Aquarius 17-18 A Man Unmasked
My experience on this subject is really the basis of 5 years of personal development, so I feel I understand this symbol intimately in my life. It is also on the astrological cross of Taurus 17-18 A Woman Holding A Bag Out Of A Window which makes sense to me as the latter is about what we hold out for the world to see. Whatever was in the bag would change: money, time/energy but the result would be the same for me until I learned that the bag was a sort of distraction or mask and I needed to strip them away.
When we are children we are vulnerable and need to quickly learn to fit into our family for survival. So if there is already a family member that is dominating, then we ourselves can't be dominating as this will lead to clashes and possible violence and we are left on the side of the mountain to die. So as young children we learn what parts of our personalities to develop in order to survive in the family unit, and the larger societal unit. As we become adults, and therefore able to look after ourselves with our knowledge and skills in life, we need to grow and develop all the parts of ourselves, otherwise these parts become repressed, then darker and harder to control. On the other side of this, the personality structures we used to survive also block us from being our true selves, as we become attached to these masks, and this is understandable as our survival so far has depended on these very masks.
So for example, like the Bag Out Of The Window containing money, we might have the Mask of Success. As long as we appear to be successful, we are accepted in society, and as long as we deliver what is expected of us, we don't disturb the status quo. When life forces us to lose a mask, for example by losing our jobs and therefore the Mask of Success, it can be very painful, because we are deeply attached to that mask and feel that we have lost our identity.
Or some of us may just replace that Mask of Success with another mask, the Mask of Optimism or the Mask of Trying Really Hard To Get Back Up Again or whatever it is you are trying to sell to people about yourself when they are catching up on your life.
The masks exist so we don't get judged by other people, because our inner child that is protected by that mask wants to avoid disapproval and get approval and love. Unfortunately that inner child is also irrational and emotional like all children, and the mask can also be a prison. For example my neighbour is scared of her own vulnerability, having learned from 8 years of age to look after herself after her mother died and the family imploded. She told me she has a hard way of showing her love but it stemmed from making sure her alcoholic father didn't get stirred up by the other kids, so she became the stern parent. After 40+ years of using this one tool in the tool chest, she got a tumour on the back of her head and she had to confront her own vulnerability, as her mask of self-reliance and toughness got ripped away due to illness.
She said it used to hurt when people thought she was a b!!tch because she was stern in order to help them survive - in fact she loved them but she wasn't able to show it due to her mask (or another way of putting it, the walls she was safe behind. I often ask people about their walls with the question, "how are you with compliments?" Someone with walls will either not take compliments well, or ignore them - and I use that answer to illustrate how their walls keep out the "bad stuff" that hurts, and also the "good stuff" like love that is freely offered. Compliments actually hurt me because I knew I was hurting myself by not accepting them, and watching them ping off my walls like the arrows of life.)
The thing is, our vulnerability and the truth that comes from the inner child is what is truly beautiful about us. It is the inner light that attracts people to us and is the necessary ingredient in any connected relationship. You can't have a meaningful relationship based on masks and the resulting expected roles. You can't grow in such a constricted environment, and life is not a closed system like a lab! So we learn different masks as we grow up, and we also learn different parts of ourselves and when to use them (situational leadership - when to hold the cards, when to fold 'em, when to walk away, and when to run!) It's no good never learning about your aggressive side if you are so attached to your Mask of Politeness that you never get a second opinion about a lump in your chest.
So we strip masks away to learn more about ourselves, and in order to do that, we need the courage to let go, or, life will just make it happen anyway! I know that in my experience, stripping away my masks due to life has been an awakening and freeing experience, and coincidentally I became re-addicted to the reality show Survivor. It is really fascinating how the experience on an island, with nothing and completely out of their comfort zone, strips people down and how beautiful to watch some people grow. It is also really interesting watching people in their group dynamics starting off with nothing as leverage (Taurus 17-18 A Woman Holding A Bag Out Of A Window) other than their bodies, minds and attitudes. For me the mask was like the bag - "do you like this Funny Mask that makes you laugh? What about this Bag of Achievements? Do you like me? Do ya? Do ya? Do ya?!"
I don't wish to demonise masks or bags of resources either, just know that they have their place and the ability to know when to use them and when to detach from them is a very good way to be resilient in life.
Does any part of the symbol resonate with you?
Share your experiences of this Aquarius energy!
Do any of the astrological bodies (Venus, Jupiter, Chiron etc) fall on this symbol for you? What has it meant in your life?
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