A particular cliché that I take issue with is this whole thing about Aquarius and groups. Aquarius is often described as needing to dedicate itself to the group and while I can agree with this, on a certain level, I feel like it gets misinterpreted on a regular basis. When we hear “group”, in this day and age, we think of an exclusive club or circle of people. Our image of a social group is one that is downright cliquey and that can raise questions of inclusiveness versus snobbery that define the very purpose of Aquarius. This is not a sign that is about belonging to a particular group or even being all that accepted by them. But, it is about connecting and associating with groups of people.
Note that Aquarius does not have to be personally involved in that group. This is what contributes to the “outside looking in” perspective that defines this sign. It’s not about belonging to the group and it’s certainly not about conforming. It’s about seeing what bands people together, what creates social unity and understanding, and how you can go about fostering more of that. There is a true “all for one and one for all” spirit to Aquarius. But, this does not mean having a mentality that says that I need to be accepted by these people. If I hear people speak of Aquarius or the 11th House and use the phrase “fitting in” in any way, I feel that they don’t really understand this sign or house.
Let’s look at it in terms of its preceding and succeeding houses, the 10th and the 12th. These three houses are all dealing with the masses, in a certain way. If you are looking for particular “acceptance” by the masses, I would say that you would find it through whatever is in your 10th House. Here is where we work for our reputation, our feeling of success, our social status and public profile. If you are looking for a place to lose your “individuality”, you would experience that through your 12th House. This is the house of the collective unconscious, where we feel things on a profound level that go far beyond our ego-centered view of ourselves. It’s where we harbor emotions, fears, secrets, and dreams that serve as a reflection of everyone, in a sense.
This is why Aquarius and the 11th House precede Pisces and the 12th House. Aquarius is not about losing your individuality. That’s far from the truth. It’s in those Neptunian depths that we cease to have a firm sense of being an individual. But, being an individual is most certainly a part of Aquarius energy, whether they are connecting to some sort of group or not. However, it’s a rather loose, liberated form of individuality. This freedom of mind and spirit keeps Aquarius distanced from the ego. Therefore, they do not have to be the source of all the ideas and all the plans of action. It’s why Aquarius, at its best, can go along with other people’s ideas and plans so well. Without the ego being involved, one does not have to take credit for or feel in control of everything.
However, there is still definitely a strong sense of individuality that defines Aquarius. It is a very easygoing sign but not so easygoing to totally give up the feeling of being an individual. While very open to your ideas and very tolerant and supportive of your actions, Aquarius is not a follower. Aquarius is not a group-thinker. It is a free thinker and that means not only using their heads but using the heads of other people in order to come up with something brilliant, exciting, progressive, and beneficial to everyone. And Aquarius is going to do so in its own independent-minded way, exhibiting a certain intelligence or originality that sets the person apart from other people.
Aquarius’ rulership over the 11th House sandwiches it right in between the yearning for prestige and respect that defines the 10th and Capricorn as well as the desire to escape oneself and merge with humanity that drives the Pisces-ruled 12th House. Therefore, the 11th House is where we’re going to meet our “peers”; essentially, our equals. I personally think that the 10th House is descriptive of one’s general community; everyone involved in your public sphere: co-workers, bosses, admirers, neighbors, etc. These are all the people that you know and/or that know you.
The 11th House is where you get on equal footing with others. In a sense, this is where you already belong. It’s your general social scene; the place where you’re going to feel most communal and strive for a feeling of togetherness. This is the “group” that Aquarius aims for; where one can just feel free without trying so hard to be accepted or to belong because – somehow, someway – there is some common element that bonds you with these people already. But, also, bear in mind that Aquarius can connect to many different groups. It is not an exclusive sign and will not be limited, especially because it is able to find common elements with just about anyone it comes across. In this way, the drive for public acclaim and recognition of the 10th is relinquished in order to just form connections with those that you can feel a certain understanding with.
Yet, Aquarius is not about having a particular group of friends that you just stick to. Again, that creates a feeling of exclusivity. Aquarius wants everyone to feel included and can actively resist such “cliques” because of the barriers that they set up, directly or indirectly. This is not a sign that wants anyone to feel like they are better than anyone else. While Aquarius is very friendly with everyone yet only close to a select few, that doesn’t mean that they aren’t going to be freely and broadly social. That is the purpose of this sign and those with Aquarius placements find the most fulfillment from spreading themselves around like that. This sign is so curious about others and so eager to make these social and intellectual connections. And there are so many people in the world that provide ample opportunity to do so. As a result, even though Aquarius does have its handful of really close buddies, it’s suffocating to always have to be around these people.
Another reason why an exclusive group of friends brings a lack of freedom for Aquarius is that these groups often come with rules. Going against social judgment is a big-time theme for this sign and it means facing the disapproval of others on a regular basis. It’s often much easier for Aquarius to do so with the people who come and go; their acquaintances and their more distant friends. When you hang out with someone all the time, they begin acting as a major influence on your choices. It’s the whole “on Wednesdays, we wear pink” thing from Mean Girls. If Cady wanted to be a part of the group, she had to follow the rules because even their Queen Bee Regina got kicked out for not following the approved-of standards of the others. Not all friend groups will exert such judgmental pressure to “measure up” all the time. But, still, the idea of having to constantly “sign off” with other people exhausts independent Aquarius, which is very interested in your viewpoint and ideas when it concerns other, more important things, not when it concerns himself or herself.
All of this can be the reason why Aquarius people can feel quite socially isolated or alienated, in spite of the fact of being so likable and friendly. Aquarius, in its truest expression, is always a nonconformist. In the end, this energy compels a person to not want to fit in and to not have to rely on other people to survive on a social level. The fact that other people do can make certain folks with an Aquarius influence feel very bored, uncomfortable, or out-of-place in the midst of their social scene. Being the opposite of Leo, which sees itself as the center of everything, Aquarius is just here to figure out the actual center of everything; the gravitational pull that brings us all together. When people stop focusing on togetherness, in a way that’s broader and bigger, free of the pettiness, judgment, or “labels” that can keep people behaving as if they’re in high school, Aquarius can then feel out of the loop and, then, just go off on their own and do their own thing.
The important thing for Aquarius is to focus on the greater good, which does not necessarily have to be achieved by getting political or being humanitarian (although these are regularly recommended, successful routes for Aquarius). Having this influence can definitely make you get involved with any sort of organization that will do important or progressive things in the world. But, the greater good can also be accomplished on a smaller level, which is really not that small, if you think about it. I think Aquarius placements have to be expressed in a way that doesn’t make anyone feel excluded, especially for any sort of superficial or unimportant reason. Aquarius’ ability to make people feel like they belong and like they matter, regardless of “who they know” or what sort of person they may appear to be, is a big part of what makes this sign special and what allows them to do good. In the end, Aquarius can achieve the greater good simply by spreading the sort of egalitarian positivity around, making sure that no one gets left out and that no one feels inferior or judged.
All of this can apply for those who have personal planets in Aquarius, the Ascendant or Midheaven in Aquarius, and also the North Node in Aquarius (which is my placement, along with Aquarius Rising). In some way or another, making everyone feel like they belong is the aim of these placements. Not everyone has this ability and it’s why those of us with Aquarius placements regularly end up feeling like the freaks that don’t belong (a particularly challenging element of my North Node because then it threatens the applause my Leo South Node wants). But, in the end, this experience of being judged, misunderstood, or ostracized gives us a strong understanding of how someone else feels on the receiving end of that; hence, the compassionate water that Aquarius bears yet in a very intellectual way.
My Aquarius North Node and Ascendant gets this and it’s why the idea of being a part of a “group”, like is often recommended to those with this North Node, just doesn’t exactly ring true. That just leads to less inclusiveness and openness! But, my greater potential does lie in figuring out what I can do to make other people feel accepted and understood, while also realizing that the only group that really matters is humanity itself. Aquarius wants everyone to get a piece of the pie and this manifests in many different ways. While it leads to investing in higher causes, it also means just living up to ideals and engaging with everyone with an attitude of acceptance is one of them.