The Age Of Aquarius - An Introduction
Perhaps you have heard the phrase, “This is the dawning of the Age of Aquarius,” the famous song title form the musical Hair in the 60's.
What exactly does this mean?
Aquarius is an air sign, a thinking sign. This despite the ancient image for the celestial constellation of Aquarius which features a man pouring out water. What is presented by the "water bearer" is the notion of "humankind," the human race collectively, without reference to gender. In ancient Chaldea the constellation Aquarius was drawn on stones as a human pouring out water. In some old star atlases the water flows directly into the mouth of the next sign, Pisces (the Fish). The water is symbolic of celestial waters and could have its origins with the rainy season. On a symbolic level, the water can be seen as Aquarius quenching our thirst for knowledge.
Think in Dualities
There is an ancient astrological and philosophical notion that every two thousand years humankind shifts into a new age. Such a shift is now underway: from the Age of Pisces (the fish) to Aquarius (the water bearer). Part of this idea is that during each such era the opposite astrological constellation is equally present in the signs of the times. The concept is that during each such period humanity struggles to reconcile the polarities contained in the oppositional tension.
Lets remember some of the key words associated with Pisces and Virgo to see how this applies. For Pisces we find these words: helping, mystical, saving, imaginative, unworldly, vague, lost compassion, dreamer, timid, impractical. For Virgo we find these words: Exact, routine, hygienic, labels, organizes, clean, overcritical, pedantic, industrious, humane, skeptical and picky.
Now think of some core dualities of the last two millennia: Religion vs. Science. Belief vs. Rationality. Creationism vs. Evolution. The all-powerful Church with its beliefs of the 15th century vs. Galileo with his telescope and science. Astrologers and symbolists often associate the past two-thousand years with Christianity's rise as it was arguably the most driving force in changing the face of the world during this time. We make this association by noting the congruency between Christianity and the words we use to describe Pisces. In addition, one of the lasting symbols for Christians has been the fish. From using a fish carved in the sand as a secret symbol to recognize fellow believers in ancient days, to plastic fish stuck to the back of minivans, to eating fish on Friday, to Jesus calling his disciples "fishers of men." You can continue this exercise yourself.
Thinking of the future, we can look at the key words of the new duality emerging in our times. For Aquarius we find: Independent, inventive, friendly, loyal, honest, aloof, contrary, cold, tolerant, scientific, radical, impersonal. For Leo we read: Royal, playful, dramatic, informal, sovereign, fun, pompous, patronizing, dignified, romantic, vain, autocratic, cruel.
From Water To Air, From Neptune To Uranus
We need to know two more things. First, Pisces is a water sign and emotionality is the main way of expressing that. Aquarius is an air sign, so mental faculties, thinking and ideas are the main way of expressing this. Second, each sign has a ruler. Once again we turn to the cheat sheet and see that Pisces is ruled by Neptune (Lord of Dreams) and Aquarius by Uranus (our Inner Disturber). If we are thinking symbolically and looking for clues in the world to understand our new age, we can look for Uranian evidence. On my Uranus page you will find for his key words: Electricity, intuition, ideas, brilliance, change, flying, shocking, exploration, space flight, future, different, absurd, independence, rebellion, artificial intelligence, genetic engineering, cell phones, the internet, technology, and whacky.
Now use your imagination and ask yourself how you see the Aquarius-Leo duality emerging. Here are some thoughts to get you going. Globalization on all levels makes us aware that we are all on a small planet. We are human beings first, intertwined environmentally, economically, and increasingly genetically, and only then from a particular country or race. These are strong Aquarian/Uranian symbols. At the same time a huge number of people are on a personal quest, in therapy, discovering their true nature and so on. How many of your grandparents went out to "find themselves"?? Worshiping our "royal self" is acutely Leo behavior. Then there is the difference of the whole notion of ownership, currently fought out in the media rights world. New and revolutionary technology, called bit-torrent links computers all over the world and makes everyone give some part to the whole. If, for instance, you are looking for a song online, you don't get it from one source the way you used to. Instead you get tiny pieces from perhaps hundreds of other computer users and once you have it, you too become a source for others to get pieces of that song anywhere in the world. This completely turns the notion of ownership, a very Leo (the King owns everything) notion, upside down because now the masses (Aquarius) own the material. This is such a fundamental change to our notions of ownership and creative copyright (also Leo concepts) that we don't have the tools yet to grasp their significance.
These are just a few ideas to spur your own creative mind into this kind of thinking.
Why would you care?
For two reasons (at least). First, it helps us on a daily basis to understand the signs of the times. Human beings have always tried to understand the context of their lives to the times. Second, you can make a personal difference in bringing the Aquarius/Leo duality into your personal expression of unity. We need only look to our past to see what the consequences of Pisces/Virgo duality have brought to the world. The struggle still rages today on many levels. The Pisces age is by no means over. This is the dawning of a new age.
A new Vision
Joseph Campbell, in The Power of Myth said that we have no myths that include all human beings. Instead, most myths are based on an “in-group” and an “out-group”. He describes the old world view [text in brackets added by me]:
"Love and compassion are reserved for the in-group, and aggression and abuse are projected outward on others. Compassion is to be reserved for members of your own group… [Leo means I'm from a particular tribe]. Now, today there is no out-group anymore on the planet. And the problem of a modern religion is to have such compassion work for the whole of humanity [in the Age of Aquarius we are all physically one and extraordinarily interconnected]."
"When you see the earth from the moon, you don’t see any divisions there of nations or states. This might be the symbol, really, for the new mythology to come. That is the country that we are going to be celebrating. And those are the people that we are one with."
We need a new vision for our times, an idea that will allow us to think of Aquarius and Leo in unity as opposed to a duality. I have coined the idea of a Society of Kings. This implies that each of us indeed follows a self exploratory path, whatever direction it takes and applying whatever method works for us. When we have found our identity and perhaps even reached a certain level of consciousness, then we get together as a society. Fairytales never speak of a room full of kings. This is new imagery for our psyche and does not come easily. It implies that we are all aware of our royal nature (Leo), yet remain on equal footing (Aquarius) with everybody else. In the end, we are all human beings.
If you want to learn more
Top 8 Reasons why the Age of Aquarius is Upon us Now
There is some debate about when the Age of Aquarius begins. Perhaps you have heard the lyrics from the musical "Hair" This is the Dawning of the Age of Aquarius. Ray Grasse wisely states that we can argue over if dawn is when we see the first rays of the sun, or when the sun has risen over the horizon. Instead, we should look at the clearly Aquarian symbolism that is emerging around us. Here is a top list of those symbols in our times.
1) The Internet and Networking
Interconnectivity is everywhere. This is one of the key words for the Age of Aquarius. Computers around the globe talk to each other now 24/7. When your refrigerator has the capacity to alert your cell phone that you are out of milk, then this age is certainly upon us. Can you even remember a time before cell phones? The ubiquitous interconnectivity between us also comes with a very high price: constant availability, loss of quiet time, the speeding up of life and "living next to each other." People walk around detached and aloof, talking on the phone or wearing headphones.
2) Technology Everywhere
With technology omnipresent in our lives today we are experiencing Aquarius daily as technology belongs to this sign. From the delights of internet access on your Sidekick at Starbucks to the nightmares of electronic identity theft, phone tapping, and electronic election machine tampering. Have you ever picked up the remote to answer the phone, or dialed in a phone number in the microwave? Information overload becomes a new problem.
3) Democratized Media
Almost everyone with a cell phone today can shoot video. Amateur videographers are blogging millions of hours of video footage on the internet. Everyone is just a click away from exposure. Viewers can circumvent mainstream news channels and see video streams on issues such as:
Unedited war zone footage
Police misconduct video
Personal 15 minutes of fame footage
In the early 1960s the Swedish car manufacturer Volvo discovered that the overall satisfaction and productivity of its workers and also the quality of its product increased dramatically when small teams assembled a car bumper-to-bumper instead of one worker doing a repetitive task all day. This is a good example of the effectiveness of the cell idea. The notion of decentralized small cells that work for the good of the whole is a most Aquarian idea. This model is also used by terrorists. Such cells are near impossible to track. There is no head. It is a matrix, a net that repairs itself, not a top-down organization.
5) Science Advances Faster Than Ethics
Some of the consequences of the fast advances of science and technology, some of the ways we are trying to catch up with the arrival of the Age of Aquarius, is our ethical dilemmas with issues such as:
media distribution on-line and copyright laws
6) Space Exploration
Space exploration belongs to Aquarius. As extraordinary pictures from distant planets have reached our living rooms, as probes have measured, landed on and photographed distant corners of the universe, as the space station is being increasingly inhabited and as serious talk about living on the moon and flying a person to Mars are explored, the Age of Aquarius is truly upon us. It is noteworthy that Joseph Campbell's ideas quoted above, the idea that we see the world as a whole (from the moon), would not have been possible without space flight, which is an Aquarian symbol.
7) The Emergence of a Human Race
Despite a very real recent surge of nationalism around the world (see Rwanda, the Balkans, Iraq) with lines drawn along religious and ethnic barriers, the world is increasingly blending and a new human race is emerging. We are only at the beginning of a 2000 year age and much more is yet to come. Interfaith, interracial, same-sex and other modern ways of coupling are becoming increasingly the norm. While the old guard may claim that this is the end of the world as we know it, in a sense they are right. However, there is a New Age, an Aquarian Age dawning. The question as to how you as an individual fit into mankind as a whole becomes increasingly important. The notion that the whole works only if you do your part. This is the idea behind democracy (for instance with voting), carbon footprints, and individual responsibility. The 2008 Beijing Olympics opening ceremony, under the most Aquarian banner "One World, One Dream" demonstrated this excellently: If you saw the astonishing movement of these boxes in perfect synchronous movement, like pixels on a giant three-dimensional screen, you might have wondered what the mechanics were that made this happen. Waves were flowing to music, letters and numbers popped up, and the smooth movements were flawless.
When the whole performance was over, it was revealed to the audience, that these massively coordinated and synchronistic movements were performed by individuals under the boxes. The whole cannot function without the cooperation of the individual. We are each part of making the whole work.
8) Global Problems
"Global" is a key Aquarian word and we see it everywhere. You could call it a modern buzzword. There are global problems today and no country can isolate itself from the world anymore. There is no more place to hide on this shrinking world. A true Aquarian slogan is "Good Planets Are Hard To Find."
Consider this excellent article by Sepp Rothwangl: Considerations About the Start of the Age of Aquarius to learn more about when the Aquarian Age begins.