Age of Aquarius
"Age of Aquarius" is an astrological term denoting either the current or forthcoming astrological age, depending on the method of calculation. Astrologers maintain that an astrological age is a product of the earth's slow precessional rotation and lasts for 2,160 years, on average (26,000-year period of precession / 12 zodiac signs = 2,160 years).
There are various methods of calculating the length of an astrological age. In sun-sign astrology, the first sign is Aries, followed by Taurus, Gemini, Cancer, Leo, Virgo, Libra, Scorpio, Sagittarius, Capricorn, Aquarius, and Pisces, whereupon the cycle returns to Aries and through the zodiacal signs again. Astrological ages, however, proceed in the opposite direction ("retrograde" in astronomy). Therefore, the Age of Aquarius follows the Age of Pisces.
The approximate 2,150 years for each age corresponds to the average time it takes for the vernal equinox to move from one constellation of the zodiac into the next. This can be computed by dividing the earth's 25,800-year gyroscopic precession period by twelve, the number of zodiac constellations used by astrologers. According to different astrologers' calculations, approximate dates for entering the Age of Aquarius range from AD 1447 (Terry MacKinnell) to AD 3597 (John Addey).
Astrologers do not agree on when the Aquarian age will start or even if it has already started. Nicholas Campion in The Book of World Horoscopes lists various references from mainly astrological sources for the start of the Age of Aquarius. Based on Campion's research, most published materials on the subject state that the Age of Aquarius arrived in the 20th century (29 claims), with the 24th century in second place with twelve claimants.
Astrological ages exist as a result of precession of the equinoxes. The slow wobble of the earth's spin axis on the celestial sphere is independent of the diurnal rotation of the Earth on its own axis and the annual revolution of the earth around the sun. Traditionally this 25,800-year-long cycle is calibrated, for the purposes of determining astrological ages, by the location of the sun in one of the twelve zodiac constellations at the vernal equinox, which corresponds to the moment the sun rises above the celestial equator, marking the start of spring in the Northern Hemisphere each year. Roughly every 2,150 years the sun's position at the time of the vernal equinox will have moved into a new zodiacal constellation. However zodiacal constellations are not uniform in size, leading some astrologers to believe that the corresponding ages should also vary in duration. This however is a contentious issue among astrologers.
In 1929 the International Astronomical Union defined the edges of the 88 official constellations. The edge established between Pisces and Aquarius officially locates the beginning of the Aquarian Age around AD 2600. Many astrologers dispute this approach because of the varying sizes and overlap between the zodiacal constellations.
Astrologers believe that an astrological age affects humanity, possibly by influencing the rise and fall of civilizations or cultural tendencies.
Traditionally, Aquarius is associated with electricity, computers, flight, democracy, freedom, humanitarianism, idealism, modernization, astrology, nervous disorders, rebellion, nonconformity, philanthropy, veracity, perseverance, humanity, and irresolution.
The variations of views among astrologers include:
- Among other dates, one view is that the Age of Aquarius arrived around 1844, with the harbinger of the Siyyid `Alí Muḥammad (1819–1850), who founded Bábism.
- Marcia Moore and Mark Douglas promoted the view that, although no one knows when the Aquarian Age begins, the American Revolution, the Industrial Revolution, and the discovery of electricity are all attributable to the Aquarian Age. Moore and Douglas make a number of predictions about the trends that they believe will develop in the Aquarian Age.
- A common position expressed by many astrologers sees the Age of Aquarius as that time when humanity takes control of the Earth and its own destiny as its rightful heritage, with the destiny of humanity being the revelation of truth and the expansion of consciousness, and that some people will experience mental enlightenment in advance of others and therefore be recognized as the new leaders in the world.
- Proponents of medieval astrology suggest that the Pisces world where religion is the opiate of the masses will be replaced in the Aquarian Age by a world ruled by secretive, power-hungry elites seeking absolute power over others; that knowledge in the Aquarian Age will only be valued for its ability to win wars; that knowledge and science will be abused, not industry and trade; and that the Aquarian Age will be a Dark Age in which religion is considered offensive.
- Another view suggests that the rise of scientific rationalism, combined with the fall of religious influence, the increasing focus on human rights since the 1780s, the exponential growth of technology, plus the advent of flight and space travel, are evidence of the dawning of the Age of Aquarius.
- A "wave" theory of the shifting Great Ages suggests that the Age of Aquarius will not arrive on a given date but is instead emerging in influence over many years, similar to how the tide surges forward incrementally rather than all at once.
- Rudolf Steiner believed that the Age of Aquarius will arrive in 3573. In Steiner's approach, each age is exactly 2,160 years. Based on this structure, the world has been in the Age of Pisces since 1413. Rudolf Steiner had spoken about two great spiritual events: the return of Christ in the ethereal world (and not in a physical body), because people must develop their faculties until they can reach the ethereal world; and the incarnation of Ahriman, Zoroaster's "destructive spirit" that will try to block the evolution of humanity.
- A variation of Steiner's approach has the age of Aquarius arriving in 1433 (or up to two years earlier), with the influence of Pisces exceeding Aquarius at this time.[self-published source]
- In an article about feminism in the French newspaper La Fronde from February 26, 1890, August Vandekerkhove stated: "About March, 21st this year the cycle of Aquarius will start. Aquarius is the house of the woman". He adds that is in this age the woman will be equal to the man.
Common cultural associations
Although more rock than new-age in genre, the 1967 musical Hair, with its opening song "Aquarius" and the memorable line "This is the dawning of the Age of Aquarius", brought the Aquarian age concept to the attention of audiences worldwide. However, the song further defines this dawning of the age within the first lines: "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". Astrologer Neil Spencer denounced the lyrics as "astrological gibberish", noting that Jupiter aligns with Mars several times a year and the moon is in the 7th House for two hours every day.
These lines are considered by many[who?] to be merely poetic license, though some people take them literally. An example is the identification of Valentine's Day 2009 as the "perfect alignment to support our collective manifestation of love and peace and dawning of the Age of Aquarius". In popular culture, the NBC television show Aquarius, which premiered on May 28, 2015, is based on the Charles Manson case. The name relates to the "dawn of Aquarius," also commonly referred to as the New Age way of thinking.
- Neil Spencer, True as the Stars Above, 2000, pp. 115–27 - chapter 7 - "Love Shall Steer the Stars - The Long Dawning of the Age of Aquarius"
- Nicholas Campion, The Book of World Horoscopes, 1999, pp. 489–95
- Neil Spencer, True as the Stars Above, 2000, p. 115
- Eight researchers claim the Aquarian age will arrive in the 25th century while the 21st, 26th, and 27th centuries have seven supporters each. Other centuries that have a number of supporters for the beginning of the Aquarian age include: 22nd and 23rd centuries (6 each); 19th century (5); and the 18th century (4) Nicholas Campion, The Book of World Horoscopes, The Wessex Astrologer Ltd., 1999, Pgs 489-495
- Ray Grasse, Signs of the Times, 2002, p. 263
- Rex E Bills, The Ruler-ship Book, 1974, pp. 362–365
- Geoffrey Dean, Recent Advances in Natal Astrology - A Critical Review 1900–1976, 1977, p. 54
- David Williams, Simplified Astronomy for Astrologers, 1969, American Federation of Astrologers, pp. 45–56
- Marcia Moore & Mark Douglas, Astrology, The Divine Science, 1971, p. 677
- Marcia Moore & Mark Douglas, Astrology, The Divine Science, 1971, p. 687
- Vera W Reid, Towards Aquarius , 1971, pp. 97–116
- Robert Zoller, "The Use of Archetypes in Prediction", The FAA Journal September 2002 Volume 32 No 3 (Federation of Australian Astrologers), pp. 37–53
- Neil Spencer, True as the Stars Above, 2000, pp. 126–7
- Louis MacNeice, Astrology, Bloomsbury Books, London, 1989, pp. 100–1
- Ray Grasse, Signs of the Times, 2002, pp. 228–231
- Christian Lazaridès, "Vivons-nous les commencements de l'Ere des Poissons" - Editions anthroposophiques romandes. 1989 pp. 143–155
- Terry MacKinnell, "The Dawning – Shedding New Light on the Astrological Ages", Xlibris, 2011, pp. 296–7 ISBN 978-1-4568-8253-2
- Neil Spencer, True as the Stars Above, 2000, p. 124.