The Archetype of Aquarius

by Jef Bartow

In our last set of articles, we have seen how each planetary function within us can be transformed to become part of our spiritual tool bag in living a spiritual life. Over the next 12 months, we will see how each astrological sign is an Archetype in the collective unconscious and influences our life in our three stages of living life as a personality, individuating Self and spiritual Being. With the Sun currently transiting through Aquarius, let's begin with the archetype of Aquarius in the Waterbearer. And let's remember, we each have Aquarius influencing us through one or two areas of life (houses). Using the archetype of Aquarius in these areas is a specific way we can directly spiritualize these activities.

The symbol of the Waterbearer is one who is pouring water from an urn unto the earth. The key to this Archetype is the water. In its higher aspects, water is "the great symbol of Truth or eternal Reality and source of all manifestation. Waters suggests unity, absence of parts, comprehensiveness, purity, motion;…"

In Celtic myth, "knowledge and inspiration are associated with running water." In Egyptian theology, "it (water) was in their doctrine the symbolical support of eternal life to all who received it." When flowing in two streams, it is "symbolic of the outpouring of Truth and Purity from the higher planes." "The Infinite Spirit bore the Soul toward the planes whereon its development is to be accomplished." These clear streams of Truth and Purity are "to clarify the Soul through the mind."

Similarly, the glyph of Aquarius symbolizes waves of water -- knowledge poured out upon the world." The Waterbearer "represents the pouring out of knowledge from the superconscious mind to be shared with humanity." In this case the water represents intuition. Therefore, the Waterbearer becomes the individual who, through Truth and Purity, shares his intuitive knowing to benefit all of humanity.
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Aquarius, being an air sign, demonstrates some of the general air tendencies which include being flexible, versatile and aspiring. A strong desire for sociability and harmony while maintaining a balanced and detached perspective also become natural characteristics of Aquarius. Further, Aquarius demonstrates an objectivity and liveliness of mind through thinking in abstract forms. All these characteristics are expressed through Aquarius’s (and the other air signs of Gemini and Virgo) general tendency to be highly communicative, friendly and agreeable.

Personality Conditioning

The Archetype of the Waterbearer helps us to differentiate how Aquarius’s influence differs from the other air signs. First, Aquarius expresses in a powerful, magnetic and opinionated way. Aquarius conditions us to be free-spirited, spontaneous and future oriented. Highly freedom loving and nonconformist Aquarius conditions us to be the "rebel Angel" tearing down old models, tossing out old concepts for an unconventional, inventive and original idealistic philosophy for the future. This comes from the impetus to find Truth.
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The Purity of the water is reflected in Aquarius's uncompromising thirst for knowledge; thinking objectively without muddying the waters with feelings and a determination to find the best right answer in every situation. These tendencies can lead to judgmentalness, ruthlessness and unfeeling in the pursuit of right and ultimately becoming aloof and detached. Further conditioning from the purity of Aquarius leads us to be focused on the superficial self and service of the personality and expressing one's personal identity and abilities egocentrically in a desire to be popular.
The archetypical sharing the waters with others exhibits in the following ways as the Aquarius Waterbearer lives as a personality. Aquarius has a strong self-awareness and awareness of others. It strongly seeks group identification and a socialized environment based on strong social ideals. This leads Aquarius to stand for a set of collective values with a constant need for attention in the group setting.

Valuing friendship more than love, the Aquarian influence motivates the overcoming of personal insecurity through craving expressing in the group. Based on the receptivity of the group, this Aquarian influence can make us feel underappreciated or taken advantage of, even opting out of the game of life (certain life activities so to speak) over temporary setbacks. Further, beyond enjoying social interactions Aquarius motivates us to become a dominant member of the group, pouring our knowledge out onto the world. Trying to be all things to all people can lead to depression, self-deprecation and highly impractical flights of fancy ungrounded through no profound personality center.

Valuing friendship more than love, the Aquarian influence motivates the overcoming of personal insecurity through craving expressing in the group. Based on the receptivity of the group, this Aquarian influence can make us feel underappreciated or taken advantage of, even opting out of the game of life (certain life activities so to speak) over temporary setbacks. Further, beyond enjoying social interactions Aquarius motivates us to become a dominant member of the group, pouring our knowledge out onto the world. Trying to be all things to all people can lead to depression, self-deprecation and highly impractical flights of fancy ungrounded through no profound personality center.

Individuating the Self thru the Quest for the Holy Grail

As consistently pointed out in previous articles, learning to live the qualities of the sign helps us fulfill the needs of each sign in our chart. Aquarius is a fixed sign and therefore fulfilling its needs comes through fixed qualities. The needs of the fixed signs include gaining stability, becoming dependable, expressing determination, being reserved, reliable and patient while being consistent and methodical in our approach to life. For Aquarius, this becomes the quest for the Holy Grail.

The quest for the Holy Grail involves the journeys of the last few days of Christ's life; the travels of Peredur the Welch boy, Perceval in the French story and Parsifal in the German version of the classical myth. Simply, the attitudinally pure "knight" is in search of his soul. "Contained in the search for the soul are the experience of immortality, the Divine, and a desire to save the kingdom, which is parched, infertile and dying along with the Senex King whose vigor -- mental, physical and spiritual, is fading away."

Fulfilling the general needs of the fixed signs become applied to Aquarius in specific ways. The first relates to moving from service of the self to serving group needs. This is done by learning to work cooperatively in a group with direction and self-discipline and establishing a new type of human understanding through a deep and active intention to service for the welfare of the group. It is also gained through exhibiting temperance and toleration for many points of view to see the Truth from many perspectives. This involves living a nonpartisan, humanistic and unselfish philosophy for life with a sensitive humanitarian awareness of the needs of others. Finally, it is also learning to creatively self-actualize through becoming refined, artistic, intellectual, faithful and humane in the areas of life influenced by Aquarius.

This group awareness and service comes through the following: atonement of selfishness; sacrifice for the group; integrating and balancing the internal opposites to become an integrated whole spiritual identity; and keeping one's head in the clouds but feet on the ground. Further, by taking individual responsibility towards the group, adding kindness and compassion to high mental principles; learning appreciation of the aesthetic value while unifying thinking with feeling, we can become a gentle bodhisattva relying on intuition and loving others with detachment and impersonality.
Living the Holy Grail

The spiritual influence of the Archetype of Aquarius is realized through living the Holy Grail. For each of us, this means living it in the areas of life where Aquarius resides. For myself, with Aquarius predominately in my third house and on the fourth house cusp, it has meant living the above through my thinking, writing, lecturing and publishing (all third house activities). Although I have gained the gifts of the Holy Grail for myself, the power of my writing and publishing has truly been for the benefit of the larger group of kindred spirits and, hopefully down the road, for much of humanity.

A spiritual Aquarian exhibits a creative genius. Through living with integrity, charity and tolerance toward others, the spiritual Aquarian makes a better world for all through enlightenment, living a vision of equality and essential unity of all while expressing a universal orientation to the brotherhood of collective souls. By then pouring spiritual knowledge and revelation of truth into the outer world, the spiritual Aquarian gives vitality and momentum in transforming the earthly focus of humanity. The natural results of becoming the spiritual Aquarian have been described in the focus and service of "avatars" helping humanity through the trials and tribulations in becoming soul infused and a spiritual initiate.
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