The Water Signs, of astrology, are what makes us human in a very real sense. It’s the reason that we, above all creation, can laugh, cry, and feel anything (emotionally). Lacking the water element, humanity could survive and thrive. Yet, we’d tend to be somewhat mechanical in our responses to one another almost like members of an active ant or bee colony – organized, industrious, teeming with energy, but rather flat and soulless in our interactions.
Should a member of our human hive perish, we’d feel nothing but the urge to efficiently dispose of the corpse and continue on with our endless tasks at hand. No tears would be shed since we’d feel no sense of real loss regarding our dead co-worker (perhaps the air in us would be curious about what caused this death and if it could have been prevented, but that’s about it).
Since the element cycle does conclude with a water sign (Pisces), it adds one very critical facet to our human experience – the development of our feeling-nature and our ability to sensitively tune in to others. Water also helps us reflect on the subtleties of our inner life. Welcome to the world of emotions from the raw to the sublime. This most receptive of elements symbolizes powerful, invisible currents that at times stir internal turmoil for us, but that also move us to act with selfless compassion for others.
Thats because water enables us to feel deeply connected to all living things at a soul level, and this helps dissolve our usual sense of being separate entities. If water sounds a bit mystical, it is. This is the only element that has a true feeling for inner states of Oneness and Unity. Water allows us to become a part of all that is, as we merge our consciousness with our environment. Merging seamlessly with our surroundings, however, does have its problems.
On one hand, this fluid ability gives water a chameleon-like quality. Water excels in the art of camouflage it loses its distinct form while blending in with its habitat, something that has proven invaluable to the survival of the fittest from an evolutionary perspective. Water is absorbed by what it contacts and thus it loses its sense of self somewhat. The boundaries become blurred. On the other hand, this characteristic of water is exactly what makes it so empathetic, so able to get under other peoples skin and experience their internal realities.
For example, fire may state, I am me and nobody else. Earth may claim, This is mine and that is yours. Air may realize, I’ve got my own ideas, but what about you? Each of these elements clearly retains an awareness of its own identity, a basic sense of self remains intact. Yet only water says, I’m feeling exactly what youre going through, as if it’s happening to me. That’s quite a radical shift of awareness. In a sense, water invades its surrounding space without asking for permission to penetrate. Its instinct is to ignore all boundaries and instead to quietly seep into otherwise inaccessible places that are hidden from view.
Yet feeling little need for protective barriers in relationships can prove problematic, especially when we become too absorbed by somebody who is filled with turbulent energy or is loaded with negativity. Water signs can get sucked in to this kind of dark scenario, but sometimes they become the troubled ones who pull others deeply into their vortex. A lack of boundaries can also imply poor self-preservation instincts. Water signs can be reluctant to fend off the dominating influences of others. They are not fighters by nature (except for Scorpio, who nonetheless can still feel conflicted when engaging in emotional battles).
Water suffers from its passive tendency to take in other peoples energies indiscriminately. It needs to learn to devise a better filtering system by borrowing a few natural defenses that the other elements use (such as fire’s self-interest, earth’s territorial streak, and air’s emotional detachment).
One very important condition that water enables us to feel is love, not gushy romantic love which is more a social invention, but love as a measure of caring and intimacy that reveals a deeper concern for the welfare of others. Water offers love as a uniting force to help dissolve all barriers that keep people at odds with or isolated from one another.
With such love emerges many soul refining traits, such as gentleness, kindliness, unselfishness, charity, and patience (especially the patience required to cope with the difficult temperaments of others). Water has the inner strength needed to endure external conflict, although such conflict can be very jarring initially to this highly impressionable element.
Water signs may appear weak and vulnerable during times of stress, yet their deep, uncanny understanding of human nature suggests they have the power to withstand much turmoil before collapsing or falling apart. However, such psychological endurance can seem self-punishing at times and even irrational. Imagination is the realm belonging to the water signs. Water has a direct pipeline to our unconscious, from which a vast and colorful assortment of wondrous images can emerge whenever we are in a proper state of receptivity (i.e., when were sleeping and dreaming).
Such energies aren’t always pleasant, since the underground caverns of our psyche also harbor images that are terrifying or filled with darker desires that we usually manage to keep from consciously surfacing. Our angels and demons within reside in our unconscious, and the water element therefore symbolizes a wide range of emotional states – from bliss to hysteria.
Having access to our mysterious but alluring inner dimension is a must for strong water types. The rewards to be had in the external world are not enough to provide true contentment. In fact, an almost divine discontent can plague water signs when life pressures them to neglect this private reality of the soul. Emotional disturbances can crop up as well.
Historically, just as men have been programmed to channel their fire energies into being manly, women have been identified almost exclusively in the minds of men as possessing the qualities of water, in large part because of this elements association with maternal urges and mood swings. Women, as mothers, were viewed as tender caregivers by nature, rather than by social dictate. They also have long been saddled with the task of maintaining domestic harmony and order, suggesting (to the men in their lives) that they inherently have a stronger need to be sheltered (due to their assumed nesting instincts) and protected, as the so-called weaker sex.
While fire-identified men were to go out to eagerly fight life’s battles and even literally bring home the bacon, their women were expected to keep the home fires burning and to have food ready on the table for when these strong, brave warriors returned from their vigorous outdoor adventures. This fixed pattern of gender role-playing has gone on for thousands of years, and it has deprived both sexes of their greater human potential.
Thankfully, much of that is changing in today’s transitional world regarding the sexes. The concept of men becoming Mr. Moms who work at home while doing housekeeping and raising kids, while their ambitious wives fearlessly climb the corporate ladder is now a reality. Of course, its still not something every man would consider doing (the routines of housekeeping alone are perceived as undesirably feminizing to many men).
Yet, modern men with a water emphasis in their charts feel a natural affinity for many realms traditionally deemed to comprise a womans world. They find that they are naturally domestic by temperament, and probably love the quiet joys of cooking and gardening. They also may believe that crying is a natural, healthy, human response and not just what sissies do when they can’t cope with what life tosses their way. Men who deny or reject their touchy-feely parts are also choking off a supply of vital, psychological fluid in ways that may later render them rigid and calcified as they age, with deadly health consequences to pay.
Water keeps our soul moisturized and able to go with the flow instead of resisting the unfoldment of our real feelings with all our might. Water signs are adept at understanding peoples needs, which gives them an advantage when it comes to perceiving another’s hidden motivation. They are drawn to what is secretly going on below the surface of people’s observable behavior. Thus, expect water to bless us with an instinctive urge to investigate the deeper mysteries of being human. Water’s not afraid to go to the heart of such complexity, eventhough potential turbulence can be found as we descend into the underground of our unconscious.
There’s a logic behind the sequential order of the elements. Fire is followed by earth and earth by air, for good reason. Water not only rounds out our cycle of human experience, it also succeeds the air phase in order to ensure that our understanding of life doesn’t neglect the emotional underpinnings of subjective, psychological reality.
Having surface knowledge about ourselves and others is not enough to help us evolve. We must dig deeper in order to contact our soul. This is what water encourages, a journey within, where we get to uncover repressed or underdeveloped potentials whose released power can renew our total being. Water signs provide a soothingly, restorative element, refreshing our spirit, especially if our approach to life has become too dry, sterile, or cynical.
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