Aquarius, Age of

Aquarius, Age of

(religion, spiritualism, and occult)

Aquarius is the eleventh sign of the Zodiac. The song "Age of Aquarius" from the rock musical Hair speaks of Earth entering into a new stage of religious development. Jeff Jawer, astrologer and founder of, writes:

The great ages are a result of the wobble of the Earth's pole on its axis. The cycle of approximately 26,000 years gives rise to twelve ages of about 2,160 years each. The beginning of an age occurs when the vernal equinox (sun at zero degrees of Aries) enters a new constellation. This precession of the equinoxes moves backward in the Zodiac, thus the shift from the twelfth sign Pisces (the fish) into the eleventh sign Aquarius. Due to conflicting interpretations on the boundaries of the constellations, there is a wide range of dates given as the beginning of the Age of Aquarius, from as early as the 1600's to as late as the 2400's. As with any slow cycle, it's likely that the transition process can cover a good deal of time, perhaps centuries.

According to astrologers, the Piscean Age was one of systemic religious hierarchies. They do not wonder that early Christians adopted the sign of Pisces, the fish, as their secret sign and signal. Aquarius, however, signals freedom, awareness of spiritual possibilities, and individual paths to God.

But change brings confusion. Astrologers warn that the accepted but outgrown elements of the past often seem to conflict with the unknown future. In times of stress it is easy to harden opinions and seek to continue on familiar paths, even if those paths have not led out of the forest. Such conditions, they say, may have contributed to "us against them" thinking, sixties activism, post-9/11 tension, racial bigotry, and religious warfare.

Philosophical writer I. M. Oderberg points out that the themes of Aquarius have been anticipated with mystic religious movements within major institutional traditions. Buddhism and Hinduism have always allowed personal, individual expression. But within Judaism, the Kabbalah has a mystic history going back to the Middle Ages. Sufi has offered an alternative tradition within Islam that is at once personal, flamboyant, individualistic, and meditative. The discovery of Gnostic gospels such as the Gospel of Thomas has caused a great stir in Christian circles. People who never considered anything but what they regard as traditional Christianity seem fascinated that there were once other ways to approach Christianity. The mystical, highly individualistic trend of the charismatic movement has swept the denominations.

Astrologers can't yet say what they believe will emerge in this Age of Aquarius. Some see an advanced stage of religious development in their observation that people are giving themselves permission to pick and choose from differing traditions, building their own belief systems from the wealth of what has come before and separating themselves from institutionalized power structures.