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VMs: Modern Astrology vs. Traditional Astrology
I do agree with the sense that there is a "fault line"
through the history of astrology, although I disagree
with your interpretation of its historical placement.
I don't believe I ever said there was not such a
division. I also have emphasized in all my statements
the teachings of the ancients, not recent astrological
innovations. I feel that you may have erroneously
assumed that I practice and know only "modern
astrology", since after all I am an astrologer and
here we are Anno Domini 2004.
I believe I said when I came to this list that I am a
traditional astrologer who practices predicitve
astrology. There is a movement among some astrologers
to know and practice the ancient techniques of
astrology. Evidently you are to some degree aware of
this, as you have quoted Robert Zoller. As a
traditional astrologer, I need to know and understand
and use techniques that are not used by "modern"
astrologers. This is what drives me to the study of
the ancients. Predictive astrology is completely
different in nature and intent than psychological
astrology; you can read any number of articles about
the controversy between the two on the internet if you
would care to become informed on the topic.
Just because someone is practicing astrology in modern
times does not mean they are practicing "modern
astrology". Do I practice or write about astrology
"as it is practiced today?" Not really. At least,
not the type of astrology practiced by "psychological
astrologers". The astrology I do write about and
practice, however, does "go back millennia." I use
essential and accidental dignity, reception,
rulerships, translation and collection of light,
antiscia, the fixed stars as well as the wandering
stars, and a number of other techniques which, while
they would have been well known and heavily practiced
by Ficino, are as unknown to those who practice
"modern astrology" as they are to you. Or I beg your
forgiveness if these techniques are familiar to you;
however, I feel on safe ground if someone has told
you--and you believed--that astrologers don't include
planets in their interpretations of the positions of
If someone has told you that "modern astrology is
essentially Ficianan" astrology, I am afraid they have
misrepresented both Ficianan and modern astrology. In
fact, I will bet you my favorite kitten that the
person who said that was not an astrologer, and of
course, was entirely modern.
And I do love my favorite kitten.
Next they will be telling us that Plato was a used car
salesman. On some alternate universe. . . are we
wandering into Douglas Adams' territory now?
--- Nick Pelling <nickpelling@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:
> Hi Pamela,
> Perhaps I'm wrong, but ISTM that we may be sitting
> either side of the
> fault-line that runs through the history of
> astrology: on one side, the
> idea that astrology as practised today arises from a
> continuous tradition
> going back millennia - and on the other, the idea
> that modern psychological
> astrology (essentially, Ficinian astrology) is a
> quite different beast from
> the pre-1500 stuff.
> Even though, just like you, I have read plenty of
> primary sources from all
> eras, it should be clear that my sympathies lie with
> the latter position
> rather than the former - basically, I'm with Bob
> Zoller all the way on this
> one. There really was a cataclysmic change of
> astrological ideology and
> practice circa 1480-1520, and I think you have to
> make a judgment call as
> to whether you think the VMs pre-dates, is
> concurrent with, or post-dates
> that time - I believe that's a question any
> historian of astrology looking
> at the VMs shouldn't try to fudge around. My own
> answer is (as you know)
> that what little there is of the VMs' astrology
> seems to be based firmly in
> the Middle Ages, but doubtless there is plenty of
> room for other answers. :-)
> AFA the whole fixed-stars-thread goes: "astrology"
> is (literally) "the
> study of the (fixed) stars" (as opposed to, say,
> "planetology"), so you
> really don't have to scratch the surface long to get
> back to primary
> sources' (say, Iamblichus talking about Egyptian
> astrology) mentioning the
> fixed stars. However, I don't think any of your
> quotes so far - though
> moderately suggestive - do directly link individual
> demons with individual
> fixed stars as convincingly as you would wish them
> to, especially on a
> careful re-reading. The names of fixed stars remain
> angelic or
> astronomical, while the names of demons remain
> necromantic: two quite
> separate traditions AFAICT.
> FWIW, I think your assertion that astrology is a
> discredited science is
> perhaps a little out-of-date: one has only to look
> at the brilliant insight
> of people like Owen Gingerich, David Pingree, etc to
> see that a powerful
> comprehension of astrology (both practically and
> conceptually) can add a
> vital dimension to historians' work. Really, my
> opinion is that any view of
> pre-1600 European history uninformed by astrology is
> probably foolish: it
> should be clear that my particular interest in
> astrology here is trying to
> understand the intellectual & social context that
> gave birth to the VMs.
> Sorry for yet another slightly disjointed email, but
> "time eludes us" etc. :-o
> Cheers, .....Nick Pelling.....
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