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The Age of Aquarius

 

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"A popular explanation of the New Age movement is to see it as a manifestation of the new cosmic energies that affect us because of the dawn of the Age of Aquarius. Marilyn Ferguson in her influential book The Aquarian Conspiracy is invoking this explanation of the movement by the very name of her book. Carl Jung, the influential psychologist, identified the Aquarian Age with New Age. Jung said that "1940 is the year when we approach the meridian of the first star in Aquarius. It is the . . . New Age." (1) This explanation is embedded in our cultural consciousness through the song "Aquarius" from the play and movie Hair. According to this song, in the Age of Aquarius "peace will guide the planets and love will rule the stars." Furthermore, in this new period, "harmony and understanding, sympathy and trust abound."

Many New Agers accept this explanation because the changes they have been experiencing in their own lives feel like part of some larger cosmic event. The New Age thinker David Spangler says that when he first encountered the "image of Aquarian Age, the new age, something deep inside me said yes to it. Those depths continue to say yes twenty-four years later."(2) Many New Agers agree with Spangler that something deep inside them says yes to this explanation of the movement.

To buttress the claim that we are in the Aquarian Age, many New Agers try to show there is a connection between the energies associated with astrological ages and the events of our times and previous times. While no one person is associated with this attempt to correlate historical events and the astrological ages, this attempt is broadly popular within the movement and one gets bits and pieces of it from many different New Agers.

These people say the astrological symbol of Aquarius is the water bearer pouring out the water of increased consciousness to thirsty souls. This is thought to mean the Aquarian Age is a time when our consciousness will be raised, and so it will emphasize humanitarianism and brotherhood. Since the sixties there has been the civil rights movement, the gay rights movement, the animal rights movement, the Native peoples’ rights movement and a realization that the Earth itself is alive. Many New Agers claim these humanitarian movements are a result of the Aquarian energy now coming into the world because Aquarius is a sign which fosters humanitarian values. Aquarius is an air sign which in astrological theory means it is connected with intellectuality and communication. Therefore, New Agers say it is no accident that we now live in the computer and internet age. Aquarius, unlike Pisces, is not a masculine sign, and instead has more of a balance between masculine and feminine energy. Therefore, New Agers claim feminism is popular in our time because of the influence of Aquarian energy. According to astrologists, an astrological age is also influenced by the energies of the astrological sign opposite it in the zodiac wheel. Aquarius’s opposite in the zodiac wheel, Leo, is the aggressive and egocentric lion. In the Aquarian Age, Leo contributes the energy of aggressive individualism with its excessive arrogance and hedonism which is characteristic of the Yuppies.

New Agers apply the same analysis to the astrological age before the Aquarian Age – the Piscean Age. Pisces’ symbol is the fish which is a popular symbol for Christians who are the exemplar of Piscean religion. The astrological symbol for Pisces has two fish, representing our material and spiritual aspects, swimming in opposite directions but still united by a thin cord. New Agers relate this to the Christian religion, which during the Piscean Age, thought matter and spirit were antagonistic but never totally disconnected. The Gnostics did see spirit and matter as totally disconnected, but they were rejected as heretics by the Christians. Pisces is a water sign which means it is highly emotional. The Christians expressed this emotionality by emphasizing faith and downgrading intellectual understanding. Many Christians even said faith alone led to salvation. Lastly, Pisces’s opposite on the astrological wheel, Virgo, is supposed to be very influential in the Piscean Age. New Agers relate Virgo, the sign of the maiden, to the importance of the Virgin Mary in the Christian religion.

Some New Agers also apply this analysis to an even earlier astrological age, the Age of Aries, which is symbolized by the ram. They attempt to show how the qualities associated with Aries and those of its opposite influenced history four to six thousand years ago. With possible anti-Semitism, they say that these qualities were particularly evident in the Jews. Thus they say the Jews often sacrificed rams and were stiff-necked like rams. Furthermore, like rams, the Jews butted up against things they could have easily gone around. Moreover, Aries is a fire sign, so the Jews expressed this energy by being fiery and combative during this time period. Aries is also the first sign of the zodiac, so some New Agers claim the Jews needed to be the first or chosen people of God. Aries’ opposite on the astrological wheel, Libra, is symbolized by the scales of justice. This influence on the Jews can be seen in their tremendous concern for justice.

Finally, New Agers mention the age before Aries, the age of Taurus which was approximately six to eight thousand years ago. They say the bull, the symbol of Taurus, was an important religious symbol at this time. Furthermore, Taurus was a feminine earth sign, and so this age was a matriarchal period dominated by women who lived in harmony with the earth.

Of course the whole notion of seeing the New Age movement as a result of the shift into the Aquarian Age assumes the truth of astrology. Unfortunately for this explanation, there is relatively little reason to believe astrology is true, and it certainly is not at the level of a science that can be trusted to consistently deliver results.

First, there is the problem of the many variations about when the Aquarian Age actually began. For example, many different dates have been offered for the beginning of the Aquarian Age; Jung thought it started in 1940,(3) some astrologers say it started in the 1960s, others say it will start in 2000, and some say it will start as late as 2100. When two intelligent women who were very interested in astrology were asked by the author about this discrepancy and why we could not achieve an exact dating of the start of the Aquarian Age, these women both rolled their eyes. They said only men dominated by reason and logic wanted exactness. This attitude is endemic in the astrological community, and it discourages confidence in their methods.

Secondly, even if astrology has elements of truth in it, that does not mean astrology as it is presently conceived is true. Michael Gauqelin did the first systematic studies of astrology, and while his work seemed to support there was something to astrology, his work showed that there was no relation found between zodiac signs and character traits assigned to the various signs.(4) So his work on thousands of people comparing their signs and their character traits did not validate the traditional astrological notions such as the Age of Aquarius. Moreover, even his limited results are still disputed, and he did not help his cause by committing suicide after destroying his notes. (5)

The third problem with this explanation involves the correlation between historical events and the various astrological ages. For the sake of argument, one can ignore the likelihood that the New Agers’ understanding of Western history is simplistic, inaccurate or anti-Semitic. For even if all their claims are accurate, their theory still has a major problem: this theory maintains that the Christians and Jews were the exemplars of their respective astrological ages. For the sake of argument, let us grant that they have shown some correspondences between the astrological ages and these religious groups; nevertheless, the problem is they are only making correlations between the astrological ages and Western history. If the different astrological ages represent a shift in energies pouring into the whole world, this shift should cause major changes correlated with the astrological energies in all the world civilizations, not just the Western ones. Unfortunately, non-Western civilizations show little evidence of this shift. For example, there does not seem to be significant evidence of the Piscean energy in Chinese civilization where Confucianism and Taoism dominated the Piscean Age. Even more damaging, in their explanation of the influence of the energy of the age of Aries, the New Agers only mention the Jews. If these astrological ages are a manifestation of a universal energy shift throughout the whole world, why are they affecting only one group?

Racism seems to be the only way to save this explanation. No New Agers would subscribe to racism, but this explanation was popular in the nineteenth century. Helena Blavatsky, the founder of Theosophy, who first introduced the Western public to many Indian ideas such as karma, reincarnation, gurus and chakras, emphasized the difference between the various human races. Blavatsky maintained that the Western people were most affected by the shift in astrological energies because they were the most important race in this historical cycle.(6) This might be the only way to rationally save this hypothesis, but it has a tremendous price – racism – and it has no support in the present New Age movement.

For all these reasons seeing the New Age movement as a result of the shift into the Aquarian Age is an inadequate explanation of the movement."

FOOTNOTES

1. Carl Jung to H. G. Baynes, 12 August 1940, in C. G. Jung Letters, ed. Gerhard Adler, trans. R.F.C. Hull, vol. I (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1973), p. 285.

2. David Spangler, Emergence: The Rebirth of the Sacred (New York: Delta, 1984), p. 20.

3. Carl Jung to H. G. Baynes, 12 August 1940, in C. G. Jung Letters, ed. Gerhard Adler, trans. R.F.C. Hull, vol. I (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1973), p. 285.

4. Michael Gauquelin, Birth Times, trans. Sarah Matthews (NY: Hill & Wang, 1983),p. 119-129.

5. Paul Kurtz, "French Committee Announces Results of Test of the So-Called Mars Effect," Skeptical Inquirer, Vol. 19, No. 1, Jan/Feb 1995, p. 62.

6. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, The Secret Doctrine: The Synthesis of Science, Religion, and Philosophy, vol. 2 (London: Theosophical Publishing Company, 1888), p. 1-500.

Copyrighted 2009

Joseph Waligore

 

 

The Spirit of Christ Aquarius moves over the water, westward with the sun, the moon ark boats take Paul to Rome, Rome to Europe, the Vikings to the New World which is actually not so new to the First Peoples with Columbus bringing the Christ conception to them whether they wanted it or not. Across America to the appointed prophesy bearer's home in California named after Califia, Kali's girl as the Canaan of the New World.

 

 

 

 

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