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Age of Aquarius
Susan Miller's astrological predictions for a new century.

On the morning of August 11 it was a sunny day in downtown Los Angeles. I was in town visiting from New York. Since I find news stations to provide interesting overviews of local culture, I switched on the television in my hotel room to catch up on what was going on in LA and the rest of the world, and what people were saying and thinking. The total eclipse of the Sun had occurred the previous evening, and the eclipse's path of totality had been visible from much of Europe. The news broadcast showed footage of Europeans clogging highways to get to the best vantage point from which to see this last cosmic event of our century. Some close friends in London had traveled to France to view the eclipse and called to say it was simply spectacular. On this report, the male anchor bantered easily with his female co-anchor, cheerfully stating that he had heard that this eclipse marked the official start of the Age of Aquarius. His cohort, however, seemed doubtful and dismissed her colleague's remark with a rather flip comment, "Oh, that. The Age of Aquarius happened decades ago in the 1960s."

In truth, nobody knows for sure what the actual inception date of the Age of Aquarius happens to be. The way this pretty blonde news journalist delivered her quip made it obvious that she not only thought the Age of Aquarius began years ago but also that she thought it must be over by now. I sighed to myself. Most people remember the term "Age of Aquarius" from the 1960s musical Hair, but few people know precisely what it means. The onset of an age is difficult for astrologers to pinpoint exactly -- we will discuss why in a moment. We do know that an astrological age spans over two thousand years. Perhaps this news anchor shouldn't have been quite so blase about living though the dawning of a new age. Most human beings won't ever have the chance to do that in their lifetime. It is truly something special, and anyone alive at this moment in time is about to experience it.

When astrologers speak about the Age of Aquarius they are describing a phenomenon that refers to the earth's movement backward (or in "retrograde" motion) into the sign of Aquarius. As you know, there are 11 other signs of the zodiac -- the earth will retrograde in each one. It will take the earth 25,868 years to visit all 12 signs. If you divide 25,868 by 12 signs, you will get roughly 2,100 years to a particular "age". Thus, once the Age of Aquarius is upon us (and many astrologers, myself included, feel we have reached this point) it will stay the Age of Aquarius for two thousand years. The "precession of the zodiac" that underlies this principal was first discovered by the Greek astronomer Hipparchus of Nicaea (c. 190 - c. 120 BC). It is due to a slight wobble in the earth's rotation. The precession of the zodiac is a term that describes the constellation that lies behind the Sun at the vernal equinox, which changes gradually over time. Rather than negate the dates of the Sun signs, this precession adds a unique tone of character to each of the signs. But classical astrologers do not feel the precession of the zodiac changes the inherent qualities of the signs.

The age before the Age of Aquarius was the Age of Pisces. Since the earth is moving in retrograde motion, we have just left the Age of Pisces, which marked the years 1-2000 AD. This time coincides with the age of Christ and Christianity. Pisces is considered the last sign of the zodiac, a compendium of all the signs that came before it, from Aries to Aquarius. Pisces is the sign known for universal love, compassion, self-sacrifice, altruism, creativity, intuition and deep spirituality. Pisces know the truth of the universe but can't quite say why they know it. It doesn't matter, for Pisces know that "truth" is always in flux. To Pisces, what is in the human heart is true, for it is true to the soul. Pisces is an introspective sign. This Piscean mindset has been the way humanity has approached the world since we evolved and has colored everything that we have encountered during that period.

Early Christians used the symbol of the fish (symbol of Pisces) as a secret symbol of their faith. The emphasis on washing of the feet as a ritual signifying purification of the spirit ties into Pisces symbolism as well, for Pisces rules the feet. Pisces "carry" the cares of others and often have sore feet. Christ spoke of his role as servant to his flock, which is also a very Pisces notion. Pisces says, "I believe," whereas Aquarius, the age we are in now, says, "Prove it to me scientifically." Christ's mother Mary embodied all the qualities represented by the Pisces polarity of Virgo, namely, modesty, commitment to service, and acceptance of what must not be changed. In Pisces, there is a strong need for seclusion, and Christianity puts value on retreats, convents, cloisters or spiritual pilgrimages. Aquarius puts emphasis on group activities and community, thus we have the Internet and the eye of the global village which we call television. Aquarius is a very social sign. Pisces is something of a "psychic sponge." Pisces like people too, but need regular time to themselves to rinse away the everyday cares they have absorbed.

The Earth Has Seen Six Ages

Astrologers of the world community generally agree that mankind has experienced six separate "ages," dating from the first appearance of humanity on earth. When each period starts and ends is slightly imprecise because of the huge time frame involved. (Over 25 thousand years, and there is always a plus or minus tolerance to any mathematical curve.) Also the ages overlap slightly because, in fact, some parts of the zodiac also overlap in the heavens. The signs of the zodiac are of unequal sizes, too, with some signs taking up more real estate in the heavens than others.

The Dawning Of The Age Of Aquarius

The total eclipse of the Sun that occurred in August 1999 was significant because it helped to get the world ready to launch into the main time of the Age of Aquarius. That eclipse occurred in the constellation of Leo, a sign that we call the "polarity" of Aquarius. This is because Leo exists at the opposite end of the spectrum from Aquarius, exactly 6 months away. That means the August eclipse was especially powerful and able to contrast, clarify and highlight classic Aquarius qualities. Not all eclipses are created equal. Some are more powerful than others and this one was considered to be very intense. In a way it was the mother of all solar eclipses. Because this eclipse also fell on a new moon, it pointed to the end of one way of life and a fresh beginning of this new era.

Every sign has a ruling planet and Uranus is the ruler of Aquarius. Appropriately enough, Uranus has been moving through its home base of Aquarius, a process that takes seven years. This exciting planet of exploration and experimentation won't be back to the constellation of Aquarius for 84 years. Neptune is a planet that dissolves or purifies all that it touches, by rinsing in its waters, gently and yet consistently. Neptune is also moving us into an Aquarius state of mind. Neptune won't leave Aquarius until 2012, and when it does will not be back until 2175! All these elements point to the probability that the Age of Aquarius has been established. In case you are curious, the very first age mankind experienced was the Age of Leo, and ran from 10000 to 8000 BC.

The Onset Date: October 4, 1957

Many people think the Age of Aquarius began neatly at that August eclipse, or even more neatly, that it will begin on the dot at the first hour of the year 2000. In fact, a good case could be made for its dawning a little earlier. Aquarius is a sign strongly linked to new inventions, flight, and large groups of people or nationalities. In my opinion, the first sign that humanity was entering this new age of enlightenment was on October 4, 1957, when the Russians launched Sputnik, the world's first artificial satellite, into orbit. The Americans lost little time in catching up, and on October 1, 1958, the United States announced the birth of National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). Eleven days after that, NASA made its first test launch. Later, in May 1961 John F. Kennedy announced a commitment to the Apollo space program in a speech called "Urgent National Needs" (when Jupiter was in Aquarius). Kennedy said: "I believe this Nation should commit itself to achieving the goal before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to earth. No single space project in this period would offer a bigger contribution to mankind, or [be] more important for the long-range exploration of space; and none will be so difficult or expensive to accomplish." On July 20, 1969, only eight years later, the world viewed the first lunar landing by the Americans.

The Soviet-American space race was on, and our lives would never be the same. Many unmanned and manned launches took place after that. In April 1990 the United States launched the Hubble Telescope into space, and in subsequent years Hubble sent back the most detailed close-up images of the planets that mankind had ever seen. Hubble later informed us that there is one planet outside our solar system, ejected into deep space by its parent stars. Located in a star-forming region in the constellation of Taurus, scientists call the planet TMR-1C. TMR-1C seems to be sitting at the end of an unusual filament of light. It is estimated to be two to three times the mass of Jupiter, the largest planet in our solar system!

The Age of Aquarius has barely begun and citizens of planet earth are witnessing exciting discoveries about the planets and stars, as well as enjoying new technology down here on earth. Hundreds of discoveries have come from just about every field, from medicine to biotechnology, fabrics, materials, food production and nutrition, advanced computing, and photo-imaging, many as direct descendants from humanity's exploration into space. On an emotional level, landing on the moon rallied the earth into a kind of global citizenship. This is a quintessentially Aquarian idea, for Aquarius is the sign that that represents the platonic concept of the brotherhood of man. Humanity was touched by the news that one of us was able to leave our protective environment and achieve the near impossible: leave his footprints on another heavenly body, and return to tell the tale!

The Qualities Of Aquarius Foretell Society's Future

As I mentioned earlier, the ancient astrologers thought of Aquarius as "the sign of all things that are newly invented". This is why this sign -- and the Age of Aquarius -- is linked so strongly to technology. Aquarius is also an air sign and therefore highly communicative, bent on gathering information, which echoes what is coming toward us in the new millennium, too. Let's quickly list other qualities of Aquarius to get an even better feeling for what the Age of Aquarius will bring us. Aquarius has a strong need for independence and individualism, and while members of this sign can be somewhat idiosyncratic they are also very original and inventive. Aquarius is visionary and creative, but rebellious, too. Aquarius' job is to challenge authority, tear down existing structures, and replace the outdated with something better. Thus, Aquarius can be capable of great extremes. This sign acts in rather sudden and unexpected ways, thanks to being ruled by Uranus, the planet of surprise.

This future-thinking sign can often be a study in contrast. On one hand, Aquarius can be quite intellectually and emotionally aloof at times. Aquarius needs distance, and marches to a different drummer. On the other hand, it is one of the most congenial, social and gregarious signs, and certainly one of the most humanitarian (besides Pisces). Aquarius sees social wrongs and moves to right them, often through mobilizing groups into action. Unlike Pisces, a sign that works one-on-one, Aquarius likes to work in large groups, and is altruistic and democratic in spirit. Aquarius is "one for all and all for one," rather than elitist. Since Aquarius is a fixed sign, they are quite solid when they make commitments. All these Aquarian qualities will influence us as we move more deeply into this new age. Although it began in 1957, that was just a prelude of what is to come -- the curtain goes up on the Age of Aquarius now.

All The Ages Of Man

Every astrological age has a very different "face" on it and they are not similar to one another. For example, if we were entering the Age of Cancer, there would be a great social emphasis on family, housing, food and fertility. In fact, when Man experienced this period from 8000 to 6000 BC, dwellings were being developed and humanity put great emphasis on the family unit. Many examples of art and artifacts survived this era, and a dominant theme from that time depicts a female fertility goddess. This is the era when humanity learned to fish as well as made the earliest concerted attempts at farming. We don't have space here to delve into the other ages, but I will quickly list them. Man has lived through the Age of Gemini (6000 to 4000 BC), when language was born and writing became highly developed. Next came the Age of Taurus (4000 BC to 2000 BC), when art and luxury -- fairly unknown until then -- came into existence. This age was followed by the Age of Aries (2000 BC to 1AD), a masculine, brawny sign, that was prevalent when the Greeks and Romans reigned. Also as mentioned earlier, before any of these periods was the Age of Leo. Leo is a creative sign, and this age is the one that left behind its ancient cave drawings. The spiritual and religious Age of Pisces followed the Greek and Roman Age of Aries, which brings us to the Age of Aquarius.

Every Sign Is Included In The Exciting Changes

Does all this mean people of the sign of Aquarius will be especially "at home" in this new environment? Well, yes, that will be the case, for their natural inclinations will also be the prevailing thinking of the day. Gemini and Libra, the other two air signs, would also be able to capitalize on the prevailing changes quite well. But nobody will be left out of the information revolution under any circumstances. Changes in thinking, lifestyles, social mores, education, work, and even love and marriage will bring everyone new choices to consider. Each of us will be able to choose how we would like to express our unique personalities under these new conditions. If Aquarius is about anything, it is about customization -- this sign's motto is "let you be you." It is a very inclusive sign.

What Astrology Does

Let's keep in mind that astrology is only a tool to get at deeper issues. The purpose of astrology is as a tool to help us live life productively and happily, and to teach us to interact more effectively with others. Astrology is not an end in itself but a way of dealing with complex issues. Astrology is an especially good way to stimulate your creative thinking. What will the new age bring? Everyone is curious about the next thousand years -- so let's a look at the forecast.

What's Next In The New Millennium -- Specifically

Before I begin, let me tell you where I gleaned much of this information. I have been reading futurist books, scanning the Web site of http://www.abcnews.com, reading Wired magazine, and other technological and future-oriented publications. None, however, matched the information I gathered from a recent article entitled "21 Ideas For The 21st Century" from the American publication, Business Week (August 30, 1999 double issue). I felt the material reported in that issue was vital. I have encapsulated many of the more interesting parts here so that we could look at the information in a new way, through the filter of astrology. Business Week editors felt, as I do, that the future expands in non-linear fashion, so using the present in order to leap forward into the future doesn't always work. Technology offers myriad options -- some evil, some wonderful -- but it will be up to us to control technology and use new inventions wisely. This is certainly a something mankind is capable of doing!

Computers, Computers

Computers are already ubiquitous and they will become an even greater part of our lives. No surprise there, but what will stun us is how computers will effect everything we do. Scientists are now predicting that the Internet will form a kind of "earth's skin", creating the kind of environment that was represented in the recent movie called The Truman Show. Computers will run millions of wireless electronic devices, working in concert with one another. These devices will go anywhere and record and measure anything from water level to traffic flow, pollution or conversations of people on the street. There will be cameras, microphones, gauges, sensors, EKGs and electroencephalographs watching each city and its citizens, our environment, our bodies, our actions and our reactions. This isn't going to happen as a result of any group's decree but it will evolve simply because of the sheer proliferation of these devises. This environment will evolve naturally around us.

"Imagine our ecosystem," write the editors of Business Week, "with a million intelligent software agents that are much more potent than the agents or 'bots we have now on the Net to help us search for things. Add the voices of digital pets, electronic companions and Internet caretakers, stretch out a sensory telemetric fabric -- what you have is an electronic skin." This "skin" presupposes these new supercomputers have both feeling and self-awareness, just like we do ourselves.

Humans And Machines Will Be Symbiotic

Now and probably for several years to come there will be no central intelligence to manage this organically grown network of computers. Futurists at Ernst & Young consulting suggest that there will be 10,000 telemetric devices for every human on the planet by 2010. Although there is no central intelligence on the Internet now, scientists think that eventually a certain self-awareness will emerge once the Net is enhanced with sensuality. This will allow it to act the same way as a human brain. A symbiosis of human and machine will evolve.

But while that may seem a little scary, it will also allow millions of users at their computers to work in concert with workers around the world. Experts think that by 2010, discrete, small microprocessors could be strung together like pearls on a necklace. The terminals could be embedded in devices like cell phones, and palmcorders, for we will not need tools like the big, bulky laptop computers we have now. The Internet will begin to function as neurons do in the human brain.

In an experiment going on now, hundreds of computer users are collaborating to help track the possible existence of life on other planets by downloading software from a central research lab and "listening" to deep space. This is a process that would be too big and too expensive for any one university or facility to accomplish with the same thoroughness on its own, but with many computer volunteers switching to a certain frequency around the world over a number of years, it becomes do-able. The one person who might pick up intelligent life "out there" will be immortalized in the annals of history, and although that might not be enough compensation for some people, apparently it is enough for the hundreds of others who chose to help these scientists.

The comparison of a vast telemetric network to a kind of electronic "skin" is a good one, because skin not only senses things but also protects and regulates our bodily functions. In this case, the earth's electronic skin will help protect and regulate our environment. In as little as ten years, trillions of telemetric systems will keep us continually in touch and "speaking" to one another more quickly than we can react or think right now. Ironically, if you look up the words "sensitive skin" in a book of astrological keywords, the sign of Aquarius comes up as the ruler. (See The Rulership Book by Rex Bills, published by the American Federation of Astrologers in Tempe, AZ USA). As ever, astrology is right on point!

Satellites will circle the earth and be able to track neighborhood crime through digital photography, too. During the O.J. Simpson trial satellite digital photography of Los Angeles was examined by police to see if they could find out where Simpson's white Bronco van was on the night of the crime. Technology was not yet ready to provide answers like these, but could in years ahead. Right now in New York City, in an effort to ticket drivers who run red lights in certain "high risk" Manhattan intersections, cars (and their license plates) are automatically photographed as they slip through red lights. The photographs are used as evidence and have proven very effective in stopping speeding and running red lights. In the future, robot photographers will be more prevalent, simply because this kind of photography is an effective crime preventative.

Will Computers Gang Up And Pit Man Against Machine? Possibly.

Can this electronic skin become a kind of nightmare? Maybe. In early simulation experiments where software agents acted as communication nodes in networks, scientists found that the nodes assembled into clans. Sometimes those clans acted out in mischievous or destructive ways. Clans could even work in ways that are at cross-purposes to one another. Yet Aquarius is a sign that is socially responsible, so we should not be overly concerned about some kind of social insurrection. As the director of Sony Corporations Digital Creatures Lab stated in the Business Week article, "We will carefully design the machines so that it will help human beings, not harm them." Networks will have some of the resilience and self-healing qualities that the human body does, too. When a computer on the Internet sees danger, like an approaching hurricane, earthquake or troublesome pattern in the world's financial markets, it will alert people on the Net and suggest solutions.

A New Internet

There is more evidence of advanced communications between computers and computer networks. NASA's Jet Propulsion Lab in California is about to unveil a version of the Internet that will link the moon, Mars, asteroids and comets to the earth's expanding nervous system in a network they call InterPlaNet. Right now, the communication is quite expensive between earth and unmanned probes. But through InterPlaNet those costs would drop and citizens of planet earth will be engaged and informed more effectively. Aquarius is a communicative and objective sign, so it is not surprising that the Age of Aquarius will expand our understanding of what is a network and how far our "phone lines" can reach. With InterPlaNet, even ET could phone home and not worry about the bill!

Quantum Computers

There are other interesting developments involving computers on the horizon. Computers we have today are quite linear in their logic, and rather plodding in their ability to search thorough large batches of data. Quantum computers, available in about 20 years, will be able to work with probability algorithms to find answers to complex problems quickly, rather than in the (comparitively) slow, step-by-step way they do now. Today, computers can only see a listing which contains a 1 or a 0. However, a quantum computer can check all listings at once, using what scientist's call "golf balls" in place of switches to build complex probability models. Will this make it easier for hackers to get into a system? Yes, that is one of the downsides of this type of system. Even so, the advantages of quantum computers far outweigh their drawbacks. Engineers will have to figure out ways to build enough barbed wire to keep those hackers out.

Using The Internet For Hardware Downloads -- Not Just Software!

These days, the Internet provides us with an easy way to acquire software, but get this, in the future, we will be able to download hardware too! Nanotechnology, the science of construction of technology smaller than a billionth of a meter, will make this a reality. In twenty years, you may be able to download a blueprint for a personal computer, cell phone, beeper, or even a semi conductor. You could then use these plans to create products out of molecules by yourself, or the products themselves could actually be so tiny and microscopic, that they are downloadable directly into your "nanobox." At that point matter will become software, too. This gives a whole new meaning to manufacturing and will have a huge impact on the economy, when not as many factories are needed.

Uranus And Product Customization

Uranus, the planet ruling Aquarius is considered "the great synthesizer" because it combines elements of what we already know to create something we've never seen before. It does this by using intuition and wisdom. For that reason, Uranus is considered "the higher octave of Mercury". Mercury is the planet of thinking, but Uranus is the planet of innovation. Uranus likes customization too, and customization is a key word for the next century as you already know. Even now you are able to buy jeans that have been custom made to your precise measurements, as recorded in your department store's computer. In the future, far more will be customized, from furniture to shoes to textbooks. Retailers will be able to keep less in stock and so have less money tied up in their inventory. Selling on the Internet lowers overhead costs, so printers who publish on the Internet can avoid spending money on ink and paper. This should be a real boon to the economy. Computers may widely replace telephone customer service representatives and be quite helpful, thanks to artificial intelligence. It may become hard to tell if one is on the phone with a human or not. This may inspire some people to be rude in an attempt to make the representative angry. If these attempts are successful, the customer will know if the "person" on the other end of the phone is man or machine! Having been on hold all day today myself, I don't doubt people will be driven to distraction.

How About Implanting A Chip In Your Brain?

By mid-century, humans will have the option to expand the capability of their minds by having silicon chips implanted in their brains. Don't laugh -- this is almost a sure thing! Scientists speak of imbedding chips in the human body to build super-human athletic ability too. Even food and eating could be simulated, so that you will be able to "eat" your favorite foods over and over without gaining weight! Virtual reality will be developed so smartly that it will be indistinguishable from actual reality. It will become less important to travel physically, whether for meetings, your college reunion, or for the pleasure of experiencing a new place, like the Great Wall of China or on a tour of the White House. You will have the choice between going to the real thing and taking a look at it "virtually". If your presence is required in an actual place, holograms could make your attendance possible, making your companions feel like you've just "beamed down" from the Star Ship Enterprise!

Some scientists feel that eventually (around 2099) only a small percentage of us will choose to "keep" our bodies, preferring instead to transfer our minds into circuit boards and attain immortality. Yes, that's right. By 2050 people will have the option to leave our physical bodies permanently in order to convert ourselves (specifically, our souls) to a silicon chip that can run forever. It is true that some of these developments mimic Sci-Fi movies to an eerie degree. Is leaving your body forever and imbedding yourself into a chip a tad too radical for your taste? No problem, there are alternatives to consider.

The movie Strange Days came out a few years ago starring Ralph Fiennes. In this movie, the characters could experience the emotions of others by using a special headset that jacked in to tapes that recorded specific emotional situations that people had actually gone through. They could experience someone else's love affair, exhilaration, or even fear. Through this device the characters could go on "trips" and live the memories and actions of other people. When I saw the movie a few years ago, I thought it was an intriguing idea, but still pretty fantastic. That's how much I knew. In the future, you will be able to document everything you feel, experience, think, say, hear, read, write or do for posterity. Technology will allow you to track every single minute of your life. A machine that tracks your nervous system's electrical activity would collect the data patterns that comprise your thoughts and emotions. A computer will automatically index your life's experiences and make them into a searchable data file that becomes the story of your life.

If you think this is too far-fetched, check out the work of ET Laboratories PLC in England. These scientists call their special computer the "Soul Catcher." To accomplish the data entry, you must wear a computer all over your body. Electrodes will even be embedded in your head under your hair, on your hands, legs and so forth. According to Business Week editors (and this is a direct quote concerning the Soul Catcher): "Researchers can only wonder what it will be like to wake up one day and find yourself alive inside a machine."

Does your spine tingle and are you shifting in your chair, uneasy at the thought of this? Me too. Let's look at other developments in the Age of Aquarius. This one might please you much more. In 1997, researchers at Carnegie Mellon University created what they call "Synthetic Interviews." The first "interview" they have gotten ready to present is with Albert Einstein. In order to learn about Einstein's life and theories, you start (what appears to be) an interactive video interview with the great scientist. On the hard drive of the computer is a bank of 500 recorded interviews with Albert Einstein from which the computer draws a portion of one interview to answer your question. The operations to accomplish this are so transparent that you feel like you can actually have a conversation with Albert Einstein one-on-one. Software that digitizes your speech will help the computer understand your question and a powerful search engine will select (and rank) the results. The technology isn't quite complete yet, but artificial intelligence like this is advancing by leaps and bounds. Don't be surprised when AI shows up in your neighborhood in a few decades from now. If we are able to ask Albert Einstein questions now, your great grandchildren will be able to do the same with you long after you've passed on to a better place.

People Like Machines And Machines Like People

If people are destined to become more like machines, make no mistake, machines are rapidly becoming more like people. Aquarius is a sign known to turns things upside down and inside out. Just when you thought you knew what was coming, this sign throws you a curve -- a new brainstorm. Perhaps one of the most exciting kinds of computers to be developed to date is the supercomputer, a machine so intelligent that it will surpass the ability of the human brain. Problems beyond the ability of our most brilliant scientists will someday be tackled and solved by machines. This will empower humanity and give us a big edge as we try and meet our greatest challenges. This is very good news!

While some scientists fear that the megacomputers they create could become hostile to their creators -- an actual Frankenstein monster -- other scientists believe that these computers can be programmed to respect human life. These optimists point out that the machines aren't human, and thus won't have any of the hidden agendas and political instincts that some humans possess. Robot technology will go much further. In only twenty-five years, farms and factories will replace human workers with these computerized workers, freeing up their human workers for more interesting tasks. Some factories and farms have already done this on a large scale.

Medicine: Regeneration Of Body Parts

Medicine will advance enormously. Eventually doctors will be able to grow body parts for people who are ill or who were born with birth defects. I can see you are distrustful of this possibility and I was too until I saw a report about this process recently on a top rated television news show. Scientists, using genetic engineering with pieces of DNA code, have been able to grow missing body parts (they showed a nose) in a petri dish. This technology is in its infancy, so stay tuned. Deaf people will be fitted with special computer chips in their heads so they can regain the ability to hear. This is being done now, but is highly expensive. Watch for this procedure to become more affordable (and more frequent). On the other hand, scientists tell us that if we don't use all the parts we have on our body now, those parts may be reduced or eliminated during the course of evolution, much like an ostrich's wings. Use it or lose it will take on new meaning! We had better start going to the gym too, because sitting at computers all day long is making us a global population of unfit people.

Soon it will be possible to treat diseases before they occur. Fine-tuned genetic testing will predict our predisposition to a particular disease and we can take steps to never get sick. On the down side, you may see insurance companies insisting a person be treated for a disease he or she doesn't have -- yet. This is already happening, in cases where people take an aspirin each day to prevent heart disease, for example. One can imagine taking pills for years on end in case of illness, even though no signs have developed. The ancient discipline of Homeopathic medicine will also keep developing and more of us will use certain herbs and alternative remedies for disease prevention, too. (Pluto in Scorpio paved the way for this in the 1980s.)

The social debates surrounding organ transplants will continue to heat up as we have greater access to genetic information. Who will get the new heart or liver, the 12-year-old girl with a learning disability or the 70-year-old nuclear physicist? How society will answer these challenging questions will be anyone's guess. Socially, plastic surgery will be so prevalent that if one chooses to "go natural", one could find his or herself the butt of harsh jokes. The movie Gattica which starred Ethan Hawke and Uma Thuman, demonstrated that this emphasis on perfection could grow into something absurd. Can you imagine the talk at the office water cooler? It might go something like this: "I have no idea why she never bothered to have her nose fixed/face lifted/thighs lyposuctioned (whatever) because she certainly has the money ... or is she really not doing that well?" Cruel!

Going au natural (no breast implants, no tummy tucks!) could be a reactionary outgrowth of the trend for seeking physical perfection through surgery, because Aquarius can take an extreme position on any side of an issue. On the other hand, Aquarius likes technology and feels it should be used, so people in the Age of Aquarius will want to tap into what's new and available. There are some developments that might be downright humorous, though, such as a microwave oven that refuses to cook a fattening lunch or a refrigerator with a time lock that won't allow its door to open until dinner time.

The Cost Of Good Health To Society

Economics will continue to play a big part in health care. As we have seen by the end of this century, state of the art health care costs a pretty penny to provide, and those costs are not liable to go down. Insurance companies could get even more powerful, causing lawmakers to have to change how these companies are regulated. In America, managed care has triggered a torrent of controversy. One insurance company recently announced a patient would have to call the company for permission before calling an ambulance to be rushed to the hospital. Approval of the team care clerk (a fancy word for a cost adjuster) is required before the patient would have the go-ahead to proceed to the emergency room. If a patient goes without permission the insurance company won't pay. Many people feel the term "managed care" is simply a euphemism for "managed costs" -- a benefit to only the insurance company, regardless of the patient's needs. Unfortunately that has been true in some cases in America. Not all change will be good, but hopefully, responsible leaders will turn those conditions around into something more reasonable and workable.

Time Changes

Aquarius also rules the concept of time, so how we treat time or think of time will change dramatically. With world travel so prevalent, we won't think of a "day" in the same terms. When we choose to work, play or shop will change. In fact, at the Ritz Carlton Hotel in Kuala Lumpur Malaysia, a "day" is whatever 24-hour time span you designate it to be for billing purposes. This hotel receives guests from all over the world all day long. As we all work at different times, some of us will want to get a manicure at 2 AM or hit the gym at 3:30 AM. New York may be the city that never sleeps, but others are on the way -- even in the suburbs.

Cities Will Prosper

The 1950s-era promise of a suburban paradise has not been fulfilled. Traffic and suburban sprawl have left whole communities disillusioned by their low quality of life. Cities will again become attractive places for families to live, allowing for more economical usage of resources like land, electricity, gas and other utilities. Aquarius rules cities, not rural or suburban locations.

Working parents will find city life more attractive, because it allows for shorter commutes and more hours with their little ones at home. Cities give greater access to cultural activities without the hassle too, and as senior citizens age, cities provide access to friendships, activities, home care and health care without the bother of driving.

Endangered Species

The list of species on the endangered list will continue to grow and this will become a more important global issue than it is today. As our rain forests become depleted, as certain species cease to exist, and as the hole in our ozone layer opens wider, it will become evident that humanity, as custodians of planet earth, must do something. Caring for planet earth will always be under the domain of Aquarius. Aquarius is the sign the ancient astrologers wisely believed was most sensitive and best qualified for improving life on the planet. So watch for great strides to be made in environmental protection during the Age of Aquarius.

Business

Going, Going, Gone -- The Middleman

Agents, distributors, and brokers -- middlemen -- are rapidly disappearing from many business models used today. Consumers can often go directly to the source of whatever they want to purchase, like goods, services and even information. The Internet is a very Aquarian concept as it exists today, because Aquarius believes that information should be free. Agents have traditionally granted access to the top echelon, but on the Internet there is no need for agents. Soon, the only agents that will exist are the robotic kind that go and seek out information for you can come back with the answer. On the Internet everyone has the most valuable resource -- access to everyone else. Those who can't or won't negotiate will need representatives of course, but the nature of the agent role will change. With the ease of email, an artist can just as easily get in touch with a long list of contacts himself or herself, at the touch of a keystroke.

The idea that talent is rare forms the basis of intellectual property rights. Scarce resources like paper, ink, or an editor's time should be allocated carefully toward the author who could yield the greatest profit or do the greatest good. Photographers who used to get big fees from few clients now have a new model -- tiny fees from a great many clients. Will they come out ahead? Some will, some won't, but bucking the trend will prove fruitless. Some artwork or music will be given away free and later earn the creator a profit in concert ticket sales or a big book contract -- another twist on the Aquarius idea of one for all and all for one.

Hedging Risk Will Allow Many To Follow Their Bliss

The editors at Business Week suggested in their article that the downside of business risk will be "hedged" with a kind of insurance that lowers how much you risk losing when you follow your biggest dreams. If we all were less fearful of taking a chance, the world would be so much richer for it. Imagine if people were able to write the books, compose the music or start the businesses that they always dreamed of! This kind of insurance would encourage people to think big. An individual, family, group or even a country will be able to hedge their bets by trading futures as one does on a commodity exchange.

Teams Rule! Down With Dictators!

The form of leadership driving big corporations will change, too. Gone are the days when an ego-driven leader will rule the roost -- teams will be in charge. Progress will be a group effort born of shared knowledge and pooled expertise. After all, Aquarius is not like Leo or Aries, signs that like to rule -- Aquarius is the egalitarian sign of groups and encourages a democratic voice for one and all. Instead of a dictator at the helm of the corporate ship the model will be more akin to that of a beehive with bees working side by side. Leaders of the future must be democratic decision-makers. Employee-owned companies are a very Aquarian concept as well.

The Trend Toward Working At Home

The boom of telecommuting and working at home is only a fraction as large as it will eventually become. Aquarius is a highly technical sign. The average person will have to possess a solid working knowledge of computers or risk being left unable to take advantage of the benefits that telecommuting offers. The gap between those who know and those who don't know how to get these things done will represent the new "haves" and "have-nots". This will widen the gap between rich and poor and give new meaning to the phrase "knowledge is power."

More Nations On Earth

Experts feel it is very possible that there will be more nations in the world as time goes by. Regions of existing countries will break away and become independent nations. This is because self rule is very important to the sign of Aquarius. In 1950 there were 58 nations in the UN but now there are 158. Can we see a world where New York City becomes a nation? Maybe not, but what about Quebec? Kosovo? Palestine? Northern Basque? St. Kits and St. Nevis? The Ogoni tribeland in Nigeria? Northern Italy? Will republican Australia secede from the commonwealth? The Internet and a global economy, which were supposed to bring people together, will allow people to express their individuality too. An interesting combination, but Aquarius rules both brotherhood and individuality.

Marriage And Sex

Marriage will change, for the institution of marriage began in agricultural cultures where plenty of hands were needed to till the fields and gather the harvest. The infant mortality rate was high then and life expectancy was short, so women needed to bear as many children as possible so that their offspring could help with the farm work. The wife of the farmer was dependent on her husband for sustenance and protection. In our industrial society, women are educated and capable of making a living on their own. A woman is not normally dependent on her husband for food and shelter and will choose to marry based on love. She is far less likely than ever before to stay in an unhappy marriage. Men, too, do not require a wife or offspring in order to keep their businesses and homes operational. The rising divorce rate can be seen in this positive light: men and women no longer have to stay in bad marriages if they choose not to.

The rising divorce rate is apt to continue until conditions change and make breaking free either unattractive financially or temporarily impossible. Any institution that bases its success on the weakness of one group of participants does not have a strong of a chance of success. Aquarius tends to be a bachelor sign for it prizes independence. If marriage survives and thrives as an institution, it will certainly have to change. If a couple does choose to marry, they may want to do so much later in life. Pre-nuptial agreements will become commonplace as women have more property to protect and courts will uphold those pre-nuptial agreements, something that has not always been the case.

Few people will marry without a lawyer at their side, a clean bill of health, and a credit check of their future spouse. This is especially true of the generations of children who've witnessed the breakup of their own parents' marriages. Is this a bad thing? Not at all. While it sounds unromantic, it will cut down on sadness later. Fewer people will marry for money, because they won't need to. More people will marry for true love. In an odd way, all these conditions will allow love more freedom than ever before, because people will choose their partners without the constraints that have held them back in the past. Free at last, true love can bloom.

In a recent television report on ABC News (www.abcnews.com), futurists suggested that sex, in the sense of making love, could be separated from the function of procreation in the future. Sex, they predicted, will be for recreation alone. Creating a healthy child is way too risky for simple lovemaking. Good grief! I'll take my baby-making the old-fashioned way, thank you.

This brings up the issues concerning DNA, "designer genes," and cloning issues. Society will have to determine once and for all how to define a human being, how to define death (sure to become even harder), and how to define birth. The debate over abortion will get even more intense as science sails us unto these totally uncharted waters. People will tend to have fewer children but will invest more in those children, by giving them a better education and more support. Society will benefit from the attention these parents lavish on their children.

Origins Of Life

We have come so far, but other questions persist. What is the origin of life? Certainly in the next few years (let alone another millennium) scientists will show us amazing discoveries about the origin of life on earth and elsewhere in our solar system. Recently a meteor landed in Texas, and when it was cracked open, traces of water were found inside. Scientists now believe that anywhere one finds water and heat one may find signs of life.

In 1966, Russian and British scientists found a huge fresh water lake buried under a two-mile deep ice sheet in Antarctica. The depth of the lake was measured at 1,650 feet. The pressure over it kept it fluid, even though the temperature of the water was few degrees below freezing. The water in it is thought to be over a million years old -- a perfect test tube sample full of microbes that can live without sunlight. Some of these species of microbes could be eons old. A lake like this could tell us much about the origins of life.

Related to this, the Age of Aquarius will inspire us to question what constitutes a human being? How do we define the soul? What is a living person? These become practical questions when you consider something like cloning science. Cloning may someday help parents who have been unable to conceive the child they always dreamed of. Will they be raising a little copy of themselves? No. Astrology shows that you are not simply a mass of DNA but also part of a social order that involves the time and place of your birth. Since everyone's birth chart is unique. Even if you can clone the body, the mind and spirit would be vastly different and individual. Astrologically we know that a individual's personality is influenced by the time and location of his or her birth, for that is how his or her chart is erected. Therefore, if a cloned person is born at a different time or place he or she will have a new chart -- making this person different and special.

In Conclusion

I have come to the end of my predictions but could have listed many more. I have chosen some of the best and most exciting ones to report to you. There are so many more inventions coming! Cars will drive themselves to pick you up after work. New forms of education will be developed and charter schools could replace public education. Political campaigning will change as politicians use the Internet for polling. The list goes on. I hope I have turned you on to the future and that you are not one bit fearful of what's to come. I gobble up any tidbit of information about our brave new world. The concepts being discussed are too delicious not to sink my teeth into. Hopefully, you feel the same way!

An eternal optimist, I believe deeply in the goodness of people everywhere. I feel that when the chips are down, good judgement reigns and the balance of power remains firmly tipped toward the side of the angels. We are the earth's consciousness, and it is up to us to steer the future in the proper direction. We will do that.

Finally, Religion

Religion will survive. I firmly believe we go through these various ages to expand our knowledge and experience, not to discard what we have gone through as we move on to the next thing. The Age of Pisces has been a powerful building block upon which to stand. Hopefully, if we stand high enough we can reach the sky and discover true wisdom, but that does require that we keep building upon what we have learned.

If we lose our spirituality we will have learned nothing from the Age of Pisces. Many scientists say to me that the closer you get to mathematicians and physics the closer you come to God and the underpinnings of our beautifully, magically constructed universe. Our world is ever fascinating, but complete understanding of it is always just out of our reach.

Can we carry on and improve on the spirit of the earth's collective consciousness? It is not, as I see it, a question of spirituality OR science but a question of blending the two. Science will bring up more questions than answers, and if we are to solve them, we will need to rely on the ethical, moral and religious judgements that we make individually. These are the conclusions we draw after a sleepless night, in the quiet pre-dawn hours when we lie awake and meet our true souls. If we are going to be able to live with ourselves, we must find those answers, even if it means pulling those solutions from the bottom of our hearts, and we must bravely state what we stand for out loud. There is a reason we came from the Age of Pisces, so let's hold on to the treasures and mysteries of faith it gave us.

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