Episode 147 of the podcast features a discussion with Rick Levine about a recent controversy in the astrological community that centered on a lecture that Glenn Perry gave at a conference in India attacking the sidereal zodiac.
Background on the Discussion
The event was the 28th International Vedic Astrology Conference, which took place in Kolkata, India, from January 30 – February 4, 2018. The conference was held under the auspices of the Krishnamurti Institute of Vedic Culture for Public Welfare.
This year was unique because there was an open call for speakers, and more than 40 western astrologers gave talks at the conference.
On February 1, Glenn Perry gave a 30-minute presentation at the conference, arguing that the tropical zodiac is the one true zodiac and the sidereal zodiac is wrong. This presentation was given to an audience of Indian astrologers, where the sidereal zodiac has been the primary reference system for centuries.
The talk was widely viewed as disrespectful, both by Indian and western astrologers who attended the conference, not so much for the points argued in the talk but instead due to the tone, which came off as mean-spirited and divisive in what was otherwise set up as a more conciliatory east meets west conference.
There was a lot of discussion about the talk online after it occurred, and a number of people filed complaints with the International Society for Astrological Research (ISAR), since Perry was representing them at the conference as their ethics chair, research director, and longtime board member.
As a result of the controversy and subsequent complaints from the membership, he was eventually given an ultimatum by the ISAR board to either step down as ethics chair, or leave the board entirely, and he chose to leave the board.
The purpose of this discussion with Rick was to talk about the incident and hear what happened first-hand, since he was there in the room when the lecture was given, and also to get some background on other incidents like this one in the past, in order better contextualize what happened and why the community backlash was so strong.
Original Lecture Video and Video Commentary
A video recording of Perry’s lecture was released by the director of the conference, Gopal Bhattacharjee, in order to help set the record straight about what happened. You can view that video on Gopal’s YouTube page here.
Gopal also gave me permission to record a commentary on the lecture, in order to highlight some of the problems with it, and you can view that video here:
This video complements the broader discussion that was recorded with Rick for this episode of the podcast, although it was not meant to replace it, and you can find the links to download the audio recording of the discussion with Rick below.
A full transcript of this episode is available: Episode 147 transcript
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