Ep 9 – The Relationship Between Hellenistic & Indian Astrology

The Astrology Podcast

Transcript of Episode 9, titled:

The Relationship Between Hellenistic and Indian Astrology

With Chris Brennan and Kenneth Johnson

Episode originally released on July 26th, 2013.

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Note: This is a transcript of an audio podcast. We strongly encourage you to listen to the audio version, which includes inflections that may not translate well when written out. Transcripts are created by using a combination of speech recognition software and human transcribers, and the text probably contains some errors and differences from the audio version. Please submit any corrections to Chris Brennan by email at astrologue@gmail.com.

Transcribed by Gülşen Altay

Transcription released November 8th, 2018

Copyright © 2016 TheAstrologyPodcast.com

CHRIS BRENNAN: Hi, I am Chris Brennan, and this is the astrology podcast. Today is Sunday, July 21, 2013.

And my guess today is author Kenneth Johnson who has written several books. One of which is my favorite book on the Nakshatras which is titled Mansions of the Moon: The Lost Zodiac of the Goddess. Kenneth’s website is jaguarwisdom.org.

And this is his first time on the show.

Kenneth, thanks for coming on.

KENNETH JOHNSON: It is good to be here with you tonight, Chris.

CHRIS BRENNAN: Great. Well, I am excited to have this discussion. I have been meeting to have you for a while to discuss one of my favorite historical topics which is the interaction between Hellenistic and Indian astrology or in other words the relationship between  the oldest, or one of the oldest traditions of western astrology, and one of the oldest traditions of I guess you could say eastern astrology.

First before we get into why don’t  you explain a little bit about your background in terms of astrology, and in terms of Indian astrology in particular.

KENNETH JOHNSON: I began with astrology when I was 21 years old, back in 1973. So obviously this was quite a long time ago. I remained with western astrology for quite a few years, obtained  B.A. in Comparative Religions. And afterwards I discovered Jyotish or Indian astrology very early on in the late 1980s when I was first becoming popular here in this country. I took to it immediately, and I have been in it ever since. I still practice both disciplines. Most recently I returned to school, and got an M.A. in Eastern Studies at St. John’s College. Primarily what the goal of learning Sanskrit so that I could have a deeper knowledge of the Indian astrology texts in the original language.

CHRIS BRENNAN: Right. I remember you gave a fantastic lecture at Kepler College, back somewhere around I wanna say 2005, 2006 where you really urged people to learn some of these ancient languages such as Sanskrit. Because there are so many manuscripts lying in libraries literally just rotting away in various places. Right?

KENNETH JOHNSON: Yeah. That is still very much true. A man whom we will soon be discussing Dr. David Pingree once remarked that there are probably millions of unknown manuscripts in India, and that many of them are at risk in a monsoon climate where the tropical flooding, wild ebbs etc. Many of these manuscripts do not as well preserved as they ought to be. They are not in libraries. They are not often treated with the same kind of reverence that we often give in our own country, I should say in our own western civilization. They don’t receive the same kind of treatment as many of our manuscripts do, and many people have thought that he may have been exaggerating when he said literally millions. Most scholars from India have told me that this may not be an exaggeration.

CHRIS BRENNAN: And these are actual practical manuscripts on astrology that are not widely in circulation, and in many cases. Correct?

KENNETH JOHNSON: That are completely unknown, and  in fact though we have seen a remarkable absearch in translation of traditional western astrological texts during the past 15 years or so, the same cannot be said for the Sanskrit material. Some of the most important works of all still remain untranslated.

CHRIS BRENNAN: Right.

KENNETH JOHNSON: And we may be touching upon one of them later in this discussion.

CHRIS BRENNAN: Sure. And that reminds me, so you brought up the recent revival of traditional astrology in the west. And it is interesting because you mentioned that you got into Indian astrology towards the late ‘80s which is when there was kind of an absearch of interest in that suddenly in the west, and around  the same time that was the beginning of the so called traditional revival of some western astrologers going back, and finding texts like William Lilly, or Bonatti, or eventually when Project Hindsight started finding authors like Vettius Valens, and sort of trying to restore the astrological tradition in that sense, it is interesting around the same time that you see similar currents occurring with some people going back, and  focusing on Indian astrology, and you are one of those people.

KENNETH JOHNSON: Yes. And like many other students of the history of astrology when the first Project Hindsight publications began to emerge, I was one of those who was just blown away by the similarities with Indian astrology. Obviously here was a tradition which I don’t know if I would go so far is to call it a single branch, or a single tradition,  but almost as if we were in the presence of two branches of a single tradition, you know and of course this is pretty well-known now.

CHRIS BRENNAN: Sure. Yeah. And I am  sure that would have been surprising when Project Hindsight started around 1992, 1993. Because when you look at Indian astrology from the perspective of modern western psychological astrology that was developed in like the late 20th century, it looks very foreign, or Indian astrology looks very foreign in its practice, and in its technical apparatus, and conceptually in just about in every way from that it looked like two completely different  traditions, and yet when you start studying, when you go as far back as you can in the western tradition as you can go about two thousand years, and you compare Hellenistic astrology, the original tradition of western astrology to Indian astrology, they actually have a lot of similarities and Hellenistic and Indian astrology in many ways look more alike to each other than Hellenistic astrology does to modern astrology in some ways, or modern western astrology in some ways.

KENNETH JOHNSON: I would say, I would go so far is to say that these similarities between Indian astrology and Hellenistic astrology are much much greater than the similarities with either of those two differences or either of those two disciplines and western psychological astrology. You could virtually hand a Hellenistic chart to a Hindu astrologer, and tropical zodiac maybe you could ask him to read it, and he would just start reading in virtually the same way  that he was thought by his grandfather to read, and it would be perfectly understandable as a reading to Vettius Valens, or Hephaistio.

CHRIS BRENNAN: Sure. Western astrologers some 2000 years ago.

KENNETH JOHNSON: Yes. Western astrologers some 2000 years ago. Yeah.

CHRIS BRENNAN: And that is because of the greater sense of continuity that Indian astrology has had over the past 2000 years than there is experienced in the west where there has been many starts and stops.

KENNETH JOHNSON: You know  it is, of course, a tremendously conservative culture, and civilization so much so that actually Greek terms, actual Greek words that were uncommon to all western astrologers before the Project Hindsight  translations can be found quite literally in Indian astrology still being used today unchanged from the original Greek, things like apoklima,  and epanaphora,  and sunaphe, these are just Greek words pure and simple. So yes, India has been that  remarkably conservative, and in that respect it is a kind of very colorful tapestry, or a hybrid in the sense that it preserves Hellenistic doctrines lost everywhere else, and yet it also includes a very colorful mixture of indigenous material from India itself.

CHRIS BRENNAN: Sure.

KENNETH JOHNSON: And just one little more comment.

CHRIS BRENNAN: Sure.

KENNETH JOHNSON: Since Indian astrology is often perceived as an unchanging mono-leaf, and I may have just given that impression but this is not true either. The real situation is much more complex. You can see tremendous changes after the Islamic invasions and so on and so forth. So even though it  is highly conservative and retain so many ancient features that we are also common in western astrology, it changes just like everything else. Perhaps not as radically as astrology but it does change.

CHRIS BRENNAN: Sure. So that gives us a good sort of transition then into our main topic which is the interaction between Hellenistic astrology and Indian astrology, and we might start by I guess defining some of our terms, and defining the traditions in particular.

So Hellenistic astrology I usually define as a tradition of astrology that developed in the Mediterranean around the second or perhaps first century BC, and then was practiced in something close to its original, or similar form until about the sixth or seventh century AD or CE. So that is essentially the birth of around the first or second century BCE,  the type of astrology that most western astrologers are familiar with that has the fourfold system of planets, signs, houses and aspects as well as many other concepts that people associate like most of the qualities of the signs of the zodiac, most of the significations associated with the houses, most timing techniques like transits and other concepts such as synastry, all sort of originating at least as far as we can tell somewhere around the first century at least that is the point at which we have texts that survive that clearly show that those that system existed so that is Hellenistic astrology and that is developing largely over in Egypt, and being practiced essentially in what is essentially the Roman Empire.

But  then we have Indian astrology and there is almost two different areas of Indian astrology that you might define or in terms of the practice of astrology in India there is one that is focused on what I think some people might call the indigenous astrology of India that is based on the Nakshatras. And then there is  this other tradition that occurs later which is when the tradition of the Nakshatras was merged with this other system, and you have the full blown practice of essentially horoscopic astrology in India, or the type of astrology that focus on casting birth charts, and other types of charts from that perspective. How do you define Indian astrology, or what do you call it, and how do you define it?

KENNETH JOHNSON: I like to call it Jyotish which is its actual Sanskrit name.

CHRIS BRENNAN: Okay.

KENNETH JOHNSON: What would means the ‘science of light’, and there are indeed early texts most of which remain untranslated. I have done a few chapters from one of them which show us what the astrology of India was like at a very early stage of the game before what I like to call the Hellenistic infusion.

CHRIS BRENNAN: Hmm.

KENNETH JOHNSON: And what we see here is an astrology which is primarily electional.

CHRIS BRENNAN: Okay.

KENNETH JOHNSON: It is primarily concerned with finding the right time to perform a specific ritual, or begin a specific type of spiritual practice. And, of course, there are some more mundane concerns, but the earliest texts really show us that you just mentioned them the Nakshatras, the 27 mansions of the Moon seem to go back to a very ancient ritualistic context. In fact the earliest mention we have of all the Nakshatras under their present names is in one of the four vedas, the Atharvaveda Book 19: Hymn-7 which can not really be much later than 700-800 BC.

So this has been around for a long time, and when I first began translating a Nakshatra text that Dr. Pingree dated to around the beginning of the Christian era. I was amazed to see that they actually did have already a rudimentary form of natal astrology based on the Nakshatras but really the crux of the matter is once again the Hellenistic  infusion. After a certain point in time we find that horoscopic astrology pretty much as you defined it 12 houses, planets as rulers of signs, you know located in various houses to represent the various departments of life, and everything we regard as horoscopic astrology appears in India. It appears quite suddenly, and while what we might describe as a Jyotish fundamentalists with light to a place  this way way back thousands of years ago that there is really no evidence for that. And when Hellenistic advocates simply write of the Indian system as a mirror addendum to Hellenistic astrology, I think what they miss is the tremendous amount of indigenous material which has been, and still is preserved, for example, if you do electional astrology in India today. The zodiac is secondary, and you don’t really need it, even to this very day electional astrology is still based around the Nakshatras. So what we have here is a richly woven tapestry of influences. Of which the indigenous, and the Hellenistic are the two primary, and I think defining influences for Jyotish.

CHRIS BRENNAN: Sure. And that raises a question I had which is I know I think it has been, I have been told that it is more of a recent thing, or recent  thing that is become popular in the past 20, or 25 years to call Indian astrology to call Jyotish, Vedic astrology based on this. I think it is largely based  although perhaps there is another way to defend that designation but from usually how it is explained as it is based on the assumption that Indian astrology that is practiced today dates back to the Vedas and back to Vedic times which is 2000 or 3000 years ago. Is that correct?

KENNETH JOHNSON: 3000 years ago at least. I was just looking at some new articles in the Indology journal today where there seems to be a consensus that the final recension of the Rigveda, the most important of the four Vedas, is 1000 BC.

CHRIS BRENNAN: Okay.

KENNETH JOHNSON: However  it must be said that the doctrine that horoscopic astrology can be traced back to this period of time is essentially a matter, I would go so far is to call of the matter of religious fate, there is not a single shred of historical evidence for it. Certainly the text that I worked with which Pingree dated to the beginning of the Christian era may no mention of the zodiac whatsoever, and was entirely Nakshatra based.

CHRIS BRENNAN: Sure. So we have this collection of religious texts called the Vedas that date back, it is a collection of different  texts are written at different times that date back at least to 1000 BC. And well, there are in some of the later versions of those texts I think you mentioned earlier from about 800 or 700 BC that mention the Nakshatras, there is no mention of other concepts such as natal astrology, or aspects, or progressions, or what have you. The things that I guess we should define horoscopic astrology, usually  when I see horoscopic astrology I mean any form of astrology that utilizes the Ascendant, and the things that can be derived from the Ascendant such as the houses, Lots or Arabic parts, and some other facets of western astrology, or not western astrology but of the type of astrology that utilizes charts that involve the Ascendant, and related things.

KENNETH JOHNSON: And while those who have a strong cultural feeling for the primacy of India will insist that there must be some ancient Vedic original for  the texts that we have now. The simple fact remains that there is not a single text containing all the elements that you have just saw very well describe as horoscopic astrology, there is not a single text that is actually written in the Vedic form of the Sanskrit language. Neither can one simply translate easily from the Vedic form into classical Sanskrit without serious changes. I won’t go into all the Sanskrit linguistics about it. But it really just is virtually impossible…

CHRIS BRENNAN: Sure.

KENNETH JOHNSON: …that there were ever any original versions of these texts in the Vedic form of Sanskrit.

CHRIS BRENNAN: Sure. So we do have though is we have this lunar zodiac that was I guess at one point 28 but then standardize eventually to 27 signs, essentially like a lunar zodiac that  consists of 27 signs at least by 700 or 800 BC, and that was primarily applied to electional astrology, and timing auspicious moments to have ceremonies, or began new ventures.

KENNETH JOHNSON: That…

CHRIS BRENNAN: Go ahead.

KENNETH JOHNSON: Yeah. The Nakshatras, their origin remains something of a mystery, the Finnish Sanskrit scholar Asko Parpola, and  several other scholars have argued that the Nakshatras show such signs of antiquity that they may actually have been the original calendar in this Valley civilization. For example two of the most important  Nakshatras are Rohini and Jyeshta two red stars, Aldebaran and Antares precisely opposite each other. One is the king, the other is the crown.

Now we can find buildings as early as 3200 BC that are oriented to the rising and setting of these two stars. And in those days those two stars would have marked the equinoxes. So there is a possibility that the Nakshatras are really very old, although we can not say with certainty that they are older than 700-800 BC. Because that is the earliest written text that we have.

And the earliest example of natal astrology that I have seen …… Nakshatras, and I would have to call it a  very very rudimentary form of natal astrology that comes to about the Christian era, at the beginning of the Christian era at  that time there were still 28 Nakshatras, and in fact it seems to have shifted from 28 to 27 round about the same time, that is the Hellenistic influence appearing during the first  few centuries of the Christian era it has been speculated since the Nakshatra that was dropped out of the list was called Abhijit, and it is dated the bright star of Vega. Now of course Vega is a long ways from the ecliptic that has been speculated that the Hellenistic infusion placed more emphasis on the ecliptic.

CHRIS BRENNAN: Okay.

KENNETH JOHNSON: And so they dropped Vega because it was just too far, you know …… into the new system. It was just too far away from the ecliptic.

CHRIS BRENNAN: Sure.

KENNETH JOHNSON: And when you are using the Moon which is one of the largest bodies in the sky, and  which has you know the farthest declination of the ecliptic. Well, maybe you could do a rule of the using Vega but after the introduction of the Hellenistic  zodiac with its emphasis on planets moving through the ecliptic that there seems to have been no place for that 28 mansion.

CHRIS BRENNAN: Okay. Interesting. So and that is another thing I guess that we didn’t mention that is worth mentioning is that the Nakshatras are oriented around their 27 or 28 signs but there is each associated with one specific fixed star. So it is really more of a sidereal, it is rooted in more of a sidereal reference system.

KENNETH JOHNSON: Well. Yeah, and not to go off on a tangent here on some of the facebook pages such as professional astrologers and so on, there has been a lot of discussion is to whether, for example, the Persian Arabic version of the mansions of the Moon ‘Can we tropicalize this?’…

CHRIS BRENNAN: All right.

KENNETH JOHNSON: … or ‘Are the meanings the myths everything surrounding the mansions of the Moon, are these in fact based on the visual appearance of the stars, and  therefore you know more or less……. the sidereal?’ I think this is gonna be a topic of lively debate among astrologers for a long time.

CHRIS BRENNAN: Sure. And I assume your opinion is that it is because of the close connection with the fixed stars that it would be best to keep it sidereal rather than attempting to import it into the tropical zodiac. Correct?

KENNETH JOHNSON: Well, even though I love to work with traditional western astrology, I can not quite bring myself to work with the western version of the lunar mansions. Because in as much as I focused on mythology during my bachelor’s degree in Comparative Religions I find it very difficult to separate the Nakshatras, and the myths that go with them, and  these myths are visual in the sky, we can see them.

CHRIS BRENNAN: Right. Yeah, in your book…

KENNETH JOHNSON: They tell stories in the sky. Yeah.

CHRIS BRENNAN: And I just want to plug your book really quick. Because your book really does the best job. It is titled Mansions of the Moon. This is the best job of explaining some of the myths associated with each of the lunar mansions, and the fixed stars associated with them in any book that I have found.

KENNETH JOHNSON: Thank you.

CHRIS BRENNAN: So definitely if people want to learn more about that, this subject they should definitely check out that book. So we have this indigenous this is the…, Nakshatras are really the indigenous astrology of India.

And then sometime around we think, and this is the original, now, we should probably transition into talking about Pingree and Pingree’s argument. I don’t think it was originally just Pingree’s argument. Because I have looked back, and I have found some old like academic papers from a century or two where somebody was making the observation that there were a bunch of Greek technical terms, and astronomical and astrological terms that we are embedded in Indian astrological texts. And they didn’t know why but  they suspected that it meant that they were Greek texts from the late Hellenistic, or early Roman period that were transmitted to India, and then translated into Sanskrit. And in the 1960s I guess Pingree who was this young up and coming, I guess you could call him a…, what is the word for somebody that is just that knows, because he knew like ten different languages.

KENNETH JOHNSON: Polymath.

CHRIS BRENNAN: Polymath. Yeah.

KENNETH JOHNSON: Polyglot.

CHRIS BRENNAN: Yeah. Polyglot. Somebody who speaks many different languages. So this is a guy who taught  himself Sanskrit in high school, or learned Sanskrit in high school, and learned Greek and Latin and Arabic and Middle Persian or Medieval Persian, and a bunch of others, just about every modern European language, and he was an academic.  But he dedicated himself to studying the history and transmission of astrology, and astronomy especially in the ancient world. And for his PhD dissertation he actually collected together some of the existing manuscripts of what he thought was the oldest text on horoscopic astrology in India that he could find, and he  put together what is called the critical edition of that text. So you compare all the existing manuscripts, and you are trying recreate what you think the original text was in Sanskrit, and then he did a translation of it, and published it somewhere in, I think the 1960s or what your was…, was like ‘69 or ’68?

KENNETH JOHNSON: Somewhere around there. Yeah. I don’t have it in front of  me.

CHRIS BRENNAN: Sure.

KENNETH JOHNSON: But somewhere around there. Yeah.

CHRIS BRENNAN: So he published this text, and then he published this extensive commentary that takes up a book in and of itself, or he compares each line of this text that he dated to about the second century, or sorry third century where he compared every single line in it to equivalent  doctrines of the Hellenistic astrologers where he tried to compare, and show that there was many areas of carry over, that there are many instances in which there were similarities between the Hellenistic and Indian tradition. And he tried to argue that this text known as the Yavanajakata was originally a Greek text on Hellenistic astrology, it was written in Greek probably in Alexandria around the late first, or early second century CE, and then it went over on a trading ship to the western coast of India where it was translated at some point  into Sanskrit. And then this was merged with the indigenous astrology who have India based on the Nakshatras, and that this somehow birth, the long tradition of astrology of horoscopic astrology in India but that this was really the starting point , and that prior to that point he argued that type of astrology didn’t exist but instead it was mainly focused on the Nakshatras. Would you say that that is relatively decent over you what Pingree’s kind of argument was?  

KENNETH JOHNSON: That is a very concise statement of his argument. He was a very remarkable man. His actual position was Professor of the History of Mathematics at Brown University. But he was the sort of person where, for example, if you should happen to find some badly damaged text along the silk road, and you are not sure whether it is written in Tocharian  or Sogdian he was the sort of person that you would call…

CHRIS BRENNAN: Right.

KENNETH JOHNSON: … to make that identification, you know so truly a remarkable person. And, yeah, that sums up his thesis very nicely.

CHRIS BRENNAN: Sure. And I mean what was…

KENNETH JOHNSON: He did real… Go ahead.

CHRIS BRENNAN: What was funny is that that was just the starting point for Pingree like this critical edition of this 2000 year old Sanskrit text was just to start for him. But he went on to have a long career of creating critical editions of many other texts in Greek, and Latin, and Arabic, and Persian, and Sanskrit. And I think you could arguably say he did more than anyone I can think of to reconstruct the history of astrology. I can’t think of anybody else who sort of comparable to him in terms of what he did in terms of the study of the history of astrology.

KENNETH JOHNSON: I certainly can’t think of anybody else who comes even remarkably close to his achievement. If it had been neglected, of course, terribly in an era when only hard practical science as defined by the establishment,  you know what was considered acceptable study at least he brought it back to us. If not you know in terms of being astrologer himself, or he never really stating that he was a believer. But at least he restored it as part of humanities intellectual history, and thereby made a respectful field of study again which it had not been for many years.

And I have a quite a few of his texts, his achievements in Sanskrit were truly remarkable. There is another text and he called the…, you just mentioned  Yavanajataka,  yavana means Greek and jataka means birth astrology or quite literally birth story. So ‘Greek Natal Astrology’ I think would  be a fair translation. There is another text written by ascertain Minaraja which is called Vrddhayavanajataka, and the word is very difficult word to translate. My friend and colleague Ronnie Dreyer  who just got her MA in Eastern Studies in Columbia prefers ‘Ancient Greek Astrology’, and I will concord with her on that. But this text is so enormous. If you are familiar with Guido Bonatti from the Middle Ages…

CHRIS BRENNAN: Hmm.

KENNETH JOHNSON: … whose text runs to something like 1200 pages or thereabouts, the Minaraja text is equally long, and Pingree actually succeeded in creating a critical edition of it. That is a lot of work.

CHRIS BRENNAN: But no translation.

KENNETH JOHNSON: No translation unfortunately. And now that certain questions have been raised about his dating of the Yavanajataka, this makes the Minaraja text all the more important. It could be equally old, or perhaps even slightly older than the Yavanajataka. At this point so many questions have been raised that we don’t know for sure. Just recently an article in an Asian scientific journal has asserted that Pingree got the dates wrong that it isn’t really 269 AD or CE, and the original which he cites the Greek original isn’t  really a 150 CE, because Mr. Mak the more recent scholar believes that the Pingree got the dates wrong.

CHRIS BRENNAN: Right.

KENNETH JOHNSON: So now the whole question of the origins of horoscopic astrology in India has become a very debatable topic.

CHRIS BRENNAN: Sure. So we still have…, so we have this issue, I guess, actually the strongest point of Pingree’s argument was the linguistic evidence where he pointed out that there are a number of Greek technical terms for different things that meant have some semantic meaning in Greek like the term kentron that has a meaning of either a sharp spike that you use to poke something, and goad it into action, or it has the secondary meaning of a central point that, or a center around which something else revolves like a pivot. So you have that term in Greek which was used to refer to the four angles, or the four angular houses, and that Greek term was kentron and then you have the same term showing up in Sanskrit but in transliterated form. I forget what was the name, is kendra…, is the term?

KENNETH JOHNSON: kendra.

CHRIS BRENNAN: Sure.

KENNETH JOHNSON: It is kendra, and there are others. In fact I can take it a bit far than that .

CHRIS BRENNAN: Okay.

KENNETH JOHNSON: There are a certain number of terms which are purely indigenous. For example although Pingree cites early astronomical texts which have hybrid Greek Sanskrit names for the planets which were probably common, and what we would have called Indo-Greek  population, the descendants of Alexander the Great’s army, even though we have hybrid Greek Sanskrit names for the planets, the ancient Sanskrit names for the planets quickly reassert themselves.

CHRIS BRENNAN: Okay.

KENNETH JOHNSON: And then we have terms that appear to be purely and simply a direct translation of a Greek word. The best one that I can think of is, for example, houses 6, 8 and 12. I will call dustanas.

CHRIS BRENNAN: Okay.

KENNETH JOHNSON: Dus meaning bad, and tana meaning place, and then the 10th house is called Karmastana  which means the place of work. Now tana would appear to be direct translation into Sanskrit of the Greek word topos in my own opinion.  

CHRIS BRENNAN: Okay.

KENNETH JOHNSON: Linguistically.

CHRIS BRENNAN: And topos was the original word for a house.

KENNETH JOHNSON: ……. and topos was the original Greek word for a house, and that is related to our word topic. Hence the whole debate, you know what whole sign houses is to whether you know quadrant houses should be used in one sense or for topics, you know it is descendant from the same word. But what we do fine which is purely and simply in Greek, and this just you   know to get back to your original point is more or less the crux of Pingree’s argument there are certain technical matters in Greek horoscopic astrology such as, you know defining of what we would call it cadent house as an apoklima after the climax, and  the same word is used in India, they didn’t change it.

CHRIS BRENNAN: Right. It is just called an apoklima in Sanskrit.

KENNETH JOHNSON: Yeah, and  panaphara  which is… What is the correct Greek?

CHRIS BRENNAN: In Greek it is epanaphora.

KENNETH JOHNSON: Yeah. Okay. Here just to slight change in intonation. Now, at least in my own investigation these terms that are very specific to the technicalities of Hellenistic astrology unlike the names of the planets, unlike very simple terms such as place, they had no precedent  whatsoever in the Sanskrit language, and the ones that have no precedent because they are technical Hellenistic terms are precisely the words that have remained in Greek under this very day.

CHRIS BRENNAN: Sure. So that  the crux of Pingree’s argument is basically that you have got a bunch of Greek technical terms where they have taken things in the language that means something already like apoklima which means to fall away, or after the climax, or to decline away from something, and they are using that as a technical term to refer to, for example, cadent  houses. And then this gets transmitted the Sanskrit, and instead of picking, instead of translating the term in some instances they would just transliterate it.

So they would use the Greek word to refer to it, so they, just like Greek astrologers were referred the cadent houses as apoklimas, Sanskrit astrologers Indian astrologers also referred to cadent houses as apoklimas. But the fact that in Sanskrit  the word apoklima doesn’t  mean anything outside of its astrological usage is the strongest piece, or the strongest case you could make that  the influence, at least in those instances was going one way that was going from Greek into Sanskrit rather than from Sanskrit into Greek.

KENNETH JOHNSON: Right. Exactly.

CHRIS BRENNAN: Okay. Yeah, that is a really important  point. So recently some of Pingree’s dating has been challenged because at the very end of Yavanajataka the author of it basically says that, or at least according to Pingree’s translation that the original text was composed somewhere around the year 1-50 CE. And then the version that we had is a versification of the text where it was taken, and turned into a poem essentially somewhere around the year 269 or 270.

And this recent article that came out just in the past few months is now challenging Pingree’s dating, and translation of that last paragraph where the author of this text gives the dating, however he doesn’t seem to be challenging the basic  premise of the general argument which is that there were some influence of Hellenistic astrology on Indian astrology that is demonstrated by these technical terms, he has transliterated technical terms that are embedded in Indian astrology. I think is that your impression as well.  

KENNETH JOHNSON: He is definitely not questioning the premise that the essentials of horoscopic astrology in India were originally from the Greek.

CHRIS BRENNAN: Hmm.

KENNETH JOHNSON: He is simply questioning whether or not the Yavanajataka is the pristine original source that Pingree believed it to be, and  he is questioning whether the version which is come down to us was perhaps recorded  two or three centuries later than Pingree originally believed. This of course does not mean that that was no Greek original for this text. It simply means that the Greek original was much far there back in the past.

CHRIS BRENNAN: Sure.

KENNETH JOHNSON: And he cites a number of cultural factors as well, you know including some linguistics. There is some terminology mostly relating to Tantra which appears in the Yavanajataka which would have been purely and simply impossible in 269 CE because where we don’t find these Tantric terms until 500 CE, or later.

CHRIS BRENNAN: Okay.

KENNETH JOHNSON: And so you know then the question could be raised is to whether Pingree was as familiar with all aspects of Hindu civilization as he was  with the sciences. But in any case it is not necessarily invalidate the idea that the Yavanajataka is based on a Greek original rather Mr. Mak’s argument is simply that the text as we have it is much later than was originally believed because Pingree got its dates wrong. And he also points out that this is by no means a pure or pristine Greek document it has been over several centuries deeply influenced by Hindu culture to the point where it is a kind of hybrid.

CHRIS BRENNAN: Sure. Let’s actually talk about some of those areas of similarity in the Yavanajataka, and in Indian astrology in general where it has overlaps and similarities with Hellenistic astrology in some of those areas that are different, although I  guess before you move on from that I just wanna mention the name of the article we are talking about it is by Bill M. Mak, last name Mak, and the title of the article that is challenging Pingree’s dating of the Yavanajataka is The Transmission of Greek Astral Science into India Reconsidered, and if you do a Google search of that it will come up pretty close the top. So if you wanna look for that  you can.

So back to our topic which is what are…, I guess when you read through the Yavanajataka, is many people haven’t it necessarily, I wanna say many western astrologers haven’t, and what are some of the areas of convergence between, let’s say, Hellenistic astrology and Indian astrology that make them look very similar or where they are doing the same thing? Like I am trying to think of for example domicile rulership, so they have the same system of sign rulerships for the planets, that is the traditional rulership scheme where it is divided among the seven planets, fending out  from the Sun and Moon which are assigned to Leo and Cancer and then Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn.

KENNETH JOHNSON: They have all the essentials of Hellenistic astrology embodied within the Yavanajakata, and most of these essentials remain embodied in Sanskrit  astrology to this very day.

CHRIS BRENNAN: Right.

KENNETH JOHNSON: They have all those terms that you have mentioned, and if we were not talking about Greek horoscopic astrology, we would not need to use such terms as apoklima or epanaphora since those are very technical, and very specific. So in fact the entire …… of Hellenistic astrology is there with a few minor exceptions, for example the Lots, the Hellenistic Lots, the Lot of Fortune, the Lot of Spirit…

CHRIS BRENNAN: The Arabic parts otherwise known.

KENNETH JOHNSON: Pardon.

CHRIS BRENNAN: Otherwise known as the Arabic parts to some people.

KENNETH JOHNSON: Yeah. To some people. These never appear in the Yavanajataka, and in fact they don’t appear in India until the Islamic  invasions, brought with them, their own court astrologers who practiced Medieval Persian Arabic astrology, there is no knowledge of the Lots, or the Parts in Sanskrit.  And this is a bit of a mystery because as you have pointed out the Lots are typically considered to be part of the original system of Hermes, and they ought to have been there in any standard texts since the very beginning. So it is quite a mystery is to why we don’t have those other …….

CHRIS BRENNAN: Yeah. Really quickly, the lots are really important, and it is surprising that they don’t show up in Indian astrology. Although one way that I think is really interesting in which there is almost an alternative that you do see is that the Lot of Fortune is the only Lot that was often used for a set of derivative houses where you would find the Lot of Fortune, and then you turn the charts that that becomes the first house, and then you count the houses from the Lot of Fortune, or  the sign of the Lot of Fortune. And one way that is kind of interesting that in India that this kind of happens is with the focus on the Moon, and doing derivative houses from the sign of the Moon, and the importance attributed to that. And I almost wondered in some instances if that didn’t take the place of, I don’t know, the necessity of needing to do derivative houses from Fortune in some way but that is just a speculation.

KENNETH JOHNSON: Yeah. It  is all speculative on my part as well. The original system of astrology in India that was based on the Nakshatras is, of course, lunar based. So if they were  going to use something else as an alternative Ascendant, the Moon makes a lot of sense here.

CHRIS BRENNAN: Sure.

KENNETH JOHNSON: On the other hand we do find, you know the Lot of Fortune is a mathematically derived point that we uses an alternative Ascendant. And even though Sanskrit astrologers did not use the Lots, they were extremely fond of mathematically deriving any number of alternative Ascendants. So this sounds like their thinking in the same mode as the type of thinking which produce the Lots but they are not using the Lots. So this remains a mystery.

Other things in the Yavanajataka that have definitely changed is we find no evidence for Greek medical theory…

CHRIS BRENNAN: Hmm.

KENNETH JOHNSON: … whether it might be Pingree’s original estimate of a hundred years between the Greek text, and the versified Yavanajataka that we have now, or whether Mak is right in his  several hundred years but any rate, you know over the course of time all Greek medicine has been replaced with ayurveda.

CHRIS BRENNAN: Right. In which they have a different temperament system that is what three temperaments instead of four.

KENNETH JOHNSON: Three temperaments instead of four. We also find that when they talk about kings going to war, really popular sort of topic if you read the authors like Bonatti for example, when they talk about it in the Yavanajataka, they are using Nakshatras, and  clearly copying part of the old electional astrology tradition of India that was based on the Nakshatras, and then the other great mysteries thing is that Pingree asserted that the earliest examples of horary astrology are in the Yavanajataka. And I am gonna leave you to make the argument rather than try to summarize it. You have asserted this is actually something quite different which you have called consultational astrology, and therefore one has to question what is the origin of consultation astrology, does it have a Greek background, or is this star magic from India? But I am gonna leave commentary on that to you because you have studied the concept of the consultation chart more deeply.

CHRIS BRENNAN: Yeah. I mean Pingree was originally, I think in the 1960s and ‘70s of the opinion although until the late ‘80s, he was of  the opinion that horary astrology was first introduced in the Yavanajataka in this series of chapters that seems to be about horary but he later changed his…, although he didn’t actually all the way until.., he thought horary existed in the Hellenistic tradition, and that was in Dorotheus from the 1960s until the early ‘90s and all of the sudden like 1992-93 he changed his mind and he began saying for the next 10 or 15 years that horary astrology was invented in India, and it first shows up in the Yavanajataka.

But the problem when I research this because I really wanted to find out what the origins of horary were, were that if you read the Yavanajataka, the majority of the chapters in the horary section, there is like 20 chapters or something it is quite extensive, most of it  just deals with determining what a person is thinking about, what a client is thinking about when they approach you for a consultation. And  that is actually there is an analogue to that in Hellenistic astrology where they had a system for pretty much doing the same thing for casting a chart the moment of consultation began just  simply in order to determine what the client is thinking about.

And but Pingree was saying that that is not horary, so this creates a bit of an issue because then how do you define horary astrology, and is that the same as what they are doing, and I argued that it is not, and instead I argued that, and I think we treated a little bit differently even the modern times where we have this thing called the consultation chart which is a chart cast for the moment that a consultation begins, and it is supposed to tell the astrologer what the client is thinking about, and perhaps how the consultation might go, and that seems to be what is in the Yavanajataka, and what is in the early Hellenistic tradition, is this consultation chart framework where you just cast a chart to figure out  what a person is thinking about but it does not tell you what the outcome of their thoughts would be.

And it is not really  clear that that develop like we don’t have the first full blown horary texts in the same way that we think about horary until several centuries later like the first full texts aren’t until the early medieval tradition with Masha’allah’s book On Reception, and Sahl Ibn Bishr’s book On Questions, although there is some evidence that horary was developing in pretty much all three traditions the Hellenistic, Persian and Indian traditions probably a little bit earlier around like the fifth or sixth centuries.

KENNETH JOHNSON: There are two texts from India which Pingree dated to 600 CE more or less which are clearly horary as we know it today.

CHRIS BRENNAN: Right. And that is by who again.

KENNETH JOHNSON: Okay. The first one is called Shatpanchasika and that is by Prithuyasas who was the son of the legendary Varāhamihra, and the other one which were names untranslated, although I am actually starting to work on this one. It dates to around the same era possibly a little bit earlier because the author …… seems to be mentioned by Varāhamihra who was the father of Prithuyasas. So we might wanna place this back to 550 CE, and it is simply called the Prashna ….….. which means knowledge about asking questions.

CHRIS BRENNAN: Okay.

KENNETH JOHNSON: And but like I said it remains untranslated. It is really clear that both Prithuyasas and ……. were attempting to write something which would be the defining text, you can always tell in Sanskrit, technically we call it a foundation text. And it looks different, it is ranged differently, the language is different from other kinds of texts, these are clearly written as foundation texts. So I could attest to what we would call horary, asking a question, and  then studying the chart to get the answers in precisely the same way that we do with horary now at least as early as 600 CE in India. This, of course, you know it doesn’t bare that much resemblance Sahl and Masha’allah.

CHRIS BRENNAN: Hmm.

KENNETH JOHNSON: So the question remains open was there a contemporary, or even earlier Persian tradition, now lost to us from which Sahl and Masha’allah would borrow it  in the sense that they would both ethnic Persians.

CHRIS BRENNAN: Sure. And right around that same time Pingree claims that he has seen examples of horary astrology in Persia, although it is almost simultaneous with the Indian text that you are mentioning, and then also simultaneous to that in the Greek tradition we have some example charts of horary, at least one or two definitely seem to be about horary in the Palchus texts which…,

KENNETH JOHNSON: Hmm.

CHRIS BRENNAN: … unfortunately Palchus is kind of not a great source because Palchus was evidently according to Pingree the handle or the pseudonym of a 14th century astrologer who is collecting together a bunch of earlier Greek texts. But he did collect together a series of 5 or 6 example charts from about the fifth or sixth century that were written in Greek, and  at least one or two of them definitely the other three or four probably electional charts but at least two of them are probably a sort of prototype of horary chart, and this is all happening about the same time.

So somewhere around the fifth or sixth century we probably have development of horary, and we have no idea where it came from. It could have started in India. It could have started in Persia. It could have started in Greece. We don’t know.

KENNETH JOHNSON: And this is, of course, what makes it even more complex is this is also the precise era when we have  the legendary Academy of Gundeshapur in Persia, run by Persians but with a major contribution from historian Greeks, and often hosting Indian students, and  Prithuyasas himself was a precisely the right age to have been there. So what we have here is a potential cross-cultural mix which because of the loss of virtually all the Zoroastrian material we may never know the answer.

CHRIS BRENNAN: Sure. And one thing I mean to mention is that towards the end of his life around I think 2004-2005 Pingree attended a conference in Amsterdam, or he gave a talk, and James Holden actually related to me a few years ago that he…, Holden ……… historian James  Holden and gave a talk on the history of astrology, and Pingree came up to him afterwards, and made a comment, and said, because Holden said that horary was invented, you know in the Hellenistic tradition by Dorotheus which is a very common opinion until 10 or 20 years ago, and Pingree came up incorrected him afterwards. And he said in fact that he thought that horary was invented in India in the 5th or 6th century. But Holden I think couldn’t remember who he was referenced, and I will bet you Pingree was thinking of the texts by Prithuyasas, or the other author that you mentioned.

KENNETH JOHNSON: …………..

CHRIS BRENNAN: Yeah. I will bet you that is what he had in mind towards end of his life.

KENNETH JOHNSON:  If that was the date that he gave there actually are no other horary texts from India that he dated  to circa 550 between 550 and 600. So it almost has to be the case. This is what he was referencing. So clearly he began to feel  that the alleged horary chapters in Dorotheus were later interpolation.

CHRIS BRENNAN: Right. In Dorotheus, and even potentially in the Yavanajataka…

KENNETH JOHNSON: Potentially, yes.

CHRIS BRENNAN: …that whatever he thought was horary earlier he may have revised his opinion yet again later. So anyways but let’s see back to.

So there is a lot of commonalities between Hellenistic, and  Indian astrology. One of the other thing is that I thing is a difference that always stood out to me is the aspect doctrine, and that is one of those areas  where there is a major difference, and it was never clear to me why, like what happened with that because the Indians already in the Yavanajataka have the special aspects of each of the planets. I think that is the name. Correct?, or what are they referred to?

KENNETH JOHNSON: What you call them special aspects basically, that is along  with the absence of the lots, this is another one of the unanswerable questions, why and under what circumstances did aspect doctrine in India begin to diverge from Hellenistic doctrine regarding the aspects to the ……. even as early as the Yavanajataka, it is quite different.

CHRIS BRENNAN: Right.

KENNETH JOHNSON: We don’t know. We honestly don’t know.

CHRIS BRENNAN: And one of the things that is weird is that in the Yavanajataka at least according to Pingree’s translation they are calling the aspects the same thing.

KENNETH JOHNSON: Yes.

CHRIS BRENNAN: Like they are calling them squares, and trines, and sextiles. But they are going to different signs  than the Hellenistic, their Hellenistic counterparts in terms of square is going to the fourth sign, or trine is going to the fifth, or sextile is to the third, or what  have you.

KENNETH JOHNSON: Well, and yet  they make use of such terminology. For example only Jupiter aspects by trine in the Vedic tradition.

CHRIS BRENNAN: Right.

KENNETH JOHNSON: And yet they will say ‘Oh! But Mercury is tru Kona to Mars.

CHRIS BRENNAN: Hmm.

KENNETH JOHNSON: And even though that is not an aspect they are  speaking as if it were.

CHRIS BRENNAN: Okay.

KENNETH JOHNSON: So this becomes terribly unclear, really confusing in terms of language, and especially so since we do know that not only did they recognize the same planetary relationships but ………. some of them, true aspects, and they even have the same word for aspect, you know for example…

CHRIS BRENNAN: Drishti

KENNETH JOHNSON: Yeah. For those who don’t know aspect means to look, and  like in Shakespeare ……….… when …. says he had a melancholy aspect about him. It means he has a melancholy gaze in his eyes, you know he is looking at  the world from a melancholic point of view. And in yoga if they want you to, you know lift your head, and point your eyes to the ceiling, they say ‘Put your drishti  to the ceiling’, you see it is the  same word.

CHRIS BRENNAN: Okay.

KENNETH JOHNSON: So it is one of those words that I mentioned which is I think a direct translation from Greek into Sanskrit. So we don’t know why they changed the doctrine around the what circumstances.

CHRIS BRENNAN: Okay. And one of them, and this is always humorous to me one of them that state the same that did not change is the use of whole sign houses which is really funny to me because in the west we have essentially they forgot about whole  sign houses for about a thousand years now. And then just recently in the early ‘80s with the publication of Holden’s paper in AFA Journal on the whole sign houses where he announced or he sort of demonstrated that whole sign houses was the original house system in the west in Hellenistic astrology and then that was later confirmed by Hand and Schmidt during the course of Project Hindsight  in the mid ‘90s. But in India they have been using whole sign houses all along for about 2000 years now is the primary form of house division. Right?

KENNETH JOHNSON: Right. And people would talk about a quadrant system which is called the Sripati system.

CHRIS BRENNAN: Hmm.

KENNETH JOHNSON: And cite this as evidence that India had quadrant systems, however here is the really interesting thing about it. If you actually read what Sripati wrote he is not judging topics by his quadrant houses…

CHRIS BRENNAN: Hmm.

KENNETH JOHNSON: …he is using it to access the proximity or distance of certain planets from  the four angles which is precisely the way that Valens describes the so called Porprhry system, and the Sripati system is just a variation on Porprhry. So here again we find that, you know just as in the Hellenistic topics are only considered by way of whole sign houses, and quadrant houses are only used for measuring, you know relationship to the four angles.

CHRIS BRENNAN: That is hilarious! Because just in my last episode I talked with Kelly Surtees, and we are discussing this about the origins of quadrant  houses being used in that way that whole sign houses were used for topics but quadrant houses were originally introduced within the context of the length of life treatment in order to determine planetary activity, and but only within the context of that technique, and then eventually quadrant houses sort of made their way outside of that into broader usage.

KENNETH JOHNSON: Hmm.

CHRIS BRENNAN: Yeah, so that is a huge similarity.

KENNETH JOHNSON: That is another thing that India preserves. And you could almost think that you were reading Vettius Valens.

CHRIS BRENNAN: Yeah. And in that way I think and this is really one of the importance sort of take home lessons for me is that western astrologers, now, there is this movement to recover ancient astrology, or recover traditional forms of astrology, and in some instances we have you know  these translations of text, we are trying to piece together the doctrine of how Hellenistic astrology was practiced. But in many instances, you still have this living tradition of ancient astrology still being practiced in India amongst Indian astrologers, and I think that there is many things that western astrologers who are interested in traditional astrology have to learn from, and stand a gain from the study of Indian astrology.

KENNETH JOHNSON: I have often regretted the facts that there is not more interchange, and particularly in India, though this is also true of western deities, there is what I describe ……. religious belief system that India comes from first in all things.

CHRIS BRENNAN: Sure.

KENNETH JOHNSON: And therefore, you know it is not worth discussing, and this is a shame. Because I believe that if Indian astrologers would have studied Hellenistic astrology, they would reach a deeper and more profound understanding of the doctrines which underlie their work, and if Hellenistic astrology fans who studied the doctrines but wonder how it was practiced ahead more opportunity  to dialogue with Indian astrologers, we could show you how to read the stuff, you know because we still read that way.

CHRIS BRENNAN: Right.

KENNETH JOHNSON: So it has been my great regret, and one of the reasons that I enjoy doing interviews like this so much is because it helps to build a bridge between the two. I think it is definitely time for a much more dialogue because a close collaboration between those with the Hellenistic, and those with a Sanskrit orientation could really do a lot towards restoring the essential core, or primal original teachings that underlyie both systems.

CHRIS BRENNAN: Yeah, I definitely agree and I am definitely big proponent of that, and I think nowhere else is that demonstrated more starkly than in the use in the application of the time lord systems, and the Dasha systems where you have, you know this set  of advanced timing techniques that is now being recovered from the early western systems, and called time lord techniques, and we are learning how to use them, and we are learning how powerful, and how just striking they can be in just modern practice. But we were still trying to piece together how they can actually be applied to their fullest extent having only bits and pieces of some ancient texts in order to guide as the way. But Indian astrologers have been using time lord systems for 2000 years now. Because they have had the dasha systems, and they never lost them in the same way that we lost the time lord systems.

KENNETH JOHNSON: In fact here again another fascinating parallel between the Hellenistic tradition and India even to this contemporary period, the time lord system is the primary predictive tool, transits are secondary.

CHRIS BRENNAN: Right.

KENNETH JOHNSON: And for the most part when we look at transits from a Hindu, or Sanskrit point of view we are paying more attention to the transits of the planets which are currently serving as the time lords, this is Hellenistic.

CHRIS BRENNAN: Right.

KENNETH JOHNSON: Is it not?

CHRIS BRENNAN: Yeah. I mean that is exactly the original transit doctrine in Hellenistic astrology is that you can’t determine if a transit will coincide with an event or a hit, unless it is activated as a time lord.

KENNETH JOHNSON: Right. And if we are in, for example, a Moon Mercury period, then even though these are planets that move so swiftly as to be commonly  disregarded by contemporary astrologers, any transit to these planets, or from these planets even, we would give them great importance if they would have time lords.

CHRIS BRENNAN: Right. Yeah, and I know just in learning and trying to figure out how to use some of these time lords systems that I have learned a lot just by observing the way that Indian astrologers applied the dasha systems in practice, and there is a lot there that is been applicable to using techniques like zodiacal releasing for example.

KENNETH JOHNSON: Yeah.

CHRIS BRENNAN: So, yeah, I think that is probably the strongest argument I think I could make for the necessity of these different  traditions coming together, and learning something where Indian astrologers as you said could probably learn more about sort of the roots of some of the techniques that they use, and Hellenistic astrologers, or western astrologers could learn more about applying this ancient system of astrology in practice, and some things that you know perhaps have been carried on, and preserved in that living tradition that perhaps we don’t have in the handful of texts that survived and were translated from the western tradition into today.

KENNETH JOHNSON: Yeah. I remember during the 2006 Project Hindsight conclave someone handed me a chart  than upon Hellenistic style, and said you know ‘Without using a lot of Sanskrit, how would you read this?’

CHRIS BRENNAN: Right.

KENNETH JOHNSON: Of course, you know just forget about the tropical, the sidereal ‘Okay. It is in tropical.’ But how would you read it ?,  and so you start out you know ‘Well, the lord of the fifth was in the first, and you now it is aspected by the lord of the ninth’, and blau blau and so on and so forth, and this planet  is, you know encompassed both sides by malefics, you know we read pretty much, I am not saying that we read precisely as Hellenistic astrologers would have done.

CHRIS BRENNAN: Hmm.

KENNETH JOHNSON: I don’t think so. But we may be the closest relatives…

CHRIS BRENNAN: Right.

KENNETH JOHNSON: …to how they might have read a chart.

CHRIS BRENNAN: Yeah, definitely. And yeah, like I said I think we have a lot to learn from that western astrologers do. So I hope  that some of this discussion has been interesting, and sort of opens people’s eyes to the history but also the necessity I think of studying some of these different traditions of astrology that you might not initially, I mean it is kind of interesting that sometimes when Indian astrology is mentioned that there is apprehension, or that there is you know a lack of interest, or whatever it is. I am not sure that I can always put my finger on what it is. But people have a hard time because they assume that it is so alien, or so foreign to the type of astrology that they do, or that we practice in the west. But the truth is actually a little bit much more complicated, and it is actually much closer of a relative, or of a cousin to western astrology than one would assume if you didn’t know anything about it.

KENNETH JOHNSON: If you take out the Sanskrit. Yeah, it is…, and  try to just use English terms for everything then yeah, the similarities with the west original astrology from Greco-Egyptian times, from the Hellenistic era there are stunning similarities.

CHRIS BRENNAN: Sure. Well, then I think that unless there is anything else we haven’t uncovered, I can think of if there are any topics I mean to cover. Can you think of anything  that comes to mind that would be good to mention in terms of this general topic that we haven’t touched upon?

KENNETH JOHNSON: Well…

CHRIS BRENNAN: I mean…

KENNETH JOHNSON: Just taking a look, you know at…

CHRIS BRENNAN: I mean the only other thing I can say is that I think I am particularly interested in, Hellenistic astrology is much more concrete, and much more predictive than modern psychological astrology which tends to be more oriented towards character analysis, and psychological analysis. And one of the things that comes up for me is there is a lot of conceptual, and ethical, and other considerations that suddenly come to the forefront when you start practicing that type of astrology, you start practicing Hellenistic astrology, and I think I am very much interested in dialoguing with Indian astrologers when it comes to some of those issues, when it comes to conceptual issues about how you treat certain things, and ethical issues about how you treat certain things when it comes to prediction.

KENNETH JOHNSON: We had, you know a real time with that during the early days of  the American Council of Vedic Astrology. I was on the Executive Board back then, and we were starting to bring astrologers from India.

CHRIS BRENNAN: Okay.

KENNETH JOHNSON: And we found that they think absolutely nothing of mentioning diseases in death, you know…

CHRIS BRENNAN: Right.

KENNETH JOHNSON: They will look at somebody ‘Oh! you know you are having  Saturn crossing your Moon. Are your parents still alive? Well, then they will probably die.’

CHRIS BRENNAN: Right.

KENNETH JOHNSON: You know, and of course this would be considered radically unethical…

CHRIS BRENNAN: Sure.

KENNETH JOHNSON: … in western terms. And then the older astrologers from India would not discuss relationships.

CHRIS BRENNAN: Okay.

KENNETH JOHNSON: In fact if an American woman were to began to say ‘Well, you know my first two boy friends after my divorce…’,  that you know the Indian astrologer would just stand up, and walk away from her.

CHRIS BRENNAN: No.

KENNETH JOHNSON: So we had all kinds of cultural damage control, and there are gonna be issues as we continue to explore the Hellenistic tradition where so much emphasis is placed on, you know length of life, and where there is certainly not afraid to make negative judgements. We are gonna have a lot of issues coming up about, you know how much we should say, and how we should say it.

CHRIS BRENNAN: Yeah.

KENNETH JOHNSON: And we would be going through this in India. I wish I could say that they conveyed their information in the way   which would be acceptable to contemporary western psychological astrologers. But no, not really. It can be a real slap in the face for somebody who has not use to it.

CHRIS BRENNAN: Sure. And I am interested in, you know because you are obviously there is two sides to that coin, and on the one hand making the argument for that type of predictive astrology, and making the defending as to certain extent being valuable like being able to make concrete statements about a person’s life that is sometimes are not  flattering, or sometimes that acknowledge the darker sides of it, or acknowledge areas of loss, or of pain, or of suffering, and being able to see that not shy away from it. But then at the same time the opposite and which is, you know what is not appropriate within context of a consultation, or a modern consulting setting, or what have you.

KENNETH JOHNSON: Yeah.

CHRIS BRENNAN: There is just obviously there is two sides to that. And it will be interesting to explore some of that since you guys with the modern western vedic movement have already laid  the groundwork for most of that I am sure.

KENNETH JOHNSON: We have done our best. That is gonna rough and rocky road at many stages of the game. That is for sure.

CHRIS BRENNAN: Okay. Well, on that note than I think we can go ahead, and wrapped this up. I think it has been a great discussion. I think people definitely enjoy it. And  where can…, what do you working on right now?, or what… ? I think you recently redesigned your website. Right?

KENNETH JOHNSON: Well, I actually have two websites.

CHRIS BRENNAN: Okay.

KENNETH JOHNSON: One is kennethjohnsonastrology.com…

CHRIS BRENNAN: Okay.

KENNETH JOHNSON: … in which I work with both western and vedic astrology. And I also had the other one that you mentioned jaguarwisdom.org, and that relates more to central America because I typically spend three, or four months out of the each year living that in a remote my own village where they still live by the ancient calendar, now there is a whole system of electional astrology ….., but in any event, most of my articles, and so on regarding both western and vedic astrology can be found at kennethjohnsonastrology.com.

CHRIS BRENNAN: Okay. Excellent. So people should check out your website, and then we will have to have you on again some other time to talk about Mayan astrology, and explain that system to us.

KENNETH JOHNSON: Okay.

CHRIS BRENNAN: Well. Thanks for coming on the show.

KENNETH JOHNSON: Okay. Good night, Chris.

CHRIS BRENNAN: I guess that is it for this episode. Thanks for listening. If you enjoyed the show, then please give it a good rating on iTunes.

And we will see you next time.