The Decans of Aquarius

In Aquarius Season, Introducing the Decans

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

This year we entered the zodiac territory of Aquarius on 20 January 2022. The zodiac sign of Aquarius is named after the constellation of Aquarius, The Water Bearer. Although it is an air sign, this water is airborne, just as the clouds carry water. To the ancient Mesopotamians this time of year, the season of Aquarius was ‘the curse of rain’ and meant the risk of potentially devastating floods.

The constellation of Aquarius, Wiki Public Domain

Although it is an air sign, this water is airborne, just as the clouds carry water. To the ancient Mesopotamians this time of year, the season of Aquarius was ‘the curse of rain’ and meant the risk of potentially devastating floods.

Many of the world’s great flood myths (of which there are many) are thought to come from the real life story of Aquarius, from Sumeria and Gilgamesh, to ancient Greece, Deucalion, and the Old Testament and Noah’s Ark.

Now, Aquarius stands also for Space exploration and travel.

Planetary aspects: Saturn and Uranus

Aquarius is a fixed air sign. Its traditional ruler is the same as Capricorn; Saturn, stern planet of 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

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 and constitution.

The major arcana Tarot card for Aquarius is The Star, standing for individualism, Humanity, Hope, Inspiration and recovery from sickness or despair. Aquarius is communicative, humanitarian, progressive, fraternal, optimistic and idealistic. The shadow side? Every sign has one. Aquarius can be a crusading zealot, self-righteous, selfish or mulishly obstinate. Aquarius likes to dispense good advice, and indeed, they can be very shrewd and give excellent advice, but they can be 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

Aquarius

Card Meanings: A lone star, independence, a vision, inspiration, healing, Hope, recovery, intellect, the collective, technology

The archetypes of Aquarius: The Teacher, The Reformer, The Revolutionary, The Truth- teller/Preacher, The Exile, The Scientist.

The court card of Aquarius is the King of Swords, although in a reading the Queen of Swords may also be used to represent an Aquarius native, whether male or female.

The appearance is often good. Aquarius signs tend to have rather long straight bodies and dainty features (such as ears, noses, and mouths). The posture can tend to be droopy though if they don’t pay attention to it.

Rider-Waite-Smith Tarot

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,

As one of the fixed signs Aquarius is resistant to change, although people with the sign of Aquarius prominent in their horoscopes are famously quick to learn new things and to adopt new ideas.

“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

But of course 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 it is nothing like the full picture in real life – or in astrology.  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.

What do we mean by the decans?

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. 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 human faces to the portrait gallery, breaking down the story of the zodiac signs into further chapters.

First Decan Aquarius

Aquarius-Aquarius

Dates: 20 Jan -29 Jan (approx.)

Planetary rulers: Saturn-Uranus

Tarot card: Five of Swords

From The Gilded Tarot. Illustrator Ciro Marchetti

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 suited to 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

Second Decan

Aquarius-Gemini

Dates:  30 Jan -8 Feb (approx.)

Planetary rulers: Saturn and Mercury

Tarot card: Six of Swords

From The Legacy of the Divine Tarot, Illustrator Ciro Marchetti

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

Aquarius- Libra

Dates:  February 9-February 18

Planetary ruler: Venus

Tarot card– Seven of Swords

Rider-Waite-Smith Tarot

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.

The Cusps of Aquarius

Capricorn-Aquarius: January 17-23

These earliest Aquarius natives are hardworking idealists, born on the Cusp of Mystery and Imagination. They are determined, creative, entertaining, idealistic, witty, observant and empathetic. They have a lot of drive combined with creative gifts, and make kind and generous friends, but they can be so self-reliant that they close themselves off from other people, including those who love them, who may sometimes feel shut out.

Aquarius-Pisces: February 15-21

These Aquarians, born on the Aquarius-Pisces cusp are kindly, playful and creative but ultimately sensible. They feel the world on their shoulders- which is both a blessing and a curse. They feel the influence of both planets; rebellious and innovative Uranus and the deep, dreamy bottomless seas of Neptune. The mind is powerful, likewise the visions of these highly original people, often described as “offbeat” or “eccentric”. Don’t underestimate them. They are probably psychic but also sharp, intellectually.

Many Happy Returns, Aquarius!  

2022 is looking like a productive year for you in general, with a focus on co-operation and collaboration. Neptune is doing big stuff this year, especially in April/May. You will be making a big effort, but you really can make a lot of progress this year, and quite possibly achieve a significant new breakthrough, creatively, professionally and financially.

Browse the archives, you’ll find more stories of Aquarius.

Until next time 🙂

Author: Katie-Ellen

Intuitive Tarot reader, consultant and writer.

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