Helena Petrovna Blavatsky and the Hindu Epoch
Definition: [Astrological Ages] Helena Petrovna Blavatsky [1831-1891 AD] is quoted by some commentators as the originator of the idea of the New Age. Is this true?
Writing in an article in 1887, Blavatsky states the following. [The text in green is hers.]
Helena Petrovna Blavatsky,
The Esoteric Character of the Gospels, Part I, published in
Lúcifer, vol.1, no 2, p. 96, 1887 AD: On the other hand, at no time since the
Christian era, have the precursor signs described in Matthew applied so
graphically and forcibly to any epoch as they do to our own times. When has
nation arisen against nation more than at this time? When have "famines" --
another name for destitute pauperism, and the famished multitudes of the
proletariat -- been more cruel, earthquakes more frequent, or covered such an
area simultaneously, as for the last few years? Millenarians and Adventists of
robust faith, may go on saying that "the coming of (the canalized) Christ" is
near at hand, and prepare themselves for "the end of the world." Theosophists
-- at any rate, some of them -- who understand the hidden meaning of the
universally-expected Avatars, Messiahs, Sosioshes and Christs -- know that it
is no "end of the world," but "the consummation of the age," i.e., the close of
a cycle, which is now fast approaching. 
5. There are several remarkable
cycles that come to a close at the end of this century*. First, the 5,000 years of the Kaliyug cycle; again the
Messianic cycle of the Samaritan (also Kabalistic) Jews of the man connected
with Pisces (Ichthys or "Fish-man" Dag). It is a cycle, historic and not very
long, but very occult, lasting about 2,155 solar years, but having a true
significance only when computed by lunar months. It occurred 2410 and 255 B.C.,
or when the equinox entered into the sign of the Ram, and again into that of
Pisces. When it enters, in a few years, the sign of Aquarius, psychologists
will have some extra work to do, and the psychic idiosyncrasies of humanity
will enter on a great change.
* Blavatsky, following Massey's chronology, places the move of the Vernal Equinox into Aquarius at the end of the nineteenth not the twentieth century. [Her reference to lunar months is nonsense, there is no connection between Precession and lunar months.]
The way this is written and the 255 BC start date indicate that she is referring to the work of others. That work is very likely to be that of Gerald Massey, whom she references many times in this particular work. The official publication date of his Lectures is a decade later than this, but he gives much more consideration to the subject whilst using a similar language and the same start date. That the Precession into Aquarius concept is not Blavatsky's is also indicated by the fact that she never mentions this again in her later famous work, The Secret Doctrine, published 1888 AD.
Madame Blavatsky and the Secret Doctrine Blavatsky devotes more than twenty pages to the Zodiac in her book The Secret Doctrine, The Synthesis of Science, Religion and Philosophy, [published 1888 AD] [Book I. -- Part III Science and the Secret Doctrine Contrasted], called the The Zodiac and it's Antiquity [Chapter 17, pp 647 - 668]. A very brief summary is given here. Blavatsky covers the following topics in her work: whether the Zodiac in India predates that of the Greeks/Babylonians [her opinion is that it does]* [p 647], whether the Hindu Zodiac is immensely old [her opinion is that it is]* [p 655]; that the Hindu's have Epochs which each last for 3102 years** [p 661]
[*This flies in the face of modern scholarship. The Hindu Lunar Zodiac may be several thousand years old, but all the evidence suggests that the Hindu Solar Zodiac is a direct descendant of the Babylonian Zodiac. See Zodiac Wheels for more on this. [Massey also thinks that the Solar Zodiac is very old but he gives an Egygptian origin, not a Hindu one.] ** Blavatsky seems to be the only writer who thinks this. Hindu authorities notably do not - they don't even consider their Epochs to have equal lengths.]
Whilst Blatvatsky does mention Precession in her work, it is never in the context of the future Movement of the Vernal Equinox Point into particular Constellations. She never mentions Pisces, nor Aquarius, nor the start of an Age of Aquarius. She does not define an Astrological Age in the manner of Jung. Her - disputed - reading of the Hindu Epochs is that they are not Precession-related but depend on particular astrological alignments of Sun, Moon and planets to mark their start.
Searching For a New Age in the 20th Century...
© Dr Shepherd Simpson, Astrological Historian.
See the new Astrological Index for the meaning of other astrological words and phrases