Aquarius is the eleventh sign of the Zodiac. Ptolemy recorded the constellation back in the second century. Its name means “cup bearer” or “water bearer” in Latin. The first mystery to solve is why a “water bearer” is grouped with the air signs of Gemini and Libra? The key is that Aquarius brings and pours out the water. Water symbolizes emotions. The special quality of Aquarius supplies spiritual energy to bring humanity into a more conscious future. It has the qualities of impartiality and detachment as an air sign.
The quality of healing energy reminds me of the scripture chosen by my preaching professor, Rev. Dr. Katie Geneva Cannon at my ordination. King David was far from home and surrounded by enemies. He longed for “water to drink from the well of Bethlehem which is by the gate.” His mighty men broke through the Philistine camp, went to the very well of Bethlehem, the one by the gate, and brought David a cup of the water. However, David did not drink it. Instead he poured it our saying, “Be it far from me, O Lord, that I should do this. Shall I drink the blood of the men who went in jeopardy of their lives?”
It took me some time in my calling to understand the deeper meaning of this passage. David carried the water for his people just as I was to carry in my heart the love of God and justice for all people.
A few days ago, sorting through old mementos, I found notes from a parish I had served. For several years, this church had struggled to become open and affirming to LGBTQI folks. I had sent a letter to the deacons of the church declining their invitation to have my picture in their directory (I was no longer working there). I told them I was not willing to be photographed without my partner in the picture too. One woman sent me a card with Van Gogh’s olives trees on the cover: “You’ve lifted my spirit and I am convinced that the ripples we’ve caused have not yet reached the shore!” Six years later we were the first same-sex couple to be married in their sanctuary.
Aquarians envision the shore…the “not yet” future.
The Visionary Spirit of Nina Simone
Nina Simone was such a visionary. Jazz singer, pianist, and reformer, she personifies the Aquarian vision. Born on February 21, 1933 in North Carolina, her rising sign is Aquarius. In her music and struggle for Civil Rights she brought forth a path of liberation and freedom of expression. Like David she took risks for her people and when she could no longer bear the oppression, she traveled from France to Africa imbibing the freedom that she could not find in her native land.
In her own words she expressed how she translated and sacrificed her life for humanity pouring out her heart and soul like the waters of David:
How do you explain what it feels like to get on the stage and make poetry that you know sinks into the hearts and souls of people who are unable to express it?
I think that the artists who don’t get involved in preaching messages probably are happier-but you see, I have to live with Nina, and that is very difficult.
All the time, there was the weight of my community’s expectations on my shoulders.
Today we call upon her Spirit to make a way, to shine a light into the shadows of evil and ignorance until each of us will do our part on behalf of the beloved community. In the words of my mentor, Dr. Cannon, “to keep on keeping on.”