, or society as a whole. You’d be surprised at how much one can learn from others in the right kind of environment.

Why should I believe this you ask? Well, everyone that comes into this world is a creation of flesh and blood imbued with biological and psychological faculties, a soul, and a crowning intellect. We are all unique sparks or extensions of the same creative force that most religions term God. We are all, to variant degrees, bound by orientations and concerns that revolve around our individual survival and our validation in the eyes of others. This automatically makes thoughts emanating from any one individual relevant on a collective level. As mortal children that have been stitched together and ensouled by the same Earth Mother, we should all be entitled to the same benefits, privileges and rights. Nobody should stand on higher or lower ground. Royalty, aristocracy, and nobility are products of antiquated minds that were championed to segregate and spawn artificial relationships built on power struggles between those that like to control and those that like to be dominated. Nowadays, they serve no purpose in the higher scheme of things and have long outlived their worth. As a result they should be left to rot in an old wooden closet of a cellar.

I just can’t stress how important staying focused and not straying from the just mentioned tasks actually is if we hope to foster a universal utopia in which there is no injustice, poverty, crime, animosity, ignorance, fear, jealousy and whatever else has proved detrimental in developed and developing countries today. Positive reinforcement and reprogramming is the way to salvation folks! We must believe that we can achieve and we will. Faith can move earth and a mountain or two, can it not? I find that there’s so much credence in the notion that the boundlessness that is human aptitude is only hampered by restrictions imposed on it by human doubt. When all's said and done, the best advice anyone could give you when it comes to your life path and destiny is to “Know Thyself” and just be thyself. You’re the one who has to live your life so you better be doing it without any regrets.”

Aquarius the Water-Bearer is connected to two symbols that link the constellation with a time of the ancient year in which there were ample rains and storms. The first of these is a male or female figure pouring water from a single jug or two jugs, although it appears that the pictograms used to portray this sign by the prevailing ancient civilizations were disparately related. For instance the ancient Babylonians depicted the star cluster associated with this sign as a goddess. Alternatively, the Persians and the Hellenes ascribed to the constellation of Aquarius the name and image of a water-pot. For the latter, Aquarius was also connected with Ganymede, a beautiful, innocent, and graceful Trojan youth whom the mighty Zeus fell madly in love with and abducted to Olympus where he served as a cupbearer to the twelve gods and goddesses. Even though the vast corpus of zodiacal imagery is derived from Chaldean astrology, there is strong evidence to suggest an Egyptian origin for the modern symbol. On the circular zodiac at the Temple of Hathor at Denderah, Aquarius assumes the guise of Hapi, an Egyptian god who personified the Nile inundation and the prolificacy it brought the ancient Egyptian farmers from the earliest of times. He was usually depicted on the bas reliefs of temples and papyrological documents as a green or blue-skinned man wearing a false beard and carrying a platter of rich offerings or an amphora from which water was being poured. This concept was no doubt borrowed by the originators of the Tarot deck, who used the memorable image of dual streams of water being poured from two jugs in crafting the “Temperance” and “The Star” cards.

The second symbol, an astrological shorthand used by astrologers in the creation of horoscopes, appears as a dyad or triad of wavy lines recalling the mystical, psychic element of water and its active properties. It was borrowed from the hieroglyphic origin for water, an element which the ancient Egyptians called Mu and connected with Aquarius for it was when the lunar orb was full in this constellation that the Nile flooded and plunged the land back into a condition of watery chaos that also existed at the beginning of time. The sigil alludes to water as a universal solvent and as the underlying principle that enabled the evolution of life on earth, but also to its metaphysical powers which remain largely unacknowledged by contemporary science to this very day. According to some occultists and metaphysical thinkers, water is a unique element in that it retains memory of other substances long after their molecular structure has been dissolved and ceased to exist. According to this logic vibrations given off by human thoughts, emotions and moods can be impressed upon the electromagnetic forcefield of water and recapitulated at a later time (kind of like a tape). For most modern thinkers, this is probably stranger than science fiction. Or is it? A revolutionary, progressive, and mind-jarring documentary entitled What the Bleep Do We Know? (2004) that dealt with the inherent properties of water doesn’t seem to think that it is. Perhaps you could watch it and make up your own mind.  

In retrospect, we might say that the zodiacal image and the shorthand sigil recall the primordial ocean of chaos, also the ethereal psychonoetic cosmos to which Aquarians remain attached throughout their entire lives, along with an intuitive, nimble and perceptive conscious typical of most air signs. The omnipotence of water and the act of water being poured is present in both signs and connotes a mystical and spiritual orientation that almost always comes with a degree of transpersonal awareness and emotional detachment. For an Aquarian, gratifying the soul’s thirst for knowledge and wisdom will always come before appeasing the physical senses or the needs of the physical body. Of that we can be sure!    

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