It is now nearly forty years since Marilyn Ferguson’s best-selling book The Aquarian Conspiracy1 was published. I’ve owned a copy for several years, but never got round to reading it. I’ve recently just started it, and have realised belatedly how significant it was. So, as younger readers may no longer be aware of it, I thought it would be a good idea to write an article, or perhaps a brief series, to try to bring it to the attention of a new generation, since they are the ones who will have to bring this conspiracy about.
The meaning of the word ‘conspiracy’ has changed somewhat, especially in recent times, now that everyone associates it with the abundance of political conspiracy theories circulating. Ferguson, however, uses it in its original sense of breathing together; she is therefore talking about a positive movement of like-minded people.
This new movement she is talking about has connections with some of the themes of my writing: New Paradigm science, Ancient Wisdom traditions, the Reunification of Science and Religion. Here are some key statements on those themes:
“… this conspiracy, whose roots are old and deep in human history…” (p21).
“the conspiracy only makes visible a light that has been present all along but unseen because we didn’t know where to look” (p21).
“It is a new mind – the ascendance of a startling worldview that gathers into its framework breakthrough science and insights from earliest recorded thought” (p23).
“it expresses deep principles of nature that are only now being described and confirmed by science” (p25).
That is why I’m now so interested in her book.
The word Aquarian is controversial, in that it is has astrological connotations. We are supposedly at the end of the Age of Pisces and awaiting the Age of Aquarius. And Astrology, as we all know, is described by many modern people, especially scientists, as ‘bunk’.
‘Aquarian’ is also in the title of another book I’ve referred to frequently in past articles, A Vision of the Aquarian Age: the Emerging Spiritual World View, by George Trevelyan2. If these two writers have got it right, we are therefore moving towards a new Aquarian age, which has in modern times the same meaning as ‘New Age’, without the ‘Aquarian’.
The New Age movement is not very popular with Fundamentalist Christians. I own several books by one especially enraged Fundamentalist by the name of Roy Livesey, who fulminates against everything to do with the New Age, from what he perceives to be the truth of his version of Christianity3. That is perhaps Why Christianity Must Change or Die, which is another theme of my writing, and the title of a book by Bishop John Shelby Spong4. I’ll be writing about him and his views shortly.
As a brief aside, I’ll just mention that Fundamentalist Christians like Livesey, who are opposed to astrology, should take note that fish symbolism was widely used in the early days of Christianity, which suggests that Jesus might have been the prophet announcing the Age of Pisces5.
The most alarming thing about Ferguson’s book is that, in the early 1980s, she seemed to think that the needed transformation was imminent. Here are a few key sentences which stand out:
“The social activism of the 1960s and the ‘consciousness revolution’ of the early 1970s seemed to be moving towards an historic synthesis”.
She says that in 1976 she had written: “Something remarkable is underway. It is moving with almost dizzying speed, but it has no name and eludes description”.
“Perhaps the indefinable force is an idea whose time has come” (all three, p18).
“As its network grew, the conspiracy became truer with every passing week. Groups seemed to be organizing spontaneously all over the United States and abroad. In their announcements and internal communications, they expressed the same conviction: ‘We are in the midst of a great transformation‘ ”(p20).
Forty years later, perhaps more people are coming around to this new way of thinking, but we cannot really say that the Aquarian Conspiracy is driving society and civilisation. We somehow need to find a way to put this new paradigm at the heart of politics. Ferguson said at her time of writing: “There are legions of conspirators. They are in corporations, universities and hospitals, on the faculties of schools, in factories and doctors’ offices, in state and federal agencies, on city councils and the White House staff… in virtually all arenas of policy-making in the United States” (p23). Perhaps American readers are currently wondering, therefore, why so little has changed, and what on earth has gone wrong in the last 40 years.
She further says that the Aquarian Conspiracy “is a conspiracy without a political doctrine. Without a manifesto” (p23). She seems, if I understand her correctly, to be saying that this is a positive feature. Perhaps, on the other hand, that is actually the problem, the reason why nothing significant has happened since she wrote. Perhaps the Aquarian Conspiracy needs to become a political movement.
That is why my website is called Spirituality in Politics. I have the vision, perhaps Utopian, that at some point, in the not too far distant future, civilisation will be founded on the ideas of ancient spiritual traditions, new paradigm science, and the Aquarian Conspiracy. I live in hope that there are enough like-minded people out there to join such a movement.
Further articles may follow, as I delve more deeply into Ferguson’s book.
1. Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1981, my copy Granada 1982
2. Coventure Ltd., 1977, my copy Gateway Books, 1994
3. for example: Understanding the New Age: New World Order, More Understanding the New Age, Understanding Deception
4. HarperSanFrancisco, 1998
5. Alan Alford says: “It is a curious fact that the current precessional era of Pisces, symbolized by the zodiac depiction of fishes, matches the era of Christianity and its almost identical symbol of the fishes. I do not believe that this is a coincidence”. (Gods of the New Millenium, chapter 16)
Also: “The fish, in the opinion of antiquarians generally, is the symbol of Jesus Christ. The fish is sculptured upon a number of Christian monuments, and more particularly upon the ancient sarchophagi. It is also upon medals, bearing the name of our Saviour and also upon engraved stones, cameos and intaglios… Baptismal fonts are more particularly ornamented with the fish. The fish is constantly exhibited placed upon a dish in the middle of the table, at the Last Supper, among the loaves, knives and cups used at the banquet”. (Quoted by Acharya S, The Christ Conspiracy, Adventures Unlimited, 1999, p79. I believe this is taken from The Aquarian Gospel of Jesus the Christ, by Levi Dowling, p4. In her footnote, however, she seems to have omitted the surname and says merely Levi.) She goes on to say: “The fish is in fact representative of the astrological age of Pisces, symbolized by the two fishes”.