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the 'modern' and 'traditional' labels on astrologers

 
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james_m



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Posted: Wed Apr 02, 2014 11:16 pm    Post subject: the 'modern' and 'traditional' labels on astrologers Reply with quote

i have noticed that some folks that use these terms seem to generally do so in a negative way that paints either in a negative light.. when i read comments by others doing this, i tend to think of how they would feel if they were labeled in a negative way all under the heading 'modern' or 'traditional' astrology. i mostly think astrologers would be better served staying positive, as opposed to labeling others in such as way as could be easily construed as being 'unfriendly' or worse - derogatory.. now, i am sure the terms have relevance and usefulness, however when i see them used in a way that is generally negative, a red light goes up for me - which is like waving a red flag in front of a bull, lol..
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Mjacob



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Posted: Wed Apr 02, 2014 11:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Fair question but the notion that we can all sit round the table and arrive at sensible compromise may not work. There seems to be a very real divide here that relates to belief and philosophy. If we do not want war and conflict then the answer is simple. Each side stay in their own camp . In practice, say at an astrological conference run by a modern school a traditional practitioner may be allowed to present as a curiosity but would she (I use the feminine gender because most astrologers I see are women) be allowed to challenge the dogmas of the moderns?

I disagree with what you say but will defend your right to say it is a noble sentiment but if what someone says something that is signified by the latter degrees of Taurus or Sagittarius?

May one be allowed to express a contrary opinion? In my experience the modern school hold certain dogmas dearly and will not let dissidents question them

Best

Matthew
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james_m



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Posted: Thu Apr 03, 2014 12:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

matthew,

thanks for sharing your view here. the way i see it the future of astrology is an amalgamation of both modern and traditional methods. i could be wrong, but my belief is that 50 years down the road these divisions that some astrologers opt to highlight won't be as relevant. my other feeling is that people will grow up and not cast either in a negative light and instead want to further the betterment of astrology regardless of the style by getting beyond these differences at some point. i think many are already doing that, but some aren't and those are the one's i am addressing this to.

ps - robert hand is a good example of an astrologer today that i think transcends the desire of those who are into segregating astrologers down the modern verses traditional divide.
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Mjacob



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Posted: Thu Apr 03, 2014 5:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

James

First off Robert Hand does indeed stand bestride the two traditions and I have every respect for him and his work. In the unlikely scenario that Robert Hand bothers to respond to me he is welcome to do so but but I am not sure that he wants to be dragged into the argument by you either

Secondly you look forward to the betterment of astrology. Who could argue with that?

Cannot reply at length right now but now but like I wrote before "fair question"

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Deb
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Posted: Thu Apr 03, 2014 5:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Mathew

I can't say I recognise your vision of the way things are, as explained in your first post. I also find the use of these labels irritating. Since I published The Traditional Astrologer magazine I have often been labelled a traditional astrologer, but I prefer to think of myself as a modern astrologer who just happens to have an interest in the history and more traditional practice of astrology. I really don't see this divide you talk about as being any more significant than any of the many divides that separate the practice of all astrologers. Certainly those with more specialist interest in traditional works have many opinions that cause divisions if we can be bothered to give them more attention than they deserve.

Quote:
In practice, say at an astrological conference run by a modern school a traditional practitioner may be allowed to present as a curiosity but would she (I use the feminine gender because most astrologers I see are women) be allowed to challenge the dogmas of the moderns?


I have been invited to do this for years, going back to schools that are associated with modern astrology, and never having any sense that I have to limit the presentation of my thoughts. I know the situation applies to many others too.
Years ago, there was this sense of division you describe. For example, I remember discussing whether the name of the Traditional Astrologer needed to be changed, since in the 1990s there were a lot of astrological book sellers that would not even look at it to consider stocking it, because of their concerns about the type of fatalistic astrology it might contain. The situation is very different now, with a much healthier attitude. I know a lot of modern astrology schools have amended the content of their tuition to get more in line with traditional teachings, and advocates of traditional methods have largely stopped dumping on modern works as if they have no value in their own right. There are so many points upon which any astrologer can disagree with another, but in the end what unites us is very much greater than what separates us, and the dialogue is definitely moving in a positive direction as far as I can see.
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Mjacob



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Posted: Thu Apr 03, 2014 5:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I could well be out of date in this regard Deb. I do not attend the amount of conferences I once did. I will re read your post as I need to to consider what you say and reflect on my own feelings on this matter but I reply now to at least assure you that I that I take note of opinions that do not agree with mine. I am partisan but on the other hand I do not accept everything that someone of the same sect says if you will pardon weak but traditional pun

Matthew
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Mark
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Posted: Thu Apr 03, 2014 7:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I remember when I first got interested in traditional techniques nearly a decade ago I was keen to embrace the label of 'traditional astrology'.

Like all fresh 'converts' to any viewpoint I was enthusiastic to see clear blue water between traditional and modern astrology. I am ashamed to confess at times I slipped into a rather deluded superiority complex concerning traditional astrology vs modern.

Books like The Real Astrology by John Frawley whilst hilarious did tend to set up the idea of competing astrological camps which appeared to be incompatible.

Nowadays, I dont see things as black and white like that. For example, what is traditional astrology? 17th century English, Latin medieval, Perso-Arabic, hellenistic, or even Babylonian? Looking at hellenistic astrology alone its clear there were lots of variations even at this very early formative stage. The idea that those following traditional techniques are united by a common underlying philosophy is something of a myth I think. Ironically, I think some modern astrologers are closer in attitude to a hellenistic neo-Platonist outlook than some traditional practitioners.

And what is modern astrology? Is it all psychological? Well not really if your into Uranian, or 20th century British astrologers like Sepharial, Carter or Davidson. Also what about techniques like Astro Cartography or out of bounds theory? These seem quite pragmatic approaches that have little in common with depth psychology.

I do use the terms traditional and modern. But I do not see the distinction as being about contrasting philosophies or ideologies. I just use the term to distinguish between those using classical or modern techniques in regards rulerships, aspects and house meanings. I think those differences do lead to important practical variation in how we delineate charts. But then so do house systems and there is never consensus on that in either traditional or modern astrology.

I think the best astrology has always come from the best astrologers irrespective of their school or approach. I dont think simply adopting a particular set of techniques guarantees your astrology is any more effective.

Perhaps our perceptions are shaped by how we primarily interact with others? Do we interact with others mostly online, or at a local association?
Online things can seem more divided than they are in reality. I run an astrological association here in Edinburgh and interact with astrologers with all kinds of approaches. Working as a committee we operate in a generally harmonious way despite our differences on techniques. As a programme organiser I liaise with astrologers of all varieties ranging from traditional to Alice Bailey/Esoteric school. I have also given talks on fairly traditional topics but never felt any hostility from those primarily modern in techniques. Perhaps because the astrological community here in Scotland is comparatively small it generates by necessity a mood of collaboration and compromise. When a speaker is offering a fundamentally different approach to the way I work I dont see it as threatening. Rather I regard the whole experience as going on an astrological tourist trip!

Maybe in cities as large as London there is more scope for astrology to form into different and even competing groupings. Overall, though I think most astrologers are a tolerant bunch.

James is probably right that in the future we will see more eclecticism. I see this in myself too. I think all any astrologer can honestly state is 'this is my way of working at present'. The rest is all our personal subjective judgements.

For me the ideas of Geoffrey Cornelius have helped me to overcome an inherent 'traditional supremicism' since if you look at astrology from a divinatory perspective the techniques are simply the tools we choose work with. Its what we do with them that really counts.

Of course I have a fascination with astrological history and on the whole I prefer the techniques that could be broadly described as traditional or classical. Hence I dont use Keplerian aspects, midpoints, asteroids or outer planet rulerships. I do think some of the traditional techniques allow more precise delineation at times. Ultimately though I see our choice of techniques as more about taste or personal predisposition than anything else. That doesn't stop me trying to convince other astrologers that traditional rulerships make more sense than the modern scheme!

Mark
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Paul
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Posted: Thu Apr 03, 2014 7:57 pm    Post subject: Re: the 'modern' and 'traditional' labels on astrologers Reply with quote

james_m wrote:
i have noticed that some folks that use these terms seem to generally do so in a negative way that paints either in a negative light.. when i read comments by others doing this, i tend to think of how they would feel if they were labeled in a negative way all under the heading 'modern' or 'traditional' astrology. i mostly think astrologers would be better served staying positive, as opposed to labeling others in such as way as could be easily construed as being 'unfriendly' or worse - derogatory.. now, i am sure the terms have relevance and usefulness, however when i see them used in a way that is generally negative, a red light goes up for me - which is like waving a red flag in front of a bull, lol..


I know we've both mentioned this already but I'll state my own position on this again because it's a subject I think is interesting. For me I use the labels modern and traditional to describe different things - periods of time, for example, as well as a body of techniques that is typical to that period of time. But really I see it that there are no real 'traditional' astrologers. Everyone who practices astrology today is modern, in the sense that we are alive today, partake of the zeitgeist of today and are part of today's generation, we influence and are influenced by the way the world is today.

Similarly, astrology did not fall out of the sky in the last hundred years or so. It is a subject with a rich heritage and history and anyone practicing it today, regardless of what methods they use, are part of that history and tradition. Sometimes I'll say the "modern tradition".

Really, for me, it's a matter of what techniques you use and if you wish to label them by the time period in which they were particularly popular then that's okay and makes sense. I use aspect patterns and elemental balances when I look at charts because for whatever reason I find that useful. So that's a modern approach to chart interpretation perhaps, or rather, utilising modern techniques. But I'll also look at dignity and receptions in my chart, and am very keen on profections. So that's traditional, in that it uses traditional techniques.

But really it is the techniques and not the individual, and the techniques inform us not one bit on what conclusions we use or how we apply our art to that technique. I think, historically, there is a problem with seeing traditional astrology as being very fatalistic. But I don't think we have that problem as strongly, I think it's still there, but I think it's being eroded away.

Ultimately I think astrology is a broad enough umbrella that we can all fit quite comfortably in it and do whatever astrology we find meaningful and useful, whether we're inspired by psychological astrology, ancient authors or whatever we feel is meaningful.
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Mjacob



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Posted: Thu Apr 03, 2014 9:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mark

I too came to the tradition via john Frawley so maybe follow his combative and satyrical approach. I did not have previous in studying modern astrology and was only interested in the idea that horary worked. It told the truth and when I saw that the tradition also included natal I saw no reason why the same should not apply. If then you told the truth from a nativity and it was bad news then you were being fatalistic or guilty of negative thinking. In my experience it got nasty but let me not dwell on the past.as for feelings of superiority if I buy a Bentley instead of a Peugeot it is because of the superiority of the formers engineers not me. If I had any self-pride I would not post on a site where my intelligence is regularly insulted by people ... oops better stop here

As for Geoffrey Cornelius he I opine is allowed to talk about divination because he has an ology to quote Maureen Lipman. If a member of the herd like me said God helped me to accurately read a chart what then? To the traditional astrologers of the past there was I think genuine piety.

As for house systems well least said soonest mended but I can't help note that after doing all the trig to find out the correct cusp they then say it is wrong by five degrees anyway. The ancients probably got it all wrong as well but at least they carried on because they wanted to do "real astrology"

Yes I agree that face to face is the best way to debate and no doubt Deb would agree but in the meantime if anyone wants to call me a hidebound anachronistic old git then go ahead online cos I am mature enough to take it but remember if you if can't take it then do not dish it out

I should also say that I respect Morin too both as a man and a scholar and he was not afraid to question assumptions and innovate using reason. I bet he enjoyed slating Cardan but he did it because he felt it important to move astrology forward. When I hear people in the C21st parroting what was written a century ago then certainly the epithet modern does not apply. They are following a tradition.

Matthew
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james_m



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Posted: Fri Apr 04, 2014 7:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

thanks everyone here for voicing your thoughts!

deb - i think you are correct in that attitudes are moving in a more positive direction!

mark - i think you're right to point out the distinction between online verses in person interactions. online has much greater potential for misunderstanding and as a result i think people need to keep that in mind. the potential to misinterpret is greater and i am sure i do it without realizing, or only if someone points it out to me.

paul - thanks. i think it's an interesting topic too and i like what you say about their not being any 'traditional' astrologers as we are all 'modern' in so far as it is impossible to go back. at least that is how i would describe it. i like the fact that others are embracing the past and what they can learn from it and like mark, i too find the historical aspect of astrology and the different ways that astrology could have been practiced in times past fascinating to consider. that said, i don't know that we can ever fully understand the thinking of those from the past, so much as keep an open mind towards all of it, including the present.
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james_m



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Posted: Mon Apr 07, 2014 3:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

funny story - reading ben dykes book "choices and inceptions" around page 300, i noticed the astrologers referring to mashallah and a few others as 'modern' astrologers. i suppose they were for the time, lol..
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Mjacob



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Posted: Mon Apr 07, 2014 5:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Maybe that is why people study Valens and the other Hellenes. They want to find the "real traditional astrology" I still prefer Masha'allah so that makes me modern? Labels schmabels
See pp 297 to 298
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james_m



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Posted: Mon Apr 07, 2014 4:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

we will have to ask the guy who wrote a book on 'real astrology' won't we? lol.. he did a good job of setting himself up as some sort of authority on that and here according to the book i am reading - he is actually stuck reading modern astrologers, or even worse - lilly who was a contemporary version of mashallah, lol.. one quickly sees how these terms are redundant and can be used any which way.. but, i do want to get down to the '''real'' astrology in all of this! after reading that link from vasanth by Frawley, i think my mind went numb! the link he gave appears to no longer work. Frawley seems to excel at humour.. i have never read a book of his, but maybe he is pretty good at astrology too.
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Mjacob



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Posted: Mon Apr 07, 2014 7:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bear in mind that when he published there were few books in English. We have the benefit now of the translated works by astrologers who understood them. The tradition has evolved if you like. To them

O glory and light of all others who sing
In verse, please show me favor
For having lovingly studied every little thing

In your volume, You are my master my author,
For only through careful imitation
Of your noble style am I granted any honor
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