Tag Archives: Victor Olliver

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.

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850 words copyright Anne Whitaker 2017

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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!

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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.

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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)

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1200 words copyright Anne Whitaker 2015/2017

Licensed under Creative Commons – for conditions see Home Page

Returning to astrology – a lesson in ‘never say never’

In the Spring of 2003 I packed eighteen years worth of astrology teaching notes into a large cardboard box and sent them to Belgrade. It cost me £96( $120) in postage. I still have no idea whether it ever arrived, at a destination whose address I no longer recall. Why did I do this? Because I had decided my career as an astrologer and astrology teacher was over, that there were plenty of astrology teaching notes in English cluttering up the UK, and that I’d find someone in Europe who was keen to have some. I did. That was that. Or so I thought…

Fast forward to December 2011. It had taken me from 2001-8 to recover from severe burnout following a long family crisis which stopped my career in its tracks. During the whole of that period, I had resolutely said “NO” to all requests for astrology consultations or teaching, initially because I barely had the energy to get out of bed, latterly because I must have got into the habit of saying “No”.

However, that December I said “Maybe” to a young woman who had just embarked on a Faculty of Astrological Studies course and emailed me asking for some back-up tuition. I suggested we meet for a coffee and informal chat. After an hour Alicia (not her real name) who is a senior lawyer by profession, fixed me with a very beady eye and said “You cannot possibly keep this knowledge to yourself”.

I went home, somewhat shaken up, to check the Ephemeris for the first time in a while. My astrological career had begun following the Jupiter/Uranus conjunction of 1983. In December 2011 the Jupiter/Uranus conjunction of 2010/11 was separating; transiting Uranus – having gone direct at 0 Aries on the day of our meeting was squaring my natal Mars/Uranus conjunction in the 10th House. Yes, Reader, you’ve guessed it. I gave in, resuming my astrology practice in May 2012 with Alicia as my first client. Saturn was in late Libra – where it had been in 1983, the first time around…

Alicia moved on to explore other esoterica after a while – very Mercurial, that woman! – but we have become friends and every so often, with a chuckle, she reminds me of that kick-ass moment. There was more to follow.

Early in 2014, one of my former students came for an update astrology reading. As she was leaving, she looked at me and said, with a winning smile, 

“There are a few of us who would love an astrology refresher course, starting from the beginning again. Why don’t you think about it?”

“ No, I don’t think so,” was my reply. “I sent all my teaching notes to Belgrade in 2003 – can’t be bothered making up Beginners handouts again. I’m getting on a bit, now, you know…”

“That is no problem”, she retorted, ignoring my attempts to pretend I was a bit past it. “I have all your old notes, filed in order. Why not copy them?”

Our refresher astrology class, an exact Jupiter cycle from the time I posted that cardboard box to Belgrade in March 2003, duly began in August 2014 – the very week my progressed Moon moved into Aquarius in the Sixth House, with transiting Jupiter conjunct Mercury (my ruling planet) in Leo in the Twelfth House.

This October we returned for the 2015-6 session. My students, as usual, were in sparkling form. “Face it, Anne,” one of them said. “You are stuck with us. We can always push you along to class on your zimmer, if you get too decrepit…” They tell it like it is, here in Glasgow, Scotland, UK.

It feels great to have been drawn back, albeit in a part-time manner. I am no longer interested in ‘building a career’ – just want to offer out some knowledge, inspiration and of course entertainment for however long Urania (1) decides is long enough.

I find it humbling to contemplate the striking astrological symbolism describing my departure from, and return to the practice and teaching of astrology. Yet again, it would appear, “…To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven…”(KJV: Ecclesiastes 3:1). I had no conscious intention of returning to my former career. But that former career had other plans, taking the form of those persuasive women who gave me the right push at the right time.

Through one small individual’s experience, then, one can perceive the much bigger reality which those of us versed in astrology’s language are privileged to glimpse: Time – in as far as we are able to grasp it – moves in a vast teleology of patterns and cycles of which we are all part, whether prepared to acknowledge that reality or not…“as above, so below”…

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Endnotes:

(1) Urania: in Greek mythology, the muse of astronomy and a daughter of Zeus by Mnemosyne: also a great granddaughter of Uranus.It is the asteroid associated with astrology: in my First House, exactly sextile Third House Jupiter…

This post was first published as my fourth Not the Astrology Column in the January/February 2016 Issue of the UK’s Astrological Journal, edited by Victor Olliver.

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850 words copyright Anne Whitaker 2017

A Clinton White House (again…) in 2017 ? Some thoughts from astrologer Victor Olliver

Here is that classy, sassy, pin-sharp astrologer Victor Olliver’s ‘take’ on Hilary Clinton and the White House. Will she return?

As Victor memorably puts it in this very perceptive analysis both of her natal chart , Election Day 2016 and Inauguration Day 2017: “…That Hillary Clinton seeks ultimate power there can be little doubt. She didn’t join Twitter on 10 June, 2013, just to share her thoughts on pantsuits….” 

Enjoy the read. And do share your own thoughts!

https://victorolliverblog.wordpress.com/2016/02/28/hillary-clinton-in-2016-more-pantsuits-or-the-us-presidency/

AND

the UK’s Astrological Journal, edited by Victor Olliver,  is now available on line! To obtain the latest issue, jam-packed with fascinating articles by an international variety of top astrologers, just click HERE 

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100 words copyright Anne Whitaker/Victor Olliver 2016

Licensed under Creative Commons – for conditions see Home Page

Called from the Bar to the Stars…Why Victor Olliver became an astrologer…

Last Spring, I had the fun of Victor Olliver’s company as a Guest blogger whilst we slogged it out – in a civilised manner, of course! – over the merits and demerits of Sun Sign astrology. This January, I am delighted that he has returned to help kick start my blog for 2016. 

A recent article in Harper’s Bazaar, in which four women talk about why they chose to become astrologers, inspired me to tell my story a couple of weeks ago. I then decided to run an occasional series this year, inviting leading astrologers to share theirs. It is my great pleasure to have Victor Olliver, astrologer, author and editor of the UK’s Astrological Journal, tell his tale with his  unique combination of  cheek, challenge, verve – and depth. Over to you, Victor!

Victor Olliver, Barrrister

Victor Olliver, Barrrister

“…It never occurred to me that astrology was rubbish. Such were the many oddities of my early life – born of an Anglo-Italian mismatch into a world of wars that sang love songs while I played playground peculiarity (sorry about all the pees) yet looked like angelic jailbait and had a posh voice despite working class pedigree – that my mind was ready to accommodate exotic and weird notions not readily explained in school physics textbooks.

The sky lab technician who created me in his/her cosmic test tube prepared me well for a world that is essentially, profoundly inexplicable. We dream our way through life and pride ourselves on our logic. Paradox is to be found in everything as we pretend to follow highway codes. We feel our way through life and engage in the charade of decision-making. Yet one by-product of all this chaos and melodrama and hallucinating is that we (many of us) still manage to pay our bills while getting better on prescription drugs.

So, in the beginning, astrology was for me less a ‘topic’, more an arrangement of images in a book, without any unifying thought. Frankly it all looked comfortingly bonkers. At about the age of 12 I’d won a book voucher at school for being clever after years in the dunce stream. I now know that at about the time of my first Jupiter return and not long before my first Saturn opposition, my brains started to grow. The book voucher added to my reputation for being odd (and probably queer – though what did fellow kids or idiot teachers know?) when I exchanged it for a huge coffee table tome about mythology; Egyptian, Babylonian, Greek, Roman, you name it. That copy is still in my library.

What intrigued me was that inanimate humanoid forms made of stone or paint, sometimes winged, diaphanous or bearded, ruled worlds temporal and spiritual. These days such undead powers are called brand logos – so, through the likes of Coca Cola and McDonald’s marketing, I understood by association the idea of mysteries having mastery.

Thanks to those modern sages Russell Grant and Linda Goodman, the stone/plaster/paint gods migrated in my head to astrology where Jove, Mercury, Venus/Aphrodite and others still lived despite the progress exemplars of TV game shows and penicillin. The gods lived through the ‘zodiac’ and those much-maligned media Sun-sign columns, the then top dog of which was Patric Walker (more about whom just below). Incidentally, he was wrongly suspected of murdering his predecessor ‘Celeste’ at Harpers & Queen magazine in order to grab her stars column.

None of this was enough to persuade me to follow in Patric’s footsteps. Instead I took a 25-plus-year detour and became a barrister before embarking on a career in journalism, as you do. But astrology was not ready to give me up. Around the time of my fifth tr Jupiter-Jupiter square (with tr Uranus on my Saturn – and astro scepticism on a high), a glossy magazine commissioned me to interview…Patric Walker. His reputed Libran charm took leave of absence that day as he sat in his hotel bathrobe firing off the odd barb he thought I did not catch. Librans can be so Arien, don’t you think? My acid write-up repaid his put-downs. I concluded he was a right bitch trying to chat me up – but he knew his stuff. I stayed in journalism.

By the time of my 4th Jupiter return, my curiosity about astrology had reached the point where I felt it was time to do or die of boredom. I enrolled at the Mayo School of Astrology and fell under the guiding and sane influence of tutor Wendy Stacey.

This coincided with one of those events that in retrospect one calls ‘fated’. Yes, I didn’t fall in love. That is to say, I started a brief relationship with a notable astrologer called Henrietta Llewelyn Davies (called ‘Henri’ by her friends) – sadly no longer with us. Our eyes met across a crowded room at London’s Groucho Club – an opiates dungeon for doped up media types and their whorish hangers-on. Henri had done well: columns in Cosmo, Woman’s Own, TV Times – astro stuff in The Times. She was psychic, too. She talked a lot about her work, I was fascinated. She encouraged me to learn the art and craft of horoscopes.

And at this time a clairvoyante medium told me that my dead father was with her. Or as she put it: “He’s saying do something with those, oh, they look like, well, whatchamacallit, horoscopes”.

I lost my job, graduated with a distinction diploma in natal and mundane astrology, landed the role of the first-ever stargazer on The Lady magazine (by another misadventure) and then ascended to the heavens of The Astrological Journal editorship.

In other words, the career I should have first pursued flowed like a dream with scarcely an impediment. In contrast, enter a hostile place and all you experience are gremlins and gargoyles. Astrology on the other hand had the air I breathe and the vistas I appreciate. It presented me with a perspective which, in its predication on the unknowable yet adherence to systemic thought and practice, summed up the paradoxes I’d suffered and experienced in other life departments.

I had arrived in Astro-Wonderland. Mad Hatters aplenty.

I couldn’t care less which system of astrology you prefer, or whether you think luminary orbs should be 12 or 15 degrees. It’s all background chamber music to me. No matter what the astro academics like to propound, I know astrology is half instinct, half method.

Without that first half I may as well have been a lawyer…”

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Victor’s website is: Victor Olliver Astrology

Victor Olliver, Astrologer

Victor Olliver, Astrologer

Victor ’s book Lifesurfing: Your Horoscope Forecast Guide 2016 is available exclusively from Amazon in eBook and paperback formats.

Lifesurfing 2016 cover

Lifesurfing 2016

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1000 words copyright Anne Whitaker/Victor Olliver 2016

Licensed under Creative Commons – for conditions see Home Page

 

Questioning popular astrology (3) : the ‘smoke screen’ effect? Anne Whitaker replies to Victor Olliver…

We live in a vast energy field of constant movement, most of which is totally invisible to mere humans with their limited perceptual apparatus. The rippling patterns of order and chaos, that fundamental dance, govern everything. I have come to see the art of astrology (helped by what I am able to grasp of what the quantum world has revealed to us) as one which enables us to map those patterns as they are viewed from Earth via the constant shifting energies of the planets in their orbits.

Then astrologers take the step which in our reductionist, materialist culture pulls down all sorts of opprobrium and scorn upon our heads. We attribute meaning to those patterns.  From ancient times, right up until the Scientific Revolution of the 17th Century caused a major split between form described by astronomy, and content described by astrology, the maxim “As above, so below” governed people’s world view. We lived then in a cosmos charged with meaning, where form and content reflected and informed each other.

We are all particles...

We are all particles…

Some of us still live in that cosmos. Others do not. Where you have such a powerful clash of world views, you get polarisation, and prejudice. I think that Victor Oliver was right in his eloquent and well-argued response to my doubts and questions about popular astrology, to point out that the real enemy of astrology is prejudice.

Prejudice from outwith the astrological community, from those who believe that our lives are the product of cosmic chance, thereby devoid of meaning. Prejudice from those within the community who consider themselves to be ‘serious’ practitioners, towards the populist, mass-market astrology which 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 debate, which has generated a very great deal of interest (traffic to this site quadrupled in the few days that our posts were most active!) across the Web, the word “occult” came strongly to mind. So I pondered on it for a few days. According to the Shorter Oxford English Dictionary, the original meaning of the word is from the Latin ‘occulere’ ie ‘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.

The word ‘occult’ in recent times has taken on a more sinister connotation, referring more to magical or supernatural practices. But I became more and more interested, on reflection, in the original meaning of the word. It has led me to a conclusion about the status of astrology, especially in our modern world.

This is it: 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 is likely to remain masked, hidden from view, operating powerfully but behind the scenes of everyday life.

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

In our time mass-market popular astrology – paradoxically – could be seen as fulfilling the function of concealing the real power of astrology pretty effectively. Most of the public remain unaware of the depth which exists behind the mask of the Sun Sign columns – although I do agree with Victor that there is a very big difference between the glimmer of truth which a quality Sun Sign column can reveal, and the kind of trashy stuff which any old tea lady could dash off. (I have been a tea lady in my day, so please, no offence given or taken!)

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

Dennis Elwell, the late well-known and respected UK astrologer mentioned in Victor’s post, was revealed as having written in 1987 to the main shipping lines to warn them that a pattern very similar to that under which the Titanic had sunk, was coming up 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 Herald of Free Enterprise ferry boat went down, with the loss of 188 lives.

It is true, as Victor points out, that mass market astrology is the stepping-stone which enables people who are seekers after deeper meaning than the Sun Sign columns can provide, to step from relative triviality to much greater depth.

If you want to understand the profound link which exists between your small personal existence and the larger, meaningful cosmos which your unique chip of energy has entered in order to make its contribution, then you need actively 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.

However, 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 – or put off – by the superficiality they find there, or they spin off into active enraged prejudice and sometimes very public condemnation of our great art…

My pondering on the word ‘occult’ therefore, has led me to quite a peaceful place, Victor – I am sure you will be very pleased for me!  I can now stop being annoyed with 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, leavening the lumpen ignorance and crassness of our materialist, consumer age  from behind the scenes.

Readers, what do you think of this view? I’d be most interested to hear.

(as before, any offensive comments will be ruthlessly binned)

Zodiac

Zodiac

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1100 words copyright Anne Whitaker 2015

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