The Astrology Podcast
Transcript of Episode 101, titled:
With Chris Brennan and guest Kenneth Miller
Episode originally released on March 23, 2017
Note: This is a transcript of a spoken word podcast. If possible, we encourage you to listen to the audio or video version, since they include inflections that may not translate well when written out. Our transcripts are created by human transcribers, and the text may contain errors and differences from the spoken audio. If you find any errors then please send them to us by email: email@example.com
Transcribed by Andrea Johnson
Transcription released December 28th, 2019
Copyright © 2019 TheAstrologyPodcast.com
CHRIS BRENNAN: Hi, my name is Chris Brennan, and you’re listening to The Astrology Podcast. This episode was recorded on Tuesday, March 21, 2017, starting just after 2:16 PM, in Denver, Colorado, and this is the 101st episode of the show. For more information about how to subscribe to the podcast and help support the production of future episodes by becoming a patron, please visit theastrologypodcast.com/subscribe.
In this episode, I’m going to be talking with astrologer Kenneth Miller about The Age of Aquarius. Kenneth, welcome back to the show.
KENNETH MILLER: Pleasure to be back, Chris. Thank you for having me.
CB: It’s been a long time. I think the last time we talked was a year ago. We did a couple of episodes. First, the tropical vs. sidereal zodiacs and then the one on the Star of Bethlehem, right?
KM: Actually we did the famous vs. non-famous charts debate real early on. I don’t know. I’ve been here a few times. It’s always a pleasure; we always have fun. If people like this, look up our previous shows together. But yeah, the Star of Bethlehem was the last one we did, which was a year ago, last December.
CB: Yeah, and that was a lot of fun. And then the sidereal vs. tropical zodiac one of course will be very relevant to our discussion today.
CB: Let’s see. So before we get started, just a few announcements to get out of the way about the giveaway that we’re doing for patrons of the show at the end of the month. Each month, we give away prizes for patrons who donate money in order to support the production of the show, and this month we’re giving away two prizes. The first one is a pass to the upcoming retreat that’s being hosted by the Organization for Professional Astrology, and then the second is a signed copy of my new book, Hellenistic Astrology: The Study of Fate and Fortune.
CB: Yeah, those are awesome prizes, I think. You got your copy of the book a few weeks ago, right?
KM: Yes, I did, as soon as I saw it was available.
CB: You sent in a picture, which I really appreciate. You found a local street, I think.
KM: Yes. For those of you that don’t know, Chris is recording this in Denver, and I found Denver Street, here in San Diego and took my picture with his book underneath it. But a fantastic book, and so far, far and above the best book, and maybe the only book really on in-depth, Hellenistic astrology.
It’s just great. I love the way it’s organized. I’m not here to give a book review, but check it out people.
CB: Sure. Let’s see. So we’re giving away a copy of that, and we’re giving away a free pass to the OPA retreat. Very quickly about the OPA retreat, it’s taking place October 19th through the 22nd of 2017. It’s at Zion National Park which is in Utah.
OPA has a unique peer group format where they have several different tracks and you choose from one of these tracks. Each track is led by a specific OPA-qualified coordinator and each of these tracks has a maximum of 10 participants. So what you have is a really intimate group that focuses on the same topic for an intensive for three days with the same mentor.
In addition to the tracks, everybody comes together at different points throughout the weekend for some short lectures. The theme of the retreat is The Art of Living and Dying, and they’re going to have some lectures on Jupiter’s ingress into Scorpio, as well as some other lectures on Astronomy for Astrologers.
Because each track has a maximum of 10 people, 5 of the tracks are already sold out, out of 13 tracks. So if you’re interested in finding out more information or signing up, you can go to opaastrology.org.
In terms of the other prize, my book, it’s 700 pages. It covers the history, philosophy, and techniques of ancient astrology. Has 120 example charts, 60 diagrams, teaches you some techniques that can enhance techniques that modern astrologers already use today, as well as other techniques that were lost in the transmission of astrology over the past 2,000 years.
I’m actually going to send out two signed copies, which I’m sending out via Priority Mail, so you get them within two days for winners of the drawing later this month. For those of you who don’t win the drawing, you can always just order a copy of the book at hellenisticastrology.com/book. And for US orders, I can send out a signed copy to you via two-day mail.
All right, so that’s the drawing this month; pretty good prizes. But let’s jump right into our topic this month which is the Age of Aquarius. This is actually a show that you and I have been talking about doing I feel like a couple of years now, right?
CB: Yeah, it’s been on my list forever because it’s one of those huge topics in astrology. It’s one of the few astrological topics that has general currency in the broader community, in the world at large, where most people have heard about this supposedly quasi-astrological concept. Even if you’re not an astrologer or you don’t otherwise know anything about astrology, you’ve probably heard about this idea of the Age of Aquarius, right?
KM: Exactly. And if you haven’t heard the Fifth Dimension song, This is the Age of Aquarius, and if you’ve been living on Earth for awhile, you might be looking around going, “Really? This is the Age of Aquarius?” Hopefully, we can unpack what that all means and where the concept came from and different ways of identifying what ‘The Age of Aquarius’ is.
CB: Yeah, so I want to break this down and explore the whole topic but start from square one. One thing that we should say is both of are graduates of the Kepler degree program, when it still has a degree program between the years 2000 and 2010.
KM: The golden age of academic astrology in the United States, yes.
CB: Right, the figurative ‘Age of Astrology’, of astrological education. One of our teachers, our core teachers in that program was Nick Campion. The Age of Aquarius and studies surrounding the Age of Aquarius as a social phenomenon has been almost like his hobby horse. I almost don’t want to use that term because it sounds like I’m downplaying it or denigrating it or something, but this has really been something he’s focused a lot of research on and written a number of papers and book chapters and other things, right?
KM: Correct. Actually, in preparation for this session today, I pulled out my copy of Astrology, History, and Apocalypse where he has a whole section on the Age of Aquarius; and there’s numerous other things he’s written as well.
CB: Yeah, so I wanted to mention that at the top because we’re going to be drawing heavily on his work for this. But you can pretty much check out any of Nick’s books, and he’ll have some coverage of this topic, either in terms of the history and origins of it, or in terms of how astrologers conceptualize it, or how astrologers have debated the different ways that it’s defined.
They recently released a paperback version of his book, Astrology and Popular Religion in the Modern West, by Nicholas Campion. I think just in the past year, it came out as a paperback. I think this is a shortened version of his dissertation, which was published a few years ago. But he covers a lot of stuff related to this topic in there as well, so I’d really recommend it, in addition to the book you mentioned, Astrology, History, and Apocalypse, which was actually one of the first books that really got me interested in and inspired me to really want to study the history of astrology more closely because it showed me how important it was in terms of understanding where everything comes from, especially if you’re using these techniques.
CB: All right, so let’s start from square one. What we’re going to be talking about here is a theory in the astrological community called the Theory of the Astrological Ages. Roughly speaking, what this theory entails is the idea that there are these 2,000-year periods of history that are ruled by each of the zodiacal signs.
The idea is we’ve been in one, which is the age or the sign of Pisces for the past 2,000 years approximately, and that in theory, another 2,000-year period associated with Aquarius is supposed to be starting soon or has already started, or is starting now or is imminently starting sometime in the not-too-distant future, right?
Broadly speaking, that’s the most broad statement you could make about this topic?
KM: Yes. And now we have to get into the astronomy of why that is the case, but yeah.
CB: Right, and this is an idea that actually is surprisingly recent. This idea didn’t become popular until the 19th century. And that in and of itself is a really important point because, oftentimes, in discussions within the astrological community about this concept, it’s assumed that it’s much older than it actually is, or oftentimes, people will try to find evidence that it’s been used for hundreds or thousands of years.
One of the things that Campion really emphasizes in his studies of this is that as an idea or a phenomena, it really only seems to be traced back to the late 19th century, or mid-19th century or so.
KM: I’m going to say there’s three phases. And by the way, everyone, we’re being very general, and we’re going to be taking some liberties with detail to make some generalizations so we can get through the session here.
KM: But I am going to postulate that there’s basically three phases to this. The first phase is the notion of the Platonic Year–which I’ll get into in a second–which Campion thinks is the progenitor of all this thinking. And then you get the 19th century notion of we’re on the precipice of a new age. I’m not talking about the New Age movement of now, but this notion of humanity is about to undergo a transformation, and it’s going to be better, a better place for everyone and a new age is coming. And the third development of that idea is that, oh, there are astrological ages that we can apply to history, and the Age of Aquarius is actually this coming, new age.
How does that sound to you, Chris? Yes, I’m painting with a broad brush.
CB: No, I think that’s good. What was the second one? Just identifying precession in general?
KM: Not precession in general, but just the notion of a coming new age.
KM: Well, let’s start from the beginning which would be this notion of the Platonic Year, which is this idea that the universe itself would cease to exist when all the planets conjuncted in either Cancer or Capricorn. Now this idea goes back to Berossus, the notion that this would happen periodically.
A symbolic number was given to it of 36,000 years, so that approximately every 36,000 years, all of the mechanisms of the heavens would line up and everything would come together, and it would herald the end of the old and the beginning of the new, and this got the name ‘a Platonic Year’.
CB: Right, or the Great Year.
KM: Or the Great Year, yes.
CB: So this is a concept that Plato mentions, but he doesn’t actually give a number to it.
CB: He just makes some general statement in the Timeus about all of the planets returning to where they started when the Cosmos originated or something like that, right?
KM: Right. And Berossus is an ancient figure that is at the dawn of horoscopic astrology. He’s representing the Mesopotamian tradition. He sets up a school in Kos. We don’t know exactly what he taught and only fragments of his writings survived and much of that is on this mundane topic of these cataclysms.
But he felt that when all the planets lined in Cancer, the world would be purged by fire. Why fire? Because in the Northern Hemisphere it’s summer and it’s the hottest time during that. And then he thought it would be cleansed by water when everything lined up in Capricorn, so fragments of him talking about that did survive and do survive to this day, and you can look that up.
CB: Sure. So you have Plato mentioned this idea of a Great Year, of all the planets coming back to where they started in the 4th century BCE.
CB: And then a couple of centuries later, you have Berossus, and he’s a Mesopotamian astrology who had a reputation for importing astrology from Mesopotamia and then setting up a school for astrologers and starting to teach Greeks astrology. He had a more specific version of this where he’s talking about the planets all aligning in Cancer or Capricorn. Then you jump forward to the next large astrological idea connected with that, the Jupiter-Saturn cycles, right?
KM: Yes. And of course, this played a major role in Persian political or mundane astrology, and it plays a big role in contemporary Indian astrology, and it plays a role in Western mundane, depending on what flavor of mundane you do, his notion of the cycles of the conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn.
Actually, there is one other missing piece which I want to mention and that is the rise of Christianity and the rise of this notion that there is a discrete place in history where there’s going to be a Second Coming and a Kingdom of Heaven established on Earth. Campion calls this millennial kind of thinking. Not millennial as in if you’re a young person, you’re a millennial, but the notion that, “The year 1000, well, this is a significant year. This must be the year that Jesus is coming back and everything’s going to be transformed and the Earth’s going to be a new Eden.”
And there was some of that when the year 2000 rolled around, so it’s kind of deep in the Western psyche that there’s going to be a moment where everything changes and we tend to attach that to certain specific cycles.
CB: Right, and it got attached in the Christian tradition and in Western culture with 1,000-year increments. This is where we get the idea of millenarianism. I just did a search for millenarianism and Google is defining it as: The doctrine or belief in a future (and typically imminent) thousand-year age of blessedness, beginning with or culminating in the Second Coming of Christ. So it’s this idea that there’s going to be a thousand-year age of peace and enlightenment or what have you. That was conceptualized originally in a Christian context but then later other philosophies and religions started to adopt it a little bit as well.
Astrologically, that then eventually got tied in, in the Medieval tradition, with the Jupiter-Saturn cycles, which traditionally were the furthest outer planets and the slowest outer planets. Those conjunctions take place every 20 years. But then somebody in the Medieval or Persian tradition noticed that they would always take place in the same triplicities, in signs of the same element that are trined to each other.
KM: Fire, Air, Earth, and Water.
CB: Right, and that takes place, for what, approximately 200 or 260 years or something like that, the conjunctions will happen in the same triplicities?
KM: Right. Something like that, yeah.
CB: For example, for the past 200 years, all of the Jupiter-Saturn conjunctions have taken place in Air signs in the tropical zodiac and then eventually that switches. It moves a few degrees each time, and eventually, it’ll switch into another triplicity. So eventually, it’ll go through all four triplicities–Earth, Air, Fire, and Water–in approximately 960 years, which is almost a thousand years.
In the Medieval period, this thousand-year shift started getting lined up with or associated with the births of religions and things like that in some of the Medieval literature. So this became a long-term, predictive astrological technique that got associated with some predictive doctrines, as well as in religious doctrines.
CB: Fast forward then, does that take us essentially…
KM: Yeah, then I would fast forward us to Theosophy, Madame Blavatsky writing The Secret Doctrine, and this notion that there’s a coming new age, or a new golden age. Theosophy was a religious and philosophical movement which is still alive today, by the way, but it was started in the last quarter of the 19th century. The byline of Theosophy is, There’s no religion higher than Truth, so it was all about seeking truth and the truth of different individual religious paths, and there was this notion that we were on the precipice of this new age, and so, the theosophical writers would write about that.
And it was also somewhat of a feeling in Western culture in general. Things were being invented. It just seemed like science was on the precipice of answering every possible question. You had the world fairs of the 1890’s and just this feeling of optimism. Like, “Wow, electricity’s coming. Everything is about to change.”
CB: Sure. And so, there was this real undercurrent starting in the mid-19th century–the mid-1800’s–of what we would associate today with the New Age movement…
CB: …which is this almost counter-cultural movement. It started with spiritualism, but then out of that grew Theosophy, or what’s called the Theosophical Society. They thought that we were act the precipice of a huge shift in the world and in society and culture and world history, where everyone was about to become enlightened, both spiritually enlightened and in other ways. One of the things that was also happening at that time is that Darwin’s Theory of Evolution became more widely promoted and accepted, and some of that got imported into discussions about religious matters.
Madame Blavatsky, the person who founded the Theosophical Society–which is the start of the New Age movement–incorporated ideas of physical and biological evolution and applied it to spiritual growth and said that people grow spiritually through karma and reincarnation and things like that. By incorporating Eastern teachings of karma and reincarnation and…
KM: But adding this layer of spiritual evolution. Actually, this is an important aside for your listeners. The concept of evolution has become so embedded in our worldview, Nick Campion, in Astrology, History, Apocalypse makes the mistake where he’s reading some Medieval text and they’re talking about ‘spiritual evolution’. No, that concept didn’t exist then.
The notion that you had to ‘evolve’ to get better, the ancient notion was more there was this inner perfection that you just had to realize. We see this more in Buddhist thought, but it was around in alchemical thought in the Middle Ages and through the alchemy period, this notion that if you just purified something enough, it became perfect. It wasn’t that you had to slog through all this evolution.
But that’s something that has just become so ingrained in us because we learn that concept from such a young age, and she definitely applied it to spiritual evolution. To me, she was like ground zero for this notion of ‘spiritual evolution’ and you had to slog through all this stuff to ‘evolve’ spiritually.
I’m not saying whether it’s true or not. I’m just saying that concept, when you hear people talk about history, be careful, because no one really thought about things in an evolutionary way until post-Darwin.
CB: Yeah, just in terms of tracing the history of ideas and tracing back the origins of some of these concepts, or at least when they become popularized. And that’s important because one of the points that Campion emphasizes that I always thought was really interesting and has continued to be relevant to me as I’ve gotten older and viewed how things happen and different social movements, he makes this point–and I have no idea where he made it; he’s probably made it a few different times–that there’s always this tendency where groups or sometimes individuals will idealize this distant golden age in the past.
So, they’ll look back into the past and idealize when things were better back then, when people were wiser or enlightened, or some kind of idealized version of the past and that somehow things have devolved since then and gotten to this low point where everything is decrepit and has fallen apart and is not as good as it used to be.
Either they’ll do that, or they’ll do the opposite, which is to idealize some future golden age that’s right around the corner, and that we’re either right on the brink or it’s sometime coming up in the future. Somehow, the present, again, is downplayed or is made to look worse–not worse–made to look bad in some way, and it’s put up against this idealized golden age in the future.
KM: Watch an episode of The Jetsons.
CB: Right, The Jetsons. And it’s ironic for me to be talking about this in the context of releasing my book, but it’s a point that I actually do bring up both in the introduction and the conclusion of the book, which is it’s very easy to lapse into that. You sometimes see astrologers go through phases with that where they’ll get fed up with modern astrology, or they discover older forms of astrology, and they’ll start idealizing them and say everything was great about the ancients and everything we’re doing today is terrible or something like that.
CB: I always try to be careful because, on the one hand, I think there’s something valuable to be gained from studying older traditions of astrology and I think they’re great. But I always try to moderate that tendency to go too far with that and say only the old ways are the good ways and the current ways are all terrible, to be careful that students don’t go too far in that direction. It leads to this imbalance where it’s not really true and it can lead to some problems.
Anyways, probably one of the core things underlying this is that at some point in the late 19th century, through the Theosophical Society and through Madame Blavatsky, a bunch of these different ideas came together, and one of the big ones was the idea that there’s this golden age that’s right around the corner.
One of the things that was happening at the time is that some texts, some ancient astronomical and astrological texts were being dated using the phenomenon of precession, which is the gradual movement of the–you can frame it in different ways–equinoxes and the solstices moving and drifting gradually against the backdrop of the fixed stars and the constellations. Another way you could phrase precession is that it’s the gradual drift of the tropical zodiac, moving out of alignment with the sidereal zodiac about 1 degree every 72 years approximately.
KM: Thank you so much, Chris, for describing it from both sides. So many times I find that tropical astrologers are so locked into the notion that the stars are the ones drifting, and yet, from the sidereal perspective, it’s the Earth that’s acting weird. And in fact, astronomically, it is the Earth acting weird and wobbling around.
CB: Yeah, it’s important just because it’s all relative…
CB: …and it’s just a matter of what perspective you’re looking at it from. So precession has been known about for over 2,000 years now. It was discovered by Hipparchus sometime around the 2nd century BCE.
KM: And let me just jump on my soapbox again, not to interrupt you, Chris, but it drives me crazy. Every few years, some so-called scientist will make a news report that, “Oh, those astrologers don’t know what they’re doing. The stars aren’t lining up with the signs.” That was a decision that Western astrology made at the beginning of the tradition.
People noticed that something weird was going on and there was some drift. They didn’t know if it was a one-way ticket, or if it was some kind of multi-degree wobbling around. But the fact is, the first day of Spring, the stars were moving a little bit and that was noticed, and the decision was made to anchor the tropical zodiac or the Western zodiac to the seasons. That wasn’t a mistake, that was a decision made. Whereas the Indian tradition–who had been a star-watching culture for a long time–they decided to keep their eyes on the stars and divvy up the heavens by 12 that way.
The reason why this is an issue is that at the dawn of horoscopic astrology, they were kind of lined up, and so, it didn’t really matter. The first day of Spring, the beginning of Aries was also rising when the Sun rose.
KM: Okay, sorry, off the soapbox.
CB: No, that’s really relevant because it means that this whole topic of the Age of Aquarius is connected to the same phenomenon or the same thing as that whole debate over both the tropical versus sidereal issue, but also, this recurrent myth that recently the zodiacs have moved out of alignment and that astrologers don’t know about it, which we’ve talked about a few times before on the show, which is this persistent idea that keeps promoted in skeptical and scientific circles even though precession has been known about for over 2,000 years now.
CB: Astrologers are very aware of it and deliberately tend to adopt either one zodiac or the other, either the tropical zodiac or the sidereal zodiac.
CB: So this takes us back to the core of this as a technical concept, which is, essentially, the way that the astrological ages are defined is by the vernal point, which coincides with the 1st degree of Aries in the tropical zodiac. It also coincides, just in terms of the calendar, with the first day of Spring. When the Sun moves across this point that’s the first day of Spring in the Northern Hemisphere and that’s part of the reason why it’s used to define the start of the tropical zodiac using that reference system.
That point, the vernal point, or 0 degrees Aries in the tropical zodiac moves. 2,000 years ago, that point was lined up with 0 of Aries in the sidereal zodiac, which is connected with the constellations, whereas 0 degrees of Aries in the tropical zodiac is aligned with the seasons. So roughly, 2,000 years, those were aligned, but then over the past 2,000 years, they’ve slowly shifted about 1 degree every 72 years. At this point, they’re about, what, 23-24 degrees off?
KM: Yeah, about 24-and-some-change now, depending on where you want to start the sidereal zodiac. So let me just clarify what Chris said. There’s actually three zodiacs, you might say. There’s the tropical zodiac, which takes the first day of Spring and divides the year into 12 equal segments. The first day of Spring is always the beginning of Aries. And as Chris said, 2,000 years ago, the first star, the constellation Aries, was basically rising on that first day of Spring, so they were in alignment.
What sidereal astrologers do is they take the stars and divide the sky into 12 equal sections based not on the first day of Spring, but where they believe the beginning of the constellation Aries is, but divide the sky equally in 12. That’s a similar feature to the tropical and the sidereal zodiac; they divide things equally by 12.
The third zodiac is the actual constellations that are of various sizes. Aries is super teeny, Virgo is giant, they overlap each other. Astrologers tend to not deal with this because the astrological tradition has always been about dividing a circle into equal 12 segments. But this also makes the Age of Aquarius a little sticky, as we’ll get into later, because Aquarius as a constellation overlaps Pisces, but we’ll get to that in a little bit, I’m sure.
CB: Yeah, we’ll get to that one. So essentially, right now, where 0 degrees of Aries is in the tropical zodiac, if you had a planet there, then it would be at what degree in the sidereal zodiac?
KM: Yeah, it would be 5-6 degrees. It backs up. In fact, let me just calculate a chart for today. For example today, we know that the Sun is in tropical Aries, in the 2nd degree.
KM: We’ve just had the equinox a little while ago, and the Sun is in very early Aries. But if I recast the chart into the sidereal zodiac that’s going to back things up because the seasons of the Earth have become unaligned from the stars, and so, the Sun is in the 8th degree of Pisces.
CB: In the sidereal zodiac.
KM: That’s why the period we’re living in is called the Piscean Age. The first day of Spring, shortly after–no, I don’t want to necessarily pin to Christ’s birth, but early in the Christian tradition, it was the stars of Pisces that were rising on the first day of Spring. Over time, every year, it backs up a little bit, backs up a little bit.
As Chris said, it’s 72 years per degree. And so, eventually, we will get to the point where on the first day of Spring, the sidereal sign, the star sign of Aquarius will be rising with the Sun on the first day of Spring, and that is one of the ways you can define the Age of Aquarius. But did I get ahead of ourselves?
CB: No, that’s good.
CB: My point is just that it’s moving backwards, so that 2,000 years ago, at some point, the vernal point–0 degrees Aries in the tropical zodiac–was aligned with 0 degrees of Aries in the sidereal zodiac. But then because the vernal point moved backwards through the sidereal signs–essentially 1 degree every 72 years–eventually the vernal point moved into 29 degrees of Pisces in the sidereal zodiac. Then it went 1 degree every 72 years over the past 2,000 years, so that now, depending on what calculations you use for the sidereal zodiac, the vernal point is somewhere in the early degrees of Pisces.
So you said it was at what, 6 degrees using your Ayanamsa?
KM: 7–it’s in the 8th degree, give or take a few minutes, depending on where you want to place the beginning of Aries.
CB: Okay, so it’s at 8 degrees of Pisces and then continually moving at 1 degree every 72 years. Eventually, it’ll move to the very beginning of Pisces and then eventually it’ll slip into Aquarius…
CB: …and at that point at least, according to this concept, just defined very generally, that’s when the theoretical Age of Aquarius would begin, whenever the vernal point moves into sidereal Aquarius.
KM: Now I’ve taken the liberty of calculating using current astrological software the beginning of the Age of Aquarius as defined in the way we’re talking about. We’re going to get into in a little bit other ways of thinking about the Age of Aquarius.
CB: Maybe you should explain the Ayanamsa or just the concept of the Ayanamsa.
KM: Yeah, so the Ayanamsa is an Indian word, and it’s the measurement between the first day of Spring and the beginning of the sidereal side of Aries. And because there is no particularly bright star to mark the beginning of that constellation, there is some debate over exactly where that starts. If you go back a hundred years in India, it was frequently defined as being so much distance beyond Zeta Pisces, which is the last star in the constellation of Pisces, and most of the Ayanamsas were kind of based on that concept.
When India became a country, it became important to unify the calendar of all the different states, so that everyone was celebrating holidays on the same day. So they had a calendar committee composed of scientists using 1950s technology and they came up with the concept of using the star Spica as the midway point of the sidereal zodiac, and then a hundred degrees from that would mark the beginning of Aries and they kind of locked in. So the government of India uses that as the official start of the sidereal zodiac.
Now astrologers who have difficulty agreeing, no matter what culture you’re in or what tradition, they will fudge with that a little bit, but most of them will be very close to what’s called the Lahiri Ayanamsa because Lahiri was the head of this calendar committee. Not to be confused with Yogananda’s guru, Lahiri, or his guru’s guru. Lahiri is kind of a common name in India.
Most of the Indian Ayanamsas in Indian astrology fall within minutes of that official one. I calculate the actual start of the Age of Aquarius as being on March 20, 2467–yes, grab your tissues because we have a ways to wait–at 6 and 38 seconds, Denver Mountain Time– assuming Denver is still maintaining that time–and that’s probably plus or minus 50 years. So allowing for we don’t know exactly where the beginning is, but if Lahiri was in the ballpark at the beginning of Aries, probably plus or minus 50-70 years.
If there is any truth to these ages, it’s likely to be like a tide coming in, not a light switch going on. It’s not like, “Oh, Age of Pisces!” Suddenly, everyone wakes up the next day and everything’s changed. It’s more like a tide coming in; one tide recedes and another tide comes in with its influence.
CB: Sure. Just to be clear though, one of the issues with this concept just as a technique–the technique of the astrological ages–is that there’s sometimes disagreement about where to start the 1st degree of the sidereal zodiac.
CB: And so, depending on what starting point you use, it can be off by a few degrees. There’s a range of a few degrees. Some Western sidereal astrologers use the Fagan-Bradley Ayanamsa, which is a few degrees off from Lahiri, right?
KM: Basically, you multiply 72, so Fagan-Bradley would be off by 210 years. Most of the Ayanamsas used by Indian astrologers are within a degree, so that would be plus or minus 72 years. Yes, there are some outliers out there, so that does make it difficult to pin down exactly.
I guess I’m bringing up the notion of these tides because from that point of view, the exactness may not really matter because it’s going to be something that gradually comes over the world, if we even want to buy into this notion that there are these astrological ages because that concept itself is pretty new.
CB: Sure, it’s new. Okay, let’s finish defining it first before we get into the validity. One of the points, and this is one of the points that Campion makes, is that he surveyed the literature, and he found not just dozens, but he found hundreds of different references to when the Age of Aquarius would begin because there’s a lot of different ways you could define. Also, because of this ambiguity even about what Ayanamsa to use, there could be different starting points.
Because 1 degree equals 72 years, even a small difference of a degree can sometimes throw the whole calculation off by a century or so.
CB: So one important thing is that there’s a huge span of dates. There’s different ways of defining it. I’m not sure, maybe we should get to this point. There’s also a more recent way of defining it where, in the 1970s, Robert Hand wrote this paper where he was actually drawing on the work of Carl Jung–who wrote a paper on this in the 1950s–who suggested that instead of using the sidereal zodiac–which is 12 signs of exactly 30 degrees each, measured relative to some specific starting point, like a fixed star, or whatever you’ve used as your starting point–you use the actual constellations and the fixed stars associated with the constellations themselves.
But what they pointed out is that when you do this, the constellations of Pisces and Aquarius actually overlap a bit, so that you don’t have this clean, one age ends and another age begins. Instead, you have an overlap that lasts for a few thousand years or something.
KM: Right, and I was going to look that up. I neglected to. I don’t know if you did to see are we actually in that. I mean, how many degrees over does Aquarius stretch into Pisces? And are we ‘in the Age of Aquarius’ from that point of view already? Or we soon will be, if not.
CB: I think what they said, if I remembered correctly, is that we hit the first star associated with Aquarius, would move past the vernal point around 2060 or something like that.
KM: Okay, so that’s, wow. Put your tissues away. It’s coming soon. I’ll tell you when that’s going to become a popular notion. I’m going to make a prediction now, not based on astrology, but based on human nature.
KM: It’s a little too soon, but very soon everyone in the Western world is going to be freaking out 2040 because that’s when Newton said the world was going to end. He did all these complex, biblical calculations. Newton was a very interesting character, by the way. He didn’t only spend his time doing science.
One of the things he did was study the Bible, unbelievable, and really was trying to find when the Apocalypse was going to happen, and he predicted 2040. Now once that passes, like all these things pass and we survive that, then people will be like, “Oh, the first star of Aquarius is coming in 2060,” so that will probably be the next big thing that people are talking about, and whatever the equivalence is of books in that day, people will be writing about it.
CB: Right. So we just got done with the 2012 thing a few years ago.
CB: Before that we had 1999 and 2000.
KM: Yeah, the Y2K. We had the Harmonic Convergence. I mean, I’ve lived through quite a few of these.
CB: Oh yeah, I wasn’t around for that, but I remember you mentioning that, the Harmonic Convergence. When was that again?
KM: That was 1985, I believe, and I actually forget what the astronomical source of that was. But people gathered in Sedona and different sacred spots and thought all kinds of things were going to happen.
CB: If I remember correctly, it was just some planets formed a hexagon or something in the chart that was really close.
KM: I guess I could find out. If I was motivated, I would do it, but it was another big thing. And this brings us up to this isn’t the only way to define Age of Aquarius. There have been astrologers that have argued that Uranus ingressing or going into sidereal Aquarius heralded the beginning of the Age of Aquarius. Of course, that’s going to happen during some regular period as Uranus travels around the zodiac, but someone in Campion’s lecture mentions that as the start of an Age of Aquarius.
My first astrology teacher, who I am pretty sure is no longer with us, Helena Ruhnau, she believed that the Age of Aquarius started when there was this conjunction of all of these planets in Aquarius on February 5, 1962.
KM: Now there was another famous American astrologer named Jeane Dixon who predicted that that was the day that the Antichrist was born.
KM: My teacher actually believed that that was the day that the Second Coming was born. Now he would have just celebrated his 55th birthday, if my math is right. I guess he decided not to come forward, or she was wrong in her calculations, but she was the one that taught me. But bless her heart, I had learned astrology a few years earlier on my own, she was the first person I studied with. She lived in the town of Colorado Springs, as a matter of fact, where I was living at the time.
I attended her class and I remember I was like, “Oh yeah, I know how to do charts. I don’t need to do that part of your class,” and I brought in a chart I calculated. She says, “Oh, this is like a midnight birth.” I’m like, “Yeah.” And she’s like, “Well, why do you have the Sun in the 10th house?” And I’m like, “Doh!”
Now these were the days when you had to do calculations by hand, and I had done a mathematical error and the Sun was in the wrong place. And because I wasn’t grounded in the astronomy of astrology–and here’s a pitch for learning, all you astrologers, some astronomy–it didn’t strike me as an obvious mistake like it would now, or to anyone who works with charts on a regular basis.
Yeah, so she definitely humbled me on that, but she definitely was like, “The Age of Aquarius has started. The spiritual teacher has been born, and he will be coming forward at some point.”
CB: Right, and that’s a point that’s really important and worth emphasizing at this point to back up a little bit. It seems like from a very early stage, as far back as Blavatsky, especially in the late 19th century when this concept of the Age of Aquarius first started gaining currency, a lot of it seem to do more with a group of religious people having a specific, pre-defined set of religious beliefs that there religious beliefs were about to manifest in the world, and the world was about to be transformed in this very positive way in the very near future. And then this astrological concept connected with precession became something that they project those beliefs onto and it became a vehicle for promoting those beliefs.
The issue is that as a result of that the concept of what the sign Aquarius even meant in astrology started to change in order to be closer to what the religious beliefs were that were being projected onto it. So one of the issues that you have to wrestle with when you’re learning about and when you’re trying to analyze this concept objectively to see if there’s anything to it is that every modern astrology book, almost all of our discussions about Aquarius have been influenced by what was originally this religious belief that then got projected onto the sign in order to justify the idea that this age of enlightenment was about to begin.
KM: Right. And I, just for laughs pulled up the–well, not for laughs. But just for clarification actually, I pulled up the chart for February 5, 1962. And depending on where you were in the world, on the 3rd, 4th, 5th, you had Moon, Jupiter, Venus, the South Node, the Sun–that’s right, there was an eclipse at that time–Mercury, Saturn, and Mars all in tropical Aquarius. So astrologically, it was a big deal. I haven’t actually met anyone born on that day, but that would be an interesting study.
CB: Yeah. I mean, the point with that though is that specific thing of a lineup of planets in Aquarius has literally nothing to do with the original concept of astrological ages.
KM: That is correct.
CB: And I think that’s a common theme in the 20th century where sometimes you’ll see different astrologers, like Marc Edmund Jones, for example, who wrote in one of his books that he thought the Age of Aquarius had just begun due to the discovery of Pluto. So precession was the original idea behind this concept, but one of the issues is that even using precession, like the beginning of the Age of Aquarius, is still a little ways off, or in some calculations, like you said, a long ways off, a few centuries off if you use the Lahiri Ayanamsa.
KM: Or really any of them, it’s hundreds of years off.
CB: Yeah, but this wasn’t coming from the astrology originally. It was coming from the religious motivation from the Theosophical Society and from eventually the New Age movement. And because there was already this conviction that this religious movement was going to take off and it was going to become a worldwide phenomenon, they would look for ways to justify that.
And so, a lot of the discussion in the astrological community then would sometimes start grasping at straws in order to find what looked like major mundane astrological alignments and point at that and say, “This is the thing that actually indicates the Age of Aquarius is starting now.” And so, the discovery of Pluto, or like you said, that lineup of planets in Aquarius in 1962. You mentioned the Harmonic Convergence. I think it was just a big Grand Sextile or something that occurred in 1985 or 1987.
KM: Yeah, I should have been more precise with my dates and time. In fact, I can look that up while we’re talking about it. But I just made an astounding discovery.
CB: Oh, did you discover when the Age of Aquarius is going to be?
KM: No, but Aquarius (Let the Sunshine In) by The 5th Dimension–okay, we have this famous song in America by The 5th Dimension called Aquarius.
CB: Maybe you should explain it just in case someone doesn’t know it or hasn’t heard it.
KM: The 5th Dimension was a rock/blues band, and a hit they had in–let me just see what year it would have been. 5th Dimension. I believe it was the early ‘70s. Age of Aquarius. So we had this hit song, released in 1969, and we really wanted to use it as bumper music for this episode, but due to legal restraints, we can’t.
CB: Because it cost too much to get the rights.
KM: Yeah, to get the rights. But the lyrics of the song, and there aren’t many lyrics, but it starts off with: When the moon is in the 7th House / And Jupiter aligns with Mars / Then peace will guide the planets / And love will steer the stars / This is the dawning of the age of Aquarius. Well, February 5th, actually there was a time on that day where the Moon would have been in the 7th house with Jupiter and with Mars in Aquarius, and maybe that’s what they were saying. Maybe I’m seeing now that the song kind of makes sense when I look at this February 1962 chart.
The beautiful thing about this song is there are many times when Jupiter is going to be with Mars–every couple of years that happens–and the Moon at some point will be in the 7th house from them.
CB: Right, like every couple of years, basically.
KM: Yeah, and more than once that year the Moon will be in the 7th house.
CB: I always interpreted it symbolically like they were saying Jupiter aligns with Mars, and so, they meant peace will happen because of the warlike nature of Mars will be quelled by the peace indicated by Jupiter or something like that.
KM: Yeah, and then having the Moon aspecting them, assuming it’s a benefic Moon.
KM: In any event, that’s very, very interesting. The notion that we’re already in the Age of Aquarius, there is a pop culture phenomenon from the song, from 1969, getting into people’s minds. So you have non-astrologers talking about the Age of Aquarius, and of course, that was the age of peace and freedom, protesting the Vietnam War and all that good stuff.
CB: Right, and then there’s periodically, over the past century, these periods where somebody tries to pin it on some specific astronomical alignments, say this is when the Age of Aquarius will begin, and then there’s some group that will have some anticipation in the ramp up to it, and then it’ll come and go and nothing will happen. Or it’s not like a sudden dawning of peace and enlightenment for everybody and there’s disappointment.
We had a little bit of that with the 2012 thing, which, again, is just taking something completely unrelated to the original notion of precession and applying to this other concept of the Age of Aquarius. Some people or sometimes some astrologer said that “In 2012, this is when the Age of Aquarius will begin because that’s what the Mayans said,” based on whatever they’re basing that on.
CB: Did you find the Harmonic Convergence dates?
KM: Sorry, I was so distracted by this Age of Aquarius thing. Let me go back to the Harmonic Convergence, which got a lot of press at the time.
CB: Oh, did it?
KM: I just remember living in Colorado and people were going places to experience the Harmonic Convergence. So it was August 16-17, 1987, closely coinciding with an exceptional alignment of planets. Well, let’s see what that alignment was. August 16th. Imagine how boring this would be if we had to calculate everything by hand here for your listeners?
Way back in 1987 and calculate. Yes, please calculate. So what kind of alignment did we have?
CB: August 17th?
KM: Yeah, 16th-17th. I guess it depended on where you were in the world.
CB: Right. Jupiter is trine Mars, 3 degrees off. The Moon is in Gemini. Oh yeah, it was something to do with quintiles or something like that. I remember somebody trying to explain it to me once, and I just remember being incredibly unimpressed by whatever they thought they saw in the chart at the time.
But again, that just brings me back to it’s so often the mundane things where astrologers are like, “This is a big thing that’s coming up.” It’s like sometimes that’ll be relevant, especially when it gets tied in with religious beliefs about…
CB: …the age of enlightenment starting at that time or whatever, it often ends up being not that impressive. And that’s one of the recurring themes I see in the history of astrology in the past century, at least in the interaction between astrology and the New Age movement.
KM: As I’m reading the article here, I’m seeing that there’s some Aztec calendar connection. People thought it tied into the Mayan calendar. Let’s see. Oh, here we go. Sun, Moon, and 6 out of the 8 planets being part of a Grand Trine. So yeah, I guess I see that.
CB: It’s a very loose Grand Trine.
KM: If I go by houses–okay, I see it. And if I adjust the time a little bit, the Moon would get involved, so yeah.
CB: So what is it? Just to read off the positions, Mercury is at 21 Leo, Venus is at 22 Leo, Sun at 24, Mars at 26 Leo, and they sort of widely trine Jupiter at 29 Aries, and then those all very widely trine Saturn at 14 Sagittarius and Uranus at 22 Sagittarius.
KM: And then, depending on when you calculate it, you can get the Moon involved.
CB: If that’s really it, if it was a Grand Trine, it’s not even a close Grand Trine, and it’s not really clear why that specific day was picked out versus another day, like a few days later or something like that.
KM: I guess it eventually got grounded in Mayan calendars and someone’s reconstructed Aztec prophecies. Anyway, it was all a hit. It was kind of the new thing and there were events worldwide, but the aliens didn’t come, Mount Olympus didn’t take off into space.
Some would argue there was a spiritual change. I’m not saying those things don’t happen, but as Westerners, we really like this notion of something dramatic is going to happen to change everything for the better at a certain moment. That I’ve seen over and over again, or fearful that something bad is going to happen like Y2K.
CB: That probably goes back, especially in the West, to the Christian ideas about the Apocalypse. More recently, what’s the other related thing where all the believers get beamed up to Heaven?
KM: Oh, man. And of course, there’s a thousand people listening to this right now–the Rapture, thank you.
CB: Right, the Rapture.
KM: Thank you for sending that telepathically to my brain, future listener. Yeah, the Rapture where the faithful get zapped up and the rest of us are left behind, as the Left Behind series illustrates.
CB: Right. I mean, that’s probably part of where that comes from in terms of if you wanted to psychoanalyze the Western psyche or something like that. So back to this topic.
CB: On the one hand, Campion’s incredibly dismissive of this. And I actually found this really hard because what’s funny is I came into astrology reading New Age literature, starting in 1999, and was super into this idea that the Age of Aquarius is about to begin.
I remember getting to Kepler and being actually really put off by Nick’s lectures on this because he was not just dismissive of it, but he was standing outside of it and showing how inconsistent it’s been over the past century, how many dates have been put forward for it, how it originated with precession, but then astrologers have sort of fallen all over themselves to point to other things that indicate that the Age of Aquarius is beginning that had nothing to do with the original idea of precession, and so on and so forth.
Once you go through that whole process, you realize the shakiness that a lot of it is built on, or at the very least, how there’s been such a wide variety of different opinions about it, that it’s clearly not just this one thing that everybody’s on the same page about once you look into the topic.
KM: And we’re of course talking about a literal interpretation of a possible ‘Age of Aquarius’ based on these modern concepts that there is this linkage between the sidereal and tropical zodiac that has some sort of worldwide influence.
Now I think on a personal level, the ideology of an Age of Aquarius, an age where we’re more connected, where we’re more helping our fellow humanity, and we’re rising up to create a better world for everyone, hell, get on that train today. Personally, I think it’s something that you can embrace.
Take one of these dates that have already happened and say, yes, I’m going to start thinking like that and move my life in that direction. And if enough of us do that then–oh, this actually reminds me of a quote I saw yesterday, although I don’t know who said it, but one of your listeners can probably look that up. The quote is: Few will have the greatness to bend history itself, but each of us can work to change a small portion of events. And in the total of these acts will be written the history of each generation.
So we can be the beginning of the Aquarian generation, if we want to, if we look at it more symbolically, if we’re ready for a more inclusive humanity worldview. Okay, off the soapbox, back to you, Chris.
CB: You’re just talking about it very metaphorically and unconnected with any specific technique…
CB: …which is more like let’s improve as humanity in general, and it doesn’t be connected with some specific astrological measurement.
KM: Although, some people like that.
CB: I mean, that’s fine.
KM: Some people, it’s meaningful. Yeah, take your pick of what you want to do.
CB: I’m fine with that. It’s that this is often co-opted where there’s this idea that there’s this technique that justifies my belief that something is about to happen imminently in the near future. And that’s where I have problems with it just because it’s clear that it often doesn’t have a lot to do with what the astrology is saying. Instead it has more to do with people projecting things onto the astrology, and I think that’s where I have a problem with it sometimes.
KM: Yes, and it is kind of a uniquely Western–it’s part of our psyche, a lot of this stuff. Even when you read the articles that analyze history through this ‘astrological ages’, again, a very modern, 20th century idea, it kind of breaks down when you apply it to other cultures and other histories.
CB: One of the things that’s interesting–and maybe you’d be more interested in this. One of the things that’s interesting about the premise of the astrological ages and the way that Western astrologers often apply which is weird is that these are typically tropicalists, or astrologers who use the tropical zodiac but they start only within the context of this technique.
Even though they don’t otherwise use the sidereal zodiac normally themselves, they start applying the modern, Western meanings of the signs of the zodiac that they apply to the tropical zodiac to the sidereal signs, even though those positions don’t otherwise correlate with the zodiac that they usually use.
So there’s a little bit of a disconnect for me as well. Maybe that’s less of an issue for you or from your vantage point, but I always thought it was weird.
KM: Well, it’s as weird as doing Solar Returns with, what is it called? Precession corrected.
KM: I mean, in for a penny, in for a pound. Just be tropical all the way with what you’re doing. It’s when you start mixing it up, it does create weird philosophical questions. And you’re right. Is it Western astrology’s, “Well, we want to plug in?” I’m not going to psychoanalyze the whole ‘Western astrological culture’.
But I agree with you. It is kind of a strange thing. I mean, there’s a lot of ways one may try to unify the two zodiacs or work with both at the same time. Yeah, this whole ages thing is weird. But it’s a time-marker, and we love time-markers that indicate something is going to change.
Thankfully, we have this 20th century notion of Aquarius being like a great, cool sign.
CB: Right, and maybe that’s worth focusing on a little bit, going back to that point that was made earlier about how even the meanings of Aquarius were different, and in some instances, very different prior to the 20th century. That’s probably relevant also from an Indian perspective.
I know that some Western interpretations of Aquarius have filtered over, but how do Indian astrologers interpret the sign of Aquarius?
KM: Well, it’s a Saturn-ruled sign.
CB: Right, so that’s actually a super important starting point. Traditionally, it’s always been a Saturn-ruled sign. In modern Western astrology, it’s been an Uranus-ruled sign. So right there, you have a much different interpretation just based on that, right?
KM: Yeah. When you think of Uranus, “Oh, it’s the revolutionary, it’s changing everything,” it makes it like, “Oh, the Age of Aquarius, everything is going to be changed, whereas, Saturn is quite a different energy. It’s more somber, more practical.
The Aquarian does have an association of innovating, but it’s not like sudden change Uranus. It’s sort of like creating new things from previous things. Saturn is the planet of delimiting things. So in Aquarius as an Air sign, it’s like, “Oh, let me think about new ways of delimiting things.”
CB: Right, so that idea of Aquarius as a Saturn-ruled, fixed, Air sign, in traditional astrology prior to the 18th and 19th centuries.
KM: Actually, I was looking for my copy of Valens because I was going to see what Valens said. Actually, let’s look at your book. The traditional astrologers, how did they describe Aquarius? I’m sure it’s going to be quite different than what we’re thinking of in terms of the Age of Aquarius.
CB: Yeah. I mean, when you read it, it’s actually kind of funny. It’ll give you a slightly skewed and weird interpretation, but I’ll read it really quick. Valens says–this is using Riley’s translation from page five–Aquarius is the celestial sign which is masculine, solid, anthropomorphic, somewhat damp, single. It is mute, quite cold, free, upward trending, feminizing, unchanging, base, with few offspring. The cause of troubles arising from athletic training. Carrying burdens, or work in hard materials. An artisan. Public. Men born under this sign are malicious, haters of their own families, incorrigible, self-willed, deceitful, tricky, concealing everything, misanthropic, godless, accusers, betrayers of reputations and of truth, envious, petty, occasionally generous because of the signs flow of water.
KM: Oh, my god. We are in the Age of Aquarius. To my horror, we are in the Age of Aquarius.
CB: If we had the music then this is when the music would start playing right now after reading that. And finally, it says uncontrollable is the last signification.
CB: There’s a lot of things that can be drawn from that, but one of the points is just there is this real disconnect between how Aquarius was interpreted. We can also read William Lilly’s description.
KM: Exactly, I was just thinking about that if we wanted to do that. But yeah, very different from the modern notion.
CB: And it’s like he’s getting a lot of that from Saturn. One of the things about concealing everything that’s one of Saturn’s significations. If you read his significations of the planets, he says that Saturn, one of it’s more negative significations–it also has positive ones–but he says one of the things that Saturn can sometimes do is conceal its own deceit. It can be deceitful, but then it can cover up the fact that it’s being deceitful, so that’s where he’s getting that from.
That’s one of the things you have to partially understand is there is also this change that happened with Uranus was discovered, and then some astrologers started applying Uranus as the ruler of Aquarius, and that does to some extent change one’s perspective on Aquarius if you take Uranus significations. But then again, there’s another issue where the significations applied to Uranus started coming not from empirical observations and from the astrologers observing what the planet Uranus would correlate with, but some of the religious, New Age projections of Aquarius getting projected onto Uranus as well.
Sometimes Uranus is given a much more positive wrap than it necessary always deserves, or sometimes it’s idealized a little bit beyond what’s necessary without always acknowledging some of the downsides that can be associated with that planet, astrologically speaking.
CB: So that’s another issue or consideration with this concept. Let’s see. Where else should we go with this? The Age of Aquarius became synonymous with the New Age and with the New Age movement over the course of the past century. A lot of the big, early 20th century astrologers who helped in the revival of Western astrology after it had died out for a couple of centuries, like Alan Leo, Marc Edmund Jones, and Dane Rudhyar were all Theosophists. So there were guys that were reading Madame Blavatsky’s writings and were pretty much into some of her arguments about the New Age beginning very soon. And so, that’s part of the reason why this concept got popularized in modern astrology and gained such wide currency.
What else? Is there anything else we’re leaving out or that we’re missing? I think we’re getting towards the end of our primary points that we wanted to make about this.
KM: Yeah. I think it’s just that, as with many of our podcasts, we’ve hopefully illuminated the history, we’ve clarified some things. If any listener’s really attached to the idea of the Age of Aquarius, again, that’s something that personally you can always cultivate in one’s self. I’m thinking of how communicative our world is now, and Aquarius is listed as mute. I don’t know. That doesn’t bode well. Maybe we want the Age of Aquarius to be hundreds of years off.
But the thing to remember is it’s a fairly modern idea, this notion that there are these periods. It’s a 20th century idea. No one really thought of it in this way in the past. Now people have thought that there are stages to history and ages. The Indian tradition has this–as well as the Western tradition–with the yugas and kali yuga and stuff like that, but it’s a much broader cycle than anything that you would tie down to specific astrology.
CB: And in that one, we’re in the middle of a dark age or something, right?
KM: Again, there are pundits that calculate it differently. Some would say we’re at the bottom of the barrel, some would say we’re crawling back up, but we are in the kali age. If you start with a golden age, it’s worse, and worse, and worse. The kali yuga, things get absolutely worse and then you start going up–the second half of kali yuga–and work your way back up to a golden period.
By most accounts, we are past the worst of it. Although, reading the paper, you might not think that we’re going up, but we are having kali yuga. But a good thing, in the Indian tradition, one of the reasons why we have astrology as a technology is to help us during kali yuga; that’s actually one of the religious beliefs.
CB: Yeah, and that’s one of the New Age beliefs as well. Astrology became a core, New Age thing because they thought that astrology could somehow help in enlightening everybody, or help to raise the psychic vibrations.
KM: I like Jung’s idea of using what we consider the last star of the constellation Aquarius. If I were to mark a particular moment as the ‘start’ of the Age of Aquarius, that concept appeals to me. It relates the seasons to an actual star, and I just kind of like that. It’d be interesting to see when that date actually is.
Now here’s the other piece of the puzzle. Stars have become unattached to the vernal, first day of Spring because the Earth has this weird little wobble. That wobble is not constant. So even if you can calculate on your software the exact moment, that isn’t going to be the exact moment. We actually don’t know, we think–and by ‘we’ I mean scientists–that the Earth is actually slowing.
Sometimes weird things happen. I think when that big tsunami hit Japan, we actually gained a little microsecond or something like, or it slowed down the Earth a microsecond; I can’t remember. Certain events affect time, and so, you’re never going to be able to pin the exact moment, but you can certainly get into the ballpark. And if I were doing this, I think I would use the star of the constellation. I don’t know; I like that.
CB: Yeah, that always seemed like an appealing approach to me as well. And that ties back into something that you said earlier. If this idea has any astrological validity–which I don’t want to completely dismiss that does. I just wanted to raise a bunch of these issues with it that astrologers don’t usually consider because this has become one of those concepts–like Mercury retrograde or the Void of Course Moon–where it’s stated as this axiom sometimes in some sources without realizing how many different nuances and different ways of looking at it there are.
But I do want to step back and say the idea of the sign of Aquarius is becoming more prominent. One of the things I think is interesting that is obviously a major transition the world is going through is just the computer age and the digital age and the internet age. There is something about that that is kind of interesting as a new epoch in human history…
CB: …that I could easily connect with something like Saturn and Aquarius as an Air sign, or even the planet Uranus if you want to go there in terms of Aquarius and its connection with electrical or computer type things. But there’s pros and cons to that and it doesn’t mean that it’s going to be an age of enlightenment, when everything is great and fine and dandy permanently from here on out. It’s going to be just a new stage in history where you’re going to have some pros and you’re going to have some cons.
We’re in an age now where suddenly everyone’s connected all over the world through the internet, but at the same time, sometimes people feel more distant from each other than they ever have been before because people communicate through their phone or through Facebook or something instead of meeting in person, or instead of sometimes even calling each other.
CB: So you can have very positive things that you might associate with that on some astrological level, but you can also have downsides. That seems like a more appropriate approach that we would otherwise take in every other area of astrology, where we would acknowledge both positive potential and negative potential rather than just thinking this is going to be completely good and have no downsides.
KM: Yeah, I agree. We don’t want to rain on anyone’s parade. Another important point–just because an idea is new doesn’t mean it’s bad.
KM: While we disabused you of the notion that these astrological ages go back to the beginning of the tradition, that doesn’t mean that there may not be something to it. I always am hopeful. If things are going to get better, that would be great. Obviously, everyone wants that, but we all have to do our part in that.
CB: Sure. Yeah, and it probably is an interesting and useful way of studying world history and studying different things related to that, and I have seen different people do interesting work on that. Rudhyar wrote a book that was dedicated towards that topic and had some interesting observations. Rob Hand has an essay on it that’s interesting, in his book, Essays on Astrology.
It’s just important to separate this thing as an astrological technique or concept from the religious notion of the New Age or the New Age movement and some of the things associated with that, so that you can look at the astrology on its own, independently, to whatever extent that’s possible.
CB: All right. Yeah, I think those were a lot of the main points that we wanted to make about this. I’m sure we’re forgetting something. I was trying to desperately think of what else we’re forgetting from what otherwise seemed like a really huge and almost insurmountable topic when we were going to start this.
KM: Right. I mean, we could have gone into more detail about the Platonic Great Year, but I don’t think that’s necessary. I’m just flipping through my notes here. But as with all podcasts, five minutes after we wrap up, we’re going to be like, “Doh!”
KM: That’s just the way of things. You know, we could always do Age of Aquarius Part 2, if necessary, or put something in the notes. I have this nagging feeling there is something we’re missing, but I feel we’ve covered a lot of ground.
CB: Yeah, I think the next big one is going to be–there is that Jupiter-Saturn conjunction that’s going to occur. It’s in Aquarius in 2020, right?
KM: Yes. So maybe that will be the start of the Age of Aquarius. Maybe there’s lots of starts.
KM: Maybe we’re like kindling logs in the fire of life and God has several matches to try to get us going.
CB: Sure, I mean, whatever that is. There’s always–there’s not always, but periodically there are big astrological alignments that indicate important turning points in world history, and some astrologers have started to talk about 2020 as being a very interesting year in terms of mundane astrology.
I’m still not sure that that is connected to or necessarily fully relevant to this other idea connected with the precession of the Age of Aquarius, which I think largely should be restricted to that specific study of precession relative to the sidereal zodiac, relative to the constellations, but that’s probably going to be another one of those that people are focusing on.
KM: Someone must have made this argument before. Was it Marc Edmund Jones who said the discovery of Pluto was tied in?
KM: I would say take Uranus, the discovery of Uranus marking the Age of Aquarius. I’m sure someone has done a chart for the discovery and then–excuse me; choking on water here–talked about it. If you’re going to pick a planet to herald it, I would say, yeah, use Uranus if you’re going to tie Uranus to Aquarius.
And then, what would really be weird, you could go back to Galileo’s diaries where he accidentally observes Uranus, not realizing that’s what it is, and you can do a chart for that night.
CB: Yeah, or you could just not associate it with the Age of Aquarius and say each of these is a separate event in mundane astrology that has some significance.
CB: But we don’t necessarily have to tie it into this overarching and almost bloated concept of the Age of Aquarius and instead just look at it more as you would any other thing within the context of mundane astrology, which is that there’s always a bunch of different variables and data points that you can take into account that are all relevant and saying different things about the time frames in world history in which they’re occurring.
Sometimes just looking at them from that perspective is more useful than trying to attach it to this broader idea of an Age of Aquarius which has so much baggage as a result of the way that it’s been used or sometimes misused to accomplish certain things or for certain agendas, that sometimes it’s best to just steer clear of it altogether.
KM: Yeah. Well said, sir.
CB: All right, maybe that would be a good stopping point here. So yeah, thanks for joining me for this discussion.
KM: Thanks for having me. Listeners, if there are any East/West topics or debates you’d like Chris and I to do–because of his specialty being Hellenistic astrology and me doing Indian astrology–we are ripe for that. We haven’t really done too much of that, but if something is of interest to people, suggest it to Chris, and we can come back and do that.
Actually, I’ve got a couple of ideas for some future shows just as we were talking today, but I’ll go over those with you later, Chris.
But thank you so much for having me on again. I love The Astrology Podcast, always fun.
CB: Yeah, I always enjoy our discussions. Something I’ve been thinking about recently is with the release of my book, one of the points that I make a few times is that some of these old techniques like recovering time-lords systems–which are like the Indian dasha systems–they’re such a different beast to start working with within the context of Western astrology that some of the ethical guidelines and some of the consulting skills guidelines that modern Western astrologers have developed in the past 20 years are almost really not suited to and not designed to be able to deal with something that can do what these techniques attempt to do or what they can do.
But Indian astrologers, or Western astrologers who started practicing Vedic astrology or Indian astrology–especially starting in the late ‘80s and early 1990s–that community went through a lot of the same issues during that time frame and worked some of this stuff out, right.
CB: Okay, so that’s a discussion actually I’d be interested in having pretty soon.
KM: That’d be a great discussion.
CB: All right. Well, let’s reconvene maybe in the next few months and do a show on that.
KM: Fantastic. I’d love to.
CB: All right, cool. Well, I think that’s it for this show then. If you enjoy the show, of course you can always rate it on iTunes. You can subscribe at theastrologypodcast.com/subscribe.
Thanks everyone for listening, and we’ll see you next time.
KM: Take care, everyone.