As I update this older post, the war in Ukraine has cast a great dark shadow over the wrold. Yes, there have been, and continue to be, other wars, to test our faith in humanity’s progress since the end of the Cold War.
Yet this one – the new Hitler-style eruption of Putin’s Russia – strikes deep within the core of what we had believed was western civilization and its tarnished but still hopeful commitment to freedom, human rights, the rule of law, and the protection and nurturing of identities – national and personal.
For here we are…in truly dark times not seen since World War 2. What happened to the Age of Aquarius? Or are we just discovering its true features now, when all the sentimental songs and slogans have faded, mere memories of an aging generation?
Before this Age of Aquarius passes, it is my prediction – as prophecy and political science – that western civilization is on the verge of collapse – that peoples of the West will find themselves experiencing the karma of the West under a Kali Yuga Age of Aquarius. They too will be caught up in weakened, corrupt, inept and increasingly authoritarian governments; they will see food shortages; mass migrations to escape conflict and climate change will uproot the many, not to mention grass roots violence and the formation of new, unstable, unpredictable communities.
And if my dreams are prophetic, as I reluctantly believe they might be, then it is not too extreme to suggest that the threat of nuclear holocaust will become grim reality…
As we look around us, our vibrant hopes in the Sixties, again at the end of the Cold War in the late 1980s, and even still lingering here, in the Twenty-First Century, now seem premature. The younger generations are much less optimistic, but perhaps in their harsher, single-minded critiques they speak an earthier, but still recognizable dialect of Aquarius.
They have accepted what my generation, in the end, did not – it won’t come easy. There is still hope, but it will take every last dreamer to make it happen.
In The Aquarian Conspiracy, Marilyn Ferguson famously described the subtle emergence of a natural , liberating, cultural process . She felt she could document a spreading change of paradigm, a human potential movement whose beauty and natural goodness, as well as scientific, medical, and social logic, were already emerging and converging in human societies, changing them from the ground up.
Somehow, we – the Baby Boomers – came to believe the prophecy – that the Age of Aquarius would herald an era of peace and friendship among all humanity. It permeates most of the New Age writing still. The ruling mantra of our time still seems to be “the transformation is happening”, despite a distinct darkening of the Times. But did we set ourselves up for the disenchantment, cynicism and frustration expressed now by many Baby Boomers?
Dark currents swirl around us, waves of change and violence rising to levels which now threaten all human civility and community. As our small boats of security drift rapidly away from the shores of a hoped-for New Age, it seems fair to ask: “Can this really be the dawning of the Age of Aquarius?” And if, as we may still believe, the answer is ‘Yes’, then how can that be – what else is going on?”
We need to start Dreaming Aquarius, which means we need to abandon our stereotypes about the Sign, and open ourselves up to reflection and inspiration – we need to let Aquarius speak to us, in its own language, to reveal what it is all about. This means facing up to some of the darkest elements of the Archetype, those we have preferred to ignore in the popular writings on Aquarius.
It also means Dreaming the larger Cosmos of which we are part: What Cosmic forces might be influencing an Age of Aquarius whose features are not what we expected to see?
The Maha Or Cycle of Four Yugas
Four Great Ages of Gold, Silver, Bronze and Iron have been recorded in at least 30 of the world’s cultures as the reason behind the decline and fall of human civilizations. The Great Ages decline from Light Times (Gold and Silver) into Dark Times (Bronze and Iron), and then again, become the Gold, or Light Times, though in cycles whose exact lengths remain unknown to us. Some modern scholars have tried to equate it with the 26,000 year Precessional Cycle, the time it takes all 12 of the Zodiac Constellations to pass through the Earth’s Spring Equinox.
By that reckoning, the Fourth, or darkest, Age of Iron, the Kali Yuga, ended perhaps in the 1600s and we are now moving “up” into the Bronze Age, pulling further and further away from the dark Kali period of Earth History. We can hardly anticipate a Golden Age around the corner.
However, attempting to pin a date to the Four Ages in terms of human history is, I think, highly speculative and misleading. If we look at one overview of the Four Ages – what the Hindu sages called the Maha Cycle – presented here, we can see just how unconvincing the Hindu sources and western efforts have been.
It is interesting that one figure and its variants do keep recurring – and we find them in the translations of Sumer records done by Zecharia Sitchin. In those translations he chronicles visitations to Earth by “ancient aliens”, the Annunaki. The figure of interest is 432,000 years, which is how long ago these visitations are said to have begun, or at least, to be one of the measures of time periods involved with repeat visitations which may actually go back much farther.
Here is an interesting overview of this ancient alien contact with Earth, and I do recommend reading The Twelfth Planet and others in Sitchin’s work for a more detailed account. I find this work personally quite persuasive. It may be incomplete and fragmentary, but it is a credible alternative to the long string of fables we have been taught about human origins on Earth.
The Hindu Concept of Time
The vast Hindu Maha Cycle of the Four Ages (Yugas) means that the Precessional (or Plato’s Great Year) of 26,000 years – which we use in Astrology to talk about Ages, is a small part of what may be the real Cycle of Time that affects the Earth most deeply. Traditionally, the longest age is the Golden Age at 1,728,000 years, the Silver Age 1,296,000, the Bronze Age 864,000, and the shortest Age, the Iron or Kali Yuga, is 432,000 years. There is that fascinating 432,000 years again – is it possible the ancient aliens of Sumer arrived and left in accordance with this great “calendar” of Ages?
These Four Ages are suspected to arise from the Sun’s own orbit around a twin star or some other kind of star as its own source of light. Thus the Sun at some point is closest to the Earth, and at another point, farthest from the Earth. When our Sun is closer to its own sun, this will affect all life on Earth, and we flourish, but as the Sun moves every farther out from Earth, we gradually weaken in all respects, biologically and culturally. The Gold, Silver, Bronze and Iron Ages, the 4 Yugas, explain this process of losing, quite literally, the Light.
However long or short they believe the various Yugas, or Ages to be, most sources suggest we are in the midst of, or getting ready to leave, the final, darkest, Iron Age – the Kali Yuga. I think this squares with the violent and dark Earth history which seems to span all our known records.
Even fabled Atlantis was said to be war-like, to have conquered most of the known world, and to have dabbled in genetic manipulation and slavery in ways which look like a more sophisticated variant on our own history, and certainly don’t make Atlantis a candidate for the anchor civilization of a Golden Age.
The 12 Constellations and the Four Ages
If we are truly subject to cycles of Four Ages in shades of Light to Dark and back to Light again, then the electromagnetic, archetypal energies bathing us from the 12 Constellations, including Aquarius, cannot help but be affected by the vaster fields of energy arising from the great Four Ages. How humanity experiences any one of the 12 Precessional Ages of the Zodiac would depend on its place within the larger Great Cycle of Four Ages.
In other words, are we entering Age of Aquarius under the dark shadow of an Age of Iron, or Kali Yuga? If so, should we not be forewarned that some of the energies of Aquarius will manifest in their negative forms, unless we strive collectively to neutralize them?
Let us take another look at both the fundamental nature of Aquarius, its planetary rulers Saturn (ancient) and Uranus (modern) and at world affairs. We may be seeing the dawning of the Age of Aquarius, but if so, it is going to take all that we have to hold back its darker elements.
Transformative – Dehumanizing – Forces of Aquarius
Often we rhyme off the traditional Aquarius themes: Radical individual freedom, justice, human rights, bonds based only on equality and friendship, power arising from the humble, newly freed and electrified (Uranus) masses, rejection of all orthodoxy and authority.
We see a whole new world rising from the seeds of Aquarius. And, we have certainly had grass roots attempts at revolutionary societies across the world in the last 200 years. How is it then, that from the French Revolution onwards these have manifested as ever-larger theaters of atrocity and horror?
How is it that the in this Age of Aquarius, humanity has become dehumanized, used as tools/weapons of mass destruction in revolutions based on communal murder, and the ethnic cleansing of nations, not to mention their use as mass weapons of destabilization to undermine and destroy communities and nations?
How do these facts relate to Astrology and the Sign of Aquarius? The Sign itself is synonymous with Humanity and its empowerment through the ideals of justice, freedom, and equality. These elements, we believe, manifest through the energy signatures of planetary bodies said to “rule” the Sign – Uranus and Saturn.
Astrologers are very fond of the new ruler of Aquarius, Uranus, the planet with the strange orbit, discovered by modern scientists around the dawn of the French, American and other Revolutions and so considered to signify the rise of challenges to social and political orders. Uranus is happily cited for its zany,unpredictable, unconventional qualities which make individual Aquarians think outside the box, and come up with great inventions while generally not fitting in very well socially.
And then there is the traditional planetary ruler of Aquarius – Saturn. It is, among other things, associated with governments and law, order and tradition. More broadly, it is considered the Lord of Karma and to have a restrictive influence on all that it touches.
But Uranus has formidable potential as an extreme, radical, and psychopathic, anti-human force. And Saturn can be sadistic and tyrannical to the point of evil. Both planets seem driven to their worst extremes in the company of Pluto, and sometimes Mars but have we considered their partnership with each other, as joint rulers of the Aquarius Archetype, as they have presided over modern political life since the 18th century?
It seems clear now that the darker elements of Uranus and Saturn emerged to give us the radical evil we have seen in the French, American Soviet, Nazi and Chinese Revolutions. Even the British-led Industrial Revolution ushered in new, mass forms of the repression, not the rights, of Humanity.
In each of these settings – and the Empires which followed – there have been genocide and other mass (Aquarius) killings on a scale almost unknown in history. Even the vast herds of buffalo (some 60,000,000) were exterminated in the Saturn trademark restriction of the source of life itself as a weapon of the US Government in the genocide of the American Indian.
And from this unholy combination of Uranus and Saturn – surely manifesting in extraordinarily Dark Forms – came some quite new – the ugly way in which modern revolutions first brought the unprecedented Uranus power of the masses into conflict with Saturn’s elites, and then quickly turned the newly empowered masses into tyrants themselves.
White settlers went “hunting” indigenous peoples everywhere they settled for sport that was also in the service of Empire. This use of the masses themselves as the blunt but effective tools of various elites, is the hallmark of modern political evil.
Even the dissolution of Empire brought more and more mass killings, exemplified by the millions slaughtered – by each other, as well as elites – as in the Partition of India recounted with social analysis in the novel Train To Pakistan.
Aquarius In the Headlines Today
It is hardly surprising then, that when we look at the news reports of our times, we see a very mixed picture of Aquarius – in fact one in which Darkness tends to predominate. As I write, we are suffering through a war in Ukraine, whose leader, Volodymyr Zelensky, is an Aquarian. And, from what I see in his birth chart, he is all that Ukraine could hope for in a leader whose vision and sheer force of will may yet turn the tide…
But In more general terms here is what our world looks like now:
- The radical empowerment of the masses through an explosion of knowledge and communication via social media and the Internet (ruled by Uranus);
- The emergence of “ordinary”, hitherto faceless, nameless persons buried in “mass society” emerging to claim leadership of mass followings via Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and so on;
- The emancipation and power claimed by women manifesting as much in group bullying as in quirky, radical, nonconformist (Aquarius) sexuality and public display;
- The grass-roots transformation of human sexuality in general – the very Aquarian (radical and nonconformist) transgender and fluid gender movements;
- The restless roaming of groups of violence-prone young men and women;
- Unprecedented proliferation and influence of gangs in Western societies;
- Collapse of trust and faith in every form of authority – whether political, media, religious, parental, educational – and emerging reliance upon only personal, individual and small-group beliefs and guidance;
- The appearance all over the Earth, of armed violent groups challenging both nation-state and imperialist, Western “authority”, creating competing new, mass-based social and religious units;
- The eclipse of state-run media by alternate media and the rise of “alternate” history and truth-seeking by millions who form “masses” on the Internet but can also emerge as sharply defined individuals;
- The mass movements of human migration all over the Earth, as individuals and groups defy nation-state boundaries in a bid to seize their “fair share” of the Earth’s space and resources.
- Related to the previous point, these dispossessed of the Earth are growing rapidly, and for the first time in human history are arming themselves, starting with information, communication; and global grass-roots networks including those supplying arms and the means of migration, however brutal.
- Rejection by much of global mass humanity of religious and ideological authority, on which political authority has always rested, combined with the rise of more radical, fundamentalist and heavily politicized religious movements bringing into play Armed Ideology.
Each of these examples are illustrative of the revolutionary, mass-based politics and social transformations in the name of Human Freedom.
The real surprise is not the uncharted, violent “disorder” of the Age of Aquarius but rather that we – Astrologers – did not grasp and predict how violent and unsettled this Age was going to be.
Saturn, Lord of Karma * The Poison Fruits of Imperial Tyranny
Saturn is known as the Lord of Karma, as well as the bringer of government and law. And because Aquarius rules group visions and dreams, it naturally rules group and national Karma. Thus Saturn’s karmic elements will focus on political history and the elites – the Saturn-dominated Ages of Revolution and Imperialism.
Indeed, the Darkness of the Kali Yuga, or Fourth Age, may provide a vast period of time in which the consequences of karma have finally come due. Thus we are seeing a titanic struggle – one of karmic forces – between old Saturn elites and the masses whom they have used and abused for thousands of years. This is being politically played out everywhere, involving macro and micro divisions of power, globally, in nations, and in communities of all kinds.
Elites faced with their own Saturn – their crushing load of historical karma, will be teamed up with potentially chaotic, runaway, grass-roots energies of Uranus, darkened and intensified by a Dark Fourth Age. Thus mystery groups such as ISIS, in the Middle East, purporting to be revolutionary, show the ugliest features of the creative, unpredictable, and extreme violence of Uranus.
But most of these groups are still elites, battling other elites – and still using the innocent masses as their weapons of war and propaganda. Who they really are, we do not know.
We do know, however, that the real uprisings of the masses are yet to come. And we, in the West, will not be sitting in theater seats, as we did in the Age of Imperialism, watching the drama of Third World wars, famines, migrations and uprisings.
This time around, it will be the collapse of western civilization…What we have meted out to most of the planet is on its way back to us – the children of Imperialism are coming home. They are coming home in their mass migrations, but many too are being reborn in the West, as part their own karma, and ours.
Before this Age passes, it is my prediction that western peoples too will find themselves caught up in food shortages, mass migrations, grass roots violence, and the formation of new, unstable, unpredictable communities.
Pitched battles at the grass roots level may begin on the internet, but these will move outside, to the real world, in demonstrations, boycotts, civil disobedience, and at some point almost certainly, outright revolution. Its leaders will be unorthodox and unconventional, even humble in origins if not in vision.
We see them now, prefigured in dystopic, resistance-themed movies such as Star Wars, Terminator and Matrix.
All this seems to describe and foretell an Age of Aquarius whose great potential for good is still visible, but often presents itself in darkened, disturbing form. But It is too soon to give up. We must hope, and take inspiration from the awakening of social conscience that we do see, the truth and reconciliation movements between oppressed and historical oppressors, the unveiling of long-hidden government lies, and the determined advance of women and non-white human beings.
If we strive with all that we have and all that we are, we, the heroes and heirs of the New Age, can bring Light to this Rising Dark Age of Aquarius.
Coming Soon: The Sixties, Elites, and Snake-Oil Merchants * How the Age of Aquarius Was and Is Still Being Hijacked
© Carol Leigh Rice 2022