THE DAWNING - Shedding New Light On The Astrological Ages
BOOK REVIEW EXCERPTS
" 'The Dawning' is a thorough examination of the contentious issue of the timing of the Astrological Ages and although his theory may be controversial, the author makes a good case that is supported by many historical references and his extensive research."
Michele Finey - FAA Journal - March 2012 Vol. 42 No. 1 Pg 45
"MacKinnell effectively tries to put the astrology of the ages of the signs on a similar footing for that established for the cycles of the outer planets in Richard Tarnas's
"Overall this is an interesting book and the suggested timeframes for the rise and fall of archetypes appear to gives reasonable correlations with historical events, although experts in the field may disagree. A better understanding of the astrological ages can only help in
CONJUNCTION Newsletter/Magazine No. 53, November 2011, Page 25
"..... Challenging, head scratching and in so many ways confrontational, MacKinnell challenges all who read his work to rethink where they have come from and where they are going to.
In his words, the future can only be in the present moment as there is no such thing as the future as it does not exist. With such words and provocative though patterns you are launched into a journey of discovery to learn that each of the “Ages” has specific responsibilities and outcomes such as the Piscean age which has been responsible for the birth of most known forms of religion, as well as the birth of the corporate identity in modern times." (Click on Blue Wolf Reviews for full book review)
Blue Wolf Reviews (for Conscious living magazine)
This book is written for astrologers, archaeoastronomers, historians, and the general public with a good grasp of the material or who are fast learners. For those with little technical knowledge or involvement with astrology or archaeoastronomy, the subject matter may prove challenging in parts, especially what is presented in the second half of the book. However, the structure of this book accommodates readers with little exposure to astrology. For example, most of the advanced theory and history of astrology has been relegated to the appendixes. The astrological content of this book is relatively simple because the synthesis of history and astrology has been limited to the twelve zodiacal signs associated with the astrological ages. Planets, stars, and most other technical features of astrology are not involved, except for elementary house structure and some occasional references to planets. These same zodiacal signs applied to the astrological ages have been seen in newspaper and magazine columns since the late 1920s. Astrology rarely comes any simpler than when associated with the ages, except for the sun sign astrology found in popular media. Provided the reader is cognizant of the associations (archetypes, symbology, and rulerships) attached to each of the twelve zodiacal signs, the astrological content should be smooth sailing. The key to understanding astrology is through understanding archetypes. These archetypes are rather nebulous compared to physical or material objects, which might help explain academia’s rejection of astrology.
Note to Astrologers
The approach taken toward the astrology associated with the astrological ages in this book basically follows the modern Western tradition. Due to the simplified nature of the astrological ages, in comparison to horoscopic and most other forms of astrology, the application of the principles or approach of modern Western astrology toward the astrological ages is possibly the least problematical compared to other approaches. It is the intention of this book that it is understandable to readers that have limited or no previous study of astrology. It is therefore in their interest that the astrological techniques and procedures included in this book be as simple as possible. Modern Western astrology is by its nature simple in comparison to traditional astrology.
The musical Hair proudly proclaimed in the late 1960s that “this is the dawning of the Age of Aquarius.” Since then the Age of Aquarius has become part of our cultural milieu to the extent that many Westerners have an opinion on the Age of Aquarius, including those who are antagonistic to astrology. Occasionally when I express to someone that the Age of Aquarius arrived within a few years of 1433 CE, the reaction is usually one of amazement and sometimes hostility. The most common response is along such lines as, “Isn’t the Age of Aquarius just starting around now or soon?” This is because the ages, or more specifically the Age of Aquarius, have entered into the realm of contemporary mythology.
On any day usually over ten new references to the Age of Aquarius are found somewhere on the web, and each week a number of newspaper articles from around the world will reference it. These commonly assume the start of the Aquarian age coincided with the 1960s and 1970s rebellious youth, hippies, and appearance of the counterculture or New Age movement. The second assumption in these newspaper articles (but particularly noticeable in New Age, psychic, or mystical Web sites) is that the Aquarian age will usher in some kind of utopia, higher consciousness, or superior age. Many concepts are associated with the Age of Aquarius, and they fascinate idealists and dreamers. Unfortunately, the information that is broadcast throughout Western media and literature accounts for a small percentage of the true reality of the astrological ages. The Age of Aquarius sparks idealistic concepts and interpretations without any recourse to research, substantiation, or supporting evidence. Some astrologers show greater knowledge and expertise on the subject, but they fail to agree on concrete details of the astrological ages.
What is the Age of Aquarius and what is its meaning? What came before it? How long does it last? When exactly does the Age of Aquarius start and how long is its dawn? Is there any connection between the ages and the common astrological sun signs? For example, will someone born with their Sun in Aquarius handle the new Aquarian age better than people without this Aquarian resonance? Despite the acceptance of the Age of Aquarius into our cultural milieu, very little is known about it by the general public. Even astrologers don’t fare much better. It is commonly expressed that the Age of Aquarius will usher in a new era of peace and harmony. This statement assumes that the previous age (which the Aquarian age replaces) was more negative or somehow lower in standard. The age before the Aquarian age is the Pisces age. Is the zodiacal sign Pisces bad and Aquarius good? This is not the case in modern astrology, but traditional or earlier forms of astrology did assign positive and negative attributions to different signs and planets.
Each zodiacal sign is a collection of positive and negative archetypes, and some signs are possibly more positive or negative than others. As a new age replaces a current age, a new set of positive and negative archetypes replaces the existing set of positive and negative archetypes—possibly with a mildly different ratio of positivity to negativity. Nevertheless, there is a cultural expectation that a new and bright dawning of the Aquarian age is going to bring to the world a utopia without wars, greed, and corruption—and that small communities will live an organic existence in this mythical semimedieval paradise, at one with the environment and cosmic forces. The Aquarian age is expected to be far more positive than the former Pisces age, and to some people this may imply that Aquarians in society would demonstrate greater achievements or positivism in their lives compared to Pisces people. To my knowledge, this has never been proven. Many people in Western society expect that a soon-to-arrive new Aquarian age will correct all the ills and problems of the world. Culture is not rational, and people cling to their cultural values like a security blanket. Acknowledging that the Aquarian age arrived over 500 years ago undermines that cultural expectation and suggests any utopia associated with the Aquarian age is fantasy. This hard reality is fiercely resisted.
The situation is little better among astrologers who also fall prey to the cultural anticipation of an Aquarian age utopia. Very few astrologers research or study the ages, and among those that do there is very little agreement about the ages and the Age of Aquarius specifically. The purpose of this book, based on research stretching over two decades, is to answer these unanswered questions of the ages for anyone who is genuinely interested. The astrological ages are truly fascinating as a new reference point for history and current world developments and ultimately may hold greater appeal for historians than astrologers.
This book focuses upon three critical areas involving the ages. Firstly, the correlation between periods of time based on the ages (and associated periods) and corresponding historical events based mainly upon traditional history. Secondly, the accurate assignment of dates for the cusp of the ages to within only a few years margin of error. Therefore, when I state that the Age of Aquarius arrived in 1433 CE, the error range is 1431–1433 (i.e., two years). In contrast, there is a huge variation of thousands of years for the possible start of each age among astrologers. For example, Nicholas Campion produced a list of dates for the expected arrival of the Aquarian age which is more than six pages long and ranges from 1447 (a slightly inaccurate date that I supplied some years ago) to 3621 CE. Thirdly, emphasis on the ages as homogenous periods will be reduced and greater attention placed on historical developments within portions or specific parts of ages. Ages are of approximately 2,150 to 2,160 years duration and are not a fixed length. At this point of the cycle of ages at least, each one is slightly shorter than the previous age.
The Archetypes of the Zodiacal Signs
Any archetype associated with Aquarius’s opposite sign Leo is, in general, lacking in Aquarius. Aquarius, therefore, lacks consistency and often opposes or temporarily sways mainstream opinion by avant-garde, fringe, or extremist ideas, and therefore Aquarius is a progressive sign. Aquarius is currently the second strongest sign in the world (until 3574 CE) but is the strongest emergent sign. Many new directions and orientations in the world will generally be defined by Aquarian archetypes. Aquarius is associated with the New World (North and South America), the supporting sign to Pisces for the USA, and is also associated with Russia and Arabia.
The Aquarian age and age decans since the beginning of the Holocene epoch are:
Other Pisces archetypes revolve around the feet, and therefore shoes (the Chinese practice of binding feet), the theater and theatrics (the Roman circus), poetry, pageantry, persecution, and terror. The symbol for Pisces is two fish swimming in opposite directions. Pisces is a dual sign (like Gemini and Libra) and strongly promotes polarity—often along the lines of “serve or suffer.” If serving others is not the goal, then various calamites are bound to fall involving self-destruction and ruin. Of all the twelve zodiacal signs, Pisces is currently the most powerful sign in the world, and should retain this status until around 2503 CE at least, if not 3574 CE. Any archetype associated with Pisces’s opposite sign Virgo is, in general, lacking in Pisces. Since the arrival of Pisces at full strength from 1433 CE onward, the percentage of the world’s population engaged in (Virgo) farming has steadily reduced—reversing a trend that had a 10,000 years’ momentum.
Pisces is closely associated with Christianity and Islam. The USA’s main sign is Pisces (supported by Aquarius and Libra), and Pisces is the major sign for the whole of Europe. Portugal is specifically associated with Pisces. Pisces is a progressive sign.
The Pisces age and age decans since the beginning of the Holocene epoch are:
Pisces age decan and overflow (713–1433–2148 CE)
Historians’ Perspectives Upon History
This book is controversial to many astrologers due to its radical and innovative approach to the ages. For over two thousand years, astrologers have followed the lead of an ancient Greek astronomer and astrologer, Hipparchus (c.160–125 BCE), as the initial authority on the ages. This situation has parallels in the scientific world. Until the Renaissance, ancient Greek and Roman scientists, such as Aristotle, Galen, Ptolemy, and so on were the accepted authorities in their fields. Once European scientists, from the Renaissance onward, began testing their ancient counterparts’s theories, they discovered that experiments failed to confirm many previously accepted claims. The introduction of empirical experimentation resulted in the modern scientific revolution. The position Hipparchus took in relation to the ages has not undergone the same thorough testing until now. This major oversight by astrologers in the field of the ages has prolonged a significant error that Hipparchus unwittingly made. This is not an implied criticism of astrologers, as astrologers have not had the benefit of government funded research, unlike their distant cousins in academia over the last 500 years.
My approach to understanding the astrological ages involved recognizing the input from historians—who are naturally the experts in this field. I therefore turned to historians’ views upon major historical epochs. A large number of historians agree that the fifteenth century CE marked a significant historical shift in the world—coinciding with the Age of Aquarius arriving in the fifteenth century. A whole genre of recent historical research has been focusing upon the last 500 years. Its repetitive theme points to the fact that something momentous occurred around 500 years ago (i.e., the 15th century). For example, John Landon, who expresses an almost violent anti-astrological fervor whenever the topic arises, makes some startling observations about historical epochs in his World History and the Eonic Effect—Civilization, Darwinism, and Theories of Evolution. Landon claims that, from 1500 to 1800 CE, various sudden changes emerged that brought the modern world into existence. Landon indicates in a reference to the work of Louis Snyder that historical developments after about 1500 CE are only sub-events of modernity, and the subsequent development of the modern world is really the beginning of a New Age.
The opening statement by the cultural historian, Prof. Richard Tarnas, in his book Cosmos and Psyche is that the “modern self” appeared slightly more than 500 years ago. Tarnas further asserts that, when this modern self appeared, it stood out due to its astonishing impact. This is another example of an association with Aquarius—anything sudden, unexpected, and like a thunderclap is an expression of the Aquarian archetype. Tarnas claims the convulsions of the Renaissance, the Reformation, and the Scientific Revolution gave birth to the modern world and the modern mind. Tarnas also states that within a generation mankind moved from their medieval predecessors and assumed superhuman status with the likes of da Vinci, Michelangelo, Raphael, Columbus, Luther, and Copernicus. He elevates the achievement of Copernicus as representative of a “fundamental intellectual turning point”—as a highpoint of human reasoning introducing the modern age to the world. The Copernican view of the universe removed humanity from the focal point of the cosmos. These claims by Tarnas propose a highly significant major shift in the fifteenth century, appropriate at the introduction of a New Age.
The eminent British historian Arnold Toynbee (1889–1975 CE) in Mankind and Mother Earth states that between c.1400–1550 CE, the traditional picture of social habitats around the world was totally transformed, as knowledge of different cultures became widely available. This is a mighty change. Toynbee states this change was sudden and brought immediate changes of fortunes to many people, some for the better and many for the worse—especially the indigenous inhabitants of the Americas and western Africa. He further states that, in the 200 years since 1563 CE, Western civilization made its greatest spiritual and mental leap forward since the fall of ancient Rome. This is the kind of change expected at the arrival of a New Age. George Modelski, a champion of evolutionary long wave political world history, claims that international history is basically cyclical, something in total agreement with the relationship between astrological ages and empires. However, Modelski’s historical focus is entirely on the period since 1500 CE, which he claims is the beginning of the modern international system.
The Rectification of the Aquarian Age
Many astrologers believe it is absolutely ridiculous to claim that the Aquarian age arrived in a specific year such as 1433 CE. Because ages are so large at around 2150 years each, how can they have an exact start in an actual year? Many astrologers are far more comfortable with the concept that an age dawns over many centuries—or as one tongue-in-cheek online blogger stated—“the yawning of the Age of Aquarius.” This vague and indeterminate approach to the cusp of ages is not supported in any other branch of astrology. Furthermore, astrology, since the time of the ancient Greeks, has followed a highly exact and mathematical approach. Based on this mathematical approach to astrology, any age should have an exact starting date. So while my precision may seem untenable, once the date calibration technique is revealed it becomes obvious. However, I do agree that it is impossible to delineate the exact year of the arrival of a multi-thousand years age based solely upon examining historical correlations to the ages. Historians are good at identifying the approximate century of the start of significant historical periods, which align themselves to the ages as indicated in Appendix B—Historians’ Perspectives Upon History. Arriving at the correct century is one thing, getting the exact year is another! However, there is absolutely no theoretical reason against doing so. The sign change of the Sun, Moon, or planet can be determined with precision so why cannot an age be determined to a specific year? Ultimately, an age should be determined to even an exact month or perhaps even an exact day and hour!
The Vernal Point method established by Hipparchus in the late second century BCE is the great red herring of the astrological ages. It has created untold confusion among astrologers to date, but without them realizing this. The Vernal Point (VP) and the ages have appeared in tandem ever since Hipparchus made his discovery c.127 BCE that the stars are very slowly rotating around the Earth. Hipparchus was an elite member of the educated Greek culture and an advocate of “modern” mathematics. Using mathematics, he was able to calculate which zodiacal constellation the Sun was located within, even though this could never be seen because it is always daylight when the Sun is visible, and therefore the stars constituting the constellations are obliterated in the blue sky of daytime. The VP is the location of the Sun in a zodiacal constellation at the vernal equinox when every year the Sun crosses the equator from the Southern Hemisphere to the northern hemisphere, around 20 March each year. Hipparchus applied the “modern” VP mathematical technique to the much older zodiacal constellations.
The Astrology of Astrology
The modern tradition has astrology associated to the signs Aquarius followed by Scorpio. My research into the astrological ages not only confirms this, but also indicates that Cancer is associated with astrology. Aquarius denotes the lateral thinking and connection required to understand astrology and includes the future in its archetype. Linking stellar phenomena with events on Earth is an example of a lateral connection. Scorpio brings the deep perception also needed to understand astrology. Many aspects of astrology, including numerous cyclical elements, call for astute perception as astrology is, by and large, subtle. Cancer brings its cyclical element, as most astronomical functions associated with astrology are cyclical. In addition, each of these three signs provides greater definition of the role of astrology in society. Aquarius signals a quirkiness and eccentric flavor. Astrology is generally favored by the avant-garde and fringe dwellers, always associated with Aquarius.
Astrology is only central in mainstream society on exceptional occasions, such as during its gestation period in Mesopotamia and surrounding areas. It was criticized in Greece, and often banned or suppressed by the Roman government. Astrology has regularly been denounced by various religions, especially Christianity. The connection between Aquarius and astrology indicates that astrology can only rarely be at the center of any society, and will mostly be viewed as a fringe element. Scorpio suggests astrology usually lies semi-hidden or below the surface, and provides mainstream society with gothic and arcane perceptions. Finally, Cancer, the sign of the common people or general public, links astrology to the masses. Capricorn refers to government, conservative authority, and academia in a general way. Cancer is opposite to the sign Capricorn and so astrology is not only often made illegal or suppressed, but also it will also regularly run foul of academics and those in authority.
Astrology is also deeply affected by the ages and age decans, especially their cusps. It is possible that proto-astrology first appeared under the sign Cancer due to an early association with the Moon (the traditional ruler of Cancer). Sir James Frazer believed the ancient immortality motif connected to the renewal of the Moon at each lunation cycle is probably the oldest of all immortality motifs found in mythology, first spreading, according to Stephen Oppenheimer, out of Southeast Asia around 6000 BCE. This immortality motif is also connected with the Tree of Life myth, common in the Middle East. Initially, this myth indicated that mankind had gained immortality by being buried under the Tree of Life for three days, in imitation of the Moon not being visible for three days at each new Moon. This archetypal connection between the new Moon and the Tree of Life was extended to the snake, as the snake’s shedding of its old skin each year is another ancient symbol of renewal. It is believed the tale of Adam and Eve being inspired by the snake to eat the apple from the Tree of Knowledge is drawn from this collection of older renewal myths associated with the Moon. The tree, snake, and serious issues attached to eating the forbidden fruit in the biblical story point to the source of this allegory. The mythological association of renewal and immortality with the Moon at such an early time suggests early human society could draw parallels from astronomical phenomena to human existence. This is the underpinning of astrology. Here we witness, quite possibly, the precursor to astrology or a key step in the development of proto-astrology.
Great Turning Points in History
John Landon, extract from “World History And The Eonic Effect Civilization, Darwinism, and Theories of Evolution,” http://eonix.8m.com/chapone_6.htm, Retrieved c.2006
Cosmos and Psyche, p. 3
The Passion of the Western Mind, pp. 221–3
The Passion of the Western Mind, p. 224
Cosmos and Psyche, pp. 27–29
Mankind and Mother Earth, pp. 524, 525, 536
The Waves of Time, p. 12
The anthropologist Sir James Frazer was the author of the ground breaking book The Golden Bough
Eden in the East, p. 386
Eden in the East, p. 389
Eden in the East, p. 382