Astrology and Climate Change I — Tim Lyons


In my Facebook timeline and elsewhere, I see a plethora of links and comments about climate change, and some people have asked me what, if anything, astrology “has to say” about climate change. I have explored these questions at some length in The Machine Stops: The Mayan Long Count Through a Western Lens (American Federation of Astrologers, 2012), so in what follows I will synopsize my observations and arguments on the subject.

In most of The Machine Stops, I did something very simple and straightforward: I applied contemporary astrological techniques to Mayan time-measurements, casting a horoscope for the Mayan Long Count (a period that began in 3114 B.C. and that ended on December 21, 2012) and interpreting it according to contemporary astrological techniques. I did not claim that the Mayan “astronomer priests” would have agreed with my interpretations or that they envisioned anything resembling climate change, though from what we can tell, they did see the conclusion of the Long Count as a time of profound and vast change. (Because of the actions of the Spanish conquistadors and their attendant Catholic priests, many of the Mayan interpretations of their own time-measurements have vanished in flames.) In addition to interpreting the Long Count horoscope, I looked at various non-Mayan astrological matters, in particular what people refer to as the astrological ages (e.g. the Age of Pisces, now concluding; the Age of Aquarius, emerging more clearly each day) and the two most recent Neptune-Pluto conjunctions (just under five centuries apart). Astrologers use the astrological ages and the Neptune-Pluto conjunctions to measure and interpret long periods of time, so let’s look at them first, beginning with a discussion of the astrological ages.

You have no doubt heard of the Age of Aquarius; perhaps you have heard that it will bring an time of brotherhood, love, unity, and so forth. Such notions may have some merit, and we may see many changes in social organization as we move into the new age, but such popular notions do not take into account some important things about Aquarius. In particular, they ignore the fact that astrologers have long considered Aquarius a barren sign. People who do what we can loosely call “astrological gardening” know that if you want a good yield from your planting, you should probably avoid planting when the Moon passes through one of the barren signs; more generally, the barren signs do not promote organic growth. As we enter the Age of Aquarius – approximately 2160 years long – ruled by a barren sign, we should challenges related organic growth, for though Aquarius may promotes promote human social growth, communication, technical development, and community, it has little to offer in the area of organic development. It may turn out, of course, that we’ll need all the community cohesion we can muster in order to deal with the barrenness to come.

We might do better to refer to the incoming period as the Age of Aquarius/Leo, for every astrological aeon has two rulers: the sign from which it takes its name, and that sign’s polar opposite. The Sun rules Leo, a fire sign; thus the suggestion of heat. During the long-ago Age of Leo, the planet warmed steadily, causing the ice sheets to melt and retreat. This period saw the development of settled communities (Aquarius) and gave birth, in turn, to the fruitful Age of Cancer, the time of the Neolithic revolution. Now, we again deal with matters involving community and heat, but though in the earlier period the warmth had a causal relation to the development of communities, now the development of human communities has a causal relation to the warmth: human civilization has heated up the climate, once again melting vast quantities of ice.

In The Machine Stops (page25), I wrote,

Because Leo suggests heat and Aquarius suggests technology, and because both suggest barrenness, we should expect [during the Age of Aquarius] a time of technical mastery but depleted fertility, and we should expect to see a connection between the heat and the technical mastery. Because human relationship has so much to do with the richness of earth (Venus, ruler of earthy Taurus, symbolizes love and bonding), we should also expect “relationship troubles” on a collective scale, as between nations or other collectivities. This, too, may connect to Leo and Aquarius: to Leo because it suggests overweening ego; to Aquarius because it emphasizes the one-to-many relationships (as distinguished from one-to-one partnerships or intimacies) that make up human society. On a collective level, this combination can indicate either the clarification of self-consciousness within group endeavors, or the ruling of autocrats over groups; the power of the group or the power of rulers over groups. On an environmental level, we find in the symbolism another pair of power-sources: power from the sun, suggesting Sun-ruled Leo, and the power of Uranium, suggesting Uranus-ruled Aquarius.
To that we can add what even many astrologers forget: that in the traditional system, Saturn ruled Aquarius. Saturn has to do with, among other matters, the limits and opportunities emerging from hierarchy and the ordering of social groups, with the emphasis on order instead of individuality. Saturn also has to do with the limitations that bedevil us (Saturn, here as devil: as Satan) because of the structure of the language we speak and because of how we structure our reality. Of course, the combination of Saturn (traditional ruler of Aquarius) with Leo (autocracy) suggests a problematic combination of hierarchy with central power. Interestingly, an analogous symbolism plays a central role in the Long Count horoscope.

More on all of this later, if people have an interest.

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