The Astrological Background and Origin of New Age Spirituality
by Steve Kalinowski, Msc.D., Ph.D.
The mechanism that determines the New Age, from strictly a time-line sense (not philosophy), really does come from astrology. Based on twenty-plus years of astrological study and practice, I've come to know that astrologers have long tracked a major cycle called "The Precession of the Equinoxes," and its the astrological interpretation of this cycle that provides significant meaning to the concept of "New Age." Each year, the beginning of Spring is noted as the `point of Equinox,' the moment that the azimuth of the Sun goes from south declination to north declination -- or is crossing the celestial equator at zero degrees declination, when the day and night are equal in length. (From Latin => aequinoctium <= ~aequus,~ equal + ~nox, ~night)
If the measurement of celestial longitude of the Equinox point, from one year to the next, is marked against the backdrop of the zodiac, it will be noticed that the markings tend to creep slowly backwards from year to year at a random rate. (The present rate, on average, is at about 6 seconds of celestial arc per year, or one full degree in seventy-five years...) The movement is hardly noticeable, but its noticeable enough that in every 2,250-2,600 years or so (approx.) the marking of the Equinox point actually changes zodiac signs.
Astrologers call the duration of the Equinox point within any one particular zodiac sign an `Age.' We have been in the Age of Pisces for a little over 2,000 years; and the transition into the Age of Aquarius is nearing--hence popular expressions such as the late sixties favorite `the Dawning of Aquarius' arise to herald a New Age.
(Rudhyar 1975; Sitchin 1993)
As a noteworthy historical point about the changing of the Ages as it pertains to spiritual trends, although there are always periods of great overlap during these transitions, with no real line of demarcation between the two Ages, each Age actually has a distinctive ~flavor~ or ~tone of philosophy~ all its own (perhaps this could be called an astrological paradigm). Many of the symbols and images of common daily usage found in the recorded language for each distinct Age reflect the symbols and images connected to the archetype descriptions of the sign naming that Age. From a religious perspective, for example, Christianity could be said to be the flag-bearer of the Piscean Age, with its characteristic ideals, mirroring the Piscean attitudes, of self-sacrifice, selfless love and immersion into the `sea of divine compassion.' Yet, the Piscean Age influence is also seen in the standard images of Buddhism, Jainism, and Mithraism.
Mosaic Judaism, could be seen as the flag-bearer of the Aries Age, with a noticeable character of warrior conquest and nomadic content in its religious history and symbolism; as did Aryan-Hinduism, which also shared the Aries symbolisms in their culture. Pre-Aryan Hinduism, or the Vedic Era, could be seen as the flag-bearer of the Taurus Age, with a noticeable agricultural content and devotion to fertility in the symbolism. The remnant traces of the Neolithic People's religions are found in the ancient writings of Egypt, Babylon and Sumer, and described in those writings as being already ancient are a "Golden Age of Wisdom" aligned with the Age of Gemini (6,540 BC - 4,380 BC), an "Age of the Goddess Moon" aligned with the Age of Cancer (8,700 BC - 6,540 BC), an "Age of the Sun-God" aligned with the Age of Leo (10,860 BC - 8,700 BC) and the "Time of Gaia-Earth Mother" aligned with the Age of Virgo (13,000 BC - 10,860 BC). (Sitchin 1993)
Interestingly, as the "Ages" change, their sacred symbols seem to get overturned by the "New Age" advocates as well--the Brahman's Sacred Cow (a Taurus image) became the Golden Calf which was cast aside by the Judaic nomads and shepherds (Aries images) to promote the One-God Creator concept (also an Aries image) as the Age changed from Taurus to Aries. Likewise, the Sacrificial Lamb (an Aries image) was offered up and became the Kyrstos/Christ/Savior (a Piscean image) to promote the Universal-God Messiah concept in the transition from Aries to Pisces.
The spread of the missionaries of a Universal-God, and the imagery of the `Fisherman of Men, 'as well, are also strongly Piscean in that they each gather up their catches in their ~nets/churches.~**
**[--The word in the New Testament translated as "church" is the Greek word _EKKLESIA_ -- defined as the `net-work organization' designed to foster continuity and consistency of a belief system.]
So, it can be expected that the Piscean images will give way to Aquarian images as this current transition occurs, that an Aquarian Age will also have its own tone and flavor in this regard, an `Aquarian paradigm' is emerging... perhaps the transition from Pisces to Aquarius will show that the archetype image of Aquarius, the Water-bearer, is now emptying out his Urn, revealing that it had been storing all the Piscean fish (saved souls) that were caught by the Fishermen of Pisces during the past 2,000 years. Thus, it is through the reintroduction of that Spirit into the human mix (the image of Aquarius pouring out the Urn of saved souls-- read this as: reincarnation, past-life remembrances and channeling of spirit guides) that we will soon see the Light-- the radiant light of a new day. We should, then, expect a renewal of guidance from Spirit in the New Age.
The astrological attitude of Aquarius is said to be encouraging an emphasis on "individuality in a harmonious society of mutual respect from like-minded individuals.... or else, an anarchy, rebellion or revolution in order to obtain and ensure the acceptance of such an individuality" ... thus, the concept of the missionary attitude, the Ecumenism and the Apostacy of old religious regimes should give way to a new and genuine tolerance, respect, and even an active attitude of protection of our combined spiritual diversity. A motto for this Aquarian Age might be: `Spiritual Brotherhood--by either a "Consensus of Conscious Awareness", or else by "Enlightened Anarchy", take your pick.'
A view of Deity for the Aquarian Age might no longer be a view that is singularly cultural, no longer `owned' by one group in particular or another, no longer personified in any ethno-national or anthropologic `being', but rather a view that fully integrates Deity into all of humanity at once yet affirms that Deity remains individually accessible... ie., the New Age image is finally taking the Christ down from the Cross (which is actually the image of sacrificing `the act of sacrifice') and placing Christ in the heart, the very essence of all beings, where Deity belongs (an image of the actualization of the Kingdom of God--which Jesus taught is to be found within-- and is now being seen as radiating outward). The astrological meaning of the Aquarian "New Age" is truly defining the New Age Spirituality.
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