In Our Time: Aquarian Era, Aquarian Age

Stadium on the Acropolis on Rhodes, Lindos, Greece.

Note to Readers: Tonight’s essay is a selection from An Aquarian Era for the sign Cancer — which is the reference sign for the full set of 12. That means I have developed topics here that I only want to discuss once. The article that follows goes into detail on what I have learned investigating transits within the sign Aquarius — hence the Aquarian Era.

I also share what I have learned about the Age of Aquarius in my long span o time investigating that topic from many points of view. What I offer in the article below pertains to all the signs, and anything involving Cancer affects all of humanity as Cancer is the rising sign of the Thema Mundi (the chart of the world). More details below.

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The Thema Mundi: The Chart of the World has Cancer Rising. Aquarius is its 8th House.

Many dominant forces of astrology are now either in or headed into Aquarius, hence, we are in what I am calling an Aquarian Era. While this reading is for the sign Cancer in any form (Sun, Moon, rising, lunar node, or Chiron), it is also the reference reading for all of the signs. I’ll be explaining things in this chapter that I will reference only in shorthand in others).

However, briefly, Cancer is the sign rising in the Thema Mundi, the symbolic chart for the world. And there is a connection between Cancer’s traditional ruler, the Moon, and the sign Aquarius: the Moon is one of the esoteric rulers of Aquarius. (In this same system, Neptune is the esoteric ruler of the sign Cancer. While I may not come back to that, it’s worth keeping in your pocket if you need it.)

My primary theme in this reading is the influence of events in Aquarius on both Cancer and the world. We will also look closely at the influence of events in Aries.

The Aquarian Era (my term) is different from the Age of Aquarius, about which there is no consensus among astrologers or astronomers about when it begins or ends — though we have some clues that it, too, is getting underway. Many of the same factors that describe the Aquarian Era also describe the Aquarian Age, except that an astrological age lasts about 2,000 years.

What happens at the outset of the Aquarian Age (which might last until 4500) is essential, and by my assessment (after investigating for a couple of decades) is that we have been at the beginning since around the 1920s.

For the purpose of this discussion, the Aquarian Era is a phase lasting about 24 years, starting in 2020, and which is a kind of entry foyer into the much longer Aquarian Age. What we do in our time will influence a vast future. The choices we make today matter, and will influence generations of people who have not yet arrived on the planet.

The themes are similar. Many of the same concepts apply; many of the same concerns. There are two, mainly: one is the way our society and we as individuals are becoming products of our technology. The other is what you might call a very strange kind of belonging, called the “world glamour,” which is in part about pressure to conform, and to push others into doing so. This is not the friendly togetherness we usually think of as being an attribute of Aquarius.

What happens at the outset of the Aquarian Age (which might last until 4500) is essential, and by my assessment (after investigating for a couple of decades) is that we have been at the beginning since around the 1920s. Keep in mind throughout — and I will repeat this several times but let’s get started — the sign Aquarius is said to address groups, but what it really addresses is social patterns, which are the patterns of society, which is about technology. Aquarius describes the relationship between people and electricity in all of its forms, and describes how this relationship affects us as individuals and as a society. Our relationship to technology sets the patterns of our minds, our lives, our social affairs, and our most intimate personal relationships.

The presence of Saturn in Aquarius for the next two years, and Jupiter for part of 2021, is a warmup and preparation for the Aquarian Era. What matters more is that Pluto is coming. This begins in March of 2023 and lasts through 2044. As far as many older people are concerned, this will be a permanent placement, lasting the rest of your lives. For many younger people, it will be the central astrology of your adult lives, defining your relationship with society.

Think of this as a series of stages: the Jupiter-Saturn phase of the Aquarian Era (through 2023) is preparation for the Pluto phase (through January 2044).

In astrology, slow is powerful, and meaningful. Pluto gets that distinction any day of the century. Yet Pluto in Aquarius will be like nothing we have ever seen before. It is one of those transits that could go either way, and the differences are extreme.

Through the late 20th century, we were accustomed to Pluto going through one sign in about 14 years, and that seemed slow. Now that Pluto is moving farther from the Sun, away from its perihelion in 1989, the duration of a transit through one sign increases substantially and is now about 22 years. (It gets better — by the time of Pluto’s aphelion, or far-point from the Sun, it will take 30 years to go through Gemini, spanning from 2127-2157).

In astrology, slow is powerful, and meaningful. Pluto gets that distinction any day of the century. Yet Pluto in Aquarius will be like nothing we have ever seen before. It is one of those transits that could go either way, and the differences are extreme. This all depends on how aware we are able to be of that which we normally take for granted.

Most of the pieces are in place for some significant challenges and power struggles in the Aquarian realm where technology meets humanity. We are seeing it develop now — at the moment, leaning more toward the troubling side of the equation, and the dehumanizing abuses of technological power that we are witnessing and experiencing. That most people are oblivious to this is irrelevant. It is happening whether anyone knows about it or not.

The solution to the troubling elements of this transit would be a social awakening; a human awakening. But “social” and much of “human” have been consumed by the digital environment and is entirely under its thrall. To be truly social today is an act of defiance. To be human, wholly human, is a form of dissent, even of revolt: to breathe normally, to show one’s face, to hug another person, to hang out together, to hold a holiday gathering, to associate freely with your friends and family, to travel — and to not be subjected to experimental medical procedures, genetic or otherwise.

Aquarius is the realm of the public discussion, which now takes place in the electronic dimension, very nearly entirely. Dissent in this realm is now banned: all major social media outlets de-platform anyone who asks a few too many real questions. This is an example of the shadow side of Aquarius: the pressure to conform.

Once a fire like this starts, it is very difficult to extinguish. It may be impossible, which means it will take many miracles, or in the alternate, submitting to the Borg (where we get the expression “resistance is futile”), or ultimately, finding some means of escape. Those who understand Pluto know it as the unstoppable force. This is why I’ve been saying that Saturn in Aquarius is the time we need to evaluate our situation and get ourselves together.

This is not about conjuring up some form of feel-good power to the people, but rather about the actual organizing of the kind of society we need to have, so that our most basic human needs are met — that is, if we want to have anything resembling “a life” as we have long conceived of it. You grew up enjoying the full rights of citizenship, and personal autonomy. You might ask why those are being taken away from you, or in any way being made conditional. We might ask why anyone who objects risks being silenced or canceled.

Aquarius is the realm of the public discussion, which now takes place in the electronic dimension, very nearly entirely. Dissent in this realm is now banned: all major social media outlets de-platform anyone who asks a few too many real questions. This is an example of the shadow side of Aquarius: the pressure to conform.

For you, with Cancer Sun, Moon or rising, this is extremely personal; the 8th is where all of your most intimate transactions take place. Yet Cancer is the sign rising in the Thema Mundi, the symbolic chart of the world, so this is about all of us. You might say that Aquarius is the 8th house of the human race, which is an interesting meditation. Due to the Aquarius connection, your particular 8th house is a shared public and private dimension, and you are especially subject to the movements in the public realm within your private life. This is not the only time this occurs in your chart; I’ll soon come to matters of your opposite sign Capricorn.

We might ask ourselves who controls this shared Aquarius dimension, and therefore who controls the entire public discussion. This directs who controls the social pattern — which is to say, what you are allowed to know, what you are allowed to say, and what is known about you whether you consent or not. Though it was difficult to find a parallel to this reality prior to the advent of digital, the electronic realm is now involved in every relationship you have and every thought we think. All of our intimate affairs are filtered through the digital dimension. That means we live in a different world than ever before.

What happens to the sign Cancer happens to all of us.

INTRODUCTION | 2. A Shared but Private Realm

What happens to the sign Cancer happens to all of us. If we count eight signs from Cancer, we arrive at Aquarius, one scene of all this action. This method involves whole-sign houses, or solar houses; in this approach to reading, the house is never split between two signs. (This cleans up the chart and is worth an extended experiment. I cover this in several classes; contact us if you are interested in going deeper.)

The 8th house was previous to the 21st century a shared but private realm. It was about the content of private agreements; the secrets of the family and the marital bed; pillow talk; private matters discussed in the lawyer’s office; two people having the key to the safety deposit box, or two keys being required; or what a man might disclose to his trusted son-in-law. That is to say, traditionally, certain other people have limited access to this region, but the public has not had the kind of general access that it has today and that we take for granted.

Previously, as public as the 8th usually got was something like the official record of a marriage contract, a filed divorce proceeding or decree, or a will. These are not every-day occurrences; they are special ones.

This has now changed radically, and it affects every last person in our civilization. This transformation of the 8th house applies to all the signs. Under the influence of digital technology, I believe this first morphed when the DNA record of families started to be kept in a database (a service for which many have paid, and surrendered our genetic code), which is accessible to the public by subscription, and to the government. This genetic data can be used to discover your family tree, to meet distant or long-lost relatives, or to find out that your father is not really your father. It can also be used by the police to trace potential suspects based on genetic material allegedly found at a crime scene.

This is one of those distressing places where science fiction becomes lived reality: imagine a knock on the door, where you unexpectedly are looking into the faces of detectives. They found you because DNA resembling yours was allegedly detected at a crime scene, tracked through a public record of your family tree mapped through the genome, easily leading to your door.

“Mrs. Smith, where were you the night of February 5, 2018?”

“Why do you ask?”

“We cannot say why. Where were you?”

Meanwhile, via digital technology, the most ordinary intimate exchanges are broadcast, databased, indexed, inventoried, data-mined and controlled (think: Facebook analyzing private messages for sale to political consultants or advertisers). They can also be shared (think: revenge posting of intimate images).

We accept this lack of privacy as par for the course for our day and age, without accepting that it’s splitting our minds, splitting our relationships, and driving us insane. Yet if you consider it, this scenario is very, very strange.

We are accustomed to the constant incursion of passwords and two-factor authentication: the obsession with keeping things “private,” and the security protocols to supposedly keep everything “safe” (obviously, in response to those data breaches.) All of these are reminders that we now live in a public realm where your pizza preferences, how you sleep, when you ovulate, or how many steps you walk a day are all broadcast.

The extent of the problem was first revealed by Ed Snowden informing us of the real activities of the National Security Agency (which is the internet, which is the NSA). Then a few massive data breaches later, your Social Security number exists somewhere on the Dark Web, potentially for sale if someone wants it. Once the most sacrosanct personal secret, your Social Security number is now tracked to everything from your phone bill to your electric bill to your credit score.

Then there is the private security issue. We are accustomed to the constant incursion of passwords and two-factor authentication: the obsession with keeping things “private,” and the security protocols to supposedly keep everything “safe” (obviously, in response to those data breaches.) All of these are reminders that we now live in a public realm where your pizza preferences, how you sleep, when you ovulate, or how many steps you walk a day are all broadcast. The need for security conceals how public this has all become — everything, right down to health records, prescriptions, and whatever your phone feeds to the cloud via some seemingly innocent gaming or health app, whether you know it or not. The result of all of this is being caught in a net from which it seems there is no escape: that being the internet.

This has shaped us all, and it has shaped every relationship you have; every agreement you make; every facet of how you think of yourself. And to think, 10 years ago there was an uproar that controlling or taxing the concentration of sugar in drinks that could give diabetes to a mannequin was the “nanny state.”

We are different people when we believe that there’s nothing that cannot be known by others, nor any sense of inner space or an inner sanctum. This obviates the concept of intimacy, and of the inner being. To lack these things is to lack the freedom of who you are.

Among the qualities of a society that the framers of the American constitution considered essential to freedom was the security of your personal papers from government incursion. You have a right to know some things that the government does not know about you, but now this is not only impossible: many people welcome having their personal facts and data known.

A person is a different person when they have no private thoughts, particularly if their thoughts are hacked. It is one thing if this happens naturally, as dreams are often shared among friends, messages received by multiple people, and thoughts transported without devices. Breaking and entering is another story.

We are different people when we believe that there’s nothing that cannot be known by others, nor any sense of inner space or an inner sanctum. This obviates the concept of intimacy, and of the inner being. To lack these things is to lack the freedom of who you are. That is because if who you are is subject to the review and judgment of others, you will very likely shape your life and your thoughts knowing that your most intimate regions are being broadcast, evaluated, bought, sold and traded. This is what Marshall McLuhan meant when he predicted a future that would include “the user as content,” and in this case, “user’s most private data as a corporate commodity.”

While we make a grand fuss about boundaries in our society, we rarely apply that to issues such as the trading of private data, and the social pressure to accept this as a fact of life. What I am urging you to be cautious of under the ever-mounting influence of Aquarius is the imposition of what “everyone else” thinks and what is right for you. What I will urge you to guard in this reading — particularly with Pluto on its way into Aquarius — is the very place where “you” meets “everyone else.” This is the place where your freedom, and indeed your life, is the most vulnerable.

One might ask what is considered more precious than a free society where we have a right to privacy, to real information, to a diversity of opinions, to express our own opinions without fear of reprisal, to take care of ourselves as we see fit, to make private health choices and all other decisions, and to be free from the undue interference of others, no matter who they are.

Breath is life, and to choke off breath is to choke off the life force — prana, chi, kundalini, orgone, oxygen, or whatever you may call it. We all know this, but do we care?

And most of all, the right to breathe. Anyone who does not think that it’s astonishing for breathing normally to be considered a crime needs to have a long talk with themselves and maybe your ancestors. I cannot believe I’m even typing these words. Breath is life, and to choke off breath is to choke off the life force — prana, chi, kundalini, orgone, oxygen, or whatever you may call it. We all know this, but do we care?

We have experienced and read about this a thousand times and learned it in yoga class. Now, your breathing is regulated by the state, by law. The large majority of people are OK with this, or so they believe. They might not be so OK if they could see the longterm ramifications, and the underlying motives, rather than the promised short-term benefits.

Let’s talk Aquarius: this is about our social reality and how we treat one another. It is about the social contract in its purest sense. We now live in a world where it’s considered appropriate for someone to rage at you for showing your face. Perhaps you can see why I’m a little nervous about the way this Aquarius stuff is heading, particularly with Pluto — a planet associated with power over people — fast on the way.

Pluto is the “death works” planet (meaning the death threat gets the result), which often manifests as a totalitarian influence. The first thing that happened after Pluto’s discovery in 1930 was the rise of fascism in Europe.

INTRODUCTION | 3. Our Response to Pluto in Aquarius

The word “transhuman” means the merging of humans with computes. What makes the difference between being in a transhuman world of people with IP addresses? Think of it this way: what separates us from a world where people are deemed worthy of evacuation from a volcanic eruption based on whether they have a vaccination card? I would say it is going to be our response to Pluto in Aquarius.

Pluto is the “death works” planet (meaning the death threat gets the result), which often manifests as a totalitarian influence. The first thing that happened after Pluto’s discovery in 1930 was the rise of fascism in Europe.

Psychologically Pluto is the feeling and experience of “grow or die,” or what Patric Walker would call “enforced changes.” Sadly, this is the only way most people learn — when they are backed into a corner. Most, not all. An intelligent person can learn from their own experiences and mistakes. A truly wise person can learn from the experiences and errors of others.

This learning must be considered in the context of the digital overwhelm, and what it is doing to us under the conditions. They map out to the ground of our humanity being ripped out from under us. The history of technology does not support humans being able to use their technology responsibly, under ordinary or the most extraordinary circumstances, whether we are talking about Atlantis or the advent of the radio. In fact, most people do not even meekly wish to understand the impact or influence of technology, as long as they think that it’s convenient or fun. Further, the history of technology does not speak to the benevolence of its creators, who always go far beyond what is helpful, as long as they profit.

Pluto in Aquarius could represent power of the elite few over the millions, or power of those who grow to influence everyone else. It could represent the snuffing out of the human spirit, or a mass movement claiming that spirit and making it our own, together.

Yet there is another manifestation of Pluto, which is the potential for an evolutionary response to a problem or environmental condition. While “grow or die” falls under this heading (and at times so does “death works”), it is unusual. There are however rare times when people decide that it’s time to grow up; time to be better people; time to listen; time to notice; time to get a clue what is happening and respond to it. There are rare moments when people decide that it’s time to see their common interests rather than their competing interests. In this sense, Pluto in Aquarius could represent power of the elite few over the millions, or power of those who grow to influence everyone else. It could represent the snuffing out of the human spirit, or a mass movement claiming that spirit and making it our own, together.

While this reading will focus on events in Aquarius as its central theme, I will be reviewing carefully all of the houses where outer planet transits are occurring through 2024 or so. You are already familiar with some of them, such as Chiron in Aries and Uranus in Taurus. I will be offering new takes on them in this reading, and discussing some transits I have never mentioned before — in particular, that of the special points Hades and Kronos in your sign, to which I will devote at least a short section.

I will add one thing, which I will try to repeat as many times as I can in this reading and elsewhere. The general topic we are talking about is the imposition of digital technology onto us, and how we respond. While it is difficult to see a way out of what is being done to us, Marshall McLuhan offered one idea that will be helpful: only artists and small children can perceive what is really happening, and respond creatively. We might say that artists are the people who do respond with awareness and creativity, not the ones who have a lot of paintbrushes or go by the title on their website.

We will need to meet this genuine threat to our humanity with humanity, mutual respect, and most of all, creativity. The challenge is that these are the very things being willingly surrendered by so many people.

The Human Design system has a good working definition of one of its most important concepts, Inner Authority, which it describes as, “The inner intelligence that enables us to know whether a decision is correct for us or not.”

INTRODUCTION | 4. The Problem with Aquarius

Before we move into recent, current and coming transits, I have one last thought about Aquarius. The main problem with this sign and the whole concept is that it tends not to know when it does not know. And it thinks it knows when it does not. This applies to any Aquarian placement or any person with important factors in this sign.

There is the tendency to think “I’m a genius” without actually questioning anything, or having a referencing system to catch errors or missing information. I noticed this first with Mercury. It can apply to anything, however, and we must be especially careful with Jupiter.

Saturn in Aquarius may serve as an antithesis, if the authority qualities of Saturn are wholly taken on personally. This is the whole purpose of Saturn: to become one’s own inner authority.

The Human Design system has a good working definition of one of its most important concepts, Inner Authority, which it describes as, “The inner intelligence that enables us to know whether a decision is correct for us or not is called Inner Authority. It is as though each of our bodies possesses an inner compass or device that reveals whether something is a healthy and fulfilling use of our energy, or not. Our Inner Authority is a body-based knowing that precedes the cognition of the mind, and thus accessing it requires us to become more embodied and to listen better to our bodies.”

For our purposes, as related to knowing when you do not know, this must extend to mental functions. I would include doing your math a few times; making a list of questions you have not asked; making a list of what you know and don’t know; and making an inventory of your hunches or what you think is possible. These can all be verified body-knowledge, though there are many things on the physical plane that call for the correct use of the mind, as well as the use of the body as an instrument of knowledge and understanding. While it is preferable to “know something in your body” as a source of inner authority, it is sometimes necessary to explain things to others. “I just know” is not an adequate explanation, in that situation.

There are basic approaches that can help, for example, knowing the difference between knowledge and belief. This can take self-study, though one approach is to keep asking yourself, how do I know that? You might discover you don’t know it at all, and then the question is, why do I believe that? What investment do I have in this belief? What is the process that led me here?

If body-knowledge fails, logic and reasoning can serve as a kind of failsafe. We need to keep all of this in mind as we discuss events that relate to Aquarius, its era and its age. We need to know what we do not know. Not knowing and not caring has brought us to the difficult, challenging place where we are today.

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