This blog has its own Facebook Page, where I publish all kinds of astrological stuff – blogs, videos and articles from leading astrologers for instance  – in fact anything astrological which takes my fancy and I think might interest YOU, dear reader. Do go over, visit for a while, leave a Like or even better, a comment. See you there!

New Moon in Gemini – on its way !

I thought it might be fun – and a radical departure from my usual approach –  to take a lightning skim through the twelve houses of the horoscope, writing down the first thing that comes into my head regarding the tone of the month ahead for us all: here goes!

The Gemini New Moon, by the way, falls in my Tenth House…

Gemini, Gemini!

Gemini, Gemini!

First House

Please – just shut up…

Second House

Bank loan, here I come. What to spend it on? Books!!

Third House

Why do I have to have so many siblings?

Fourth House

Yes – just invite everyone for dinner

Fifth House

What – only one love affair?

Sixth House

Send help – I am locked in the library

More Gemini...

More Gemini…

Seventh House

You show me your novel, I’ll show you my six unfinished drafts…

Eighth House

Now that would be telling…

Ninth House

See you in Timbuktu!

Tenth House

I’ve only had four careers so far lol

Eleventh House

Sorry, membership already over-subscribed

Twelfth House

There are two sofas in this room, and I’m behind both of them!

******

Zodiac

200 words copyright Anne Whitaker 2017
Licensed under Creative Commons – for conditions see Home Page

Some thoughts on the North Node, newly in Leo…

“…I asked whether astrologers are missing something important by not paying attention to the Nodes, natally and as life unfolds. I think the answer to this is yes, with particular reference to the transiting Nodal cycle and the eclipse seasons which accompany them. The pair of houses highlighted by the transiting Nodal axis and eclipses should be carefully observed…”(i)

Impetus and inspiration for this post came from a very striking experience I had on 9th May 2017, at around 7 pm. More about this shortly…

The North Node’s transit through Virgo, South Node in Pisces, from the end of 2015 right through to early May 2017, picking up on a particularly undermining, painful and difficult Saturn/Neptune square from Sagittarius to Pisces, challenged us all, especially when the attendant eclipse seasons in September 2016 and March 2017 triggered off the pattern.

Collectively, we had the pain and trauma of waves of mass migration from the world’s trouble spots to European countries ill-equipped to cope, with many migrants drowning in overcrowded traffickers’ boats, their hopes for a better life perishing with them. We had the election of Donald Trump and the shock-waves that sent around the world. We had the UK voting to exit from the European Union with similar effects.

At a personal level, many of us, me and my clients amongst them, had a great deal of personal confusion, uncertainty, family trauma and other types of suffering to deal with. The impression I gained from astrological colleagues especially via social media, was that the Nodal Axis through Virgo/Pisces had challenged us to grow and move forward in our personal paths through a great deal of worldly pain.

As the imminent shift of the Nodal Axis into Leo/Aquarius approached, there was a great deal of positive comment, hope and anticipation across the astro-Web. A move from Virgo’s dense earth and Pisces’ deep water to Leo’s creative, optimistic fire complemented by Aquarius’ detached, humane airiness would – surely – be easier and more pleasurable to deal with?

The North Node Crossed my 9 Virgo Ascendant, entering the 12th House, in November 2016 (where it will remain until the Spring of 2018, with the South Node tenanting the 6th House). I was aware in late April/early May 2017 that the North Node’s shift into Leo was imminent, and read some of the astro-Web’s outpourings on the subject.

However, I was too immersed in grappling with the inner challenges brought to me by trauma close to home– not of my making – to pay much attention to second guessing what the shift might bring for me personally, or indeed what day it was going to take place.

However, on 9th May 2017, just after dinner, my inner turmoil resolved itself to the point where I was able to take constructive action to put some distance between what I know to be my main path for whatever life remains to me, and the needs of others. (Protecting other people’s privacy prevents me from being more explicit than this).

In essence, I re-affirmed for myself that night that the energy my intertwined creative life and spiritual path requires, was not going to be given away to grappling with old family pathology from whose grip I have largely managed to extricate myself after decades of tough spiritual work.

Realising that this was a key moment, I put up a chart, and was stunned to note that decisive action I had taken had been almost exactly the moment that the North Node shifted into Leo in my Twelfth House. That night, I was even more aware than usual of the unconditional support my Aquarian husband has always given me to follow my creative path.

Looking for some strong Nodal JPEGS I could use whilst writing this post, I came across this summary – brilliantly appropriate for where I am at the momentn– from the website of Alison Gunn, Ph D, an astrologer whose in-depth work I very much admire:

“…In a nutshell, then, this is the dichotomy of the 6/12 nodal axis: you have to find a way to live in the everyday world and, at the same time, keep the issues confronting your ‘immortal soul’ on the front burner…” (ii)

I hope you will find this personal account of interest, and that it will inspire you to keep a close eye on the pair of houses being highlighted in YOUR horoscope over the next eighteen months by the transiting Nodal axis and its attendant eclipses. These are the area in your life which are now ripe for challenge and change!

To end on a pungent, amusing but I think very accurate piece of astrological shorthand from that incomparable astrologer Michael Lutin, couched in the terminology of Alcoholics Anonymous: he invites us to think of the South Node as the Bottle, and the North Node as The Meeting…a very concise way of reminding us that the South Node represents the safe haven of familiar responses and patterns which, if we stick there, leads to no progress. We need to push ourselves in the direction to which the North Node beckons us, if we want to grow and develop to the fullness of which we are capable as this life time unfolds.

________________

Endnotes

(i) from Anne Whitaker,   The Moon’s Nodes in Action, p 157

(ii) from Alison Gunn Ph D, Beyond The Stars Astrology and Tarot ,  in  analysis of the 6th house/12th house nodal axis through the signs

Zodiac

900 words copyright Anne Whitaker 2017
Licensed under Creative Commons – for conditions see Home Page

 

The Aquarian Age: are we there yet?

“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…”

As predictions go, this one is not impressive. Offered in 1967 via the smash hit rock musical ‘Hair’,  it suffers from it own internal contradictions. For a start, the Seventh House can sometimes be the ‘house of open enemies’. Moreover, if you think an alignment of Mars and Jupiter augurs peace in our time, check our former UK  Prime Minister Tony Blair’s horoscope, with Mars rising, conjunct Jupiter…

There is furthermore the annoying problem that contemporary evidence doesn’t quite support the theory that the Aquarian Age is ushering in an era of peace and love. As we settle in to a new millennium, it is rather noticeable that a maniacal death cult, whose avowed aim is to bring down western civilisation and hasten the Apocalypse, has arisen and spread with frightening speed in the last few years. 

Also, opinion regarding the fate of Planet Earth is divided. For example, in 2013, the thinkprogress.org website produced impressive statistics appearing to demonstrate that life is getting better globally, despite the foreground picture of wars and global warming. On the other hand, many scientists think that we are already in the period of the Sixth Mass Extinction, human agency being largely culpable this time.

Moreover, the former Chief Rabbi, Dr Jonathan Sacks, stated a few years ago in relation to the self-oriented culture which is rising worldwide as traditional religious belief is declining, that we humans are engaging in the largest experiment in mass selfishness that the world has ever seen…

Respected astrologer and historian Dr Nicholas Campion, in his fascinating book ‘Astrology, History and Apocalypse’ (CPA Press, 2000) describes belief in the Age of Aquarius as “…one of the great cliches of modern astrology…” (p131).

His having collected a list of  almost one hundred dates from around 1260 AD to around 3000 AD “…at which the Age of Aquarius can begin…” (p127) lends weight to Campion’s view that the Age of Aquarius is a myth, reflecting our ancient human need to believe that the corrupted old order is collapsing, a wonderful Golden Age being just around the corner. The technical term for this is millenarianism; do read Nicholas Campion’s erudite ‘take’ on that vast and complex subject.

Campion (p83) refers to an essay of Carl Jung’s called ‘The Sign of the Fish(from vol 9, Part 2 of Jung’s Collected Works) – a must-read for anyone with more than a passing interest in what the Aquarian Age may be, and what it might signify.  In essence, Jung concludes that “…the course of our religious history as well as an essential part of our psychic development could have been predicted…from the precession of the equinoxes through the constellation of Pisces…”.

The first point of Aries precesses backwards through a whole constellation during a period of roughly 2,000 years. It is currently somewhere between the first star in the constellation of Pisces and the last star of the constellation of Aquarius.

When the Aries point shifts from one constellation to the next, according to Jung, our image of the Divine changes. I was bowled over by this idea, first encountered in a Liz Greene seminar during the 1990s, and have been reflecting on it ever since, watching the wider world to see if there is evidence of this shift taking place.

I think there is. We are going through a vast technological revolution. Science has made fast strides in recent decades: mapping the human genome, beginning to alter the very genetics of life on earth.The magnificently durable Hubble telescope has hugely expanded our view of the Cosmos. And – much of the population of the Earth is now linked to the Internet, via mobile phone technology.

We even have a new religion: Scientism, which has risen to prominence in recent times complete with our local UK High Priests: Aquarius’ old ruler Saturn as Richard Dawkins, and its new ruler Uranus as Brian Cox. The new paradigm emerging carries with it, as has been the case throughout history, the arrogance of new beliefs: superior – of course! – to what went before. Fifty years ago, to be called ‘unChristian’ was a pretty hefty challenge. Today, being called ‘unScientific’ has largely taken its place.

Caught on the cusp of crumbling old world beliefs and the new world order arising, we are a liminal population, projecting the Divine onto enticing promises of a better future offered by scientific progress. This new future needs a name. Why not just call it the Age of Aquarius?

Exciting, revolutionary, disruptive – certainly. Ushering in a new era of love and peace? I don’t think so…what do YOU think?

Endnotes:

This post was first published as my fifth Not the Astrology Column in the March/April 2015 Issue of the UK’s Astrological Journal, edited by Victor Olliver.

Zodiac

Zodiac

********

850 words copyright Anne Whitaker 2017

Exploring Jupiter/Uranus, Take Two: shades of the future…

I’m continuing to pay tribute to that set of great zodiacal disrupters, Jupiter and Uranus, as the current opposition during 2017 forms a T-square with Pluto, dark lord of the Underworld – challenging us both collectively and in our personal lives with mayhem and disturbance on a grand scale. 

Disruption, disruption, disruption...

Disruption, disruption, disruption…

To read the first of my series of three posts on Jupiter/Uranus conjunctions, click HERE to follow this uniquely challenging conjunction through its 3,000 years’ travel through the four elements – AND obtain a free download of my research studies on the 1997/8 and 2010/11 conjunctions, “Jupiter Meets Uranus”.

Take Two: the Jupiter/Uranus conjunction in Aquarius

In “Jupiter Meets Uranus” I made a strong case for the conjunction in Aquarius being “the one most powerfully connected to particularly radical and disruptive social, political and technological shifts”.(pp 47-52) I then returned to examining the Big Picture from 500 BCE to 2500 CE for a second time, creating a table on this occasion which revealed the number of these Aquarian conjunctions throughout each 500 year block. My results were very, very interesting.

The time block which had the most Aquarian conjunctions, ie 7, was 1500 – 2000 CE:  “the most innovative, expansive, technologically sophisticated and disruptive in human history!” (p.37)

The runner-up for the most conjunctions in Aquarius was 0–500 CE, with 6. This time roughly spans the period of the rise, dominance and fall of another highly sophisticated technological civilisation already mentioned: the Roman Empire.

And the 500 years with the fewest Aquarian conjunctions? There was only one Jupiter/Uranus conjunction in Aquarius from 1000 to 1499 CE, roughly spanning the time known as the Dark Ages in Europe, which included the Black Death which wiped out a third of the population in the fourteenth century.

Perhaps rather worryingly, in the three millennia I surveyed the only other period with one Jupiter/Uranus conjunction in Aquarius lies ahead – between 2000 and 2500 CE at 2 degrees Aquarius in 2080. This is the last of these Aquarian conjunctions for another 677 years.

What will this mean? Well, it is so far into the future that any speculation of more than a very general nature is probably foolhardy – and likely to be wrong. We could be pessimistic, looking at the other period in 3,000 years with only one conjunction ie 1000-1499 CE and becoming very gloomy indeed regarding our prospects for long-term survival.

On the other hand, this could indicate an era in which, having pushed the potential of technological innovation to its limits, we are gradually returning to a simpler, less technologically driven way of inhabiting our planet: a time in which we are more respectful of the essential inter-connectedness of all life forms, and more aware of  our role as stewards rather than exploiters, of our precious Mother Earth.

What do YOU think?

 

Zodiac

Zodiac

********

500 words copyright Anne Whitaker 2017

Licensed under Creative Commons – for conditions see Home Page

 

 

Jupiter/Uranus conjunctions: Past, Present – and Future

During 1997/8, I became so obsessed with Jupiter/Uranus conjunctions that friends and students began to avoid me in the street (I jest, but only slightly!) The obsession resulted in a research study concerning that brilliant, disruptive, futuristic boldly-going planetary combination. Then 2010/11 came, bringing a new Jupiter/Uranus conjunction which resurrected my obsession, this time resulting in a whole blog devoted to commentary and research. All that research, I’m happy to say, is republished in electronic form and is available to download free from this site. 

Jupiter Meets Uranus

Jupiter Meets Uranus

The obsession has calmed down, but this year’s Jupiter/Uranus opposition has seen me revisiting my extensive Jupiter/Uranus archive. Already this year, the UK’s Astrological Journal has re-published an interview I gave to the American Federation of Astrologers on the subject of Jupiter/Uranus conjunctions, then called “Jupiter, Uranus and the Purple People of Planet Zog”.  

Part of the research involved taking a very long view of what that unique combination of planets which meets every fourteen years, described in “Mundane Astrology” as connected to the ‘growth and awakening of human consciousness’ , could tell us about the past, our present – and our possible future as a human community.

I used a wonderful researcher’s tool – Michelsen’s Tables of Planetary Phenomena – to explore the long historical pulse beat of that fascinating combination of planets. What I found blew me away, and continues to excite me when I reflect upon what it has revealed about where we have come from – and where we may be  headed.

So – do join me in this series of posts in which I share my exploratory journey, propelled by Jupiter/Uranus’ extraordinary energies… 

****************

In sum, I took the period 500 BCE to 2500 CE, divided it up into 500 year chunks, and analysed the pattern of appearance and disappearance of Jupiter/Uranus conjunctions. I then attempted to correlate this pattern with a very broad historical timeline – taking three complementary ‘takes’ on the movement of those unique conjunctions. (All the tables can be found in ‘Jupiter Meets Uranus’ )

Take One: Jupiter/Uranus through the four elements: 500 BCE to 2500 CE

I first selected the conjunction’s traverse through the four elements, the basic platform on which any astrological analysis rests, whether one is preparing an individual horoscope or looking at  a chunk of historical time.

The conjunction occurred only in earth and water signs during the period 500-76 BCE. What are we to make of this ?

The above period roughly covers the time of the huge conceptual shift which occurred as mythological consciousness gave way to a more rational, objective view of the world and our relationship with the Divine.  The work of the great  Greek  philosophers, culminating in Plato, which emerged during this period, had a huge influence on the course of Western civilisation from that point on.

Symbolically, the movement of the Jupiter-Uranus conjunctions through the stabilising elements of earth and water could be read as significators for a time in history where the existing foundations of civilisation, and continuity of beliefs and the social order, were utterly disrupted at the most fundamental of levels.

75 BCE to 146 CE saw the conjunction going through a mixed transition period featuring all four elements, until the last conjunction in the earth element in 146 CE. This could be seen as the period where the struggle between the old order (earth and water) and the new (fire and air) was particularly potent, exemplified in the West by the battle between rising Christianity and the old Pagan beliefs of the dying matriarchal religions.

A much longer period from 160 to 588 CE saw the conjunction taking place only in fire and air signs. This can be envisaged as a time  when, in Robert Hand’s vivid phrase

“ the past has minimum hold upon the present, but the present has a maximum hold on the future.”

It roughly covers the rise of the Roman Empire: its colonial expansion, bringing civilisation of an entirely new level of technical innovation and sophistication to large swathes of the known world, its Christianisation, and its fall in the fifth century CE.

A great leap forward….and….

The next time that the conjunctions take place only in fire and air is from 1500 to 1845 CE.

This period of history, set within the context of the mighty 500 year Neptune /Pluto cycle which began in 1398, is renowned for its optimism, creativity, faith in human progress, and huge  scientific and technological leaps forward.

There was the rise of European colonialism beginning with the great sea voyages of discovery. As already mentioned, we had the Renaissance, Reformation, Agrarian and Industrial Revolutions, and American and  French Revolutions all during this time.

Most significantly of all, in the eighteenth century we had the weave of the unfolding Scientific Revolution with the European Enlightenment, birthing a view of life more influenced by scientific materialism than religion for the first time in human history.

Since 1845,  we have been in a mixed transition period again which will last until about 2045.

There is increasing realisation that the fire and air march forward into an exciting, rationally and scientifically based future has a hefty price tag attached to it. That is the literal survival of earth and water: the root of our being, the Earth itself. At the start of this new millennium, scientific progress rushes on ever faster. But disquiet increases, as evidence of the cost to our planet and our collective health becomes more and more compelling.

The struggle between the old order (earth and water) and the new (fire and air) is once again potent, and once again involves religious strife – this time between rising secular humanism and traditional religions. We are also seeing the rise of a virulent strain of terrorism using religion as its excuse for depradations and violence world-wide.

From  around the  middle of  the 21st century we will once again be moving into a period where the Jupiter/Uranus conjunctions occur only in earth and water for 350 –400 years.

At this point, taking some perspective from the last time this occurred between 500-76 BCE, we may expect…’the existing foundations of civilisation, and continuity of beliefs and the social order…to be  ‘utterly disrupted at the most fundamental of levels’. We might well be using our considerable technological expertise in the battle to save a polluted planet from extinction. Another possible manifestation is that Artificial Intelligence, already making great strides, creates huge disruption to what we consider it is to be human.

In the first example I gave, there was a move from an earth and water period, to a mixed element period, to a fire and air period. In the second example, there has been a move backward: from fire and air, to the mixed element period we now occupy, then earth and water still to come.  Analysing the pulse beat of just one planetary combination over very long periods really does seem to provide a glimpse of  where we have come from – and where we are headed.

In the next post, Take Two: the Jupiter/Uranus conjunction in Aquarius, I make a strong case for the conjunction in Aquarius being “the one most powerfully connected to particularly radical and disruptive social, political and technological shifts”. Watch this space!

Zodiac

Zodiac

********

1200 words copyright Anne Whitaker 2017

Licensed under Creative Commons – for conditions see Home Page

My desert island books…with a nod to Jupiter/Uranus

Were I allowed three books on my Desert Island, next to Carpentry for Dummies would nestle two astrology books. One, Michelsen’s 21st Century Ephemeris, the other, Michelsen’s Tables of Planetary Phenomena.

My fascination with planetary cycles began in the early 1980s – during a lecture by the late Charles Harvey. Until that time Mundane astrology was unknown to me. I was still grappling to develop fluency with the absolute basics.

The idea that energy tides running through the cosmos could be mapped and explicated simultaneously both in terms of individuals’ lives and wider socio- political processes gripped me immediately. Long before studying astrology I had spent far too much time wondering about, and reading around ‘What are we tiny specks of sentient matter doing here amidst the Vastness?’ : a question most sensible folk prefer to ignore if possible. 

After discovering Mundane, I kept an eye on what was going on in the world with an Ephemeris in one hand – Michelsen’s, of course!

Having begun teaching astrology classes in the mid 1980s, I attempted to infect even my most solipsistic students with enthusiasm for Mundane. One approach was to collect press cuttings and pictures on those special occasions of planetary ingresses into new signs.

Saturn’s entry into Pisces in May 1993 yielded a stunning front page image of a cargo ship grounded on a sandbank in the English Channel. The day Pluto went into Sagittarius in January 1995 saw the Japanese city of Kobe go up in flames, struck by a huge earthquake. That same week, a photo appeared of Pope John Paul the Second preaching to over a million people in Manila.

By the late 1990s I had built up an extensive file. Unfortunately it is now somewhere in Belgrade (…another story…!)

However, the best was yet to come. In 1996 I became obsessed with the Jupiter/Uranus conjunction in Aquarius due on 16th February 1997. Jupiter and Uranus meet every fourteen years. When they do, revolution and innovation join forces with restless exploration and the quest for knowledge.The result is always exciting, educational and unpredictable. Or is it?

I set about testing astrological theory against events in individual and collective life, ending up writing a whole book, eventually published in 2009. The big event of the 1997 conjunction was, of course, the announcement to the world of Dolly, the first cloned sheep.

I collected volunteers whose horoscopes would be ‘zapped’ by that conjunction, setting the research into their personal lives during 1997-8 in the context of world affairs. I then had the bright and slightly mad idea of following the pulse beat of this conjunction throughout chunks of history.

My time periods were 500 BC-0 AD; 0-500 AD; 500-1000 AD; 1000-1500 AD; 1500-2000 AD; then 2000-2050. Those arbitrary ‘chunks’ roughly followed the pattern of the mighty 500 year Neptune/Pluto conjunctions, whose last two meetings took place in Gemini in 1398/9 and 1891/2.

None of this research would have been possible, of course, without Michelsen’s Tables of Planetary Phenomena. 

Tables of Planetary Phenomena

Using this brilliant reference book, I was able to construct tables of the Jupiter/Uranus conjunction’s travels: through the four elements of fire, air, earth, and water from 500 BC to 2000 AD, through an overview of its journey via the four elements by century 1700-2100. With specific reference purely to Jupiter/Uranus conjunctions in Aquarius, I plotted their movements from 500 BC right through to 2500 AD, focusing more narrowly on their progress through the four elements during the 20th Century.

This research, validating astrological theory, gave me a tremendous ‘buzz’, since it provided startling perspectives on human technological development during very long periods.

For example, there are two time blocks with more Jupiter/Uranus conjunctions in Aquarius than any other. One is during 0-500 AD, roughly coinciding with the rise, dominance and fall of the Roman Empire from the first Emperor, Augustus. The other is 1500-2000 AD, the beginning of the Renaissance and the great European voyages of discovery: the most rapid period of technological advance the human race has ever known.

Thank you, Neil F.Michelsen!

__________

Endnotes:

This post was first published as my first Not the Astrology Column in the July/August 2014 Issue of the UK’s Astrological Journal, edited by Victor Olliver, under the title “For love of Mundane astrology…and in praise of Neil F.Michelsen…”

My two research studies “Jupiter Meets Uranus”(second edition) and “The Moon’s Nodes in Action” can be downloaded as free e-books from this site.

Zodiac

Zodiac

********

700 words copyright Anne Whitaker 2017

Licensed under Creative Commons – for conditions see Home Page

What is astrology’s place in the contemporary world?

We live in a vast energy field of constant motion, most of which is invisible to us. The rippling patterns of order and chaos, which is the fundamental dance of creation, govern everything. I have come to see the art of astrology (helped by what I have grasped of what the quantum world has revealed to us) as one that enables us to map those patterns via the constant shifting energies of the planets in their orbits.

Cosmic Dance

Cosmic Dance (click on image to see full poster)

words by Anne Whitaker

Astrologers take a step that, in our reductionist, materialist culture, pulls down all sorts of opprobrium and scorn upon our heads: We attribute meaning to those patterns. Beginning in ancient times until the Scientific Revolution of the 17th Century (which caused a split between form, described by astronomy, and content, described by astrology), the maxim “as above, so below” governed people’s worldview. Prior to the Scientific Revolution, we lived in a cosmos charged with meaning, an “ensouled” cosmos, where form and content reflected and informed each other.

Astrology and prejudice
Some of us still live in that cosmos. Others do not. Where you have such a powerful clash of worldviews, polarisation and prejudice can arise. I think that Victor Olliver, editor of the UK’s respected Astrological Journal, was right regarding his eloquent and well argued response to my doubts and questions about popular astrology in the spring of 2015. At that time, he pointed out that the real enemy of astrology is prejudice. There is the prejudice from outside the astrological community (especially from much of the scientific community) from those who believe that our lives are the product of cosmic chance, and thereby devoid of meaning. And then there is the prejudice from those within the community — those who consider themselves to be “serious” practitioners — toward the populist, mass-market astrology that millions avidly consume across a vast range of media on a daily basis, looking for some glimmer of meaning in life.

What do we do about this? In reflecting on how I might “wrap up” Victor’s and my three-part debate, which generated a great deal of interest across the Web, the word “occult” came strongly to mind.

I pondered it for a few days. According to the Shorter Oxford English Dictionary, the original meaning of the word is from the Latin “occulere,” i.e. “to hide, conceal.” It also (in a more physical sense) means “to cut off from view by interposing some other body,” as in, for example, the occultation of one planet or heavenly body by another.

Is astrology an “occult” practice?
The word “occult” in recent times has taken on a more sinister connotation, referring often to magical or supernatural practices of a dubious nature. As I reflected on it, I became more interested in the original meaning of the word, which has led me to a conclusion about the status of astrology, especially in our modern world: The true depth of what astrology can reveal about human affairs, both in the collective and the personal sense, will always be inaccessible to the large majority of people. Astrology is an occult subject. As such, its influence and its great value are likely to remain masked, hidden from view, operating powerfully but behind the scenes of everyday life.

Ancient Stargazers

Ancient Stargazers

For example, in ancient times its practice was held in high esteem by Babylonian and Egyptian rulers, whose astrologer-priests scanned the stars and advised the kings (and sometimes, even, the queens!)  on the fate of their nations. There were no personal horoscopes. The general public was in no way consulted or informed regarding decisions made that affected all their lives. Astrological knowledge, deemed sacred, was deliberately kept hidden from ordinary view.

Paradoxically, in our time, mass-market popular astrology could be seen as fulfilling the function of concealing the real power of astrology quite effectively. Most of the public remain unaware of the depth that exists behind the mask of the Sun Sign columns, although I do agree with Victor that there is a very big difference between the nuggets of truth that a quality Sun Sign column can reveal and the kind of trashy stuff that some popular newspapers, magazines, and internet sites churn out.

A warning ignored
Sun Sign columns are also rather effective in raising the ire and spleen of reductionists who thereby are permanently deflected from benefiting from astrology’s true depth, which at times could have been life-saving as evinced in the powerful example of astrologer Dennis Elwell’s prescient warning in the 1980s.

In 1987, Dennis Elwell, the late well-known U.K. astrologer, wrote to the main shipping companies to warn them that a pattern very similar to that under which the Titanic had sunk was coming in the heavens very soon. He strongly suggested that they review the seaworthiness and safety procedures of all their passenger ships. His warning was duly dismissed. Not long afterwards, the U.K.’s Herald of Free Enterprise ferryboat went down, resulting in the loss of 188 lives.

Popular astrology—a stepping-stone?
It is true, as Victor pointed out in his robust reply to my challenge, that mass-market astrology is the stepping-stone that enables people who are seekers after deeper meaning to step from relative triviality to much greater depth.

However, to understand the profound link that exists between your unique chip of energy and the larger, meaningful cosmos, you will need to seek out a good astrologer to offer you a sensitive and revealing portrait of your moment of birth via your horoscope. Those of us who are in-depth practitioners know that a quality astrology reading with the right astrologer at the right time can be truly life changing.

Only a small percentage of people who read Sun Sign columns take that step into deeper territory. Most do not. Either they are quite happy with the superficiality they find there, or they spin off into active enraged prejudice, and sometimes very public condemnation, of our great art…

As I said to Victor Olliver by way of conclusion to our most instructive debate, pondering on the word “occult” has led me to quite a peaceful place. I can now abandon any prejudice I may have toward my colleagues who are Sun Sign astrologers: they are offering a valuable service in providing a smoke screen. This helps greatly to maintain astrology in its true place as an occult activity, perhaps leavening the ignorance and crassness of our materialist, consumer age  — but from behind the scenes.

Concluding thoughts from academe

I have recently been re-reading an excellent book by astrologer, teacher, and writer Dr. Bernadette Brady, Chaos, Chaosmos and Astrology. In her book, Brady quotes fellow astrologer and academic Dr. Patrick Curry’s view that the practice of astrology is  “…an instrument of enchantment, a way in which humanity encounters mystery, awe, and wonder….,” and that in order to maintain such a position it is “…necessary for astrology to be marginalised by science…” (1)

I was very happy to encounter this viewpoint put forward by fellow astrologers whose scholarship and viewpoints I respect. Their views have eloquently endorsed my own.

What do you think of this viewpoint, readers? I’d be most interested to hear.

Footnote:
(1) Bernadette Brady, Cosmos, Chaosmos and Astrology, Sophia Centre Press, 2014, p 71.

(This post was most recently published in May 2016 as “Some thoughts on astrology’s place in the contemporary world” on The Mountain Astrologer Blog)

(Please Note:  any offensive comments will be ruthlessly binned)

Zodiac

Zodiac

********

1200 words copyright Anne Whitaker 2015/2017

Licensed under Creative Commons – for conditions see Home Page