“This is the dawning of the age of Aquarius” goes the song – and as I’m an astrologer of a certain age this is going to be my earworm for the new age. The Moon may not be in the seventh house but Jupiter is certainly about to align with Mars (in a tense square aspect – coming soon to a universe near you) and I’m not at all certain that peace is guiding the planet in 2020 especially as Mars is in Aries for an extended stay and will soon be in retrograde.
I seem to have been writing about revolution for the past year or so as we’ve seen major shifts not just in the heavens but here on earth too. From the Uranus transit in Taurus to the major transiting stellium in Capricorn and even Neptune’s drift through Pisces, events are pointing us towards only one conclusion – and that is things are changing and changing for good – even if, for many of us, things don’t seem that good right now.
So, in this post, I’m going to take a look at what we mean by the age of Aquarius and how the shift to a new epoch could affect us all in the years to come. To get a handle on this we need to understand the importance of that shift, not just in terms of earthly events, but in our consciousness too, as enlightenment is the most Aquarian thing of all.
What do we mean by the Age of Aquarius?
To answer that question, I’ll begin with this. Astrology divides history and time into ‘great ages’ (epochs) based on the precession of the equinoxes through the constellations that form the signs of the zodiac. That is a short description of something way more complex than I have time for here, but put simply, as the equinoxes progress through the signs, they stay in each one for a period of just over 2000 years. During this period, the sign in which they are based has, in astrological terms, a critical influence on our civilisations and cultures here on the Earth.
That’s a huge concept to get your head around, and it’s not made any easier by the fact that the equinoxes precess ‘backwards’ around the zodiac so the astrological age before Aquarius was Pisces. However, that does help us to understand what is meant by the huge shifts in human consciousness and civilisations that take place when the equinoxes move from sign to sign. It helps even more if we, again, keep things simple and look at the age of Pisces as an example of what is meant by the influence of a sign on our history.
During the age of Pisces (the past 2000 years) we saw the rise of Christianity (with the sign of the fish) and Islam, faiths which have, as a central tenet, the notions of heaven and a life beyond this one. Heaven is surely a Piscean construct and it’s no accident that some astrologers date the beginning of the Pisces age to around the time of the birth of Jesus and the development of religions where faith, peace and universal love are at their core.
I’m not a religious person so this example is simply to illustrate a basic point, and it’s this. An astrological epoch sets the tone for mankind. It’s not overt, it’s background noise. And, given the timespan involved, it truly is a process of gradual evolution where we, as a species, develop in accordance with the principles of the sign involved. Evolution always involves change and with change there is always tension. We see this played out in the way in which world events unfold. Religion, after all, has also been the cause of more wars than we can count.
So it should go without saying that the shift from one astrological ‘great age’ to another is a monumental event as each epoch marks a distinct phase in human history. If we look back through time we can see astrological ‘great ages’ mark all significant shifts in human development and consciousness according to the zodiac sign involved. There’s a good article here with more detail on that but briefly we can see how things have moved on since the dawn of human existence.
The great age of Cancer saw the first human settlements, agriculture and villages, Gemini gave us writing and the wheel, Taurus the cult of the bull (as well as art, jewellery and money) and Aries saw the expansion of power by conquest, the development of the sporting arena (the original Olympic games) and glorification of martial prowess. So, if the age of Pisces saw the world dominated by values based on religion and by the power of religion and other ideologies – what can we expect from the age of Aquarius and when will it happen?
When does the Age of Aquarius begin?
The simple answer to the second part of that question – when will it happen – is we don’t know exactly. There are arguments that it began at the beginning of the 20th century and other arguments that it’s yet to come. However, we need to remember it’s a process and each astrological ‘great age’ transitions in over a long period of time. I may be an outlier here, but I think we have been transitioning into age of Aquarius for some time – and this is why.
A couple of hundred years is a short time in an astrological epoch but when we look at history we see that most of our scientific and technological innovations have happened in that time. Pisces and Aquarius have co-existed during that period to push human civilisation to another level. Think about sail boats and steamships and hot air balloons leading to human flight and you will understand how Neptunian inspiration underpins scientific innovation. Science was born of magic after all.
However, it’s in the 20th century that things moved on. We live in an age of full on technology – liberated by the taming of electricity (which began about two hundred years ago). But Aquarius is about more than technology. Aquarius is about society too. About two hundred years ago we also entered the age of social revolution. Independence, liberation and freedom of thought are key to the ‘enlightenment’ and everything from the American and French revolutions to the cultural revolutions of the 1960’s and 1970’s resonates (literally) with the age of Aquarius.
So, are we there yet? The importance of 2020 can’t be underestimated because it feels like this year is the dividing line between the past and the future – and perhaps is the year the transition period ends and we find ourselves firmly in the age of Aquarius. If that’s so, what are the astrological signs? Well, we have significant transits about to enter Aquarius. The ‘Great Conjunction’ of Jupiter and Saturn (itself a marker for great change) is exact in Aquarius at the end of the year – and Pluto enters that sign in 2023. If it’s not the age of Aquarius then it’s certainly going to feel like it.
Why will the Age of Aquarius bring revolution?
The question to ask is why would it do otherwise? Uranus ruled Aquarius is the sign of revolution. We have been having revolutions of all kinds for the past couple of hundred years or so. Agricultural, industrial, social, cultural, technological – and so it will continue. The notion of a process of change is itself an Aquarian concept. This may seem hard to believe, but someone had to develop ‘process’ as a concept in order for us to get our heads around the notion of evolutionary changes – of all kinds. Darwin would have been lost without it.
So, when we think of ‘revolution’ what do we mean? It’s not simply change in an organic sense. Aquarian revolution is the type of change that makes possible the things we previously considered impossible. The age of Aquarius, therefore, will be an epoch that begins with a few things being turned on their heads to say the least. In true Uranian style, that process is already underway. The internet has changed our lives to an amazing degree – in good and less good ways. What we are now going to have to deal with is our human and social changes – and that’s an Aquarian matter too.
How will the Age of Aquarius affect us?
Aquarius is the most social sign in that it deals with things that concern us all and so it goes beyond those things that are simply personal. Post 2020 we’ll be leaving an old world behind – but what does that imply? At the most basic level, we will experience ‘a new normal’, itself a phrase that has gained currency in the past few months. But what does that mean? None of us can speak for two thousand years hence, but we can have a pretty good idea of what may be in store in the not too distant future – though be aware the age of Aquarius will be full of Uranian shocks and surprises.
First, it would be useful to remind ourselves of the things we associate with Aquarius. Essentially, Aquarius is concerned with the new. So, revolution, rebellion and shocks are as likely as originality, progress and innovation. However the age of Aquarius manifests, one thing is certain. The past is left behind and we will experience new ways of being and new ways of doing things that affect every area of our lives. So look out for the following (and in Aquarian/Uranian style, some of these things may be with us already)
- Emphasis on group membership, tribal loyalties, social divisions, shifts in political allegiances.
- Political extremists, cult figures, iconoclastic individuals, powerful individuals.
- New ways of doing politics, new politicians, new political groups reflecting a change in society.
- Libertarians opposed by collectives in all walks of life – politics, employment, health, welfare, environment etc.
- Humanitarian principles, ecological concerns, equality concerns.
- Freedom and independence – do they mean what we think they mean?
- Individual rights versus collective responsibilities.
- Responding to humanitarian and environmental concerns with innovative technological responses.
- Scientific and technological progress versus the people.
- Science and technology for the benefit of the people.
- Technology based social structures.
- Environmental changes require ingenuity and inventive responses.
- Revolution against science and technology taking control.
- Scientific and technological progress has unintentional spin off effects.
- Rational, logical decision making versus extremist fanaticism.
The list is potentially endless – and may seem contradictory in parts – however, contradictory is going to be a feature of the age of Aquarius so we had better get used to it. The new age may be about change but the real emphasis will be how we respond to it – and how we align ourselves in future years. Will we be receptive to future possibilities or inflexible? Aquarius is a fixed sign so opinions on that are likely to be entrenched.
Taking sides may be a real issue in the coming years. We are already seeing challenges to authority and changes in the nature of authority in many countries. What the Age of Aquarius implies is that our revolutions may have unexpected results. One of the biggest surprises may be revolutions against so called revolutionaries. In the age of Aquarius we may be pushed to the extremes in every department – and the outcome will be unlike anything that went before. Or maybe not. With Aquarius a surprise is always a possibility.
© Sara Shipman 2020
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