Once upon a time, nobody had a problem with astrology. It had always been part of the curriculum at major learning institutions until the Renaissance because people simply felt the harmony between man and cosmos. Looking at the magic movement of the planets over the bright, night sky, whilst the stars stayed still and the moon went from new to full, there was a sense of connection between earthly and heavenly developments. The basic principle of astrology is that the smallest thing in the universe is subject to the same process as the largest. The same rules apply to both, and an action in one sphere will reflect an action in another. Major practitioners of religions like Christianity, Buddhism and Hinduism developed systems for interpreting planetary configurations and astrology evolved into a huge body of knowledge.
Initially astrology and astronomy were one, and both were used to map the seasons. Even thousands of years ago, observatories were constructed to calculate the beginning of the summer solstice as well as complex eclipse cycles, and Stonehenge in Britain was one such observatory. Over time the entire realm of natural science was expressed in the language of astrology. The idea of the 12 signs was perfected by the Greeks, and astrology changed little right up to the Middle Ages, with Greek masters like Ptolemy writing works that are still used until this day. After the Greek ascendancy period Arab astrologers later became extremely influential in Europe, and the early universities were profoundly influenced by latin translations of Arab works.
Scientists credited with overthrowing the ascendancy of astrology in the period of the Renaissance, like Newton, Tycho Brahe and Kepler were in fact very familiar with the subject and ambiguous in their attitude to it. But they were also pioneers of new scientific methods that placed measurement and observation at the center. This mapping of the material world led to scientific achievements that have transformed our world and the way we think. As astrology cannot be validated by current scientific experiment or statistical method (at least not decisively) it has lost academic status and can only be studied at universities today as a historical or cultural phenomenon.
Still, the scientific materialism of the last epoch has been seriously undermined by relativity theory, which propounds the interrelationship between subject and object. Which basically means that on a subtle level there is no separation between man and cosmos. This paves the way for another renaissance, which will slowly take root in the 21st century, discrediting the mechanics of the Newtonian world (if it has not been discredited already), which has led to the exploitation of Nature, and facilitating a more holistic view, which will really be favorable for astrology.
Interest in astrology today has been well-documented. Research conducted amongst a sample of students in England found that 100% know their star sign, 70% read their horoscopes regularly and 85% agree that the description of their birth sign describes their personality. According to a January 2000 user survey for http://www.astroadvice.com/ there were 69% female members of astrology websites, 51% were between 20-37 years of age, 42% had a household income of $76,000 - $200,000, 23% had a household income of $51,000 - 70,000 and 68% had university or post graduate degree. Obviously many reasonably intelligent and prosperous people in the West have a strong interest in the subject.
Whether this interest simply reflects a hunger for spiritual content, I am not sure. Skeptics might claim it is our superstitious nature and might refer to studies, where people have been given the same horoscope interpretation and are convinced it is a perfect and unique description of them. (Note 1) Personally I am amazed that people are satisfied with the watered down astrology that is served up on popular astrology sites and in sunsign newspaper columns. Not that it is inaccurate - it is just that astrology can do so much more. And if people realized how much an awareness of planetary influences can reveal - at all times - they would be shocked.
It is instructive to go back half a millennium to see what astrologers could do, and what was on offer to the general public at that time. Whilst the church has had a very strained relationship to astrology over the centuries, popes and prelates have not been able to resist familiarizing themselves with the subject. (Note 2). Architects loved the beauty and symmetry of astrology, and beautiful zodiacs were created as sculpture and in stained glass windows. (Note 3) A correlation has always been established between the twelve apostles and the twelve sunsigns, and the fixed signs of Taurus, Leo, Scorpio and Aquarius are consistently shown as building blocks for the Church as a bull, lion, eagle and angel respectively.
But some churches went even further. A calendar clock was constructed and presented to the cathedral in the beautiful town of Lund in south Sweden in the year 1425 - the “Horologium Mirabile Lundense”. This clock shows the movement of the sun through the twelve signs together with the movement of the moon, which revolves on its axis so that it is dark at the new moon and white at the full moon. Even more fascinating - the revolution of the earth on its own axis is also shown, making it possible to see the Ascendant changing minute by minute. (Note 4).
The Astrological clock at Lund cathedral
One can just imagine the archbishop making his appearance in Lund cathedral in the 15th century. Glancing at the astrological clock and noting how the Ascendant, moon and sun related to the other planets (which move comparatively slowly) he would have been able to clearly see the misdeeds of his parishioners. If the moon was in Leo square Mars in Taurus, those deadly sins of greed and lust would have been a wonderful theme to expound upon. Or if the Moon was conjoining Saturn in Capricorn, then surely miserliness would be the major issue that Sunday. Did the priest at confession hear surprisingly similar confessions whilst the Ascendant was in Scorpio and the Moon in the 8th (deadly secrets) which would suddenly change as the Ascendant changed sign to Sagittarius and Jupiter in Capricorn (skepticism and materialism)?
To test the efficacy of Horologium Mirabile Lundense I took a drive to Lund together with my astrologer wife. There were a lot of questions on my mind, so perhaps the astrological clock would be able to give some answers? We arrived on Sunday 13th June at 13.45 and the cathedral had already cast its horary chart for our education.
Lund Horary chart: 13 June 2010 13.45 Lund. AS 0.37 Libra
This was obviously a very clever clock, and as my wife pointed out, it first wanted to say something about itself. With Libra rising, it was a thing of balance and beauty, and with the Ascendant ruler, Venus, almost at the last degree of Cancer, it was a very old object, which had undergone several restorations since its creation. With Saturn rising, and in exact sextile to Venus we can see an elegant structure reaching the end of its days, which might also be a description of me. The clock even has a sense of humor.
Even more striking, at the moment we entered the cathedral, the newly formed and radical conjunction of Jupiter and Uranus in Aries was exactly on the Descendant, perhaps reflecting the arrival of naive but enthusiastic astrologers. If the archbishop had commented on our arrival in the old days, he would have assumed that we were a pious and hard-working couple, who had dedicated many years to our professional lives. In the 15th century he would not have known that Uranus (discovered 1781) was on the Descendant, and therefore might not have guessed that potential heretics and revolutionaries had just arrived. Neither would he have noticed that Pluto (discovered 1930) was on the IC opposite the Moon. The strong moon in Cancer on the MC and sextile industrious Mars in Virgo may have indicated honorable citizens who supported the institutions in society, so we would have been welcomed into the church. Our psychological problems (Moon opposite Pluto) would have been ignored. (There were no such things in 1425… possession by the devil, possibly.)
The 21st century astrologer might take a different approach, shrugging off the pressing problems described by Saturn conjoining the Ascendant and talking enthusiastically about dynamic change. For the horoscope shows endings and beginnings. The endings are Saturn, Neptune and Venus leaving signs, and the beginnings Jupiter, Uranus and the Ascendant in new signs. And in fact, with Venus soon to change signs and trine Jupiter and Uranus, it would seem like trying emotional issues from the past will be replaced by a new creative enthusiasm and some very dynamic change. Before more is revealed I am reminded of the attitude of famous people in the Middle Ages, who actually concealed their birth date and time for fear that it would be used against them by an astrologer in the service of some hostile prince at a later time.
Those who have the skills to interpret the horoscope for out arrival in Lund could actually draw conclusions about our future. That is how powerful astrology is. In fact, every moment in time contains within it the history of the past and the seeds of the future. Astrology is the only system on earth that has the tools to read these pregnant moments. The only limitation is the skill of the astrologer. Modern astrologers have predicted the demise of the Soviet Union (Note 6), the destruction of the Twin Towers (Note 7), the victory of Barak Obama (Note 8 ) so there is no need to hark back to the achievements of historical figures like Nostradamus and William Lilly.
The study of the significance of moments of time, traditionally called horary astrology, is one of the most exciting areas of astrology. Wherever consciousness intersects time, the position of the earth and planets will reflect that moment, and can be interpreted through astrological technique. Previous planetary positions reflect what has happened in the past, just as Venus in our Lund chart shows a history of patient striving, and coming planetary movement shows what will happen in the future, just as Venus moves into Leo to trine Jupiter and Uranus, bringing creativity, excitement and joy.
If you know your planetary symbology, then prediction is a straightforward matter. For example a client rang two days after the trip to Lund, when the moon was just about the conjoin Venus in Leo in the 9th house, where both would trine Uranus and Jupiter on the cusp of the 6th house. She was planning a trip to Spain to receive artificial insemination to have a child and wondered whether it would succeed. The very fact that the Moon and Venus in Leo is a perfect combination for childbirth is one thing, but the technology of the fertilization process and the fact that it was to take place in a foreign country is elegantly reflected by the Uranus/Jupiter conjunction. So the answer is of course positive.
People often think that astrology is about the future, when it is in fact about the present. The more you work with astrology, the more you are aware of what is going on here and now, because it is in the moment that the future lies latent. By aligning yourself with the energies of the time, you can avoid conflict and optimize the potential for succeeding in what you are doing. My hope is that 21st century technologies will make the enormous complexity of astrology available and understandable to a world where people are already hot-wired to the moment by their networks and mobile applications.
Adrian Duncan 17th June 2010
1. Search for example on YouTube.com for Derren Brown + astrology. Derren Brown, famous for his hypnotism and NLP techniques, tests a selection of people. All get the exact same reading, but are amazed at its accuracy.
2. Notably Pope Adrian IV (no relative) the only English pope, reputedly meeting his death choking on a fly in his wine.
3. For example the wonderful zodiac floor tiles in Canterbury cathedral, or the stained glass window in Chartres cathedral
4. Other clocks were made in this period, the most beautiful and famous being the one in Prague The very first astrological clock installed in a church was in Munster, Germany in 1408
5. Although the Lund clock showed the position of the Sun and Ascendant exactly, unfortunately the Moon is shown at the end of Cancer, instead of the beginning. (Needs adjusting!)
6. Michael Baigent clearly predicted the dissolution of the Soviet Union in the book Mundane Astrology published 8 years before it actually happened.
7. Robert Zoller wrote in 2000: “After September 2001 when the first big crisis will have hit the US, we will never be the same again” in connection with the prediction of a potential terrorist attack on the east coast of America.
8. See my article: http://www.world-of-wisdom.com/04_articles/2007/02_elections.htm