"This is the dawning of the Age of Aquarius" (from musical "Hair," Broadway
The Aquarian Conspiracy by Margot Adler, first published 1980
"Independent, humanist, original, creative, genius, rebellious, eccentric, intuition, altruism, sociability, versatility"-- Keywords for Aquarius 2
The concept of the Age of Aquarius rests on astrological and New Age beliefs
about the attributes of the zodiac signs.3 To more fully understand current New
Age thinking about the Age of Aquarius, a glimpse at the meanings behind
Aquarius and astrology itself, will be helpful.4 [Note: The explanations that
follow do not indicate endorsement of these ideas.]
Aquarius is a Zodiac sign,5 the name of the 11th of the 12 constellations, and is symbolized as the Water-Bearer, a man pouring water from an urn or pitcher.
The 12 signs are divided into the four elements of air, earth, water, and fire. Although known as the sign of the Water-Bearer, Aquarius is an air sign; therefore, it is related to the mind.
Aquarius is a fixed sign, as opposed to the qualities of cardinal (initiating) or mutable (dissolving). That is, it occurs in the middle of its season, and is viewed as more concentrated and immovable in essence.
Falling in the final quadrant of the zodiac puts Aquarius in the collective arena of relationships, so Aquarius is tied to organizations, large scale enterprises (societal and global), humanitarian efforts, innovation, and group identity.
The ruling planet Uranus imbues Aquarius with the attributes of innovation, breaking down structures, rebellion, visionary goals, new technology, equality, and collective good. Prior to the discovery of Uranus in the 18th century, Aquarius' ruling planet was Saturn (still considered a co-ruler with Uranus), which gives Aquarius unyielding and cold aspects as well. These traits are based on an astrological worldview, some traditional and some contemporary, including influences from Carl Jung and psychology.6
The personal application of Aquarius is through an individual's birth chart;
the collective application to humanity is through the alleged Zodiac Ages. These
are the Ages of the twelve zodiac signs through which the earth passes as the
North Pole shifts towards a new constellation approximately every 2,000 years,
which are called the astrological ages or World Ages.
Technical explanation: Due to a slight wobble of the earth's axis, the North Pole does not move consistently back to the same beginning point in a constellation, but approximately to a position one minute of arc earlier. This occurs in a reverse shift through the zodiac belt, so the earth moves backwards from Aries to Pisces to Aquarius to Capricorn to Sagittarius, etc., rather than the forward order normal to the zodiac. It takes about 26,000 years for the earth to pass through all twelve zodiac constellations. This period of time is called the Great Year.
Astrologers and many with New Age beliefs hold that the birth of Christ ushered
in the Age of Pisces, and since the 2,000 years of that Age have now passed, the
Age of Pisces is giving way to the Age of Aquarius. Astrologers and others
dispute the exact starting point of the Aquarian Age, but all agree that we have
entered it or are in the process of doing so.
The Age of Pisces was a time when humanity was theoretically learning the Piscean lessons of compassion, sacrifice, spirituality over materialism, and universal love, as well as being a time of purging away negative Piscean features such as surrender, isolation, and fanaticism. The positive Pisces qualities were allegedly modeled and taught by the New Age/astrological Jesus.7
So what are the hopes for the Age of Aquarius for those who believe in it?
Aquarius offers new patterns and new visions. Since its planet Uranus follows
the structured and controlled Saturn, Aquarius is seen as a force for breaking
up old structures that have hardened or become useless. The outer guru in the
Age of Pisces now becomes the inner teacher. Hierarchy breaks down under
Aquarius into brotherhood and equality. The group takes precedence over the
individual, though this exists in tension with the strong Aquarian
non-conformity. Androgyny overcomes gender distinctions. The old consciousness
of divinity as "other" gives way to the new consciousness of inner divinity.
Duality becomes unity.
The shift into a new consciousness is usually tied to the idea that physical global changes (floods, earthquakes, major storms) will effectively purge the planet of those not yet ready for the Aquarian evolution. Hence the strong New Age interest in the Mayan calendar regarding 2012, and the interpretations that this would mark a shift in world consciousness. Because of belief in reincarnation, one assumes that the people lost during the global destruction will simply reincarnate at a later time when it is more suitable and they are ready.8
The global changes will parallel or precede an evolutionary leap in the use of the mind (including psychic abilities), technology, world peace, and global social equality. The so-called Indigo Children, born since 1978 with indigo auras and supposedly "super" mental powers and creativity, are a part of this shift. Some believe these children will develop into leaders of the Aquarian Age.9
Many who embrace New Age beliefs view the Aquarian Age as a Golden Age of spiritual advancement, total equality, and unparalleled achievements for humanity. They recognize the "dark side" of Aquarius as well -- coldness, subsuming individuals for the sake of the group, turning freedoms into mandates or structures, and other possible flaws. However, the ruling co-planet Saturn allegedly keeps the rebellious Uranus from sparking Aquarian energies into chaos. On the whole, there is excitement about being part of a generation entering a new Zodiac Age.
Since some of these changes are taking place, it appears that there may be
something to this astrology business. However, that is merely an illusion.
First, the Age of Aquarius is a concept of Western astrology, and superimposing
the Age of Aquarius on the culture is mainly a Western exercise applied to
Europe and North America.10
Secondly, since the time of Christ, pagan elements have waxed and waned in Western society, including during the Age of Pisces. As pagan outlooks re-emerge in the culture, many of the Aquarian traits seem to be highlighted. Androgyny, gender shifts, and fluid sexuality, for example, have been the feature of some ancient pagan gods and rituals.11 The resurfacing of these traits, often displayed in fashion and social issues, seem to be a sign of the Aquarian Age when, in actuality, it is merely making a reappearance suited to the context of the day.
Similarly, a swell in pantheism connected with the New Age and Neopagan religions like Wicca, as well as the infiltration of panentheism in the church, are echoes of past times and cultures when pantheism and panentheism were significant aspects (and still are in some cultures). The fact that these philosophies seem amplified now is merely part of the waxing and waning rhythm of pagan thought. From a Christian viewpoint, this is also part of the never-ending attack of the enemy on God's word, Christ, and the church.
All zodiac signs embrace the qualities of human nature, so it is not difficult to relate these signs to humanity's march through time. When examining the Age of Pisces, the default is to notice those aspects compatible with Pisces instead of the incompatible. The same holds true for the Age of Aquarius. It is also easy to dismiss the Aquarian qualities (and those of other zodiac signs) that existed during the Age of Pisces, and vice versa, if the desire is to believe in the validity of the World Ages.
First, the practice and worldview of astrology are totally unacceptable to
the living God. Astrology is a form of occult divination, and is forbidden and
denounced as such in many passages in the Bible. It is condemned explicitly in
Is. 47:13-14, and implicitly in passages condemning divination and worship of
the heavens (Deut. 4:19, 17:3, 18:9-12; 2 Kings 17:16; Jer. 10:2; Acts 7:42).
It should be emphasized that although many well known New Agers such as Neale Donald Walsh, Marianne Williamson, and James Redfield are creating organizations and websites as part of ushering in this Age, it is not a concerted, united effort to secretly introduce New Age beliefs. They are quite open about what they do and why they do it. Like anyone who believes their views can enhance society, they desire to spread their teachings.
Contemporary Western New Agers are notoriously individualist, usually do not like to conform or follow leaders, and do not work together well due to their diverse views. The New Age is a network of beliefs connected to and originating from older sources, many irreconcilable with each other. Since the New Age is very fluid, beliefs are always changing, discarding old terms and using new ones. It is not monolithic and has no centralized leaders or structure. If anything, the numerous New Age groups, branches, and cults are often dismissive or contemptuous of each other. Moreover, most people adopting New Age views are not even part of any group or move from one group to another.
Many New Agers vary vastly from each other in beliefs, and on how things should be done. They don't even use the same labels for themselves, or may not like the same teachers or books. (Most people involved in what is called the New Age do not even use that term). So New Agers can never unite because there is nothing to unite on. Therefore, there is no need to fear some kind of New Age plan or conspiracy. The real danger comes from New Age beliefs which have already infected mainstream culture in all areas: business, health, psychology, education, and sports.
The Christian response should be to know the biblical worldview based on God's word and to evaluate worldviews on that basis. Some Christians seemed to have been influenced by the Mayan 2012 prophecies, when, in fact, no Christian should have given that any legitimacy.
The creation tells us there is a Creator and creation in this way glorifies God (Rom. 1:20; Psalm 19:1). We should not look to creation for guidance, but to the Creator.
You are wearied with your many counsels; let them stand forth and save you, those who divide the heavens, who gaze at the stars, who at the new moons make known what shall come upon you. Behold, they are like stubble; the fire consumes them; they cannot deliver themselves from the power of the flame. Isaiah 47.13-14a 12
For all the gods of the peoples are idols, But the LORD made the heavens. Psalm 96:5
Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die. Do you believe this?" John 11.25-26
Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and there is no longer any sea. Rev. 21:1
1 I also served as President of the Metropolitan Atlanta Astrological Society,
1989-1990, and Chairperson of the Atlanta Board of Astrology Examiners, Atlanta,
GA, 1987-1989 (served on Board 1986-1989)..
3 Astronomy is the science of studying space and heavenly bodies; astrology is a form of divination that reads meaning in the sun, moon, planets, and some other heavenly bodies, in the belief that there is a relationship of their positions to people and events on earth.
4 See other articles by Marcia on astrology:
Profile of Astrology, http://www.watchman.org/profile/astropro.htm
5 The zodiac is "an imaginary band in the heavens centered on the ecliptic that encompasses the apparent paths of all the planets and is divided into 12 constellations or signs each taken for astrological purposes to extend 30 degrees of longitude" http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/zodiac.
6 See Watchman Expositor's Astrology Profile, by Marcia Montenegro, http://www.watchman.org/profile/astropro.htm
7 This was the Jesus I believed in; in fact, I wrote a series of articles for a New Age magazine on the Age of Pisces and the Jesus belonging to that time. For a Christian response to this, see CANA article, "The Piscean Jesus," http://christiananswersforthenewage.org/Articles_Pisean1.html
8 "The Mayan Prophecy of 2012," http://christiananswersforthenewage.org/Articles_MayanProphecy.html
9 Some of these children, although distinctions are made, are called Crystal or Rainbow Children. On Indigo Children, see "Are They Here to Save the World?" John Leland, New York Times, Jan. 12, 2006, http://www.nytimes.com/2006/01/12/fashion/thursdaystyles/12INDIGO.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0;
a CNN video report (11 minutes) on Indigo Children who claim to see angels and the dead, including an interview with an aura photographer, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cxjdaEvyguY (there are numerous YouTube videos on this topic); a skeptic's view of Indigo Children, http://www.skepdic.com/indigo.html; a New Age view from Doreen Virtue on Indigo, Rainbow, and Crystal Children, http://www.angeltherapy.com/article1.php
10 Chinese Astrology is an entirely different system; Vedic astrology, practiced in India, although having some similarity with Western astrology, has certain methodologies and interpretations different enough to set it apart from the astrology used primarily in Europe and North America.
11 Peter Jones, "Androgyny: The Pagan Sexual Ideal," http://truthxchange.com/articles/2000/09/01/androgyny-the-pagan-sexual-ideal/ (excellent Christian article); James M. Martin, "Gay and Bisexual Archetypes in Classical Mythology," http://www.philhine.org.uk/writings/flsh_gbarch.html (Pagan article); "Androgynous Gods, Androgynous Nouns, and the Invention of Heterosexuality in Ancient Rome," lecture given by Dr. Anthony Corbeill of the University of Kansas, http://calendar.creighton.edu/event?id=8092 (offers a description of the lecture but not the content)
12 "The words rendered here 'astrologers' (hoberey, shamayim) mean properly "the dividers of the heavens;" those who divided, or cut up the heavens for the purpose of augury, or to take a horoscope," http://biblehub.com/commentaries/isaiah/47-13.htm