February 21st, 2012


When the moon is in the seventh house?

I picked this up a few years back at the dollar store, and it sat in my ever-growing “to be read” pile for a very long time, largely because I assumed that it was going to be a “woo-woo” newage book, as I (perhaps unfairly) recalled the author's previous (and far better known) book The Aquarian Conspiracy to be. I was probably a bit “burned out” by social media stuff last month, and picked this up just for a change of pace. So, I was quite surprised at what a level-headed book Marilyn Ferguson's Aquarius Now: Radical Common Sense And Reclaiming Our Personal Sovereignty was.

Frankly, the signs were there, even in the sub-title, “common sense” and “personal sovereignty” are right out of Libertarianism, and the book starts out by discussing Thomas Paine! It's not, however, a particularly political book, as it weaves science, philosophy, mysticism, and, yes, some politics, into a very interesting tapestry. It is, unfortunately, not an easy book to say “what it's about”, as it swings though a wide array of topics, most of which set up as “symbolized” by particular types (The Firemaker, The Sacred Warrior, The Navigator, etc.), although that connection tends towards being somewhat tenuous. I wonder how long it took Ferguson to write this, as it is so “chock full” of quotes, references, stories, and discussions of research, etc., that it must have taken a substantial effort to assemble all of this together. The book's 200 or so pages are divided into 14 chapters, and these contain various sections, each running from a half a page to about 3 pages, and (more or less) containing one idea, which in turn is sequenced with the others around it, and generally relates to the chapter topic.

Again, this makes it challenging to snag a chunk of text to put in here that would be illustrative of the book … as each section has its own focus, its own “characters”, and doesn't necessarily create a “story arc” with surrounding materials. To give you a bit of an example, the chapter that's sort of about ESP (“Tuning into the Field – The Dowser”), starts out quoting Tom Paine, moves into the theories of E.H. Gutkind, Henry Miller's reactions to those, which then dovetails into a quote by Ezra Pound … all in the first page and a half of the chapter. Many, if not most, of the sections have as much “happening in them”, making a rich mix of influences and cognitive threads, but making it very hard to sum up. It's almost as if Ferguson took everything she'd ever read in putting out her Brain/Mind Bulletin, cut it into bite-size pieces, and organized it into this book.

While I find it frustrating in the context of writing a cogent review, please don't take this as a criticism of the book. While it is a bit of a “fire hose” with concepts flying off the page in quick succession, it is an amazing collection of ideas and the people associated with those ideas, encapsulated just enough (in the sections and “themed” chapters) to give it a structure. The writing is generally accessible, despite the “depth” of some of the particular bits, and almost never veers off into too much (within the context of the book) detail on any one subject. As noted, I sort of expected the collectivist sensibility of the New Agers to be operating here, but the focus is very much on individual growth, responsibility, and freedom, and these linked into key thinkers of the past. One of the recurring themes here is of education/intelligence, and how our culture is being badly served by the systems which are in place currently ...for those who've been following my reading via these reviews, the concept of “attention” (which I've been running into a lot in a number of books) also plays a significant role here … all very interesting.

Aquarius Now is still in print, so could be found at your local better-stocked brick-and-mortar book vendor. Oddly, only one of the on-line big boys have it (and with no discount at that), but there are copies in the used channels, with a “like new” version of the hardcover going for as little as 1¢ plus shipping (which would probably be your best bet at this point). Again, I enjoyed reading this way more than I had anticipated, and I'd heartily recommend it to anybody with an interest in all that Mind/Brain stuff!

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