Aquarius, the Water Bearer, is depicted with a jug of water that he empties out by his feet. The water pours into the River Nile. This mighty river was seen as the cosmic source of life itself. Each year, it would flood the valley thus returning the rejuvenating waters of life, full of sedimental nutrients that will nourish the earth.
In Greek mythology, the sign of the Water Bearer is associated with the beautiful youth Ganymede, a son of Troy. Ganymede was minding his own business when out of the blue a mighty eagle swooped down and carried him off to the Olymp. It is not clear, whether Zeus, who was the instigator of the plot, in fact, took on the shape of an eagle and personally abducted the youth, or whether he ordered one of his subordinates to do the deed for him. Apparently, Zeus not only chased beautiful maidens but handsome lads as well.
He fancied young Ganymede as his cupbearer, which was a high ranking position imbued with utmost trust. It was Ganymede’s duty to pour the nectar for the Gods at their assemblies but this could be a risky job, as he also had to sample it.
Spiritually, Aquarius signifies the part of the human spirit that is closest to our divine source. He tastes the life-giving nectar, and thus his eyes are opened to things that lie far outside the ordinary range of perception and human comprehension.
As a mortal, he also wants to help his fellow wo/men and transfer some of his insights to humankind. Yet, these gifts hailing from another realm can be dangerous. The cup of enlightenment can also bring madness, just as the restorative waters of the Nile could also bring death and destruction to the delta if it flooded the delta too forcefully.
Aquarius represents that ‘in-between’ state. Ganymede acts almost as a conduit between the realm of the Gods and that of ordinary mortals. As such he is a visionary, and a reformer, always seeking ways to improve the human condition.