We all know there are 12 zodiac signs and chances are you also know where your Sun is located. I’m an Aquarius you say? Well, what type of Aquarius are you? If you didn’t know that there are subdivisions within each of the zodiac signs, then welcome to the 36 decans.
Each of the 12 zodiac signs is divided into 3 distinct parts of 10 degrees each. So if your Sun is at 8 Aquarius it’s in the 1st decan of Aquarius but if it’s at 26 Aquarisu it’s in the last. We can consider the decans as 3 distinct acts in a 3-act play, the overarching theme of which is the zodiac sign involved.
For example, Aquarius is oft (wrongly) associated with the New Age movement – the rebellious, revolutionary humanitarian hippie – the utopian visionary who will make everything OK (again). Keywords for Aquarius include unconventional, controversial, dispassionate, and impartial. The inherent theme of the Aquarian drama is about consciously walking away from the known to successfully confront the unknown and then coming back again.
Among the hills, when you sit in the cool shade of the white poplars, share the peace and serenity of distant fields and meadows – then let your heart say in silence, God rests in reason.
And when the storm comes, and the mighty wind shakes the forest and thunder and lightning proclaim the majesty of the sky – then let your heart say in awe, Gods moves in passion.
And since you are a breath in God’s sphere, and a leaf in God’s forest, you should rest in reason and move in passion.
Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet (on Rest and Passion)
But quite how that all unfolds in any given native of Aquarius depends on the decan involved.
1st decan – In the first decan of Aquarius, ruled by both Venus and Saturn, the native is challenged to willingly leave his known world in search of something better, be it a new culture or country or a technical/scientific frontier.
Keeping this in mind, at first glance, the 5 of Swords (The Lord of Defeat), the tarot card associated with this decan, is confusing. It depicts a man holding 3 of the 5 swords, whilst the other 2 lie on the ground seemingly abandoned (in defeat) by the two men walking away.
Should natives with key placements in this decan identify with the two men leaving or the one remaining?
This is difficult to answer and because Venus is involved, how one chooses to address it is an intensely personal thing.
This decan’s challenge does become easier, however, once one is clear about what he/she finds so appealing about that new place he fancies rather than focusing on the reasons that he/she is so desperate to leave.
2nd decan –Whilst in the 1st decan, the mission was to leave home to find one’s treasure elsewhere, in the 2nd decan it is all about making good in that new ‘foreign’ land.
The tarot card associated with this decan is the 6 of Swords, The Lord of Science. It depicts a woman and a child crossing a body of water by boat, the fastest, most direct way to go from shore to shore.
This makes sense when we consider that Mercury, the god of connections, is the sole ruler of this decan. It makes even more sense we consider that Mercury is also the god of commerce. If natives with key planets in this decan are to make good in their new lives, they will first need to establish themselves as economically independent.
But the challenge of the decan goes a bit further: it asks natives to genuinely get comfortable being in this new place, comfortable enough to honestly call it home.
This may not be easy.
Whilst Mercury, ruler of this decan, prefers travelling unimpeded (i.e., messenger of the gods), here in the fixed realm of Aquarius, he’s unable to move about so freely. For natives with key planets in this decan, constraints are a given: how one deals with them remains always a matter of choice.
3rd decan – With both the Moon and Venus as rulers of this decan, the final challenge is yet again different.
Once you’ve left home and comfortably established yourself in the new place, this decan asks that you reconnect with that space/place that you first left. Unfortunately, there remains unfinished business there, loose ends that must either be satisfactorily tied up or ruthlessly cut off.
The tarot card, the 7 of Swords (the Lord of Futility), associated with this decan depicts the conundrum: a man is stealthily carrying off 5 swords but, for some reason, has left the remaining 2 behind. Perhaps not all on the home front can be reconciled after all?
Again, with Venus involved, the question of how best to deal with deciding what to take and what it leave comes down personal values. Interestingly, given all you’ve been through to date, your values might now have changed.
An older image associated with this decan is of a stern man pointing to something in anger: all too-clearly, he sees what’s wrong. Yet at the same time, he knows he cannot fix it.
This leads us from the airy, rational realm of Aquarius to the final zodiacal drama to be played out in the watery, emotional realm of Pisces, the two chained fish.