Last week's factsheet on the Age of Aquariuscommonly referred to as the 'New Age'was intended to present an introduction to one of the most well-known and misunderstood concepts in pop astrology. We've all heard of the Age of Aquarius, thanks to the '60s song from the musical Hair, but most people don't know what the Age is or when it started/will start. As I said last week, because of the long duration of each astrological Age (over 2,100 years) and the imprecision of boundaries between stellar constellations, we cannot say for certainty exactly when the Age of Pisces ends and the Age of Aquarius begins. It is enough to know that we are right nowand for the entire length of our lifetimeon the cusp, or border, between the two Ages.
As for what the Age of Aquarius 'means' or is likely to bring this is a much bigger and more complex question. We are speaking about no less than a major global paradigm shift, along the lines of which we haven't seen since approximately 100 B.C.-0 A.D., when Jesus was alive. Over the course of this cusp period, we can expect qualities associated with the sign Aquarius to become prevailing societal traits. And because Aquarius is seen as an all-men-and-women-are-equal, we-all-have-a-social-responsibility type of fair and altruistic energy, lots of folks have been pretty excited about the coming of this New Age. Events of the last century including the World Wars, the social unrest of the 1960s, and the rapid proliferation of technology were the most striking beacons that this transition was underway.
Aquarius is a highly social sign, linked to large groups and organizations and systems of people, through which differences are brought together in mutual respect and synthesis. To that degree, the reforms we've seen in equal rights for people of all genders, races, religions and sexual orientations are likely to continue to develop into the New Age. As people are brought together, I would expect more federations and agreements between countries (such as the newly formed European Union and other free-trade treaties) to be created, perhaps leading toward a more unified single 'world government' system. This type of 'new world order' is at once an exciting utopic prospect and a scary big-brother-esque one. Yet, as the recent US military involvement in Iraq has proven, at this point in history, it is hardly possible for war to erupt without much of the world becoming involved, whether through alliances or the UN or public opinion playing out in the global media.
Technology is one of the main avenues through which the world has become smaller, and not surprisingly, scientific and technological savvy is one of the hallmarks of Aquarius. If I focus on just one Aquarian technology, the television, and ponder how its introduction during the middle of last centuryduring my parents' childhoodhas completely changed the world wow, it boggles the mind! Yes, this thought has been thought so many times, it almost ceases to have the power it should. But this shift is undeniably huge! Not to mention all the other additions to life that have come since I was a child: personal computers, CDs, DVDs, voice mail, email, internet, cell phones that play music and take pictures, blah blah blah. We cannot underemphasize these enormous changes in such short time spans, even as we navigate them with such blasé acceptance. (My web-based astrology career could not have existed a mere ten years ago, when I didn't even have email yet!) We should expect such technology-driven turns to continue revolutionizing life as the Age of Aquarius comes into full light, especially in areas like space exploration (Pres. Bush had a lot to say about that last week!), cutting-edge physics (how many dimensions are there anyway?), and the fusion of computer and biological technologies (that's right, computers in our bodies!).
Again, there is something about the terms used to hail the Age of Aquarius that is both inspiring and terrifying. So much wonderful promise for the extension of our rights, our life spans, our possibilities to encounter experiences beyond our wildest dreams are simply part of what is to come. And at the same time, the very ideas raise major ethical questions about whether there should be limits to technological research, issues that complicate the notion of what even constitutes 'life'. (Here is a great article from Wired about one technologist's reservations about where the future's headed.) Naturally, when these 'big' questions like 'what is life?' and 'should we playing God?' come up with regards to technology, it threatens to topple the stability of religious institutionsand they're going to have something to say about it.
I've linked here to an evangelical Christian site that offers its own synopsis of the major teachings of the New Age, and I recommend checking it out. But I present this alternative viewpoint not to mock those who adhere to it, though I may personally disagree with the values of its authors. No, on the contrary, I believe this article does a respectable job at summarizing certain New Age principlesGod is an impersonal cosmic energy force, all religions lead to the same goal, sin and evil do not exist, peace and love are the ultimate reality. It's just that, for many fundamentalist Christians, these principles are evidence of the ascension of the Devil to power. And that must be scary as hell for them (pun absolutely intended)!
What's important for us as compassionate individuals to grasp is how much understandable fear and anxiety is generated by the ongoing shift in astrological ages, between the Piscean Age of religiosity and the Aquarian Age of humanity, technology and more 'unorthodox' spiritual practices. I must stress this fact because deep emotionality and irrational passion are not traits with which Aquarius is particularly comfortable, though they exist for Pisces in spades. The Age of Aquarius will not be a perfect age of peace and love, nor will it be a dystopic nightmare. Life will be better in some ways, harder in other ways but it will be different.
It makes sense that, during the transition, religious unrestturmoil in the Catholic Church, the rise of Christian and Muslim fundamentalism, conflict and terror motivated by religious difference in India, Indonesia, America, you-name-the-placewill be a regular state of affairs. It's all part of the evolution toward eventually accepting our differences and realizing, yes, all religions do lead to the same goal, just as fundamentalists of different varieties fear.
With the recent entrance of Uranus into Pisces last month (to stay through 2011), we now live to witness the mutual reception of Uranus and Neptunewhich means that these two outer planets are traveling through each other's ruling signs. Uranus in Pisces, Neptune in Aquarius. These two planetary ambassadors now sit in the same two signs, Pisces and Aquarius, as the 'old' Age and the 'new' Age. As I've written before, I view this period, now through 2011, as when a major transition is going to occur, during which the values of both Ages will be emphasized and potentially clash with one another. I promise, you won't believe what your life will be like by 2011, even if it seems so far away.
And this week, the Sun moves into the sign of Aquarius, meeting up for a New Moon in this sign of the New Age on Wednesday. What a good time to imagine your best-case scenario of the next several years, as Aquarius is the future-thinking visionary. The more concretely you think it, write it down, hope it and dream it, the more likely you'll end up living it too.