Aquarius is a law unto herself. Of all of the signs, it is the least predictable in terms of what it will mean for someone’s personality or beliefs. This is because Aquarius makes a point of being herself and standing apart from the rest of the world. There is a reason for this other than sheer contrariness. The role of Aquarius is to look upon life as an outside observer and to detach from ordinary existence.
Aquarius by Season
Aquarius is the Fixed Sign of the Winter season in the Northern Hemisphere. Most Western astrologers use the Tropical Zodiac which is tied to the seasons, rather than the constellations. The advantage to this is that it makes it more useful for practical, worldly matters such as farming, in areas which have four distinct seasons in the Northern Hemisphere. It also means that the Sun is in Aquarius at approximately the same time every year, from January 20 to February 19. The exact beginning and end date vary from year to year, so if you were born near the beginning or end of this time period, you may want to have your chart cast just to be sure.
The disadvantage of using the Tropical Zodiac is that the seasonal associations are the opposite for the Southern Hemisphere, and Aquarius is the Fixed Sign of Summer instead. Even so, a large part of the meaning of each sign in this system is derived from the Northern seasons.
We are now in the deepest part of Winter. There is nothing to do or that can be done on a physical level with respect to planting or growing anything. All we can do is to reflect on what worked and what did not work in the past season and to plan for the season ahead. Winter is no longer new and pretty. Those of us in colder climates are dealing with the drudgery of snow and ice day in and day out, with no sign of relief or change.
When Winter first arrived, we may have stayed inside, cozy and warm. By this time, we are starting to get restless and often decide to brave the elements just to be able to get out of the house.
In Western traditions, there is only one holiday that always falls while the Sun is in Aquarius, and that is on February 2. In the Roman Catholic tradition, it is Candlemas, celebrating Jesus’ presentation at the Temple, and in Filianism, it is Luciad, when the Daughter takes Fate upon herself.
In popular culture, this day is also Groundhog Day, when we try to determine how much longer winter will last by whether or not the groundhog sees her shadow.
In Christianity, Ash Wednesday, which marks the beginning of Lent, sometimes falls during the Sun’s sojourn through Aquarius.
Aquarius by Element
Aquarius is an Air Sign. Air Signs operate primarily in the area of ideas. They are social and are motivated by intellectual curiosity. There is a strange juxtaposition between Air, which likes to move and flow, and the Fixed energy of Aquarius. This often manifests in the ability of Aquarius to listen to many different ideas and opinions with interest, without these ideas or opinions influencing her in the least.
Aquarius’ Dignities and Debilities
Planets are happier in some signs than in others. Some signs support the functions of a planet, and some oppose them. A planet is stronger in signs that are friendly to her and weaker in signs that are unfriendly. The strength or weakness of planets in signs is known as their essential dignities and debilities. Below are the essential dignities and debilities of Aquarius.
Ruler – Saturn
Aquarius’ ruler is Saturn. Saturn is a planet of contradictions. She is the builder and the destroyer of material existence, and she both binds us to the material world and frees us from it. Saturn is the Greater Malefic, yet she governs many things that are essential to our existence, such as the passage of time.
Aquarius is Saturn’s Day House and the warmth of Day moderates her cold and harsh nature. For this reason, Saturn is in the sign of her greatest strength when she is in Aquarius.
Aquarius does not exalt any planet.
All three signs of an Element are ruled by their Triplicity Rulers. In the Dorothean system, the rulers of Air are Saturn by day, Mercury by night, and Jupiter is the participating ruler. William Lilly also assigns Saturn to Air by day and Mercury by night. In his system, however, there is no participating ruler.
Detriment – The Sun
It is easy to see why the Sun is in detriment in the sign that is associated with the depths of Winter. On a more archetypal level, Aquarius is the sign of detachment and the Sun is associated with Creation. Still, Aquarius is a Day sign, so the Sun is still able to operate in this sign to a certain extent.
No planet is in Fall in Aquarius.
In addition to the planets that have dignity in a sign in its entirety, there are planets that rule specific degrees of each sign. These are known as the planet’s terms or bounds. There are two main systems of the division of the terms, Egyptian and Chaldean.
Egyptian Terms for Aquarius
0 – 7 Mercury
7 – 13 Venus
13 – 20 Jupiter
20 – 25 Mars
25 – 30 Saturn
Chaldean Terms for Aquarius
0 – 6 Saturn
6 – 12 Mercury
12 – 20 Venus
20 – 25 Jupiter
25 – 30 Mars
Each sign is divided into three parts, known as face or decantes. Each face has a separate ruler. The faces of Aquarius and their rulers are:
0 – 10 Venus
10 – 20 Mercury
20 – 30 Moon
Aquarius and the Body
The lower legs and ankles are ruled by Aquarius. This means that if Aquarius is prominent in your chart, you have to take special care of these areas because they are prone to illness and injury. This is also the case if you have a Virgo Ascendant because in that case, Aquarius governs your 6th House of injury and illness.
If your Saturn is in Aquarius, you need to take injuries or disease to your lower legs or ankles very seriously. This is because the strong parts of your chart are the most dangerous. If you have a Cancer Ascendant, you also must be careful, because Aquarius rules your 8th House of Death.
Aquarius in a Nativity Chart
When reading a Nativity Chart, most astrologers look first to the placements of the Sun, Moon, and Ascendant, which is also known as the Rising Sign. You can learn these by getting a Nativity Chart report from an astrologer, or by getting a computerized report for free from Astrolabe. Below are brief descriptions of how to interpret an Aquarius Sun, Moon, and Ascendant.
Aquarius is a difficult position for the Sun. As discussed before, the Sun is in detriment in Aquarius. This can manifest in difficulty with feeling warmth and light, and if the native is not careful, can lead to problems with cynicism and depression. Those with Aquarius Suns can also be subject to a strange struggle with pride and ego. It is not a showy kind of pride, but a sense that she knows better than anyone else, including, or even especially, authority figures and experts.
Aquarius Sun by Day
If you were born during the day, your Sun is stronger and healthier than it would otherwise be. This is because your Sun will be what is known as “in Hayz,” or completely in the right sect because she is in a day sign and in a day chart. You will show your unique and quirky nature openly and completely, and you make no pretense of trying to fit in with anyone else. You also have the ability to see things objectively, without being influenced by those around you.
Aquarius Sun by Night
If you were born at night, your quirky nature is a little more hidden. It will not be obvious to people when they first meet you, but it will become more evident as they get to know you better. Your Aquarius side will be subordinate to whatever sign your Moon is in. You are also likely to feel alienated from time to time, and you may struggle with loneliness.
The Moon is not debilitated in Aquarius, but except for the last 10° of the sign, has no dignities there either. If you have the Moon in Aquarius, you will be rational rather than sentimental in the way that you approach life. By the same token, once you form an idea or a belief, you will hold on to it forever.
Aquarius Moon by Day
If you were born by day, most people will not know how stubborn you can be until they find themselves in disagreement with you about something. You will exhibit the traits of your Sun Sign, and the Aquarian detachment will be rather hidden. You are likely to have eccentric hobbies which will occupy your time.
Aquarius Moon by Night
If you have an Aquarius Moon by night, you will also have eccentric hobbies, but they will become the focus of your life. This placement will emphasize the tendency of Aquarius to be detached from society. You will have unusual ideas about many topics, but you will also have brilliant insights as well.
With an Aquarius Ascendant, you will be unusual in your appearance and public demeanor. You will have little interest in current clothing styles and fashion and instead, you will dress to please yourself. Saturn is the ruler of your chart and your Ascendant, and this will give you a detached manner when you interact with others. You are approachable, but you are not one to seek out community or social contact.
Using Whole Sign Houses, your Ascendant will determine which planet and sign rule all aspects of your life.
Home – Taurus
If Aquarius is your Ascendant, Venus-ruled Taurus is your 4th House. This makes you surprisingly conservative, particularly when it comes to your tradition and your heritage. You want your home to be pleasant and comfortable, and you find it peaceful to be there. You prefer to be at home rather than being in public or with the company of strangers.
Partnership – Leo
Leo governs your 7th House of Marriage and partnerships. You enjoy the company of those that are flamboyant and larger than life. You need a partner who is dramatic and full of life and energy. It is hard for you to simply enjoy yourself, and you benefit from being with someone who is uninhibited and who likes to put on a show.
Career and Public Reputation – Scorpio
Mars-ruled Scorpio governs your 10th House of career and public reputation. You are completely dedicated to your career and can work long and hard hours to achieve success in your given field. You can be rather combative in this area of your life, though, and you have to be careful not to sabotage yourself by fighting or arguing with authority figures and other people important to your reputation.