MODERN LIVING

Okay, Everybody, Get Ready For The Age Of Aquarius

Unless, that Is, It’s already on us. Is It? Even the astrologers don’t know for sure. But they are sure It's big — and good — news. Here Is Canada's first full report on why all those weird and wonderful people are sure everything is going to get better for us all (especially after the nuclear war of 1999)

JON RUDDY February 1 1970
MODERN LIVING

Okay, Everybody, Get Ready For The Age Of Aquarius

Unless, that Is, It’s already on us. Is It? Even the astrologers don’t know for sure. But they are sure It's big — and good — news. Here Is Canada's first full report on why all those weird and wonderful people are sure everything is going to get better for us all (especially after the nuclear war of 1999)

JON RUDDY February 1 1970

Okay, Everybody, Get Ready For The Age Of Aquarius

MODERN LIVING

Unless, that Is, It’s already on us. Is It? Even the astrologers don’t know for sure. But they are sure It's big — and good — news. Here Is Canada's first full report on why all those weird and wonderful people are sure everything is going to get better for us all (especially after the nuclear war of 1999)

JON RUDDY

ILLUSTRATION BY DENNIS BURTON

“Everyone suddenly burst out singing, ‘This is the dawning of the Age of Aquarius.’

“ ‘Isn’t it divine?’ said the hostess in her silver Virgo shirtdress ...”

—Social note in the St. Catharines, Ont., Standard

IT’S HEAVENLY, SWEETIE, but apart from that what’s it all about? Everybody — Virgo shirtdresses, Piscean beards, Scorpio used-car salesmen with eyes soft as marbles — everybody is singing or at least rapping about the Age of Aquarius, because . . . because Aquarius is where it’s at. But where is that, exactly? According to the Broadway musical Hair, the new ago dawns

When the moon is in the Seventh House And Jupiter aligns with Mars and it augurs well for us all, because:

Then peace will guide the planets And love will steer the stars.

A pleasant thought. To elaborate on it, though, you have to examine Hair's roots, which are in the hocuspocus science called astrology.

Ever since the ancient Babylonians divided a plan-

A special offer to Maclean's readers—poster-sized reproductions of Dennis Burton's Aquarius montage. Details on page 60.

etary road called the Zodiac into 12 equal constellations and applied to each an arbitrary and usually fanciful sign — just try to find the lion in Leo — the moving planets (“wanderers” in Greek) have prompted men to look upon their paths as some kind of portentous handwriting in the sky. The notion was effectively squelched around the middle of the 18th century when it became clear that the earth’s own orbit caused apparently erratic planetary “movements.” But early in this century astrology went into the ascendant again — doubtless related to a corresponding decline in religious faith. And it’s never been higher in its ascendancy than it is right now.

The cultish projection of Aquarius, the new millenium, is recent and strange. We are all of us dimly aware of something going on. Here are the surviving hippies with their vague but endearing views on the salvation of man. Here is Norman Mailer, journalistic space cadet, tagging himself as Aquarius, symbol of ... of Norman Mailer, journalistic space cadet. Here are the Age of Aquarius highball glasses from Woolworth’s, so that the fellow who doesn’t know a cusp from a cuspid can use his fingers as sensors to pick up an inchoate feeling that things are going to get better. Here are the historical portents: Biblical

continued on page 31

AGE OF AQUARIUS continued

Dennis Burton’s Aquarius Chart, Being a Compleat Astrological Guide to the Exalted and Earthly Signs and Symbols and Sundry Matters and Appurtenances Tenuously Associated by the Artist with the New Age and Selectively Identified in the Key, Below

1. An Aquarius sign from the 17th century.

2. The staff of Egyptian time god Khôns with chronos or time symbol. Chronos is an ancient name for Saturn.

3. Symbol of the planet Saturn.

4. Ancient sign of Aquarius, the water bearer.

5. Translation (Sanskrit): “Choosing one’s time to die,” “Reincarnation.”

6. Saturn, dominant planet in the constellation of Aquarius and supreme influence (with Uranus) on the sign. The most beautiful object in the sky and, in Greek mythology, a beautiful youth, the first flower child.

7. Translation (Sanskrit): “Egyptian Book of the Dead,” “Tibetan Book of the Dead.”

8. Aquarian angel.

9. Egyptian astrologer from wall frieze.

10. Alchemy signs.

11. Astrological signs used for casting horoscopes; these signs have preserved the fundamentals of the ancient occult science.

12. Another symbol of Aquarius.

13. Tantra (Hindu scripture) six-petaled lotus, an early flower symbol.

14. Air sign from the Middle Ages.

15. Tantra magic calculator.

16. Pre-Christian sun diagram.

17. Pagan sun wheel. □

A Montreal astrologer who styles himself Professor Henri Gazon has come up with a precise date for the dawning of the Age of Aquarius: February 6,1970

continued from page 28/parables of imminent convulsion; Nostradamus and his vision of the third antichrist . . .

In its astronomical, rather than astrological, context, the fabled transition from the Age of Pisces to Aquarius is real enough, complicated but not at all mysterious. A wobble of the earth’s axis explained by Newton in 1686 — it’s caused by the gravitational tug of the moon on our equatorial bulge — results in a westward movement of 50 seconds per year by the vernal equinox, which is a point of intersection on the celestial sphere. Clear? Well, never mind. The point is that even respectable scientists recognize that something is changing. But the motion is simply a small nuisance to astronomers. By one Toronto scientist’s reckoning, it will take about 280 years for the vernal equinoctial point to move out of the constellation named Pisces into Aquarius — a distant and quite meaningless milestone.

As for the astrologers, they agree only on the immensity of it all. Otherwise, the diversity of opinion in the soothsaying set is astounding. My own search for the astrological Age of Aquarius began in Vancouver, on the suitably half-baked theory that the most arcane individuals move westward like the vernal equinox, until their progress is blocked by a large body of water. (This may help explain California — if not BC.)

Mrs. Ida L. Golf, a sometime newspaper writer and caster of horoscopes for Vancouver businessmen (“I avoid silly women,” she says), believes the Aquarian Age will begin in the year 2031 and last precisely 2,016 years. This intelligence is derived “from Daniel in the Bible and from less religious sources.” Mrs. Golf adds that German astrologers — she herself was trained in Berlin — believe the Piscean Age ended in 1965 and that things will be “only so-so” until Aquarius “gets going.” The trouble has been that Neptune, which controlled the Age of Pisces, is a “wishywashy planet . . . there was a keep-upwith-the-Joneses philosophy dominating mankind. Now Uranus, which rules Aquarius, is a powerful planet. The world will change for the better. Everybody will help everybody else out.”

Another practicing Vancouver astrologer — bad vibrations prompted her to demand anonymity—says the Age of Aquarius began with the French Revolution. “It was the first time the masses took over from the rich. People creating change are symptomatic of the new age.” Aquarius, she adds, is ruled by both Saturn and Uranus.

The dean of U.S. astrologers, Carroll Righter (who with a nice delicacy renamed Cancers “Moonchildren” 10 years ago), states that the Age of Aquarius started in 1904, succeeding “an

age of tears and sorrow focused on the death of Christ.” Righter and his followers see the next 2,000 years as a hopeful, airy interlude.

A Montreal astrologer who styles himself Professor Henri Gazon has come up with an even more precise date than Righter. The Age of Aquarius, he says, commences on February 6, 1970, which is — good heavens! — this month. It’s a question of adjusting from the Gregorian to the Julian calendar and it’s, well, a very complicated subject. The age will be marked, says Professor Gazon, by intellectualism and a return to normalcy. Maxicoats are a sign; the gradual disappearance of hippies will be another.

The airy age got off to a dirty start — the dropping of the Bomb on Hiroshima — according to John Manolesco, a Montreal astrologer and TV personality who comes from Rumania via India, where he studied with a Hindu guru. Manolesco, who says he was part of an astrological team that advised the British war cabinet of the advice Hitler was getting from his astrologers, calls for an atomic war in 1999. “We still have to go through that ordeal before the good effects of the Aquarian Age will be felt,” he says brightly.

Astrology’s current critics are vociferous and convincing but never, for some reason, able to dissuade the faithful from their horoscopes. Mrs. Elizabeth Pollmer, a psychologist who teaches a course in astrology at Centennial College in Scarborough, Ont., believes that its modern gurus are “an incredible bunch of idiots — they give me a royal pain.” The theories whirling about Aquarius she sees as vapid delusions. “What the devil does it mean? Not a thing.”

Dr. Henry King, an astronomer and chief administrator of Toronto’s new McLaughlin Planetarium, says he would have been an astrologer himself in the 15th century, when the earth was considered to be at the centre of the universe. “It’s regrettable that so many people in this apparently enlightened and certainly scientific age should interpret the universe in the light of 400-year-old knowledge. The coming together of planets is of no more significance than the coming together of the hands of a clock. It all adds weight to my thesis that the depth of human credibility is almost limitless.”

Which may sum up the whole Aquarian thing perfectly. Man needs his reassuring prophets, and what astrologers have going for them is the fact that your guru is probably as good as mine in a world that’s changing so fast. The dawning of the Age of Aquarius may occur when anybody can call for whatever comes into his head — and stand a good chance of turning out to have been absolutely right. G