MAY, 2005

 

Mythic Prelude:

 

Love in the Time of Aquarius

 

Welcome again to the lusty, juicy month of May, when the flowers bloom and the Bull is in clover in the Venus-ruled month of Taurus. This year, as last year, the May UFC is devoted to the Goddess of Love and her domain. As last year's prelude held up the Mirror of Venus before the Venus Passage of June 8, 2004, this one begins with reminders of two Venus-related worldwide events: Global Love Day on May 1, and the Oneness Celebration on June 1 - 2. For more on both of these, see Astral Notes for Spring, 2005.

The title of this prelude is familiar to those who know Gabriel Garcia Marquez’ Love in the Time of Cholera, about the couple who do not get to love one another in the usual youthful surge of passion and desire, or even in the maturity of loyalty and devotion, but much later, in the crystalline time when most of what is left between them is the spiritual love that lives in friendship and acceptance, lightened of any sorrow over what is missing, and purified by gratitude for what is still there.

What does true love mean in the time of Aquarius? Will we actually find it? Sure, if we’re willing to make the effort, and clear ourselves for the opportunity. Or -- is true love an outmoded romantic notion that is impossible now? Sure, if that is what one believes. Are we now going to nail for good the question that Tom Robbins built a whole novel on: How To Make Love Stay? No way. In the Aquarian scheme of things, quality outweighs quantity, and the main questions about the value of a relationship are not whether it lasts a lifetime, but (1) whether it communicates the spiritual point it was meant to deliver, and (2) whether -- however long it lasts and whenever it ends -- it leaves the lovers better than they were when they first drew together. In this sense a love union, like a spiritual teacher, is not a house that one is meant to stay in for life, but a bridge that gets us over the chasm we need to cross now.

The premise of this prelude is simple: that to see better how we're going to handle our love relationships in the Aquarian Age, it may help to look at the love traits of people born under the sign of the Water Bearer, and see how they apply to our situation now and in the years to come. Clearly, we need to learn the new beacons and currents in what Sufis call the sea of love. If the millions of relationships that narrowly weathered their fear storms or foundered and sank at the Aries New Moon on April 8 - 9 are anything to go by, it may serve us to look now at some of the new navigational rules that are already in effect. Here are some of the key features of the Aquarian personality and outlook as they apply not just to people born in the month of the Water Angel, but to us all:

Equality

If you’re one of those men who wants the one-up position in a hierarchic love relationship, and even believes God wants women to submit to their husbands, please make sure you have good luggage and are ready to tip the porter, or fortify your opinions about how women may not do what you tell them here on Earth, but they will in Heaven. If you’re a woman who submits to the tyranny of an arrogant husband or lover as your “lot in life,” then please accept sympathies in advance for the discomfort you’re about to undergo as you find that the old one-down position is no longer a shelter or a viable excuse, but an untenable cop-out.

Aquarians are natural egalitarians who resist authority, and may even want to explode it. They chafe at rules and hate being told what to do, which is why they do not normally make good matches with the more controlling personalities on the zodiac wheel, such as Taurus and Leo. In the love and family dynamics of the Aquarian Age, “Because I say so!” will no longer cut it. Couples had best be ready now to listen, question and negotiate a lot more than our grandparents did. Even if the couple agrees that one of them will have the power to make final decisions in their relationship, the other will have the power and the duty to “advise and consent” before the decision is made. The principle of checks and balances, even if it may not live much longer in the nation that first enshrined it in the constitution of the United States, will remain alive and well in Aquarian love relationships.

Variety Shows and Jokes

Aquarians love to be entertained. They thrive on novelty and variety, and are happiest in relationships that offer them the curiosities and delights of something new. Does this mean that being in the bedroom with your Aquarius lover is going to be a continuous round of new toys, games and surprises? Not really. Even for novelty-loving, emotionally cool Aquarians, the props are pointless without the passion. But expect at the same time that a good Aquarian relationship does require some creativity and inventiveness. Those who are willing to invest the effort will have a longer, happier time of it. Lazy people who seek predictable routines had best choose equally log-minded lovers. One hopes that the British noblewoman whose approach to sex was to “lie still, and think of England” was not married to the Earl of Aquarius.

Friendship and the Life of the Mind

As the 11th sign of Aquarius naturally relates to the 11th house of friendship, it’s no surprise that, with some exceptions, Aquarians are among the people most likely to have both an intimate love relationship and a wide circle of friends, and to expect that the two will get along. Of all the love signs on the zodiac wheel, Aquarians may be the type least likely to frolic first, ask questions later. Aquarian love relationships tend to begin as like-minded friendships before they get intimate. Just as the one who first said “The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach” was probably talking about a Taurus, the way to an Aquarian’s heart – if, as we’ll see, you can actually get there – is through the mind.

As befits the revolutionaries of the zodiac, Aquarian lovers are apt to be devoted to social and political causes, and may expect you to share their passionate commitment to movements that represent change for the better. Is it possible that an Aquarian lover, especially an Aquarian woman, will want to have an equally transformative effect on you? Maybe not. But Aquarian relationships are dynamic, not static. Something has to change, and that something may be you.

Self-reliance and Boundaries

Imagine we’re at a party, looking around at the people the way an astrologer does. Over in the corner, the Capricorn is fascinated with the Scorpio, and wondering if he will survive a fling with her. The Sagittarius is near the bar, regaling a knot of listeners with his travel stories. And on the sofa, the Libra male is hitting on the Aquarius, who is cold to temptation so far, and is experiencing yet again the axiom that the curse of beauty is to have one’s privacy continually invaded by passionate strangers. The Libra hasn’t yet figured out the mysterious double identity of Aquarius, which can be both reserved and revolutionary, aloof and flamboyant, and can switch as soon as one thinks he has it figured out.

In this way Aquarians can be like Hexagram 16 of the I Ching, Enthusiasm, as Aquarians have the electrical attraction and arousing energy of thunder over the colder, receptive quality of Earth. It’s appropriate that Aquarius month (Jan. 19 – Feb. 18) comes when it does, with the deep ground still frozen as the surface starts to thaw. This combination of lightning above and ice below is a good symbol of the enigmatic Aquarian personality, which is so light, vivacious, bubbly and charming that it’s irresistibly attractive, yet also so cool, emotionally detached and unreachable that more than one person has wondered whether the first artist who ever crafted a snow sculpture was trying to capture the heart qualities of his or her Aquarian lover.

Should you fall in love with an Aquarius? Only if your self-esteem is strong and you can operate independently, but not if you’re an emotionally needy interrogator who craves reassurance and pushes boundaries. Aquarians can be wonderfully voluble and exciting, and can seem to be people with whom we can communicate about anything, until we notice that Aquarians easily open their heads to us -- while not letting us get within a mile of their hearts.

This emotional detachment, for which Aquarians are notorious, is hardest for those who like a lot of strokes and always want to know what the other is thinking. People who understand Aquarians see that they must have private time, sometimes a lot of it, to replenish energies that they can spend even to exhaustion. Winston Churchill remarked that meeting the Aquarian Franklin D. Roosevelt was like opening a bottle of champagne, though FDR loved quiet time with his stamp collection, and dreamed at the end of his life of sitting quietly at his farm. No one was more sociable than Mozart, who got recharge and rhythms from playing billiards alone. And Virginia Woolf, perhaps the ultimate vivid but unknowable Aquarius, wrote that “Each has his past shut in him like the leaves of a book known to him by his heart, and his friends can only read the title.”

As you know or can guess by now, Aquarian lovers are not the most tactile, demonstrative people on the zodiac wheel. Aquarians do not like love scenes that are emotionally wet and clingy, and they can be intensely annoyed by those who want to give and get affection in public. It can get very weirdly spooky to one who loves an Aquarius that the same person who was the life of the party only a couple of hours ago, when our friends were laughing and singing around our fireplace, can be so distant now that I’d like some intimate fireside time between just the two of us. Why is this? It’s partly that the Aquarius is made of air, and is much more comfortable with the head than with the body or the heart, especially when things begin to look emotionally complicated or “messy.” It’s partly that Aquarius, like Scorpio, is a sign that has trouble expressing what it feels. And also that Aquarius is a lot more strongly drawn to collective, communal situations that arouse an altruistic love of humanity in general than to close, romantic situations that come down to personal, passionate love for only one heart that is ready to give all, and wants to get a lot back.

These moments of emotional truth can be very painful, and are doubly hard when the Aquarius is one of the blunt ones who wants to tell and hear the truth, even when it hurts, and has forgotten or has not yet heard the poet Milarepa’s warning that the one who always tells the truth can often wound another’s heart. What appears open and vulnerable to a Piscean character can look weak or needy to an Aquarius, who can have trouble seeing the difference between an emotional vampire who manipulates others through helplessness, and a heart in pain that needs and deserves compassion.

We have arrived, it seems, at the tradeoff that makes love in the Aquarian Age a dreary prospect for so many of us. We’re accustomed to much more feeling in our relationships than Aquarians normally want. Can we expect in the years to come that romantic love as we’ve experienced it up to now will die a lingering operatic death under moonlight and clouds, accompanied by oboes and strings in B minor? Is the giddy, dizzy rush of falling in love about to be history for us all?

No, thank Venus, who is still here. If anything, she gains strength now as we come to understand the magnetic forces of attraction and manifestation that she represents, the power of drawing what we seek toward ourselves – as long as it serves the highest good of all – rather than chasing it aggressively in the manner of unaccompanied Mars, who sees only what he wants for himself. Love will still be with us. It is the strongest uniting, exalting force in the universe, and will not be overcome by fear, or sorrow, or any other force that depresses and divides.

What will pass away, though, is needy, clingy “love” in victim mode, the illusion that “you’re nobody ‘til somebody loves you,” that another person’s love can validate someone who does not yet love himself. The Aquarian Age will have little patience with sentimental dreamers who fall hopelessly in love with people they can’t have, thereby proving to themselves that they really do feel deeply, even if what they feel is mostly pain. Romantic operas in which the lovers don’t mind going to the guillotine, as long as they get to ride in the same tumbril together, will appear increasingly idiotic to the Aquarian mind, which focuses instead on how to demolish the guillotine and the punitive system that uses it, and does not buy the idea that it is soaringly beautiful for lovers to die together anywhere. The Who could get away in the late Piscean Age with a line like “I know I’m worth nothing without you.” The Aquarian lover will probably respond to this in a way that is more astringent than gentle, by asking “If you’re worth nothing without me, then how much can you be worth with me?” Self-serving “love” as a trick or trip to shore up self-esteem, to fill a need, to lose oneself in another, will get little respect, though it will still be a kind of acne phase that souls go through.

What will remain strong in the Aquarian age is the love principle that has been there all along, underneath all the dreams, beams and desires: the power of love to purify and ennoble the soul, to catalyze the highest emotional frequencies of kindness, compassion and mercy. As the most influential of the feminine cultures in our history – such as the French culture of the high middle ages – have shown, true love is a spiritual force that can refine and redirect even the molten mass of sexual desire into a flame that brings as much light as heat, and in the end can form a soul union much stronger than the surge of passion.

Spiritual Love

This is the last feature of love that we’ll look at here in relation to the Aquarian personality, and the clues it offers about the ways in which we’ll love one another in the Age of Aquarius. The main point to emphasize here is that the Aquarian take on love, in its mentality, its emotional reserve, its aim of friendship and the common good, is not necessarily “higher” or “better” than the other dimensions of love we experience. It does not, and cannot, bring us to discard all at once the passion and pleasure, the intimacy and joy we have known and treasured for so long. What Aquarian love will do is complete the treasure chest by adding to it a dimension of spiritual and communal love that will enhance all our other expressions of love. The richer love becomes in the soul, in other words, the richer it will also get in the body, the heart and the mind – and the longer it will last.

An Aquarian’s love is less fixated on the individual beloved than on the virtues of friendship, altruism, liberty and acceptance that he or she shares with the universal oversoul. In this sense the Aquarian may only seem aloof when he or she is really detached, having arrived at that state of serenity, completeness and freedom in which one does not need to possess or be validated by anyone. Like the hero Arjuna, who is assured of victory in The Mahabharata when he gives up all attachment to the outcome of the battle, the Aquarian soul realizes love most perfectly by letting go, and giving the other unlimited space. “You will never find yourself in me,” the Aquarius thinks, “nor will I find myself in you – though I’m honored to be one of the beacons that helps you get your bearings, and I’m grateful for the light you shine on the route my soul must fly sometimes with you, sometimes alone.”

Will most human beings line up around the block for this? Not yet. For those who want to hold the earth, drown in the water and burn in the fire, the air is thin and cool way up there in the crystal sphere of total responsibility and freedom. The good news, though, is that we will not have to live there all the time in the Aquarian Age. But those who have never gone there may find their first visit bracing, even liberating. They may even come to like the view, the easy mobility of traveling light, and the rare experience of moving at will between heaven and earth. 

However long this takes – and it will not take nearly as long as we now imagine it will – the Aquarian mind will be truly free when it lives in unconditional love, and in joyous, effortless embrace of the divinity in every other heart. This is why one symbol that proliferates on our planet now is the winged heart imagined by the Sufis. The simplest of meanings for this is that wings have value only when they have something to carry aloft, and the heart will send love out to a wider world only when it rises higher to see it. “Only a heart with wings can fly,” as they sing in the Dances of Universal Peace. Let the way of the heart shine through.

Keep holding that frequency.

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Copyright 2005 Dan Furst