Valentine's Day is Thursday, February 14. The holiday that celebrates romantic love seems to have nothing to do with the saint for which it was named. Its association with amour began in the 14th century, about 1000 years after the death of St. Valentine. Although it's a great way to sell chocolate and flowers and, hopefully, to open hearts, the astrological association with the holiday is almost as strange as its connection with a martyred priest.
The Sun is always in Aquarius on February 14. This is the sign of the Water-bearer but it's not a sentimental Water sign. Aquarius is an Air sign characterized more by the head than the heart. Aquarius is about friendship, community and collective ideals rather than couples. It tends to be chilly, using the intellect to step back from the messy world of feelings to achieve understanding with the mind. Aquarian love is universal rather than personal and usually needs some emotional breathing space and independence to counter the confinement of intimacy.
Valentine's Day, like Aquarius, is more about an idea than about reality. Its origins in the 14th Century reflect the romanticism of the Middle Ages ... which was a model for spiritual rather than erotic love. (Robert Johnson's book "We" is a good source of information on this subject.) Romantic yearning represented a desire for a divine connection, not personal pleasure. But if personal pleasure is something you're interested in, try our Intimacy Profile to see how you attract others. The partner was a symbol for God and the desire to experience sacred union. This model comes closer to Aquarius because it's an ideal instead of a physical reality.
A higher plane of love
But the myth of romance has permeated culture for so many centuries that we've lost sight of its higher meaning. The unspoken expectation of becoming complete within a relationship is bound to produce disappointment. While personal love can be a delicious affirmation of our desirability, and intimacy serves as a bulwark against isolation, human partnerships usually fall short of our highest hopes. The familial, emotional, physical and financial connections we share within them have their divine moments but cannot confer immortality or answer life's biggest metaphysical questions.
Romantic love comes with strings attached. Desire, jealousy, conflicting values and contrasting tastes are tests for even the most harmonious couples. Chocolate, flowers, champagne, a good dinner and great sex go a long way to erasing the illusion of our separateness but cannot eliminate it entirely. And depending on one person as the source of love is not an Aquarian formula for fulfillment ... being part of a community is.
The sign of selfless love
One connection Aquarius has with romantic love is its opposition to Leo. The Lion is the sign of the heart and represents the personal experience of amour. It's the rising of excitement we feel in the chest when someone arouses our feelings. It is the expression of affection that flatters others and warms ourselves. Yet if Leo is the heart, Aquarius is the circulatory system. The Water Bearer distributes, which is an important message about another kind of love. It is the love of humanity, called "agape" by the Greeks.
Agape aligns with Aquarius' community consciousness and represents a less personal but equally noble expression of the human heart. Giving to others without expecting anything return is generosity of the highest order. It is a reminder that a truly Aquarian Valentine's Day gift would be a contribution to a charity or acting as a volunteer for an organization. We can still give our chocolates and flowers for personal romance but contributing to people in other ways will make this day of love even more complete.