The universe is exquisitely ordered, cyclic and rhythmic. The Earth makes a complete rotation on its own axis to create a day, one full rotation of the Earth around the Sun produces a year, and the seasons result from the Earth's poles relative to the plane of its revolution. Meanwhile, less perceptibly, yet significantly grander, an overarching time-space continuum known as Great Months and Great Years underpin these lesser cycles.
In astronomy, a Great Year is the requisite time it takes for the Earth's axis to slowly trace an imaginary conical shape in the heavens. In entirety this process or "precession of the equinoxes" is approximately 26,000 years in duration, involving twelve Great Months of about 2,160 years each. This astronomical event takes place against the backdrop of twelve constellations which correlate with the twelve Great Months, delineating twelve broad epochs in the overall cycle known as astrological ages. Astrology teaches that each new age is shaped by and infused with the legendary qualities and attributes of a specific constellation, creating more than two thousand years of a resonant culture, and earmarking the evolutionary rise and fall of great civilizations.
Due to what astrologers call a "cuspal effect" or "orb of influence" a new age is experienced well before it actually arrives. Presently humanity is undergoing a transition between the outgoing Age of Pisces and the incoming Age of Aquarius which is a significant turning point in the history of mankind involving a powerful paradigm shift over the course of hundreds of years. The new, incoming energies are very stimulating. They vitalize and accelerate innovations and discoveries, but also bring turbulence and destabilization as the energies of the former age simultaneously phase out. Historically the years of transition between Ages are critical, defining moments in the history of mankind. During the last great transition, the onset of the Piscean Age coincided with the rise of Christianity and the simultaneous decline and fall of the Roman Empire—a passage which dramatically transformed and reoriented society culturally, psychologically and spiritually.
This most recent overlapping of ages about two thousand years ago involved the outgoing Age of Aries and the incoming Age of Pisces. The Age of Aries, roughly from 2500-250 BC, ushered in an era of dominance, warfare, conquest, and mythological heroes such as Ulysses, Hercules, the Titans and Vikings. The legend of Aries, symbolized by the Ram, expresses the attributes of power and dominion as exemplified in ancient Egypt, Persia, and later in the rise and fall of the Roman and Greek empires where the "rule of the day" was control of the masses by a central figure backed by a powerful military. As early as 1350 BC the Arian Age ushered in efforts to replace polytheism with monotheism in ancient Egypt, and also in Judaism through the two key spiritual figures of Abraham and Moses. The Old Testament, recorded during the Arian Age, has many references to "lamb (ram) sacrifice." Other examples of "Ram" symbology during this period are found in the story of Ulysses and the Golden Fleece, in the Egyptian solar deity "Ra", in the beloved Egyptian pharaoh Ramses, and in the Passover lamb used as an object of sacrifice in contrast to the former "calf or bull worship" of the preceding Taurean Age.
The symbol for the succeeding Age of Pisces, which is still very active today, is two fish swimming in opposite directions bound together by a golden cord. This symbol portrays the timeless human dilemma between alternating realities of space and time, spirit and body, the real and the unreal, and immortality and mortality. Pisces represents mankind's longing for spiritual connection and wholeness and the universal longing to transcend material burdens and cares, to quest for something more, to surrender to a higher power, to sacrifice and serve, and to believe and partake of something transcendent, through aspiration, devotion, faith and idealism.
Piscean fish symbolism was common in ancient civilizations and is still prominent in many religions today. The Hindu Goddess Kali is known as the "fish-eyed one" and the Great Mother Kuan Yin is often depicted in the shape of a fish. In the Gospel teachings of the New Testament there are many references to fish symbolism. Jesus of Nazareth chose several fishermen as his disciples and later referred to his disciples as "fishers of men." In the Bible, Jesus fed the throngs with "five loaves and two fish." The outline of a fish was also used to identify early Christians, and the secret password "fish" was utilized to avoid religious persecution during the Roman period. The fish symbol is still affixed to the Pope's miter and has recently re-emerged in popular culture in the form of bumper stickers and metal castings which connote certain branches of Christianity in the world.
The transition from a remote and vengeful God and sovereign in the Arian Age, to the individual quest for enlightenment, spiritual relationship or union with God in the Piscean Age, sparked the simultaneous births of several major religions—Buddhism, Confucianism, and Christianity—roughly between the period of 550 BC--50 AD, which later created an upsurge in religious and monastic orders that revered purity, chastity, charity, devotion, sacrifice and martyrdom. It also brought about the Crusades and other forms of religious intolerance which in turn generated many secret orders such as the Templars, Rosicrucians and Gnostics. The overall impact of the Piscean Age is very apparent in the existence of over 22 major religions in the world today, with thousands of branches, divisions and sects.
There is a serious debate among astrologers as to the specific onset of the Aquarian Age but there is general agreement that it has been gestating and emerging over the last few centuries, possibly since the onset of the Industrial Revolution, which interestingly coincided with the discovery of Uranus, the planetary ruler of Aquarius, in 1781. Many subsequent manifestations of Aquarian-like inventions and developments such as evolutionary theory, electricity, computers and the internet indicate the budding infancy of this incoming age although full maturation will not occur until the 27th century.
For many people "The Age of Aquarius" almost instantly brings to mind songs from the 1967 hit musical "Hair," and popularized versions of the "New Age" are everywhere—on the newsstands, in book stores, in music genres, and in an array of spiritual groups and movements, all of which may seem trivial yet oddly serve as a kind of noisy proclamation that the New Age has begun. As one author points out, "The vision in men's minds today is that of the Aquarian Age, even if they recognize it not."[i]
The constellation of Aquarius is in the form of a water carrier figure pouring water from an urn which is why Aquarius is called the sign of the Waterbearer. Metaphorically this depiction conveys the downpour of life-giving manna or divine sustenance from heaven to all of creation. We can see the practical manifestation of this not only in the quantity, but in the kinds of enlightened inventions, discoveries, and innovations in the Modern Age.
The glyph for Aquarius is two wavy lines atop one another which look like moving water or electrical currents. This symbol connotes fluidity and movement, which is why Aquarius anatomically rules the circulatory system in the human body. The circulatory system serves to carry life-giving sustenance to all the cells within the body just as, on a larger scale, the incoming energy of the Age of Aquarius, as the planetary Waterbearer, will foster the conditions and activities which will fortify and nourish all of mankind.
Aquarius has long been associated with universal brotherhood, humanity, teamwork, and group relations; hence the Aquarian Age is kindling a new spirit of international dialogue, cooperation and collaboration. The innate tendency of Aquarius toward coherence, synthesis, networking and interdependence is fueling corporate mergers, global alliances, unions, and intercontinental initiatives and organizations. A powerful example of this can be found in the formation of the United Nations whose mission thus far has been largely humanitarian and peacekeeping, but inherently serves to ultimately form a structural basis for future world governance. Aquarius' proclivity toward fusion and unification is also apparent in the number of civil and human rights movements in the last century, in the increasing emphasis on equal opportunity, in the proliferation of international initiatives, in an increasingly interdependent global economy, in the escalation of philanthropy and charitable giving, and more recently in the emphasis on global warming, world hunger, and pandemics.
The keynote of Uranus, the planetary ruler of Aquarius, is radical progress and change. Uranus is powerfully energizing, creating an almost frenetic rhythm and pace in today's world, which is causing an accelerated growth cycle, a quickening, and an enormous pressure on modern society to adapt and evolve. The entire planet is undergoing a kind of forcing process intent on awakening us to our interconnectedness and oneness. As one author aptly describes, "Uranus is the corrective force of Nature Herself."[ii]
The pace of the emerging culture is apparent in the acceleration of scientific advances occurring at quantum speed and into quantum realms. The planetary ring-pass-not is expanding to include more of the solar system, the galaxy, and universe, and humanity is rapidly cohering and melding together into a definite world culture. Not only are individuals and groups becoming increasingly global and international in scope and viewpoint, but the internet has linked a large portion of humanity in a worldwide network. New terms and understandings are arising—consciousness, the mind-body-spirit connection, emotional intelligence, critical mass, the tipping point—at no time in modern history has humanity collectively been more learned and psychologically self-aware.
Mythologically, Uranus is primordial God and ruler of the sky who presides over space and Aquarius is considered the quintessential sign of science and technology. Together, their influence is having a revolutionary impact on science in the areas of power and fuel sources, electricity and electromagnetism, physics, aeronautics and modern technology. Profound advancements have already taken place in the realms of inner and outer space that are dramatically changing our view of the universe and our relationship with it. Over the past century new understandings of human psychology have skyrocketed right along with increased awareness of outer, galactic and universal space dimensions—which are all indicative of a departure from the subjective and insular orientation of the past.
By its very nature the Aquarian Age carries the seeds of an enlightened society that is more impersonal, yet genuinely altruistic. Beyond the achievement of further innovations and discoveries, the ultimate hope of this era is the actualization of the "Brotherhood of Man" and the revelation of the Oneness of all of life. There will be a natural migration toward subtler dimensions and celestial realms, and away from materialism and isolation. Science and spirituality will merge in profound ways, the Spirit of the Gospels will be favored over literal translations, and every major religion will come to be valued and appreciated in context of an historical "continuity of revelation."[iii] Mutual tolerance and broadmindedness will be encouraged and held in high esteem, and the "will of the people" will serve as a supreme governing principle and collective influence over the affairs of Earth.
Although perspectives on the Aquarian Age vary greatly, noticing and observing the broad, overarching trends of the past century provide clues to the emerging culture. Much that was envisioned in the Age of Pisces will materialize in the Aquarian Age. Past longings for spiritual connection will consummate in concrete, scientific evidence of our spiritual nature and vital interconnectedness. Self-consciousness and individual interests will give way to group consciousness and group welfare. Unitedly, humanity will serve as a powerful, transformative tool in creating a more civilized and humane society. More and more we will be educated in sustainability, in the new green economy, and sanity and balance between human activities and earth's life support systems will be restored. Increasingly we will become more conscious of the everyday impact we have on one another, and will be held to a higher standard of mutual accountability.
Critical turning points in history are never easy. We can look at times of major change in our individual lives and multiply that by seven billion (the current world population) to get just a glimpse of the magnitude of change that is currently underway. Although the turbulence in today's world is distressing and sometimes even alarming, we can and must take heart in the fact that these are all quite natural effects of an epic metamorphosis whose sole purpose is "the urge to better conditions."[iv] What we can do of a practical nature is join hands and strengthen one another. We can act in small and large ways to embrace this new era of mutual responsibility, and we can cultivate and nurture the seeds of a better world, and in doing so claim our rightful place as responsible and conscious global citizens on the threshold of a new frontier.