Are We on the Threshold
of a New Age?

by René Wadlow

The new millenium will be characterized by sweeping changes in humanity's ecological, spiritual and political outlooks.

Look well to the growing edge. All
around us worlds are dying and new
worlds are being born. All around
us life is dying, and new life is being
Look well
to the growing edge.

Howard Thurman

There are a number of currents of thought which hold that humantity is coming to the end of an historical cycle and is entering into a new age with the start of the new millennium. The most widely spread of these currents of thought is a complex of ideas and practices largely known as the New Age or the Age of Aquarius. The contemporary New Age began as a movement based on an astrological interpretation of history that every two thousand years or so humanity moves into a new age in which civilization is predominantly influenced by the quadities of the particul are astrological sign that rules that age.

Thus the Age of Aquarius derives its name from western Astrology which holds that each astrological age is determined by the passage of the Earths vernal equinox within a particular constellation. It is said that ye are transiting trom the Piscean period, which inaugurated the Christian era (symbolized by the fish sign used by the gainly Christians) to the Aquarian Age symbolized by the bearer of water. In this astrological tradition, the Piscean period was preceded by the Age of Aries and the Age of Taurus. of which the ram and the bull are the symbols - animals which are significant in earlier spiritual traditions. In Hindu astrology. the ages are longer. but there is a corresponding view that humanity is now leaving the Kali period or Kali yuga - an age of darkness and destruction - in order to start a new cycle of enlightenment- the Satya yuga. Thus we find that the idea that humanity is in a period of transition to a New Age both in the West and the East.

Some of the elements of the New Age have been highlighted by Marilyn Ferguson in her book The Aquarian Conspiracy, conspiracy coming from the term meaning to breath together. In fact. techniques of deep breathing, the Chinese Qi Gong are one of the oft-used techniques in New Age circles. I will stress briefly three images which symbolize major New Age currents: Gaia, the Higher Se/f the World Citizen.

Gaia is the earth mother of Greek mythology - the finst mother before all time, the source of all birth and rebirth. In her contemporary formulation, she is the living prcsence of Earth, Mother Earth. Nature, the healing aspect of Nature. the laws of Nature which we disregard at our peril. The concept of Gaia lies behind much of the ecology movement, especially what is called Deep Ecology. The image of the goddess is meaningful becausecalls to memory the ancient myths of the goddess as birth giver, mother, weaver. earth, flame. web, wind and ocean. These are images of connectedness, sus