by Anodea Judith
The six-pointed star, made of two interlacing equilateral triangles, is the central image within the lotus of the heart chakra. The appearance of this symbol within the astrological configuration of January 23, 1997 may have much significance in terms of socio-cultural planetary changes occurring at this time. The following is a further explanation of the chakras, their evolutionary significance, and the meaning of the heart chakra in particular.
The heart chakra is the middle chakra in a system of seven. It symbolizes the two polarities of body and spirit as interpenetrating in perfect balance. The upward pointing triangle symbolizes matter rising into spirit. The downward triangle (similar to the ancient female symbol for birth) represents spirit descending into manifestation. To fully open the heart chakra we need to bring into balance the various aspects of our existence, such as male and female, light and shadow, mind and body, practicality and spirituality.
It is my belief that the dawning Age of Aquarius heralds a socio-cultural age corresponding to the heart chakra. This era marks the importance of balancing the polarities of human existence within the dominating paradigm of the collective conscious.
But first let us look briefly at the pattern of cultural evolution through the chakras that has occurred thus far:
The period of the Paleolithic cave dwellers relates to the consciousness level of chakra one. Here we were bound without recourse by the cycles of the earth. Tribes roamed across the earth, lived in caves made of earth. We hunted and gathered, taking what the earth freely offered. Worship was of a monotheistic mother goddess, who symbolized the miracle of birth and the fecundity of earth. The beginning of this age is hard to fathom -- perhaps it had no true beginning, but is grounded in the survival instincts of the animal kingdom from which we have all emerged.
The dawn of the age of chakra two, (element water, oriented to sexuality and procreation) coinciding with the astrological age of Cancer (a cardinal water sign) was marked by the agricultural revolution and the beginning of ship building and travel by water, circa 10-8,000 BCE. Control of water through irrigation allowed communities to settle in one place rather than nomadically migrate across the land, and this new found freedom created a giant leap in cultural creativity. There were cities with thousands of citizens; great temples were built, with a proliferation of art and ritual, and written language toward the end of this period. Archeaologists believe it to have been a period of relative peace and prosperity. Worship was of a polytheistic variety of nature gods, male and female, oriented toward the agricultural cycles (planting and reaping) and the life/death/rebirth cycle of human lives.
The age of the third chakra (element fire, oriented to power and energy) coincides with the astrological age of Aries (a cardinal fire sign), about 1500 BCE. At this time patriarchal forces controlled culture through warlike aggression and hierarchical domination, and with but few exceptions overthrew the peaceful agrarian communities that preceded them. With fire, we could forge metals, make tools, and make weapons. The male Sky Gods replaced the earth and vegetation deities, with the worship turning toward the sun, the storm (lightning), and war gods. The collective struggle of existence was oriented toward power and technology. Technology freed us up from survival demands one step further, allowing populations to continue to grow, with greater diversification of labor as well as class status. Patterns of domination and persecution created the need for both personal and collective power which played out in individuals, villages, cities, and countries. These patterns have persisted through the present day, with huge nation states, ever increasing technology, and simultaneous increase in "sophisticated" weaponry, such as nuclear warheads.
We have been in the latter parts of the third chakra stage through this century. Issues of power and domination, energy and control are central concerns on our planet. We are technologically advanced, but our technology is also destroying the earth. Energy resources are a premium issue in power dynamics, such as the Persian Gulf War fought essentially over oil reserves. Much is out of balance, with the mind favored over the body, technology favored over ecology, white over black, male over female.
The age of the heart chakra is an age where these archetypal elements come into balance. Here the warring aggressive drives begin to wane and peace and ecological balance become the predominant concerns. Balance between the sexes, between races, and within the Self through our conscious and unconscious, active and passive, spiritual and material aspects of our existence, are also elements of the heart chakra's general orientation toward equilibrium. Increased focus on spirituality, with a simultaneous honoring of the body and the earth, is an example of this interpenetrating balance that is emerging today through New Age movements, therapeutic trends in psychology, and popular literature. As the heart chakra corresponds to the element air, so too does the sign of Aquarius, which is also dawning at this time, both in 97 (Jan 23 is the cusp of Aquarius) and as a larger era.
The actual moment that a new age begins is difficult if not impossible to pinpoint. These are larger cultural shifts that take place globally through many different activities, cultures and events over a broad span of time. Yet we are now, for the first time, conscious enough to see the patterns that emerge and watch for signposts that herald significant turning points. I believe the astrological configuration of January 23, 1997 is just one of those important signposts.