zodiac seasons

Your Guide to Aquarius Season

Aquarian women, clockwise from left to right: Laura Dern, Yoko Ono, Gertrude Stein, Angel Olsen, Toni Morrison. Photo-Illustration: by Preeti Kinha; Photos Getty

Maybe, by the end of January, all this past season’s hardworking Capricorn energy has started getting you down. Or maybe, after all the hope and promise linked to the start of a new year, the low gray skies of winter have become too oppressive to bear. Or maybe all the cruel and violent realities of the world have been weighing on you more heavily than usual. In any case, there’s some good news: Aquarius season has arrived, and it’s here to bring fresh air back into your lungs, imagination back into your days, and some total joyful weirdness back into the world.

The sun usually moves from Capricorn into Aquarius around January 20th, and stays there until around February 18th. Every sign builds on and responds to the sign that came before it, and Aquarius responds to Capricorn’s energy of practicality and ambition by giving us permission to think of the future in a different way. Rather than encouraging us to focus on hard work, achievements, and material successes, Aquarius encourages us to let ourselves be imaginative, rebellious, and utopian. Aquarius encourages us to think of futures that defy all the rules.

Part of this energy comes from Aquarius’s air sign energy: intellect, curiosity, and imagination, combined with an open-minded friendliness and sociability. It’s often a deeply charming energy. Think about the vibe practically any time Laura Dern shows up onscreen in anything (Admiral Holdo with purple hair and a long gown, even Twin Peaks’s dark Diane, with her short wig and multi-colored manicure): a delightful vibe, a genius vibe.

But for all this charismatic likeability, Aquarius energy is also weird. Its planetary ruler is Uranus, the planet of change and revolution. On the more practical side, this means that Aquarius is the sign of progress and technological innovation; on the weirder side, it’s the sign of hippies (forever linked, for better or worse, with that song from Hair) and rebels and geniuses who don’t care about creating “useful” products.

See, for example, the wild and challenging modernism of Gertrude Stein (from Tender Buttons, 1914: “The care with which there is incredible justice and likeness, all this makes a magnificent asparagus, and also a fountain.”) See also Yoko Ono’s video art of the sky (“Sky TV”) and naked butts (“Bottoms”). See Toni Morrison, our greatest American novelist (fight me!), asserting her right, in every interview I’ve ever read with her, to create without concern for what other people want her to do.

In Aquarius season you, too, might grow tired with the conventional ways of doing things. You, too, might feel an urge to press beyond the edges of what’s easy or normal or routine. Aquarius season is the time to stop feeling restricted by the opinions and judgments of your neighbors or coworkers or friends on Instagram. You don’t have to care! You’ve got more interesting things to think about.

A certain amount of humdrum, everyday labor is unavoidable in any life, but in Aquarius season, these kinds of tasks — doing the dishes or organizing your closet or filling out spreadsheets at work — might feel nearly unbearable. This season, as much as possible, it’s better to spend your time reading and thinking, or watching weird sci-fi movies, or planning, quite literally, the revolution.

Similarly, in your social life, small-talk and pleasantries and gossip might start making you restless and bored. This can sometimes come across as aloofness or detachment, so it might be a good month to spend some time on your own. Or, it might just be an opportunity to take a break from spending your evenings going to the same bars or watching the same TV shows as everyone else you know. You can go to the opera, you can go to the city council meeting, you can research UFOs. The world is big, and there are so many ways a person can live.

This kind of willingness to break with convention, and unwillingness to be boxed in by rules and conventions, can sometimes lead to a disastrous brand of libertarianism (Sarah Palin), but it’s just as likely to blossom into a radical, generous concern for humanity more broadly, and our collective future together (Yoko Ono’s anti-war activism, Angela Davis’s staunch solidarity with Palestine).

You might be feel invigorated and alive among all this rebellious, revolutionary energy. It’s a chance to expand your imagination from the inside out, a chance not to work so hard to be normal, a chance to fight for a future that seems, from where we stand right now, to be impossible. Or, depending on the rest of your chart, it might feel uncomfortable, unnatural, unmooring. Sometimes, after all, the rules are there for a reason. Sometimes, though, they’re not, and Aquarius season is as good a time as any to try breaking some.

Your Guide to Aquarius Season