C.G. JUNG On Astrology

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Jung's 'Platonic' Year

Definition:[Astrological Ages] Another term for a Great Year. The length of a 'Platonic' year equals 25 925 years. [2002 AD]

Carl Gustav Jung in Aion and other writings used the term 'Platonic' month, but only seems to have used 'Platonic' year, once in his book Aion [see footnote 49], preferring the term Aeon. However, since his writings this usage seems to have grown as another term for the Great Year.

Why is it called a 'Platonic' Year? Jung's use of the 'Platonic' prefix seems to be based on the mistaken arguments of some astrological commentators in the twentieth century that Plato [427 - 347 BC] was the first person in our written heritage to possess the concept of the Great Year. For more on this see: Plato's Complete Year and Platos' Perfect Number.


C G Jung and the Age of Pisces

Definition: [Astrological Ages] The psychoanalyst Carl Gustav Jung [1875 - 1961 AD] drew attention to what he described as a 'synchronicity' between the birth of Christ and the start of the Age of Pisces. In this he had rather a different view from the earlier work of Gerald Massey. Below are excepts - all from Aion - of what he wrote on the subject. [Aeon is Latin for eternal, hence Eon, a very long period of time.] All the footnotes are Jung's.

In a private conversation with Margaret Ostrowski-Sachs concerning Aion, published in Conversations with C.G.Jung, Jung told her: "Before my illness I had often asked myself if I were permitted to publish or even speak of my secret knowledge. I later set it all down in Aion. I realized it was my duty to communicate these thoughts, yet I doubted whether I was allowed to give expression to them. During my illness I received confirmation and I now knew that everything had meaning and that everything was perfect."

C G Jung 1950 AD: Aion [Collected Works, 9, Part II] Introduction, p ix: The theme of this work is the idea of the Aeon (Greek, Aion). My investigation seeks, with the help of Christian, Gnostic and alchemical symbols of the self, to throw light on the change of the psychic situation within the "Christian aeon." Christian tradition from the outset is not only saturated with Persian and Jewish ideas about the beginning of the end time, but is filled with intimates of a kind of enantiodromian reversal of dominants. I mean by this the dilemma of Christ and Antichrist. Probably most of the historical speculations about time and the division of time were influenced, as the Apocalypse shows, by astrological ideas. It is therefore only natural that my reflections should gravitate mainly around the symbol of the Fishes, for the Pisces aeon is the synchronistic concomitant of two thousand years of Christian development. In this time-period not only was the figure of Anthropos (the "Son of Man") progressively amplified symbolically, and thus assimilated psychologically, but it brought with it changes in man's attitude that had already been anticipated by the expectation of the Antichrist in the ancient texts. Because these texts relegate the appearance of the Antichrist to the end of time, we are justified in speaking of a "Christian aeon," which, it was presupposed, would find its end with the second coming. It seems as if this expectation coincides with the astrological conception of the "Platonic month" of the Fishes.

C G Jung 1951 AD [for the German-language Version]: The Archetypes and the Collective Unconsciousness [based on essays written from about 1933 onwards and published in Collected Works, 9, Part I] Chapter VI, A Study in the Process of Individuation:

[551] ... It is obviously the same conception as in our case, and we can call it archetypal in so far as there exist universal ideas of world periods, critical transitions, gods and half-gods who personify the aeons.  The unconscious naturally does not produce its images from conscious reflections, but from the worldwide propensity of the human system to form such conceptions as the world periods of the Parsees, the Yugas and avatars of Hinduism, and the Platonic months of astrology with their bull and ram deities and the "great" Fish of the Christian aeon65.

65 The "giant" fish of the Abercius inscription (c. A.D. 200. )

C G Jung 1951 AD [for the German-language Version]: Aion [published in the Collected Works 9, Part II] Chapter IV, The Sign of the Fishes:

[128] In view of this wide distribution of the fish symbol, its appearance at a particular place or at a particular moment in the history of the world is no cause for wonder. But the sudden activation of the symbol, and its identification with Christ even in the early days of the Church, lead one to conjecture a second source. This source is astrology...

[136] The precession of the equinoxes was a fact well known to the astrologers of antiquity. Origen, helped out by the observations and calculations of Hipparchus48,  uses it as a cogent argument against astrology based on the so-called "morphomata" (the actual constellations)49.  Naturally this does not apply to the distinction already made in ancient astrology between the morphomata and the ζωδιά νοητά (the fictive signs of the zodiac)50.

48 Hipparchus is supposed to have discovered the precession. Cf F. J. Boll, Sphaera, p. 199, n. 1., Leipzig, 1903.

49 Origen, Commentaria In Genesim, tom. III, i, 14, 11 (Migne P.G., vol. 12, col. 79):"There is indeed a theory that the zodiacal circle, just like the planets, is carried back from setting to rising [or: from west to east], within a century by one degree;... since the twelfth part [1 zodion] is one thing when conceived in the mind, another when perceived by the senses; yet from that which is conceived only in the mind, and can scarcely, or not even scarcely be held for certain, the truth of the matter appears." The Platonic year was then reckoned as 36 000 years. Tycho Brahe reckoned it at 24 120 years. The constant for the precession is 50.3708 seconds and the total cycle (360º) takes 25 725.6 years.

50 A. Bouché-Leclercq, L'Astrologie Grecque, p. 591, n. 2, Paris, 1899; J. M. Knapp, Antiskia: Ein Beitrag zum Wissen um die Präzession im Altertum, Basil, 1927; F. J. Boll, Sphaera, Leipzig, 1903.

[147] Above all it is the connections with the age of the Fishes which are attested by the fish symbol. either contemporaneously with the gospels themselves ("fishers of men", fishermen as the first disciples, miracle of loaves and fishes) or immediately afterwards in the post-apostolic era. ...  But to the extent that Christ was regarded as the new aeon, it would be clear to anyone acquainted with astrology that he was born as the first fish of the Pisces era and was doomed to die as the last ram74 (άρνιον lamb) of the declining Aries era75.

74 Origen, In Genesim homiliae. VIII, 9 (Migne P.G., vol. 12, col. 208): "We said... that Isaac bore the form of Christ, but that the ram also seems no less to bear the form of Christ."  Augustine, (City of God, XVI, 32, I) asks: "Who was that Ram by the offering whereof was made a complete sacrifice in the typical blood... who was prefigured thereby but Jesus...?"  For the Lamb as Aries in the Apocalypse see Johannis Boll, Aus der Offenbarung, Leipzig and Berlin, 1914.

75 R. Eisler, Orpehus - the Fisher, pp. 51ff, London, 1921.  There is also a wealth of material in Eisler's paper "Der Fisch als Sexualsymbol," though it contains little that would help to interpret the fish symbol, since the question puts the cart before the horse.  It has long been known that all the instinctual forces of the psyche are involved in the formulation of symbolic images, hence sexuality as well.  Sex is not "symbolized in these images, but leaps to the eye, as Eisler's material clearly shows.  The indubitably correct statement that St Peter is made of stone, wood and metal hardly helps us to interpret its meaning, and the same is true of the fish symbol if one continues to be astonished that this image, like all others, has its manifest sexual components.  With regard to the terminology, it should be noted that something known is never "symbolized" but can only appear allegorically or semiotically.

[148] Though no connection of any kind can be proved between the figure of Christ and the inception of the age of the fishes, the simultaneity of the fish symbol of the new aeon seems to me important enough to warrant the emphasis we place upon it.  If we try to follow up the complicated mythological ramifications of this parallel, we do so with the intent to throw light on the multifarious aspects of an archetype that manifests itself on the one hand in personality, and on the other hand synchronistically, in a moment in time determined in advance before Christ's birth.  Indeed, long before that, the archetype had been written in the heavens by projection, so as then "when the time was fulfilled," to coincide with the symbols produced by the new era.  The fish, appropriately enough, belongs to the winter rainy season, like Aquarius and Capricornus (αίγόκερως the goat-fish81).  As a zodiacal sign, therefore, it is not in the least remarkable.  It becomes a matter for astonishment only when, through the precession of the equinoxes, the spring-point moves into this sign and thus inaugurates an age in which the "fish" was used as a name for the God who became a man, who was born as a fish and was sacrificed as a ram, who had fishermen for disciples and wanted to make them fishers of men, who fed the multitude with miraculously multiplying fishes, who was himself eaten as a fish, the "holier food," and whose followers are little fishes, the "pisciculi." Assume if you like that a fairly widespread knowledge of astrology would account for at least some of this symbolism in certain Gnostic Christian circles82. But this assumption does not apply when it comes to eye witness accounts in the synoptic gospels.  There is no evidence of any such thing.  We have no reason whatever to suppose that those stories are disguised astrological myths.  On the contrary, one gets the impression that the fish episodes are entirely natural happenings and that there is nothing further to be looked for behind them.  They are "Just So" stories, quite simple and natural, and one wonders whether the whole Christian fish symbolism may not have come about equally fortuitously and without premeditation.  Hence one could speak just as well of the seemingly fortuitous  coincidence of this symbolism with the name of the new age, the more so as the age of the fishes sees to have left no very clear traces in the cultures of the East.  I could not maintain with any certainty that this is correct, because I know far too little about Indian and Chinese astrology.  As against this, the fact that the traditional fish symbolism makes possible a verifiable prediction that had already been made in the New testament is a somewhat uncomfortable position to follow.

81 Capricornus: two symbols.

82 A clear reference to astrology can be found in Pistis Sophia, [Anonymous] where Jesus converses with the "ordainers of the nativity": But Jesus answered and said to Mary: If the ordainers of the nativity find Heimarmene and the Sphere turned to the left in accordance with the first calculation, then their words will be true and they will say what must come to pass.  But if the find Heimarmene or the Sphere turned to the right, then they will not say anything true, because I have changed their influences and their squares and their triangles and their octants." (Cf. G. R. S. Mead trans., p. 29., London, 1896.)


C G Jung and the Age of Aquarius

Definition: [Astrological Ages] The psychoanalyst Carl Gustav Jung [1875 - 1961 AD] was the main populariser of the concept of the Age of Aquarius. [He was not however the originator of the concept. See Paul Le Cour for more on this topic.]

Jung was already thinking about this subject in 1940, when the first reference to the concept appears in his published work. The concept appears fully formed, in one throw-away line, in a letter to H. G. Baynes, dated 12th August 1940, in a passage concerning the destruction of the temple of Karnak by an earthquake in 26 BC.

Jung writes: "1940 is the year when we approach the meridian of the first star in Aquarius.  It is the premonitory earthquake of the New Age." [C G Jung Letters, Volume I, 1906-1950, p 285]*.

*[This brief comment indicates his indebtedness to prior work, notably on the question of when the Age of Aquarius would begin. However, whilst this was Jung's stance on the start date of the Age of Aquarius in 1940, by 1951 he had realised that he had been mislead - see footnote 84 below. See also the work of Edward Carpenter for a possible reason for this date.]

Below are excepts of what Jung wrote of the Age of Aquarius. The footnotes are his.

C G Jung 1951 AD [for the German-language Version], Aion [published in the Collected Works 9, Part II] Chapter IV, The Sign of the Fishes:

[In a private conversation with Margaret Ostrowski-Sachs concerning Aion, published in Conversations with C.G.Jung, Jung told her: "Before my illness I had often asked myself if I were permitted to publish or even speak of my secret knowledge. I later set it all down in Aion. I realized it was my duty to communicate these thoughts, yet I doubted whether I was allowed to give expression to them. During my illness I received confirmation and I now knew that everything had meaning and that everything was perfect."  Jung's illness was over by 1944.]

[142] If, as seems probable, the aeon of the fishes is ruled by the archetypal motif of the hostile brothers, then the approach of the next Platonic month, namely Aquarius, will constellate the problem of the union of the opposites.  It will then no longer be possible to write off evil as the mere privation of good; it's real existence will have to be recognized.  This problem can be solved neither by philosophy,  nor by economics, nor by politics, but only by the individual human being, via his experience of the living spirit...

[149] The northerly, or easterly fish, which the spring-point entered at about the beginning of our era83, is joined to the southerly, or westerly, fish by the so-called commissure.  This consists of a band of faint stars forming the middle sector of the constellation, and the spring-point gradually moved along its southern edge.  The point where the ecliptic intersects with the meridian at the tail of the second fish coincides roughly with the sixteenth century, the time of the Reformation, which as we know is so extraordinarily important for the history of Western symbols.  Since then the spring-point has entered the southern edge of the fish, and will enter Aquarius in the course of the third millennium84.   Astrologically interpreted, the designation of Christ as one of the fishes identified him with the first fish, the vertical one.  Christ is followed by the Antichrist at the end of time.  The beginning of the enantiodromia would fall, logically, midway between the two fishes.  We have seen that this is so.  The time of the Renaissance begins in the immediate vicinity of the second fish, and with it comes the spirit which culminates in the modern age85.

83 The meridian of the star "O" in the commissure passed through the spring-point in A.D. 11 and that of the star "a 113" in 146 BC.  Calculated on the basis of C. H. F. Peters and E. B. Knobel, Ptolemy's Catalogue of Stars: A Revision of the Almagest, Washington, 1915.

84 Since the delimitation of the constellations is known to be somewhat arbitrary, this date is very indefinite.  It refers to the actual constellation of fixed stars, not to the zodion noeton, i.e. the zodiac divided into sectors of 30º each.  Astrologically, the beginning of the next aeon, according to the starting point you select falls between AD 2000 and AD 2200.  Starting from the star "O" and assuming a Platonic month of 2 143 years, one would arrive at AD 2154 for the beginning of the Aquarian Age, and at AD 1997 if you start at star "a 113."  The latter date agrees with the longitude of the stars in Ptolemy's Almagest, p. 199, n. 1.

85 Modern astrological speculation likewise associates the Fishes with Christ: "The fishes... the inhabitants of the waters, are firstly an emblem of those whose life being hid with Christ in God, come out of the waters of judgment without being destroyed [and illusion to fishes that were not drowned in the deluge! C. G. J.] and shall find their true sphere where life abounds and death is not: where, forever surrounding with living water and drinking from it's fountain they 'shall not perish, but have everlasting life.' ... Those who shall dwell for ever in the living water are one with Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Living One."  (E. M. Smith, The Zodia,, pp. 280f, London, 1906.)

C G Jung 1959 AD: Flying Saucers, Introduction, pp xi - xii: It is difficult form a correct estimate of the significance of contemporary events, and the danger that our own judgment will remain caught in subjectivity is great. So I am fully aware of the risk I am taking in proposing to communicate my views concerning certain contemporary events, which seem to me important, to those patient enough to hear me. I refer to all those reports reaching us from all corners of the earth, rumours of round objects that flash through the troposphere and stratosphere, and go by the name of "Flying Saucers", soucoupes, disks and "Ufos" (Unidentified Flying Objects). These rumours, or the possible physical existence of such objects, seem to me so significant that I feel myself compelled, as once before when events were brewing of fateful consequence for Europe, to sound a note of warning. I know that, just as before, my voice is much too weak to reach the ear of the multitude. It is not presumption that drives me, but my conscience as a psychiatrist that bids me fulfill my duty and prepare those few who will hear me for coming events which are in accord with the end of an era. As we know from ancient Egyptian history, there are symptoms of psychic changes that always appear at the end of one Platonic month and at the beginning of another. They are, it seems, changes in the constellation of the psychic dominants, of the archetypes or "Gods" as they used to be called, which bring about, or accompany, long-lasting transformations of the collective psyche. This transformation started within the historical tradition and left traces behind within it, first in the transition of the Age of Taurus to that of Aries, and then from Aries to Pisces, whose beginning coincides with the rise of Christianity. We are now nearing that great change which may be expected when the spring-point enters Aquarius. It would be frivolous of me to conceal from the reader that reflections such as these are not only exceedingly unpopular but come perilously close to those turbid fantasies which becloud the minds of world-improvers and other interpreters of "signs and portents". But, I must take this risk, even if it means putting my hard-won reputation for truthfulness, trustworthiness and scientific judgment in jeopardy. I can assure my readers that I do not do this with a light heart. I am, to be quite frank, concerned for all those that are unprepared by the events in question and disconcerted by their incomprehensible nature. Since, so far as I know, no one else has yet felt moved to examine and set forth the possible psychic consequences of this foreseeable change, I deem it my duty to do what I can in this respect. I undertake this thankless task in the expectation that my chisel will make no impression on the hard stone it meets.


C G Jung and the Age of Capricornus

Definition: [Astrological Ages] The psychoanalyst Carl Gustav Jung [1875 - 1961 AD] seems to have only made one mention of the Age of Capricornus, the Astrological Age after the Age of Aquarius. It was published after his death. The footnotes reproduced below are Jung and Jaffe's.

C G Jung (and A Jaffe) 1961 AD [For German Language Version]: Memories Dreams Reflections, pp 312 - 313: I do not imagine that in my reflections on the meaning of man and his myth I have uttered a final truth, but I think that this is what can be said at the end of our aeon of the Fishes, and perhaps must be said in view of the coming aeon of Aquarius (the Water Bearer), who has a human figure and is next to the sign of the Fishes. This is a coniunctio oppositorum composed of two fishes in reverse. The Water Bearer seems to represent the self. With a sovereign gesture he pours the contents of his jug into the mouth of Piscis Austrinus, 10 which symbolises a son, a still unconscious content. Out of this unconscious content will emerge, after the passage of another aeon of more than two thousand years, a future whose features are indicated by the symbol of Capricornus:11 an aigokeros, the monstrosity of the Goat-Fish, symbolising the mountain and the depths of the sea, a polarity made up of two undifferentiated animal elements which have been thrown together. This strange being could easily be the primordial image of a Creator-god confronting "man," the Anthropos. On this question there is a silence within me, as there is in the empirical data at my disposal - the products of the unconscious of other people with which I am acquainted, or historical documents. If insight does not come by itself, speculation is pointless. It makes sense only when we have objective data comparable to our material on the aeon of Aquarius.

10 Constellation of the "Southern Fish." It's mouth is formed by Formalhaut (Arabic for "mouth of the fish,") below the constellation of the Water Bearer.

11 The constellation of Capricornus was originally called the "Goat-Fish".



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