Liberation and Responsibility with the Sun in Aquarius

Posted by Amanda Painter

Photo by Amanda Painter

Tomorrow night (early Saturday in some time zones) the Sun leaves Capricorn and ingresses Aquarius. That this sign change happens each year within a few days of Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday feels fascinatingly appropriate, even though King was a Capricorn. Amanda Painter considers the late-week astrology through an Aquarian paradox.

By Amanda Painter

Tomorrow night (early Saturday in some time zones) the Sun leaves Capricorn and ingresses Aquarius. That this sign change happens each year within a few days of Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday feels fascinatingly appropriate, even though King was a Capricorn.

Photo by Amanda Painter

Photo by Amanda Painter

I say this because of the two planets that rule Aquarius: Saturn (which also rules Capricorn) and Uranus. Saturn represents (in part) responsibility and containment; Uranus represents (in part) liberation and unbridled life force.

We need both concepts, both forms of energy, to live in balance. What I find most striking about King’s life and work in this context was the way he integrated and championed these concepts: calling, from a place of deeply held social and personal responsibility, for liberation; finding the most effective outlet for his considerable life force by focusing it into a clear and singular purpose — one that took as its container the principle of non-violent protest.

By embodying one clear structure of action and philosophy, he sought to dismantle and revolutionize another social and political structure, in pursuit of freedom for a repressed group. And he did so by inspiring individuals to use their freedom to take personal responsibility — whether they were among the repressed group, or among the elite group doing the oppressing.

Whether this owes anything to King’s natal Mercury in Aquarius or is simply a fascinating stroke of synchronicity, I’m not entirely sure. But I appreciate how we can perhaps get a better feel for Aquarius and its two very different ruling planets by thinking of King in this way.

The Sun enters Aquarius at 10:09 pm EST Friday night (3:09 am UTC Saturday). There it joins Venus (which entered Aquarius Wednesday night), the asteroid Juno, and the lunar South Node (which hints at the eclipse coming in a couple of weeks).

In fact, Juno is in a close conjunction to the South Node, and the pair are exactly opposite the asteroid Ceres and the lunar North Node in Leo. I was pondering this opposition, and wondered: when your sense of what is nourishing and heart-based is confronted by the kind of ‘social-justice-by-mob-mentality’ that seems to proliferate on the internet, how do you negotiate that space?

The internet (which is arguably symbolized by Uranus) is a hotbed for license: that is, for freedom without responsibility. You can say almost anything you want on the internet, including on social media, and many (if not most) people do — often with very little thought about the impact of their words, or whether a hastily typed comment fully represents their deeper values.

With Ceres and Juno opposed as they are, you might practice toggling back and forth between leading from your most compassionate heart-space and joining the call for justice with online group-think. Where do they meet for you? After all, as others have pointed out, a true ‘group’ is made up of individuals who think for themselves. If that quality is missing, then you’re part of a mob. And beneficial things rarely emerge from mobs.

With Venus in Aquarius, we seem to get another image of the possibility (indeed, the need) to bring some ‘emotional intelligence’ into group settings — both online and in person. As just described, a mob has no real intelligence, emotional or otherwise, of its own. For a group to operate humanely (both among its members and toward the larger community), its individual members must bring their own humanity. Venus in Aquarius can be a little cool and detached — more ‘righteous’ than ‘loving’ — so it’s up to you to consciously supply the warmth and empathy in your relationships, both one-on-one and in a group setting.

Related to this is the Sun’s first major aspect when it ingresses Aquarius: a square to the asteroid Pallas, which enters Taurus almost exactly 30 minutes before the Sun changes sign. One of the attributes of Pallas is that of wisdom. In Taurus, this speaks of the wisdom of your body’s senses.

Yet what happens when that body-wisdom is at odds with a more intellectual, mind-centered awareness or self-expression? How can you integrate them? It might be as simple as checking the facts against your gut instincts and sensual perceptions; or using the physical logistics of a plan to bring innovations into a more realistic space.

Finally, it’s worth noting that on Saturday the centaur planet Pholus leaves Sagittarius after being there for about a dozen years. At 7:11 pm EST (00:11 UTC Sunday), Pholus enters Capricorn for the first time since 1951 (Pholus has a highly elliptical orbit, and spends many more years in some signs than in others).

Pholus is the planet of ‘small cause, big effect’, the runaway chain reaction, and the ‘cat out of the bag’ phenomenon. All centaur objects have something to do with patterns from the past and healing them, yet each seems to have its sub-specialty in that realm. For Pholus, that would be the effect of one’s great-grandparents (and to a lesser extent grandparents) on an individual’s life.

This theme will be up for investigation in whatever area Capricorn represents in your personal chart. What’s more, Pholus will be moving through Capricorn in a conjunction to the object Quaoar for approximately ten years, deepening and broadening the idea of old, old family patterns.

Given that the family is the first ‘group’ any of us belongs to, and given how challenging it can be to become a true individual just within our families (and within the holographic family overlays that we unconsciously project onto our other relationships), this will likely be fertile territory to explore. It seems a rather perfect synchronicity that Pholus should make its move just one day after the Sun has entered Aquarius. Here’s to finding balance and integration between liberation and responsibility along this leg of the journey.


Eric has got underway with The Art of Becoming, the 2018 Planet Waves Annual. You can still pre-order all 12 chapter-length signs here for just $99, or you may choose your individual signs here. We will be increasing the price for all 12 signs to $111 today, Jan. 18 — so grab your copy now to lock in the current price.

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