Growing up as part of a big, loud, extended family, I spent a lot of time alone in my bedroom, reading, writing, or playing my guitar. I savored my privacy and the relative quiet of my little sanctuary.
But what made it possible for me to enjoy my time alone was knowing that just outside my bedroom door, there were laughing, loving people. It was comforting to know that whenever I wanted to, I could join the party.
As an adult, this is what I still love about my family – and about my friends, too. They leave me alone when I need solitude, but when I’m ready for socializing, I’m always welcome. With them, I always feel that there’s a place where I belong – and that makes me happy.
Astrologers say that friendship is ruled by Aquarius, but friends come in a variety of packages. Aquarius’ particular brand of friendship is not the close, intimate, occasionally dramatic bond between “best friends;” those relationships are part of Libra’s purview, along with marriage, business partners, and “frenemies.”
Aquarius-style friendships generally sidestep the high emotional stakes of those relationships. They are the mesh tank tops of relationships – loosely-knit alliances that keep us covered but let us breathe. They are the connections that let us feel like a part of society without losing our independence.
Aquarius is a sociable sign, but a freedom-loving one as well; and in your birth chart it prescribes plenty of breathing room. Astrologers often describe Aquarians as erratic and a little wild; these qualities are a good fit with Uranus, Aquarius’ modern ruling planet. But Aquarius’ traditional ruler is anything-but-crazy Saturn, and when someone with Aquarius strong in their chart suddenly drops out of sight one day, there’s nothing crazy about it. Aquarius needs air and space, and when they feel closed in by too many demands on their time and emotions, they’ll run as far away as they need to.
In the house in your chart where Aquarius lives, you can only be really happy when you’re able to enjoy other people in your own time and on your own terms. Here, you need to find the right balance between the chaos of sociability and the delicious, cool, certainty of solitude.
The Sun is in Leo this time of here, a warm, friendly sign. But here’s a secret about Leo, coming from someone born under this sign: we’re usually not comfortable in groups, unless we’re leading them. Leo is born to be the ruler; we like parties, but feel more comfortable as the host, the entertainment, or the guest of honor. But during each Leo season, the Aquarius Full Moon shines a spotlight on the importance of belonging, of being one of the gang – enjoying happy, casual social connections based on shared interests. Under the glare of this Full Moon’s spotlight we may notice, perhaps, where we’ve neglected the social pacts that keep these impersonal but vital relationships healthy. Keep your distance for too long and the connections and goodwill wither away – not from rancor or bitterness, but from a simple lack of nourishment and sunlight.
Social media often gives us the feeling that we’re nurturing our social connections. Group action and collective participation certainly can and do happen in our online lives, and we have more ways than ever to keep in touch with our friends. But are those interactions as satisfying as the in-person gatherings that seemed more common even a decade ago? Maybe not. As ethnographer Sherry Turkle, author of Alone Together, said, “I think there are ways in which we’re constantly communicating and yet not making enough good connections.”
The extraordinary circumstances of this age of “social distancing” has made it especially challenging to keep up with the little groups that fill our lives with a sense of belonging. It’s made it particularly easy for introverts, who have to push themselves to socialize during the best of times, to just fall into a black hole of radio silence.
How long can you neglect ties like these before they break? It varies from person to person, from group to group, but you know. You know when you begin to feel a lack of balance in your life, a paucity of happy, uncomplicated places where you can simply show up, be yourself, and have the sense that you belong there.
The good news is, these are amazingly resilient and forgiving relationships, and to reestablish them is so easy: All you have to do is show up. At this Full Moon in Aquarius, it may be time to recommit to doing just that. It might mean tearing yourself away from social media and picking up the phone, sending a card, or scheduling (yet another) Zoom happy hour. But that’s a pretty small price to pay for membership in a club that, as Aquarius knows, is vital to your happiness: the big, loud, extended family of the human race.