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.
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.
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.