The Age of Cancer, approximately 6000-8000 bce, was marked by the rise of agriculture as a more reliable means to feed humanity than simple hunting and gathering. The Moon, ruler of the nurturing and sign Cancer, became elevated to goddess stature and we begin to see cults of the “Mother Goddess” and fertility cults. With people beginning to settle into homes and communities, paternity could not be established but maternity could, so the lines of family origin were traced through the mother. This matrilinear culture persisted through the Age of Gemini (approximately 4000-6000 bce) which continued the establishment of communities and language, and into the age of Taurus (approximately 2000-4000 bce)
Under the influence of the warlike Age of Aries (approximately 2000 bce to the beginning of the common era) the concept of monotheism arose and with it a more patriarchal warrior society to defend the single god. The role of women became diminished (they are hardly mentioned in the Hebrew bible) and while societies remained matrineal in nature they were ruled by men and dependent on them economically.
This continued through the Piscean age (approximately 0-2100 ce) with the rise of the ancient Church and its denigration of sexuality and emphasis on the idea that any man born from woman is born in sin. While some women rose to power through family connections it was a relatively rare thing and women held no government positions unless they were of royal blood. They were unable to attend school and were subservient to their male relatives. If they attempted to take on too much power in their societies they were looked on suspiciously and for about 300 years burned as witches.
It took 10,000 years of female history (and the discovery of the planet of radical change, Uranus) for the first treatise on the rights of women to be written in 1792 (A Vindication of the Rights of Women by Mary Wollstonecraft). It took another 100 years before the idea of woman’s suffrage (the right to vote) took hold in the late 19th century, and it wasn’t until 1920 that women won the right to vote in the US, Britain and much of Europe. Women weren’t allowed to vote in France until 1945.
Women weren’t allowed to own their own property until the early 1900s. They couldn’t get birth control advice, even if married, until 1918 and it took another 50 years before it was legal for unmarried women to seek birth control advice from a physician. Women weren’t entitled to equal pay until the early 1960s. It wasn’t until the 1990s that the rape of a wife by the husband was made illegal.
We’ve come a long way in just 100 years, but there is still a long way to go. The fact that millions of women all around the world marched in solidarity with their US compatriots shows that we are ready for the next step. As we move from the Piscean age into the Age of Aquarius – an Age of equality and social justice – we will shed the shackles of the past 2000 years and take our rightful place in the culture of human life. Under the Aquarian influence the traditional roles of sex, gender, race and ethnicity have already begun to fall away and we stand as human beings, connected in community.