The Age of Aquarius has no clear starting point. The various ages are based around the fact that the vernal equinox moves backwards very slowly, due to the way the earth spins (Confession: I don’t understand it). The vernal equinox, which occurs in spring when the day and night are of equal length, is the point at which the Sun is at 0 Aries, and this point moves backwards in relation to the constellations at a rate of about 1 degree every 70 years. Our astrology does not take this into account (though Vedic astrology does), so that for what we would call say 24 Sag, the Vedics would lop off about 23 degrees (the amount the zodiac has shifted since about 90BC), and call it one degree Sag. So the point we call 0 Aries - the beginning of the astrological year - has been moving backwards and is now, in reality, somewhere in early Pisces. Which makes this the Piscean Age. When it reaches Aquarius, we will be in the Aquarian Age.
When it will do this is a matter of debate. Do we, for example, treat the constellations as they actually are, or do we use the artificial division into 30 degrees each that our astrology uses?
Whenever that date is, it is clear to me that we are moving from the Piscean Age to the Aquarian Age, if only from the point of view of what is the defining source of knowledge in our western culture. The ultimate source of authority in the Piscean Age was Christianity, whose central motif is the figure of Christ on the Cross – a Piscean motif, if there ever was one. Our new priests of the unseen are the scientists, science has become the ultimate source of authority. And Science is associated with Aquarius.
In my blog the other day ‘The Galactic Age of Sagittarius’, I was arguing, based on the equally slow movement of the Galactic Centre, that we live in a Sagittarian Age, an era of ‘sky religion’, where the ultimate nature of things is to be found in the Christian heaven, or the Muslim paradise etc, though that age is coming to an end, and in 200 years we will be in the Galactic Age of Capricorn.
To say that we are moving from the Piscean Age to the Aquarian Age is the conventional way of seeing things, and it makes sense. The Galactic Ages are my own invention, and they also make sense. But now that the Galactic Centre is part of astrology - and its presence is undeniably fundamental - I think we have to view its 2100 year journey through each sign also as an important Age in itself. So how do we reconcile these 2 systems?
The 2 systems are coming from opposite ends of the psyche. The first system is based on the apparent movement of the Sun in relation to the constellations – that which is brightest and most conscious and differentiated within ourselves; and the other system is based on the movement of the Galactic Centre in relation to the constellations – that which is most unconscious and least differentiated in us, but which is no less powerful for that, and which connects us to our primordial origins and the universal process of evolution.
So with these 2 different symbolisms being in relation to each other, we are in a position to give more clarity to each of them. The Solar Piscean Age (as I shall call it) is not just an age where things are more generally Piscean. It is more specifically an Age where the individual, differentiated consciousness, the ideal human being, if you like, is pointed in a Piscean direction, thinks of itself in Piscean terms. And the ideal human in this Age has been the Saint, one who is above worldly desires, connected to God and working for the benefit of others.
The Galactic Ages connect us to the whole process of unfoldment of matter-consciousness, from singularity to universe and back again, and the meaning of that journey. The Galactic Ages, in other words, deal with cosmology – our conception of the universe in its totality, and by extension, humanity’s place in it. In the west, we are drawing towards the end of the Sagittarian Age, which began in about 80AD, and has had a Christian cosmology as its most defining influence: the universe was created by God, who is a sky god, somewhere up there, and who is also an authoritarian, jealous, fundamentalist God. These are all Sagittarian themes.
The Solar Piscean Age has to a large extent overlapped with the Galactic Sagittarian Age. These signs are square to each other, which suggests that our creation myths – as found in the Old Testament – and our ideal human being, in the form of Christ, do not rest easily together. Christ’s message was one of love, whereas the Old Testament universe was ruled by fear of God. And this contradiction runs right through the church, particularly in its orthodox Catholic form. At the same time, both signs are Jupiter ruled, and the God of the Old Testament is held to be the same God as that of the New Testament.
So what does the future hold? What are the natures of the Solar and Galactic Ages we are moving into, those of Aquarius and Capricorn respectively? I think we can see signs of them already. In the Solar Aquarian Age, the ideal human is rational, scientific, benevolent, forward-thinking, original, individualistic and non-conformist. We can see this emphasis in schools – R.E. (religious education) has a lowly place on the curriculum, the Piscean saint is no longer our ideal. Whereas Science has a very prominent place in the curriculum. And the education system concentrates on the development of the rational mind – one-sidedly, some might argue. And the universe we are moving into – the new Galactic Age - is no longer one created and ruled by Yahweh, by God’s Law (Sagittarius), but one based on Natural Law (Capricorn).
This process is still in a transitional stage, as we have not reached these new Ages. But the combination of Aquarius and Capricorn is an interesting one. On the one hand, we can see them working well together: the scientific Aquarian living in a universe governed by natural law. And to the extent that the co-ruler of Aquarius is Saturn, which also rules Capricorn, this will work well. But Aquarius is also ruled by Uranus the rebel, and will feel trapped in a cosmology that is too relentlessly mechanical.
In 2000 years or so, the Solar and Galactic Age points will coincide (in late Capricorn or early Aquarius), an event that only happens about every 12,750 years. It is a point at which humanity can feel fully at home in the universe, when we’re not scratching our heads, so to speak, and wondering why we are here, and putting ourselves at odds with nature. The last time this conjunction occurred would have been around 8750BC, just before agriculture became widespread and large-scale settlements arose. It was a time before ‘civilisation’ and developed technologies and all the problems that come with them, when we would have known our place in the universe much more clearly.
So in 2000 years or so we will have another chance to feel at home in the universe. We have taken the evolutionary steps of developing technologies and civilisations, but it has inevitably put us at odds with nature, and alienated us from the instinctive knowledge that we too are part of nature. Perhaps, in 2000 years time, as the Solar and Galactic Ages come together again, we will find that new synthesis, and then begin on the next cycle of evolution.