Astrologer explains the Age of Aquarius

The Age Of Aquarius: Leaving 2016 And Entering A Period of Revolution

As we say goodbye to 2016, a year full of atrocities, we ask the stars what 2017 will bring

The eleventh sign of the zodiac is now controlling the cosmos, which means we're entering a period of revolution fuelled by invention, social media brazenness and free sexuality, say astrologers.

The question is: are you ready for it?

It is no secret that the world is quickly changing. An evolution of consciousness is occurring as we transition into a new era.'

So warns self-described 'champagne mystic', Shelley von Strunckel, the woman determined to give astrology an upmarket rebrand from the realms of tie-dye and what she calls 'woo-woo nonsense'.

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'Sweeping changes are hard to grasp, but those who arm themselves with knowledge have the edge,' she affirms.

The 70-year-old is the go-to astrologer for the inside scoop on the cosmic phenomenon that's currently transforming the world.

The appetite for insight into the monumental shifts happening in politics, business and society is growing. Shifts, Shelley argues, that are the reverberations as we passage into the Age of Aquarius.


So, what exactly is the Age of Aquarius?

'Astrological ages are based on changes in the heavens, known as The Precession of Equinoxes. This cycle, which lasts roughly 26,000 years, means the zodiac sign visible at dawn on the first day of spring changes about every 2,000 years.

During the Piscean Age, which is swiftly coming to an end, life was based on the pyramid. Every structure, from families to religions and governments, had a single being, person or deity on top, to whom all those below deferred.

Everyone knew their place. While this provided stability, its rigidity severely restricted individual freedom and limited responsibility.

Now we're entering the Aquarian Age, although astrologers disagree about the exact start date,' explains Shelley. They do agree, however, that the Age of Aquarius is about flattening the pyramid and individuals assuming more power.

Age of Aquarius animation
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Animation designed for ELLE by Rosanna Webster

'Of all the signs, Aquarius is the most free-thinking,' confirms Stefanie Iris Weiss, one half of ELLE's resident astrologers, The Saturn Sisters. 'The Piscean Age was dominated by a Christian patriarchal system. The new age is all about making room for a more egalitarian world.

Aquarius is heavily associated with information and technology, and so the way we're seeing social media facilitating revolution is very much of this era.'

Think #Feminism, #BlackLivesMatter, Occupy Wall Street and the Arab Spring.

The Age of Aquarius, then, is about acknowledging the system is broken

And crucially, not waiting for someone else to fix it.

It is exemplified by women such as Emma Watson, an actress who could easily have rested on her Harry Potter fame, but who chose instead to educate herself at Brown University in the US, launch the UN #HeforShe campaign and introduce the world to the female sexuality website, OMGYes (thank you, Emma).

And also by 19-year-old Malala Yousafzai, a pioneering activist for female education and the youngest-ever Nobel Prize laureate.

And my, how we've felt the system breaking down this year.

Brexit, Trump, terrorism… the list goes woefully on.

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When times are tough, it's tempting to look to astrology for hope. And look we do, with a search for #astrology on Instagram showing more than 800,000 posts. The commotion created by NASA 'changing' the star signs recently (don't worry, they haven't) shows how attached we are to our horoscopes, while articles on 'How to survive Mercury retrograde' or 'Plan a new moon ritual' are all over the internet as we search for answers by connecting with something bigger than ourselves.

Importantly, you can be very much of the Aquarian Age and not be at all into zodiac tattoos or celestial symbology. 'Look at Theresa May,' says Shelley. 'Whatever you think of her politics, she's very Aquarian (despite being a Libra) in that she's a nonconformist: a child-free woman who doesn't compromise her femininity and is in a position of enormous power.'


The end of men?

In rapidly changing gender roles we can see the impact of the Aquarian Age most clearly.

'The structure of the family is being transformed. The "man of the house" role has changed as a result of women being better represented in the workplace, and now everyone is free to realise their potential.

In the Piscean Age, women literally couldn't live without a man,' says Shelley. In less than 100 years we've gone from having barely any rights, to running companies and countries, increasingly living alone and marrying later (if at all).

Still, Shelley says: 'There is a leftover and deeply unconscious component that having male approval is about survival.'

This is something that manifests in the assumption made by many women growing up, myself included, that marriage to a man, followed by babies, is the path to safety. Now that I've been exposed to new ideas, the search for the perfect male partner to provide security and children isn't so high on the agenda.

The Age of Aquarius is about making the most of our freedom while bearing the responsibilities for our own lives, too.


Sex and the stars

Don't expect your sex life to stay the same during the Aquarian Age, either. 'Gender and sexual norms will be further broken down,' adds Stefanie Iris Weiss.

'The Aquarian Age is about celebrating a sexuality that's unique to you. You can be with whomever you want to. You don't have to do it the way anyone's done it before and that's empowering.'

Think Miley Cyrus declaring herself pansexual, or Kristen Stewart talking about her love for her girlfriend in ELLE's September issue. People such as model Hari Nef – boundary pushers who do things their own way – will thrive.

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Of course, the Age of Aquarius does have a dark side.

Aquarians are known as the revolutionaries and innovators of the zodiac. Susan Miller, the go-to astrologer for the New York fashion set, writes on her website, 'The ancient astrologers thought of Aquarius as "the sign of all things that are newly invented".

This is why the Age of Aquarius is linked so strongly to technology. Aquarius is also an air sign and therefore highly communicative, bent on gathering information.'

While there are huge benefits, Stefanie urges caution: 'Technology is becoming an extension of our bodies. From iWatches to a future where people embed chips under their skin, it makes me hope that women claim ownership of their bodies before they're merged with gadgets completely.'



Career transitions

The flattening of the old-era power pyramid is seeing the world of work rapidly changing, too. Gone are the days of a job for life or the promise of a pension.

The number of people freelancing, having zero-hour contracts and portfolio careers, or becoming 'digitally nomadic' – asset-light workers who take advantage of technology to be location independent – will increase.

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With so much in transition, what can you do to future-proof your career? 'The person who's adaptable and trained to work in a number of settings will survive changes best, as will those who take responsibility without being asked,' says Shelley.

'If there is any quality essential for this new age, it's retaining a youthful inquisitiveness about work and life.'

Astrology's theory of the Age of Aquarius is one I find deeply hopeful. When it comes to navigating a new year and a new age, knowledge is power.

Astrologers don't claim to be scientists and the feeling is mutual, says NASA: 'Astrology is something else. It's not science.' They also don't demand belief; rather, they interpret information and leave the rest up to us. The shaking of a 2,000-year-old viewpoint is bound to be bumpy.

As Shelley says, 'It's like moving house: there's a point where you don't want to be in the old place, but the chaos is making you question why you're doing it.'

Transformation may not be tidy, but it's full of opportunities. Whether you are a tech-loving rational thinker, or a new age hippy, consider whether you want to close your mind to the new world, or astral project yourself to a life where you make, shake and down your own cosmic cocktail.



Shelley von Strunckel's 2017 predictions:

1. Expect to see a shift in Hollywood movies – from violent films to those that emphasise the power of the mind.

2. With a greater sense of individual responsibility, people will resolve to look after the planet with care and compassion.

3. Men will no longer be trapped by the need to be macho. Increasingly, they'll be free to access their intuition and express their feelings.

4. The concept of the 'boss' will change. Workers could set their own salaries, based on the profit they intend to make for their company.

5. Workers will shun companies with policies they disagree with, making community-focused firms successful.

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