Woodstock Nation

by Miguel Balbuena

Nowadays the media are constantly reminding us about the Woodstock Music & Art Fair, which took place half a century ago between Aug. 15 and 18. The Woodstock festival had a cosmological underpinning in that it was one of the landmark expressions of the dawning of the Age of Aquarius, one of whose preceding manifestations was the rock musical “Hair.”

“Hair” debuted in New York City in October 1967. It featured prominently the song “Aquarius,” which was subsequently sold in three ways: as a recording by the Broadway cast, known as the Tribe; as a single, performed by the African American pop band the 5th Dimension and released in March 1969, and; as a track in the album “The Age of Aquarius,” by the same group, released two months later.

The historical relevance of the tune “Aquarius” cannot be overstated. In the 12th Annual Grammy Awards in 1970, it went to win accolades for Record of the Year and Best Contemporary Vocal Performance by a Group, trouncing in the second category the album “Abbey Road” by the top rock band ever, the Beatles, even though their album contained 17 songs.

The lyrics sheet of “Aquarius,” which became the anthem of the New Age, read: “When the Moon is in the Seventh House / and Jupiter aligns with Mars, / then peace will guide the planets / and love will

steer the stars. / This is the dawning of the Age of Aquarius, / Age of Aquarius, / Aquarius, / Aquarius. / Harmony and understanding, / sympathy and trust abounding. / No more falsehoods or derisions. / Golden living dreams of visions, / mystic crystal revelation / and the mind’s true liberation.”

These words, penned by James Rado and Gerome Ragni, didn’t strike like a bolt of lightning coming out of a clear blue sky, suggested Sally Eaton, an actress in the play. Apparently, the creation of the lyrics was more in line with what inventor Thomas Edison said in 1903, “Genius is one percent inspiration, ninety-nine percent perspiration,” as she alleged that Rado conducted astral research to come up with them.

Besides the sheet, another significant document of this age came in the form of the poster advertising Woodstock. It promoted the festival as “an Aquarian exposition” with “3 days of peace & music.” We can see peace as a thread between both documents. To leave no doubts about this connection the crowd in attendance at Woodstock sung “Aquarius,” whose recording is on the double album Woodstock Two, released in 1971.

To the best of my knowledge, no birth certificate for the Age of Aquarius was issued by official authorities. Nonetheless, its arrival was predicted in the book “The Message of Aquarius,” published in 1960, and its growth and development were assessed four years later, in the book “Grand Gnostic Manifesto of the Third Year of Aquarius,” both written by Colombian avatar Samael Aun Weor.

“This Era of Aquarius started again on the fourth of February of 1962 between two and three in the afternoon. At that moment, all the astronomers of the world could see with their telescopes the heavenly transit rush under the constellation of the Water Carrier,” Aun Weor is quoted as having said in “The Aquarian Message,” a reissue of the first book. “The plain reality is that the Age of Aquarius started on the date already mentioned and that this phenomenon was seen in all of the countries of the world by all of the scientists, astronomers, astrologers, etc. This scientific cosmic event is a concrete, official,

and irrefutable fact. On that date, there was a solar and a lunar eclipse that some of you might remember.”

Moreover, spiritual messengers proposed that on that Feb. 4 there was a conjunction of the seven primary celestial bodies, namely the Sun, the Moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn, as they aligned with the planet Earth and, in addition, they were all within three degrees of one another. This was purportedly the signal of the emergence of a long celestial cycle known as the Age of Aquarius, represented by the constellation of the Water Carrier.

Aug. 15 through 18, the Bethel Woods Center for the Arts, in the original Woodstock site, will celebrate the festival’s 50th anniversary.

About the author: Miguel Balbuena is a writer in the academic, scientific, journalistic and literary fields

(in the fiction and non-fiction genres).

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