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World Age Cultural Symbolism

Ever wondered about this sequence? A direct result of the Earth's precession of the equinoxes is the shift of the Sun's rising position along the ecliptic on the vernal equinox, at a rate of about 1 degree per 72 years. As we move from one zodiacal sign to the next, important new cultural icons appear corresponding to the equinotial markers of the age, and old ones are sometimes thrown down.

The dates quoted are arbitrarily chosen to indicate roughly the time frame of each age, based on an equal vernal point shift distance of 30 degrees (2160 years) per age (12 zodiacal constellations in 360 degrees) and anchored using 0 AD as the dawn of the Piscean age. This is necessarily flawed as the zodiacal constellations do not span exactly 30 degrees each - far from it.

Virgo - virgin. The beginning of the cycle. c 12960 - 10800 BC.

Leo - the Sphinx as a lion. Earliest post-apocalypse civilization. Age of the gods. sp tpi - 'First Time'. c 10800 - 8640 BC.

Cancer - scarab beetle. khepra - k3 pr` - 'spirit of Re/Ra'. Early modern translations by Young, amongst others, favoured pr` over r` as the Sun god's name. The worship of the scarab in both the idea of the rising Sun and the spirit of self-renewal dates from very early Egyptian mythology. c 8640 - 6480 BC.

Gemini - twins. Shu and Tefnut (twin offspring of Atum, the original 'self-created' god of the Heliopolitan theology). c 6480 - 4230 BC.

Taurus - apis bull (Egypt), proto-Minoan civilization. c 4230 - 2160 BC.

Aries - ram, Amun (Egypt). Ram-headed sphinxes at the Karnak Temple in Thebes. Moses/golden calf graven image destruction to overthrow the previous age, at Mt. Sinai (Exodus 32:19). c 2160 BC - 0.

Pisces - icthos, Christ, fishermen and fish symbolism. Most recent era. c 0 - 2160 AD.

Aquarius - water, New Age spiritualism, ??? ... we're either not in this age yet, or are on the verge of entering it, or in it - depending on who you think's right about the timing. How about the fear of melting ice-caps, or the metaphoric cleansing of the Earth as cultural symbols?


This article is where I finally got round to doing a version that used the angular size of each Zodiacal constellation to find the dates of the various Age changeovers.

SGB 1999