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Philosophic Encyclopedia

The Aquarian Age
Astrological Aspects

Many statements are being made in public mass media about the Aquarian Age. Frequently an observer will comment that the Aquarian Age has arrived, that it will last for this or that period of time, that it is the result of one or another astronomical or astrological phenomenon, that it has certain characteristics, or that, under its influence, human beings will be more apt to perform certain specific actions than others.

In an attempt to clarify the confusion which exists about this subject, The Rosicrucian teachings about the Aquarian Age are presented here.

The Aquarian Age has not yet arrived, although its influences are already being felt, and it will not be fully with us for over six hundred more years — or in approximately 2,600 A.D.

Precession of the Equinoxes

The fact that, nevertheless, some authorities claim that we are already in the Aquarian Age possibly may be explained by the difference between the zodiacal constellations and the so-called "intellectual zodiac." A certain group of fixed stars in the heavens is called Aries; another group, located close to it, is called Taurus; a third group is called Gemini, and so on. These twelve constellations, or groups of stars, as seen in the heavens, always remain in the same group and in about the same relative position one to another. Through these constellations, the Sun circles from year to year with unvarying precision, but owing to the fact that the axis of the Earth inclines toward the Sun and has a wobbling motion, similar to that of a spinning top which has almost spent its force, the motion of the Sun appears to be uneven. Each year, when it enters the constellation Aries, crossing the Earth's equator, it is a little earlier than the year before. It precedes, and therefore astronomers speak of the "precession of the equinox." That is, the Sun appears to cross the equator at the vernal equinox, or the start of spring, each year, a short distance before it reaches the point where it crossed the preceding year. Thus if one year it crossed in the first degree of Aries, the next year it would cross slightly within the constellation Pisces. The following year it would be still farther away in Pisces from the first point of Aries, and so on. This backward motion, however, is so slow that it takes nearly seventy years to move through one degree, or twenty-one hundred years to go through one sign, or approximately twenty-six thousand years to go backward through the twelve signs. This latter period is called a Great Sidereal Year.

Two Zodiacs

Astronomers usually speak of "degrees of right ascension," by which they divide the circle of the heavens into the usual number of three hundred and sixty degrees, starting with the point where the Sun crosses the equator at the next preceding vernal equinox. But they also call the first thirty degrees from that point Aries, the second thirty degrees Taurus, etc., as does the astrologer. Thus there is a natural zodiac composed of stars in the heavens which change so little that it is imperceptible in one lifetime or even in several hundred years, and the intellectual zodiac which starts from the point of the vernal equinox for any year.

Seeing that the Sun by precession travels backward among the signs of the zodiac, it will be understood that there must come a time when the vernal equinox occurs in the first point of Aries; and thus during that year the intellectual and natural zodiacs agree. This occurred the last time in about the year 500 A.D., and as the Sun has been traveling backwards at its accustomed rate of one degree in about seventy years, it is evident that at the present time the vernal equinox occurs in about nine degrees of Pisces. Thus it will be about 2,600 A.D. before it actually enters the constellation Aquarius. The Aquarian Age may be said to start at that time, and it will last approximately 2,100 years while the Sun moves backward through the thirty degrees of the sign Aquarius. There is, however, no definite and sharp cut-off such as we make when we say that we enter the year 1969 at midnight on the night of December 31, 1968, or that 1969 will continue until midnight of December 31, 1969. That is a mathematical division of time. The various epochs of human existence, however, depend upon vital influences in life, and are conditions of mind rather than division of time, though the two are linked.

Orb of Influence

Therefore, astrologers recognize what is called an "orb of influence." To understand this, we must realize that every human being is something more than that which we see—that he has surrounding him an aura, an invisible atmosphere, a "something" which radiates from him and which partakes of his distinct and personal nature. Man has, in other words, certain vehicles which are invisible to ordinary vision and which extend beyond the physical body. Thus, when we stand close to another person, the invisible bodies intermingle, and at times when we are very quiet and passive these subtle influences are more readily felt than at other times, though they exist and are powerful factors in our lives at all times.

Suppose that someone has his whole mind concentrated upon his work so that he neither hears nor sees what is happening about him. Gradually he becomes aware that someone else has entered the room—is, in fact, standing behind him—and he turns around to find a friend. He had not heard the friend enter because he was so absorbed in his work, but he felt him, because the aura of the friend intermingled with his own auric atmosphere. Thus, though there was no physical contact, he knew that someone was close by.

"As above, so below," and vice versa. This is the Law of Analogy, the master key to the mysteries. Man is the microcosm and the stars are the macrocosm. The constellations are groups of great Spirits who have immured themselves in their starry bodies in order to help less advanced intelligences gain the experiences of evolution. We may conclude that these great Spirits have subtle vehicles similar to the auric atmosphere of our Earth. Hence, the proximity of the Sun to the constellation Aquarius at the time of the vernal equinox transmits these influences to the Earth along with the solar rays, and as the spring is the particular time when everything on Earth is impregnated with life, we also may judge that the Aquarian Ray thus transmitted will make itself felt among the people of the Earth.

Piscean Age

We readily recognize the Piscean influence during the last two thousand years. The superstition, intellectual bondage, and blind faith through which civilization has passed are well known to historians. On the other hand, however, the influences of the Piscean Age were necessary in the process of evolution. The Teachings of love and altruism which Christ brought to our Earth were so foreign to the Religion of Law—and of fear—which had come before that they could not begin to take effect among the majority of mankind without the stressing of faith, even a blind faith which included the doctrine of the "Vicarious Atonement." During the Piscean Age—which will perhaps be remembered as the Age of Faith in contrast to the Aquarian Age of Reason—the tenets of the new Christianity (love and unselfishness) were taught to an ever-increasing circle of believers. Abstinence from flesh-eating was practiced on certain days. Reverence was paid to an Immaculate Virgin. Gradually man was and is being taught to forsake the lusts of the flesh and also lusting after the flesh. In the six hundred years which remain before the Aquarian Age is definitely ushered in, we in all probability will make great strides in both of these areas of consciousness. It is well to remember, also, that Jupiter, the planet of benevolence and philanthropy which is co-ruler of Pisces, has been a prominent factor in promoting altruism during the past two millennia.

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If we now can find out what the influence of the sign Aquarius is, we shall learn more about the Aquarian Age.

Age of Innovations

Information about the influence of Aquarius comes to us through a study of astrology. Aquarius has an intellectual influence which is original, inventive, mystic, scientific, altruistic, and religious. If we apply the biblical standard, "By their fruits ye shall know them," we would expect to see that the Aquarian Age would be ushered in by original endeavors along all lines connected with science, religion, mysticism, and altruism. And indeed, this seems to be true. We now can look back upon a period of nearly a century in which the Sun by precession has traveled a little over one degree in the orb towards Aquarius. During that time we find that there has been a very marked change in all lines of thought and endeavor from that which history records throughout the past two millennia. Consider only the inventions of the past century, from telephone, telegraph, and radar, to the new, highly complex machinery for space travel. These, and myriad more, are marking Aquarian progress in the physical world.

We also note the rapid rate at which all the movements of liberal thought in religious matters are superseding the old creedbound conditions, and the increasing number of those who have developed spiritual sight and are investigating the trend in evolution in the higher planes. The study of astrology has assumed unheard of popularity in the last few years, and a visit to almost any bookstore cannot help but impress one with the incredible number of recent publications on esoteric matters and the "supernatural."

The Aquarian Age will see the blending of religion and science to such a degree that a religious science and a scientific religion will be formed—each respecting and learning from the findings of the other—which will promote health, happiness, and enjoyment of life.

Universal Brotherhood

The Aquarian Age will bring with it an era of universal brotherhood, in preparation for which we see the barriers of race prejudice being broken all around us. To be sure, this is presently being accomplished under conditions of bloodshed and revolt. We can be certain, however, that although the sword, which had its reign during the Piscean Age, still is powerful, science and altruism will rule during the Aquarian Age.

Since Aquarius is an airy, scientific, and intellectual sign, it is a forgone conclusion that the religion of that Age must be rooted in reason and able to solve the riddle of life and death in a manner that will satisfy both the mind and the religious instinct. In this respect, the Western Wisdom Teachings also are preparing the way for the Aquarian Age by breaking down the fear of death engendered by the uncertainty surrounding the post-mortem existence. These Teachings show that life and consciousness continue under Laws as immutable as God, which tend to raise man to increasingly higher, nobler, and loftier states of spirituality.

As an airy sign, Aquarius has special rule over the ether. When the Sun enters Aquarius by precession, moisture on Earth gradually will be eliminated and visual vibrations, which are most easily transmitted by a dry etheric atmosphere, will become more intense. Under these conditions, etheric sight will be developed in the greatest majority of mankind, and we will be able to see residents of the etheric region, including our own friends and loved ones who have died. We then will be able to continue our companionship with them for a while after "death," and have time to accustom ourselves to the fact that they are going on to higher realms.

When this point in evolution is reached, mankind also will be so much more enlightened that it will avoid many of the pitfalls which cause trouble today, and we will enjoy a much happier existence than has been the rule up to the present stage. We will be able to solve social problems in a manner equitable to all, and the use of improving machinery will free mankind from physical toil to a great extent and give him greater opportunity for intellectual and spiritual improvement.

Although the blessings of the Aquarian Age assuredly will be ours in time, it is possible for those who truly aspire to a "better," or more spiritual life to bring themselves ever more in tune with the spirit of the coming Age and thus render themselves amenable far more quickly and completely than their contemporaries to Aquarian influences. He or she who does his or her best to live a life of service to humanity, and to exercise his of her powers of compassion, altruism, and beneficence, will find himself or herself ever more responsive to Aquarian influences, and his progress on the evolutionary path will be advanced accordingly.

Contemporary Mystic Christianity

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