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