The musical Hair did more to promote the Aquarian Age than probably all the astrologers and Theosophists of the previous century put together. In Hair and on the airwaves we were melodiously informed that `… this is the dawning of the Age of Aquarius’. What does this mean? Has the Aquarian Age actually risen above the horizon or are we only seeing the pre-dawn light of the Aquarian Age with the best and brightest yet to come?
There is a very strong urban myth that the Aquarian Age will be some kind of utopian period for the world. Instead of stupidity being the fundamental principle dominating of the world, it will be replaced by clarity and even consciousness. People and communities oriented towards all that is good and positive. No more war, pollution, crime and all the entrenched vices of human beings. Unfortunately this is not based on astrology – it is based on myth or bucket loads of wishful thinking.
If Aquarius is the supreme sign, those Aquarians amongst us should stand out with halos, auras or some other qualities that would make the other eleven signs of the zodiac slink away with their tails between their legs. In reality Aquarius is no better a sign than any other sign. Furthermore, all signs have their positive and negative aspects. For example Sagittarius is generally lucky, positive and can pull off major projects, but they can also overspend, overindulge and suffer from inflating the size of their catch – apart from boring the rest of the zodiac with their moralistic philosophising about all and sundry when all you want to do is kick up your heels and have some real fun.
So we should not expect that the Age of Aquarius is going to be a better age than other ages – but it should be different! All ages are different because all signs are different. The Aquarian Age however should be even more different than other ages as Aquarius is the eccentric sign that goes against the norm. But even this approach is too simplistic as it implies that each age is ruled by one sign in isolation, then moving onto the next sign and age. For example following the Aries Age is the Pisces Age then the Aquarian Age and so on. This progression of the ages indicates one of a number of quirks of the ages – they go backward! Normally Aries is the first sign, followed by Taurus, Gemini and so on until Pisces, the last sign, and then it is back to the beginning with Aries. Ages move through the signs in reverse of this, which is why after the Taurus Age came the Aries Age, then Pisces Age followed by the Aquarian Age.
This reversal of the normal order of the signs creates a significant alteration in the operation of the signs. Normally a sign is strongest at its beginning. A simple illustration of this phenomenon is that each sign can be divided into three equal portions called decanates or decans. The rule for decans is that the first decan of each sign is the same as the sign itself, the second decan is the next sign of the same element (i.e. Earth, Air, Water or Fire), and the third decan is the following sign of the same element. For example the three decans of Aquarius are: Aquarius, Gemini and Libra (see Figure 1). Therefore someone born in the first third of the sign Aquarius is more Aquarian then someone born later in either the Gemini or Libra decan.
|Aquarius decan||Gemini decan||Libra decan|
Figure 1 – the decans of Aquarius
Because the ages progress in reverse order to the normal progression of the zodiacal signs, they encounter their respective decans in reverse of the normal order. For example in the Age of Aquarius the first age-decan is Libra, followed by Gemini and finishing with Aquarius (See Figure 2). At the end of the Aquarian Age Aquarius is also the ruler of the last decan so Aquarius has double the strength compared to the first two-thirds of the Aquarian Age.
|Libra age-decan||Gemini age-decan||Aquarius age-decan|
Figure 2 – the age-decans of the Aquarian Age shown chronologically
This is why ages are strongest at their end, and weakest at their beginnings (though the above is an oversimplification of the process but adequate as an example). By analogy, an age is like a wave, slowly building in intensity until at its strongest point at the end of its period, it crashes like a wave over the next age which is slowly getting its act together. Therefore at the changeover from the Pisces Age to the Aquarian Age, Pisces is at full strength while Aquarius is the new kid on the block (see figure 3). It will take the whole Aquarian Age before Aquarius takes over the reigning mantle from Pisces. An age is approximately 2150 years long – though ages are slowly getting shorter as the gyrations of the earth speed up. Therefore the dawn of the Aquarian Age takes about 2,150 years to move from the end of the Pisces Age to the end of the Aquarian Age when Aquarius will be at full strength and strongly affect the following 2,150 years.
|PISCES Age||AQUARIAN Age|
|Scorpio age-decan||Cancer age-decan||Pisces age-decan||Libra age-decan||Gemini age-decan||Aquarius age-decan|
Figure 3 – the changeover from the Pisces Age to the Aquarian Age
The major influences of each age strongly interact with the preceding and following ages. In reality it would be more accurate to make each age a pair of signs. For example following the Aries-Pisces Age is the Pisces-Aquarius Age then the Aquarius-Capricorn Age and so on with the first sign in each pair the dominant sign – a little like yin yang. The million dollar question is where are the borders between one age-pair to the next? For example when did the world move from the Aries-Pisces Age to the Pisces-Aquarius Age?
There are many issues involved but in a nutshell the situation is more complex with ages than the normal zodiacal signs. The traditional Western zodiacal signs are accurately defined in time and space due to the equinoxes (when the sun crosses the equator twice each year) and solstice points (when the sun is at its extreme position north and south). The ages have no corresponding simple astronomical markers. The zodiacal constellations such as the constellation of Aries, Taurus, Gemini and so on do not correspond to the normal zodiacal signs used by Western astrologers, except once every 26,000 years or so. Though academics have no agreement upon this issue, some researchers believe that the ancient astrologer-astronomers of 4,000 years or more ago knew about these ages, and defined the zodiacal constellations to reflect these ages.
Unfortunately this knowledge was lost by the time the ancient Greeks revitalized astronomy and astrology in the 1st millennia BC. They developed a particular technique for ascertaining the ages based on the zodiacal constellations and this technique has been used for over 2,000 years. According to this technique, the Aquarian Age or more correctly the Pisces-Aquarian Age lies some centuries in the future. The ancient Greeks did not understand that the more ancient astrologer-astronomers 2,000 years before their time used a different technique to `read’ the zodiacal constellations.
Before the Greeks adopted their mathematical approach to astronomy, the rest of the world used a simpler technique. Historically the most important dates in each year were the Vernal Equinox around Easter and the Northern Hemisphere Winter Solstice around Christmas. Traditionally the Vernal Equinox takes precedence of these two. The ancient astronomical technique is very simple, and anyone may do it as all ancient astronomy was based on visual techniques without the aid of telescopes or elaborate techniques. No matter where you live (provided you are neither an Eskimo or living in the Antarctic), if on the morning of the Vernal Equinox (around 20 March each year), you look at the eastern horizon before sunrise when you can still see the night sky and all the stars, you will see sitting just above the eastern horizon the constellation of Aquarius. About an hour before dawn the light of the sun first appears on the eastern horizon and all the stars and constellation quickly disappear from view. Around 2,000 years ago using the same technique, the constellation above the eastern horizon was the constellation of Pisces. In a few thousand years from now, using the same technique it will be the constellation of Capricorn.
The zodiacal constellations are like a massive clock probably mapped by ancient astrologers-astronomers at least 4,000 years ago to tell us the `time’ – with the hour hand indicating the progression through each age of approximately 2,150 years each. The constellation of Aquarius has been appearing on the eastern horizon before dawn on the Vernal Equinox for many centuries. History supports this fact. Since the time of Copernicus, Galileo, Leonardo da Vinci, Isaac Newton and so on, the world, starting with Europe, dramatically lifted its game and accelerated into the modern world of today. Aquarius has a strong association with sudden and unexpected discoveries and developments not to mention democracy, electricity and air travel.
At a time when the Aquarian Age appeared, it should be expected that the previous age, Pisces, had achieved its greatest potential. This is exactly what happened commencing in the 15th century. Europeans set out on a maritime exploration of the Pisces ruled oceans of the world. First they discovered the Americas then circumnavigated the world for the first known time. Independently but at the same time the Chinese also embarked on their most adventurous maritime explorations and claimed to have discovered Australia in their travels.
If the Aquarian Age, or more correctly the Pisces-Aquarian Age commenced in the 15th century then the Aries-Pisces Age should have commenced in the 8th century BC. Historical facts support this as the 8th century BC was as pivotal a century as the 15th century AD. In the 8th century BC two very significant developments occurred. Ancient Greece dragged itself out of its ancient Dark Age and embarked on its cultural and classical period. Symptomatic of this was the commencement of the Olympic Games in the 8th century BC. However even more significant than this was the legendary foundation of Rome also in the 8th century BC leading to the greatest pre-modern empire in the world.
Telescoping back into history another age of around 2,150 years we discover another significant and pivotal time around 2950BC with the creation of Ancient Egypt. The correspondence between history and the ages indicate a clear synchronicity. Before Egypt in the Gemini-Taurus Age the most significant development was the combination of Gemini ruled communication and Taurus ruled solid objects manifesting in the first known cuneiform writing on clay tablets in Mesopotamia. Appropriately Mesopotamia means `land between the between the two rivers’ of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers and Gemini is the sign of the Twins.
If Mesopotamia was the child of the Gemini-Taurus age, Ancient Egypt was the child of the Taurus-Aries age. Taurus rules solid objects and Aries rules engineering. Put together and we get the great pyramids of Egypt. Egypt did not monopolise the Taurus-Aries Age as at the same time the Egyptians are constructing their pyramids and temples, the indigenous inhabitants of India were constructing extremely orderly towns and cities preempting modern standards of town planning and the Celts were constructing their mighty stone henges in Europe.
The child of the Aries-Pisces Age was the Roman Empire. Aries is ruled by Mars, the God of War and Rome was a warrior nation of soldiers with superior fighting tactics. Like most soldiers they were relatively bereft of culture, and so Rome imported the bulk of their high culture from their Grecian neighbour which they had incorporated by force into their empire. At the same time, Pisces’ mystical and religious influence made its mark and we see the arrival of Buddha, Jesus and Mohammed as the founders of the three most modern major religions.
It is clear that if Mesopotamia is the child of the Gemini-Taurus Age, Ancient Egypt of the Taurus-Aries Age, Rome of the Aries-Pisces Age then the USA is the child of the Pisces-Aquarian Age (see Figure 4). Pisces traditionally rules Europe, and Europe relatively exploded outwards from the peak of Pisces influence commencing in the 15th century. Like the culturally Ancient Greeks relationship to Rome of an age earlier, Europe is considered to provide the cultural heritage to the brash new upstart – in the modern case the USA.
|Gemini-Taurus Age||Taurus-Aries Age||Aries-Pisces Age||Pisces-Aquarian Age|
|Mesopotamia||Ancient Egypt||Roman Empire||USA|
|c.5120 BC ►||c. 2920 BC ►||c. 732 BC ►||c.1433 AD ►|
Figure 4 – the ages and corresponding major civilisations, empires and nations
The USA has strong Piscean credentials. It was virtually economically underwritten by Pisces ruled slavery. It has a (Pisces) medieval like attraction to religion – especially the born again Bible thumping variety. Pisces rules prisons and the US imprisons more of its population than any other country in the world. Corporations or companies are ruled by Pisces. In law corporations are considered a person. When America originally confronted England leading to the War of Independence, it was not over democratic issues but free trade. The first insurgency in America towards this end was the Boston Tea Party in protest over restrictive British trade taxes. The USA is the main promoter of Pisces corporate free enterprise in the world today. The USA, as the child of the Pisces-Aquarian Age, also promotes Aquarius. It was the first major successful democratic experiment in modern times, and Aquarius rules democracy.
The dawn of the Aquarian Age is a long drawn out affair commencing around 1433 AD and lasting until it becomes the major influence in the Aquarian-Capricorn Age commencing c.3574 AD. It will pass through three distinct stages due to the decans. Though we are nearing the end of the Libra decan of the Aquarian Age the age-decans are retarded in their effects in the same way as the ages. Therefore between c.1433 and 2148 in the Libra decan of the Aquarian Age, the main age-decan effect is from the previous decan at the end of the Pisces Age – the Pisces Age Decan.
The world is nearing the end of its most dominant Pisces phase which is experienced only once every 26,000 years. Pisces is a dual sign represented by two fish swimming in opposite direction. This may explain the strong duality seen in the world. With every advance and positive or inspirational development there is also clear evidence of mass destruction, propaganda and delusions. Weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) are Pisces. Fortunately the world is nearing the end of this Pisces hegemony.
The next stage due around c.2148 AD marks the end and peak of the Libra Age-Decan. The following period should see the zenith of equality of the sexes widely throughout the world amongst other things. The prelude to that stage is occurring now, but its universality cannot be expected until some centuries from now. Fortunately we are nearing the end of the Libran decan of the Aquarian Age so the developing tendency is heading towards the Libran attributes of peace and justice. The Libran age-decan wave is likely to spawn the closest thing the world will ever get to a garden paradise in a contemporary setting. We still have some way to go but at least the Greens are on the case!
Copyright Terry MacKinnell 2004,2008 All Rights Reserved
Note: this article was published in the Astrological Monthly Review Volume 67, Number 2 February 2005 – a magazine sold throughout Australia and New Zealand. When I wrote this article I was working with 1441 as the start for the Age of Aquarius. Further research has fine tuned the start of the Aquarian age to 1432 or 1433. I have adjusted the dates in this article accordingly, otherwise the article remains the same as published in 2005
Further resources from Terry MacKinnell
Online Institute of Macro-Astrology – details on how to learn macro-astrology
www.macro-astrology.com – details of purchasing the book available
At the Cutting Edge of the Aquarian Age – Cutting edge research into the astrological ages for astrologers