In episode 235 astrologers Austin Coppock and Chris Brennan discuss the relationship between astrology and magic, and some of the areas where they converge and diverge.
The premise behind this discussion is that there has been a dramatic rise in the practice of astrological magic over the past couple of years, especially among the younger generations of astrologers.
This has left some astrologers like myself in a bit of an awkward position though, since I don’t practice magic, and having not investigated it much myself I don’t really have strong feelings either for or against it.
I do feel like I have indirectly promoted it on The Astrology Podcast though by having discussions about it with different practitioners that are into it, as part of my general program to recognize and talk about the many different approaches to and perspectives on astrology.
Some past instances include my early interview with Christopher Warnock in episode 16 about Astrology, Magic, and The Occult, or the discussion that I had with Austin about his new compilation of papers on astrological magic when it came out in 2018.
I don’t necessarily think that one needs to believe in or practice magic in order to practice astrology though, since the two are kind of separate things, and yet I wondered if that distinction has become blurred a bit over the past few years.
In light of that, I’d been meaning to do an episode where I could talk through some of my own reservations, while balancing them out by talking to a proponent of astrological magic. I couldn’t think of anyone better to have that discussion with than Austin, since he has become one of the principal proponents of astrological magic in modern times.
This episode was recorded in my studio in Denver in late November, towards the end of Austin and Kelly’s trip here that month to record a series of podcast episodes.
When I pitched the idea to Austin early during his visit he was enthusiastic about doing the episode, and felt like it might be good to be able to talk about some of his own reservations regarding the sudden recent popularization of astrological magic as well.
So, we decided to sit down and record it on our day off on the Sunday that week when Kelly was off in Boulder giving a workshop. The end result was a pretty compelling and I think productive discussion, where we covered a lot of ground. Some of the topics we covered include:
- What is the definition of astrology?
- How do we define magic?
- Is astrology magic?
- In what ways are astrology and magic different?
- How has magic been incorporated into astrology in the past?
- Are there any possible downsides to astrological magic today?
- What are the possible benefits?
- What is the interplay between fate and free-will?
Part of the purpose of the episode for me was to be able to explain where I’m at currently and air any reservations I have while talking through it with someone I respect, and then having done so I can feel better about going ahead and still doing other explorations of that topic on the podcast in the future, such as an episode on the Picatrix that I’m planning on doing with Christopher Warnock next month. I feel like I was able to do that with this episode, and I hope that it generates some other productive discussions in the future.
This episode is available in both audio and video versions below.
Here are some timestamps for topics covered at different points in the episode:
00:02:50 The increased interest in astrological magic
00:09:17 Decrease in skepticism of astrology
00:12:54 Aleister Crowley writings
00:14:50 Theosophist literature
00:15:59 Scientific astrology
00:17:57 Psychological astrology
00:18:10 Richard Tarnas
00:24:22 Revival of traditional astrology
00:25:40 Overlap of magic and astrological communities
00:26:50 Lee Lehman essay about overlap of astrology and magic
00:28:40 Chris’ definition of astrology
00:31:01 Austin’s definition of magic
00:34:16 Chris’ definition of magic
00:38:13 How to define magic in an astrological context
00:52:50 Is everything in the chart fated?
00:55:47 Internal states and fate
00:58:40 Electional astrology overlap with magic
00:59:23 Definition of fate
00:59:46 Are you changing your fate with electional astrology?
01:02:22 Free will, Choice, Predeterminism
01:17:22 Astrological Magic, The Picatrix, and Fate
01:37:11 Historical patterns of convergence and separation of magic and astrology
01:44:03 Practicing astrology independent of magic
01:50:40 Chris’ 3 objections to magic
02:09:10 Is all magic efficacious?
02:13:08 Medical astrology
02:14:10 Firdaria and Quarters of the Moon
02:14:45 Drawbacks to using magic
02:37:02 Ethical hazards in magic
03:03:41 The positives of fate
03:08:31 Christopher Warnock Picatrix episode
03:09:09 Closing remarks
Watch the Video Version of This Episode
Here is the video version of our discussion about astrology and magic:
A full transcript of this episode is available: Episode 235 transcript
Listen to the Audio Version of This Episode
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