Aquarius: Tepidarium of the Soul

imagesAquarius is a time of significant changes and contrasts, encompassing strident peaks of rebelliousness, revolution and inventiveness, as well as sheer simplicity, nudity, stillness and silence.

The Aquarian cycle, exemplified by the apparent disparity of Carnival and Lent, Uranus and Saturn (Aquarius’ ruling planets), is superlative for releasing whatever keeps us unconscious and separated, promoting alert awareness and questioning anything we take for granted regarding what we see or do.

For example, if we look at the objects or people in our room, and whatever or whoever seems known and familiar, do we truly see them, or are we just projecting past experiences and ideas on them? What do we know about them apart from what we learned in the past? Are they, then, truly familiar? Do we really see and know them? Acknowledging that this is not the case, far from being a put down, is the first giant stride on the way of healing and forgiveness. Now we can choose to lay aside our judgments, be still with our mind, genuinely opening our eyes and ears, learning to listen to and see. And when we are willing to do so, this is the gateway to miracles.

Our human perception is based on a past rooted in separation, a sense of isolation, deprivation and lack, which is projected upon everything and everyone. This keeps us in a state of ongoing captivity, which rules as the only possible reality, until we decide to question it and work relentlessly, yet gladly, in order to regain our original freedom. The first step in this process is purification, release, letting go of all tarnished conjectures that clutter our mind, yet staying in the emptiness that follows at least for a while without rushing to replace what we relinquished with other ideas and fill our consciousness again with further muddle. “Miracles are everyone’s right, but purification is necessary first.” (ACIM, T1.1:7)

The Aquarian challenge is to dwell in the stillness that comes after true forgiveness, the silent nakedness of the void, the glittery transparency of the soul, superbly depicted by the Star in the tarot cards. It is about stripping off, undressing and standing entirely nude, in the Tepidarium of the soul, accepting to deeply cleanse all parts of our being. In the Roman thermae the Tepidarium was a large core central hall around which all other halls and corridors were arranged. It was the area where bathers would first assemble and strip before accessing the various baths.

Since ancient times February (from the Latin februa, “tools of purification”) was a period of cleansing and purification, yet this was not only related with spring-cleaning or washing up. Purification was most of all acted out through the provisional suspension of the social order with wild and mystic festivals such Bacchanalia and Lupercalia, which when then partially recycled into the current Carnival.

During those celebrations the reality was upside down and people could let go of their ordinary roles, taking on alternative identities and even… body-swapping. Social hierarchies and ties were broken, and all kinds of transgressions were allowed. It was a celebration of the mysteries of the multidimensional realms, with non-ordinary beings and spirits coming to earth honoured hrough the masks and costumes used by human folks. Barriers between alternative and ordinary realities were smashed and the primeval freedom could triumph again at least for some days.

Aquarius is the profound immobility that follows the fury of radical changes and upheaval, including major devastation and loss. Yet, although fright and destruction appear to reign supreme, an innocent silence emerges, furtively sliding the gateway of liberation and redemption. And, in this silence, all nightmares and terror vanish, giving way to the sole unreserved presence of the Beloved.

Franco Santoro

Image: Chassériau, The Tepidarium