by Estelle Daniels
Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In by Jarvis Rado and Gerome Ragni, © 1966
from the musical Hair.
When the Moon is in the Seventh House,
And Jupiter aligns with Mars,
Then peace will guide the planets,
And Love will steer the stars.
This is the dawning of the Age of Aquarius,
Age of Aquarius, Aquarius, Aquarius.
Harmony and understanding,
Sympathy and trust abounding.
No more falsehoods or derisions,
Golden living dreams of vision,
Mystic crystal revelations,
And the mind's true liberation.
Let the sun shine, Let the sun shine in,
The sun shine in. (repeat)
When exactly does the age of Aquarius begin anyhow? Will it be a date indicated on your calendar, like Memorial Day, Easter Sunday 2000, or your kid brother's birthday? Sadly, this isn't the way these things work. You do not wake up one morning and suddenly it's the Age of Aquarius and everything has changed for the better.
Sorry, it won't happen that way.
The Age of Aquarius is an astrological thing. All the astrologers agree on that. They even agree about what causes it. They cannot agree about when it begins. In fact, that's a dandy way to start a fistfight among astrologers. Go to an astrological convention, and wait until the cocktail hour is well under way, and then loudly proclaim, "The Age of Aquarius began February 3rd 1962 and that's that". Then quietly melt into the crowd and watch the fireworks begin. The traditional (classical) astrologers will probably say the Age of Aquarius won't begin until 2300 (or so) when the Vernal equinox reaches the last star in the constellation Aquarius. Other astrologers will say the Age of Aquarius will begin anywhere from 1910 to 2410 depending on when the vernal equinox point hits the place one second more than thirty degrees behind Aries. Eventually shouting will begin and maybe violence will even break out.
The point of all of this is, if the astrologers can't agree among themselves (and no, it isn't the sort of thing which can be put to a vote), how can the average person expect to know?
The beginning of the Age of Aquarius is more a transition, than an actual start date. So when did the transition begin? Some point to the Industrial revolution in the 1790's. Some say it is the beginning of the electrical Age in the 1890's. The first airplane flight in 1906 at Kitty Hawk is another possible starting point. Some point to the zipper being invented in 1913. Some say it starts with the automobile assembly line in 1914 (the beginning of the Automobile Age). Some say W.W.I is the starting point. Some say it began when the first sustained nuclear reaction was started December 2, 1942 in Chicago. Some say it is when the first atomic bomb, Trinity was exploded on July 16, 1945 in Alamogordo.
Some say it is when many people got TV's in 1947-48. Some say it isn't until Uncle Miltie (Milton Berle) came to rule Tuesdays (Autumn 1948). Many point to the beginning of the fast food age with the first carry-out McDonald's in 1948, or the invention of Velcro in 1948. (1948 was an important year!) (Some say the fast food age didn't actually begin until McDonald's started selling franchises in 1952.) Some say it is the beginning of the space age, in 1958 with Sputnik. Some say it is when Star Trek premiered September 8, 1966. Some say it was when the song "Aquarius" became a hit in 1967. Some say it was when Man landed on the Moon July 20, 1969, and became an interplanetary species. (Some say it doesn't count until man walked on the Moon, July 21, 1969.) Some argue for the release of the first Star Wars movie on May 19, 1977. Some say it wasn't until the release of the first Star Trek movie December 6, 1979, when the franchise was assured. (This is the Star Wars vs. Star Trek argument). And what about New Coke being launched on April 23, 1985? (And who actually remembers New Coke anymore?)
Some point to the Harmonic Convergence on August 16, 1987. Some argue for the premiere of Star Trek, the Next Generation in October 1987 (this is the Trek Classic vs. New Trek argument). All agree the Reagan-Bush Sr. years were a grave setback. Then one cannot ignore the premiere of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine in January 1993. Or the premiere of Star Trek-Voyager on January 16, 1995. Everyone's still waiting for the next Star Wars movie. Some point to the Millennium, January 1, 2000. Some argue the Millennium won't be until January 1, 2001. (Arthur C. Clark certainly thought so.) Then there is the premiere of Star Trek, Enterprise, on September 26, 2001. And what about the end of the Mayan Calendar in 2012, when the Earth is synchronized with the rest of the Galaxy? That's one event even Nostradamus seems to have overlooked (or did he?).
Some say it will be when mankind finally achieves a stable world government and global peace. Some argue that it will be when the Star Wars and Star Trek Empires finally merge. Maybe it will be when Man finally walks on Mars. Maybe it will be when man finally establishes a permanent colony on another planet. Some argue it will only come about when a majority of the population can successfully program their VCR's. And some say it won't happen until man achieves interstellar space travel, or the aliens land on Earth, whichever comes (or came) first.
Again, there is little consensus. However, a person might detect a theme in all of these accomplishments. This theme is compatible with the nature of the sign of Aquarius, which is humanitarian, democratic, scientific and technological, future looking, optimistic, concerned with the betterment of all mankind, and also the celebration of each individual to the utmost of their abilities, though in a politically correct manner, of course. Aquarius strives for the eradication of social ills like poverty, ignorance, bigotry, illiteracy, war, disease, monarchies, Swiss Bank accounts, The Gnomes of Zurich and other secret Cabals running the world.
So when will all that happen anyway? Isn't it happening now? Why isn't it happening more quickly? And what about the Harmonic Convergence?
The New Age, whatever that may be (and that is a whole 'nother fistfight in itself) is certainly an Age of Aquarius thing. So was the Harmonic Convergence. And Star Trek and Star Wars. And video games and home VCR's and CD's and the walkman, PC's, PDA's and the Internet.
The Age of Aquarius does not suddenly begin, it sort of oozes in and takes over gradually until most of the old Age of Pisces stuff is history. Most people agree the oozing has already begun. When it began is still a matter for argument. And just what events signal the Age of Aquarius are also subject to disagreement. Is fast food an innovation or a setback in mankind's evolution? Depends if you are a McDonald's stockholder, I suppose. Are you a Star Wars fan or a Star Trek fan? And do you like Trek Classic or New Trek? And what about New Coke?
By now you might be wondering just what the fuss is all about anyhow. What is an "Age"?
Way back in time, about 5000 BCE or so — give or take a century or two, astrology was invented. It did not spring fully formed with transits, computer charts, midpoints and rectifications, but started with the codification of the phases of the Moon and naming of the planets in the sky and records of their movements. There were seven planets in all (Sun, Moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn). Because civilization was beginning (or re-beginning if you buy into the Atlantis legends), it was decided to have periods of time to measure how life the universe and everything ran. The first unit of time was the month, from one new Moon to the next. The month had existed for a long time before this, but it was codified and measured. Then that unit was divided into fourths, roughly, and seven days became a week, and each day was named for one of those planets in the sky. This was the new innovation, the week. The seven day week still exists today.
Lest you think, so what, the idea that the light which was the morning star and the evening star were the same planet Venus, was a sophisticated one. Some societies took longer to figure that one out. And to determine that other faint light which never strayed very far from the Sun was a similar entity, Mercury, and that it even crossed the face of the Sun occasionally (which is an observable astronomical phenomenon) is also pretty sophisticated.
These people who thought all this up (or were taught this by the few scientist-survivors of Atlantis) had several things going for them.
1) They could see the sky and stars much better than we can. Modern civilization lights the night and most of the stars are washed out.
2) They lived in the "fertile crescent" in Mesopotamia between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, in what is nowadays modern Iraq and Iran. This area has a semi-arid climate (and did then) so there were relatively few cloudy nights and seeing conditions were very good. They had nearly optimum seeing conditions, which made it easier to track the stars and planets.
3) They had time on their hands, which came from being a priestly class which lived off offerings from the people, which came from having an agricultural society which produced enough surplus to allow for a class which could devote time to the study of such things and not have to raise their own crops.
4) They were regarded as interpreting the messages of the Gods, so their work was given a high priority and funded well by the rulers. (ask any modern research scientist how vital this one is.)
5) With a stable civilization, storing of records became possible and there accumulated a body of knowledge about these stars and planets and their movements through the years and centuries.
Eventually the longer cycles became apparent. And once the longer cycles had been deduced and codified, then the art of prediction became possible. (This is the basis for astrological prediction — if this transit in the past caused this result, then it probably will have the same result in the future. That's all. Really. Now lest you all think that's all there is to being an astrologer, think about how you have to blend the transits of ten planets and take into account the signs those planets are in, and the relationship those planets are making to each other, and you see astrology isn't all that simple after all. This is why computers can only go so far in interpretation. You can program in all the individual definitions for the placements and aspects and transits, but only a human mind is, at present, sophisticated enough to blend it all together into a coherent whole.)
Another thing which was figured out fairly quickly (relatively speaking) is that the stars themselves also move. Not as individuals (Even though that does happen it is too slow and subtle even for those ancient astrologers to notice.), but the sky itself moves slowly backwards. What we call the Vernal equinox, the point where the sun's path (ecliptic) crosses from south to north on the celestial equator, or where the Sun is on the first day of Spring changes over the decades and centuries. That point moves backwards along the zodiac at a rate of about one astrological sign in 2160 years, or so. It takes about seventy two years to move one degree. (a sign has 30 degrees in it —12 signs times 30 degrees each equals 360 degrees, a full circle.) The duration of the full cycle, about 25,900 years, was figured accurately around 300 BCE, but many good guesses, based on measurements of increasingly sophisticated accuracy were made from about 2000 BCE onward. This long cycle is called the Great Year, and is divided into twelve World Ages, each named for a sign of the zodiac. We are now in the Age of Pisces, and are moving into the Age of Aquarius.
The origin of this phenomenon is that the Earth rotates on its' axis each day, this is what makes day and night. That axis is tilted 23 and a half degrees to the plane of its movement around the Sun. This tilt accounts for the seasons and variations in the length of the days and nights as the seasons progress. That axis also rotates slowly. Think of a top as it spins, it also 'wobbles' and the end of the top not on the floor turns in a circle, as the top spins around the axis. The Earth has a similar motion, its axis also turns as the Earth spins from day to day. This wobble is mostly caused by the Moon's gravity pulling on the Earth.
Currently the northern end of the Earth's axis is pointed toward Polaris, the pole star. It was not always pointed there, and it will not always be pointed there. Vega will be the pole star in about 12,000 years, Menkar (Alpha Cephus) will be the Pole Star in about 5000 years and Thuban (the heart of Draco) was the Pole star about 5000 years ago. As Pole Stars go, Polaris is fairly dim and puny. The only thing which makes it remarkable is that it is the Pole Star. The rotation or wobble of the Earth on its' axis is slow. It takes 25,900 years (or thereabouts) for the Earth to rotate around a complete circle. As it does so, the Vernal Equinox point precesses (moves) backwards through the zodiac as the pole star changes.
Carl Sagan, and the people who avidly seek to debunk astrology go on about how astrologers are so stupid they don't even know that when they say the Sun is in Aries it really is in the constellation Pisces. After reading the preceding paragraphs, you have learned that astrologers (at least this one) aren't really as stupid as all that, and we even figured all this out before there even was astronomy (starting in 5000 BCE — if you've been paying attention.) They say we are stupid, but we discovered the world ages, and we know we are at the end of the Age of Pisces and moving (backward) into the Age of Aquarius. Maybe if Carl Sagan really did some proper research, he would have discovered all of this. Or maybe he did, but he would rather ignore it as he gets lots of attention by "debunking" astrology. Either way, he is the one who comes off as stupid. Or is it that he really has an axe to grind because he is secretly jealous that astronomy was invented so people could do astrology. Only in the 1700's after the invention of the telescope was astronomy divorced from astrology, and astronomy has tried really hard to make the world forget where it came from. Astronomers act as if their mother (astrology) is an uncouth hick who picks her teeth with a knife, belches out loud and doesn't use underarm deodorant. So really the astronomers have a collective massive inferiority complex. And it manifests as picking on any and all astrologers, because we came first and without us they would be nowhere. (This snide tirade included at no extra charge.)
By the time all of this was figured out and written up, that vernal equinox point was in the Constellation Taurus; it was the Age of Taurus. At that time agriculture became widespread and civilization settled into towns and cities. Animals were domesticated and used for food, and the role of the hunter-gatherer was overshadowed by the farmer. Before that people had been mostly nomadic, moving from place to place, following the game and the native plants as they matured and were abundant. (All this is discounting the Atlantis theory, which puts yet another twist to all this Age stuff).
After the Age of Taurus came the Age of Aries. This time was characterized by many successive invasions of Europe by nomadic tribes that came in, conquered and settled down to rule. During the Age of Taurus, worship was mainly centered on an Earth Mother Goddess type of fertility worship. There were male deities, but they were either equal to or subordinate to the Great Mother Goddess. Property and inheritance was matrilineal, people inherited from their mothers and the Women supposedly owned the land and the wealth. The men were companions of the women, helped work the land, fathered children and helped defend the women, their land and other property in case of attack. Men also hunted and fought. Some scholars think this was a peaceful time with no wars or large-scale conflict. I won't even go into that fistfight.
With the Age of Aries invading tribes superimposed their Gods onto the old systems, and they had God-based systems. Their male Gods were supreme, and the Goddess was equal or subordinate to the Supreme Sky God. This was a big change, and many cultures had to be 'forcibly' converted to these beliefs. Goddess worship still held on into historical times with the Eleusinian Mysteries and other Goddess-centered rites and traditions. The Old Testament of the Bible records the change from the worship of the Golden Calf (Taurus — the bull) and the Goddess Ashteroth to the God-centered worship of Jehovah and the sacrifice of the Ram (Aries). Inheritance changed to that of the male line, and women were disenfranchised, they became merely wives of the men who owned the land, and mothers of their sons who would inherit that land and daughters who would be married off to the sons of other landowners. The men still did the hunting and fighting however.
The civilizations of Ancient Greece and Rome as well as the Persians, Alexander the Great and other military empires were manifestations of the Age of Aries. It was an active, bloody time with tribes and peoples busy fighting and conquering one another.
Then came the Age of Pisces. All agree that Jesus is a main figure in the Age of Pisces, and Christianity is a major phenomenon of the Age of Pisces — as are Mohammed and Islam.
The astrologers of ancient Rome (and the rest of the ancient world) were acutely aware of the Age change that happened around the birth of Christ. Even then, they could not all agree about when the new age began and the old age ended. And because the shift was from Aries (the first sign of the zodiac) to Pisces (the last sign of the zodiac) they all did agree (!) it was the beginning of a whole new 25,900 year cycle. This change from Aries to Pisces was even more momentous and special than the previous world age changes.
In the New Testament of the Bible, you read about Christ being the herald of the new age, and the imminent end of the world, and how the old world will be destroyed and a new world will emerge. Most of these predictions are based upon the astrological observations and their interpretation prevalent at the time the New Testament was written down (from about 40-250 CE) The population in general might not have known about astrology, but a general air of great world change was in the mass consciousness.
Some people believed that the world would literally end, that is all life would be destroyed and God would start over with a clean new Earth. Some felt the world would end in fire, because Aries is a fire sign.
All this is a carryover of Ancient Greek cosmology. They believed the world was created, it started as a golden age, degenerated into a silver age, then into a bronze age and lastly into an iron age. Then the degenerated and polluted earth (and cosmos) was destroyed wholesale, by water and fire alternatively, a new creation sprang up to replace the old, and the cycle began again. The worldwide flood (Deucalion's flood to the Greeks, Noah's flood to the Hebrews), was the end/beginning of the last world/cosmos. So the next change would be by fire. People instinctively knew change was happening at an increasing rate (which is characteristic of Age changes), and every little sign and portent was treated as absolute confirmation of that change. Christianity was not the only fad or cult active during that time, it is just the one that has survived to this day. And Christianity itself has undergone many changes over the centuries since its humble beginnings with a carpenter on a cross. The fact that it has survived shows it has great messages and truths that are vital for mankind to progress and grow. Whether Christianity will survive in its present form well into the Age of Aquarius is still a mystery.
Exactly when the Age of Pisces started is in hot dispute. Speculations range from about 200 BCE (the rise of Rome) to as late as 480 CE (the fall of Rome). Common start dates are from about 100 BCE to about 3 BCE. (The height of power of the Roman Senate in Republican Rome about 100 BCE; the start of Imperial Rome with Julius Caesar's assumption of sole rulership in 49 BCE; Augustus Caesar's being crowned Emperor in 27 BCE; or the Birth of Christ in 3 or 4 BCE) But if each age is 2160 years long, then precisely marking the start of the Age of Pisces, will tell us just when the Age of Aquarius begins. If it started in 200 BCE, then the Age of Aquarius started in 1960. If it didn't start until the Birth of Jesus, then the Age of Aquarius will have to wait until 2157 (or 2156, depending). And if you date it from the fall of Rome, we have to wait until 2640, that's even after Star Trek (which takes place in the 24th century).
Now you see why modern astrologers prefer the "oozing into the next Age" theory. You avoid the hard and fast dates. You can talk about the Age of Aquarius and still be in the Age of Pisces. Like having your cake and eating it too, and thereby avoiding the fistfight.
Each Age vibrates to the influences of the sign of the age and the sign opposite. So the Age of Pisces is like Pisces and Virgo. The Age of Aquarius (as celebrated in the song) will be like Aquarius and Leo. The times when the influences are changing are 'interesting times' (like that Chinese blessing/curse "may you live in interesting times"). There are supposedly a lot of Earth changes, climate and topological, the pace of life is accelerated and important things happen. People are also more crazy, crackpots abound, new religions, fads and cults arise and life is just plain more chaotic. Whether you believe we are living in that sort of time or not probably depends upon your age, your socio-economic status and how fervently you believe whatever you believe in. And whether it tastes great, or is less filling.
This whole discussion of the "Great Year" as the complete cycle of the Ages is called is part of Esoteric astrology. It is like the Major Arcana or Kabbalah of astrology, mystical, deep, more intuited than concretely understood. It resides in the realms of myth, fable, uncertainty, and belief. You can do lots of astrology without ever dealing with the esoteric realms. But this stuff is fun, after all people write songs about it. (Yes, people have written songs about other branches of Astrology. "Turn, Turn, Turn" (subtitled the Song of the Electional Astrologer) is one, but that's a whole 'nother article.) So in the interest of the romance and fable of astrology, here is a brief listing of some of the Astrological Ages, and what was happening in the world during each Age. Little of this is concretely provable, written history only goes back about 5000 years (so far, until that room under the Great Pyramid is explored — if you believe in that). But it does tie in with many of the world myths of many cultures, and Atlantis is a persistent legend in many cultures.
So read on and enjoy. And remember, the dates listed are approximate at best. There is a transition from one Age to the next, a blending of influences as the old Age dies out and the new Age is born and is established. Some things of the old age hang on, sometimes almost until the next Age. But the main influences change and focus shifts to the concerns of the New Age and the concerns of the old Age are considered throwbacks to the past. And around the end of each old Age the issues of the New-Age-to-come start creeping in and are ideas ahead of their time, or crackpot cults or weird notions that just don't fit in. No, our present time is nothing like that at all, not a bit. No. Never.
13060 BCE to 10900 BCE Age of Virgo — The rise of Atlantis, rebuilding of the world after the catastrophe that destroyed whatever preceded Atlantis. End of the last Great Ice Age. Science developed, agriculture refined and diversified, animals domesticated. Discovery of breeding techniques and start of selective breeding of animals and plants for desirable qualities. Much sea travel, and exploration of the Earth and discovery of mineral resources outside Atlantis. Use of crystals for psychic and spiritual development. Deep spirituality and commitment to personal development. Nomadic tribes cross the land bridge over the Bering Strait and begin to settle the Americas.
10900 BCE to 8740 BCE Age of Leo — A Golden Age of triumph and self-expression. Height of Atlantis' Power and influence. Atlanteans felt they ruled the world and they exploited its resources for their sole benefit, often taking from more primitive peoples and giving nothing in return. With the Aquarian sub-influence, there were great achievements in science and technology, use of the 'Great Crystals' for power, development of psychic talents. Magnificent cities. People felt power was in them rather than coming from the universe through them. Spread of knowledge and learning. Worship of the Sun God. Air travel. Ended with first breakup of Atlantis.
8740 BCE to 6580 BCE Age of Cancer — The decline and fall of Atlantis, ending with the Great Flood. This is the age of the Sons of Belial who experimented on humans and animals and created 'monsters' that were combinations of both. These were supposedly living, thinking beings but without a soul (like the Island of Dr. Moreau). The perversion of the great power of Atlantis for short-term ends rather than striving for betterment of humanity as a whole. A powerful autocratic government that was run for the perpetuation of itself rather than the benefit of the populace. Much turmoil and trouble, many Earth changes. After the final sinking of Atlantis, great leaders arose, but they were not what were needed, more tyrants than enlightened guides for their peoples. Return to sea travel after the collapse of air travel.
6580 BCE to 4420 BCE -Age of Gemini — Time of nomads, wandering tribes of herders or hunter-gatherers. Polarities of Yin/Yang worshipped. Lots of travel, commerce, exploration. Dispersion of humanity, wandering and looking for an 'ideal' place to settle after the disaster of Atlantis. Small groups, tribes, families not great consolidated nations. Attempt to save the knowledge and science lost when Atlantis fell. Building of great monuments to the memory of Atlantis, both in tribute and warning not to repeat Atlantis' mistakes (the Great Pyramid and other massive monuments). Re-invention of language and writing. Time of the Tower of Babel, when different languages made communication more difficult among peoples. Astrology re-invented or remembered from Atlantis.
4420 BCE to 2260 BCE-Age of Taurus — Back to the land, agriculture predominant. Bull worship. Heyday of the Great Mother Goddess. Height of the Ancient Empires, Egypt, Minoan Crete, Babylon, China, Central and South America, India, Africa. Matriarchal societies, fertility worshipped. Women could be "virgin" sexually autonomous and enjoy sexuality as they chose, as long as they provided for any children they brought into the world. Building of the Great Pyramids (the rest of them), ancient cities, other solid expressions of wealth, power and authority. Ended with explosion of Santorini/Thera (or thereabouts).
2260 BCE to 100 BCE-Age of Aries — Fall of Matriarchal societies to Patriarchalists. Age of Great Wars, conquest by battle and bloodshed. Invasion of Europe and the Middle East by Aryan tribes. Indigenous peoples enslaved, repressed or moved on. Height of Athens, establishment of Rome, India in its' dying classical days. Bull sacrifice gave way to lamb sacrifice. Establishment of laws and courts for supposed even-handed justice for all. Monogamy came into vogue, as well as the necessity of establishing paternity and paternal descent. Virginity came to mean a woman was sexually chaste, and therefore "unspoiled" and "pure." Moses and the return to Israel. Old Testament times. Polytheism and tolerance of other Gods, so long as the "main" God was supreme. Many other "defeated" supreme Gods were adopted into the conquerors' pantheons, as a means of placating the indigenous populations.
100 BCE to 2060 CE-Age of Pisces — The coming of Jesus, compassion for others, principles of brotherhood of man, the meek shall inherit the Earth. Heyday of Christianity. New Testament times. Birth of Mohammed and rise of Islam. Sea power became predominant. People became subordinate to their God's will, rather than partners with their Gods. Monotheism spreads and overshadows polytheistic religions. There is an intolerance of other Gods and faiths. The idea of "the one true only way" of belief becomes paramount (in various guises). Some "old Gods" are adopted as subordinate "saints" to help convert indigenous populations. Others are mercilessly repressed and all traces wiped out. New religious centers built over some old temples and shrines. Other old sacred sites are deliberately destroyed and desecrated. Brotherly ideals are expressed, but rarely lived up to. Utopia as an unattainable ideal. Spread of religion by forcible conversion by both Christianity and Islam. Sex is repressed and taboos are established. Worldwide exploration and colonization by sea. Britannia rules the waves. Faith is required for salvation. Repression of magic, and any mysticism which is not in accord with prevailing religious beliefs. Ends with a pole shift and re-emergence of Atlantis, according to some.
2060 CE to 4420 CE-Age of Aquarius — Establishment of a world government. Ideals of the Brotherhood of man lived up to. Moving out into space. Re-discovery of Atlantean scientific knowledge. Psychic and mental studies grow and become accessible to all. Global telepathy. Humanity discovers other alien races and begins to communicate with and learn from them. Exploration and colonization of space. Religion and spirituality become more a matter of individual need and choice, rather than a commonly-held belief system or dogma. Religion is less important than humanitarianism, morality and right living. (and possibly political correctness?)
4420 CE to 6380 CE-Age of Capricorn — Supposed establishment of a Federation of races and colonies in this arm of the Galaxy. Interstellar Government. Humanity loosing ties to Earth as the Cradle of Humanity. Exploitation of interstellar resources.
© 1996, 2002 Estelle Daniels, all rights reserved.