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Recently in Kolkata India 100’s of astrologers met to deliver 30 minutes talks over a week at the 28th IVC Conference, hosted by the KIA – Kolkata Institute of Astrology  headed by Sri Gopal Battacharjee.  Many C*I*A Agents were also in attendance thanks to the work and networking of agent 144 Alex Trenoweth! As part of our invitation to present our lectures all  speakers needed to prepare a paper on the talk they would present, of 3000 words to be published in conference magazine CONSTELLATION NEWS .

Here and with permission from the IVC and KIA, we publish our Agents articles as we prepare for the next one in 2020.

Details via Banner above! Stay tuned for more!

The Planetary Highway to the Aquarian Age: Utopia, Dystopia and Beyond

by Agent 117 Liz Hathway

The idea of astrological ages is based on the phenomena known as the precession of the equinoxes, whereby due to the earth’s wobble as it spins on its axis, the vernal point moves slowly backward through the zodiac constellations at a rate of one degree every seventy two years, spending approximately 2,160 years in each zodiac sign and completing a whole cycle in 25,772 years. Many Western astrologers believe that we have reached an important juncture and are about to enter a new age, the Aquarian Age, however this idea is hotly contested1. When does the vernal point actually enter the stars of Aquarius? While theories abound as to when this will happen, no-one has come up with a definitive date. There are also issues involving the astrological tradition, such as the perceived distortion of the astrological meaning attributed to the sign Aquarius, whose ruler Saturn has no association with freedom or brotherhood. Yet the idea of the Golden Age associated with Saturn, and first mentioned by the Greek poet Hesiod, is the birth place of all later utopian thinking. For this reason it is under Saturn that the utopian idea of a ‘Brotherhood of Man’ rightly belongs2. Last but not least, there is the question of the marriage of the Age of Aquarius with the New Age Movement, which given its success seems to me a moot point, rather like crying over spilt milk. The New Age, with its focus on healing the self and planet, is manifest in modern Western culture, and the Age of Aquarius either as a ‘literal or quasi-literal expectation’ has provided the rational to support it3. However whether theories lead or follow cultural change is itself a subject of academic debate so perhaps we would be wise not to focus solely on theories anyway4.

The Myth Of Aquarius
For many, myth is associated with the past, it is considered subjective and therefore untrue5. We might imagine that we have exorcised all traces of mythical thinking and that we now inhabit a myth free universe where only science has the prerequisite credentials to reveal the truth. While most modern myths are simply good stories, such as the curse of Tutankhamen’s tomb, others are founding narratives which have a collective function, and are able to act as an anchor for the collective memory of a group or groups. Cultural memory reaches beyond the personal and is anchored in the texts, cultural events, observance and practice of a group. Jan Assman conceived of cultural memories as islands of time, as memory spaces, which can be retrieved and opened up when touched upon, so that ideas seeming forgotten, ‘suddenly become accessible again across millennia’6. Whether it be a Babylonion ‘Sar’, a Platonic ‘Great Year’, or the Hindu ‘Yugas’, the idea of great cycles underpinning a picture of ‘time unfolding through a great interlocking hierarchy’ is an ancient one7. The modern myth of the Aquarian Age taps into this rich seam of existing cultural memory and reconstructs it, so it can better serve a contemporary frame of reference.

A new myth, if we chose as I do to view the ‘The Age of Aquarius’ in these terms, requires a founding narrative and the person who provided this narrative, a cosmogony for the New Aquarian Age, was Helene Blavatsky (b.1831 – d. 1891). In her magnum opus, the Secret Doctrine Blavatsky wrote ‘the history of this world since its formation and to its end is ‘written in the stars’, i.e. is recorded in the zodiac’8. The organisation Blavatsky founded, with Colonel Olcott and William Quan Judge, the Theosophical Society (TS) provided a platform for Blavatsky’s teachings and ensured the spread of her ideas. The TS mission statement defines its aims as being to form a universal brotherhood of humanity, to encourage the study of ancient and modern religions, philosophies and sciences and to investigate the unexplained laws of nature and the psychical powers latent in man9. Guided by the invisible hand of her Masters, Blavatsky revealed that spiritual progress is achieved through cycles of reincarnation and occult practice, which included meditation and yoga. All in all, the mysterious Blavatsky proved to be the perfect receptacle for nurturing a founding narrative.

Victor Hugo once said ‘there is nothing more powerful than an idea whose time has come’. Since the mid-1960s popular astrology has been on the rise10. This surge in interest took place under a conjunction of Uranus and Pluto in Virgo. Disillusionment with mainstream culture and with institutionalised Christianity, particularly among the young, gave birth to a collective need within the psyche of the West, to acquire a new myth. The 1967 musical Hair, with its hit song ‘Aquarius, let the sunshine in’, provided a musical anthem for the dawning new age which Blavatsky’s intuitive revelations underpinned.

Elizabeth-Svadkovski-Hathway-03Jupiter And Saturn As Harbingers Of Cyclical Change
A much less contested view of astrological change centres on the conjunctions of Jupiter and Saturn, which are conjunct roughly every 20 years and form part of an intriguing pattern. The conjunction falls within the same triplicity for a period of around 240 years, completing a full cycle of the zodiac in approximately 960 years. When the series of conjunctions changes triplicity, an event known as the Mutation Conjunction occurs and significant historical changes are said to take place. The famous Persian astrologer, Abu Ma’shar (787-886 AD) thought that the conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn necessitated changes in religions and dynasties11. We might add to this, that it also necessitates paradigm shifts, periods when accepted ways of being in the world are transformed. However, the Mutation Conjunction itself does not represent a clean break with the old triplicity, since after this conjunction, at least one ‘fall back’ to the expiring element is possible. The Star of Bethlehem that heralded the birth of Christ – and which many astrologers associate with the dawning of the Piscean Age – is considered to have been a triple conjunction of Mars/Jupiter/Saturn in 6 BC12. Interestingly, this conjunction in Pisces is an example of a ‘fall back’ onto the expiring water triplicity, since the Mutation Conjunction in fire had taken place 19 years earlier, in 25 BC. Interestingly, Blavatsky’s birth also falls within a period that a change in triplicity is in progress, as the fire series of conjunctions was making way for a new triplicity, earth. If we also choose to take into account the larger cycle of time that precession represents, then Blavatsky is born around the time of an important junction, where two cyclical versions of time coincide. But does this necessarily make Blavatksy the prophetess of the Aquarian Age in a similar way that Christ was the prophet of the Piscean Age? How potent are these Mutation Horoscopes anyway?

The Earth Mutation Conjunction
In the 1802 earth Mutation Conjunction, Jupiter and Saturn are in Virgo, a sign associated with diligence, practical application, and skill. Virgo has the capacity for breaking down difficult problems into component parts which can analysed and re-organised, forming a better functioning, logical whole.

Jupiter and Saturn oppose the Moon and Pluto, which are closely conjunct in Pisces.

In mundane astrology, the Moon represents the people as a whole, and in Pisces it represents humanity at a chaotic, random, less well organised stage of being, where superstition, faith, religion are governing factors in the daily life of the collective. In the presence of transformative, evolutionary Pluto, the Moon also suggests that the earth series of conjunctions will bring about deep cultural changes and challenges to organised religion. We see this dynamic in action in the horoscope for the publication Charles Darwin’s On the Origins of Species (24 November, 1859) which will intellectually supports an emergent materialistic vision of the world. Life is no longer the work of a divine creator, instead it evolves through a process of natural selection. God, as Nietzsche claimed, ‘is dead’.

In the Origins of the Species horoscope, a New Moon in the second degree of Sagittarius, representing both the scientific and the religious community, is opposite Uranus in Gemini, the revolutionary new idea. When viewed together with the 1802 Mutation Conjunction horoscope, this New Moon and Uranus opposition, squares the Jupiter/Saturn and Moon/Pluto conjunctions whereby creating a grand cross, an alignment known for its high tension and complex challenges. If the Jupiter/Saturn mutation conjunctions represent paradigm shifts which challenge old ways of being in the world, then these initially contested theories will raise questions which further open up a new field of enquiry. As the new triplicity gains traction, these theories will attract more ‘believers’. Gregory Mendel, who developed the law of genetics (1859), Francis Crick and James Watson’s who discovered DNA (1953) answer questions that Darwin was unable to address.

A similar resonance can be seen between the 1802 Mutation Conjunction, Blavatsky’s birth chart and her most famous publication, the Secret Doctrine. Blavatsky’s radix Mars, Saturn and Mercury in Virgo are closely conjunct with Mutation Conjunction, Jupiter/Saturn, making her a spokeswoman for an emergent new religious paradigm (she also has Jupiter conjunct Uranus in Aquarius!!). The Secret Doctrine was published under the conjunction of Neptune and Pluto in Gemini, which British astrologer Charles Harvey claimed opened up the deep unconscious/superconscious of the collective, whereby opening it up to higher transcendent collective ideas and ideals13.

Neptune and Pluto are opposite Jupiter in its own sign Sagittarius, which suggests the impact of the Secret Doctrine will be far reaching and will challenge prevailing religious ideas. Once again, Jupiter, Neptune and Pluto are all closely square (aspect of 90 degrees) with the 1802 Jupiter/Saturn conjunction, Moon/Pluto opposition in the Earth Mutation horoscope.

The Air Mutation Conjunction
Turning now to the Air Mutation horoscope (31 December 1980, 21.26 GMT). Jupiter and Saturn are in Libra, a sign associated with balance, diplomacy and justice. Where earth is concerned with life’s practicalities, air is connected with breath, words and communication. It is the invisible substance that fills our lungs and keeps us alive. Birds fly on air, ships move because of it, in a similar way we shape words into thoughts and ideas that have an ability to arouse our emotions and incite us to action. Air can be heated, it shimmers and carries scent and yet because of gravity, air clings to earth and makes our existence possible.

I find it fascinating that the Moon in the air Mutation horoscope, is in Scorpio (7 degrees 40), a zodiacal position it shares with the horoscopes for the discovery of the outer planets, Uranus (Moon, 14 degrees 58 Scorpio), Neptune (Moon 7 degrees 59 Scorpio) and Pluto (Moon, 13 degrees 14 Scorpio). The scorpion is a solitary creature that shuns the light. An inhabitant of our planet for around 430 million years, scorpions survived the extinction of the dinosaurs, and hence symbolically the Moon in Scorpio represents humanity’s capacity to survive evolutionary shifts. Falling at the change of seasons, the zodiac sign Scorpio is related to corruption, to the death and decay of autumn. When the leaves have fallen, branches are laid bare. An old symbol for Scorpio is the serpent, the creature that tempted Eve to eat of the tree of good and evil, resulting in the expulsion from the Garden of Eden. There is however another symbol for Scorpio, the eagle, which reminds us that from painful lessons, conscious awareness is born. In Western astrology, the Moon in Scorpio is in the sign of its detriment, and in all these mundane charts it represents humanity as a whole that has reached a stage of crisis.

The Great Mutation in air on December 31st 1980, is closely linked to the inauguration horoscope of President Ronald Reagan on January 20th 1981, with many planets sharing the exact same position in both charts (see bi-wheel below). Reaganomics is a term now used for Reagan’s economic policies which emphasized supply-side or ‘’trickle-down’’ economics, tax cuts for the rich, government deregulation, free trade, etc. The neoliberal attitude, born under the auspices of Reagan (an Aquarian) and Margaret Thatcher (a Libran) fostered the massive expansion of the global economy over the last few decades. I think globalization is one of the key concepts for the Aquarian Age. The horoscope reflects an idea of society as a universal market, in which competition (Jupiter/Saturn square to Sun/Mercury in the Mutation horoscope), ultimately leaves us with a tiny cadre of winners, emphasized by Saturn’s exaltation in Libra, squaring a Saturn ruled Capricorn Sun. Jupiter and Saturn in the Air Mutation are conjunct with the USA’s Saturn in Libra, in the 10th house (Sibly horoscope), as if to further emphasise the role the United States would play in shaping the new paradigm. The idea of ‘narrow bounds of opportunity’ is further emphasised by the ‘bundle’ shape of the horoscope itself, where all the planets fall within 120 degrees14. In the Mutation Horoscope, the Moon sextiles the Sun and Mercury, suggesting the masses have a role to play, when the right opportunity (sextile) presents itself. The masses (the Moon) are also able to exact revenge (Scorpio), as we have recently seen in the UK’s vote for Brexit vote and the election victory of Donald Trump. But does the horoscope also reflect the arrival of the Aquarian Age?

Air/Aquarius

The two undulating waves that symbolise the zodiac sign Aquarius, can be perceived as air waves, but when I think of Aquarius, I think of Ganymede, cup-bearer of the gods. In his urn – to quote John Frawley ‘he carries the only sweet water in the zodiac, the sweet water of reason’15. To reason, we need a common language and in recent decades, English has emerged as the ‘lingua franca’ of the world. The air triplicity has already presented humanity with the challenge of global warming and air pollution. Thanks to the World Wide Web, which has allowed individuals to share information over the internet, we now live in a highly globalized world. With this in mind, it is interesting to compare the 1980 Mutation Conjunction, for the date Tim Berners-Lee first published a short summary of the World Wide Web project in the newsgroup alt.hypertext, on 6 August 1991

World-Wide-Web
The Moon in Gemini is ruled by Mercury in triple conjunction with Venus and Mars in Virgo, all underscore complex themes involving communication, the digitalization of personal knowledge (Moon) and standardized ways of sharing digital information. The Sun widely conjunct Jupiter in Leo, represents the potential for fabulous power and the concentration of wealth among elites. However, the conjunction squares Pluto in Scorpio, suggesting hidden forces are at work. The horoscope raises issues of personal privacy and censorship, the danger of malware and abuse of knowledge/power. The emergence of the dark-web (a modern day underworld where the online activity and identities of individuals remains hidden), singularly points towards Pluto.

When we look at this chart through the lens of the 1980 Air Mutation horoscope, we see that the conjunction of Uranus (modern technology) with Neptune (that oh so sticky web), falls on the Sun/Mercury conjunction in Capricorn. The Uranus/Neptune conjunction, Andre Barbault noted was related to the ‘growth of capitalism’ and to the interaction between capital (Uranus) and labour (Neptune), and it’s easy to see how enamoured business is, with the potential for profit opened up by the web.

Some Final Thoughts
Clearly the Mutation Horoscopes are potent signifiers of change, and the horoscopes of people, ideas and events that are in tune with these mutation horoscopes will, I believe, resonate strongly with the spirit of the age.

Elizabeth-Svadkovski-Hathway-09I agree that it is tempting to see the conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn in 2020 in zero degree Aquarius as initiating the Aquarian Age. However, we should balance any utopian ideas of humanity united in brotherhood/sisterhood, with the sobering thought that utopias have a habit of becoming dystopias in the end. As robots gradually change the nature of work, issues of poverty, inequality and unemployment will become ever more pressing. The gathering of big data and the use of algorithms to mine it, makes us all susceptible, for good or ill, to the power and influence of those posing the questions and programming the machine. The position of the Moon in Scorpio in the 1980 Mutation Conjunction, serves perhaps as a much needed reminder that as a species we are a tough lot, equipped with the psychological force and the will to fight for the survival of our species.

The Aquarian Age might be a myth, but myths are also repositories of wisdom. As the stakes for the survival of our planet are raised, I hope that ideas of peace, diplomacy and co-operation will grow on us. It is an interesting thought that the constellation Aquarius lies in the heart of one of the great celestial seas, flanked on either side by Pisces (the fishes) and Capricorn (the sea goat). As the crisis of global climate change melts the great ice caps and sea levels rise, humanity will be faced with a challenge that supersedes financial gain and, once compelled to combine our efforts, we might yet make a virtue of necessity.


Reference:

1 For a good introduction to the current debate among Western astrologers, I highly recommend Chris Brennan’s podcast on the Age of Aquarius (available free online)
2 Hesiod, Theogony, Works and Days, transl. M.L. West, (Oxford Univ. Press,1988), p.40, lines 97-134
3 Michael York, Wanting to have your New Age Cake and Eat it Too, hhttp://www.michaelyork.co.uk/Domus/CV/confpapers/cp-23.html
4 Ronald Grimes, Reinventing Ritual, Soundings: An Interdisciplinary Journal, 75(1) p. 22
5 Milton Scarborough, Myth and Modernity: Postcritical Reflections, p.10
6 Jan Assman,‘Collective Memory and Cultural Identity’, New German Critique, No. 65, 1999
7 Baigent, Campion, Harvey, Mundane Astrology, Aquarian Press: 1984, p.139
8 H. Blavatsky, The Secret Doctrine: The Synthesis of Science, Religion and Philosophy, (Cambridge Univ. Press, 2011: [1897]) p.438
9 http://www.theosociety.org/pasadena/ts/h_tsobject.htm (visited 17/8/17)
10 See truzzi 1972
11 See, Abu Ma’shar, transl. Yamamoto & Burnett, On Historical Astrology: The Book of Religions and Dynasties (Brill 2000)
12 See Bernadette Brady, Brady’s Book of Fixed Stars, p.311
13 Michael Baigent, Nicholas Campion, Charles Harvey, Mundane Astrology, p. 179-180
14 Mark Edmund Jones, Guide to Horoscope Interpretation, p. 29
15 Personal note made during a John Frawley lecture

Agent 115 Liz Hathway

Liz Hathway is a Welsh born astrologer currently based in Amsterdam. Liz became interested astrology at secondary school. Initially an autodidact – Liz later studied at the Cosmos (in Amsterdam), she holds the diploma of the Faculty of Astrological Studies (London), the horary diploma (John Frawley school), and also holds an MA with distinction, in Cultural Astronomy and Astrology, University of Wales, Lampeter. Liz has lectured nationally and internationally, most recently at the Astrological Association Conference ‘Diamonds in the Sky’ (2018).

Liz has a YouTube channel (Astrovizier) and her new website (www.lizhathwayastrology.nl) is currently in the making. Liz has a busy practice in Amsterdam. Her mainly Dutch language blog – has been earmarked by the Koninklijke Bibliotheek (Dutch National Library) – for preservation for future researchers into social and cultural history.

Liz is passionate about ALL astrology – but has a special interest in mundane astrology. An independent researcher, she is also interested in rituals, sacred space, magic and transformation.

Liz Hathway, MA, DFAstrolS

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