Culture and Cosmos is a peer-reviewed academic journal in the history of astrology and cultural astronomy published in association with the Sophia Centre for the Study of Cosmology in Culture, School of Archaeology, History and Anthropology, University of Wales Trinity Saint David

Vol 18 no 2 (Autumn/Winter 2014 will be published in July/August 2016. Vol. 19 (2015) will be a double issue featuring the proceedings of the 2013 Sophia Centre conference on Celestial Magic and is scheduled for publication in September/October 2016. Vol. 20 (2016) will be a double issue featuring the proceedings of the 2014 Sophia Centre conference on the Marriage of Heaven and Earth.

Volume 15-1

The Shock of the New: The Origin of the Age of Aquarius and the 2012 Phenomenon

Nicholas Campion


The recent attention paid to the prophecy that December 2012 was to be a pivotal moment in world history has renewed interest in the relationship between astronomy and apocalyptic ideas. This paper examines the background to the ‘2012 Phenomenon’ by exploring the origins of the idea of the Age of Aquarius. It concludes that the Age is best understood as a means of objectifying the prediction of a future golden age by reference to measurable astronomical certainties. In line with the revolutionary traditions of western millenarianism, the Aquarian Age is counter-cultural and opposed to political and religious authorities.

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