On this day of celebrated independence, it seems a good time to reflect on the dual nature of Aquarius, the sign of liberty, ingenuity and truth. Aquarius is co-ruled by Saturn and Uranus, two planets that seem greatly at odds with each other. One rules old, the other rules new. One correlates to despotism, the other correlates to rebellion. How can these two seeming enemies resolve their conflicts and become happy bedfellows? We must find the solution if we are to evolve into a new age.
Saturn represents time, particularly the past. Over time, entrenched systems and infrastructures are built up and eventually wind their way through all facets of our world, entangled throughout our lives like blood vessels. We cannot escape the government, law enforcement, the economy, the highway system. Saturn thus represents societal systems and infrastructures as well. In an ideal world these systems would perpetually support the freedom of every individual, but in truth they eventually become corrupted and begin to rot. Unless, that is, we are vigilant about renewal — voting out politicians that don’t serve us, holding those with power of authority accountable for their actions, repaving roads, creating new forms of economic trade, reinventing industry. That's the job of Uranus.
While Saturn can represent the old despot refusing to relinquish power, Saturn in its higher form represents the wise elder, someone who is aware and unafraid of time as the ultimate teacher and giver of rewards. The evolved Saturn (and its correlating sign, Capricorn) is a being in perfect integrity, whose outer world is a direct reflection of and in perfect alignment with their inner world.
Uranus represents acceleration, and in particular the future. Uranus looks to new ideas and ideals for solutions to the world's problems. When those old Saturnine systems begin to rot it is Uranus who steps in and courageously announces a new way. If the system resists, Uranus will match Saturn’s stubbornness while adding direct, cutting insight into the mix. In its higher form Uranus is the genius inventor working for the betterment of her community, or the rebel that refuses to let the despot get away with murder any longer, even if that means his own death. Live free or die, give me liberty or give me death, that is the motto of Uranus. But, with that quick mind and genius insight at its disposal, once in power Uranus can succumb to its own stubbornness and end up as corrupt or more so than the despot it usurped.
(A third planet, Chiron, also factors in to the archetype of Aquarius, but I'll be covering that in a future article. Astronomically speaking, Chiron is a "centaur," a one-of-a-kind object that orbits between Saturn and Uranus. In astrology, all moving celestial bodies are referred to as planets.)
If we want a human society or nation that is truly based in liberty, we absolutely must open our arms, our minds, our hearts to the problems, insights, failures and successes of all other societies. We must see ourselves in the eyes of every other human being.
At times of great change we all need to take a serious look at what is working and what is not. Change for its own sake is not a strategy for success. We have to see which parts of the entrenched systems work well and which parts need to be jettisoned. We must keep our connection to the ideas and ideals of the past that are still relevant. If we attempt a complete overthrow we will only end up with violent revolution and the precious wisdom of old will be lost.
At the same time we must also remain open to new solutions, no matter how unattainable they may at first seem to be. But it is human nature to resist change. It is inevitable that when a great idea shows up for the betterment of society it will be met with great resistance by those who are terrified of letting go of their power, power that is sustained by a dying model. We absolutely cannot indefinitely sustain any one type of society or culture or system, since everything must evolve and in order for anything to evolve it must at some point die.
When we combine the earned wisdom of Saturn with the flashy brilliance of Uranus and catalyze them with higher consciousness, we end up with a positive feedback loop of structure and change, a set of societal systems that bring stability and safety along with vitality and renewal. Youth is allowed to safely express and explore new ideas within a stable system built by society’s elders. Old and young fulfill their mutual service to each other, new ideas flourish and old structures meet their proper fate — continuation if they serve the collective, death and recycling if they do not (and by recycling they again serve).
This is the essence of the Age of Aquarius and what our future can look like if we embrace the lessons inherent in this sign of ideals and discipline. At its highest, the Aquarian Age will be a time when societal systems fully honor the liberty and uniqueness of every individual, where one's highest uniqueness fulfills their highest function. And where at last, freedom truly becomes understood for what it is and thus can be deeply implemented by the collective.
Despite the evolution of human nations we are still woefully out of synch with what freedom really means (I’m lookin' at you, America). Many think it just means being able to do or be whatever we want. But when faced with an opposing viewpoint, many will go straight into conflict.
Freedom does not mean the freedom to violently antagonize or to separate the concerns of others from our own. True freedom can only exist when we defer to the needs of others equally as we do our own. True freedom is an inner state, less an outer one, where all beings are included and accounted for. If we want a human society or nation that is truly based in liberty, we absolutely must open our arms, our minds, our hearts to the problems, insights, failures and successes of all other societies. We must see ourselves in the eyes of every other human being.
How do we get there? We sure have our work cut out for us. I believe it is helpful to look at the lessons inherent in the opposition between Leo and Aquarius. Leo is the Lion, the performer who roars before a captivated audience. Leo needs the applause, needs to be loved and acclaimed, in order to understand and develop its essential importance to the world. Ruled by the Sun, Leo must shine its light for the world to behold in wonder. But with Leo looking towards its opposite, Aquarius, what Leo is really striving for is its perfect place in society, where its bountiful gifts of creativity and love can be received in service.
Leo looks up and sees Uranus winking at him, a charming rebel with detached objectivity that Leo knows will save him from all the painful drama he keeps finding himself flailing around in. As Leo remains transfixed on the seductive gaze of Uranus, he purposefully averts the more stoic gaze of Uranus's cohort in Aquarian rulership — Saturn. Too staid, too stolid, too patient, too wise, Saturn represents all the hard work and ego-stripping that Leo must do. But Leo will never evolve into his older brother Aquarius without embracing Saturn, taking each slow step by careful step towards the mountaintop of ever increasing awareness and, the real goal, complete freedom.
Saturn thus brings balance to our egocentric urges that strive for Aquarian ideals. We have all dreamed of the superheroes we'd like to be, though less often dreamed of the work it takes to get there. If we only had Uranus to look to we would never realize our full potential. We need both planets. Saturn's disciplined nature gives form and structure to Uranus's bold and often eccentric vision. Saturn tempers Uranus's blind fight for overly lofty ideals while Uranus loosens up Saturn's clinging to the past. Saturn offers sage wisdom to the youthful Uranus while Uranus offers the joy of mentorship and fresh ideas to Saturn.
To live your dream you have to be a rebel. To be effective in the world you have to work within the system. Figure out how to balance those principles and your force of genius will be unstoppable. The Aquarian Age calls for nothing less.