… and Jupiter aligns with Mars, it will probably be just another Wednesday.
This happens all the time. Nothing about that particular configuration indicates the likelihood of peace guiding the planets or love steering the stars. Although the Fifth Dimension and Milos Forman totally sell it in that movie!
Astrology (as any skeptic will gleefully tell you) is not astronomy. It is a soul science, not astrophysics. Perhaps the most core Hermetic principle, “as above so below” indicates that there’s a poetic correlation (not causation) that exists between the flow of patterns in the heavens and the flow of patterns here on earth.
I am not an apologist for astrology. If it’s not your thing, now’s your time to bail. Everything from here on out is built on the esoteric building blocks of this star art that is as old as people.
For the purposes of this post-modern grimoire, let me start by laying out some of my ground rules for astrology. A hallmark of post-modernism is relativity. Meaning is what you make it and all that… Western astrology is built on the relativity of the tropical zodiac.
In keeping with the Golden Dawn type-traditions (and my Leonine tendencies), my approach is solar. The tropical zodiac is relative to the sun. The vernal equinox is new year’s day–degree 0 in the sign of Aries. To keep it clean and crisp, I operate on an equal house system. That means every house contains all thirty degrees of its astrological sign.
The kaleidoscope of astrology can get freaky fractal and specific as you incorporate more celestial influences and considerations. It’s time to allow the outer planets into canon–Uranus, Neptune, and even Pluto.
Other heavenly bodies might come into play here and there (asteroids, fixed stars, uranian bodies, et. al.), but they won’t be a primary consideration for the work we’re about.
But what about that old saw, the Age of Aquarius? When is it going to arrive and transform the world as we know it?
Surprise! It already has.
Sticking with a foundation of relativity (ironic), and following my intuition down the proverbial rabbit hole, I came up with a simple system for measuring astrological ages. I was surprised to learn that my intuition led me very close to a system arrived at by Terry MacKinnell, based on the heliacal rising of constellations. A visual measurement, rather than a mathematical one, that dates back to Babylonian times.
The system I’m using, however, is a bit cleaner and guided by the relative retrospect of history. Each astrological age is 1500 years. 500 years per decan. 18,000 years in an astrological Great Year (as opposed to 26,000 in an astronomical Great Year).
That puts the Age of Pisces at 0 CE, which throughout that age was known as Anno Domini (AD), the Year of Our Lord. From 0 CE-1500 CE the Western world was shaped by the rise and rule of religions, visions, mysticism, and resurrection. The Pax Romana devolved into the Holy Roman Empire. Monastic orders preserved (and curated) history and knowledge. Rule was by the divine rights of kings or popes. The most spectacular architecture sought to replicate the vision of heaven on earth. The alchemical sciences and hidden arts were infused with Hebrew and Arabic influences. Wars were fought over relics. The Crusades brought the religious descendants of Abraham into bloody battle on thrice-holy ground.
1500 BCE-0 CE, then, was the age of Aries. Age of empires. Ramesses the Great and the New Kingdom of Egypt. Alexander the Great. Macedonia, Assyria, Persia. Darius & Xerxes. Greece and Rome. The Trojan War. Julius Ceasar & Cleopatra. Martial in every sense.
So when began the Age of Aquarius?
What two events shocked and transformed the Western World for all time?
On the cusp of the Aquarian age, in 1440, the printing press was created. Then in 1492, an entirely new world was ‘discovered’. The trajectory of western history changed forever. By 1500CE, the Age of Aquarius was upon us.
We are now 20 years into the second decan of the Age of Aquarius. A decan which began with the globe rattling power shift of 9/11. The first decan of the Age saw the Renaissance and the rise of private wealth. The rise of Protestants to challenge the Piscean Catholic Church. Western colonialism fueled by technology and guided by science. The American Revolutionary War, the Industrial Revolution, the rise of global disruptors–Napoleon, Hitler, Stalin. As revolutionary as colonial expansion was, it only bred further revolution as empires fell to the rise of the people. Aquarius’ dark side expressed itself in cold idealism of ‘civilization’ that permitted the slave trade and the ‘reform of savages.’ Fanaticism. Exploitation. The cataclysm of not one but two World Wars. The existential game-changer of atomic warfare. Then the Cultural Revolution of China. The rise of the Khmer Rouge. The shuffleboard republics of South America. Also Television. Electricity. Cars. Movies. The Internet. Literally shooting the moon. If we’re only 500 years into the disruptive influence of Aquarius, imagine what’s coming next!
That’s the backdrop against which I choose to explore this great Mystery in which we find ourselves. Any post-modern esoteric system needs to understand its place in the construct of history. There is no solace in the past. No fixity to anchor our voyage. Nothing in antiquity that will fully prepare us for our present course.
It’s time to break open the cosmic egg. See if there’s a fetus in there. Or an omelette.
The journey is just beginning.
photo by Kim MacKinnon