Aquarius & the Important Friction of "not freedom"

Aquarius concerns itself with freedom, but always within context. Aquarius orients itself towards a reactive freedom. A quick perusal of famous Aquarius suns will illustrate that clearly: you’ll find an inventory of reactionaries, rebels, radicals, and the righteous. Aquarius, ruled by Saturn, seeks freedom in response & as counterforce to “not free.”


If I have a dog, my dog has a human.” 

—Donna Haraway


I love this quote. I sometimes think of Aquarius as the sort of companion-species energy of the zodiac. Even one of the oft-told myths of Aquarius, the abduction of Ganymede, tells the story of a boy abducted by Zeus and brought to live among the gods as their cupbearer, companion animal, or queer pet. Just as the dog has been created through the friction of domestication, Aquarius is created through the friction of processes of “not freedom.” 


Freedom is a tricky word, as easily weaponized as it is idealized. Like a firework, it ignites brilliant yet potentially dangerous responses. How do I talk about the potential of a concept like freedom in a world that holds the prison industrial complex, child slavery, still-unmitigated worldwide effects of the Atlantic slave trade, border detention camps? What is it to consider freedom in contexts of “not freedom”? Aquarius lives in the tension of this question. Aquarius will always look for the negative space—for what has been left out. 


This full moon in Aquarius sits opposite the Sun in Leo* (conjunct Venus, freshly baptized through her superior conjunction). Leo concerns itself with the flipside of freedom. It’s the fire of freedom that burns in the strength of our hearts. With its roaring YES! Leo wants to know what freedom feels like. Leo knows how to let that feel good.


“Freedom is not something that anybody can be given. Freedom is something people take, and people are as free as they want to be.”

—James Baldwin (Leo)


While Aquarius can respond to the call of freedom with the sharp interjection, “But what about not-freedom?,” Leo can shine so bright it blocks out other contexts. In this friction, Aquarius sacrifices the self while Leo clings to it. How do we resist these pitfalls, while still living in that inescapable tension? While still insisting on freedom? What would happen if we decided we didn’t have to choose between the two? 


Wisdom tells me I am nothing. Love tells me I am everything. And between the two my life flows. 

—Nisargadatta Maharaj


While we are still very much in the Capricorn part of the Saturn story, it’s a good idea to begin thinking about Aquarius. Saturn slides into Aquarius for parts of 2020, and December 2020 sees the Saturn Jupiter conjunction (oft called the great conjunction) at 0° Aquarius. These are part of major shifts. Nobody needs astrology to know any of this; a quick glance at the news should have all of us in the tension of the Aquarius question. All of us have a part to play in creating a freer and more loving world. As fixed signs, Aquarius and Leo often look for “the” fix or a single answer. Remember that this world needs a diversity of tactics. We need to celebrate that. Aquarius reminds Leo that sacrifice is sacred. Leo reminds Aquarius that so is the self. 


This full moon, spend some time thinking about which side of the polarity needs attention right now. Accept that these are long-haul tensions and work to find balance. How do we work towards feeling & cultivating freedom within very loud contexts of not-freedom? How do we do that without detaching? Can we do that and stay sensitive, alive, and joyful? If this is all too much to sit with alone, find your people and talk to them about it. Aquarius and Leo both know how much we need each other in networks of loving solidarity that hold both accountability and applause.


*Full Moons occur when the Sun and Moon are 180° apart. That means they will always highlight a set of signs that are in opposition to one another.

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Photo by Robbie Sweeny


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