Age Of Aquarius
Updated: Nov 16, 2018
The period of 2,160 years required for the regression of the sun through one of the zodiacal constellations is often termed an age. According to this system, the age secured its name from the sign through which the sun passes year after year as it crosses the equator at the vernal equinox. From this arrangement are derived the terms The Taurian Age, The Aryan Age, The Piscean Age, and The Aquarian Age. During these periods, or ages, religious worship takes the form of the appropriate celestial sign--that which the sun is said to assume as a personality in the same manner that a spirit assumes a body. These twelve signs are the jewels of his breastplate and his light shines forth from them, one after the other.
From a consideration of this system, it is readily understood why certain religious symbols were adopted during different ages of the earth's history; for during the 2,160 years the sun was in the constellation of Taurus, it is said that the Solar Deity assumed the body of Apis, and the Bull became sacred to Osiris. (For details concerning the astrological ages as related to Biblical symbolism, see The Message of the Stars by Max and Augusta Foss Heindel.) During the Aryan Age the Lamb was held sacred and the priests were called shepherds. Sheep and goats were sacrificed upon the altars, and a scapegoat was appointed to bear the sins of Israel.
During the Age of Pisces, the Fish was the symbol of divinity and the Sun God fed the multitude with two small fishes. The frontispiece of Inman's Ancient Faiths shows the goddess Isis with a fish on her head; and the Indian Savior God, Christna, in one of his incarnations was cast from the mouth of a fish.
Not only is Jesus often referred to as the Fisher of Men, but as John P. Lundy writes:
"The word Fish is an abbreviation of this whole title, Jesus Christ, Son of God, Savior, and Cross; or as St. Augustine expresses it, 'If you join together the initial letters of the five Greek words, Ἰησοῦς Χριστος Θεου Υιὸσ Σωτήρ, which mean Jesus Christ, Son of God, Savior, they will make ΙΧΘΥΣ, Fish, in which word Christ is mystically understood, because He was able to live in the abyss of this mortality as in the depth of waters, that is, without sin.'"
(Monumental Christianity.) Many Christians observe Friday, which is sacred to the Virgin (Venus), upon which day they shall eat fish and not meat. The sign of the fish was one of the earliest symbols of Christianity; and when drawn upon the sand, it informed one Christian that another of the same faith was near.
Aquarius is called the Sign of the Water Bearer, or the man with a jug of water on his shoulder mentioned in the New Testament. This is sometimes shown as an angelic figure, supposedly androgynous, either pouring water from an urn or carrying the vessel upon its shoulder. Among Oriental peoples, a water vessel alone is often used. Edward Upham, in his History and Doctrine of Budhism, describes Aquarius as being
"in the shape of a pot and of a color between blue and yellow; this Sign is the single house of Saturn."
When Herschel discovered the planet Uranus (sometimes called by the name of its discoverer), the second half of the sign of Aquarius was allotted to this added member of the planetary family. The water pouring from the urn of Aquarius under the name of "the waters of eternal life" appears many times in symbolism. So it is with all the signs. Thus the sun in its path controls whatever form of worship man offers to the Supreme Deity.
There are two distinct systems of astrological philosophy. One of them, the Ptolemaic, is geocentric: the earth is considered the center of the solar system, around which the sun, moon, and planets revolve. Astronomically, the geocentric system is incorrect; but for thousands of years it has proved its accuracy when applied to the material nature of earthly things. A careful consideration of the writings of the great occultists and a study of their diagrams reveal the fact that many of them were acquainted with another method of arranging the heavenly bodies.
The other system of astrological philosophy is called the heliocentric. This posits the sun in the center of the solar system, where it naturally belongs, with the planets and their moons revolving about it. The great difficulty, however, with the heliocentric system is that, being comparatively new, there has not been sufficient time to experiment successfully and catalogue the effects of its various aspects and relationships. Geocentric astrology, as its name implies, is confined to the earthy side of nature, while heliocentric astrology may be used to analyze the higher intellectual and spiritual faculties of man.
The important point to be remembered is that when the sun was said to be in a certain sign of the zodiac, the ancients really meant that the sun occupied the opposite sign and cast its long ray into the house in which they enthroned it. Therefore, when it is said that the sun is in Taurus, it means (astronomically) that the sun is in the sign opposite to Taurus, which is Scorpio. This resulted in two distinct schools of philosophy: one geocentric and exoteric, the other heliocentric and esoteric. While the ignorant multitudes worshiped the house of the sun's reflection, which in the case described would be the Bull, the wise revered the house of the sun's actual dwelling, which would be the Scorpion, or the Serpent, the symbol of the concealed spiritual mystery. This sign has three different symbols. The most common is that of a Scorpion, who was called by the ancients the backbiter, being the symbol of deceit and perversion; the second (and less common) form of the sign is a Serpent, often used by the ancients to symbolize wisdom.
Probably the rarest form of Scorpio is that of an Eagle. The arrangement of the stars of the constellation bears as much resemblance to a flying bird as to a scorpion. Scorpio, being the sign of occult initiation, the flying eagle--the king of birds--represents the highest and most spiritual type of Scorpio, in which it transcends the venomous insect of the earth. As Scorpio and Taurus are opposite each other in the zodiac, their symbolism is often closely intermingled. The Hon. E. M. Plunket, in Ancient Calendars and Constellations, says:
"The Scorpion (the constellation Scorpio of the Zodiac opposed to Taurus) joins with Mithras in his attack upon the Bull, and always the genii of the spring and autumn equinoxes are present in joyous and mournful attitudes."
The Egyptians, the Assyrians, and the Babylonians, who knew the sun as a Bull, called the zodiac a series of furrows, through which the great celestial Ox dragged the plow of the sun. Hence the populace offered up sacrifice and led through the streets magnificent steers, bedecked with flowers and surrounded with priests, dancing girls of the temple, and musicians. The philosophic elect did not participate in these idolatrous ceremonials, but advocated them as most suitable for the types of mind composing the mass of the population. These few possessed a far deeper understanding, as the Serpent of Scorpio upon their foreheads--the Uræus--bore witness.
The sun is often symbolized with its rays in the form of a shaggy mane. Concerning the Masonic significance of Leo, Robert Hewitt Brown, 32°, has written:
"On the 21st of June, when the sun arrives at the summer solstice, the constellation Leo--being but 30° in advance of the sun--appears to be leading the way, and to aid by his powerful paw in lifting the sun up to the summit of the zodiacal arch. * * * This visible connection between the constellation Leo and the return of the sun to his place of power and glory, at the summit of the Royal Arch of heaven, was the principal reason why that constellation was held in such high esteem and reverence by the ancients. The astrologers distinguished Leo as the 'sole house of the sun,' and taught that the world was created when the sun was in that sign. 'The lion was adored in the East and the West by the Egyptians and the Mexicans. The chief Druid of Britain was styled a lion.'" (Stellar Theology and Masonic Astronomy.)
When the Aquarian Age is thoroughly established, the sun will be in Leo, as will be noted from the explanation previously given in this chapter regarding the distinction between geocentric and heliocentric astrology. Then, indeed, will the secret religions of the world include once more the raising to initiation by the Grip of the Lion's Paw. (Lazarus will come forth.)
THE CIRCULAR ZODIAC OF TENTYRA
From Cole's Treatise--the Circular Zodiac of Tentyra, in Egypt
The oldest circular zodiac known is the one found at Tentyra, in Egypt, and now in the possession of the French government. Mr. John Cole describes this remarkable zodiac as follows:
"The diameter of the medallion in which the constellations are sculptured, is four feet nine inches, French measure. It is surrounded by another circle of much larger circumference, containing hieroglyphic characters; this second circle is enclosed in a square, whose sides are seven feet nine inches long. * * * The asterisms, constituting the Zodiacal constellations mixed with others, are represented in a spiral. The extremities of this spiral, after one revolution, are Leo and Cancer. Leo is no doubt at the head. It appears to be trampling on a serpent, and its tail to be held by a woman. Immediately after the Lion comes the Virgin holding an ear of corn, Further on, we perceive two scales of a balance, above which, in a medal lion, is the figure of Harpocrates. Then follows the Scorpion and Sagittarius, to whom the Egyptians gave wings, and two faces. After Sagittarius are successively placed, Capricornus, Aquarius, Pisces, the Ram, the Bull, and the Twins. This Zodiacal procession is, as we have already observed, terminated by Cancer, the Crab."
The antiquity of the zodiac is much in dispute. To contend that it originated but a mere few thousand years before the Christian Era is a colossal mistake on the part of those who have sought to compile data, concerning its origin. The zodiac necessarily must be ancient enough to go backward to that period when its signs and symbols coincided exactly with the positions of the constellations whose various creatures in their natural functions exemplified the outstanding features of the sun's activity during each of the twelve months. One author, after many years of deep study on the subject, believed man's concept of the zodiac to be at least five million years old. In all probability it is one of the many things for which the modem world is indebted to the Atlantean or the Lemurian civilizations. About ten thousand years before the Christian Era there was a period of many ages when knowledge of every kind was suppressed, tablets destroyed, monuments torn down, and every vestige of available material concerning previous civilizations completely obliterated. Only a few copper knives, some arrowheads, and crude carvings on the walls of caves bear mute witness of those civilizations which preceded this age of destruction. Here and there a few gigantic structures have remained which, like the strange monoliths on Easter Island, are evidence of lost arts and sciences and lost races. The human race is exceedingly old. Modern science counts its age in tens of thousands of years; occultism, in tens of millions. There is an old saying that
"Mother Earth has shaken many civilizations from her back,"
and it is not beyond reason that the principles of astrology and astronomy were evolved millions of years before the first white man appeared.
The occultists of the ancient world had a most remarkable understanding of the principle of evolution. They recognized all life as being in various stages of becoming. They believed that grains of sand were in the process of becoming human in consciousness but not necessarily in form; that human creatures were in the process of becoming planets; that planets were in the process of becoming solar systems; and that solar systems were in the process of becoming cosmic chains; and so on ad infinitum. One of the stages between the solar system and the cosmic chain was called the zodiac; therefore they taught that at a certain time a solar system breaks up into a zodiac. The house of the zodiac become the thrones for twelve Celestial Hierarchies, or as certain of the ancients state, ten Divine Orders. Pythagoras taught that 10, or the unit of the decimal system, was the most perfect of all numbers, and he symbolized the number ten by the lesser tetractys, an arrangement of ten dots in the form of an upright triangle.
The early star gazers, after dividing the zodiac into its houses, appointed the three brightest scars in each constellation to be the joint rulers of that house. Then they divided the house into three sections of ten degrees each, which they called decans. These, in turn, were divided in half, resulting in the breaking up of the zodiac into seventy-two duodecans of five degrees each. Over each of these duodecans the Hebrews placed a celestial intelligence, or angel, and from this system, has resulted the Qabbalistic arrangement of the seventy-two sacred names, which correspond to the seventy-two flowers, knops, and almonds upon the seven-branched Candlestick of the Tabernacle, and the seventy-two men who were chosen from the Twelve Tribes to represent Israel.
The only two signs not already mentioned are Gemini and Sagittarius. The constellation of Gemini is generally represented as two small children, who, according to the ancients, were born out of eggs, possibly the ones that the Bull broke with his horns. The stories concerning Castor and Pollux, and Romulus and Remus, may be the result of amplifying the myths of these celestial Twins. The symbols of Gemini have passed through many modifications. The one used by the Arabians was the peacock. Two of the important stars in the constellation of Gemini still bear the names of Castor and Pollux. The sign of Gemini is supposed to have been the patron of phallic worship, and the two obelisks, or pillars, in front of temples and churches convey the same symbolism as the Twins.
The sign of Sagittarius consists of what the ancient Greeks called a centaur--a composite creature, the lower half of whose body was in the form of a horse, while the upper half was human. The centaur is generally shown with a bow and arrow in his hands, aiming a shaft far off into the stars. Hence Sagittarius stands for two distinct principles: first, it represents the spiritual evolution of man, for the human form is rising from the body of the beast; secondly, it is the symbol of aspiration and ambition, for as the centaur aims his arrow at the stars, so every human creature aims at a higher mark than he can reach.
Albert Churchward, in The Signs and Symbols of Primordial Man, sums up the influence of the zodiac upon religious symbolism in the following words:
"The division here [is] in twelve parts, the twelve signs of the Zodiac, twelve tribes of Israel, twelve gates of heaven mentioned in Revelation, and twelve entrances or portals to be passed through in the Great Pyramid, before finally reaching the highest degree, and twelve Apostles in the Christian doctrines, and the twelve original and perfect points in Masonry."
The ancients believed that the theory of man's being made in the image of God was to be understood literally. They maintained that the universe was a great organism not unlike the human body, and that every phase and function of the Universal Body had a correspondence in man. The most precious Key to Wisdom that the priests communicated to the new initiates was what they termed the law of analogy. Therefore, to the ancients, the study of the stars was a sacred science, for they saw in the movements of the celestial bodies the ever-present activity of the Infinite Father.
The Pythagoreans were often undeservedly criticized for promulgating the so-called doctrine of metempsychosis, or the transmigration of souls. This concept as circulated among the uninitiated was merely a blind, however, to conceal a sacred truth. Greek mystics believed that the spiritual nature of man descended into material existence from the Milky Way--the seed ground of souls--through one of the twelve gates of the great zodiacal band. The spiritual nature was therefore said to incarnate in the form of the symbolic creature created by Magian star gazers to represent the various zodiacal constellations. If the spirit incarnated through the sign of Aries, it was said to be born in the body of a ram; if in Taurus, in the body of the celestial bull. All human beings were thus symbolized by twelve mysterious creatures through the natures of which they were able to incarnate into the material world. The theory of transmigration was not applicable to the visible material body of man, but rather to the invisible immaterial spirit wandering along the pathway of the stars and sequentially assuming in the course of evolution the forms of the sacred zodiacal animals.
In the Third Book of the Mathesis of Julius Firmicus Maternus appears the following extract concerning the positions of the heavenly bodies at the time of the establishment of the inferior universe:
"According to Æsculapius, therefore, and Anubius, to whom especially the divinity Mercury committed the secrets of the astrological science, the geniture of the world is as follows: They constituted the Sun in the 15th part of Leo, the Moon in the 15th part of Cancer, Saturn in the 15th part of Capricorn, Jupiter in the 15th part of Sagittary, Mars in the 15th part of Scorpio, Venus in the 15th part of Libra, Mercury in the 15th part of Virgo, and the Horoscope in the 15th part of Cancer. Conformably to this geniture, therefore, to these conditions of the stars, and the testimonies which they adduce in confirmation of this geniture, they are of opinion that the destinies of men, also, are disposed in accordance with the above arrangement, as maybe learnt from that book of Æsculapius which is called Μυριογενεσις, (i.e. Ten Thousand, or an innumerable multitude of Genitures) in order that nothing in the several genitures of men may be found to be discordant with the above-mentioned geniture of the world."
The seven ages of man are under the control of the planets in the following order: infancy, the moon; childhood, Mercury; adolescence, Venus; maturity, the sun; middle age, Mars; advanced age, Jupiter; and decrepitude and dissolution, Saturn.