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What's All This About The Age of Aquarius

[from ]

[WHAT_AGE]?  THE SONG WAS WRONG.  "This is definitely NOT the dawning
of the Age of Aquarius, no matter what the song proclaims or
opportunistic astrologers may say."  From that quintessential Aquarian
himself, Garth Allen.

Subject: What's All This About The Age of Aquarius
      Garth Allen
                           SPICA, 4/1970

   This is definitely not the dawning of the Age of Aquarius, no matter
what the song proclaims or opportunistic astrologers may say.
Scientifically and historically speaking, the Aquarian Age will
commence in the year 2376 A.D., over four centuries from now -- and you
may confidently dismiss as tommyrot anything you may have read or heard
to the contrary.
   There are so many claims and counterclaims about this topic nowadays
that the man on the street cannot be blamed for believing there is a
"controversy" about the dating of the so-called Astrological Ages.  But
there is no real controversy, nor can there be one legitimately, simply
because the astronomical facts are incontrovertible.
   There may be a deplorable amount of misinformation going the rounds,
but not among people who know the pertinent facts and figures....But
sad to say, the old adage still applies, to wit, that a lie can circle
the world seven times while Truth is putting on her boots!
   Those who publicly identify themselves as astrologers, and yet state
or imply that the Aquarian Age is soon to arrive, or is already upon
us, are evincing a mystifying defiance of the very first principles of
their "science."  When questioned by someone who does know the ins and
outs of scholarly astrology (as something distinct from popular or
commercial astrology) these self-advertisers invariably reveal that
they really haven't the foggiest notion of what it is all about in the
first place!
   You think this a drastic or unduly arrogant statement?  Well,
consider the fact that what is meant by "Aquarius" in the term Age of
Aquarius has nothing whatever to do with the 'Sign' called "Aquarius"
apart from a mere similarity of names.
   Anybody who represents himself as an authentic astrologer and yet
refers to people 'born under the Sign of Aquarius' as having some
connection with what is meant by the term "Aquarius" is in the sense of
an historical influence, is displaying a woeful ignorance of elementary
astrology (not to mention astronomy).  To repeat:  There is absolutely
no connection other than a homonymous one, between the apparent
interval from January 20th to February 18th and the imaginary
constellated figure of Aquarius the Waterbearer in the sky--the sector
in the heavens from which the Aquarian Age derives its name.
   A highly publicized Hollywood astrologer, who happens to have been
born under Aquarius in the usually understood sense, claims that the
Aquarian Age commenced in 1904, oddly coincidental with his own
emergence on the world scene!  Through such a claim, this pious but
well-heeled fellow reveals less knowledge of the parameters of the
celestial sphere than a Boy Scout has to know to earn his astronomy
merit badge.
   The dating of the Aquarian Age is not a matter of opinion any more
than is the timing of an eclipse or a phase of the Moon.  There is no
reasonable excuse for anybody, be he self-styled astrologer or
interested layman, to offer an opinion about it when all he has to do
is cite the physical and mathematical facts which are familiar to
anyone well versed in basic astronomy coupled with a nonromantic
history of the subject known as astrology.
   So just what IS the Age of Aquarius, what determines it and why?
The answers are absurdly simply compared with the confusion, inaccurate
and occult tinged palaver about it that one is apt to read in the
popular press.
    The reason this is CURRENTLY THE AGE OF PISCES is the fact that the
vernal equinox, marking the commencement of the spring season in the
northern hemisphere, occurs when the Sun crosses the equator while
apparently projected against the backdrop of the anciently defined
constellation of Pisces the Fishes.  And to stress again the point this
is so crucial in connection with this subject, this Pisces, the starry
one, has nothing to do--apart from bearing the same name--with what is
generally meant by the "Sign of Pisces."
   That's all there is to it.  Starkly uncomplicated and easy for an
average intellect to grasp.  We are now in the Age of Pisces merely
because since the year 220 A.D. the first moment of spring (in the
northern hemisphere only) finds the Sun within the boundaries of the
constellation of Pisces.  Fully 406 from now, this annual event will
commence occurring when the Sun is situated within the boundaries of
the original limits of the constellation of Aquarius.
   Each such Age lasts for over two millennia.  The present one spans
2,156 years, whereas the previous Age of Aries covered 2,175 years,
and the Taurean Age before that stretched over 2,184 years.  The
complete cycle lasts in the neighborhood of 26,000 years.  The gradual
shifting of the vernal equinoctial point among the stars is due to a
precessional wobble in the orientation of the tilt of the Earth's axis
(not the tilt itself, by the way).  It is purely a terrestrial
phenomenon, caused by known physical forces--chiefly solar and lunar
gravitational action on the Earth's equatorial budge, if you want to
get technical about it.  It is a strictly a local mechanism, a fact
that shows how nutty are such published statements as "The solar system
is about to enter the Sign Aquarius" and "The world is now in the
domain of Aquarius and people born under Aquarius will come into
   Incidentally, in case you're wondering, there is no question,
either, about what the originally conceived boundaries of the dozen
zodiacal constellations actually were.  In fact, archaeological and
antiquities studies of widely diversified sorts show a remarkable
consistency and stability in this regard--the fiducial or "marking
stars" of the original scheme of the zodiac are not seriously
questioned by those who specialize in the study of origins.
   But carry the definition of Astrological Ages to its logical
conclusion and it grows to be more geographical than astrological!  If
you are a native of Australia, say, or Argentina, and insist that there
is something magically special or "influential" about the mathematical
inauguration of the spring season, what we Northerners call the spring
equinox is really your autumnal equinox, and vice versa.  You would be
fully justified in saying that we are presently in the Age of Virgo
and that the next Novus Ordo Seuclorum will be the Age of Leo!  After
all, Virgo is opposite Pisces and Leo is opposite Aquarius and where
zodiacal Ages are concerned, by strictest definition, one set of
constellations would be as authentic as the other.
   Now do you see why the currently faddish belief in those Ages has
little relevance to the facts of either astronomy or astrology?
Psychologists tell us that such dreamy anticipation of a happier
tomorrow is just the old Millennial hope of mankind reasserting itself
in a form more in keeping with the jargon of the Space Age.  It is
characteristic of human nature to cleave to a Utopian vision of one
form or another.  Without such reaffirmation of hope for a better
future, life on this troubled planet would hardly be worth enduring.
   But one thing we shouldn't have to endure is the pseudoscientific
nonsense that has all but ruined the fascinating subject of astrology,
which itself is not hokey.  There is nothing "ancient" about the belief
in Astrological Ages--in fact, the very earliest inklings of the idea
in astrology's prolific literature appeared in the late 19th century.
As a body of lore and analytical procedures, astrology is close to
5,000 years old, making these Ages something recent in its development.
   The notion originated as a kind of modern compensation by
astrologers for the fact that the zodiac of Signs was gradually getting
out of step with the zodiac of constellations from which the names and
symbols for the Signs were inadvertently purloined during the centuries
when to think straight about anything was to woo the death penalty.
The effort to compensate for a past kingsized booboo, however, has got
out of hand.  As a result of the errors and misstatements of publicity-
hungry type of soothsayers, the public at large has been led to believe
in tenets that are untrue to the point of being ridiculous.  They even
have songs and suitably eerie electronic music about it.  Scientific
astrologers--and there are such people, despite the impression one gets
from the popular media--march to a different drummer, and their
intellectual ears are tuned to the true music of the spheres.
                           *  *  *  *

May 1959,  SOLUNARS - A Study of the Sidereal Zodiac,
                          A NEW SLANT ON "AGES"
                             by Cyril Fagan

   In a contemporary astrological journal the following passage occurs:
"...The ayanamsha for this--according to the theories of Mr. Cyril
Fagan--would have been approximately 17 degrees in the 15th century..."
This value of the ayanamsa (the ayanamsa being the difference between
360 degrees and the sidereal longitude of the vernal equinoctial point)
is not a theory, but a well-authenticated fact, confirmed by the
leading astro-chronologists in the world.
   When toward the close of the 19th century the German Jesuit Fathers
Epping and Kugler succeeded in translating many Babylonian astronomical
records for varying dates in antiquity, inscired in cuneiform
characters on the numerous excavated baked clay tablets, they
discovered to their surprise that the recorded longitudes of the fixed
stars and planets were not reckoned from the vernal equinoctial point
as they expected, which is a common practice today, but from different
points along the ecliptic path.  (F. X. Kugler, Sternkunde U.
Sterndienst in Babel, 1907, S.S.B.)  In his Planeten-Tafeln fur
Jedermann, Karl Schoch gives in tabel G, page 9, the Babylonian names
of the 12 zodiacal constellations according to Kugler.  Commenting on
these Schoch says "...They are to be distinguished from the 12 zodiacal
signs each of which occupies 30 degrees of the ecliptic.  From the year
-200 (i.e., 201 B.C.) to 0 the Babylonian signs extended along the
actual true ecliptic...that is, the sign of The Fishes (Zibbati) ran
from about 325.7 degrees to 355.7 degrees whereas we allot to this sign
the longitude 330 degrees to 360 degrees..."  This means that according
to Kugler's preliminary findings, the Babylonians reckoned their
longitudes, between the years 201 B.C. and 1 B.C. from a point about
4.7 degrees to the east of the vernal equinoctial point which
constitutes Aries 0 degrees 0' of the present tropical zodiac.
   Professor Otto Neugebauer of Brown University, Providence, in his
examination of the only two Egyptian manuscript ephemerides extant, the
Demotic Berlin Papyrus P .8279, which covers the years 16 B.C. to 11
A.D., and the years 71 A.D. to 132 A.D., and the Stobart tablets which
cover the years 9 A.D. to 17 A.D., found that they were each computed
in terms of a sidereal zodiac.  He says "...This makes it very probable
that both texts are using a fixed origin for the division of the zodiac
into twelve signs, disregarding precession.  If this be true, then the
list p. 230 shows the origin of this fixed zodiac at the beginning of
the Augustian time to be about four degrees in advance of the vernal
point--longitude 356 degrees..."  In a footnote he adds, "...If may be
remarked that Kugler discovered that the Babylonian planetary texts,
which belong to the two last centuries B.C., use a vernal point about
five degrees in advance of the true vernal point (cf. e.g., Kugler SSB
I, p. 121, p. 173 and SSB II, p. 513 ff.) but this correspondence might
be purely accidental.  There is no reason whatsoever to assume that
Babylonian astronomy took into account the precession of the equinoxes.
Schnabel's paper (Kidenas, Hipparch und die Entdeckung der Prezession
1927) can be disproved in every detail..."  (Transactions of the
American Philosophical Society, XXXII, part II, January 1942.)

   Epping and Kugler examined a Babylonian tablet of the year 103 B.C.
bearing the title "Lunar Computation Table according to Kidinnu," and
discovered that the longitude of the vernal point was placed in Aries 8
degrees (Kugler: Babylonische Mondrechung).  In 1913 Professor Weidner
found another astrological text which proved to be a Lunar Computation
Table after the system of Naburiannu for the New and Full Moons of B.C.
49-48.  In Naburiannu's system the veranalpint was placed in Aries 10
degrees.  By a study of the position of the vernal point in the systems
of these two famous Babylonian astronomers, and of the difference
between the assumed lengths fo the ye r and the true length of the
tropical year.  Schnabel succeeded in ascertaining the dates for which
the positions of the equinox would be correct, obtaining for Naburiannu
the epoch 508 B.C. and for Kidinnu 379 B.C.  To these Dr. J.K.
Fotheringham of Oxford University applied an accleration, obtained from
the study of ancient eclipses, to the motions of the Sun, and obtained
the dates B.C. 500 and B.C. 373, respectively.
   In May 1949 the present writer discovered that at their heliacal
phenomena all the planets known to the ancients, with the exception of
Venus, fell precisely into their traditional "exaltation degrees"
(Hypsomata) for the lunar year commencing April 4, 786 B.C., while the
longitudes of the Sun, Moon, and Venus exactly tallied with their
exaltation degrees on New Year's Day (1st Nisan), April 4, 786 B.C. if
the vernal point was placed in Aries 13.8 degrees.  Graphing all these
values against the years assigned to them yielded a perfect straight
line running diagonally across the graph, proving conclusively that the
ancient Egyptians and Babylonians used a sidereal zodiac with its
fiducial star, Spica, being fixed in longitude 179.00 degrees or Virgo
29.00 degrees.
   In his History of the Zodiac Professor B.L. van der Waerden of the
Mathematical Institue of Zurick has examined many other Babylonian
tables, such as those of Jupiter and some of the fixed stars, and
confirms the present writer's discovery that they were allcomputed in
terms of a sidereal zodiac with Spica in Virgo 29.00 degrees.
Subsequently he examined the papyrus from the John Rylands Library and
catalogued as P. Ryl 27.  Professor O. Neugebauer had previously
studied the same Payrus (The Astronomical Treatise P. Ryl 27,
Copenhagen, 1949).  This treatise is a lunr table which covers the
second century A.D. and here again van der Waerden discovers that all
lunar positions were computed in terms of the same sidereal zodiac.
  In these circumstances it is submitted that the sidereal longitudes
of the vernal point, computed from Spica in Virgo 29.00 degrees,
published in our vernal-point ephemerides are not theoretical.  These
give the astronomically authentic values of the vernal point as known
to those who originated the zodiac and the science of astrology itself,
namely the ancient Egyptians and Babylonians.  As the result of
rigorous statistical investigation of solar and lunar ingress charts,
Garth Allen found that the value obtained from the ancient texts and
monumental records must be increased by 0 degrees 06'05" or 0.100.7
degrees, a correction rendered permissable by van de Waerden's value
for the "probable error" of plus or minus 0.3 degrees.  In other words
the sidereal longitude of the vernal point must be computed from Spica
in Virgo 29d.06'05" disregarding its proper motion.  For the epoch
1950.0 Garth Allen gies its mean sidereal longitude as Pisces
5d.57;28.65", making the corresponding mean ayanamsa 24d.02'31.36".

                    NEW SLANT ON "AGES"
   Calculating from Garth Allen's Synetic Vernal Point values, it will
befound that the vernal equinoctional point, which is the "Aries 0
degrees" of the tropical zodiac, retrograded along the ecliptic path
into the end of the constellations as follows:--

Taurus    30 degrees 4147 B.C. approximately
Aries     30         1957  "         "
Pisces    30          220 A.D.       "
Aquarius  30         2377  "         "

   Therefore the so-called "Aquarian Age" will not commence until 2377
A.D. or another 418 hence.  The notion that it commenced in 1844 A.D.
or that the Piscean Age began with the Dionysian date for the birth of
Christ has no foundation in the records of antiquity.  The
retrogressionof the vernal point into the tail end of a constellation
constituted only a theoretical beginning and in antiquity was quite
without significance.  In his History of the Zodiac van de Waerden
points out that while the Babylonian astronomical tables were reliable
and accurate, a point also stressed by Karl Schoch, their dates for the
equinoxes and solstices were frequently in error by several days;
because they deemed them of little significance.  Indeed this fact
alone testifies that they could not have used the tropical zodiac, and
yet we find modern astrologers attaching so much importance to the Sun
ingresses of the four cardinal signs (tropical)!
   The true beginning of an Age was sought among the dates when the
crescent moon of the 1st Nisan, which commenced the ecclesiastical "New
Year's Day," was seen to fall consistently among the stars of the
constellation that indicated the "New Age."  This crescent moon was
observed immediately after sunset of the first or second day following
the syzygy (conjunction of the Sun and Moon)  according to the hour at
which it took place, and it constituted the true New Moon.  Viewed in
this light it is apparent from the following brief list of the
approximate sidereal longitudes of the crescent that we are not yet of
the Arien Age and are in fact only beginning to enter the Piscian Age,
it being remembered that the era commences when the New Moon (crescent)
of Nisan is consistently seen to have entered the tail end (30 degrees)
of the constellation.

         Gregorian                  Longitude of New Moon
         1957 April  1              Aries  01 degrees 48'
         1958 March 21              Pisces 29 degrees 35'
         1959 April  8              Pisces 29 degrees 21'
         1960 March 28              Pisces 29 degrees 30'

   In effect this means that during the last two thousand years or so,
the world has been living in the Iron Age of Aries, ruled by Mars, the
god of violence, wars and dictatorship.  It is only now beginning to
enter the Piscian Age.  It is customary for the modern astrologer to
refer to what he believes to be the passing "Piscian Age" as that of
Christ and his fishermen disciples, of baptism by water, the great
development in water and sea power and so forth.  Oh, how easy it is
for the mind to beguile itself!  Surely the dominant influence of the
last two millennia has been the rule of Mars with its crop of
dictators, sovereign governments and catastrophic world wars?  The
vernal equinoctial point left the constellation Taurus about 1957 B.C.
when it entered that of Aries, yet we find the effigy and worship of
the Bull dominant in all the religious cults right down to the
beginning of the Christian era.  This is probably because the true
Taurean Age did not end until about then.  In the horoscope for the 1st
Nisan 786 B.C. when the exaltation degrees of the planets originated,
the crescent New Moon was in the 3rd degree of Taurus, and it is
probable that the true Arien age began to dawn about this period.
   It must never be forgotten that the astronomy of antiquity was
visual.  It is impossible to observe the constellation through which
the Sun was passing (except perhaps at a total eclipse of the Sun)
because of broad daylight, but it is always possible, weather
permitting, to note that in which the Moon is placed, provided it was
not under the beams of the Sun.  Hence the New (crescent) and Full
Moons were the chief prophetic indices of the changing seasons and ages
and the passage of time generally.  Indeed the Egyptian ideogram for a
month was the representation of the crescent Moon.
   ...The precession of the equinoxes, or more accurately the
regression of the equinoxes, is not caused by the Sun's proper motion
in space or around a great center, but by the slow retrograde motion of
the earth's axis, which describes a small circle having a radius of
23.5 degrees (technically known as the obliquity of the ecliptic)
around the poles of the circle of the ecliptic, the period being about
25,884 years.  It is therefore entirely a terrestrial effect.  This
precessional motion causes the vernal equinoctial point, which
constitutes the first degree of the sign Aries, to move backwards along
the ecliptic circle at the rate of one degree in approximately 72
   The motion can be likened to a railroad steam engine with eleven
carriages, or coaches, shunting perpetually backwards along a circular
track, the engine representing the sign Aries and the eleven carriages
the other eleven tropical signs.  Far outside but surrounding the
circular railroad is the circle of the twelve zodiacal constellations
which, to all astrological intents and purposes, remain fixed.
Therefore in the course of a precessional cycle of 25,884 years, our
imaginary train will shunt backwards past each of the twelve zodiacal
   When astrologers talk of the beginning of the Aquarian Age what they
actually mean is that the bumper of our imaginary steam engine (Aries 0
degrees of the tropical signs) is beginning to pass the 30th degrees of
the constellation Aquarius; some 72 years later it will begin to pass
the 29th degree of the same constellation, and so on.  Expressed more
technically it means that due to the conical movement of the earth's
axis around that of the ecliptic, the circle that constitutes the
twelve tropical signs is retrograding at the rate of one degree in
about 72 years with respect to the circle of the twelve zodiacal
constellations.  About the year 2377 A.D. the commencement of the
tropical Aries (the vernal equinoctial point) will come into alignment
with the 30th degree of the constellation Aquarius, and this is what is
generally meant by the beginning of the Aquarian Age.  But not a few
astrologers write that at the commencement of the Age "we will enter
the sign Aquarius."  What is intended by the word "we" is not
clarified.  Apparently they mean that the tropical sign Aries will
enter the tropical sign Aquarius, which is grotesque.
   It is not generally understood that when a tropicalist--that is, an
adherent of the new or moving "zodiac" in popular use in the western
world and invented by the Greek astronomer Hipparchus about 139 B.C.--
writes about the influences of the Aquarian Age, he is interpreting
what he presumes to be the effects of the "constellation" Aquarius and
thereby, all unwittingly, confesses to his belief in the sidereal
zodiac, or ancient zodiac of the constellations.  Invariably he
interprets the "constellation" Aquarius as if it were the "sign"
Aquarius and thereby falls foul of the homonymous fallacy.  But if he
pins his faith exclusively to the new zodiac, then the Taurean, Arien,
Piscian and Aquarian eras can have no meaning at all for him, for they
are all sidereal!
   The beginning of the season is dependent on the Sun's altitude,
which in its turn is dependent on its declination and no on its entry
into the four cardinal signs.  If the latter was true then the Sun's
entry into the sign Cancer should be the Midsummer's Day all over the
world, which is NOT the case for in the southern hemisphere it marks
Midwinter's Day!  It is ridiculous therefore to affirm that both
zodiacs have their uses.  Any virtue found in the tropical zodiac is
solely due to the declination of the luminaries and not to the tropical
longitudes.  To associate longitude and declination, as is the common
practice, is to associate two dissimilar co-ordinates, which is bad
   The solar system--that is, our sun with its family of planets--does
not revolve around the fixed star Arcturus (Alpha Bootis) as stated [in
another current publication].  Arcturus is but another though much
greater sun than our own, and is situated 33 light years away.  Our sun
Arcturus and over 100 million other fixed stars (suns) which composes
the mighty galactic system (Milky Way) are all revolving at different
speeds and in eccentric orbits around a common center, which is
situated about Sagittarius 0 degrees 43'; latitude 3 degrees south, and
which is some 24,400 light-years away from our sun.  [Neil Michelsen's
The American Sidereal Ephemeris, 1981, gave those Galactic Center
coordinates as longitude 2SAG06' latitude 5S35']  ...The galactic
quator, where the majority of stars congregate, intersects the ecliptic
at an inclination of 60 degrees 33' in Sagittarius 3 degrees 36', while
the pole of the system lies in Virgo 3 degrees 36', latitude 29n27.
[More current astronomical data may have revised these coordinates.]
   In passing it may be noted that if the period of time necessary for
a complete revolution of our solar system...was only 25,884 years,
which means we spend 2,157 years under the influence of each sign (?
constellation) as stated by another author, then the various
constellations depicted in the ancient star atlases of Greece and Rome
would be completely unrecognizable by us today, to say nothing of
ancient horoscopes; for in a period of 2000 years our position in
regards to all the constellations would have changed completely and
they would form different signs and shapes in the heavens.  The average
proper motion for the fixed stars amounts to one degree in about
120,000 years, and as our Sun is a fixed star it is obvious it has not
moved in its orbit around the galactic center, since the beginning of
the Christian era by more than 0 degrees 01' of arc, or having regard
to its motion around the galactic center by less than a third of this

   It has been represented that some professional and newspaper
astrologers, being impressed by the success of the sidereal technique,
have adopted the same in their practices, but, in order to save loss of
face before their clients, still retain the new or tropical zodiac.  In
computing solar and lunar returns and ingresses they add to the radical
planets the accrued precession--which is a form of canceling out the
effects of precession, that is always negative--and then compute the
required charts in terms of the tropical framework.  Apart from the
obvious fraudulency of the procedure, it is necessary to emphasize that
the 'raison d'etre' of the tropical zodiac lies in its very
"tropicality," that is, in the fact that it is seasonal or
precessional.  If precession is eliminated it ceases forthwith to be
tropical and becomes a quasi-sidereal zodiac with epoch as of the date
of birth, or date of ingress, as the case may be.  Apart from being
thoroughly unscientific, such an unethical practice should, in the
general interests of astrology, be strongly discountenanced.
                           *  *  *

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