Image credit: “God the Father” by Cima de Conegliano. Because the earth orbits at a slight tilt, and the tilt of the orbit changes over time, the celestial equator is always moving and the vernal equinox is always moving along the ecliptic, the apparent path of the Sun around the Earth from our perspective. We call this the “Precession of the Equinoxes,” and that is what we mean when we talk about the Age of Aquarius, the Age of Pisces, etc.
There is no accepted timeline for the transition from one Great Age to another. The Great Year is approximately 26,000 years and each Age spans approximately 2160 years. However, because cultural changes mark the shift between ages it becomes somewhat easier to define these transitions.
Yahweh, the god of the ancient Hebrews, was a warrior god- Moses says so right in Exodus in the Bible: “The Lord is a warrior/man of war.” In Isaiah 42:13 we find this exclamation: “The LORD will march out like a champion, like a warrior he will stir up his zeal; with a shout he will raise the battle cry and will triumph over his enemies.”
There is a great deal of confusion in the Bible over the name of God – both El and YHWH (Yahweh) are used interchangeably. However, archaeological evidence suggests that El was a senior god in Canaan: a beneficent god who presided over creation and ruled over the more junior warrior gods such as Baal and Astarte. The use of the plural for god in the Bible – “Elohim” – could refer to the family of Canaanite gods that included not only Baal and Astarte but also El’s consort Athirat. There is some evidence that El and Yahweh actually battled for control over the area which perhaps explains why Yahweh chose the ancient Israelites to follow him exclusively.
At any rate, Yahweh emerges into history as a force to be reckoned with around 1300 bce, smack in the middle of the Age of Aries. Aries is ruled by Mars, the Roman god of war, and that period of time is highlighted by brutal conflicts over territories as individual tribal cultures gained power and we see the emergence of the warrior gods. During the Age of Taurus the Bull (approximately 2000-4000 bce) we see the prevalence of the Goddess cultures which were more agrarian and less interested in conflict and a predominance of bulls in the mythology and art of the times. During the Age of Aries the ram we see an emergence of rams. The shofar, or horn used to call to prayer, is a ram’s horn. Both rams and bulls are sacrificed, perhaps to purge the cultural memory of the previous ages.
In the early history of the Israelites Yahweh is not considered a divine figure – instead he is an active participant in war and urges his people to what we now consider barbaric acts. The appellation of god may have come later, and we should remember that the ancient Pharoahs of that time also considered themselves gods. (For more on this idea check out this excellent article.)
Fast forward to the end of the Age of Aries and the dawn of the Piscean age, and we have the story of a young rabbi who advocates for peace. He becomes the Lamb of God who is sacrificed and martyred (a Piscean theme) to save the souls of his people. He is the fisher of men (the symbol for Pisces is the fish) and the symbol of the Icthys is the fish. The religion that followed him required blind faith in a strict theology, Jupiterian themes, and Jupiter is the traditional ruler of Pisces.
So today as we celebrate Christmas, the time of the supposed birth of Jesus, let’s also ponder the fact that as we slide into the Age of Aquarius we are leaving the realm of Pisces behind and emerging into an age of reason and rational thought. With too much reason and rationality comes the loss of magic, and I hope we will not lose the Piscean inspiration towards ecstasy and mysticism as we enter the age of robots and transhumanism!