The Age of Aquarius is one of the twelve astrological ages. Each astrological age is approximately 2,150 years long, on average, but there are various methods that can make ages much longer and shorter depending upon the technique used. Unlike sun-sign astrology where the first sign is Aries, followed by Taurus, Gemini, Cancer, Leo, Virgo, Libra, Scorpio, Sagittarius, Capricorn, Aquarius and Pisces whereupon following Pisces the cycle returns back to Aries and through the zodiacal signs again, the astrological ages proceed in the opposite direction or order. Therefore the age before the Age of Aquarius is the Age of Pisces. Following the Age of Aquarius will be the Age of Capricorn, then the Age of Sagittarius and so on.
Astrological ages exists due to precession of the equinoxes. Basically the stars and constellations appear to slowly rotate around the Earth independent of the diurnal and annual movements of the Earth on its own axis and around the Sun. This slow movement takes slightly less than 26,000 years to complete one cycle. Traditionally this rotation is calibrated for the purposes of the astrological ages by the location of the zodiacal constellations at the Vernal Equinox around the 21st of March each year. Approximately every 2,160 years a new zodiacal constellation appears at the Vernal Equinox. However zodiacal constellations are not uniform in size and so some astrologers believe that the corresponding ages should also vary in time - this however is a contentious issue amongst astrologers.
In 1929, the International Astronomical Union defined the edges of the 88 official constellations. The edge established between Pisces and Aquarius technically locates the beginning of the Aquarian Age around the year 2600. Many astrologers dispute this approach due to the varying sizes of the zodiacal constellations and overlap between the zodiacal constellations.
LCDR David Williams claims that the Age of Aquarius arrived in c.1844, with the harbinger of the new age Mirza ali Muhammad (1819-1850), the founder of Baha’ism. Williams adopts a sub-period approach to the ages whereby each age is divided into three decans. The three age-decans of the Aquarian Age in chronological order are Libra, Gemini and Aquarius. Williams’s states that the world is currently in the Libran decan of the Age of Aquarius which is why the world has been so affected by wars (due to Libra) and revolutions (due to Aquarius). He relates ideologies such as Socialism, Communism and Fascism to the arrival of the Age of Aquarius. While Williams acknowledges the massive influx of technology associated with Aquarius, he bemoans the creation of a race of morons willing to sit down and be spoon fed from their TV. Finally Williams debunks the notion that some new world leader, teacher, Messiah etc will arrive and instantly fix all the ills of the world. Though he acknowledges great progress since the Aquarian Age arrived in c.1844, the world will have to wait for the Aquarian decan of the Aquarian Age before the true brotherhood of man is experienced in the world. (According to Williams’ calculations, the Aquarian decan of the Age of Aquarius will arrive in c.3284, lasting until c.4004).
Marcia Moore and Mark Douglas promoted the view that though no one knows when the Aquarian age begins, the American Revolution, the Industrial Revolution and the discovery of electricity are all attributable to the Aquarian age. Marcia Moore and Mark Douglas make a number of predictions about the trends that they believe will develop in the Aquarian age. These include people becoming more impersonal (detached) but also more altrusitic and humane. Developments involving flight and space travel will result in decentralization. Inner cities will shrink and burgeoning outer suburbs and industrial areas will reduce congestion.
Vera Reid takes a common position expressed by many astrologers and New Agers about the Age of Aquarius. Vera Reid sees the Age of Aquarius as that time when mankind takes control of the Earth and his own destiny as his rightful heritage. As such, mankind will become the 'Son of God'. Reid believed that the keyword for Aquarius is 'enlightenment'. The destiny for mankind in the Age of Aquarius is the revelation of truth and the expansion of consciousness. Reid also believes that the many crises the world is experiencing is attributable to the waning days of the Age of Pisces meeting the incoming tide of Aquarius - with the transition between ages lasting for approximately 280 years. Reid also promotes the idea that some people will experience mental enlightenement in advance of others and therefore be recognised as the new leaders in the world.
Robert Zoller, a leading proponent of medieval astrology was awarded the renowned Regulus Award for research and innovation in 2002. Zollers’ bleak predictions for the Age of Aquarius suggest that the Pisces world where religion is the opiate of the masses will be replaced in the Aquarian age by a world ruled by secretive power-hungry elites seeking absolute power over others. Families will dissolve completely, or family ties will be hidden. Zoller also believes that knowledge in the Aquarian age will only be valued due to its ability to win wars - scientist may even be able to precipitate earthquakes for military means and the danger in the Aquarian age is that knowledge and science will be abused, not industry and trade. Zoller sees the Aquarian age as a Dark Age and religion will be seen as offensive.
Neil Spencer provides another sobering overview of the Age of Aquarius stating that the rise of scientific rationalism combined with the fall of religious influence is possibly indications of the Age of Aquarius. The growth in demands of human rights since the 1780s, though remaining unfulfilled, is another indication of Aquarius. Spencer points to the exponential growth of technology, especially of computers and the internet, plus the growth in flight and space travel as examples of the dawning of the Age of Aquarius. He also questions the New Age utopian view of the Age of Aquarius with the modern astrological perspective that each sign is different but equal. Possible negative examples of Aquarius include dumbed-down media and consumerism and rapacious international corporations. Finally Spencer states that nuclear power must be a manifestation of the Aquarian Age and comments upon the parallel between the 25,000 years it takes for uranium to decay with the 26,000 cycle of the astrological ages.
Louis McNeice reports that Rupert Gleadow saw the Age of Aquarius ruled by the planet Uranus and thus in the Age of Aquarius the attributes of Uranus such as inventions, machines, world wide organizations, international collaboration and the Brotherhood of Man would spread. McNeice also states that Ingrid Lind believes the Age of Aquarius has already arrived and the recent appearance of modern ideas and inventions supports this assertion. McNeice also reports that Gleadow believed that the recent historical conflicts in the world (presumerably the 20th century) correlates to the conflict between Saturn, the ancient ruler of Aquarius and Uranus, the modern ruler of Aquarius. Gleadow states that Saturn represents control, restrictions and slavery while Uranus represents culture, civilization and intelligence. Though Gleadow viewed Uranus as a 'good' planet, the famous astrologer Raphael believed Uranus to be evil and truly malefic
Ray Grasse provides a guide to the Aquarian Age analogous to a travel guide for someone entering a foreign land. Grasse suggests that if you want help navigating through the Aquarian Age you should: leave room for silence in your life; create a center in your life (preferably involving a connection to the Absolute); and resist the deadening of your world so instead or filling up your life with manufactured goods or artificiality, bring living organic things into your life. Furthermore you need to maintain a compassionate heart; be involved in a network or group; become more self-reliant; avoid being hypnotized by the "group trance"; and take control of your everyday attitudes (i.e. don't depend upon external events for your inner fulfilment). This last point is relevant as Grasse states - how do we know if the Age of Aquarius will be "a utopia or an Orwellian nightmare.
Terry MacKinnell states that the Age of Aquarius arrived between 1441 and 1433 CE. Mackinnell adopts a number of innovative approaches to the astrological ages. One key point is that in the Aquarian age the most powerful sign is Pisces from the momentum of the previous Pisces age. Nevertheless emergent historical developments since the 15th century are orientated to Aquarius. Aquarius is considered a 'modern' sign and Mackinnell claims that modernity is the Age of Aquarius. Furthermore, many historians claim that the modern world developed from the 15th century onwards, in support of the Aquarian age arriving in the 15th century. MacKinnell also claims that the USA is the current age empire similar to the former age empires of Ancient Rome, Ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia in their respective ages.
According to the Esoteric Christian tradition, Essenian and later Rosicrucian, the proximity and entrance in the Age of Aquarius - occurring after the present Age of Pisces (or age ruled by the "Sword") - will bring to the majority of human beings the discovery, true living and real knowledge of the inner and deeper Christian teachings which the Christ spoke of in Matthew 13:11 and Luke 8:10. This age is regarded as an intermediary preparation toward the Christ in the etheric plane, the New Galilee: the "new heavens and a new earth" to come in a future not identified time. In the Aquarian age at hand it is expected a great spiritual Teacher to come ("is coming"), through the school which works as herald of this age, in order "to give the Christian Religion impetus in a new direction" .
The expression Age of Aquarius usually refers to the heyday of the hippie and New Age Movement of the 1960s and 1970s. The New Age Movement is more accurately a phenomenon and yet seen by many as the harbinger of this future change-over of values associated with the arrival or imminent arrival of the Age of Aquarius.
This New Age phenomenon is seen by some astrologers to be marked by the conjunction of the planet Uranus, ruler of the sign Aquarius, and the coming age, with Pluto, ruler of the masses, bringing radical change, in the 1960's. However, as the song relates, it is only considered by Astrologers as the "dawning" of the age, and the song does not indicate the actual start of the Age of Aquarius - an issue that remains in dispute.
Although more rock than new age in genre, the 1967 successful musical Hair, with its opening song "Aquarius" and the memorable line "This is the dawning of the age of Aquarius," brought the Aquarian Age concept to the attention of a huge worldwide audience.