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The Signs
Aquarius Glyph

Aquarius - The Water Bearer

January 20 - February 18

  1. The Myth
  2. The Astrology
  3. The Sky

The Story of Aquarius

Aquarius has been associated with water and floods since ancient times.  Babylonians left references to the "curse of rain" that occurred when the Sun was in Aquarius while the Egyptians looked forward to that time because it brought the annual flooding of the Nile needed to sustain their people.

There are two common myths relating to Aquarius.  One is the story of the Great Flood, similar to the story of Noah's Arc, and the other is the Abduction of Ganymede.

The Great Flood

This myth has it that Zeus had concluded that mankind had become very evil and should be destroyed.  He decided to send a great flood to punish them. 

Prometheus, who had given fire to the mortals and was being punished for it by having his liver pecked out every day by a great eagle, had a son named Deucalion.  Naturally, he did not want his son to die in this great flood, so he warned Deucalion and his wife, Pyrrha, to build a great boat and stock it with provisions so that they might escape.  After raining for nine days and nine nights, the water receded and the boat came to rest on Mount Parnassus. 

There, Deucalion and Pyrrha prayed and offered sacrifices to Themis, the divine oracle who instructed mankind in the laws of justice and morality.

Her instruction to them was to throw the bones of their mothers over their backs.  Not wanting to offend their mothers, Deucalion and Pyrrha decided to throw rocks instead. 

Deucalion and Pyrrha

As they did so, the rocks turned into men and women and the earth was thus repopulated.

The Abduction of Ganymede

Ganymede was a handsome young boy, the son of Tros, King of Troy.  He had such beauty that men and women alike fell in love with him.  One day, Zeus happened to see the boy bathing in the warm Mediterranean Sea.  Some versions say that Ganymede was tending his father's sheep on Mount Ida.  Wherever it was, Zeus was so taken that he immediately fell to planning a way to get this boy for his own. 

Some versions of the story say that Zeus turned himself into an eagle while others say that he sent his messenger eagle, Aquila, to swoop down and snatch Ganymede. 

Either way, Ganymede was carried off to Mount Olympus to become Zeus' lover.  Erotic relationships between an adult male and a youth were an accepted part of Greek society.  However, Hera, the wife of Zeus, was jealous and not at all happy with the arrangement.

Ganymede and Aquila

When Zeus decided that Ganymede should replace Hebe as the cupbearer to the gods, Hera flew into a rage.  Hebe, the daughter of Zeus and Hera, had held the prized position of serving nectar and ambrosioa to the gods from the beginning.  But Zeus now claimed that Hebe was clumbsy and spilled the wine. 

To keep Ganymede safe from Hera's vengeful plots, Zeus granted Ganymede eternal youth and immortality by placing him in the the constellation Aquarius, shielded forever by the wings of the great eagle, Aquila.

Aquarius in Astrology

The energy of Aquarius is cool and intellectual.  As a fixed air sign, its opinions and ideas are not easily changed.  Part of the reason is that Aquarius is capable of seeing what is good for the masses of humanity under its charge.  And they truly KNOW what they know!

Future Vision

When planets move travel through the sign of Aquarius, they gain the ability to exert themselves without emotion.  They move to the plane of pure reason.  And they can see far into the future because cause and effect become infinitely clear.

With Aquarius, there is an assumption of air of originality and non-conformity.  Aquarius does not need the approval of its peers.  It is far ahead of its time and of everybody else.  Sometimes this can lead to a great deal of frustration at the resistance others put up against accepting the forward thinking ideas of Aquarius.

Too much of this energy can result in a cold, unsympathetic approach to dealing with the problems of other people.  Compassion is not part of the Aquarian vocabulary.

Quality:  Fixed
Element:  Air

Natural House:  Eleventh
Energy:  Yin (-) Feminine
Traditional Ruler:  Saturn
Modern Ruler:  Uranus

Exaltation:  None
Detriment:  The Sun
Fall:  None
Key word: Unconventional
Key phrase:  I Know!  

Part of the Body:  The Ankles

Aquarius in the Sky

The Stars of Aquarius
Constellation Art from Stellarium

Aquarius is the latin word for water carrier.  Its stars resemble the figure of a man carrying a bucket with water flowing out of it into the mouth of the southern fish of Pisces.

The constellation of Aquarius streches from the celestial equator of the Earth into the southern hemisphere, surrounded by Pegasus, Capricorn, Piscis Austrinus, Cetus, and Pisces.

The precession of the equinoxes will bring the point where the Sun crosses the celestial equator on the date of the Spring Equinox into the constellation of Aquarius about AD 2200, when the official Age of Aquarius will begin.

The names of the three most prominent stars are Arabic names that translate as "The luck of the king", "The luck of lucks", and "The lucky star of hidden things".  From ancient times, this constellation was obviously associated with the arrival of good things.

The constellation of Aquarius also contains a small Y-shaped asterism that marks the water jar, as well as three globular clusters, the Saturn Nebula, and the Helix Nebula.  Several of the Aquarid meteor showers can be seen from March through September.

Aquarius is the latin word for water carrier.  It is most prominent during the autumn months in the Northern Hemisphere and during the spring months in the Southern Hemisphere.