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Re: VMs: Jung and Modern/Traditional Astrology?

Hi, Nick!

You wrote: 

?your claim that some modern authors appropriated
Ficonio?s work as a kind of retrospective apoligia for
Jung is an interesting one?is there one particular
writer who seems to be responsible for this??

I can tell you my own idea of how this might have
happened.  It?s from the perspective of someone who
mostly reads the sources, not the interpreters of the
sources.  Since I have not really read the modern
interpreters of history on this point, I don?t really
know who said what, when.  I know that it is possible
for such leaps of imagination to be made by those who
confine themselves to ?philosophical? limits to their
approach to the history of astrology.

I feel it may be the latter-day overly literal
interpretation of Jung?s own words which is largely
responsible for this misunderstanding.  Jung referred
to Ficino as his ?patron?, in other words,
acknowledged his debt to Ficino.  As so often happens
with ardent followers of a great man, I believe this
was probably taken with a Fundamentalist literalism by
followers of Jung who began to revere Ficino as some
sort of ?founder of modern astrology? without knowing
the intention, emphasis, techniques, or traditions of
modern versus traditional astrology.  If these
literal-minded interpreters looked more broadly at
Jung?s entire work and the practice of modern
astrology, they would see that Jung equally admitted a
debt to Plato, and that the ?archetypes? Jung derived
from Platonian philosophy are probably more
fundamental to the practice ?modern psychological
astrology? than are any of Ficino?s non-platonian
contributions, whatever those are thought to be.  The
fact that Plato precedes Ficino by seven hundred-odd
years, that Jung acknowledged a vast indebtedness to
Plato, and that the thrust of Ficino?s work was to
present Plato to a new audience does nothing to
substantiate the claim that Ficino ?invented modern

Which is not to say that I think Plato actually
?invented modern astrology?, either.  Clearly, Jung
did, in great part by severing the philosophy of
Ficino and Plato from the previous expression they had
taken in the form of the traditions, techniques, and
intentions of traditional astrology.

Jung may not have deliberately severed modern
astrology from its historical roots, but by the time
he published, traditional astrology was cold in the
grave, and his philosophically-oriented efforts would
do nothing to revive it.  In addition, since the
intention in exploring astrology as a psychological
tool is necessarily not predictive, but therapeutic, 
there was no point in reviving a lost art to gain
skills that were not in demand for Jung?s purpose.

Hope this is useful!



--- Nick Pelling <nickpelling@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:

> Hi Pamela,
> FWIW, the argument running through the literature
> I've been relying on is 
> that by 1490, the leading group of Florentine
> intellectuals lost faith with 
> astrology - that was the year that Giovanni Pico
> della Mirandola's 
> announced that he intended to fire a theoretical
> broadside against 
> astrology in defence of Christianity (extracts of
> this finally appeared in 
> 1495, the year after his death), and that salvo is
> thought by some to have 
> been the central impetus for Ficino (della
> Mirandolla's former teacher!) to 
> change his approach. Wikipedia has a nice (though
> short) article on him:-
> Also, here's a link to an online article summarising
> this general tradition 
> that I've posted to the list before, which also
> quote Francis Bacon's views 
> on astrology (essentially, that it doesn't work for
> individuals, but its 
> effects on populations or nations ~might~ be worth
> studying) - Paula 
> Wagner's (2000) "The Decline of Astrology" [with
> Nick Campion as advisor]:-
> Reading it back again, it does seem that the
> filaments claimed to connect 
> Ficinian thought forward to present-day astrology
> are indeed somewhat 
> lacking in substance: this aspect does support your
> assertion that there 
> was no break in the (already declining) tradition at
> that time. Your claim 
> that some modern authors appropriated Ficino's work
> as a kind of 
> retrospective apologia for Jung is a very
> interesting one - is there one 
> particular writer who seems to be mainly responsible
> for this?
> And yet... medieval astrology had always enjoyed
> protection because of its 
> status as a subject taught within universities
> (because of its centrality 
> to medicine) even though universities were typically
> administered by the 
> Church, but [so the argument runs] its intellectual
> aegis was withdrawn 
> circa 1500, and so astrology ended up with few
> active proponents. While its 
> decline had clearly already begun, was 1480-1520 the
> "tipping point" where 
> its boat sank? I used to think that argument was an
> open-and-shut case, but 
> now I'm not so sure...
> BTW, here's a nice page on medieval universities,
> science, and astrology 
> (it discusses Cecco d'Ascoli's career clearly, for
> example):-
> 	http://www.bede.org.uk/university.htm
> Cheers, .....Nick Pelling.....
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