modern vs traditional astrology

The problem with ancient astrology in a modern world

There is currently a bit of a battle in the astrological community between astrologers studying the techniques of ancient astrological sources and “modern” astrologers, those who use psychological techniques and concepts that are somewhat Eastern in origin, such as past lives and person evolution rather than a defined set of predictive techniques.  I first wrote about this debate back in 2007 and you can read more here if you like.  It seems to me that astrologers have enough of a battle fighting against those who denigrate the divine craft without fighting with each other, but we are in contentious times, and this has seeped into the astrological world as well.

The roots of modern astrology can be found in the works of Dane Rudhyar in the 1960s, and evolved through the 1970s and 1980s as various forms of psychological astrology and later, evolutionary astrology.  (I call my own work “transformational astrology” because I seek not only to define and predict, but also to assist in transformation and personal evolution).

In the early 1990s, a group of astrologers who were largely based in more traditional fields of astrology such began studying ancient astrological texts in their original Greek and Latin languages.  Project Hindsight was spearheaded by Robert Schmidt, who was already a scholar in Greek and mathematics from the time of his early college years.

In 1998, after having spent quite a few years in this translation project, Schmidt said in a lecture:

[E]ven though we have been spending all this time with the Greeks, our intention is really to basically to rid ourselves of the burden of the Greeks [emphasis added]. It is very hard to get free of the Greeks. It is very hard […]

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By |2018-09-20T17:42:22-04:00September 20th, 2018|Astrology|8 Comments

Fate vs Free Will in Astrology: Part II, the modern debate

Three Fates by Emily Balivet

Catch up with Part I, a History, here. 

The question of whether humans are controlled by their fate or have a part to play in their own destiny is as old as time.  Much of our western philosophy comes from the ancient Greeks for whom the gods controlled human destinies despite great efforts of men and women to escape the fates accorded to them.  The Greek concept of hubris is applied to ordinary mortals who attempt to challenge the gods, and therefore their fate.

It’s no surprise, then, that the resurgence of Hellenistic (Greek) astrology brings with it the return of the idea of fate.  Astrologer Chris Brennan, a graduate from Kepler College, is the acclaimed expert in this field.  Chris and I did a podcast on this topic a while back which you can listen to here and he has just published a comprehensive bible on the subject as well.

Chris writes:

An important point to make with respect to transits to a person’s natal chart is that they do not only represent internal character traits and psychological states that are being activated or experienced during a given transit, as some modern astrologers argue, but transits also correlate with concrete external events and circumstances that occur in the life of the native at fixed periods.

While we may have a certain amount of leverage as to how we react to the internal psychological states that we experience during a given transit, some of the external events that occur in tandem with the transits are frequently out of our control in a concrete sense. With these concrete external events we are still in a position of being able to slightly modify our perception or […]

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By |2019-06-09T14:19:36-04:00January 16th, 2018|Astrology, Fate, Featured posts, Predictions|0 Comments

Fate vs free will in astrology: Part I, a history involving Pluto

modern astrologyEven though Pluto was not discovered until 1930, its influence is evident in the evolution of modern astrology. The renaissance of astrology in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries began with Alan Leo and the birth of the publication “Modern Astrology” in 1895 when Pluto was in the information gathering sign of Gemini.  Gemini is more concerned with the sharing of information than finding any kind of ultimate truth, and Alan Leo, who was a Theosophist, was primarily concerned with spreading the language of astrology to the masses via what we now call horoscope columns.

In England, astrology under Pluto in Gemini was a more academic affair but the “cookbook” texts of Charles Carter similarly helped to spread the language of astrology to more people than ever before. Carter’s words on fate illustrate the way in which the idea of predetermination was beginning to fade:

As regards the higher part of man’s nature, his rational, moral, and aesthetic faculties, it is my firm belief that, if we chose to unfold them, no stellar influence can prevent us, though it may place obstacles and hindrances in our path. There are parts of our lives which the stars do seem to a large extent to dominate, and there is a yet greater part which they undoubtedly can affect, both favourably and adversely. It is for us to place our treasure where they cannot penetrate; no easy task, it is true, but probably the one most worth performing.

The discovery of Pluto in the 1930s coincided with the scientific breakthroughs required to release the atomic bomb which symbolizes Pluto’s destructive force which sometimes requires complete annihilation followed by a necessary rebuilding phase.  But it also coincided with the groundbreaking work of […]

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By |2019-11-10T19:20:13-05:00January 11th, 2018|Astrology, Fate|2 Comments

Traditional vs. “modern” astrology

Somewhere along the line astrologers split into two camps as some moved forward into humanistic or psychological astrology (leading into evolutionary and transformational astrology) and some moved backwards towards traditional or medieval astrology. Rob Hand was one of my favorite authors, and his book Planets in Transit is still one of the very best resources available on that subject. In 1992, just as Uranus and Neptune conjoined in Capricorn where the flood of new ideas (Uranus) confused and befuddled (Neptune) established conventions (Capricorn), Rob began a study and collection of ancient astrological texts called Project Hindsight. I’ll come back to Rob Hand in a moment.

Modern astrology has its roots in the work of Dane Rudhyar, who pioneered the concept of self-actualization through the astrological system in what he called “humanistic astrology” which was more psychological in nature than the predictive astrological system of the past that was more event-oriented than person-centered. Although Rudhyar had studied and written about astrology since the 1920s, it wasn’t until the Uranus/Pluto conjunction of the 1960s that he revolutionized the astrological world with his book The Astrology of Personality. Rudhyar had been influenced in the 1930s by the archetypal studies of Carl Jung and depth psychology, and he utilized these ideas in his revolutionary approach to the new astrology.

Chiron’s discovery in the late 1970s brought with it the ancient idea that the key to healing is found within the wound, accelerating the movement towards an astrological system that
provided healing of psychological wounds. The outer planets (Uranus, Neptune and Pluto) became known as the “transpersonal” planets which accelerated that personal growth and healing from outside of the individual, and the inner planets were revealed as functions […]

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By |2019-11-10T19:20:01-05:00July 16th, 2007|Astrology|Comments Off on Traditional vs. “modern” astrology
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