When I was in the fourth grade, there was one classmate of mine who constantly called me “alien.” I got fed up one day and asked her why and she told me it was because I had such a big head and because I was such a weirdo. How nice of her! (The funniest part of the story, though, is that I did stop hating her and she did actually become nice to me and we eventually became and remained good friends up to high school) But, playground insults aside, it did highlight this one feeling that I had always had and that, at this point in my life, I didn’t realize was because of astrology.
I did actually feel like an alien, like I never belonged wherever I went and that I was from some strange place that nobody else was. This was probably why my nemesis-turned-friend’s insult hurt me as much as it did: because I honestly, deep down, believed that she was right. Now, I see that this was my Aquarius Rising and North Node at play. There has always been this feeling I had that something about me didn’t fit. I felt unlike anyone in my family. Teachers rarely ever knew what to do with me: when I was a kid, I was “too much”, an almost ADD-like handful, and when I got a little older, I just didn’t try enough or care enough. Classmates could never easily label me. I was too weird to be popular, too much of a slacker to be a nerd, too nice to be a “bad kid.”
Where do I belong?
It’s a question that I still ask. If you’re an Aquarian, too, you know the struggle and it’s one of the most, if not the most, defining traits of this sign. Some Aquarius people struggle with this more overtly, really living out the misfit label in an obvious sense. But, other Aquarius types deal with this more internally or privately. There are some who have a prominent influence in this sign who might be able to convince you that those profiles are a bit off. They’re not that eccentric, they don’t have trouble fitting in, and they seem well-adjusted enough. However, beneath that deceptively “normal” exterior beats the heart of a misfit and it can come out in surprising, unpredictable ways, often just to remind you that you don’t know them as well as you think that you do.
In spite of the famous ability to be a friend to all, Aquarius truly belongs to no one because, in the end, those with an influence in this sign feel like there is nowhere here on earth that they belong. This brings us to the alien archetype, which is heavily associated with Aquarius. Astrology works in almost primal ways, sometimes, and it is funny how, even as kids and even when we know nothing about our charts, we can still be drawn to the symbols of our placements. While, as a little Leo Sun, I was obsessed with lions and The Lion King was my absolute favorite childhood movie, aliens also held a major fascination for me. The fact that I mysteriously identified with them had quite a bit to do with it. In fact, when I was about 10, I spent the summer writing a “book” (which was really just a lot of pages in one of those big spiral notebooks) called Alien about, yeah, an alien invasion.
That was really my Aquarius side speaking, feeling a sort of kinship with these creatures from another planet. If you feel like there is nowhere here that you belong, logic follows that you must be from somewhere else. Now, of course, this isn’t literally true. (Well, it’s probably not true) But, the alien is the spirit animal of Aquarius people and for many reasons. The mythology of aliens really does mirror the experience of the Aquarius Sun, Moon, Rising, etc. here on earth.
First of all, aliens are very distant beings. Not only are they unreachable to us, before they land here on earth, but even when they are right in front of us, they are not easy to connect to. Aquarius people embody these traits through the detached, hard-to-pin-down demeanor that this sign is so known for. On a regular basis, it’s as if I’m on another planet or in another galaxy, even though I might just be at home. But, when this regular world gets to be too much, the Aquarian has to go off to his or her own little world. This is similar to Pisces but the difference is that it’s not because of a need to escape and get away from the cruel world. It’s because of a need to disconnect from people – who you love but who you also find tiresome – and be with your own thoughts.
It does lead to that famous saying about Aquarius: “they love humanity; it’s just people they can’t stand.” When I rectified my chart, I realized just how much I actually relate to that phrase. As nice and welcoming as I am, as fascinated by people as I am, as much as I love getting inside people’s heads, it’s also like, “Ugh, people!” Someone’s little habits are so interesting when you are people-watching them and so irritating when you are living with them. People can be so judgmental, obnoxious, petty, demanding, insecure. If you overwhelm the Aquarius or take up too much of their time, they can go from being your super-chill, laidback, likable companion to being really erratic, abrupt, and cold, making you think someone just turned off a switch.
Aquarius is actually quite similar to Gemini in that way. But, Gemini does this out of boredom, while the switch flips with Aquarius when you start clinging to them or making too many demands of them. It happens when the Aquarius is around people for too long. I think Aquarius is the most introverted of the Air signs, needing plenty of time to recharge and be alone after socializing or interacting with people. It’s why it’s perfect for the Aquarian to have a job or a hobby that allows them to be completely alone. I know that when I started working from home and could have lots of free time, in my room and totally by myself, I became more consistent in my dealings with people, instead of being so hot-and-cold. Aquarius needs time to travel back to its home planet.
That planet is ultimately a population of one. It’s why Aquarius is probably up there with Scorpio as one of the hardest signs to understand. (And if you happen to have an influence in both of these signs like me, congrats, because you’re a giant enigma to everyone all of the time) The alien comes from a place where a different language is spoken and when they travel to Earth, people have to work to understand them. This is the same for Aquarius. Since you operate solely on your own unique ideals, thoughts, perceptions, and visions, when you “come back to Earth”, people have to essentially hire a translator to know what you’re saying. It’s why it’s so easy to label the Aquarius as weird because they are operating in a way that is highly individualistic.
And since you’re so used to doing things based on how they’re done on your home planet, when you deal with the earthlings, you are often surprised at how weird you are perceived to be. Often times, the person with the Aquarius placement(s) isn’t even trying to be weird. There is this cliché that this sign is blatantly quirky and eccentric, in some outrageous attempt to shock. But, that usually only happens when a person is exhibiting controlling, judgmental, or close-minded behavior and the Aquarius is trying to prove a point. Otherwise, the Aquarius person isn’t that self-conscious about it. That’s Leo’s domain, the performer who is operating for the audience’s reaction. Aquarius isn’t really thinking about your reaction until it happens. My quirky habits or patterns are done just because that’s what I do and I don’t realize they’re quirky until they get a reaction.
But, that’s the other element of Aquarius: studying the reactions and the patterns of those here on earth. The alien is at odds with what the earthlings are doing and is visiting merely to observe, which is why you always carry this innate feeling that your free-spirited Aquarius-influenced friend is only “just visiting” and will be gone as soon as he or she came. But, we come back! People are too interesting for us to not come back. It’s why people-watching is such an avid Aquarian pursuit. I’m quite an expert at it and not just with strangers. I also people-watch my acquaintances, my close friends, my relatives, filing away all sorts of info about them. If you feel like such an alien and like your patterns are different from everyone else’s, you want to observe these people and figure out why that is. And you also get very, very good at it. As deeply misunderstood as Aquarius is, it’s one of the few signs that can make you feel more understood than anyone else can.
Yet, that personal feeling of being misunderstood always remains. So does this early sense that you are somehow going to be exposed for not being like everyone else. It’s something that eventually happens at some point in the Aquarian’s life, usually through being targeted or excluded for being different somehow. But, it’s something that can become quite neurotic. It could be the Aquarius Rising who always has this fear that they were actually adopted and one day the truth is going to come out. It could be the Aquarius Moon who always fears being rejected by her group of friends, even though they’ve been best friends since high school, or the Sun in Aquarius person who constantly, in the middle of some small talk with someone, thinks, “Oh, why did I say that? Now, they know. Now, they know I’m a big freak.”
As socially adept as this sign is described as being, I feel like it’s something that is gradually learned for the Aquarius. In spite of Uranus being the sign’s main ruler, it’s co-ruler is Saturn. This is a rather harsh planet that speaks to a difficult beginning and some obstacles that need to be worked through in order to achieve success. The Saturnian form of success through Aquarius is social and interpersonal. Therefore, a lot of Aquarians do not start off life being so cool. Social awkwardness is actually very common with this sign and it’s a trait it shares with Capricorn. But, Capricorn works through it by proving people wrong and by becoming sophisticated and respectable. Aquarius works through its awkwardness by going the opposite route: figuring out how to convince people that they don’t care and that their judgments mean nothing to them until that is actually true.
I definitely went through my socially awkward youth. For a long time, I couldn’t walk into a room without feeling like some sort of social humiliation was in store for me. I gradually began turning it around by either being really aloof and indifferent to what was going on or saying or doing things that would just get the humiliation over with. For instance, I would be utterly blunt with people, just so if they were going to hate me, they could go ahead and get it over with. More often than not, though, they liked me for being honest, even if my honesty was startling or shocking to them. Aquarius’ experimentation does not have to happen in a lab. It can occur in this way via a social experiment. Eventually, the social awkwardness is managed because we become comfortable enough with those here on earth to feel like our alien presence isn’t so jarring or ridiculous.
But, in spite of all of the many, many friends the adult Aquarius can have and how readily they can gravitate toward social situations, I think the socially awkward part remains. Why? Because that is the alien part of the Aquarius and the Aquarius, no matter what, will always be an alien. Those with placements in this sign will always feel like the one who doesn’t entirely belong here. But, I think that’s why it becomes so important for us to make others feel like they belong: to be inclusive toward all kinds of people, to give off positive social vibes, to insist on equal rights for all people. The long-held experience of alienation gives the Aquarian a sympathy to those who are discarded, unacknowledged, misunderstood, or not given what they deserve. It’s what gives Aquarius the motivation to befriend so many and to also get involved in social or political causes.
It's all too common for people to be frustrated with someone with an Aquarius influence because of how they operate, feeling like they’re so distant or don’t connect very well or are here today and gone tomorrow. I know I’ve caused quite a few of those frustrations in the past myself. But, just remember that your Aquarian does not and will not operate how you expect them to. They operate based on what that home planet of theirs tells them to do and every Aquarian’s home planet is fundamentally different and individualistic. It may get tiresome and may not be easy to understand. But, just let them be and appreciate their uniqueness and maybe you’ll see it differently.