The Age of Aquarius, Part 1: The sign

In this series, I cast aside my own disdain and dislike for new-age terminology and hopium, and attempt to make some sense of our collective transition from the Age of Pisces, to the Age of Aquarius.

Allow me to firstly clarify the rationale behind the astrological ages, with an excerpt from Robert Fitzgerald’s article (2009):

The astrological ages are based on the precession of the equinoxes and the backwards wobble of the earth’s axis through the constellations, which lie in a circle around the earth along the ecliptic, the belt of the equator. Ages are measured by the wobble of the earth’s axis as the North Pole points down towards and marks each age or constellation in succession. This wobble takes 25,920 years to complete, and in one complete cycle there are twelve ages of 2,160 years each. Currently, that marker points to the constellation Pisces, and we are said to be in the ‘Age of Pisces’. These ages flow backward through the astrological signs as the earth’s axis wobbles in a precessional or backward direction through the zodiac. In addition to this movement through the signs, history indicates that the signs opposite the primary signs also have a powerful influence on the history of each age.

Robert Fitzgerald, full article on astro.com

Note that the author places the Age of Pisces as lasting until 2160, followed by the Age of Aquarius thereafter. While I do not dispute this timeline, my personal intuition picks up the sixties and seventies as the first shoots of consciousness towards a new paradigm, and I suspect even before then, the “roaring twenties” birthed many of what we now consider “new age” ideas and movements. This, together with our technological advances (particularly information technology and the internet, both under Aquarian dominion), and the quest for justice and fairness (also an Aquarian concern, recently dominated by movements such as BLM, but underway for a long time prior) gives me an inkling that the Age of Aquarius is already bringing to surface its defining undercurrents.

In order to understand the energy of the Age of Aquarius, let’s start with an exploration into the actual sign, its element, symbol and meaning.

Aquarius sign detail from Amiens Cathedral, France (13th Century)

Aquarius is first and foremost, an air sign. The element of air has long been assigned the Jungian function of thinking: the rational mind, objectivity, and reason. This confuses a lot of people, who incorrectly link Aquarius to water, given the sign’s name starting with “aqua”, literally meaning water. Its symbol is in fact the water bearer: a person holding a vessel from which they are pouring water.

This in itself gives us a few clues: unlike Pisces, symbolised by the fish, Aquarius is symbolised by a human being: thus a central concept to this humane sign is its concern with humanity, with the course each and every one of us is on, individually yet part of the whole group, part of the whole consciousness.

Aquarians are often recognised as social idealists, locked into a quest to pursue their guiding principles of truth, justice, democracy, universal harmony and brotherhood of man. Calm objectivity combined with idealistic vision results in a genuine interest for scientific ingenuity and a natural instinct for fair-mindedness. Known for being one of the most rational and humane signs of the zodiac, Aquarius, in its positive expression, is the archetype for civility, tact, reasoned logic, moderate behaviour and all-round good manners. Traditional sources refer to it as a ‘sanguine sign’, as all the air signs are, indicating that it is underwritten by healthy attributes of grace, charm and attractiveness, and has no leanings towards crude, violent or unpleasant extremes. Since they tend towards a position of balance, Aquarians are generally seen as popular, polite and sociable members of society. They offer harmonising influences upon groups, especially with their penchant for bringing cool reason to heated debates and thus steering attention away from personal and emotional trysts to communal and intellectual problems that concern and unite us all.  

Deborah Houlding, skyscript.com
Aquarius by Johfra Bosschart, c 1974

So one of the central themes to Aquarius is in discovering, or perhaps uncovering, the common factors that link us all to the “brotherhood of man”, as noted above. Aquarius well and truly is the sign of the group, as opposed to its opposite sign Leo, which is all about the individual; this is one of the reasons why the Sun, ruler of Leo and symbolising our identity, is considered to be in detriment in Aquarius, for how can one strive to shine as an individual when working as part of a group? That is one of the challenges for those who have their sun sign in Aquarius, who often have to grapple with the issue of how to assert their own individuality within a group setting. That may well be one of the central challenges posed to humanity in the coming decades ahead, given our current economic model predicated on worshipping the individual consumer, often at the cost of the greater group.

Here we have a sign associated with reason, scientific enquiry, objectivity, fairness and justice, reason and intellect, in an act of pouring water, an element associated with feelings and emotions, and also with cleansing, washing, regeneration and life itself. So here we have this incredibly rational and logical sign, in the act of pouring out the waters of consciousness – and I suspect one of the reasons the Age of Aquarius is often termed the Great Awakening: it is awakening within ourselves our latent potential as conscious human beings to co-create our vision, our ideal for humankind.

Aquarius is a fixed sign: the mixture of air (thinking function) and fixed cardinality (immoveable) means it is just about impossible to change their mind once they have made it up. Remember as noted above, that in order for them to make their mind up, a careful objective analysis of the facts and theories has taken place, so that unless you have good evidence for a counter argument, and not just assumptions and gut-feelings, you can forget about trying to change their mind on whichever subject or ideology you are debating.

Despite its fixed modality, Aquarius is not interested in maintaining the status quo: in fact, they have a strong interest is in reforming a group in order to make it more progressive: the Age of Aquarius evaluates the structures created by humankind in order to ascertain whether they support and further humanity’s progression. Aquarius reforms a group according to its objective, detached yet humanitarian ideals, scientific enquiry and invention, the pursuit of fairness, and the common threads interlinking humanity.

Even the non-political Aquarian who lives an ordinary life and doesn’t concern himself with movements, will often be found defending the underdog in his business. His ideals often make Aquarius stand out by a head above the crowd. He thinks about other people, about their needs and potential. Or maybe we should say he truly thinks – a rare commodity in an age of slogans and opinions.

Liz Greene, Astrology for Lovers
The glyph for Aquarius

As you may have deduced by now, science and technology are key vocational fields for Aquarius. Its glyph is in fact two waves, standing for waves of light, electricity, radio or sound. Science, the internet, technological advances and inventions, as well as experimentation in sound and music, will continue to play a prominent role in the Age of Aquarius.

There is an unconventional, even eccentric side to Aquarius, traits which have seen Aquarius being assigned Uranus as its modern planetary ruler. However I disagree in part with this, for reasons I will outline in Part 2 of this series, where I examine the sign’s traditional ruler (Saturn), as well as key upcoming transits through Aquarius.

Until next time,

Monica