Pluto in Aquarius, and Introducing the Decans
Do you see him up there, the giant man in the clouds? See what he is carrying before him?
Here he comes. Aquarius.
Bridging water, land and sky
Cloudy, cool Aquarian eye
Pours, refills an empty jar
Learning, thirsty, leads us far
But Hope outshines all other stars.
Pluto in Aquarius
This year we entered the zodiac territory of Aquarius with the New Moon in Aquarius 21 January 2023.
Aquarius is even bigger news than usual in 2023, when Pluto enters Aquarius, leaving Capricorn where it has been since 24 November 2008, when Pluto, the lord of wealth, mining, death and the underworld made its ingress into Capricorn, the sign of money and property. This followed hard on the heels of the Stock Market Crash of 29 September 2008; a crash which had been building for a long time.
So let’s see what happens when Pluto leaves Capricorn and goes into Aquarius 23 March. There is the clear potential for massive if temporary effects, seen in not only high finance and technology, but in egalitarianism, ‘people power’ – for good or ill, with far reaching real world implications. Pluto -transformation to an extreme degree-here signifies a clear potential for revolution. Or at least mass unrest, civil uprisings and the abrupt unseating of more than one, currently hugely powerful or influential established autocrat or plutocrat.
But it has to be noted that Pluto will move out of Aquarius again 11 June 2023, moving in and out again before stationing there for the long duration 19 November 2024, where it stays until 8 March 2043 in a new ‘Age of Aquarius.’
We’re not there yet. 2023 marks a prelude.
The zodiac sign of Aquarius is named after the constellation of Aquarius, The Water-Bearer. Aquarius is an air sign and its quality is Fixed, rather than Cardinal or Mutable. The other Fixed signs are Taurus, Leo and Scorpio.
Why is Aquarius an air sign and not a water sign? The clouds carry water. The water of Aquarius is airborne. To the ancient Mesopotamians this time of year, in the season of Aquarius was known as ‘the curse of rain,’ and meant the very real and present risk of potentially devastating floods as the clouds and then the rivers tipped forth, especially as this was liable to coincide with the time of snow melt in the mountains way upriver.
Many of the world’s great flood myths (of which there are many) are thought to come from the real life story of the worst that Aquarius can do, as seen from the human point of view at least, from Sumeria and Gilgamesh, to ancient Greece, the story of Deucalion, and the Old Testament and Noah’s Ark.
And now Aquarius stands also for space exploration and travel. Our spacecraft are the new Arks, if only for exploration and not rescue. Earth is our one true home.
“If you can see a thing whole … it seems that it’s always beautiful. Planets, lives…. But close up, a world’s all dirt and rocks. And day to day, life’s a hard job, you get tired, you lose the pattern. You need a distance, interval. The way to see how beautiful the earth is, is to see it as the moon. The way to see how beautiful life is, is from the vantage point of death”.
– Ursula Le Guin
Planetary aspects: Saturn and Uranus
The traditional ruler of Aquarius is the same as Capricorn. It is Saturn, stern planet of order, finding one’s place in the order, self-reliance, self-discipline, duty, responsibility, conservation, patience, limitations and restrictions. Not all astrologers accept modern planetary rulers but for those who do work with them, the modern ruler, Uranus, planet of innovation and rebellion, is Saturn’s opposite, reflecting an essential polarity or apparent contradiction in these natives; at the same time conservative and fixed in their habits, and somewhat quirky or even eccentric in presentation, communication or behaviour.
The Aquarius Archetype
The Teacher, The Reformer, The Revolutionary, The Truth- teller/Preacher, The Exile, The Scientist.
Card Meanings: A New Hope, the spirit of Humanity, a lone star, independence, a new vision, inspiration, healing, Hope, recovery, intellect, the collective, technology
All the zodiac signs represent archetypes, meaning something that is considered to be a perfect or typical example of a particular kind of person or thing.
The zodiac signs paint a ‘typical’ portrait of a person born at a particular time of year, in a particular season. A baby born in summer arrives into a different physical environment from a winter baby; with differences of temperature, hours of daylight, maternal diet during pregnancy and so on, with potentially different effects on the baby’s physical makeup, constitution and temperament.
The major arcana Tarot card for Aquarius is The Star. This beautiful card stands for Humanity itself, and for Hope, Inspiration and recovery from sickness or despair. The figure is unclothed because she is in a state of innocence, natural, honest and unashamed.
Aquarius is communicative, humanitarian, progressive, fraternal, optimistic and idealistic. The shadow side? Every sign has one and Aquarius is no exception. Aquarius can be a groupie, or a crusading zealot, self-righteous, utterly self absorbed and mulishly obstinate.
Aquarius likes to dispense good advice, and indeed, they can be very shrewd and they will give excellent advice. But they are notably resistant to receiving it themselves.
“The good news is that she is one of the nicest people in the universe. The bad news is, that’s because she always does exactly what she pleases. An Aquarius female is rebellious, headstrong, and contrary. She can be selfishly independent and exasperating, especially when she is running through the house screaming, “freedom!”
― Hazel Dixon-Cooper, Born on a Rotten Day: Illuminating and Coping with the Dark Side of the Zodiac
The appearance is generally good. Aquarius signs tend to have rather long, slim straight bodies and clear, strong but fine features (ears, noses, mouths). The posture can tend to be droopy when they’re not paying attention. Their legs are often sturdy in comparison with the torso and they have a distinctive way of standing with their lower legs and calves set rather far back and can be susceptible to trouble with their hamstrings.
The King of Swords
Card Meanings: a mature man of knowledge and authority, a ruler, adviser, judge, military leader, lawyer, doctor, surgeon, scientist, teacher, technician, engineer, IT expert, diagnosis, authority, law, medicine, logic, impartiality, metrics, statistics, cool, remote, observant,
This is the court card of the sign of Aquarius, while in the Thoth deck he is called The Prince of Air. Note that he is seated. He has arrived, that’s why. All the kings in the Tarot are seated, while the Knights are on horseback.
Aquarius is the sign of fixed air, denoting a certain fixity, but this is more to do with temperament than anything else. Aquarius is famously quick to learn new things and to adopt new ideas and technologies.
“Lots of people like rainbows. Children make wishes on them, artists paint them, dreamers chase them, but the Aquarian is ahead of everybody. He lives on one. What’s more, he’s taken it apart and examined it, piece by piece, color by color, and he still believes in it. It isn’t easy to believe in something after you know what it’s really like, but the Aquarian is essentially a realist, even though his address is tomorrow, with a wild-blue-yonder zip code.”
― Linda Goodman, Linda Goodman’s Sun Signs
President Zelensky is an example of a King of Swords in real world action. He was born at 2:00 p.m. on January 25, 1978, in Krivoj Rog, Ukraine and very much embodies key aspects of the archetype; intellectual, determined, single minded -yet agile and forward thinking. Here, the coolness and detachment of pure Aquarius is warmed by a hospitable Moon in Leo and sociable Gemini rising. He also has Venus in his chart, conjunct his sun in Aquarius. Here is the man who looks younger than he is, notwithstanding stress and strain. Here is the charm. Here is the arch-communicator. There may be some widely noted breakthrough, however slight or temporary, 30 January-8 February, as signified by the Tarot’s Six of Swords, indicative of healing or progress after trauma.
President Putin is his counterpart, a native of Libra ruled by the Queen of Swords. There is almost something fated about this dreadful encounter, on a personal level. This Queen is mightily powerful, and crafty, but viewed in terms of simple cartomancy, King trumps Queen. Nemesis.
The point here is that our sun sign is only the keynote of the astrological portrait. There is no such thing in reality as THE Aquarius personality. You are a unique individual. Your zodiac sign (sun sign) is a major keynote, but there are many other factors in play, your rising sign, your Moon sign; the planets in your houses, your decan and the degree of the actual day you were born. If you don’t feel like a ‘typical’ Aquarius, perhaps you are a second or third decan Aquarius, rather than a ‘most typical’ first decan Aquarius.
The idea of the decans comes from the ancient Egyptians c 2100 BC, and was later adopted by the Greeks.
The Zodiac is a belt of sky we see from earth, tracking the path of the sun across the sky over the course of the year. We call this pathway of the sun ‘the ecliptic,’ and the zodiac belt shares this same pathway extending 8 degrees above it and 8 degrees below it. The paths of the Moon and visible planets can be tracked within the belt of the zodiac.
The Greeks divided this belt into twelve sections, using twelve for ease of arithmetic, and named them after twelve constellations: Aries, Taurus, Gemini Cancer, Leo, Virgo, Libra, Scorpio, Sagittarius, Aquarius, Aquarius and Pisces.
Each of these zodiac sign represents a 30 degree section of this belt which can then be sub-divided into three blocks of ten degrees, each of about ten days in length with slight variations. This gives us the ‘decans,’ from the Latin meaning ‘ten’.
They have been nicknamed ‘the thirty-six faces of astrology,’ adding more faces to the portrait gallery, breaking down the story of the zodiac signs into further chapters.
First Decan Aquarius
Dates: 20 Jan -29 Jan (approx.)
Planetary rulers: Saturn-Uranus
Tarot card: Five of Swords
Card meanings: Victory, defeat, ruthlessness, a pyrrhic victory, not worth winning, chagrin, humiliation, resentment
These are complex individuals, containing an innate contradiction. On the one hand ruled by Saturn, they are serious, intelligent, hard- working, responsible and conservative by nature, obstinate even. On the other, they are co- ruled by Uranus the innovator and rebel, and this might mean they are a rebel either with or without a cause.
They are well meaning, likely to sign up to good causes, keen to contribute, and kindly unless they feel emotionally challenged when they are easily wounded, and their recovery may be very slow. They have courage but bouncing back from disappointment is not their forte. They are kindly and affectionate but partners may complain of their detachment.
They strive for excellence and often achieve it, whatever their field of work. They are well suited to the academic life, with a logical, or scientific but visionary turn of mind, and a talent for abstract thinking, and for research and analysis.
They can also be a lot of fun, but while they readily grasp complex and abstract concepts, their emotional intelligence is sometimes in conflict with their intellect, resulting in misunderstandings with loved ones.
Famous first decan Aquarius subjects: Mozart, Lewis Carroll, Ellen Degeneres, Nicholas Sarkozy, Oprah Winfrey
Dates: 30 Jan -8 Feb (approx.)
Planetary rulers: Saturn and Mercury
Tarot card: Six of Swords
Card Meanings: convalescence, mourning, recovery, progress, relocating, a voyage over water, distance learning
This is one of my personal favourite cards. She captains her own boat, steering a course towards the rising sun.
The second decan of Aquarius is ruled by Mercury, planet of communications, the ruler of Gemini. These natives have the gift of the gab. They are charming, and socially in demand, but while they are generally very pleasant, they are in some ways rather aloof, cool in temperament, not deeply interested in the feelings of others. They are creatively talented but rational with it, analytical in their approach, more interested in ideas, technicalities and activities than in comfort. This does not mean they don’t have deep feelings. They certainly do, and when they are upset they can lose their cool big time and turn very quarrelsome indeed, even vengeful. They are however, eminently civilized and humane in their general outlook unless they are encountered when they are off balance; much concerned with big issues affecting humanity on the highest levels.
Famous Second Decan Aquarius subjects: Charles Dickens, Jules Verne, Rosa Parks, Bob Marley, Boris Yeltsin, Ronald Reagan, Ashton Kutcher, Michael Sheen,
Third Decan Aquarius
Dates: February 9-February 18
Planetary ruler: Venus
Tarot card– Seven of Swords
Card Meanings: Diplomacy, tact, damage limitation, investigation, surveillance, theft, fraud, a stalker, sabotage
The third decan is generally appealing and attractive, and generally somewhat more easy-going than Aquarians born in the other decans. The personality is charming yet mysterious, affable yet elusive with an acute sense of humour which they use to defuse and manage challenging situations. They can be something of a court jester, but with many a serious thing spoken in jest. These quirky, sharp but friendly Aquarians are like shooting stars, nice to have around, and they are easy to approach but may be less easy to understand.
Famous Decan 3 Aquarius subjects: Galileo, Abraham Lincoln, Charles Darwin, Thomas Edison, Paris Hilton, Mia Farrow, Sheryl Crowe.
Many Happy Returns, Aquarius, stars in the firmament of Mankind!
And MANKIND means the species. All of us.
Until next time 🙂
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The Star of Aquarius 2023, The Hope of Humanity and the Curse of Rain