Exposing PseudoAstronomy

February 9, 2010

Astrologers Take Note – We Are Nowhere NEAR the “Dawning of the Age of Aquarius”


Introduction

This post is aimed towards astrologers. However, I’m not certain I honestly expect astrologers to be the people who read my blog. But, I may be pleasantly surprised.

Anyway, there is a myth floating around that we are near the “Dawning of the Age of Aquarius” – as the popular(?) song goes. From what I can find out, many astrologers realized that this wouldn’t happen for several centuries yet, but some decided that they could make more money if they moved up the date to something that would be within their clients’ lifetimes. And then, with all the 2012 stuff going on, another subset of astrologers actually claim that 2012 will mark the beginning of the Aquarian Age, or that we are already entering it, or some such.

Well, we aren’t.

This Is Not a Straw Man

I’ve been criticized in some previous posts for not providing references or links to other sources (see, I do read the comments). Well, to show that first off this is not a straw man argument, let’s take a look at what some astrologers are saying:

“From three very different calculations, we have the Age of Aquarius beginning from 2,060 to 2,100 AD.” — Naomi Bennett

“The age of aquarius was officially ushered in, in this Astrologer’s opinion, on January 23 1997 at 17:35 GMT.” — Astrology-Online

“This change in the Age happens every two thousand years – the last one coincided with the arrival of Christ. Alternative medicine, astrology, vegetarianism and other subjects previously considered weird are growing rapidly in popularity, and are all subjects associated with the sign of Aquarius.” — David Weitzman

“A popular date for the beginning of the Age of Aquarius is the year 2000. If, however, the Age of Pisces began with the ministry of Jesus (as many claim), and if each age is 2150 years in duration, then we clearly have a long way to go before we pass into the Age of Aquarius.” — Unknown Source from Paranormality

“February 4, 1962 marked the end of the Age of Pisces and the beginning of the Age of Aquarius.” — Gnostic Center

Even Wikipedia’s Overview section on the “Age of Aquarius” lists a nearly 2200-year span of when different astrologers think it will happen, with a mode focusing in the 20th century (as in, at least 10 years ago from the time of this writing). To insert a snide astronomer comment – come on folks! Astrology is hardly a precision craft!

What Defines the Ages?

From what my understanding is, a new “Age” is defined as when the sun is positioned within the boundary of a new constellation on the vernal equinox (March 21). Because of Earth’s precessional period of approximately 26,000 years, many astrologers seem to take 26,000, divide by the 12 “signs of the zodiac,” and arrive at a timespan of approximately 2150 years for each “Age.” Seems pretty simple, right?

There are a few problems – well, one really. The issue is that the constellations are not all 30° regular boxes (360° in a circle, divide by 12 gives 30°). And, the sun’s path through them is not a simple line (more of a long wave). The current “age” is Pisces. Every year in March, the sun appears in that constellation. And Pisces is a really big constellation. The sun’s path through Pisces is approximately 37-38°. So, right away we have an age that lasts closer to 2700 years instead of 2150.

When Does the Sun Enter Aquarius on the Vernal Equinox?

In this astronomer’s opinion, using the constellation boundaries defined by the International Astronomical Union in 1928, the sun will lie in Aquarius beginning approximately in 2675. Because the sun is actually a disk that spans 0.5° on the sky, it won’t be completely within the constellation on the vernal equinox for several years after that – until 2701. See the diagram below.

Sky in A.D. 2675

As for when the Piscean age started, this was in about the year 355 BC. Well before the year pegged by most historians as the birth year of Jesus. Again, see the diagram below.

Sky in 355 B.C.

Final Thoughts

Unless I’m missing something in the way the “Ages” are defined – and any astrologers, feel free to chime in – then this is one of the easiest astrological claims to show to be false. I used the software “Starry Night Pro” to create the charts included above. Many free planetarium software programs exist out there that run on Mac, Windows, Linux, and likely Unix. Use these, have it show constellation boundaries (and labels), and run time forward for yourself. You will see that the sun is clearly still in the boundaries of the constellation Pisces (the fish), and it will be several hundred more years before it enters Aquarius.

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14 Comments »

  1. […] astrology was being developed, the sun on the vernal equinox was in the constellation Aries. And in roughly 700 years, the sun on the vernal equinox will be in the constellation […]

    Pingback by Astrology vs. Astronomy: What Coordinate System to Use? « Exposing PseudoAstronomy — June 20, 2010 @ 10:21 pm | Reply

  2. NON-ASTROLOGERS (& ASTROLOGERS) TAKE NOTE
    The position of the vernal equinox in any of the zodiacal constellations (or sidereal zodiacal signs) has been the calibration technique for the astrological ages since the Greek Hipparchus ‘discovered’ precession of the equinoxes in the late 2nd century BC. Based on this method the vernal equinox is defintely in both the constellation of Pisces and the sidereal sign of Pisces and will remain so for another 500 years (at least). However there is an older way of calibrating the zodiacal constellations based on the heliacal rising constellation on the day of the vernal equinox. The constellation of Aquarius has been the heliacal rising constellation for many centuries. The ‘modern’ Hipparchan method has the world in the age of Pisces while the ancient method has the world DEFINTELY in the Age of Aquarius.

    References:
    Babylonian Star-Lore – An Illustrated Guide to the Star-lore and Constellations of Ancient Babylonia, Gavin White, 2008, Solaria Publications, London (Gavin White is not an astrologer)
    Rumen Kolev Some Reflections about Babylonian Astrology . (In this paper Kolev explains the five basic principles applied to ancient astronomy techniques in Babylon. In summary, three of these principles state that the visible light directly received from a stellar object was of primary concern as the Ancients believed ‘God is Light’. In those days, the view of the heavens by the unaided eye was the only method of determining astronomical phenomena. The other two principles are that the two key times for astronomical observations are around sunrise and sunset. – I don’t know if Kolev is an astrologer or not)

    There are numerous other references supporting the heliacal rising phenomenum such as:
    *Astronomy before the Telescope, Christopher Walker, 1996, British Museum Press, London
    *The Exact Sciences In Antiquity, O. Neugebauer, 1969, Dover Publications, New York

    Further information:

    http://macroastro.wordpress.com/

    Comment by Terry MacKinnell — June 21, 2010 @ 4:55 pm | Reply

  3. Did you know the age of astronomy Indonesia has more than 15,000 years ? Knowledge of ancient astronomy Indonesia are closely related to Pawukon. In the book “Pustoko Rojo Purwo” by Ronggowarsito, there is the story of “Watugunung” which recounts his life from childhood to become king in the Kingdom Gilingwesi. More detail just visit: http://www.sundalander.com/2010/10/pawukon-astronomy-of-ancient-indonesia

    Comment by atmomiran — October 22, 2010 @ 7:13 am | Reply

  4. […] Astrologers Take Note – We Are Nowhere NEAR the “Dawning of the Age of Aquarius” […]

    Pingback by Planet X and 2012: My Posts So Far « Exposing PseudoAstronomy — November 6, 2010 @ 12:13 am | Reply

  5. 13 houses in zodiac, missing one in November. Hephasteus? or something?

    Comment by Morganism — November 8, 2010 @ 4:43 pm | Reply

  6. Excellent post and well argued. You nailed it.

    Comment by TheGideonLion — March 16, 2011 @ 6:53 am | Reply

  7. I have just published my almost 400 page book on the astrological ages based on the heliacal rising constellation – not the mismatched vernal point method of Hipparchus. Just because astrologers and researchers have used the Hipparchan system for an age (ie for around the length of an age from around 225 BC to now) does not make this system correct. From the 16th century onwards, scientists and academics commenced the process of repudiating much of the established ancient scientific concepts (mainly from the Greeks)following their discovery of empiricism. I am making the same claim.

    Hipparchus unwittingly applied the wrong calibration technique to the astro ages by his newly invented vernal point system. However, the zodiacal constellations of which he applied his newly invented vernal point method are much older, and most astronomers point to the 3rd millenium BC as the latest date for their establishment – at least 2,000 years and more before Hipparchus. The original system for calibrating the zodiacal constellations was the heliacal method. The constellation of Aquarius has been the heliacal rising constellation at the vernal equinox for many centuries. While Hipparchus invented the vernal point system, he did not invent the importance of the vernal equinox which has very long long antecedents – well before the time of Hipparchus.

    For those wanting more information on this subject (or my approach to the subject) – see my blog at:http://macroastro.wordpress.com/2011/03/16/the-dawning-shedding-new-light-on-the-astrological-ages-2/
    or

    http://macroastro.wordpress.com/book-available/

    You will notice that the book cover displays the heliacal rising of the constellation of Aquarius at the vernal equinox.

    Comment by Terry MacKinnell — March 16, 2011 @ 6:15 pm | Reply

  8. Nice work!
    I have a request to ask of you. I have an i-phone that isn’t upgraded but i need to access a star map such as the one you persented the facts with. Reason being I study ancient mythologies and within those mythologies I’ve found astrological undertones. Most ancient sites have visiual ports that divided the sky into equal portions relative to the many observed cycle. On your map could you identify the stars that cross the dividing lines of each zodiac-constellations. Please add in the constellation Ophucius since it’s the hidden 13th zodiac. Dividing each zodiac equally will provide a more accurate motion in time,and it will help me connect some dots in mythology.
    Hope you decide to help in this research.

    Thanks-Mike

    Comment by Tyson — July 26, 2011 @ 7:21 am | Reply

  9. Unfortunately i cannot help with the heliacal astronomy that you want – I mainly work with time, not celestial coordinates. Some astronomy programs display the heliacal rising (and setting) phenomena graphically. The constellation of Ophucius is not and never has been and never will be the 13th zodiacal sign – only non-astrolgers will claim otherwise from ignorance of astrological lore. Have you read “Hamlet’s Mill”? It is a good academic book on ancient mythologies related to precession of the equinoxes.

    Ultimtaley i would like to produce a video showing the heliacal astronomy graphically – but everything costs money, Terry http://www.macro-astrology.com

    Comment by Terry MacKinnell — July 27, 2011 @ 1:31 am | Reply

    • “The constellation of Ophucius is not and never has been and never will be the 13th zodiacal sign – only non-astrolgers will claim otherwise from ignorance of astrological lore.”

      Yes, that’s because most western astrologers cling to how the sky looked like over 2000 years ago instead of what it looks like today.

      Comment by Stuart Robbins — July 27, 2011 @ 11:02 am | Reply

  10. It is really amazing how people who do not know, understand or study astrology consider themselves experts on the subject. Western astrologers do not use a zodiac based on the zodiacal constellations – they use a zodiac with a fiducial point zero degrees Aries based on the vernal point at the Northern Hemisphere Spring Equinox. Vedic astrologers in India use a sideral zodiac superimposed upon the zodiacal constellations as basically developed by the Ancient Greek astronomer-astrologers over 2,000 years ago. These two zodiacs only align about once every 26,000 years. All competent astrologers are aware of these two zodiacs and the fact that they are out of phase, and getting further out of phase every year. Vedic astrologers do not refer to the uneven and unequal zodiacal constellations, they use the sideral zodiac. Both zodiacs maintain astrological integrity but provide very different perspectives and archetypal relationships.

    If modern astronomers have the constellation of Ophucius crossing the ecliptic this does not make it a zodiacal constellation. Furthermore, ancient astronomers did not have borders to their constellations, which is a modern invention – they ancients only used stick figures.

    Comment by Terry MacKinnell — July 27, 2011 @ 7:28 pm | Reply

  11. Beware of the Ides of March:

    Osama Bin Laden March 10
    Rupert Murdoch March 11
    Mitt Romney March 12
    L. Ron Hubbard March 13
    Albert Einstien March 14

    Rupert M75

    http://harenewscorp.wordpress.com/

    Comment by harenews — November 1, 2011 @ 3:19 am | Reply

  12. Hi, thank you so much for that, I was just thinking, would a shift in the Earth position or any other planet in space, change the date of the age of Aqarious in any way? as it would effect the angles of the bodies in the sky, I would assume, if I am completely wrong, sorry I am just a curious blog reader ..

    Comment by maggie — October 12, 2012 @ 4:27 am | Reply

    • Yes, any change in Earth’s obliquity or orbital inclination would change the sun’s apparent path through the sky. Since constellations have borders that don’t move, this would change when exactly the sun passes from one to the other, though probably not by too much. It’s really the rate of precession – the wobble that the axis of the top makes as it spins – that bears most on when this happens.

      Comment by Stuart Robbins — October 12, 2012 @ 10:07 am | Reply


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