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Conferences, Detriment, Legality of Astrology, etc.

Conferences, Detriment, Legality of Astrology, etc.In the 44th episode of the show Leisa Schaim joins me to talk about a few different research projects and topics related to astrology that we’ve been working on or thinking about lately.

The four main topics that we discuss are 1) current models for astrological conferences, 2) finding a more appropriate technical term to use to refer to the concept of “detriment,” 3) the legality of astrology, and 4) how astrologers should interact with public figures who criticize astrology.

This was more of an information discussion about some things both of us had been thinking about lately, and the show ended up being about 2 hours long by the time we covered everything. As a result of that I included some notes on what time we started talking about different topics below.

For more information about Leisa please visit her website at LeisaSchaim.com.

Below you will find an outline of some of the different topics that we touched on during the course of the show, followed by links to download or stream the recording.

Outline of the Episode

  • Astrological conferences and improving current models  (00:01:30 – 00:38:17)
    • ISAR conference voting for speaker selection just finished.
    • They are trying a new model, which has some pros and cons.
    • Generational differences in terms of astrologers getting paid for speaking at conferences.
    • The need to improve on the current models.
  • The search for an alternate term for detriment  (00:38:17 – 01:03:50)
    • Detriment wasn’t talked about a lot in the early tradition.
    • Only traces in the early Hellenistic tradition.
    • By the time they start talking about it they don’t really seem to have a name for it
    • Rhetorius says enantioma, which means “anything opposite or opposed, obstacle, hindrance”. Schmidt translates as contrary or contrariety.
    • Schmidt later called it anti-domicile.
    • I had been playing with the idea of calling it the sign of a planet’s “antithesis.”
    • Recently noticed some people using the term “exile.”
    • Starting a community discussion about what to use.
  • The legality of astrology  (01:03:50 – 01:27:25)
    • Leisa was researching this for an OPA article.
    • There were challenges to the legality of astrology in the early 20th century.
    • Then again in the 1980s.
    • Since the 1980s most cases have been decided based on first amendment – freedom of speech.
    • Some anti-fortune telling ordinances target only those claiming to alter someone’s fortune. Potentially problematic for those who do remediation?
  • Interacting with public figures who criticize astrology  (01:27:25 – 01:43:30)
    • Sometimes certain types of astrologers try to pick fights with public figures.
    • This is problematic for a number of reasons.
    • Often not great motivations underlying it.
    • Detrimental to the astrological community.

Other News: Free Webinar on September 13

  • Chris is going to start offering a monthly webinar for people who support the podcast through Patreon at the 5 and 10 dollar tiers.
  • Chat session screenshotWill be like a video chat session or hangout where we discuss some of the topics covered in the podcast that month.
  • Will be more interactive than the podcast, since participants will have the opportunity to ask questions.
  • See the screenshot to the right for an example from a test chat session we did recently.
  • Going to do a free preview webinar that is open for anyone to join in order to demo what it is about on September 13 at 1:00 PM Mountain Time.
  • Spaces are limited, so first come first served.
  • Patreon subscribers get first dibs (you can still signup now to get preference).
  • Click here for more information about the webinar


A full transcript of this episode is available: Episode 44 transcript

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  • RE Alternate words for detriment: My vote is for neither antithesis (awkward and implies an entirely blocked energy) and even less desirable would be exile for the following reason: exile implies unrelated and far away. Just because a planet is in detriment does not mean it is isolated, banished or less integrated. It just means it is very uncomfortable. My understanding was that a peregrine planet has no aspects to any other and in this way is isolated. These are the planets I would deem to be in exile. If the same planet were a final depositor it would be even more unrelated and running a separate agenda from the rest of the whole – almost disowned. A planet in detriment is uncomfortable because its nature, purpose/agenda is being forced to operated in a fashion that is contrary to that very nature. in a very nuanced way, to me this is different from opposed or antithesis which almost implies a battle of sorts. Venus in Aries as an example would be wanting connection in a highly individualistic way, possibly leading the relationship, possibly in an impulsive and sself serving way. It could wear down a partnership if other factors were not in play (not sure what those would be). Taken a step further, one would seen that Venus by way of ruler-ship is serving Mars’ agenda. So where is Mars? Maybe he is very active in the 7th or 8th H and putting a great deal of energy into the marriage and partner ! Mastery even. Maybe Venus is simply attracting or attracted to Arien qualities that are not necessarily bad for a partnership, such as leadership, courage, independence etc. But she is in foreign territory, for sure. Being in a foreign territory would be more demanding, less efficient, and would not be showing off the most natural, essential way of being aka exalted. There would be a demand to be something not to sacrifice her nature but to act in a way that is ccontrary to it while still fulfilling her purpose! Stressful indeed. My vote therefore is for a planet being “au contraire”.

    • Only Noel Type defines “peregrine” as a planet that has no aspects, or at least he was the one that took the traditional term and re-purposed it to mean something else. The revival of traditional astrology in the 1980s and 90s brought peregrine back into use as a technical term in contemporary astrology though under its original meaning, which was essentially a planet lacking in zodiacal dignity. I just wanted to point that out so that we are on the same page about the term peregrine, since I was using the traditional usage when I was talking about it in the podcast.

      Regarding your suggestion, au contraire just means “contrary” or “on the contrary” in French. So, just to clarify, are you voting for contrary or contrariety then essentially? I’d like to render whatever term we come up with into English with the precise meaning we are looking for, since otherwise it would just become a meaningless technical term, in which case we might as well just keep the original Greek technical term enantioma.

      • Chris – ha! good to know about Noel Tye. His writing is in fact where I learned about peregrine planets, so thank you for pointing me in the right direction. I have to wonder then if there is a term for un-aspected planets? To be clear(er), I think being contrary is the closest to actual meaning for planets in detriment for me. I also like displaced, as in out of place and not at home. Still, exile goes too far and pulls in inaccurate meaning. The fact that she is in service to the opposing sign ruler is significant in my mind as is gives her an even less integrity by a further bolstering of her opposing nature. Insulting really – a complete dominance. So maybe she is in Submission ! The more I think about it detriment sounds pretty good.

    • I agree with everything you said Jennifer about paying careful consideration to the meanings of words. To be honest, I have yet to like any that have been so far put forward, especially the words that are different than ‘detriment’, yet still seem to hold potentially painful connotation when used in its typical context, such as estranged. Enantioma is a nice word; enantiomers are molecules that are mirror images of one-another in the world of Chemistry, but I don’t think Mars himself is necessarily in anyway opposite in meaning when in the sign opposing that which he rules, so this makes it difficult when looking at Astrology from a less technical angle and a more interpretive one.

      There must be a word that is nice and comfortable, especially to use for those clients with planets in detriment, that is clear in meaning. Essentially a planet’s natural expressions are somewhat thwarted when in the planet is in detriment, but thwarted isn’t a great word. Encumbered isn’t a great word either, because, although one might say Mars is encumbered when in detriment, Venus or Mercury may be thought of quite differently, especially if in Aries or Sagittarius, respectively. I like the words antimien, immien or demissence. I admit, I made them up by fusing common prefixes with ‘mien’ or ‘essence’. If it works and serves its function then why not?! I thought demi an ok prefix because it also alludes to half a circle, which is 180 degrees, or two and quintessential seems to have come from the ‘fifth essence’, which was originally to do with a perfect fifth element after earth, air, fire and water. I think it’s perfectly acceptable to fuse meanings together when there is no word currently in existence that is capable of serving an intended purpose.

  • Hello Chris
    I often use the “uncomfortable” for detrimented and fallen planets when talking to clients. They understand this as they are living this uncomfortable energy of say an uncomfortable Mars in Libra – they can’t take action easily etc.

    I studied first with Noel Tyl and then Rod Suskin and learned from Rod to reframe what Noel called peregrine planets as feral.

    • Thanks Karen – I am remembering this term feral now – it is so descriptive. And good to use non astro terms with most clients, so uncomfortable is perfect in my mind.

  • Dear Chris,
    “Exile” is a term very much used by Romanian astrologers. Having studied with the American Federation of Astrologers for the past couple of years (through their correspondence course) I have come to use “detriment” instead, which made me wander: what is exile? why do Romanian astrologers use this term? and, of course, why don’t American astrologers use it? The first astrology book I ever read was Mapping the Psyche by Clare Martin, a British astrologer, and all the other ones that followed were either by British or American astrologers, which means that I’m more familiar with American and British astrology than European/Continental astrology. I’ve come to make this distinction because various terms and concepts are being used in different ways by these two astrological communities, “exile” being one such case. I, however, didn’t know that it came from Morinus, although I wasn’t surprised to hear it. The French astrological tradition seems to have had a major influence on continental astrology. About a year and a half ago I did a quick research on karmic astrology, looking for the English equivalent of some of the techniques I saw used by Romanian astrologers. My research failed badly until I came up with the idea of making a Google search in French and voila! I couldn’t even believe how many resources one could find when shifting from one language to another. I also heard it said that most of it never even made it across the English Channel and into the English speaking world, as if there was a huge wall between the two communities.
    I know I haven’t been sticking to the topic, but here’s what I wanted to suggest: could you consider doing a podcast on such cultural/language differences and how they change the way one sees and practices astrology? From what I’ve seen, most American astrologers are interested in the cultural and historical differences between Indian astrology and Western astrology, not realizing that Europe is an interesting mixture of traditions and has some interesting variations: “exile” is one such thing and the notion that the Ascendant becomes more prominent after a certain age (more than one’s Sun Sign) is another. It would be interesting to explore these differences or invite someone who comes from outside the English speaking community on your show.
    In relation to the legality of astrology and the revival of astrological magic, it would be interesting to note that the major difference between magical practices on the one hand and religious practices on the other, has much to do with the notion of authority: who is the one that can alter the future or help with some undesired outcomes? Is it the astrologer who knows certain techniques and is able to recommend certain remedies? Is it the magician who is “powerful” or “knowledgeable” enough to do so, or is it God? I think this is where things might get tricky, because people do accept God’s intervention, but are on the lookout for magicians and fortune-tellers who “pretend to be God”. I think it would be another interesting topic for your show, especially now that astrological magic has been somewhat revived. What is astrology’s relation to God and who is the ultimate source of authority in an astrological consultation? This could get very interesting if it were properly researched.
    Thank you very much for the show and I look forward to new episodes!

    • Teodoro – thank you for pointing out there are many cultures that practice astrology. As a student of language long ago, I realized when thinking and speaking in another language that to understand the culture of the country of origin and perspective on life in all its aspects, one had to know the language. The language is influenced by the culture and vice versa, and there are certain words and saying that are simply not translatable. Layering astrology onto this would have to take this into consideration. Maybe the Romainians have a very different philospophy about astrology that is refelective of their culture. for example, perhaps it is a more fatalistic interpretation, or in a nuanced way exile to them is simply conoting not at home and therefor uncomfortable, ill at ease etc. This could be a very involved conversation since it is not just about astrology but also the history of language, language as a reflection of culture etc, and then how that influences not only the terms used but the general filter through which one astrologer is reading a chart based on cultural differences alone. And oh my – pulling God into the equation? I say, leave God out of it . Many do not believe in an interventionist God or any God for that matter, but are still spiritual persons in orientation. There is a recognition of the intelligence of creation etc. So this question of fate and prediction and magic in my opinion comes down to observation and reflection. Do we believe in synchronicity “As above so below”? Can we see it in our lives over time reflected in the planetary transits and progressions to our charts and to events? Do we believe there are astrologers that are more gifted on an intuitive level at interpreting these archetypal energies?

      • BTW, as a native French speaker, I can say this is a powerful hermetic language.

        Some translations :

        The birth = la naissance = là nés sens = here were born the senses.
        The death = la mort = l’âme hors = the soul out.
        Paris = Parisii = Par Isis = By Isis.

        Monday = Lundi = la Lune = the Moon.
        Tuesday = Mardi = Mars.
        Wednesay = Mercredi = Mercury.

        Night = Nuit = Nout = Egyptian goddess of the sky. When you say “good night”, it’s actually an old daily ritual to seek the protection of the the good goddess of the sky.

        If you visit European cathedrals one day, you will find astrology and alchemy everywhere !


      • Really it is exile in French as well? Interesting! I wonder what happened with English that made it go a different route with “detriment”.

        • Yes ! 🙂

          As you said, Morin de Villefranche was french, so he had perhaps more influence in his own country ?

          I love English, it’s really a wonderful universal language, but it seems to me that French has more symbolic meaning in its roots (again, I don’t want to sound too proud of my language here, I’m not). French was spoken by all the European nobility (not only in France, but UK and Russia too).

          A last nice example : “Christmas” in English, translates to “Noël” in French.

          “Noël” is a contraction of “Nouvel Hélios”, “New Helios”, the new sun.

          • Sebastien – what a lovely language you have, si belle. The aristocracy needed a common language because essentially, they were a class apart that was united by social status and they inter-married. So now English is the universal language – but also for the masses ! English pulls in Latin, Greek, German, etc and is rich in this way but to my ears, French will always be the creme de la creme!

          • Yes, a superclass to rule the world. I’m glad we don’t have that anymore, but I think this aristocratic language kind of still exists today : “signs and symbols rule the world, not rules and law.” (Confucius)

            BTW, I find interesting how entertainment is replacing religion nowadays.

            Superman (the solar hero – with a big capital letter S) who beheads the snake (the North Node for astrologers) in a old Greek/Roman like temple:
            The fight between the Sun and the Snake during eclipses. An old and timeless myth, still on TV nowadays. (Lois Lane: Luna ?)

            For fun, Merovingian French cursing :

  • Hi Chris,

    I’m part way through your lecture here … I’ve always wondered why the conference organizers don’t enlist the help of astrology bloggers in promoting their conferences by offering incentives. I actually contacted some of them and received few replies … basically that they’re not interested. Seems a shame.

    • Most of the time the organizers tend to be a bit older, and sometimes even getting them to do basic stuff like set up a nice looking website for the conference can be difficult. When it comes to marketing often times they are still stuck on past models. This isn’t always the case, and sometimes there are exceptions, but generally speaking that is how it goes.

  • I love the discussion about new terms for detriment. I must say I rather like Exile. It implies one might have done something controversial in order to have earned that status. It’s not the same as being just a wanderer, exile has more of a confrontation aspect to it also. Being a permanent outsider, means you have to try harder to fit in, the masquerade aspect you discussed in the webnar fits in too. Exile has more of an endurance aspect that peregrine doesn’t. Long term adaption, so you make a real effort. I was also thinking of Nemesis because coming up against your polar opposite can strengthen you too, and make you very aware of your own shadow.

  • Hi Chris,
    I really enjoy your show, keep up the good work. Having been in direct marketing for many years, before turning to more literary and esoteric pursuits, maybe I can offer some ideas for astrology conferences.

    One thing I specialized in was getting folks to attend live seminars and the key was always getting the right people (people who will buy something) and enough of them to make the seminar profitable. My suggestion would be not to pay speakers (in my old world, investing education, the speakers would pay to present) but allow them an up sell at the end of their presentation, this can be to an in person event later during the conference, or, more interesting, a more in depth on line course. For example, I remember listening to Rob Hand speak about sect at a conference, maybe a 90 minute talk, and later, there was a in- person seminar that was about 6 hours. The talk could then be put on line, after the conference, the free 90 minute talk could be put on Youtube etc.. and the 6 hour online course would be an up sell from that.. The paid content would be purchased through the conference website, and there would be a revenue split between the speaker and the conference. This motivates both parties to promote the free talk, because the metrics will eventually pan out to a revenue per view.

    The key is giving enough good content in the free talk to make it interesting, but not giving away the whole thing. There has to be some salesmanship, but not too much. The other benefits of this is it creates lots of (hopefully) good free content online for people to learn and get interested in astrology, and the ability to pursue it more in depth if so desired.

    In todays world, there are many turn key type applications, with reporting, payment systems etc. and once it gets up and running, there is a long term revenue stream, which could allow the conferences to lower prices for admission, bringing in more people, etc.. This can also work with consultations, ie, purchase a consultation with astrologer through the conference website, and receive a 20% discount, with a revenue split which motivates the conference to promote the content. The best content of course will make the most money for all.

    Kelly Lee Phipps did a wonderful job of putting lots of great videos up in Youtube, which I think was a wonderful gift for all of us interested in astrology. However, I noticed that most of the videos had no upsell, no clear way to purchase something.

    Hope some of this was helpful.



  • Just thought of another possibility – the planet in detriment would be called “estranged”. This is close to the French word for foreigner, and also close to the adjective “estranged”. Very close to exile. Stranger in a strange land and all that might ensue.

    • Yeah, estranged is good. I think someone else suggested that as well. I also like it because it is a bit flexible. Estranged, estrangement, etc. We will definitely have to put it in the list of terms to consider.