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New Aeon: A Consideration of Astrological Symbolism
3:The Fixed Cross in Action

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There is a great deal of evidence to show that the Aquarian era has in fact come into being. It is still in its early stages, and we cannot project what the era will be like at its peak; but we can examine some examples of how it is manifesting now, and perhaps use these to make some very broad generalizations about the direction of its development in the next few centuries.

Science as it is currently practiced is almost a pure Aquarian manifestation. The basis of the scientific method is to break down a seemingly continuous natural event into its component parts. The relationships between these smaller units are systematically changed, and the resulting changes in their individual and group manifestations are observed. Gathering sufficient observations allows the abstract rules governing the interactions of the components to be formulated. When enough of these rules are discovered, a model of the natural event can be created.

Translating this description into its astrological correspondence, science takes a Leonian whole (the natural event) and uses the disruptive action of Mars and Uranus in Scorpio to transform it into its Aquarian equivalent of smaller independent units (Uranus) exchanging information between each other (Mercury). Uranus governs change, and its action is systematically applied to the relationships between the units. The resulting changes in the natural event (Leo) and the interactions of its components (Aquarius) are recorded and organized into abstract rules (Mercury). The abstract rules are eventually harmonized (through the gathering action of Venus in Taurus) into a model or detailed image reflecting the natural event (Luna exalted in Taurus). If the model is accurate enough, it is given recognition as a theory, a Leonian whole corresponding to the original event but existing on an abstract level. So the scientific method represents, astrologically, a continuous cycling between Leo and Aquarius through the mediation of the horizon signs, as was the case in our general description of this polarity.

Beyond this overall correspondence between science and the Aquarius-Leo axis, there are specific areas of science that have an even closer connection with these astrological powers because of their relationship to the ruler and exalted planet of Aquarius. Uranus is strongly related to sub-atomic and atomic matter, and their manifestations in the mineral kingdom. Since electrons and photons are subatomic matter, Uranus also governs the use of electricity and electromagnetic radiation. Speech, writing, and communication, which Mercury governs in its role as the ruler of Gemini, are specialized manifestations of a more general category that Mercury governs from its exaltation in Aquarius: "information," and the means by which it can be represented, controlled, manipulated, and distributed. The speed with which humanity has acquired knowledge of these areas is evidence that we have passed from the Piscean era to the Aquarian. The ways in which this knowledge has been used during the last half-century provides further evidence that the Aquarian energies have become dominant.

It is an axiom of magickal work that creations manifest on the highest planes of our system first, and gradually work their way downward. A creation can not be said to have come into being until it appears in some form on the physical plane. Following this initial manifestation it works its way upward again, becoming more elaborate and inclusive, an increasingly accurate reflection of the original divine intent.

The same holds true for the energies that appear and pass away in the precession of the equinoxes. Awareness of these energies first comes to high initiates, who work out their most abstract manifestations. Gradually the work of these initiates is sensed by those of lower levels, who in turn work out the appropriate manifestations on their own levels. The energies first appear on the physical levels of our world as ideas, as intellectual formulations in some small portion of the populace. As the ideas gain strength, a larger portion of the population begins to see those ideas as representations of a desirable condition, bringing about a manifestation on the emotional/astral levels. Eventually, if the emotional manifestation is strong enough, the energies become manifest on the physical plane in the form of some category of objects, or in the form of a change in or addition to the ways in which human beings interact with each other. As the idea interacts with other pre-existing forms on the physical plane, its manifestation becomes more detailed, elaborate, and fitted to the conditions in which it exists.

In one case for the energies of the fixed cross, the manifestation was so potent that in a single generation it went from being a vague realization in the minds of a few thinkers to being commonplace but vital to every man. Its elaborations in succeeding decades have produced more change in human civilization than any other before it. This realization, a pure and abstract combination of Uranus and Mercury, was that energy conveys information.

Gutenberg and his partners began the Aquarian transformation of human society when they realized that discrete, identical units of type could be combined to convey any meaning possible to human language. The wave-like, analog process of handwriting was transformed into "quanta" of type. But they were still limited in that, like their ancestors for millennia before, both the means and the product of their work required the use of gross matter to store and transport the information they wanted to convey. Moving information from place to place still required the movement of a physical book between those places; thus while the scope of communication was greatly increased through economies of scale, the speed of communication was not increased greatly over what it had been before. Hundreds of years later, communication was still essentially limited to the speed at which human or animal muscles could move an object between locations. The development of transportation that used substitutes for muscle power did not greatly increase this speed of communication.

The realization that energy conveys information completed the transformation into the Aquarian era. The glyph of Aquarius signifies an essential aspect of the sign's nature, showing coordinated activities taking place on different planes of existence. The transformation was completed when this realization made possible a completely physical manifestation of conditions that have always existed on the magickal planes of the universe.

On the magickal planes, distance has never been a factor in communication. Space as we know it on the physical plane does not exist there, and even within the magickal-plane equivalent of space it is the degree of similarity between beings that determines the limits of communication, not the distance between them. With the advent of the telegraph and telephone, ease of physical-plane communications became divorced from distance for the first time in human history. The improvements that have occurred over the last century have erased the distance factor almost completely; the only distance that matters now is the distance between the person you want to contact and their telephone. With further miniaturization of portable telephones, and with satellite switching systems now being planned, within another two decades the distance factor may disappear entirely. The only limiting factor in communication will be the other person's interest in talking to you, which is essentially the same condition that obtains on the magickal planes.

These improvements in communication have had other effects. The most important has been in the mass dissemination of information. Gutenberg's books made the mass communication of ideas practical. Radio and television, with their vastly increased speed of dissemination, have gone a step further and made mass experience of events possible. It was estimated that a quarter of the world's population, almost a billion people, saw the first moon landing as it was happening. A billion people, each with their own unique viewpoint, were able to experience the same event and give it meaning within the context of their lives. How can we calculate the effects of such mass experiences, completely unknown to any previous human era? For surely they must have some large influence on the thought-life of the race.

Another unification between the magickal and physical worlds began about the same time as telephony and telegraphy, but did not reach its critical point until the 1940's. This unification involved the development of physical means for manipulating abstract information, that is, information separated from a physical context.

Human beings manipulate abstract entities by directly manipulating the substance of the planes whereon they exist. Up until this century, any such manipulation always required the intervention of a human being as part of the manipulatory process. But in this century means were developed by which many types of abstract information could be arbitrarily encoded as packets of energy. Machines were developed in the 1940's that, once given instructions, were able to manipulate such encoded information entirely without the intervention of a human being. Thus came into being entirely physical equivalents to processes that formerly occurred only on the inner planes. These machines developed over the years into the computers we know today.

Computers are machines whose sole purpose is to manipulate energy-encoded information; they do not use energy to perform physical work. They may be used to control other machines that perform physical tasks, but in those instances they are merely substituting for human beings as information manipulators. They are not possessed of "mind" in any way; they can not, and may never be able to, manifest self-awareness, or perform many activities that human beings perform without even being aware of it. In fact it is precisely because computers do not possess self awareness or the versatility of the human mind that they are so useful. They perform tasks where our mind's need for versatility and variety is a handicap, such as repetitive calculations, searching for small differences in huge amounts of information, and duplicating information rapidly and accurately. They are extensions of our minds that take over scut work, freeing our minds to do what they do best, discovering and creating meaning out of the events of existence.

Combining the ability of computers to store, handle, and duplicate information with the near-instantaneous speed of modern communications has made possible yet another physical manifestation of the Aquarian energies. Earlier in this paper I described the way in which cells in the body, communicating freely with each other, combined to make up something with abilities that none of the cells possessed. I also described the way in which human beings, on the magickal planes of the universe, communicate and interact with other aware beings to perform functions within greater entities with qualities and characteristics completely impossible to individual humans. On today's computer networks there is forming the beginnings of a system by which the free and uncoerced communications of the magickal universe can be duplicated entirely within the confines of the mundane world, again bringing an important aspect of the Aquarian energies into manifestation.

Most of the major computer networks have laid aside part of their capacity for the public exchange of information between individuals. The public areas are divided into smaller areas designated for the discussion of information on specific topics. These smaller areas are called "Special Interest Groups" or SIGs. Most SIGs are open to anyone possessing an interest in their subject, and participants are free to read the messages left there, leave their own messages, and confer or argue with other SIG members in real-time or delayed-time. Aside from a few rules to keep discussions from degenerating into name-calling, there are no restrictions on the types of opinions or ideas that can be expressed. Participation, as with the inner-plane groups, is entirely voluntary, uncoerced, and dependent upon the interest and individual natures of the people involved.

The SIGs act as a sort of community memory; ideas can be thrown into that memory by any person, any "cell" in the larger group. Ideas that resonate with the group's consciousness will be picked up by others, expanded upon, subjected to counter arguments, and generally evaluated by the group. Some ideas will reach a plateau of development, disappear from sight for a while, and then appear again when new information or perspectives emerge. Other ideas will continue to evolve for months or years, often ending up in a form entirely different from that in which they started.

The SIGs appear to duplicate very closely the sort of interaction that occurs in inner-plane groups. They are somewhat restricted in comparison with those latter groups, since they are limited to the kinds of communications that can be put into words, while the occult groups communicate through every type of energy and state of awareness available to the participants. Nevertheless the SIGs are a complete and self-contained physical plane manifestation of one of the basic characteristics of the Aquarian energies.

The idea behind SIGs has passed beyond the computer world; many people participate in special-interest "networks" operating through the slower medium of the mail. These lack the speed and inter activity of the computer SIGs, but make up for it in the detailed thought that the extra time allows the participants to give to their communications.

In summary, this section has briefly shown that the scientific method conforms to the activity pattern of the Aquarius-Leo zodiac axis. The abstract ideas resulting from the use of that method relate to the exaltation of Mercury in Aquarius, while the use of electricity and electromagnetic energy as a means of communication combines the powers of the ruler and exalted planet of that sign. The conditions resulting from the tremendous increase in the speed and capacity of communication are themselves also Aquarian in nature. Further, the combination of the communications media with information-manipulating machines has allowed the creation of a physical model of the communications processes occurring on the inner planes, thus producing a complete manifestation of the Aquarian energies.

The rapidity with which scientific and technologically-based changes have taken place at the advent of this era can be attributed to two factors. First, the ruler of Aquarius, Uranus, governs the activity of the subatomic and atomic realms; thus there was a direct, immediately available path for the manifestation of the increasingly powerful Uranian energies. Nearly all of the significant changes resulting so far from the start of the Aquarian era have been closely related to increases in our ability to understand and control events occurring in the subatomic realms. In other areas of scientific study, where the general influence of the sign applies but not the direct influence of Uranus, the rate of progress has been significantly slower, except where those areas intersect with the study of atomic and subatomic phenomena.

The second factor is that advances in these areas have been completely new, completely outside the world-view of the preceding Piscean era. There were no established prejudices to produce resistance to the advance, and the lack of appropriate perceptual constructs for dealing with the new advances meant that the Piscean powers could not react against them quickly enough to prevent their establishment in a purely Aquarian form. In other areas of human existence, the incoming Aquarian energies have encountered well-established and habitual thought-patterns left over from the Piscean era, and the rate of advance has been much slower. The resistance in the political realm has probably been the greatest.

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