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Aquarius & Aquarius Rising: Who in the World, Who of the World

THERE EXIST A DIVERSITY of entities living in the guise of what we call human; many evolutionary threads are represented on our planet at this time. They range from those more deeply ancestrally terrestrial, to representatives of many star systems, to members of the Devic realm who have crossed over to the human incarnational streams. We coexist among innumerable forms of life at this time, all taking more or less human form. My first question for you — a long-term question, which I am pretty sure has long-term notes in your files — is which kind are you? What is your identity, and from where do you assign your cosmic origins?


While you’re considering this question for the next year or two, here is a more grounded question. How do you define your existence in the most mundane sense of your identity? That is, being less philosophical or speculative, how do you feel and experience yourself, how do you conceive of yourself in the future, and what is the tribal identity you associate with who you are? Humans are creatures of the collective, but we have this odd sense of individual identity, which we more typically think of as the “true nature” of people.

The tension between individual and collective identity is the essence of Aquarius and it is the most poignant feature in your chart at this time. Indeed, there have been times recently when this reached a crisis pitch. The sense of a burning question that simply has no answer has, I am sure, visited you a few times or more lately.

Even during relatively placid times, you may feel like you’re a waterbug floating on the surface of existence, clinging to your individuality, lest you plunge into something much larger than yourself that you don’t understand. At the same time, the need to be part of that something larger is enormous. You sense the potentially awesome benefits of this, but I suspect that you are still uneasy about the part of yourself that you perceive you would need to give up if you do. This, to my thinking, is the real crisis. It is one thing to be deliberative. It’s another to exist in a state of self-clinging. The thing you are clinging to is not your self and bears no resemblance to it.

An Aquarian Moment

On many fronts, there is a potent emphasis on Aquarius at this time in astrological and global history, and it’s designed to raise all the questions of this sign for everyone. Yet as one born under this sign or with it in your ascendant, they all come back to your story and your journey on our planet in a more personal way than they might otherwise. I don’t think there has ever been a time in your adult life when you so deeply questioned the nature of your existence, nor when you were raising issues for yourself that you’re certain that others need to be asking for themselves.

The human ego, in our postmodern times, almost always becomes a pawn in the game of much larger forces trying to convince us one way or the other: be just like you; but also be just like everyone else. I could not think of one thing that would irritate you more. Being prodded to “be like everyone else” is very different than an intuitive sense that we’re all in this together, and that despite our seeming differences, we have far more in common.

With Chiron in your sign, self-awareness and your relationship to those around you can be pushed to an existential level. Questions of relating to your community, individuality, self-definition and your place in the world have with any luck at all reached a depth where there is no easy answer — and if you know there is no easy answer, that is evidence that you are in the right place to find your way. What you may be discovering is that what you previously thought of as answers are evaporating like so much mist, only to be replaced by a new sense of uncertainty. I suggest you welcome this, because if it’s happening, you stand on the brink of the known in such a way that it is actually possible to learn something.

There is a second centaur planet in your sign, called Nessus. This is a more difficult-to-handle energy than Chiron because, so personally placed in your chart, it can put you in touch with a self-perception that is truly dark and even sinister. You may be noticing either an abusive streak in your own nature, or how certain facets of your psychology have been shaped and even created by being the survivor of intentional psychological and physical attack. Nessus is suggesting at the same time that you are feeling a deep sense of responsibility for both what happened to you and for the people who did it. This is an energy that needs to be kept in proportion, and seen in perspective. Issues of this kind transcend the need for “self help” and I would suggest that if you’re living through any of them that you seek the help of a therapist. (This may hold more directly for Aquarians with birthdays in the Jan. 30 to Feb. 4 range, or for those with 10 through 16 degrees in the ascendant.)

In all, the presence of centaur planets in your sign is pushing you to be self-aware and self-actualized, an old word popular in the 1970s that means willing to come fully into your being.

The Cosmic Mirrors and the Aquarius Great Conjunction

There is another distinguishing feature: the opposition of Saturn and Uranus, the ancient and modern rulers of your sign. This opposition is historic in nature, for example, the first of five contacts occurred on the very day that Barack Obama was elected in one of the truly rare popular groundswells of public opinion in recent history. This had nothing to do with any one political candidate. We all felt the historical threshold, whether we liked it or agreed with it or not. Merely in electing an African-American president of the United States, historically, a culture with deep racial divisions, we took a step forward that will only be visible for what it is with several decades of retrospect.

We will come back to why this is so meaningful to you, but for now let’s say that you are being confronted by many reflections of who you are, who you were and who you could be. At times it may seem like you are in a hall of mirrors, unable to distinguish which is you, which is a direct reflection and which is an image of an image. The past and the future may seem oddly reversible. This reflection, however, is energetic, not strictly visual.

In most schools of astrology, and in the experience of most astrologers, Uranus represents the future and Saturn represents the past. Putting these two energies in opposition represents for you a major confrontation between what has been and what can be in your life. The frightening part would seem to involve whether you can actualize the potential that you feel. While on some level there is always the faith that you will do your best, it’s important to make contact with the potential for not being able to guide your life the way that you want; for not getting the results that you are striving for. The more you make peace with the potential for failure, the more you will be able to actualize the prospect of making actual progress.

The combined sense of urgency and uncertainty may be disturbing, unsettling or adventurous, depending on how you look at it. And it’s not the only polarity of this nature. The need to both be part of something larger, and to withdraw deep into yourself is another dynamic we can bookmark for discussion a little later in this conversation. Let’s go right to the most exciting news of the year.

Chiron is about to make some extraordinary moves, which is going to focus your process and, more to the point, give you options you were never expecting or thought would take much longer to finally arrive. You are not being handed anything here but the opportunity for awareness, which is awareness of coming into your own; and the potential for a very unusual perspective on where you fit into the world you perceive — a world that is changing radically: more so than is readily apparent right now.

In the coming four seasons, Jupiter, Chiron and Neptune will be gathering for a series of meetings in your birth sign, which is the kind of astrology we are never quite the same before and after. Your questions about yourself are not answered in theory. They are answered by opportunity, circumstance and encounters with people you were never expecting to meet. If you are in a personal identity crisis of some kind, that is likely to be obviated not by some kind of relief but rather by a direct sense of your own presence in the world.

In the most recent decade, the sign Aquarius has played a profound role in the story of the unfolding of the world. You have, of course, been part of this, but to borrow an image I used earlier, it’s typically felt more like you were a waterbug walking on the surface rather than an actual participant. Now all of this is about to change.

The Gods of Change Visit Aquarius

It is unusual to have an outer planet (and by this, I mean in the conventional sense of Uranus, Neptune or Pluto) in your birth sign, but within your lifetime it is likely that you will experience all three of them. This process in Aquarius is very much in the spotlight right now. The outer planets are indeed the Gods of Change, and we are never the same after one of them transits our birth sign, our natal Sun or our ascendant.

Here is a quick rundown, just to put things into perspective for you:

Uranus was in your sign from 1995 through 2003, which brought a distinctly revolutionary quality. (In the world, this was reflected by the proliferation of the Internet. In many ways the ‘Net is the very incarnation of Uranus in Aquarius, and from a certain viewpoint can even be viewed as a living entity taking up residence in our communication systems). Neptune has been in your sign since 1998, where it will remain until early 2012. Pluto, though it seems a long way off, arrives in 2023, a transit you will most likely live to experience. Except for Pluto, which is active in your chart in other ways right now, these transits are concentrated between 1995 and 2012, a very short span of time in astrological terms.

Meanwhile, Chiron and Nessus arrived for long-term transits to Aquarius in 2005, where they remain today. While not widely recognized by astrology at the moment, and while their effects may be subtler at times, Chiron and Nessus are every bit as influential as the three traditional outer planets. This is the Chiron-Nessus conjunction that, when astrologers are better versed in these archetypes and the growth processes they represent, we will see one of the defining conjunctions of our era in history. And it has been developing in your birth sign. These conjunctions occurred in May 2005, and then in January and October 2006. Here is a table.

If you feel like your life, or this lifetime, is the subject of some odd cosmic focus; and if you feel like you have a particular mission in this lifetime that is synchronous with the special events of this time in history, you can tell your mother I said this was true.

Because these planets all tap into the lives and growth processes of so many people, mainly because Aquarius is one of the most collectively oriented signs of the lot, who you are and what society is have a particularly direct meeting place. And this may be overwhelming. T.S. Eliot said that humankind cannot bear very much reality. I would say we have trouble with “too much” potential. We struggle to be “who we are” when in reality we have no other option except to hallucinate our way through life.

We also have difficulty getting along, mainly because so many forces profit from conflict and chaos; from exploiting our very human insecurity; and because we lack a concept, a reality framework (called a paradigm) for how to grow and evolve in a collective way. Individuation is nearly always pitted against collective growth when in reality it’s the one and only prerequisite. This is simple. A group is a group of individuals. A mass of humanity is made of a lot of people who have not individuated.

To me this focus on Aquarius has three crucial implications:

The first is the rapid proliferation of technology, so deeply associated with all things Aquarius. These developments are not value-neutral. Most of them are driven by profits, with no regard as to the damage we are doing in the process.

The second is that we are undergoing a group initiation associated with the responsible use of that technology, and its application to world problems.

The third is that you are being put through a kind of highly focused leadership course to bring your own awareness up to the task of the changes that are ahead. You have a role; it is in the coming two years that you will see what that role is, refine it and if you choose, begin to step into your commitment.

The Fog Rolls in, and Then it Clears

For you personally, the most challenging transit you have been under lately is Neptune in your birth sign, since 1998. This is in part because we do not, as a collective, have any idea how to handle the energy of Neptune at this time in history. Indeed, our entire culture seems to be an assault on this subtle energy, which could, if we allowed it, lead to the most sublime levels of spiritual and creative awareness. I would love to see statistics on how much is spent on liquor versus how much is spent on art supplies. It would look like the comparison between nuclear bombs and soup kitchens.

It’s also because Neptune energy is overwhelming in a way that we simply cannot see, and which we can barely feel. Neptune in Aquarius for you personally presented either a question, or a series of false answers. But the question has been so overwhelming and so deep in the background that you may not have defined it until very recently, that is, not until Chiron arrived in your sign in 2005.

Think of Chiron as a utility that focuses the outer planets. That focus, like any form of awareness, can come with a crisis, and this is very likely what happened to you. After a long spell of confusion or denial, when someone or something comes along and reveals a deeper layer of reality, this can really stir the pot, and the information can lead to all kinds of conflict and seemingly conflicting data. Denial implies denying something, and there is a reason for the denial implied. When that process is opened up to awareness, and when the real information starts to come in, there will usually be plenty of confusion.

Next, think of Nessus as a utility that will connect us with the pain from the abuses we have endured, specifically so we can heal them. Nessus puts us in contact with cycles of experience, with the effects of actions that we have taken and that have been taken toward us, and the tendencies this has created in us. If it raises awareness, that is specifically for the purpose of breaking the cycle.

In 2009, the process of the Chiron-Neptune conjunction goes into high gear. While there is only a near miss in 2009, it’s a very close one and Jupiter makes a conjunction to both at the same time: mark May 27, 2009 on your calendar.

What I have not said directly is that this is the year that Jupiter transits your birth sign; and in the process, makes a series of conjunctions to Chiron, Nessus and Neptune. This is going to magnify and accelerate the growth process you are undergoing; it will bring many new people into your life; and finally, you are likely to begin to see the benefits of the personal work you have been doing. Jupiter brings with it a lot of energy. It will call on you to raise your organizational and leadership skills to a new level — but this you have been learning how to do. Finally, you will be called upon to make wise choices about how you invest the returns you reap.

In Search of the Unknown Past

While this is going on, while your profile in the world is coming into focus, another process is developing, one which you may be unlikely to mention to any other soul except those most intimate with you. I referred to this above — the ingress of Pluto into your 12th house (Capricorn). This transit presents what may seem like a strange paradox to so much activity in your 1st house, because it is so deeply internal. Indeed there will be times you will feel like you are the only person who understands you, and even that may seem to vanish.

Capricorn is the sign of deep antiquity, tradition, classical themes and the inner structure of the world. Capricorn is the sign of the ancestors and the 12th, where Pluto is pulling this into focus, is the house of all that we inherit from these people, most of whom are no more known to us than the crowd at a football game, and who in fact (because we have so many ancestors) could fill a stadium. The simplest way to state this equation is that whoever or whatever you perceive yourself to be, whatever you observe the world to be and whatever you notice about that changing dynamic between the two to be, there is something deeper going on; there is a process of change unfolding that is too mysterious to perceive with any precision.

You will get to know the territory in gradual degrees as Pluto works its way across the deepest, most private corner of your chart. But like cleaning a vast, ancient attic, you will get to know many things about yourself and your ancestral history as you are letting go of them or dismantling them, even as you see them for the first time. You will discover many treasures, some of which you will want to keep, and some you will have no idea what to do with. And in the process of sorting yourself out, you will learn discernment of a kind that is truly precious.

Today, at the outset of this journey and with so many opportunities about to come open, the healthiest posture to take is simply the willingness to know the truth about yourself. Hold gently the willingness that, for a while, this truth will be known to you alone.

Capricorn (Pluto) to Aquarius (Jupiter, Chiron, Nessus, Neptune) configuration is about understanding and dismantling the deeply hidden attributes of the past, and then cultivating a new set of possibilities for the present and the future. For you both of these processes are extraordinarily personal, and as I’ve suggested the Pluto in Capricorn transit verges on unspeakably so.

The truth about 12th house Pluto transits is that they are regarded as some of the most difficult ones known, though the reason for this is that the 12th is the house of what we deny; and it is the most isolated house. Therefore, through a combination of denial and trivial socialization, we have a way of temporarily getting around the affairs of this house; that is, until an important transit comes along — and Pluto qualifies as such.

I have suggested that the pool of your anonymous ancestors would be enough to fill a stadium. Just to give you an idea, counting a mere 13 generations back, you have 10,000 ancestors, all of whose DNA you possess (data which includes genetic instructions, memories and future potentials). Now for a moment think of these ancestors not as people in a stadium, but skeletons in the ground, of which your life is the primary result. I would propose we are all carrying on our backs the enormous legacy of the past, and the place we tend to keep that material stashed away is the 12th house.

Primary among the psychological baggage of history is fear. Next on the list is guilt, most of this the product of institutionalized religion, a distinctly Capricorn item. And last on the short list of Capricorn in the 12th products is the sense of being a prisoner of existence, which could take many forms: the fear of insanity, the fear of abandonment and isolation, the fear of having your entire life dictated to you by your ancestors.

Pluto moving through this house represents a gradual confrontation with all of this material. You can think of it as a vast hotel with thousands of rooms. You will walk the corridors, looking for open rooms, trying out different master keys, and sometimes breaking down the door when you think you need to. Bear in mind that this is lonely, potentially scary work. You don’t know who is going to be behind those doors; whose fears; whose dead dreams; but I suggest you open a few of them every day.

If this process is working, each space you open will free a little more energy, a little more potential, and help you work your way a little closer into the present.

The Problem of Intelligence: Eris in Aries

I would like to leave you with one last question, which I trust you will enjoy contemplating. As an Aquarian, you have a strong affinity with human intelligence, the function of the mind, and the capacity for human invention.

Yet what can we really know for sure? One of the things that distinguishes you is that you ask this question. In other words, it’s not enough for you to be smart, or that you have some ability to establish the truth. Rather, you need to know how you or anyone got that way and what it means. There is an entire branch of philosophy devoted to this, called epistemology: the study of how we know what we know. That link takes you into Wikipedia. Here is another one going into the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (I have a feeling I’ve just sent you off on a six-hour or six-year treasure hunt.)

Quoting a third source, “Epistemology is the branch of philosophy that studies knowledge. It attempts to answer the basic question: what distinguishes true (adequate) knowledge from false (inadequate) knowledge?”

Here is the astrological hook. You have Aries in your 3rd solar house. Say what you will about the sign Aquarius itself — the presence of Aries in your third position says you are a bold and original thinker. You more than many other people are capable of simple, clever ideas that can change the world for the better.

Aries right now, as an energetic force, is under the very, very long-term influence of a new important planet called Eris. Known to most as the goddess of discord, I think that she is the goddess of the postmodern identity crisis. (There is a book available on the resources page that unpacks this theory.) As such, your sense of identity as an intelligent and original person may be feeling deeply troubled, and on a fairly regular basis.

This is very good news. It means you’re more likely to ask real questions and stand boldly in your uncertainty until you discover your personal truth — and be just as bold when that truth takes another giant step. And this little fact of Eris in Aries brings us back to the original question: What is a human being? How many kinds are there? Which kind are you? What are your origins, and where is your tribe? The fruit in this particular orchard of knowledge is starting to grow ripe.

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