A new zeitgeist is stirring from the depths and a new age is upon us.
It’s hard to say exactly when the Age of Aquarius begins. There’s a certain amount of disagreement over where the new age cranks up and the archetypes become more active in the collective psyche of humanity, and where the old archetypes begin to fade. In fact, the whole 20th century could be seen as transitional between the old age of Pisces and the shiny new age of Aquarius – where we are now.
During these early years we will see clashes between the old dying order and the new rising vision of the future. The old ways of living and ordering society will fight to maintain their power, despite being revealed as redundant or even dangerous.
But what is an astrological age? The archetypes characteristic of each age seem to represent our deepest longings and highest ideals – what we are striving to grow towards and evolve into as a species.
Where We’ve Been
The Age of Pisces began around the time of Christ, the Roman Empire and the Axial Age, seeing the birth of Buddha, Lao-tse, Confucius, Zoroaster and Jesus. Christianity, Islam and Buddhism all started now. It was an idealistic time bringing a longing for the divine and the desire to escape the perceived impurity of matter.
The God of the Piscean Age, at its best, was a god of compassion and love, with an awareness of the importance of taking care of others, instead of clubbing them over the head and taking what you wanted (more characteristic of the previous Age of Aries).
But Pisces is also about illusion, mass emotion and blind faith. With the desire for purity and spiritual transcendence came a tendency to repress the opposite qualities, and so see the physical world as a problem. The collective psyche split in two, devaluing the feminine, the body and the earth, pushing materialism into the shadow from where it acts in distorted ways. We saw the rise of blind materialism and reductionist science, the oppression of women and destruction of the earth. We have also inherited a tendency to literalise everything, finding it increasingly difficult to think in a truly imaginative way that doesn’t involve nailing everything down into rigid categories.
In contrast to the longing for love and compassion, we have ended up with a world dominated by the masculine principles of rationality, structure and form. The patriarchy may still seem to be in the driving seat, but its ascendancy is waning as the old structures are thrown into turmoil at the dawn of the new age.
Where We’re Going
So we enter the Age of Aquarius in a bit of a pickle. We must resolve the split in our minds by learning to think at a higher, more humane level; to really use our gift of reason, not just when it is convenient or when it’ll turn a profit.
The Aquarian Age will be about the unification of the opposites, bringing together the warring dualities of our psyche. This involves a confrontation with the shadow – all the darkness (and light) we have denied.
“At the moment all our family scapegoats, the schizophrenics and the anorexics and the depressives, act out our collective pain, while the rest of us get on with it blandly and free of conflict. Think what it would mean if each of us confronted our own individual psychosis.” – Liz Greene, The Outer Planets and Their Cycles
Our consciousness is expanding leading to the realisation of the interdependence and inherent unity of all life. We will move toward a quest for inner knowledge to balance the outer knowledge we already possess. This involves a process of deep questioning as our values shift with the times. Many are awakening to the idea that our outer lives reflect who we are, and that if we want to change society we must first change ourselves.
The next 2000 years will see our desire for divine knowledge transformed through science, with breakthroughs in our understanding of the laws of nature and the cosmos. Our probing of consciousness and the nature of matter is already revealing how reality is energy conforming to natural laws. The God of the Aquarian Age may come to be seen as the intelligence behind the universe – impersonal and yet immanent, mathematical and fractal.
We will begin to take a more holistic or integrated approach, with environmentalism and ecology, quantum physics, transpersonal psychology, consciousness research, and alternative therapies all continuing to rise. Radical political and social reforms will become inescapable as more people clamour for freedom and equality.
Other signs of the new Information age include the accelerating pace of change, the proliferation of mass communication technologies and social networking, mobile phones and GPS, the ‘gadgetisation’ of seemingly everything, robotics and artificial intelligence.
The Dark Side
Aquarius is highly principled, impersonal, abstract and logical. It is concerned with the effective functioning of society as a whole and tends to put its faith in idealistic utopian concepts leaving no room for messy human feelings.
There can be too much conformity to society at the expense of the individual. We have already seen the rise of huge, faceless international corporations and bureaucracies that crush the little man/woman and their freedom. The danger is of leaning too much on a kind of utilitarian ‘group think’ and ignoring individual happiness.
If the importance of the individual as the creative centre of his or her life is repressed, then we see the rise of fanaticism, dictators and despots – self-aggrandising power hungry lunatics intent on swaying the world to their will.
The Way Forward
We are living through what amounts to a revolution in consciousness. We are becoming fully human, awakening our dormant or distorted spirituality. It is time to take back the projection of our divinity onto a transcendent ‘God’ and recognise we are one with all.
If we want to realise the full potential of the Aquarian values of humanitarianism, equality and freedom, and if we want to survive the 21st century and live together peacefully in this interconnected world, we must sacrifice our self-importance.
The new god of the new age is the god of alchemy – god as embodied in man – Christ in us all – thrice-greatest Hermes the Magician. Cosmic consciousness grounded and lived as reality here and now.
It is time for humanity to grow up and take responsibility for the mess we have created and continue to create. We can no longer claim ignorance.
It is time to take our place in the cosmos. Man, know thyself.