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The Aquarian Age and the Second Advent
by Max Heindel
Astrology is a phase of Mystic Religion, as sublime as the stars with which it deals, and not to be confused with fortunetelling. The educational value of astrology lies in its capacity to reveal the hidden causes at work in our lives. It counsels the adults in regard to vocation, the parents in the guidance of children, the teachers in management of pupils, the Judges in executing sentence, the physicians in diagnosing disease, and in similar manner lends aid to each and all in whatever station or enterprise they may find themselves.
The laws of Rebirth and Consequence work in harmony with the stars, so that a child is born at the time when the positions of the bodies in the solar system will give the conditions necessary for its experience and advancement in the school of life.
A correspondent writes: "Many people these days realize that we are entering, or about to enter, a new age. Some understand that it is the Aquarian Age, and to a certain extent what it stands for. But I have not as yet heard an intelligent explanation of just when our earth or solar system would enter this age, and whether the Aquarian Age coincides with the passage of the Sun through the constellation of Aquarius, or through the Zodiacal division by that name."
In this paragraph our correspondent take's up a number of points. And on the principle that "the last shall be first," we will consider the last, part of his interrogation, where, as you will notice he makes a distinction between the constellation of Aquarius and the Zodiacal division by that name. This, in itself, is a great difficulty to many people, who do not know how to differentiate between the Zodiacal constellation and the so-called intellectual Zodiac. The explanation is as follows:
A certain group of stars in the heavens is called Aries, another group, located close to them, is called Taurus; a third group of fixed stars is called Gemini, and so on. These constellations or groups of stars, as seen in the heavens, always remain in the same relative position, and they are therefore almost unchangeable.
Through all the centuries of which we have record, these stars have remained in the same group and in about the same relative position, one to another. And 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, and 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 thus the point where the Sun crosses the equator at the Vernal Equinox moves backwards from year to year at the rate of one degree in seventy-two years, one constellation in about 2156 years, and the whole twelve signs in about 25,868 years. This latter period is called a Great Sidereal Year.
It has been observed that no matter where in the Zodiac the Sun crosses the equator, a certain physical effect takes place. The flowers begin to sprout out I of the Earth, the little birds begin, to mate, the mute earth is awakened to' new life, new hope, and new song. Also the spiritual effects following the Sun's entrance into the northern hemisphere at the Vernal Equinox have been observed to remain unchanged. And therefore the first thirty degrees from that point where the Sun crosses the equator, are called Aries, the next thirty degrees are called Taurus, the third thirty are called Gemini, and so on through the twelve signs.
This intellectual division of the circle of the Zodiac coincides with the constellation in the heavens only once in 25,868 years. During all the rest of the time the intellectual Zodiac moves backwards, as explained, on account of the precession of the equinoxes. The last time when the starting-point in the Intellectual Zodiac agreed with the Zodiacal constellation was in A,D. 498. A year after these points were in exact agreement, the Sun crossed the equator about fifty seconds of space into the constellation Pisces. The year following it was one minute and forty seconds into Pisces, and so it has been creeping backwards ever since, until at the present time the Sun crosses the equator in about ten degrees in the constellation Pisces. It will thus be, about 700 years or about A.D. 2654, before it actually crosses the celestial equator in the constellation Aquarius. [Adding 2156 years to A.D. 498 gives about A.D. 2654 as the time the Aquarian Age proper begins.]
The Aquarian Age may be said to start at, the time when the Sun enters, by precession, the 30th degree of the constellation Aquarius, and it lasts about 2156 years, while the Sun moves backwards through the thirty degrees until it comes to the first degree of Aquarius. There is, however, no definite and sharp cut-off like we make when we say we enter the year 1915, which begins at 12 o'clock on the night of the 31st of December 1914, and lasts until the 31st of December 1915 at 12 o'clock midnight. That is, a mathematical division of time. But the various epochs of human existence depend upon,vital influences in life, and are conditions of mind rather than divisions of time, though the two are linked.
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. We very often feel the effect of this aura though we do not understand the reason why. Suppose that someone has his whole mind concentrated upon his work so that he neither hears nor sees what happens about him; but 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 there. He had not heard the friend enter on account of absorption in his work, but he felt him, because the aura of the friend intermingled with his own auric atmosphere; and thus, though there was no physical contact, he knew that someone was close by.
The constellations are groups of Great Spirits who have immured themselves in these starry bodies, for the sake of less advanced intelligences to gain the experiences of evolution. Each of the fixed stars in a constellation also has its invisible bodies, which extend from one to the other, intermingle and overlap. Therefore, when the Sun reached tho tenth degree of Pisces, it touched the fringe of the constellation of Aquarius influence, though we are still in the Piscean Age.
That this influence is making itself felt, a glance of retrospection will soon show. We readily recognize the Piscean, influence during the last two thousand years, the dark ages, the superstition, the intellectual bondage, then prevalent, are not entirely routed.
But since the middle of last century, when the Aquarian influence first began to make itself felt, an irresistible intellectual impulse has been instilled into our everyday life. Science has made such strides as never before, Invention has electrified the world and is now conquering the air, etc. This scientific intellectual influence will make itself felt more and more during the centuries which will pass before we definitely enter the constellation Aquarius by precession of the equinoxes. As the narrow, conservative Piscean influence diminishes, so will the broadening, inquiring Aquarian influence increase.
Regarding what the Aquarian Age stands for spiritually, we may realize that Aquarius is the only figure in the Zodiac representing the full stature of a Man. All the principal characters of the Old Testament were shepherds, having reference to Aries, the sheep, ram or lamb. In the New Testament they are fishermen, referring to Pisces, the sign of the fishes. But, the Son of Man is the subject of prophecy: of something yet to come. He is to usher in a glorious age, and therefore we may look for developments of a startling nature to take place in the nearest centuries before us.
Moreover, each of the foregoing ages have had their teachers. Osiris, and Mithras were worshiped in Egypt and Persia while the Sun was going through Taurus, the sign of the Bull. The Lamb was slain from the foundation of the Christian world, by Moses, while the Sun was going through the sign Aries. There was a great controversy concerning the symbol of Christ, on account whereof the Bishop's Mitre is still made in the form of a fish, to symbolize the fact that the phase of the Christian religion then inaugurated was to hold sway during the Piscean or Fish Age, in which we now are. Later the ideal of the Son of Man, or super-men, will furnish inspiration for the Aquarian Age, which is now being ushered in.
The Aquarian Age is not to be confounded with the Kingdom of Christ, who is to come again; neither is the Aquarian Age to be confounded with the Sixth (Galilean) Epoch; for, to quote the words of the Christ, "Of that day and hour [when He comes], knows no man; neither the Angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father." And it is absolutely preposterous and a mark of ignorance for anyone to predict that the coming of Christ will take place at a certain, specified time. Perhaps it is even presumptuous to guess at the approximate time when the second advent will take place, but the writer has the idea that, as the precessional cycles, so far as they are connected with the evolution of man, seem to commence with the Sun's entrance into Capricorn, there may be a development at that time. If that is correct, the advent cannot take place for at least 3000 years.
When we consider the Zodiac in its religious as well as its evolutionary aspects, by means of the six pairs of opposite signs into which the twelve may be divided, we commence with Cancer and Capricorn for the reason that these are solstitial points where the Sun reaches its highest and lowest declination.
Considered in this manner we find that there are two sets of three pairs of signs, namely, Cancer and Capricorn, Gemini and Sagittarius, Taurus and Scorpio. In these three pairs of signs we may read the history of human evolution and religion, in the early, the middle and the latter third of the Atlantean Epoch. In the other three pairs of signs: Aries and Libra, Pisces and Virgo, Aquarius and Leo, we find the key to man's development during the [present] Sixth Epoch. This is also divisible into three distinct periods, namely: the Aryan Age from Moses to Christ, which comes under Aries-Libra; the Piscean Age which takes in the last two thousand years under Pisces-Virgo, Catholicism; and the two thousand years which are ahead of us, called the Aquarian Age, where the signs Aquarius and Leo will be illuminated and vivified. by the solar precession, for the upliftment of the Son of Man (Aquarius), by the Christ within, the Lion of Judah (Leo), to the estate of Superman.
It must not be thought however, that the Atlantean Epoch only lasted while the Sun by precession went through Cancer, Gemini and Taurus, a period of only six thousand and a few hundred years; far from it; but there are spirals within spirals and recapitulation takes place in the epochs and races, so that we may know what is the general destiny by looking at the Sun Is passage through these signs and therewith taking this import and symbolism into consideration. It may also be said that the further we advance the smaller do the spirals become, the shorter the time in which a given improvement is made, because of the proficiency we attained in former ages, and therefore. it is extremely probable that the present is the last lap; that the coming Aquarian Age is the final preparatory school day which will fit us for the new age, the Sixth (Galilean) Epoch, and that that will begin when the Sun by precession enters Capricorn.
This, of course would mean that the Second Advent must take place just before that time, and though it seems to us that so many signs point that way, this is a mere surmise and may not have any truth in it at all. Thousands of people have been misled during all the ages that we know of, to think that Christ would soon be here; it is, however, better that we are looking forward to it than if we should say with some, that it will never take place. In that case the Great Day will find us unprepared and we shall find ourselves among the stragglers who are unfit to attend the wedding feast of the higher Self to the lower because lacking the "soul-body" which is the "wedding garment" that enfolds them.
Note: This article is reprinted from the November 1915 issue of this Magazine, together with part of an article on the same subject in the September 1915 issue.
—Rays from the Rose Cross Magazine, November, 1942, p. 503-506.
Contemporary Mystic Christianity
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