The Age of Aquarius is supposed to start soon. Indeed some people say that it has already started. They point to humanity’s elevated consciousness, as well as to a general dissatisfaction with traditional approaches to spirituality. However if you look at the facts, it’s quite clear that the Age of Aquarius doesn’t start for centuries.
Unfortunately, the key facts relate to astronomy rather than astrology, but I’ll nonetheless try to keep things simple.
There is a phenomenon known as ‘the precession of the equinoxes’. At the exact time of the Spring Equinox, which is in late March in the Northern Hemisphere, you can map the position of the Sun, from the Earth’s point of view, onto the background of the stars.
Every year, against this background, the Sun’s position will show some slippage, that amounts to one degree every seventy-two years. The slippage adds up, and after 25,771 years, it will have slipped back a full circle, of 360 degrees.
The Sun’s Spring Equinox position is broadly speaking related to the constellations, and it will take 2148 years to go through each of the twelve signs of the Zodiac. Yet this is something of an approximation, because the constellations are of unequal length.
This means, if one is a purist, that the Pisces-Aquarius changeover won’t happen until close on AD 3000. This is because the constellation of Pisces is huge, and right now, at the time of the Spring Equinox, the Sun is in the middle of this constellation. It won’t start leaving Pisces, and moving into Aquarius, for another eight hundred years. In other words, the Age of Aquarius won’t start until at least AD 2800.
However I think the purist approach is too extreme. The astrological ages should be of equal length, even if this means having a certain disconnect with the real constellations. We can therefore say that every 2148 years we’ll move from one age to another.
Our next task is to work out what date the Age of Pisces, which we’re still in, actually started.
To do this, we need a precise measure of the slippage that has taken place since the Sun’s equinoctial position first moved into Pisces. In astrological jargon, this measure is called ‘the ayanamsa’.
One ayanamsa that’s popular amongst Western astrologers is the Fagan-Bradley ayanamsa. On January 1 2010 the Fagan-Bradley ayanamsa gives the slippage as 24 degrees and 53 minutes. When we convert this to time, we discover that the Age of Pisces started at the beginning of the Third Century AD – I make it around AD 228. This means that the Age of Aquarius doesn’t start until AD 2376, which isn’t for another 366 years.
So the start of the Age of Pisces coincided with the rapid growth of Christianity, and it heralded that key historical event, the conversion of the Roman Emperor Constantine to Christianity, at the beginning of the Fourth Century AD.
As we look at the Age of Pisces unfolding, Christianity goes from strength to strength, though its advance is eventually checked by the rise of Islam. And of course both Christianity and Islam put a high premium on martyrdom. That’s a very Piscean concept, sacrificing one’s life for the sake of a high purpose.
Yet some people would say that Christianity is running out of steam, at least in North America and Western Europe. Isn’t this a sign that the Age of Pisces is coming to an end, that the Age of Aquarius is just round the corner?
However if you look at some of the ‘new age’ replacements for Christianity, they embody many of the features of the sign Pisces. Fuzzy and chaotic thinking, and the embracing of new and old fads without asking too many questions. Crystal healing, channelling, dancing with nature, it’s all part of the Age of Pisces experience.
It should also be said that the new age movement has got very little to do with the sign Aquarius. After all, Aquarius is a tough sign, that’s ruled by Saturn. It’s also a sign that’s rational, that puts the head before the heart. And in many cases, the sign Aquarius has a tyrannical streak. But not to worry. By the time the Age of Aquarius starts, all of us will be long dead.