REFRAMING AQUARIUS: How the Cool and Detached Offer Us Love
I want to disclaim, before you jump in, that Love in this write-up and in my opinion, is not a feat of romantic heroism or distilled in ambiguous twin-flame theory. It is not a Drew Barrymore rom-com or an episode of The Bachelor. The Love I speak of here transcends the human trappings of performance, expectation, and desperation. The Love I speak of here, the Aquarius Love, is dispassionate, impersonal, and vastly encompassing. It is a validation of humanity, in all its forms. It is the simple act of non-judgement and fundamental acceptance, that allows the human spirit space to breathe and be. That is my Love.
I want to disclaim, also, that this write-up is about the archetype of Aquarius, what exists in the ether independent of human form. I write from my personal brand of Mercury conjunct Neptune magic. Therefore, this is not necessarily about your Aquarius Sun mother, or your Aquarius Venus crush, or about historical figures of Aquarian nature and lore. It is about energy. What human beings do with that energy sprouts a myriad of potential. Below is one of those potentials.
Like Capricorn and Christmas, Aquarius and Valentine’s Day seem to be fundamentally at odds. Where the serious Saturn-ruled earth sign seems incongruous to merrymaking, so does the Saturn-ruled air sign seem an out-of-place home for one of the more romantic days of the year. If pop Astrology had its way, Aquarius would remain inextricably associated with stereotypes of distance and detachment. While those descriptors are certainly relevant, they are not the end of the story. You may find Taurus or Libra more fitting for Valentine’s Day, where the planet of love and romance is home. Or Pisces, where the planet of love and romance is exalted. Perhaps even Leo, where bouquets of red and pink balloons and Leo-ruled heart-shaped boxes of candy proudly boast and roar: love! But in removing the superficial layers that surround the misunderstood Aquarius, we can come to understand why Cupid’s foray through this cerebral sign is no accident, and rather points us towards a more fitting, yet shocking, conclusion: that the Aquarius love is deep and endless, that the Aquarian heart throbs with an alien passion. If this shocks you, good. Aquarius can enjoy a revolution, a subversion, a brain-fuck. And so may this revolution set Aquarius free from misinformation, and set ablaze a different way of thinking. If you choose to want to think it, that is—Aquarius doesn’t care!
Where Taurus makes love physical, Libra makes love delightful and Pisces makes love dreamy or transcendent—Aquarius makes love ideal. In any working definition of the word romance, “idealized love” makes a literal or alluded appearance. It could be said, then, that from Aquarius, the idea of love is born, even if not practiced. And from ideas, all things sprout. This isn’t altogether odd. Aquarius deals with intellect and logic. And ruled by Saturn, striving towards lasting standards of excellence and fairness, signposts of anything ideal, lines up with what we know about the archetype. In potentializing love to an ideal place, the Aquarius Love comes with a bigger heart and bigger mission. As a human sign, Aquarius is not particular about love— who deserves it, who is giving it, why it went away, when it’ll come, how it looks, etc. With the power of scope and objectivity, Aquarius Love transcends physical limitations and instead becomes a universal concept under which all of humankind can shelter. And what could be more loving than the unrelenting acceptance Aquarius offers? And so where things aren’t sensual or material or comfortable enough for Taurus, where things aren’t refined or classic enough for Libra, or magical and hypnotizing enough for Pisces—Aquarius asks no price of admission, for love to them remains priceless, a public good to be doled out and shared not on pretense, but on brotherhood. It is Aquarius’s diligent eye on humankind and fraternity that expands the concept of love: come one, come all, and come as you are.
Saint Valentine of Rome, whose written account has come to serve as an historical template for the inception of Valentine’s Day, acted out these Aquarian ideals. He performed weddings for those forbidden to marry and when sent to jail, healed his jailer’s daughter of blindness. Afterwards and right before he was due to be executed, he sent a letter to the jailer’s daughter, and signed it, your Valentine. Saint Valentine of Rome was also said to give out paper hearts while ministering to people about God’s love (an impersonal Aquarius resonance, equality under an all-seeing eye), and a direct line can be drawn from this action to the Valentine’s Day decorations we see today. In this brief recounting, we meet two Aquarian archetypes, the former more recognizable than the latter: rebellion and compassion. A human thing to do despite the laws of the time, Saint Valentine, though perhaps not an Aquarius himself, extolled all of the best, yet often ignored tenets of the sign—the push towards equality, that all deserve to have their love legitimized and recognized, endless openness to the human condition, and the Love with a capital L that drives one to such measures. Questionable religious ideology aside, Valentine lived and died on one principal: that love, in all its myriad of incarnated forms, in all of its ceremonials, is for all. That the Sun was travailing through Aquarius as the framework for our modern conception of Valentine’s Day was underway can be no coincidence. All of Astrology bears correspondence to human events, even if they remain obscured or misunderstood for a time.
In Ancient Greece, Aquarius season coincided with Gamelion, the month of marriage. Two festivals occurred then, roughly translated to Sacred Wedding and Divine Wedding. These festivals celebrated the union of Zeus and Hera. In Roman texts, Hera was known as Juno, the goddess of marriage. If Juno sounds familiar, it is because an asteroid was named after her and has come to represent what is looked for in marriage and commitment. Modern natal chart calculators can show where Juno is in the sky for an individual, and can points towards the characteristics of a most suitable long-term partner. So what is it about Aquarius that corresponds to this cultivation of lasting love and marriage? Look to the element and modality: fixed air. Like any fixed sign, Aquarius holds on tight and when best expressed can exalt the virtues of fidelity. Of course, any ideal marriage or partnership needs this brand of loyalty and perseverance. Though much is said about the Aquarius need for space, even the Aquarius need for isolation, it cannot be overlooked that when in intimate partnership, Aquarius is one of the more steadfast partners, seeking not for frivolous union, but for deep connection. But the elemental nature of Aquarius sets it apart from the rest of the fixed family. It can be said that inherent to Aquarius symbolism are two life-sustaining elements: air, and water, as Aquarius is the water-bearer, often mistaken by novices as a water sign. Let me poetically pontificate: no living being can do without air or water. And so the Aquarian love is life-sustaining, from which all bounty and blessings grow, from which all beings benefit. It is the grandeur of this concept that gives Aquarius its aloof quality—their Love is so universal and welcoming that to the casual observer, it appears impersonal. But it is precisely the scope of Aquarius Love that makes it so palpable, an equally matched breadth and depth. Where fixed Taurus can become materialistic, fixed Leo can become self-aggrandizing, and fixed Scorpio can brood and become paranoid, no more fixed is Aquarius than the air it represents: ubiquitous, self-sustaining, stretched over distance yet deeply intimate, as oxygen and the connectivity of breath is shared by all. Co-dependency has long reigned as a romantic model of love, clinginess and self-dissolution perversely used as measures of affection. Psychology has now caught up and identified this proclivity as self-sabotaging and maladaptive. The Aquarius model of live and let live in relationship can appear threatening to the osmosis some wish to experience, or expect to experience. But it offers us a great chance at healthy love—as when air is squelched out of the equation, breathing becomes labored, and the life of the relationship is threatened. When inserted in mutually consented amounts, air allows for space, wherein two individuals (or more, *wink*) can fully stretch out into their identity, their lived experience, always feeling supported, but never entrapped. That is what Aquarius can offer—a Love given the air to float, fly, and flex.
In a sense, and as alluded to above, Aquarius love can be cerebral. But all things start first with thought. The belief of a thing creates the experience of a thing. So for Aquarius to hold you in their minds with love and affection is to tap into a potent creative energy, one that serves as the basis for all emotion and action. And because these ideas are fixed, good luck changing the Aquarian mind. Once loved, always loved. For Aquarius, the idea of love for a person, up close or from afar, is to render that love timeless and shapeless, graduated out the physical dimensions of gift-giving, face-time and attention, and into an ethereal experience. Aquarius is associated with personal freedom and independence. Aquarius gives Love the freedom to expand, to individuate, untethered by expectation or precedent.
Aquarius is traditionally ruled by Saturn. There is, then, a resonance with Aquarius and Saturn’s sign of exaltation—Libra. They trine one another, and share a common Saturnian DNA. Libra, in some ways, is the sign of marriage, one-on-one partnership, diplomacy, and fairness. Therefore, there is an invisible but what I find a personally noteworthy through-line and resonance connecting the idea of peaceful partnership to the Aquarius archetype. With this link, Saturn, and by virtue, Aquarius, can delight when relationships become stable and enduring, planting fertile ground for love to blossom perennially, even after the cold and dry winters.
In sum, I invite you to reconsider what you’ve heard about Aquarius. Leave room for the wondrous ways in which this sign offers us love, and hold space for a history that can corroborate it symbolically. Remember that as the water bearer, Aquarius has within it wells of untapped emotional capacity. Only, unlike any other sign, Aquarius shoulders these emotional conditions with impenetrable strength and understanding, turning them into nutrient, tilling human soil, watering it with compassion. In this alchemical process, all human experience, the sordid and splendid, meet their highest resolution in the arms of Aquarius. It is this level of belonging, of feeling seen and heard, that allows unbridled love to flow. It could be that the Aquarius tendency for distance and austerity is merely erected as a means of protection. That the love they feel for others must somehow be contained behind a wall, less it completely overwhelm them, less their waters drown the world. But do not be mistaken—beyond the ideas of coldness and detachment lies a soft, loving center. A sweetness disguised, but always alive.
“Love looks not with the eyes, but with the mind And therefore is winged Cupid painted blind.”
Camille Michelle Gray is a practicing and consulting astrologer, musician, writer, and paralegal. She seeks to build a virtual space that celebrates connection, a way to remind ourselves of our inherent relationship to the stars, planets and Universe at large. You can connect with Camille and find more of her work on her website and on Twitter and Reddit!