To picture the eleventh sign of the zodiac the ancients used the figure of a man. This man, with his left, or receptive, hand measures the influence of the heavens by means of a 24 hour gauge while his right, or executive, hand is engaged in pouring down upon the Earth, from an urn, the acquired flood of wisdom.
Because Aquarius expresses the highest type of intelligence developed on the Earth the key-phrase of this section of the zodiac where the Sun may be found each year from January 20 to February 20 is, I Know. And it was long believed by those having access to esoteric astrological knowledge that when the vernal equinox entered Aquarius, the sign of Knowledge, that the human race would make tremendous strides in science, philosophy and practical living.
The precession of the equinoxes
The backward movement of the equinox through the circle of zodiacal constellations isn’t due to any movement of the Sun. It’s due to a wobble of the Earth which causes the pole of the equator to move in a small circle about the pole of the ecliptic.
The precession of the equinoxes is caused by the pull of the Sun and Moon on the bulging equator of the Earth; and due to this pull the gyration of the Earth’s pole causes the point where the Sun each year crosses the equator to move backward through the circle of stars.
Signs of the zodiac are always 30 degrees in extent but their pictured constellations are not. They may be more or less than 30 degrees in extent. Cancer, for instance, covers about 15 degrees, while Virgo covers about 50 degrees. What’s more, there is no exact record of a constellation’s boundaries. They are not well defined, but only approximate.
When the equinox backs into the sign Aquarius cannot be determined by its movement to a point where some of the stars in the constellation Aquarius are located because no one knows within a degree or two what stars should be included in the outline of the constellation.
Instead, it means that the vernal equinox has moved back 30 degrees from the (star) correspondence that marks the first of Aries among the constellations because the sign Pisces (not the constellation Pisces), through which it has moved, by its very definition of being a sign, must contain 30 degrees along the ecliptic.
As the whole cycle by which the equinox moves through the 12 signs takes 25,868 years the date when the equinox entered Aquarius by the back door and the Aquarian Age started could be determined precisely by adding one-twelfth of the precessional cycle to the date when the first of Aries among the constellations coincided with the first of Aries among the signs.
Unfortunately, there is no undisputed record of the date when the first of Aries among the constellations coincided with the first of Aries among the zodiacal signs.
We cannot, for this purpose, select the western boundary of the constellation Aries, because no one knows precisely where that boundary should be, or whether the picture, as it appears on today’s maps, is the same size and contour as anciently depicted.
However, it would appear that the first of Aries among the constellations must lie very close to the most brilliant and conspicuous star in the constellation Aries. This star, Alpha Arietis, now has a Right Ascension of 2 hours, 7 minutes, 10 seconds. That is, the vernal equinox has moved back not quite 31 degrees since it was on the meridian occupied by this bright star in the head of the Ram.
Calculating the rate of precession by right ascension the vernal equinox was about 30 degrees along the ecliptic west of the meridian of Alpha Arietis in 1881, so if this star is used as a starting point for the circle of constellations, the equinox backed into the zodiac sign Aquarius about 1881.
As it is mere assumption that Alpha Arietis is the starting point in the circle of stars, rather than make calculations from Alpha Arietis, or from other equally uncertain starting points, it seems better to ascertain the commencement of the Aquarian Age from a consideration of events which clearly are not of the type which are characteristic of Pisces, through which the equinox moved by precession during the previous 2,000 years.
Aquarius is a scientific sign, and since 1881 science has made tremendous advances. Its ruler, Uranus, governs invention, psychology and electricity and electricity powers the world’s cities, inventions have revolutionized industry, astronomy has extended its boundaries from our solar system to the measurement of stars and other universes, and psychology is an academic discipline that studies the mind.
Anyone familiar with Aquarius can hardly believe that present-day activities are actuated by the mere belief of Pisces. Rather the knowledge of Aquarius is radically changing the way we live. And because religion forms the pattern of human conduct, it has greater significance than the industrial and scientific advancement now taking place.
Science, which is classified information, gives power to accomplish. But whether that power is used for the benefit of the race or will enable the few to subjugate and exploit the many, is a religious consideration. It depends upon the attitude toward life whether selfishness (Saturn) or the humanitarian spirit which characterizes the finer side of Aquarius shall rule.
There is no document stating that the Age of Aquarius would start on a certain date at a specified time. But we should expect the Aquarian Age to begin when the Sun in the sky enters Aquarius in the year when the vernal equinox reaches 30 degrees back from the first of Aries as anciently determined among the stars.
The year was 1881 and the Sun moved into the sign Aquarius January 19, 1881 at 8.48.24 pm GMT. At this time the Age of Aquarius started and the world moved into the astral current of Aquarius – the sign of knowledge, science, humanity, human rights and altruism.
A chart calculated using this data for a country’s administrative capital will reveal the chart’s influence on its national and international affairs.
Elbert Benjamine’s Prophecy for the Aquarian Age is available here – New eBooks
Astrology for Aquarius – sharing our knowledge