“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.” Age of Aquarius, from Hair, the musical
In the 1970s the Broadway musical Hair informed us of the dawning of the Age of Aquarius. We sang along, most of us blissfully unaware what this meant, but longing for peace and love. Before clocks and calendars the motions of the sun, moon, and stars were the measures of time. With the sky as a perennial reference point the sun’s apparent movement from east to west became the day, the moon’s phases became the month, and Earth’s longer passage around the sun formed the year.
Another of Earth’s much longer cycles, caused because Earth wobbles on her axis, traces an imaginary circle in the sky. As the orientation of the north pole shifts relative to the circumpolar stars, a different North Star moves into position. Current pole stars are Polaris at the northern pole and Polaris Australis down under. Thuban, alpha Draco, was the pole star 5,000 years ago in Pre-dynastic Egypt, and Vega, alpha Lyra, will be the pole star 12,000 years in the future.
This slow motion also results in a different part of the sky rising before the sun at spring equinox dawn in the northern hemisphere. Earth’s wobble causes our orientation to the sky to shift backward, or in the opposite direction of the Sun’s apparent motion against the zodiac constellations. The points of reference in the northern hemisphere for this backward motion, called Precession of the Equinoxes, are the zodiac constellations that reside on the ecliptic, the sun’s apparent path.
Called the Great Year, this long cycle of roughly 25,920 years is composed of twelve cosmic months of approximately 2,160 years that are the Astrological Ages. As ancient sky watchers pondered the heavens over millennia these larger divisions of time were marked by the stars in the constellations—the star pictures. The Great Year “precesses” from Pisces to Aries, delineating the passage of a Great Year. Spring equinox sunrise inches backward at the rate of one degree of arc in 72 years through the solar sequence of constellations, which is the opposite direction from the sun’s apparent journey through the constellations in a year.
4,300 years ago, toward the end of the age of Taurus, the bright star Alcyone in the Pleiades, in the constellation of Taurus, rose before the sun at spring equinox. Some two thousand years later, during the age of Aries, Hamal, alpha Aries, would have had the honor. If the ancients delineated the boundaries of the ages by solar alignments with certain stars, we are still left with the puzzle that the constellations as we configure them today have altered over time, making the demarcation of ages uncertain.
As we approach the much-heralded age of Aquarius, the stars of the Water Bearer will replace those of the Fishes. At present the spring equinox sunrise straddles the modern boundaries of the constellations of Pisces and Aquarius, and the current star that rises before the sun as the Age of Pisces passes is the unnamed omega star in the constellation of Pisces. As the backward march shifts, the “dawning of the Age of Aquarius” will be heralded as this constellation moves to center stage and defines the new world age.
Aquarius is an ancient zodiac constellation that has retained a consistent mythical theme through various cultural transformations. The Babylonians saw the water jar as an overflowing urn and associated Aquarius with their eleventh month, called “curse of rain,” which is equivalent to our January-February. Aquarius is the first constellation in both the Chinese and Indian calendars and is associated with water in both. The Egyptians saw the figure we know as Aquarius as representing Hapi, god of the Nile, who distributed the waters of life.
But when will the changing of the ages actually occur? Or has it already? According to the Cambridge Guide to the Constellations, the Age of Aquarius is 800 hundred years in the future. Audubon’s Field Guide to the Night Sky gives a figure of six hundred years. Astrologers also differ on when the momentous dawning will occur, and some sources believe the new age has already begun.
Over the course of the Aquarian Age the secrecy and hierarchy of the Age of Pisces will give way to a more egalitarian decentralization of knowledge and power. I believe the age of Aquarius will see fairer distribution of wealth as a result of free energy technology and consequently an altered monetary system. This newfound freedom will bring its own challenges. Power in the hands of the people can draw on the gifts of each regardless of prior class or station, but can also lead to anarchy if individuals don’t work for the common good. In the Aquarian mode the test of responsible use of resources will rest with the individual.
As ages change there is a period of combined influence and conflict as old energies cling to power and new energies try to take hold. This is shown in current global turmoil where people are taking to streets by the millions around the globe, protesting hierarchical, potentially fascist governments, and demanding freedom and equality. In some cases, like the attack on the US Capitol on January 6, 2021, these impulses would seem misguided and destructive to any reasonable person. This represents a Titanic clash between power structures that need to be replaced with more egalitarian systems.
The age of Pisces has been characterized by both hierarchy and centralization of power. While a wise and far-sighted monarch can give people vision and leadership, a petty tyrant wields a reign of terror. In the higher symbolic aspect, we see the sacrificial king, the crucified savior, who takes on the collective sins of the people. A positive legacy of the Piscean age is a profound spiritual renaissance that will be increasingly influenced by Aquarian energies.
At some point a new archetype for the Aquarian age will emerge and the diversity of this expression can already be witnessed in young people around the world. Ancient wisdom traditions indicate that humanity is moving toward androgyny. We see glimpses of this in “Generation X” where traditional gender boundaries blur. LGBTQ persons are increasingly more accepted as we move into Aquarian energies and a broader spectrum of more diverse attitudes and ideals of self-expression emerge.
Many people, including scientists, are recognizing the existence of subtle energies. Quantum theory still mystifies physicists, stretching boundaries of what’s possible, and everyday people encounter angels, experience miracles, and survive transforming near-death experiences. The already exponential growth of technology will continue, and early examples of this are space travel and the Internet. In an emerging true democracy, the transmission of energy and egalitarian availability of information and education will be ushered in by the idealistic use of appropriate technology. The stars have always been used for navigation, and if space travel becomes commonplace, we may someday reckon by “star dates” as a way to track time as popularized by the Star Trek series.
The ecological greening of the Earth will be emphasized in the Aquarian Age, and the importance of water will become paramount. One icon of the Aquarian age is the water urn as a sacred vessel. Pure water, bubbling from fountains into beautiful gardens may be the way we memorialize the Water Bearer in the new age. We need time to settle into the new Aquarian energies and there will be both conflict and learning required as we gain our sea legs.
From the disappearance of Atlantis nearly 13,000 years ago we have moved half way around the wheel of precession. This opposition of signs may well bring the ascension of sunken Atlantis–if not literally–then our understanding of how far back our history goes may be ascertained. The lessons of this age are similar to that of Atlantis 12,000 years ago. Will the enlightened use of technology be used in service to the collective, or will unleashed forces destroy civilization again? If we learn the lessons of the new age we will travel to the stars as pioneers and ambassadors. Meanwhile, we change the world by opening our hearts one at a time and realizing the unity that increasingly underlies our diversity.