Contemporary Introduction to Macro-Astrology
©Copyright Terry MacKinnell 2001, 2002 All Rights Reserved
The precessional ages such as the Age of Aquarius, Age of Pisces etc possibly offer the best hope of an astrological correlation with history. This does not imply that the outer planets, their cycles and other techniques of mundane astrology are not relevant astrological techniques. The astrology of the precessional ages however does not enjoy wide acclaim in the astrological community, unlike the more established branches of astrology. The only minor exception to this state of affairs is that many astrologers do accept a general astrological framework based on the precessional ages for historical trends over very broad periods.
If it is acknowledged that the precessional ages are little more than a curiosity, it must be acknowledged that either the common rectification applied to these precessional ages is probably wrong, the approach to the precessional ages is wrong or that precessional ages offer little information of any real astrological value. My research does not confirm or support the common rectifications of the precessional ages or the common approaches. These common rectifications and approaches are based upon unconfirmed assumptions. The fact that to date little value is extracted from the precessional ages I believe is a symptom of a combination of erroneous rectifications and incorrect approaches.
My research does confirm the existence of the precessional ages as a valid astrological and predictive tool. The purpose of this paper is to briefly demonstrate: the scope of my research; the development of techniques associated with the precessional age; the advantages of the precessional ages when analysing history; and making predictions based on the precessional ages.
THE INCARNATIONIST & VEDIC RECTIFICATIONS
The Pisces-Aries cusp is the fiducial point for the sidereal zodiac (i.e. zero degrees sidereal Aries) and therefore the most appropriate reference point when comparing different rectifications applied by astrologers to the precessional ages. The most common rectification used for the precessional ages aligns the Pisces-Aries Ages cusp at the birth of Jesus - the Incarnationist Peak (based upon a statistical peak of astrologers who take this as the start of the Pisces Age).
There is an assumption amongst many astrologers that Jesus should commence the Pisces Age. What evidence is there to support an age commencing with a religious figure? Did other ages commence with a messianic or religious figure? Why should not Buddha, Zoroaster or Mohammed indicate the start of the Pisces Age? Has western ethno-centric bias affected astrologers' perceptions? Any assumption that the Pisces age commenced with the birth of Jesus is unjustified based on lack of supporting evidence. This does not discount the association of Jesus with Pisces, which is extremely strong.
The next most popular rectification, the Vedic Peak, has the Aries-Pisces cusp around 400 AD. This period is where, for most of the Vedic astrologers, the ayanamsas is zero degrees (i.e. the western tropical zodiac and Vedic sidereal zodiac are momentarily exactly in alignment). It can easily be construed that this rectification is based upon the average position of the zodiacal constellations and that the zodiacal constellations is most likely the source of the Vedic sidereal zodiac. Even though the zodiacal constellations are of different sizes, some astrologers such as Cyril Fagan claim that originally the zodiacal constellations were all exactly thirty degrees each. Maurice Champion quotes from this book by Cyril Fagan, "Zodiacs Old and New" Page 53:
`That despite the modern Graeco-Roman star atlases in common use, wherein the Zodiacal Constellations are all shown as of unequal lengths, the Zodiacal Constellations of the ancient Egyptians and Babylonian heavens were rigorously 30 degrees in extent.'
Traditionally the ages are calibrated by the position of the sun at the vernal equinox (Northern Hemisphere spring equinox) as viewed against the celestial sphere containing the stars and constellations. Currently the vernal equinox is in the Constellation of Pisces. However the Constellation of Pisces is larger then the average zodiacal constellation, that are all of varying sizes. Should precessional ages vary in length due to zodiacal constellations different sizes? Some astrologers have stated as much.
THE ORIGIN OF THE ZODIACAL CONSTELLATIONS
Regardless of the misshapen zodiacal constellations, who can guarantee that the zodiacal constellations are correctly positioned to represent the sidereal zodiac? Even if the distorted zodiacal constellations are redefined into a sidereal zodiac of 12 signs, each of thirty degrees, as in the Vedic method, are they correctly located in terms of the `true' sidereal zodiac? There is an implied assumption by Vedic astrologers, and most western astrologers, that the sidereal zodiac, based on the zodiacal constellations, was created by ancient astrologer-astronomers with very advanced astrological knowledge.
Such advanced knowledge requires knowledge of precession. There is no confirmed evidence that precession was known around the time the constellations were named. Donald Mackenzie, referring to a publication "Primitive Constellations", states that basically the stars were named around 2100 BC at a latitude that passes through Sumer (Mesopotamia - present day Iraq). Due to precession certain parts of the sky can never be seen at certain locations, though they may be seen at earlier or later millenium. Based on the `barbarian' stars adopted early in ancient Greece, the `missing' stars indicate the antiquity of the origin of the barbarian (i.e. non-Greek) stars and constellations.
If precession was unknown around 2100 BC, when the zodiacal constellations may have been defined, then how could the zodiacal constellations be used in modern times as calibrators of the precessional ages? Even if the zodiacal constellations were defined in the 2nd Millenium BC or early 1st Millenium BC, did the astrologers of the time have a clear understanding of precession? Theoretically, the sidereal zodiac based on the zodiacal constellations is only relevant in relation to the precessional ages if the constellations were named by astrologer-astronomers who understood precession, had rectified the ages and then named the zodiacal constellations as symbolically representative of the ages and sidereal zodiac. This cannot be substantiated at this time.
THE VERNAL POINT AND ANCIENT VISUAL ASTRONOMICAL PRACTISES
Assuming for argument sake that the zodiacal constellations were correctly defined by ancient astronomer-astrologers as symbolically representative of the precessional ages and sidereal zodiac, what was their reference point? Was their reference point the astronomically derived vernal point? This is unlikely as Rumen Kolev explains:
`The picture of the celestial firmament, directly observed by the unaided eyes of the astrologer, is the essence of the Babylonian Astrology. It is an observational one where the direct experience of the sky is of utmost importance'
The key to ancient Babylonian astrological and astronomical practices revolve around visual images. The most important visual markers were the heliacal rising objects before sunrise and the heliacal setting objects after sunset. For example the new lunar month in ancient Babylon commenced on the first sighting of the new crescent moon on the western horizon after sunset. We adopt a more modern and astronomically correct method based upon the exact conjunction of the sun and moon. This mathematical method is not the method of the ancient astrologers who probably named the zodiacal constellations.
An interesting feature of the ancient Babylonian visual astronomical practices is the location of the zodiacal constellations at key dates. Obviously key dates include the start of each new age. Take for example the Pisces-Aries cusp (i.e. the start of the Pisces Age) that I locate at c.717 BC (plus or minus 5 years).
Before sunrise on the vernal equinox (Northern Hemisphere), on the eastern horizon and at a latitude that passes through ancient Mesopotamia, the constellation of Pisces is seen just above the eastern horizon, and is the heliacal rising constellation. It would only be partially seen due to the light from the sun that has not yet risen over the eastern horizon. By the midway point in the Pisces Age, the Constellation of Pisces was fully visible. At the beginning of the Age of Aries (c.2900 BC), the Constellation of Aries is the heliacal rising constellation. In 1447 AD at the beginning of the Aquarian Age, the Constellation of Aquarius is the heliacal rising constellation.
At each of the above dates for the start of the respective ages, the vernal point remains in the previous sign. So in 1447 AD, with the Constellation of Aquarius the heliacal rising constellation, the vernal point is in the middle of the Constellation of Pisces. However if the ancient astrologer-astronomers understood, at a minimum, the visual aspect of precession, the evidence indicates they would have used the heliacal system, not the vernal point.
The modern use of the vernal point as the calibrator of the precessional ages using the zodiacal constellations as the reference is most likely misleading when applied to the zodiacal constellations. It is only an unproven assumption that the vernal point as applied to the zodiacal constellations is congruent with the techniques used when the zodiacal constellations were defined. Even if the zodiacal constellations were named in the 1st Millenium BC, there is no guarantee that the vernal point was their reference point. The Vedic sidereal zodiac is based upon the `modern' vernal point method and has probably resulted in the misunderstanding of the rectification of the ages.
If the ancient astronomer-astrologers did not understand precession when they defined the zodiacal constellations, then no system that is dependent upon the zodiacal constellation such as the Vedic system has any validity other than if the zodiacal constellations were define correctly by random chance. The available evidence suggests that the ancient astrologer-astronomers did understand precession and the precessional ages, long before the `modern' discovery by Hipparchos around 150 BC. However this is not within the scope of this paper and cannot be taken as fact until it is substantiated.
THE CASE FOR RECTIFICATION
The number of assumptions involved in our modern perception of the precessional ages is staggering. Yet modern day astrologers' cling to these many assumptions almost like a religious experience based upon faith - not fact. It is little wonder that the results of modern astrological methods, as applied to the zodiacal constellations, in relation to the precessional ages provides little in the way of clarity, insight or predictive utility.
In my research I have ignored the zodiacal constellations, their positions and size. I have reverted to rectification for clarity. If the ancient astrologer-astronomers were knowledgeable about precession and the ages, then I have replicated the most likely process the ancient astrologers would have applied to this problem. If the ancient astrologers did understand precession or its visual effect over time, how else would they have determined the position of the sidereal zodiac other than through rectification? There is no known astronomical fiduciary point to the sidereal zodiac. If the ancient astrologers did not know about precession and therefore did not undertake the rectification process, my rectification process remains even more relevant.
THE SUB-PERIODS OF AGES
The zodiacal constellations issue is not the only problems for modern astrologers investigating the precessional ages. Another major issue that has caused a lot of consternation is the issue of age divisions. Most astrologers are content to divide the ages into twelve sub-periods. There are a number of age or sign subdivisions systems.
The most common system is to make all signs/ages have twelve sub-periods with the first sub-period always Aries, followed by Taurus and so on until the last sub-period - Pisces. Usually these sub-periods are however inexplicably reversed when applied to the ages so that even though all the precessional ages are 'retrograde', the sub-periods go forward in time (i.e. in opposite direction to their parent ages). Astrologers have decided, without any evidence, that sub-periods of each age should proceed from Aries to Pisces chronologically. The only possible reason appears to be that astrologers have decided that this seems tidier.
This was the preferred system of Charles Carter, and the majority of astrologers have followed suit. Charles Carter gave no explanation as to why he considered that age sub-periods should not also be retrograde like their parent ages. However he did acknowledge with regard to the sub-periods of ages that perhaps the sub-periods should also be retrograde like their parent ages:
`From the standpoint of logical consistency perhaps there is something to be said for taking the signs in reverse order '.
The Carter system is not the only system of sub-periods. I use the Vedic dwadasamsa (duads) system that has been successfully applied to western astrology, particularly in progressed horoscopes. Carter acknowledged this system but did not use it in relations to the ages. Briefly, the standard application of duads to any sign is to divide the sign into twelve 2 ½ degrees sections. The first duad of any sign is the same as the sign itself, with the following duads the successive signs in order. Therefore the duads of Aquarius are Aquarius, Pisces, Aries, Taurus and so on until the last duad - Capricorn.
I have applied the dwadasamsas sub-period system in a geometric fashion. For example, at the Pisces-Aquarius Ages cusp, the Age of Aquarius is entered at its 'rear' end. For example, the sign Aquarius is allocated 300 degrees to 330 degrees of the zodiac. The duads of Aquarius, are Aquarius (300 degrees to 302 ½ degrees), Pisces (302 ½ degrees to 305 degrees), Aries (305 degrees to 307 ½ degrees) and so on until the last duad of Capricorn (327 ½ degrees to 330 degrees). When the world enters the Age of Aquarius, after leaving the Pisces Age behind, it is entering Aquarius at 330 degrees, not 300 degrees. At 330 degrees it first encounters the Capricorn duad (327 ½ degrees to 330 degrees). Therefore the first sub-age in the Age of Aquarius is actually Capricorn, then Sagittarius, Scorpio and so on until the last sub-age - Aquarius, the reverse of the normal duads.
Once I applied sub-ages to the precessional ages, the problem of calculating the beginning of the Aquarius Age devolved to many problems of finding the start of each sub-age (of approximately 179 years each). This provides a much smaller margin of error then an age lasting some 2,150 years each. This margin of error was substantially reduced again in another order of magnitude when I discovered that each sub-age could be further divided into 12 smaller divisions (which I term micro-ages). These micro-ages follow the same system as sub-ages (i.e. retrograde duads).
Due to micro-ages lasting approximately 15 years each, the start of the Aquarian Age can be determined to within about 15 years accuracy. I believe it impossible to rectify the precessional ages using only the precessional ages. The sub-periods are the critical rectifying elements. I found that the only date for the start of the Aquarian Age, that could accurately match historical events with any micro-age of any sub-age in any age, is within 15 years of 1447 AD. Many astrologers are taken back by this early date. I certainly was not looking for a date in the 15th Century - I began searching the 19th and 20th Centuries for the start of the Aquarian Age. However all the evidence based on extensive research indicates that the Aquarian Age must commence around 1447 AD, despite other astrologers' unsubstantiated concepts to the contrary.
THE OVERFLOW EFFECT
There is one more major tool necessary to understand the mechanics of the precessional ages. I had to learn this the hard way (i.e. through research) because I had never come across this relationship between signs in genethlialogical astrology except in a very minor, insignificant and overlooked way. This remaining ingredient is the effect one age or period has upon the following age or period. Each age, apart from having twelve retrograde sub-ages, also responds to decanates (decans). Like ages and sub-ages, the decans are also retrograde. The decans of the Pisces Age and Aquarian Age are displayed, in chronological order (i.e. retrograde), in Table 1:
AGE AGE-DECAN Pisces Scorpio Cancer Pisces Aquarius Libra Gemini Aquarius
For example, just before the close of the Pisces Age around the middle of the 15th Century, the age is Pisces, the age-decan is Pisces and the sub-age is also Pisces (the sub-ages are not shown in the above table - due to the retrograde nature of ages and all their sub-periods the last sub-age of any age is the same sign as its parent age). A few decades later when the Aquarian Age has arrived, the age is Aquarius, the age-decan is Libra and the sub-age is Capricorn (the first sub-age encountered in the Aquarian Age). The former is a Pisces monopoly, the latter has the astrological energies spread between Aquarius, Libra and Capricorn. This is why ages are stronger at their end, and weakest at their beginning.
Due to the strength of ages and other periods at their end, an unusual situation is created that I call the Overflow Effect. When a period such as the Pisces Age ends, it has finally attained its greatest power and momentum. It does not just disappear in a puff of smoke like in a magician's disappearing trick. This powerful momentum of Pisces energy disperses over the new and developing age. This is where the world finds itself today, in the Aquarian Age, but deeply affected by Pisces. Both signs co-exist, with one slowly diminishing in stature, while the other is slowly increasing in strength.
The coexistence of the effects of both signs simultaneously is not to be confused with the common concept of a cusp. Firstly the Aquarian Age does not appear before its exact date. Secondly, the Overflow from the Pisces Age will not only extend over the full length of the Aquarian Age, but at least part of the way into the following Age of Capricorn (c.3600 - 5700). For example the Aries Age came to its end c.717 BC. The historical effects of the Aries Age Overflow can be followed all through the Pisces Age and into the Aquarian Age. However the first age-decan of the Aquarian Age is the Libran Age-Decan. Because Libra is opposite Aries, it should be expected that once Libra attains its full strength around 2164 (at the very end of the Libran Age-Decan), then an effective obstacle is placed in the way of the Aries Overflow. Research on previous overflows indicates that on average, this is how overflows function.
Macro-astrology has its limitations. On the one hand it only provides a general outline for historical events and trends - it does not indicate specific activity like an earthquake or the assassination of a head of state. On the other hand, macro-astrology fails to indicate the greatest human historical event that remains in progress - the population explosion of homo sapiens commencing about 10,000BC and continuing until the present. However macro-astrology does give indications to the changing rate of increase of the ongoing population explosion. In fact, the world currently remains under the strong influence of the Sagittarian Sub-Age Overflow (the second sub-age in the Aquarian Age), and so the population explosion will continue relatively unabated in the 21st Century at least, though its days are numbered.
(This article synchronised to the Macro-Astrology Ephemeris V4.x)
Donald A Mackenzie, "Mythology of the Babylonian People", Bracken Books London, 1996, Pg.322
Rumen Kolev , "Some Reflections about Babylonian Astrology", http://cura.free.fr/decem/09kolev.html
Maurice Champion, 'Thoughts On The Aquarian Age', "Astrological Monthly Review" Vol. 41 No. 1 January 1978, Pg. 29
Charles Carter, "An Introduction To Political Astrology (Mundane Astrology)", L N Fowler & Co Ltd London, 1973, Pgs 75,76