Most of us know our zodiac or sun sign, but what does it look like in the night sky, and what’s the story behind it? This month it’s the turn of Aquarius again, the rain-maker of the Zodiac; the cloud bearer, and therefore an Air sign despite the ‘aqua’ in its name…
‘It never rains but it pours.’
As we enter Aquarius again in 2022, poised right on the cusp today, 19 January, I look back at the flooding that was on the news here in the UK in 2021; Storm Christophe.
I had mentioned this possibility among other things including the trouble that followed the US Presidential Inauguration, in a piece written for Ask Astrology 27 December 2020, though this was hardly any great psychic hit for this time of year, though some years are definitely worse than others.
Aquarius is the eleventh astrological sign in the Zodiac, named after the constellation of Aquarius, recorded by the Greek astronomer and mathematician Ptolemy in the 2nd Century AD.
Today, 19 January 2022, the greatest storms have been in the House of Commons at Prime Minister’s Question Time. The PM could go, of course, but the signs are, he won’t yet awhile. For all the thunder and fury, this die is not cast. Why not? Bigger storms heading our way in 2022.
Dates: Vary but typically January 19–February 18
Body: The circulatory system, shins, and ankles.
Tarot Card: The Star (Hope, Vision, Recovery, Equilibrium, Bridging, Searching, Exploration, Technology, Space Exploration)
Minor Arcana cards: the 5, 6 and 7 of Swords.
The figure is unclothed because The Star (Truth) has nothing to hide.
From the Earth’s perspective, the Sun actually passes in front of the constellation of Aquarius from February 17th to March 11th, a month later than the dates associated with its zodiac sign.
However, zodiac constellations are not to be confused with zodiac signs. The dates did used to coincide, but Western (Tropical) astrology is a fixed arithmetic system dating back to more ancient calendar systems.
The dates of the zodiac signs and the constellations after which they were named have separated over time due to the ‘wobble’ of the Earth – an effect known as precession.
Astronomers who deride astrology on these grounds are not taking into account the basis and history of western (Tropical) astrology as a mathematical, not an astronomical model of the heavens.
Aquarius the Water-Carrier is one of the oldest identified constellations of the Zodiac (the area of the sky as seen from Earth through which the sun, moon and planets all pass, occasionally or regularly)
Aquarius is the tenth largest constellation, a big though faint constellation in the southern hemisphere, and its appearance is almost universally associated culturally and historically with sky, clouds, water and therefore rain.
Aquarius lies in the dark region of the sky called The Sea, containing other ‘watery’ constellations; Pisces (the fish), Eridanus (the river), Cetus (the whale), Capricornus (the Sea-goat), Delphinus (the Dolphin), and Hydra (the Water serpent).
Helped out here by those added lines, we see the pitcher, pouring out water.
The brightest stars in Aquarius are two yellow super-giants, several times more massive than the Sun; Alpha Aquarii (Sadalmelik) and Beta Aquarii (Sadalsuud) 537 light-years distant.
Sadalsuud is the brightest star in Aquarius, with a mass six times that of the Sun. It’s 2,200 times more luminous than the Sun and its name comes from the Arabic phrase sa’d al-suud, meaning the “luck of lucks.”
Aquarius also contains the Saturn Nebula and the Helix Nebula, the remnants of dying stars, and these are the closest planetary nebulae to Earth, 400 light-years away.
(Talk about The Eye of Sauron)
Aquarius is home to at least 3 meteor showers. The Eta Aquariids, 5th and 6th of May, are the strongest with up to 35 meteors per hour coming from materials shed by Comet Halley as it travels through the solar system. The less active Delta Aquariids peak twice: on the 29th of July and again on the 6th of August. The weakest is the Iota Aquariids, peaking August 6th each year.
The constellation of Aquarius is large but faint, complicated and not easy to spot, though it can be seen from almost anywhere on Earth. The best time to see is 9-10 PM in October but you will need a dark sky to pick it out.
History and Mythology
Throughout the whole of human history, arguably the number one danger to Man has been the threat of flood, knocking spots in terms of the sheer scale of threat off even the Biblical Horsemen of the Apocalypse; War, Famine, Pestilence and Death.
Aquarius overhead meant winter rain was coming to the lands of Mesop0tomia, and this meant the waters of life itself- aqua vitae -but it wasn’t all good news.
The water carrier, the cloud, can also be an agent of death, destruction, flood and disease, and the oldest flood stories underpinning the zodiac story of Aquarius arose in the Middle East. The story of Noah’s flood came much later.
For the Sumerians, Aquarius was a frightening figure. He held the vessel from which a great flood flowed from the heavens onto the earth to ravage the entire planet, while the Babylonians called Aquarius’ appearance in the night sky ‘the curse of rain’.
Aquarius to the Babylonians was the god Ea, or GU.LA , ‘The Great One’ in the Babylonian star catalogues, often shown holding an overflowing vase. During the Early Bronze Age, the appearance of Aquarius or the ‘Way of Ea’, corresponded to the period of 45 days on either side of winter solstice, when the Babylonians regularly experienced destructive levels of flooding.
In Ancient Egypt, their own version of Aquarius, the god Hapi, God of The Nile, was associated with the annual flood of the Nile when Hapi put his jar into the river, and this marked the beginning of spring, replenishing their farming soil. But their flooding season was June.
Greek mythology describes three floods, the flood of Ogyges, the flood of Deucalion, and the flood of Dardanus. The Ogygian Deluge, they said ended the Silver Age, and the flood of Deucalion ended the First Bronze Age, ‘parting the mountains of Thessaly’.
The ancient Greeks naturally feared fire, and the ever present threat of earthquakes ‘convulsions’ and recorded events where fire and water they happened together (tsunamis, and we have of course, just witnessed the Tongan tsunami, 15 January following an undersea volcanic eruption, just days ahead of Aquarius.)
The Greeks said that Aquarius caused a great flood which inundated the Earth during the Bronze Age, of which only Deucalion, son of Prometheus and his wife Pyrrha survived by variously climbing in a chest and toughing it out, or building a great boat stocked with provisions, just as later in the Old Testament, Noah built his Ark.
Ancient Greeks avoided living near lakes and rivers, it’s thought, for hygiene reasons as well as protection from floods. There are apparently, impressive remains of hydraulic anti-flooding works; dams, walls, and channels in cities and other settlements in the Minoan era, and the Archaic, Classical, Hellenistic and Roman periods.
Another very different Greek legend, associated Aquarius with the beautiful Trojan prince, Ganymede, carried off by that arch-sexual predator Zeus (Did Zeus ever give it a rest?) This time, he disguised himself as an eagle, and Ganymede, like it or not, became his lover and protégé, and the cup-bearer of the Gods.
The ‘Age of Aquarius’
Is it here? What does it mean? What might it portend? There has been a lot of discussion about this, and much excitement surrounding the Great Conjunction of Saturn and Jupiter in Aquarius that occurred 21 December 2020.
The Age of Aquarius has become synonymous with a mythical new Golden age of Mankind, but when was it? Or when will it begin? There is no consensus and no definite answer.
In astrological terms, an age lasts roughly 2200 years and is identified by the name of the constellation in which the Sun appears in on the first day of spring (the vernal equinox). To know when the age of Aquarius begins, we would need to agree the start date for the previous/present Age of Pisces- but astronomy and astrology don’t agree, even among themselves.
Some, but not all astrologers say the Age of Aquarius is already here, that it began in 2012. To arrive at this, they are using the star Regulus, the heart of the Lion in the constellation of Leo as the marker of the ancient border between the constellations Leo and Cancer.
Regulus moved to within 30 degrees of the September equinox point in 2012, Working with the arithmetical model of constellations as calculated by Ptolemy in the second century AD, this places the border of the constellations Pisces and Aquarius at 150 degrees west of Regulus, or at the March equinox point. By this reckoning, the Age of Aquarius started in 2012.
Alternatively, according to the Belgian astronomer and mathematician, Jean Meeus, the sun at the March equinox passed from being in front of the constellation Aries to being in front of the constellation Pisces in 68 B.C.
This would mean that the March equinox will cross over into the constellation Aquarius in 2597 but once again, these are the astronomical, not astrological dates.
The Age of Aquarius denotes or predicts on the one hand the space age, the age of super-technology, and on the other, the age of the human collective, The Brotherhood of Man as opposed to the age of the One, and the individual as in the current Age of Pisces which is associated with the rise of the monotheistic religions; Judaism, Christianity and Islam.
Space Technology 2021
Saturn and Jupiter conjunct in sci-fi Aquarius on 21 December 2020 prefigured hi-tech space adventures to come during 2021.
Mars was having visitors -us. Oh yes. Put the kettle on, Mars peeps. And we don’t suppose you’ve got any biccies? Sarnies? Cake? No? OK, OK, well, we know we weren’t invited, but you could have just…you know.
Well, never mind. For a month or so, Earth and Mars lined up in a way that made it viable to land a probe. Miss that window, and it would have meant waiting two years for the next opportunity.
The United Arab Emirates, China and the United States all launched in July 2020, all three due to arrive starting with NASA’a mission, scheduled to land Thursday 18 February 2021.
NASA landed its rover, Perseverance in the Jezero crater, an ancient river delta.
China and the United Arab Emirates sent their own exploration missions to Mars…all due to arrive February 2021.
China sent the Tianwen-1 Rover. After sending a rover to the far side of the moon, this mission was called Tianwen-1, meaning ‘quest for heavenly truth,’ and aimed to be the first Mars mission to drop a landing platform, deploy a rover, and send a spacecraft into the planet’s orbit all at once. The rover has been equipped with a radar system that can detect underground pockets of water and will help China prepare for its own mission to return a sample from Mars to Earth in the 2030s.
The UAE sent The Hope Orbiter, the Arab world’s first mission to another planet, to study the Martian atmosphere.
Russia was planning to send a mission to Mars, as was The European Space Agency, but the Covid pandemic demanded a postponement.
The European Space Agency likewise had to delay the first flight of its new Ariane 6 launcher which was rescheduled to launch during the second half of 2021, and has since had to be rescheduled again for the second quarter of 2022.
NASA is also working to return to the Moon – robotically. The Artemis Project is using commercial delivery services to send science investigations and technology demonstrations to the Moon twice per year, with the first such flight currently scheduled for a flight in 2024.
The Moon in The Space Age
Yes, it is exciting. But one feels conflicted. The Moon is a goddess, sacred, mysterious. Humanity needs its ancient mysteries for its happiness, health and sanity. It needs the siren lure of the ever inaccessible.
This need cannot be explained away nor measured except by an entire history of story-telling, which says we need stories, that we are hard-wired for this need, and that the effects of what we might call sacrilege of the natural world, will only become known by its despoiling, negation or denial.
We need a hill, a star, a shore and a moon to dream on. Free of our footprints.
Let’s hope therefore, that humanity is successful in these explorations, but not too successful, for the sake of its ultimate sanity, which is not a co-factor of reason or science, but the immeasurable spirit, which is the divine spark for which there can be no calculation, no formula, no equation.
We need to beware hubris and behave with respect. If only for our own happiness. Hence, NASA’s Artemis Accords.
Will this be enough? here is a partial list of the artificial objects already now up there on the Moon.
The Artemis Accords
With numerous countries and private sector players conducting missions and operations in cislunar space, it’s critical to establish a common set of principles to govern the civil exploration and use of outer space.
Via the Artemis program, NASA will land the first woman and the next man on the Moon by 2024, heralding in a new era for space exploration and utilization.
While NASA is leading the Artemis program, international partnerships will play a key role in achieving a sustainable and robust presence on the Moon while preparing to conduct a historic human mission to Mars.
The Artemis Accords will describe a shared vision for principles, grounded in the Outer Space Treaty of 1967, to create a safe and transparent environment which facilitates exploration, science, and commercial activities for all of humanity to enjoy.
Eight countries had signed up at the time of posting this blog last January 2021: The United Kingdom, Italy, Australia, Canada, Japan, Luxembourg, the United Arab Emirates and the US . Other countries had not done so as yet for a variety of reasons, these including Russia, Germany, France and India.
Israel is apparently set to sign the Artemis Accords next week, 23 January 2022, and if they do so they will become the fifteenth signatory.
“Mexico was the previous most recent signatory to the pact in December. Thirteen other countries that have embraced the Artemis Accords are Australia, Brazil, Canada, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, New Zealand, Poland, the Republic of Korea, Ukraine, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom and the United States.”
The Moon Agreement of 1979 was an attempt to to prevent commercial exploitation of outer-space resources, but only a few states have ratified it – these have not included the US, China and Russia.
Read more HERE
As previously mentioned, in 2024, Artemis III will mark humanity’s return to the surface of the Moon – landing astronauts on the lunar South Pole, the next man and the first ever woman.
Meanwhile OSIRIS–REx is currently on a NASA asteroid-study and sample-return mission. The mission’s primary goal has been to obtain a sample of at least 60 g (2.1 oz) from the near-Earth asteroid Bennu.
It is due to land back on Earth in 2023 with its samples.
Bennu is carbonaceous and large enough to be potentially hazardous to Earth. (It won’t hit)
Russia was planning to return to the Moon in 2021, the first moon mission since 1976. Russia’s Roscosmos space agency aims to launch its robotic Luna-25 moon landing craft in October 2021, and had drafted a deal with the U.S. space tourism company Space Adventures to fly the first two commercial two passengers to the International Space Station in 2021. NASA says it is not interested in private spaceflight, but 2021 saw the first tourists on board the ISS
Russia plans to launch a new space station of its own in 2025
So. The Age of Aquarius, what will it bring whenever it arrives? What is to be expected?
What is the story of humanity and what does that tell us? It took over 2 million years of human history for the world’s population to reach 1 billion, and only another 200 years to reach 7 billion though it is slowing now.
‘The world population growth rate declined from 2.2% per year 50 years ago to 1.05% per year’. See SOURCE
Earth will be our only home. If alien visitors, ‘The Greys’ are here, they are travelling either way back in time, or way forward. Yes, the cosmos is unimaginably huge, but if they are here, are they us, either what we will become far, far in the future, or that we once were, back in the days of the ‘gods?’
Could they be from Mars, but not Mars as we see it now, but a far, far future Mars? If so, they are still us, in far future exile, and perhaps Mars will be greener by them, red and brown and green and blue. But ‘the words of the prophets’ are not only written on the subway walls.
“We’ll all miss her so”.
Astrology; the Aquarius Personality/ Archetype
Aquarius is a Fixed, Masculine Air Sign. The Tarot court card to watch for here is The King of Swords though the Queen may also represent an Aquarius born subject.
Of course there is no such thing in reality as THE Aquarius personality, and the same goes for all the zodiac sun signs. Your sun sign is an archetype, a keynote, but of course it is not and never could be the whole story.
The archetypal persona, male or female, is keenly observant, very sharp, clever, firm, fair, analytical logical, legalistic, brave, amusing and charming. They are often musically gifted, numerate, and very often work in teaching, or in Law, or music, medicine or dentistry in technical, forensic or surgical consultant roles. This is someone who uses logic and reason to cut through confusion. But they need plenty of personal space and fresh air, and if emotionally challenged, they are more likely to administer advice or medicine than take it themselves. They can be quietly ruthless.
Aquarius is ruled by two planets, Saturn, known to the ancients, planet of duty and conformity, but also Uranus, ‘discovered’ 1781, designated the planet of upheaval and rebellion, and therefore, as you might imagine, this is a sign potentially containing acute paradoxes.
There is on the one hand the authoritarian Aquarian, prone to dogma, and the freewheeling Aquarian archetype. Either way, Aquarius is radically independent in their thinking, often for good, but not always. Even a rebellion may become just another kind of dogma.
Aquarius is generally kindly, humane, refined, civilized and honourable in dealings. They set great store on friendship and loyalty, and need to belong and be of service, just as their symbol is the water-bearer or cup-bearer, a person pouring water for another.
This symbol can be interpreted to imply a destiny to serve others, but by the same token Aquarius may carry water to ‘cleanse’ the world of ‘errant’ thinking. Taken to extremes, Aquarius therefore represents a communal potential for fundamentalism.
Aquarius excels at cerebral thinking, dealing in abstracts, but does not necessarily see the the individual in front of them. Where they make a false step it may be because they trust to their cerebral processes at the expense of their instinct.
Aquarius may be moody, prone to bouts of depression, or they may sparkle with the brilliance of diamonds, when their chart is warmed by the courage warmth, honour and charisma of their opposite sign, their alter ego, or possibly their nemesis…the zodiac counterpart contained within Aquarius – Leo.
Famous Aquarius subjects
Abraham Lincoln, Ferdinand Magellan. Galileo Galilei, Thomas Edison. Charles Darwin. Frederick Douglass, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Virginia Woolf, John Travolta, Oprah Winfrey, Shakira
Till next time 🙂