Michael Barwick


Insight for Every Purpose under Heaven

Happy Birthday Aquarius!

Congratulations! This year the transiting Sun entered the tropical sign of Aquarius on January 20 at 3:59 am EST. If you’re an Aquarian, your birthday season has arrived! A very joyous birthday greeting to you and all the best in the coming year.

Birthday Sale for Aquarians Only!

During the time when the Sun is in Aquarius (now until Feburary 18), my All About You reading (what I recommend for new clients) and my Time of Your Life reading (what I first recommend for returning clients) are available for $120 CDN, which is a third off the regular fee: a savings of $60! To book, or for more information, contact me.

The Age of Aquarius?

When the Moon is in the 7th House
And Jupiter aligns with Mars
Then peace will guide the planets
And love will steer the stars
This is the dawning of the age of Aquarius…

Or so went the lyrics of Fifth Dimension’s version of the popular song from the musical Hair in the 60s when astrology rose to new prominence in the popular culture. However, from an astrologer’s perspective, the song’s use of the discipline’s technical language doesn’t make sense:

  • The Moon is in the 7th house for roughly two hours everyday.
  • Usually Jupiter doesn’t align with Mars. Mars being the faster planet in the vast majority of contacts, aligns with Jupiter.
  • While there is disagreement about just how long an astrological age is (2,000 years or more), there is no question that Mars-Jupiter alignments happen much more frequently (several times every year).
  • How astrological ages should be characterized is a modern idea from the writings of Carl G. Jung. Although there is no doubt he studied astrology and used it in his work, it was not his primary concern. He wrote Aquarius would be the sign of the next age, but based on his calculations, the Age of Aquarius is still some centuries away; he didn’t see it starting in the 1960s.
  • Whether Aquarius symbolizes the peace necessary to guide the planets and the love required to steer the stars is debatable and may have to do more with an individual Aquarian rather than all the members of the sign. ;-)

Nevertheless, the idea that the Aquarian Age was here or imminent, flowered and became inextricably associated with 1960s flower power. The name of the “New Age” movement was inspired by the notion. And belief in the Age of Aquarius became something widely accepted in the Western astrological community, although to be fair, there have been criticisms of it too and alternative measures have been suggested.

In the popular imagination and in the tradition, it seems here to stay. Here’s how it works:

  • Because of the Sun’s gravity, the earth’s rotation around its axis is slowing and someday perhaps, a very long time from now, it will stop altogether and one side will be permanently pointed at the Sun. This is already happened to Mercury. Our Moon shows only one side to the Earth for similar reasons, but due to the Earth’s gravity rather than the Sun’s.
  • Because the Earth’s rotation has slowed, it is wobbling like a top. This creates an effect called precession: like every point in the Zodiac, the degree where the Sun crosses the earth’s equator at the Vernal Equinox (the point that marks the beginning of spring in the Northern Hemisphere and where the tropical Zodiac sign of Aries begins) is moving backwards at a rate of about 1 degree every 72 years as the Earth’s poles trace a complete circle in the sky requiring approximately 26,000 years.
  • The constellation in which the precessed Vernal Equinox is placed Jung believed described the nature of the current age in terms of its religious perspective. So where is it? You would think that like most things in astrology, there would be an agreed-on objective measure to interpret, but it’s more complex than that.

When Jung noticed that the Vernal Equinox transitioned from the end of the constellation of Aries and reached the first star in the constellation of Pisces a few decades before the generally agreed-on date for the birth of Jesus Christ, he suggested that the the Age of Pisces had been the Christian Age because: fish symbolism abounds in the New Testament; early Christians used the fish as a symbol; the themes of universal love, compassion, martyrdom, sacrifice and redemption are arguably belong to Pisces; and, despite considerable persecution, Christianity became the number one global religion and European believers, starting with the Roman Empire, came to dominate the world.

By Jung’s reckoning, we are still in Pisces, although because the constellation is figured as two fish with their tails tied together, we have left the stars of the vertical fish behind and have moved to the stars of the horizontal fish. Jung being Jung, he saw these fish as symbolizing Christ and Satan, but other interpretations are possible: the vertical fish can be seen as symbolizing the transcendent dimension of divinity whereas the horizontal fish symbolizes the immanent one.

There is an arguable case here: the West moved from a transcendent orientation (what is beyond life and is my soul prepared for it?) to an immanent one (how does the world work and how can we use such knowledge?) to such a degree that those considered our brightest today don’t believe generally in any transcendent dimension to life at all anymore. The science of dust and gas has replaced faith in in an all-loving beneficent divinity who stands somehow apart from his creation. Even Christian theology evolved along similar lines. In the early days, it built its foundations with Plato’s transcendent philosophical notions only later having to make accommodations for Aristotle’s more scientific and immanent perspectives when his texts were re-introduced into the West at a time when the Vernal Equinox began to climb the stars of the cord towards the tail stars of the horizontal fish (finally reaching the first one around the time of the Enlightenment).

As Pisces is a large constellation, we won’t reach the first star of in the constellation of Aquarius for hundreds of years. There are lots of stars in the constellation’s horizontal fish yet to come.

However, many of the astrologers that have taken up the question argue for the tropical signs as the measure rather than the constellations.

Astronomers accuse astrologers of not understanding the fact that the constellations are not the same as the astrological signs, but really, anyone who has seriously studied astrology over the past 2,000 years has known the difference. The constellations are not equal in size, they overlap in places, and the path of the ecliptic through them does not reflect the Sun Sign birth dates commonly used by astrologers. Astronomers have carved up the sky in a way that is convenient for them and point out that by their reckoning, not only are astrology’s signs incorrect, there is now a 13th sign because the way they have drawn the constellations, the Ecliptic (the path the Sun appears to take around the Earth every year) traverses the constellation of Ophiuchus, based on the 1930 International Astronomical Union’s constellation boundaries.

It is supremely arrogant for one discipline to critique another when it has no understanding of what it is talking about. I’ve yet to meet anyone biased against astrology who has read a single book on the subject, has any idea of how to approach interpreting a horoscope, or who has ever been to an experienced professional astrologer for a serious reading. Yet somehow these individuals claim to know how astrology works and that they can refute the entire discipline. The equivalent would be an individual asserting that Jupiter has no moons and refusing to look through a telescope because in their mind, such things cannot exist so there is no point. It would be irrational response and dare I say it, unscientific. Scientists who criticize astrology frequently argue a from a crude pseudo pre-Hellenistic understanding of it and easily knock it down based on their decisions regarding how the sky should be carved up and their assumptions regarding how astrology would work if it was a legitimate tool. There’s been significant development in the discipline since its recorded beginnings and astrology has its own perspective on the figuring of the heavens. Astronomy does not own the cosmos.

Astrology evolved through a fusion of Babylonian divination based on celestial events, Egyptian star lore and Greek thought and it adopted a Zodiac characterized by 12 equal signs of 30 degrees. The Western and Jyotish (Vedic or sub-continental Indian) astrology traditions drew from this “Hellenistic Astrology” to ultimately result in two similar but different systems. The Western tradition that anchored its Zodiac to the Sun’s relationship to the Earth (the beginning of the Zodiac is 0 degrees Aries and it is always when the Sun crosses the Vernal Equinox) and the Vedic schools came up with different star-based systems for where the Zodiac begins, although the Lahiri system I believe is the standard and I’ve heard it’s actually set by the Indian government.

With an equal sign Zodiac, the Earth’s precession means each astrological age should be equal and be approximately 2,100 years in duration. My my – just look how many years have passed since Jesus was here – the has-to-be defining moment of the beginning of the Age of Pisces. Thus, the Age of Aquarius should be here or almost here, and the evidence put forth is the centrality of reason, the development of science leading ever more impressive technology, the computer fired “Information Age” as enabled by the Internet, the rise of the knowledge worker (the Aquarian key phrase is “I know”), and the decline of religion.

The last point seems somewhat First-World-centric to me, as there are in reality more people who believe in the divine than ever on planet Earth. If it’s a global competition between science/Aquarius and religion/Pisces, religion/Pisces is winning, although it isn’t always Christianity recruiting believers these days. In the West sure: those who have no religious affiliation is growing, but belief in the existence of God is still pretty popular and many people identify with the “I’m spiritual but not religious” position, which isn’t necessarily scientifically atheistic.

Nevertheless, the idea of an Aquarian Age that is here, or will be here sometime very soon, is rooted, promoted and referenced by most in the astrological and “New Age” communities. In some ways I believe, it serves a purpose similar to other notions from religions of the Mediterranean basin. Messianic Judaism, the Second Coming of Christ, and variations regarding the return of the Prophet or a revealing of an unknown descendant, depending on the Muslim sect, share a common belief that a critical juncture will come in human history when a higher spiritual force will somehow intervene to change the world for the better, resulting in a paradise. Or as the lyrics of Aquarius put it:

Harmony and understanding
Sympathy and trust abounding
No more falsehoods or derisions
Golden living dreams of vision
Mystic crystal revelations
And the mind’s true liberation

If you were born an Aquarius, and you take pride in this being your “age,” you might want to consider how you you are advancing an enlightened face of the Aquarian agenda. An era in which something like an institutional parking authority assumes control of the world would be equally Aquarian!

Aquarius Considerations 2019

AquariusTraditionally Aquarius, like Capricorn whom I wrote a happy birthday letter to last month, is ruled by Saturn, currently transiting that sign and approaching its conjunction with Pluto. This alignment portends heavy times globally, for Capricorn in particular (and to some extent the other Cardinal signs – Aries, Libra and Cancer), but Aquarius has a different angle on it.

The seriousness and the need to take responsibility for transformation that Saturn-Pluto in Capricorn will generally for Aquarians not be as pressing or as clear. Where the sign is is something like the last days of pregnancy. Women who have experienced it have told me that the days leading to the birth is like a mystical state during which time itself seems to slow down: it seems the baby will never be born and you feel like you’re going to be pregnant forever.

Wise Aquarians need to surrender to a profound process available to them over the year and even into next. Here is an opportunity to purge psychological states and attitudes appropriated from others unconsciously that really need to go before emerging as a new creation and bringing a new message to the world. There are a variety of ways to do this kind of work – from therapy to meditation – but the important thing is to see what has not been seen before and release it. This is the most important work you can do at this time, even though other considerations may be more conscious.

You do have to recognize however that it means being more attentive to your feeling side and being prepared to experience it. Aquarius is a principled air sign that believes in civilized rationality which is all well and good but waiting for new birth requires the spiritual resources to trust a future that cannot be known logically in advance. There is one pull to invest in developing that trust, but to do so, you’ll need to ensure you make time for it. Pulling against it are plenty of opportunities for good times with friends and colleagues that could drain you. Not every social gathering deserves your presence or maybe put better, some “me time” is may be what you need more.

The discovery of new planets through astronomy’s telescopes gave astrologers new questions: do these new planets replace traditional rulers? Many astrologers associate the first of the modern planets, Uranus, to at least co-rule Aquarius with Saturn. Some go as far as saying Uranus should replace Saturn all together.

Saturn and Uranus are odd bedfellows so both of them “ruling” Aquarius is paradoxical for Saturn symbolizes organization, discipline and structure whereas Uranus symbolizes chaos, freedom and revolution. In my experience of Aquarians, although Saturn-Uranus themes related to at times feeling like a square peg in a round hole and fitting into group life yet remaining true to one’s unique self are present, most Aquarians are too civilized and ordered to let the kind of raw madness Uranus represents dominate their lives.

Uranus currently transiting Taurus where it will be for some years yet. This is a general indicator for Aquarians that your roots are being stirred up and surprising truths may emerge that require you to re-think who you are deep down and re-establish where you stand in life and perhaps even where you want to be.

Every 20 years, Jupiter and Saturn conjoin in the sky to kick off a cycle in a new sign that sometimes establishes the next sequence of Jupiter-Saturn conjunctions in a new element. Such a conjunction is coming to Aquarius on Dec 21, 2020 in the first degree of the sign.

Some financial astrologers see important connections of Jupiter-Saturn activity to the global economy and assert such an alignment reflects the beginning of a new business cycle, but to me what is most important about them is that generally they mark each generation with a new socio-cultural vision and their elemental sequence mark larger time periods of social-cultural focus.

Some believe that the Jupiter-Saturn conjunction in Pisces that occurred in 7 BC was in fact the “star” the magi, i.e. the wise men or three kings from the East, saw as heralding the birth of the “King of the Jews”.

With the exception of the conjunction of 1980-81 that was in Libra (there is nearly always a conjunction near the end of an elemental run that heralds the next elemental that will be starting), Jupiter-Saturn conjunctions have been happening in the earth element since 1842. The shift away from the concrete physical reality to a mental/virtual one is readily apparent: the upcoming sequence beginning in 2020 gives Aquarians an opportunity to define the new cycle and be living agencies for the spread of their ideas about it.

The world badly needs new and bold thinking about our collective problems and Aquarius represents a possible source. With their extensive acquisition of knowledge gathered via their networks of friends and other associates plus their own intellectual competencies, Aquarians have brilliant outside-of-the-box ideas that could still change the world. There’s enough love for humanity in the sign to make the world a better place.

Just remember, the time is yet to come: in general for Aquarians, this is a year of preparation for that felt but still unseen future when your unique participation will be key.

You can read more about your Sun Sign by clicking here.