by E. Alan Meece
Copyright 1997 by E. Alan Meece. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission from Llewellyn Publications except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles and reviews.
(revised excerpts from the book Horoscope for the New Millennium, published January 1997 by Llewellyn Publications, and from an article published in the Scorpio/October 1986 issue of Welcome to Planet Earth magazine, and reprinted there in the Aries/Taurus issue of 1995)
What lies ahead for Humanity? With all the problems we have, it's hard to believe our future is bright. Inflation and recession, environmental deterioration, diminishing resources, unrest and oppression in developing countries, and apathy, loneliness and lack of direction in developed ones all combine to severely cloud the horizon. With the possible exception of President Clinton, about the only confidence comes from the sentimental rugged individualists such as Reagan and Gingrich who seek to return us to the good old days.
But there's another source of confidence, and it comes from astrology. It may seem fantastic, but the signs in the heavens point to an extraordinary renewal in the years just ahead. If we recall some recent trends, this prospect doesn't seem so outlandish. It wasn't too long ago that we heard about the dawning of the Age of Aquarius, and about the revival of spirit among the new generation. We can still hear the echoes of John Kennedy's call to action and see the vision of Martin Luther King's dream. Before he and his dream were shot down in 1968, he said we as a people "would get to the promised land." The promise seems empty now, yet the planetary cycles support his prophecy. For what we discover when we examine these cycles is compelling evidence that a renaissance and a golden age is right around the corner.
Consider first the conjunction of Neptune and Pluto. The movements of these furthermost planets represent the most fundamental changes in civilization. These planets last came together only about 100 years ago, in 1891-92. Every time Neptune and Pluto join together, a cataclysmic upheaval begins which leads to a time of transition and uncertainty such as we live in today. But about 100 years after the conjunction, a great renaissance occurs that ushers in a new age. We are at that point now. It is now the darkness before the dawn.
For evidence of this prospective new dawn, look at the historical record. The Neptune-Pluto conjunction comes every 500 years (493 or 494, to be exact). The previous conjunction to the one of our time occurred in 1399-1400. At that time the Medieval society dominated by the Church and the feudal order were disintegrating. Despair and prophecies of doom spread across Europe, then still recuperating from the Great Plague, or "Black Death." Powerful rulers struggled to unify their countries. One hundred years later, the Renaissance that began in Florence Italy in 1400 reached its climax, and the Middle Ages came to an end. Michaelangelo created Humanity's greatest works of art, and Columbus opened up a whole new world.
If we go back another 500 years to 905, we come to the turbulent age in which that Medieval society was born. The Vikings brought destruction and insecurity throughout Europe. The powerful and prosperous Tang dynasty collapsed in China. Even as these catastrophes were happening, however, new royal dynasties and reforms in the Church were laying the foundations for the age of chivalry and great cathedrals. One hundred years after 905 the dreaded Vikings were becoming Europe's new rulers. Art flourished in the Ottonian Renaissance, and the new Sung dynasty gave birth to the greatest of China's golden ages.
The fall of the Roman Empire corresponds to the Neptune-Pluto conjunction of 411 AD. But while the Dark Ages engulfed the world, this didn't prevent a great new civilization from emerging 100 years later at Byzantium! As secular power collapsed in this period, people turned to religious and artistic revival in both East and West. Meanwhile, the conjunction showed its significance worldwide. The Mayan civilization of Guatemala was entering its golden age simultaneously with that of Byzantium.
The conjunction of 83 BC ushered in the famous struggle of the Caesars, as the Roman Republic became the Empire and conquered much of Europe. Somewhat earlier China entered an imperial period similar to Rome's. One hundred years after 83 BC corresponds to Christ's mission on Earth, and to the golden age of Rome under Augustus and his successors.
In 577 BC the Neptune-Pluto conjunction was joined by Uranus, planet of enlightenment. Soon afterward the Greek and Roman Republics and the Persian Empire were born. After turmoil and uncertainty, Athens emerged to lead Greece to its golden age one hundred years later. It was the greatest age of enlightenment in all of history, when the great teachers emerged that founded our religion and our science, including Socrates, Pythagoras, Buddha, Lao Tze, Confucius, Mahavira, Zoroaster and great Hebrew prophets. The Jews emerged from their Babylonian Captivity with their Holy Bible written down for the first time, and their concept of "God" was thereby transformed from a tribal deity into a universal, spiritual one.
Even before this, the same rhythm of change was followed in Egypt, the Near East and China. From all this evidence, we have every right to believe that our own time of transition and upheaval which began in the World Wars will soon lead to a golden age. In fact, it has already started, because it has been over 100 years since the last conjunction!
We will see great works of art and stupendous discoveries in science. Movements of spiritual and cultural renewal will sweep the globe. World unity will emerge (this phrase written in 1986) (is emerging, circa 1996), bringing a peace surpassing the Pax Romana. Just as the Renaissance was the revival of Greek ideals and culture, so our age will in some sense see a new Rome and the return of Christ.
Here is a listing of Neptune-Pluto conjunctions. Summing up the pattern we find:
577 BC: Greek, Roman Republics emerge; Buddha born
83 BC: Roman Empire emerges (dictatorship of Sulla)
411 AD: Fall of Rome to Alaric
905: Medieval culture begins (Cluny church reforms, new dynasties)
1399: Renaissance; Great Schism in Catholic Church
1892: Crisis leading to World Wars and the collapse of all aristocratic empires
One hundred years later are the periods of renaissance and renewal; the golden ages:
c. 470 BC: Golden age of Greece; Buddhism begins
c. 20 AD: Golden Age of Rome; Christ's mission
c. 520s: Golden age of Byzantium, Mayan golden age
c. 1000: Ottonian Renaissance, Sung golden age in China
c. 1500: High Renaissance, discovery of the New World
c. 1990s-2000s: The full flowering of today's movements in art, science and spirituality, and increasing global unification (this last prediction is already happening).
BACK TO URANUS-NEPTUNE CYCLE; corresponding events
Uranus, Neptune and Pluto in the high signs
The astonishing conclusion seems clear: we are on the threshold of a golden age of renewal. But this is just the beginning. The planets give further testimony that not only are we entering one of the great periods of discovery in history, but the greatest one of them all. This is revealed by an amazing pattern involving the three outer planets which, to my knowledge, has never been discussed by astrologers. For it is a demonstrable fact that when Uranus, Neptune or Pluto are in the later or "higher" signs of the zodiac centered around the Winter Solstice, Scorpio through Aquarius, Humanity experiences its peaks of success and cultural achievement. For confirmation, let's return once again to history.
The most significant cycle is that of Neptune. This is the planet most directly linked to the collective mood, the "spirit of the times," and its power of inspiration really shines when transiting the expansive, socially-conscious signs from Scorpio through Aquarius. For example, all of the periods of renaissance and renewal mentioned above occurred when Neptune was in these higher signs. The dates of these periods of renaissance will be listed in a separate Appendix later in this article.
But these renaissance periods were not the only golden ages. There were periods which came after them centuries later when the creative momentum of the new beginning reached its climax and consummation. Yet most of these also took hold as Neptune made its tour of the higher signs. For example, consider the mid-12th Century, the "Springtime of Europe." This was the finest hour of Medieval Christendom when, inspired by the Crusades and genuine devotion to religious ideals, the people worked together to build the first Gothic Cathedrals. Peter Abelard and Hildegard von Bingen were among the many inspired visionaries who flourished at that time.
Second, witness the period around 1300, often called the "proto-renaissance" by cultural historians, which was the first flush of the dawn of humanism, as enunciated by the Italian poet Petrarch. Giotto and the Siena school anticipated renaissance art, while Dante summed up Medieval culture in his Divine Comedy.
Next, there is the mid-17th Century, or High Baroque period, which saw not only dazzling artistic achievements, such as Bernini's works at St. Peters and the paintings of Rubens, Rembrandt and Vermeer, but the revolution in science climaxing in the new physics of Issac Newton.
Finally, consider the great age of romanticism and revolt in the early 19th Century. Neptune entered Scorpio in 1792, precisely as all the great minds of the world were stirred by the march of the volunteers from Marseilles who overthrew the monarchy in the French Revolution. And it left Aquarius precisely as the dismal failure of the 1848 revolutions ended the romantic dreams. Just consider the creative vitality of this era: all the great romantic composers, including Beethoven, Schubert, Mendelssohn and Chopin; great literary figures like Balzac, Dickens, Goethe, Wordsworth, Byron and Shelley; great discoveries like those in electricity and the new chemistry of Lavoisier; great heroism and adventure in the age of the French Revolution and Napoleon.
It is these periods of Neptune that restore our spirit and vitality, and put us in contact with that creative intelligence which yields the discoveries put to use in the more narrow, materialistic periods such as the late 19th Century and the 1920s through 1950s. The Romantic Age was the last such creative period, and it ought to inspire us today to lift our vision. For our time today is another "romantic" age of inspiration. Today Neptune is already in Capricorn; it passed through Scorpio in the 1960s, when we awakened to the noble dreams mentioned at the beginning of this article. Perhaps this is a sign we may still fulfill them as our new golden age continues to unfold.
Second in importance to Neptune are the transits of Uranus. This inventive planet was in the higher signs at the turn of the present century (1891-1919), a period of tremendous creativity that saw the opening of all the creative pathways we are still pursuing today. Einstein's relativity, Freud's psychoanalysis and Picasso's cubist painting are just some of the startling developments which occurred, before the world wars shattered what many believed was a glorious new dawn (recall Neptune and Pluto were also making their conjunction early in this period). Uranus also transited Scorpio through Aquarius during the early Enlightenment in the 1740s and 1750s and the early Elizabethan Age from 1556 through the 1580s.
If Uranus and Neptune in the higher signs can stimulate such startling advances all by themselves, just think how powerful both of them together should be! This was the case at the height of many of the great periods mentioned above. This double stimulation also occurs when Pluto and Neptune move together through the higher signs (see appendix). It stands to reason that the MORE planets are in higher signs, the HIGHER the level of human culture attains. So if two planets are high, the signs are very propitious. But imagine the significance of all three of the creative outer planets in the highest signs of the zodiac. Surely, these must be the greatest ages in human history.
Judge for yourself. The most recent such period was between 1491, when Columbus was preparing his voyage of discovery, and 1501, when Michaelangelo carved his statue of David and Leonardo da Vinci was working on the Mona Lisa. What better example could you find! Here were our most celebrated artistic triumphs, combined with the immense opportunity of the New World. But let's not stop here. Looking back further we find the other most celebrated period in history-- during the Golden Age of Greece, from 455 to 446 BC, when Pericles ruled Athens as the noble philosopher-king, when the sculptor Phidias and the dramatist Sophocles worked, and when Socrates first walked the streets beneath the Acropolis where the columns were rising for the Parthenon. These two moments, when Uranus, Neptune and Pluto skirted the heights of the zodiac for the longest periods so far in recorded history, are the two undisputed, unsurpassed moments of triumph for the creative spirit; the fairest days of the human adventure!
But there's more. All three planets were also high between 319-328 AD, when the foundations of Christian culture were laid, including the first cathedral of St. Peters, and between 810-818 AD, when Charlesmagne arose out of the Dark Ages to begin the cultural renewal which became the cornerstone of Western European civilization, and when the Arabs attained the glittering peak of their art, science and literature at Baghdad under Harun-al-Rashid and Al-Mamun. All three planets were also high from 1305-1308 at the peak of Giotto's and Dante's inspiration during the "proto-renaissance."
Such striking evidence for the significance of the outer planets in higher signs is truly breathtaking. Now here comes the main message of this article. For yes, you guessed it. Since Pluto entered Scorpio in 1984 (interestingly perhaps, the year the MacIntosh was introduced), all three outer planets are now in high signs for the first time since 1501. This situation will last until Uranus leaves Aquarius in 2003, making it by far the longest such period so far in recorded history!
The greatest Renaissance and Golden Age in history. What a different picture astrology gives us of our time than the usual business-as-usual or doom and gloom. If these indications are correct, there will be no collapse; no Armageddon. We will not only survive; we will begin to fulfill those precious dreams of the 1960s and embark on the full unfoldment of human potential.
But we must be careful. The planets give us no guarantees. We must be very clear on this point. The new Golden Age is not something which will unfold all by itself; it is an opportunity, and it is up to us not to let it slip. Indeed, so far we still have not fulfilled its promise, and reactionary politics or the encroaching global warming and/or ice age may bring it to an end before long. We should not look too longingly at the year 2012, the much-heralded end of the Mayan Calendar, for as Neptune leaves the higher signs that year ecological and refugee problems could put a damper on our emerging renaissance. Even so, the 21st Century and New Millennium offer an unparalleled opportunity to build a new world free from the conflicts and terrors of the past.
Now is the time for us to unfold and share our potential, and support others who are doing so. There's never been a time when more of us have had such easy access to the tools of creation and transformation. If you have a statement to make, now is the time to make it. If you have something inside to share, now is the time to share it. Painters, poets, philosophers, musicians-- arise! The Renaissance of Today will be what we make it. Whatever schemes you have been harboring for the advancement of Humanity, or the celebration of our new Springtime of peace and renewal, now is the time to act. We are here to participate and to share. If you wait much longer to make your contribution, you may miss the best chance in all of history. Within the cracks of the dying civilization all around us, the new world is being born, emerging from the womb of Mother Earth. Let us nurture it!
Those born under the four "higher" signs of Scorpio, Sagittarius, Capricorn and Aquarius will have a special opportunity now to release the creative love-energy within their hearts. Wherever these four signs are in your chart, and whatever planets may be there, are the areas in which you have the best chance to make your contribution to the unfolding of this golden age. (Note also that Chiron, the newly-discovered small planet or comet that travels around the Sun once in 50 years, is entering Scorpio at the end of 1996.)
Ours shall be an age of discovery, of creativity, of increasing unification and spiritual renewal; perhaps an extraordinary golden age exceeding our wildest dreams. Already (since the first edition of this article appeared in 1986) we have seen incredible events such as the end of the Berlin Wall and the Soviet Union and the appearance of leaders such as Mikael Gorbachev and Nelson Mandela. To enter such a golden age doesn't mean an end to all bad news, nor will a renaissance happen automatically without our efforts. But here are all the tools astrology needs to dispel the cynicism, the worries, the fear and the despair. For if the "stars" are right, the promised land awaits us. How incredible it may seem; yet somehow, somewhere, the forces are gathering that will usher in the golden moment of renewal; the dawning of the new age.
Appendix: transits of the outer planets in the Higher Signs, Scorpio through Aquarius
Neptune (period of revolution around the Sun, 164 years)
1138-1193 Age of the first Gothic Cathedrals
1301-1356 Proto-renaissance in Italy; Dante and Giotto
1465-1520 High Renaissance and early Reformation; Age of discovery
1629-1684 High Baroque, scientific revolution; Age of Louis XIV
1792-1848 Age of romanticism and revolt
1956-2012 New Age and Global Awakening
Uranus (period of revolution, 84 years)
1556-1584 Early Elizabethan Age; Spanish Golden Age; Mogul India of Akbar the Great
1640-1668 Highest, most inspired period of the Baroque style
1724-1752 Early enlightenment; Bach and Handel; Rococo architecture
1807-1835 Height of Romanticism
1975-2003 Dawning of our New Age
Periods when all three outer planets were high:
455-446 BC, 319-328 AD, 810-818, 998, 1305-1308, 1491-1501, 1984-2003
Recent periods when two or more planets were high:
802-831 AD, 974-1029, 1053-1064, 1138-1166, 1244-1249
1301-1333 (Uranus, Neptune and/or Pluto) Proto-renaissance
1472-1520 (Neptune plus Uranus and/or Pluto) High Renaissance
1640-1668 (Uranus and Neptune) High Baroque
1737-1752 (Uranus and Pluto) Enlightenment
1792-1798 (Neptune and Pluto) French Revolution
1807-1835 (Uranus and Neptune) Romanticism
1975-2012 (Neptune plus Uranus and/or Pluto) Age of Aquarius dawns
Note that Pluto alone will continue its current trek of the high signs until the 2040s.
For a more detailed look at how the movements and cycles of the outer planets correspond to the high and low points of culture through the ages, see the Time Line in my book, Horoscope for the New Millennium.
Back to Uranus, Neptune and Pluto in the high signs
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MORE ON THE OUTER PLANET CYCLES
Unlike revelations based on 2000-year old texts, the cycles of Uranus, Neptune and Pluto (planets discovered only in the last 200+ years) give us today's prophetic insights. Astrologers call them "the modern planets;" they are in fact a modern-day transcendental trinity. This is confirmed by the fact that the length of their orbits are in a three-fold relationship. Uranus revolves around the Sun once every 84 years, while Neptune takes about twice as long at 165 years and Pluto takes three times as long at 248 years. It is the only such pattern in the solar system.
Meanings of the outer planets:
Uranus: The maverick. Discovered in 1781, it represents revolution, invention, liberty, progress, liberalism, independence, enlightenment, electricity, magic, the unexpected, radical change, altruism, dictators, charisma. Rules Aquarius.
Neptune: The mystic. Found in 1846, it represents spirituality, imagination, the sea, union, dissolution, chaos, delusion, deception, scandal, dreams, solvents, drugs, E.S.P., compassion, socialism, collectivism, nations, peoples, hospitals, asylums. Rules Pisces.
Pluto: Lord of the Underworld. Discovered in 1930, it represents death, rebirth, ecology, polarity, transformation, gangs, group power, power structures, plutocracy, atomic energy, purges, investigations, plumbing the depths. Rules Scorpio and Aries.
The astrological nature of the planets of the transcendental trinity are reflected in the physical traits we are discovering about them. Uranus, for example, is surrounded by brilliant white clouds that seem to radiate light and energy from below them. Its axis is tilted by 98 degrees to its orbit, symbolizing its independence and deviance from the norm. Like Saturn (co-ruler of Aquarius) it has a faint set of rings. Neptune is surrounded by deep, beautiful blue-green clouds that remind us of the sea. It has a giant spot similar to Jupiter's, the other planet traditionally linked to religion and the sign Pisces. Pluto's eccentric orbit gives it the aspect of the one who probes deeply into the unknown to bring back its secrets into the world. It too is titled on its axis, making it as unconventional, radical and deviant as Uranus is. Pluto's dual nature (its Moon Charon is fully one quarter of its size) represents the mysterious power of inter-relationship at the heart of life.
Planetary conjunctions are like new moons, and the cycles between conjunctions are like the phases of the Moon. Thus, the Neptune-Pluto conjunction is like a "new" Neptune in its cycle with Pluto, and the opposition half-way through the cycle is like the "full" Neptune in the cycle. The squares are 90 degrees angles, and are just like the first and last quarter moon phases. The conjunctions and cycles of the three outer planets are the most significant tools we have for understanding our past and looking into our future, seen from the longer term.
The Neptune-Pluto cycle (493 years long) is called the cycle of civilization. It represents fundamental shifts and the rise and fall of empires, dynasties, art styles and world views. When a conjunction happens, sensitivity is greatly heightened. Basic transformations happen in all fields of human activity whose full ramifications continue to unfold over the following 493 years. The opposition 246 years later represents a peak in civilization, but a process of dissolution (and/or distribution) may set in afterwards. Approximate dates of these Neptune-Pluto oppositions are 325 BC, 170 AD, 660 AD, 1150, 1645 and 2140. See above for listing of Neptune-Pluto conjunctions
The Uranus-Neptune cycle (171 years long) is called the cycle of culture, and represents relations between peoples and cultures. When a conjunction happens, artistic creativity is at a peak, and a great religious or political revolution may occur. New empires or important treaties reshuffle the world order, as old conflicts are resolved and new ones appear. Important innovations and crucial international confrontations often come at the opposition 85 years later.
The Uranus-Pluto cycle (on average, 127 years long) is called the cycle of revolution. It represents the rise and development of a revolutionary movement and its impact upon society. When a conjunction happens, the powers in society are shaken to their roots. A new revolutionary movement is unleashed that, although unsuccessful at first, influences all future revolutions including many successful ones that come under other important aspects to Uranus. Around the time of the opposition comes the peak of the movement that lasts up to an entire generation.
See above for a listing of Neptune-Pluto conjunctions and corresponding events over the last 2500 years. Below is further information about the Uranus-Neptune and Uranus-Pluto cycles.
URANUS-NEPTUNE CYCLE; corresponding events
* 600-year religious cycle
(the following list shows date, aspect, signs and corresponding events)
*THE RELIGIOUS CYCLE
In a series of brilliant articles in The Encyclopedia of Astrology, Charles Jayne revealed his research on the planetary cycles. Among his findings was a 600-year cycle of the world's great religions. Every 600 years, he said, a new religion is born; and at each of those times Uranus is either aligned with or opposing Neptune. Here are the dates:
575 B.C. Births of Buddha and Pythagoras; careers of Lao-Tzu, Mahavira and Confucius. Babylonian captivity of the Jews. Final Upanishads written.
25 A.D. (opposition) Mission and crucifixion of Jesus Christ.
624 Flight of Mohammed from Mecca in 622 A.D.; the start of Islam.
1222 (opposition) Founding of Franciscan and Dominican Orders in Catholicism; career of St. Thomas Aquinas; a peak in the Age of Faith.
1821 Births of the co-founders of the Bahai Faith; Joseph Smith's conversion (Mormonism); birth of Mary Baker Eddy (Christian Science, Unity, etc.), births of Thoreau and Whitman (American Transcendentalism); founding of the American Unitarian Association. It was also the time Marx and Engels were born, suggesting this cycle represents socialism as a religion, while the Uranus-Pluto conjunction of 1850 (see below) represents socialism as a revolutionary movement. Its career as the former may thus long outlast its history as the latter.
2420 (opposition) The next great religion is not due until then. It may incorporate the essence of the Aquarian Age, as Christianity did for the Piscean. It could be a new sect within an already-existing religion.
We can further speculate that the previous opposition of 1176 B.C. may have coincided with Moses or Zoroaster, the conjunction of 1778 B.C with Abraham, and the conjunction of 2980 with Krishna.
Virtually all revolutions in modern history correspond to the aspects between Uranus and Pluto. The "semi-squares" mentioned below are 45 degrees angles between Uranus and Pluto, and "sesqui-squares" are 135 degree angles. A "sextile" is a 60-degree angle.
THE THREE REVOLUTIONS
There have been 3 great cycles of revolution in modern times. The first began with the conjunction in 1711 and reached its climax at the opposition during the French Revolution. It was the revolution of liberty and free enterprise. The second was a reaction to the first and began during the next conjunction in the 1840s and 1850s. It climaxed during the next opposition at the turn of the 20th century, at the height of the labor, socialist and Marxist movements. It was the revolution of equality. The third began in our own time during the Uranus-Pluto conjunction in the 1960s. Its climax is due in the 2040s. It seeks to create a fraternity of all peoples on a restored planet Earth, and to foster the creative and spiritual unfoldment of the person.
Below is a chart of the Three Revolutions and their goals:
|series||dominant in:||ruling planet:||emphasis:||ideal:|
|original form in the 1790s:||core value:||class:||color(s):|
|political||individual||bourgeoisie||red, white and blue|
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WHAT ABOUT THAT AGE OF AQUARIUS?
The 12 Ages, of which the Aquarian is one, are 12 divisions of a 25,000-year long motion of our Earth called the Precession of the Equinoxes. This motion is only one of three basic Earth cycles; the three most important cycles in astrology. The first cycle is the year, in which the Sun appears to move through a belt of constellations called The Zodiac. Aquarius is one of these constellations. The second cycle is the day, caused by the Earth turning on its axis every 24 hours, making the Sun appear to rise and set. But the Earth also gradually wobbles backwards as its turns, as if it were a spinning top. This is the third cycle, also called the great year. This "great wobble" causes the North Pole to point to different stars at different times. By the year 2100 it will point exactly at Polaris, the star which we know today as "the north star." But about 13000 years ago it pointed toward Vega, the brightest star in today's Summer skies. It takes an average of 25,920 years for the Earth to complete one "wobble;" so about 26,000 years from today the North Pole will again point to Polaris.
The seasons (Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter) happen because the Earth's axis and poles are tilted by 23 degrees. During the Summer (in the Northern hemisphere) the pole is tilted toward the Sun, so the days are longer. During the Winter it tilts away from the Sun, so the days are shorter. When the pole is exactly half way between, so that the Earth's orbit is aligned with the Equator, the days and nights are equal. This is called the Equinox. But the equinox gradually shifts backwards as the North Pole wobbles. 2100 years ago, the Sun entered the constellation Aries at the beginning of Spring, the "vernal equinox." (around March 21 of every year). But today the Zodiac has shifted one/twelfth of the way backwards (almost 30 degrees), so now the Sun is in the constellation Pisces at the beginning of Spring. Soon it will be in Aquarius. This is called the Precession of the Equinoxes.
It is a curious irony that the reason most often cited by skeptics that astrology is "false" is also the basis for the most famous prophecy ever made by astrologers. Many skeptics (though not all) claim that astrologers don't even know that the constellations have shifted, and are therefore using a Zodiac that is off by 30 degrees! After all, they say, astrologers still maintain that the Sun enters the sign "Aries" at the beginning of Spring! And yet astrologers also say that "this is the dawning of the Age of Aquarius." Why? Because the constellations have shifted backwards, and the vernal equinox will soon move from Pisces into Aquarius. If astrologers didn't know about this backward shift, why would they use it to make their most famous prediction?
What many skeptics (and even some astrologers) don't understand is that astrology really has little to do with stars, and that the Zodiac is not a belt of constellations at all. For as we've seen, astrology is a study of cycles and their relationship to our lives. The 360-degree circle of the Zodiac is the path of the Earth as it travels around the Sun, and it is divided into 12 signs of 30 degrees each. The signs have the same names as the constellations, but they are not the same. The signs get their meaning from their place on the yearly cycle of the Earth, not from the shape of the stars in the sky.
The signs are the most accepted way of interpreting the meaning of the yearly cycle. But as we saw, every cycle must have a beginning point. For the Zodiac, this is the vernal equinox; the start of Spring in the northern hemisphere. It is the moment each year (around March 21) when the Sun enters Aries, the first sign of the Zodiac. Most astrologers today use the Zodiac of signs; they are called tropical astrologers (of which this author is one). Astronomers also use the zodiac of signs, not constellations, to locate stars on the "celestial sphere." But some astrologers continue to use the Zodiac of constellations, although in fact they place little or no emphasis on them; they are called sidereal astrologers. Some astrologers (including tropical ones) also see great significance in particular stars, and where they are in the sky.
Yes... but wait a minute; something doesn't quite fit here. If most astrologers don't even use stars or constellations at all, why is the "Aquarian Age dawning" if the vernal equinox will soon point to the constellation Aquarius? This can't be right. Constellations are just distant stars arbitrarily grouped together and given mythical meanings by humans. They are just a convenient way to locate stars, like street names on a map. Why should the constellation Aquarius have any "influence," just because it's lined up with the Sun at vernal equinox time?
Knowing these facts, some astrologers today debunk the Age of Aquarius as just an enchanting fiction. But I don't think it can be dismissed so easily, because the precession of the equinoxes and the polar wobble are based on an actual motion of the Earth. This cycle is just as real as the year itself is. And such a long cycle could help us a great deal in interpreting human history from the long view. So the study of cycles can and should include a study of the Aquarian Age and the whole cycle of astrological "ages." But as we've said, all cycles must have a beginning, and the trouble with the precession cycle is that nobody is sure just where it begins. If we rule out constellations as questionable reference points, what do we use?
One possibility is the close numerical link between the length of ages and the length of the Uranus-Neptune cycle, such that each age always begins during a Uranus-Neptune conjunction or opposition. This connection may explain why the "ages" are so related to religion, since Uranus-Neptune rules religious cycles. These links are too complicated to discuss here; there are some further details in my book.
In any case, history shows that the "ages" have tremendous significance. Let us review some general evidence showing how past ages have corresponded to the precession cycle as astrologers describe it. In doing this, I refer to an idea put forward by philosopher-astrologer Dane Rudhyar. He points out that each 2100-plus year Age can be divided in two parts; the first half will have the traits of the constellation at the vernal equinox, but the second half will have the sub-traits of the opposite constellation at the autumn equinox. These traits are at their peak about half-way through each sub-age. So here is how the cycle has shaped up throughout recorded history, using approximate dates:
2100-3200 will be the Age of Aquarius proper, meaning an age of knowledge, independent thought and demands for freedom and progress. The role of the individual and the organization will be coordinated into a humanitarian whole. Religion and spirituality will be based on knowledge and experience instead of belief. From 3200 to 4200 the Age will be under a sub-influence of Leo, the opposite sign of Aquarius; therefore the creative powers of the romantic individual will re-assert themselves.
1100-2100 was the second half of the Age of Pisces, under the sub-influence of Virgo. Therefore this now-ending age was one of science, intellectual analysis, and service to one's superiors; all traits of Virgo. Certainly the ever-increasing power of scientific and rational thought and the growing power of the secular state and bureaucracy in this period could reflect the Virgo "influence."
0 to 1100 was the Age of Pisces proper, meaning an age of faith and religion, of dissolution and breakdown of structures, of devotion and compassion, and of escape into the other world. This is a perfect fit for Christianity (whose symbol was the fish) and similar religions worldwide that dominated the period. Some philosophers say that the denial of life and spirit and the assault on nature that took hold under Virgo were based on the escapist attempt to divorce spirit from the world that happened under Pisces.
1000 B.C.- 0 was the second half of the Age of Aries, under the sub-influence of Libra. This was the classical age of ancient Greece, an era when Libran values like the "golden mean" and beauty were worshipped. Even in India the Buddha taught "the Middle Way." It was an age of intellectual accomplishments and of political inventions (also Libra fortes), demonstrated by Athenian democracy and the Roman Republic.
2100 B.C.- 1000 B.C. was the Age of Aries proper, meaning an age of aggression and enterprise. The Aryan (Arian) invaders swarmed over and conquered the old world, and most civilizations of the age (such as the first Assyrian Empire, the New Kingdom of Egypt, the Trojans, the Mycenaeans, etc.) were dominated by warriors. Not long before the Age of Aries began, Sargon I created the world's first war-based Empire in Mesopotamia. The symbol of the Ram appears in the Ram's Horn so important to the Hebrews, whose missionary, aggressive religion began in this period. Since Aries is ruled by Mars, masculine, patriarchal values replaced the feminine values that flourished under the Venus-ruled Taurean Age which preceded it. Some aggressive Aries traits also continued into the second half of this age, even though it was sub-ruled by Libra.
3100 B.C.- 2100 B.C. was the second half of the Age of Taurus, under the sub-rulership of Scorpio. The earliest civilizations rose to greatness in this period. Scorpio is the sign of death and rebirth, and the Egyptians created the world's greatest funeral monuments and history's most remarkable death cult in this period. Their greatest symbols were the Scarab and the Hawk, similar to the Scorpion and the Eagle. Scorpio is an appropriate constellation for this time of great creative transformation and occult wisdom in which astronomy and astrology were developed.
4200 B.C.- 3100 B.C. was the Age of Taurus proper. The Taurean traits seemed to display themselves most clearly in the second half of the Age during its sub-rulership of Scorpio, perhaps because written historical records do not begin until then. But certainly the pyramids, stone circles and other great monuments of this entire age reflected the Taurean talent for building and architecture, and revealed the desire for structure and security that gave rise to civilization in this period. It was also an age of fertility worship, a Taurean trait; and it is said that The Bull was held sacred everywhere during this time (though perhaps also long before and afterward).
This evidence is impressive; and other researchers have amassed even more facts. No doubt there are many things in history that don't fit the long Age in which they occurred; for example, the Lion symbols in the sculptures of Mycenae and Assyria were made during the Age of Aries, not Leo. But generally the sign of each 2100-year Age (and each 1000-year Sub-age) fits each period better than any other sign does.
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E. Alan Meece is author of Horoscope for the New Millennium and The Horoscope of Humanity, and host of Mystic Music and Mystic Musings on stillstream.com
Reach him by email here
Copyright 1996 by E. Alan Meece (Eric A. Meece); all rights reserved.
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