Astro Roast is a column in which astrologer Danny Larkin drags each sign, but affectionately!!
Aquarians are known for being deep thinkers who revel in weirdness. They have a strange worldview and a strong desire for independence, which can make for some trailblazing rebels who stand out in a crowd. Unfortunately, an Aquarius’s unique perspective can often come off as detached or non-human, which is why they’ve earned the nickname of "the alien of the zodiac."
This is because most Aquarians have a Spock complex. This Star Trek character was from the planet Vulcan—home to an alien species known for being hyper-rational, logical beings that suppress all their emotions—where everyone acts like an Aquarius.
Individuals born in the sign of Aquarius (between January 20 and February 19) can be completely unaware of how condescending they come across, thinking that they’re being helpful by serving friends and loved ones cold, hard logic when what they really want is some emotional support.
If you complain to an Aquarius over dinner about having problems with your boss, they’ll earnestly launch into a lecture explaining all the ways you could position yourself for better opportunities or become a more effective worker—all before you even get into the details or put your order in! Before you can get a word in edgewise, you’ve received an earful of unsolicited advice: best practices, self-development, managing up, leaning in, streamlining, and future-proofing—Aquarians can’t stop dropping buzzwords!
Alas, all of this otherwise useful knowledge means nothing if your boss just has some emotional problems and takes it out on you. When the voice of reason is already drowned out in situations like this, what you actually need is advice about how to not lose your shit, maintain cordial business relationships, and secure a good reference on your way out the door. But an Aquarius would miss the point and instead launch into a lesson about preparing the perfect cover letter and résumé.
Even if you try to explain that you’re good on the technical stuff and need help with bearing the dark feeling that comes with maintaining a facade of strength under so much pressure, an Aquarius doesn’t get it. It’s hard for them to grasp the predicament that no matter how capable you are or hard you work, we’re all put in situations where we’re at the mercy of other people. Getting ahead isn’t always about being the smartest person in the room or being a problem-solver; sometimes, it’s about outfoxing others or learning what makes others tick and playing to their dark sides. Aquarians hate this bitter truth with a burning passion.
These kinds of social games disgust an Aquarius—few signs are as unabashedly idealistic. These water-bearers have near-impossible ideals that they stubbornly cling to even when it goes against their best interests. Some Aquarians are diet or fitness-obsessed to the point that they think these things can cure all of life’s ills. Others get very into specific self-help philosophies or practices that they adopt holier-than-thou attitudes. Mostly, Aquarians think that everyone else just needs to get on board with their version of truth. But this kind of one-size-fits-all prescriptivism doesn’t work for most people—and doesn’t even always work for Aquarians! Internally, Aquarians end up hurting themselves with their stringent ideals, beating themselves up for missing the mark or not meeting their lofty and sometimes impossible aspirations.
Likewise, in love, Aquarians struggle with the face that no human being is perfect. On first dates, an Aquarian is more likely to focus on someone’s red flags than great qualities. If the person is successful, Aquarius will judge them for selling their soul to the devil. If the person hasn’t made great progress on achieving their dreams, Aquarius will write them off as a slacker. Their conversations on dates can easily slip into proselytizing if they aren’t careful. It’s very difficult for an Aquarius when their lovers, family, friends, and colleagues don’t share their same devotion to their beloved ideals, and they can quickly become argumentative in response.
At work, Aquarians can get on everyone’s nerves by talking too much during meetings about improving various processes. They’re prone to poking the bear by giving feedback to someone who’s already stubborn and stuck in their not-that-bad ways of doing things. In this way, Aquarians are also prone to gaffes because, consequences be damned, they will say emotionally insensitive of disarming things that align with whatever forward-thinking philosophy they’re trying to shove down everyone’s throat.
The secret to getting along with an Aquarius in any setting is to sacrifice some of your time to their pet interests. Spend a couple minutes telling them nice things, like, "Wow, you’re so wise, and you're really giving me some great food for thought." Everyone has their favorite topics—we all have that one friend that goes on and on about their relationship—and an Aquarius always wants to get to the heart of that subject since they suck at small talk. Once an Aquarius feels heard, it’s easier for them to move on and even consider listening to others. (Shocking, I know!)
Aquarius is ruled by the planet Saturn and the element of air. Saturn, the famous beautifully-ringed gas giant, loves rules, laws, and limits; while air symbolizes intellect and mental acuity. That’s why Aquarians are convinced that logic is always the answer, and why they misguidedly try to force carefully crafted solutions onto the mess of the human condition. They have a reforming zeal and future-focused energy about them.
Yoko Ono is a fascinating case study for an Aquarius. Forget the misogynistic claim that she broke up the Beatles—Yoko is a prolific conceptual artist who channels her Aquarian yearning into enlightening and clever art pieces. In 1966, John Lennon was completely taken with a ladder in the middle of a London art gallery. Viewers were meant to climb to the top of the ladder, where a magnifying glass hung above. Look through the magnifying glass, and you could make out the word “yes” in small print on the ceiling. This piece is the perfect metaphor for how to be a fully-realized Aquarius: Don’t shout at people from the rooftops. Be subtle and gently arouse their curiosity to learn.
Aquarius season coincides with the middle of winter, which you might perceive as the coldest, darkest time of year—but it’s also a time when gardeners plant bulbs and seeds for the coming season. Planting seeds for the future is the crux of Aquarian energy—no other sign is as forward-thinking or invested in building a better tomorrow. But like gardening, the key to actualizing this vision is to do it gently and gracefully, otherwise the seeds you’ve worked so hard to plant will die before sprouting.