Evangeline Adams and the Advent of Astrology in America

Evangeline Adams and the Advent of Astrology in America

In episode 206 Christopher Renstrom joins the show to talk about the work of the early 20th century astrologer Evangeline Adams, and the development and popularization of astrology in America.

In the first hour of this discussion we talk about the practice of astrology in America in the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries, and the factors that led to its rise, including spiritualism and the Theosophical Society.

Eventually we get to our main topic, which is the life and work of the early 20th century astrologer Evangeline Adams, who the historian James Holden says was the most famous astrologer in America in the first third of the 20th century.

During the course of the episode we talk about the famous anti-fortunetelling court case that Adams was involved in in 1914, her work with Aleister Crowley as a ghost writer for some of her books, and eventually how she reached the height of her popularity with a syndicated radio show in the early 1930s.

Most of the research behind this episode is based on a book by Karen Christino titled Foreseeing the Future: Evangeline Adams and Astrology in America, which was originally published in 2003, and released in a revised edition earlier this year.

Karen was not available to do an interview, but she suggested that I talk with Christopher, who has done a lot of research on the development of astrology in America.

Christopher recently gave a great lecture titled Trash Astrology: A History of Pop Astrology in America, which chronicles the popularization of astrology in the United States.

This episode forms a nice followup to a few previous episodes, such as The Modern Revival of Astrology, with Nick Campion, and Elsbeth Ebertin and the Rise of Women in Astrology. Check out those episodes if you would like to explore some of the themes in this one further.

This episode is available in both audio and video versions below.

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Comments

  1. Thomas Callanan says

    1) Broughton’s famous/infamous prediction was the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. He specified a dangerous period for Lincoln and in so doing, nailed the date of the assassination. This so enraged the citizens of Philadelphia, where Broughton was living, that his office was ransacked by what the newspapers called “an anti-astrology mob.” Broughton moved to New York City. He may have predicted the Civil War, but I don’t recall reading that.
    2) I found sections of Broughton’s “Elements of Astrology” that were out and out plagiarized from Lilly’s Christian Astrology. I’ve also found sectioned of “Elements” swiped by Llewelyn’s A to Z Horoscope Maker and Delineator. This is not an uncommon practice. Then or now.
    3) The association of Culpeper and Broughton is interesting as Culpeper’s second most famous book is his work on Decumbiture and the other is his famous Herbal – both medical, and both men were physicians. But in “Elements” I’ve only seen him reference Lilly and Worsdale. I’ll have to look into it again. It’s been a long time since I read it.

    Good talk.

  2. Thomas Callanan says

    One more thing. Adams’ library was purchased by one Norman WInski a financial astrologer living in Naples, Florida. I’d love to pore over that.

  3. Homeopathic Medicine came well before what we know as the Western Medicine adopted by the American Medical Association (AMA). Many of the first AMA doctor’s wives still used homeopathy on themselves and their children (because it worked!). And this is not that far removed from herbal-ism which by the way, is the chemical basis of many pharmaceuticals that replicate their properties. So historically, we see the suppression of homeopathy but it never left, just as herbal remedies never stopped being used, but both of these had a huge re-surge during the back to earth “hippie” period which eventually became mainstreamed in diet and medicine.

  4. So sad that astrology cannot be seen for what it is- divination using a very exacting system as it guideline. Also sad that there are lousy astrologers, who do not know the art shall we say – or an accurate practice and charge and get paid. Along that line, there are so many disagreements about the technique itself that we have to recognized that a large part of why it works is the fact that it is divining the right message through this medium – just as Tarot, only so much more in depth. And what about being psychic on top of it all? Is that ability fortune telling? There are frauds in every business, and those who are unethical, sadly, even in the esoteric arts. PS Great podcast – thank you for having this guest. I found him very illuminating.

  5. I loved the subject matter as Evangeline and her time have always interested me. Thank you very much Mr Renstrom for a deeper-than-usual historical view of astrology and culture in the 1800s and early 1900s. Very balanced and thought provoking and it is great to listen to a historian who is not looking at the time period he studies through the lens of his own prejudices. I have dipped into astrological history in Ireland around the time of the 1916 struggle for independence from England and the previous cultural movements that fertilised the ground for this, and alongisde the usual conservatism I found the same strain of fresh open liberalism as Mr Renstrom speaks of. Interestingly, aastrology was studied by many of the revolutionaries. in Ireland then. Listening to this well-studied expert has opened more avenues for to explore, thank you. I tell my students there was a 60s in the early 1900s! and try to make sure they don’t get caught up in this short-sighted modernism.

    Aine

  6. Great talk. I learned a lot from the discussion of the history of this period of astrology in America. Thanks Chris and Christopher for such an informative presentation. One thing that bothers me is that Astro-Databank persists in giving two versions of Evangeline Adam’s birth chart and labels the correct one (well established by historical research) as DD, meaning conflicting or unverified. Karen Christino has presented the historical documents that verify the correct birth data. There is no doubt that Adams was born in Jersey City, New Jersey, on February 8, 1868 at around 8:30 AM. I did a recent wordpress blog post about this issue.

  7. michael kiyoshi salvatore says

    I appreciate both of your commitment to sticking to historical facts and you reconstructed the history of Adams and her time period together

    I’d love to hear a full podcast on the Uranus cycle in US history and/or predictions for the likely-momentous astrological events throughout the 2020s. I feel like the Uranus cycle is one of the most compelling predictions to make towards skeptics, as only a partisan contrarian would deny that the revolutionary war, the civil war, and world war two weren’t the fundamental turning points in US history, conforming to the Uranus cycle. To posit the next return as a point of really testing astrology would probably turn a lot of heads to take the subject more seriously. At least that’s what I hope to help make it do.

    Thanks for all you do for astrology as usual, Chris

  8. Thank you for this- I really loved the historical background on an era that we never really hear about in reference to astrology. And I also liked the slight debate back and forth Between you two.

Trackbacks

  1. […] Chris Brennan and Christopher Renstrom talk about my book, Foreseeing the Future: Evangeline Adams and Astrology in America on the Astrology Podcast. […]

  2. […] For a detailed discussion of the role of Evangeline Adams in American astrology, I recommend the Astrology Podcast with Christopher Renstrom. […]

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