The Astrology Podcast
Transcript of Episode 121, titled:
With Chris Brennan and guest Gemini Brett
Episode originally released on August 29, 2017
Note: This is a transcript of a spoken word podcast. If possible, we encourage you to listen to the audio or video version, since they include inflections that may not translate well when written out. Our transcripts are created by human transcribers, and the text may contain errors and differences from the spoken audio. If you find any errors then please send them to us by email: email@example.com
Transcribed by Andrea Johnson
Transcription released November 14, 2022
Copyright © 2022 TheAstrologyPodcast.com
CHRIS BRENNAN: Hi, my name is Chris Brennan, and you’re listening to The Astrology Podcast. This episode was recorded on Monday, August 28, 2017, starting just after 2:15 PM in Denver, Colorado, and this is the 121st episode of the show. For more information about how to subscribe to the podcast and help support the production of future episodes by becoming a patron, please visit TheAstrologyPodcast.com/subscribe. In this episode, I’m gonna be talking with Gemini Brett about the importance of astronomy for astrologers. Brett, welcome to the show.
GEMINI BRETT: Thank you, Chris. How ya doin’?
CB: Good. I am excited to have you on the show. We’ve been talking about, you know, doing something like this for a while because this is one of the things that you’re passionate about that you’ve been promoting a lot over the past few years, in an area where I’ve been really interested in your work since we met I think a year or two or ago at NORWAC—just the importance of observational astronomy and how sometimes astrologers are not as familiar with astronomy as they should be and how that can sometimes inform and improve actual, both, theoretical and practical things related to their practice. So is that really one of your primary concerns? Or is that your primary focus at this point in your career?
GB: Yeah, absolutely, originally kind of serving as a devotion of bringing astronomy back to the astrological fold. But I realized more and more that what actually I’m doing is realigning my own astrological practice and awareness to nature itself, and that that’s a very important thing we, as astrologers, who can get very academic and intellectual and system- and language-based, to also confirm our astrological awareness in the happenings of our planet and nature.
CB: Sure, definitely. So we’ve talked about doing a show like this to talk about this ‘cause I think it’s a very important thing for astrologers. We’ve been talking about doing this for a while. But then recently both you and I witnessed this sort of debate that was happening about some astrologers that were promoting Flat Earth theories, which is like a big conspiracy theory that’s becoming more popular over the past few years. And you and I had actually talked about this a few months ago at NORWAC, and you had talked about how you had followed some of these debates seriously. And up until a few days ago I didn’t know that this was an actual thing in the astrological community or that there were any astrologers who actually believed that the Earth was flat, and now I know that there’s at least one or two. So that’s something that we’ll get into and that’s part of the motivation for this episode, but the access point for that is the importance of astronomy for astrologers, and then I think we’ll get to that later.
So when we were talking yesterday, one of the starting points that we talked about I think that we both agreed on and both had sort of independently observed is that somewhere about, let’s say, 2,500 years ago, around the 5th century BCE in Mesopotamia, they developed the concept of the ephemeris. And at that point, if you wanted to attempt to pinpoint the point when astrology and astronomy started to diverge, no longer did astrologers have to actually go out and look at the stars in order to use them in astrology; at that point you could start using printed tables of planetary positions to look up where the planets would be far into the past and far into the future. Although the severance of astrology and astronomy probably wasn’t immediate at that point and there was still, you know, crossover between the two disciplines in the coming centuries that was probably the point I would think that, you know, astrology started to become more of a theoretical discipline rather than something where the astronomy was closely integrated into it as far as astrologers were concerned. That’s something that you sort of felt as well, right?
GB: Yeah, that’s been very true to my own visions. And then when you think about what was happening, you know, if we want to kind of journey back to the Library of Alexandria, for example, all of these scripts and texts were coming in from so many different cultures. I mean, just to translate that and compile that it’s gonna be a lot of time inside. And having that time, where now that the ephemerides were calculated, spending that time inside instead of outside, we were able to formulate this language and syntax of astrology in such a way that maybe was not so available before. But losing that connection—the sentient connection, you know, through the experience of our senses—what else did we lose in astrology as a result?
I began my personal study with Daniel Giamario at the Shamanic Astrology Mystery School, which puts a strong emphasis on experiential astrology and the witness of the living sky. And it was interesting to find out later on—kind of around the same time that Project Hindsight began this journey into these old texts and going back to the Hellenistic era—kind of at the same time, in some ways in response to what was happening at Project Hindsight, Daniel was encouraged to take people out under the stars in Mount Shasta and Joshua Tree and really bring back maybe even this part of our tradition that’s even older of engaging directly with the sky; so I think it’s really important. You know, Leonard Shlain speaks about the ‘Alphabet vs. the Goddess’. And I think taking the verses out of this is really important. That we have our system, our language side, but that we also have this sentient, direct experience of the sky as well.
CB: Sure. And this kind of ties in with the episode that I did with Bernadette Brady earlier this month where we talked a lot about the Mesopotamian astrological tradition and the origins of astrology, or at least of Western astrology in Mesopotamia, with, you know, people who were going out on a nightly basis and they were observing the skies every night and then recording what they observed. And then eventually later in their tradition, they would send reports of what they observed to the king and then they would make statements or interpretations about what those observations meant in an astrological context; or what sort of events or things they expected to happen for those celestial movements to correlate on Earth; so at that point the astronomers were also astrologers, and the astrologers were also astronomers.
So, you know, deep in the astrological tradition there’s this sort of interconnection between the two disciplines or a point at which they were one and the same, but eventually there was this separation that occurred with the development of ephemerides and then the development of other types of astrology. In the Hellenistic tradition you still have observational components or components where the actual observation or the ways that things look relative to the perspective of the observer—like planets being under the beams of the Sun, for example—is an observational consideration because when planets get too close to the Sun, they are hidden underneath the Sun’s rays, and so that then has an astrological interpretation. And even though you have things like that still in the Hellenistic tradition it’s clear that it’s drifting away—that you have to actually know how to do advanced astronomical calculations and observations in order to do astrology; instead, astrology eventually becomes this sort of abstract thing where astrologers are just looking at charts, which are two-dimensional representations of where the planets were at the moment of a person’s birth or at the moment that something began or what have you.
Eventually that brings us to today where recently we’ve seen an even further advancement or development of that. Now, you know, with websites like Astrodienst—where a person can go on a website and just enter in their birth data and the chart will be calculated for them—they never actually have to learn how to even calculate a chart. So now there’s a new generation of astrologers who are even further removed from that whole process of what the actual astronomy is underlying astrology, and now it’s possible to really know almost nothing about the astronomy, but instead just to look at the chart as sort of this abstract thing. And there’s not necessarily anything wrong with that, per se, and somebody could be a perfectly competent or a really good astrologer without having a great background in the astronomy, but the question is, are there ways in which knowing the astronomy can enhance or improve one’s understanding of the astrology or one’s ability to practice it?
GB: Yeah, absolutely. I’d love to read this passage. This is from a book called The Light of Egypt: Or, The Science of the Soul and the Stars by Thomas Burgoyne. And he writes, “Astrology, per se, is a combination of two sciences: astronomy and correspondences. These two are related to each other as hand in glove. The former deals with suns, moons, planets, and stars and strictly confined its researches to a knowledge of their size, distance, and motion, while the latter deals with the spiritual and physical influences of the same body, first upon each other, then upon the Earth, and lastly, upon the organism of human. Astronomy is the external, lifeless glove; correspondence is the living hand within.” Now most of us are about getting after the ‘living hand’, you know, and to be counselors and to look at this strange happening of, “What is the world?” and “What is spirit?”, whatever these questions are. But there’s something about looking at that glove. It’s like without the glove, the hand grows cold.
And what I love about this passage is he’s saying it’s not actually that there’s astrology and astronomy, and they used to be one and the same; astronomy is part of astrology. Astrology is astronomy and correspondences. And these days most of us are really just practicing correspondences. You know, “Here’s your Cancer Sun in the 5th house,” whatever it may be, “and this is what that means.” You know, “It’s in an applying square to Jupiter; this is what that means.” And losing that connection to what this is as a physical mechanism just has it be a little bit more I guess sterile or cold and less alive than it can be. So going out to the night sky, first of all, we can honor the roots of our tradition. I mean, I think that you are of a movement and a leader of a movement that is bringing us back to the importance of the old ways of our craft and the study. And just for that purpose alone—getting back to observational astrology—this is the original roots. I read an article today that was talking about how the Mayans were tracking the planets before Copernicus. It’s like, yeah, you know what? Everyone before Copernicus was probably tracking the planets as well because this is nature and it’s a very easy thing to see, especially when we’re not so lost in the TVs and city lights and what not.
So that’s one of the key components of going to observational astrology is just to honor that the astronomy is maybe even half of our craft. Another is this time that we spend, you know, memorizing rules, syntax, delineation; it can really override the mind and it can get so mental; I see this in students a lot. So going out to the sky, it also gives us some pause; it gives us some connection. You know, I welcome friends to say, “Okay, well, here’s the 12th house. It has all of this symbolism. Back in the day, the house of hidden enemies. Well, why is that?”
For one thing, the 12th house rose just before you did, and therefore, it’s the last hours of labor and you being flushed from the waters of the womb. That’s actually what I call the 12th house, the ‘water of the womb’. But a couple of thousands of years ago there were a lot more women dying in childbirth. Was this not death by a hidden enemy? I mean, it’s hard to consider a child being born an enemy, but if it kills the mother, is that possible? Is that part of why we know that to be the 12th? But in more modern times this idea of hidden things, well, if you go to the 12th house—which is towards the direction east and above the horizon—and you go to see what star’s rising, for example, often you can’t because there’s hills or trees or buildings, right? So it’s actually hidden things.
And there’s actually physical, visible correspondences that confirm the language, and to have that experienced yourself rather than just taking somebody’s word for it is when we turn this comprehension into understanding, which is a very important theme that we might return to when we speak about this interesting Flat Earth phenomenon at the end of this interview. But also just having that time, I invite people, okay, go watch the 12th house. “Okay, what time of day?” Any time of day, it’s always there. It’s always above the horizon, towards the direction east. Just go out there and witness it. Well, it has you put the books down and it gives you time and introspection to contemplate, and I think serves in such a way that we can open into our experience sentient self and really anchor in that information and kind of marry it to whether we want to call it the other side of the brain or other consciousness, whatever. To me, my own practice is where I find myself having what I feel are original thoughts or those ‘A-ha!’ moments where this is what I was taught. And now it’s not just something that I’m regurgitating, but it has become mine because I’ve married it to my own experience.
CB: Right. So it’s like the difference between, you know, reading in a book that the planets in the 10th house represent your public life and planets in the 4th house represent your private life and then just, you know, thinking of that as an abstract thing—I see a chart where it has a placement in the 10th house then it’s gonna mean this, or if I see a placement in the 4th house it’s gonna mean this—vs. going outside and looking at the stars, and looking up and seeing that a planet around the 10th house is visible and is right there in front of you and is at its most visible in terms of just the observational astronomy of that placement vs. a planet in the 4th house being directly under the Earth in some sense and being at its most hidden. And so you understand that the interpretations in the books are being derived from specific astronomical or observational considerations, and that the symbolism is directly in many cases derived from that and not necessarily through, you know, other abstract ways, but through very literal symbolic associations between the astronomy and the corresponding astrological interpretation.
GB: Absolutely. So we’re getting to the roots, right? And so we’re understanding this is not just some made-up, you know, magical philosophy or whatever, and that it’s just ‘as above, so below’, that there’s actually natural, experiential, Earth-based roots to our craft and to our knowledge. So here’s a fun game, everyone that’s listening right now: point to the 5th house in this moment, just where it is from where you’re sitting right now. Point to the 5th house. I gave this exercise recently at a hot springs in Idaho where I brought the whole crew for the total solar eclipse, and it was beautiful.
I hope people who were there aren’t offended by me sharing it in this way, but it was kind of like a Monty Python skit where I said, “Okay, everybody, point to the 5th house,” and all these astrologers are kind of turning in circles and pointing to different places in the sky. And then I asked, “Well, isn’t the 5th house under the horizon?” It’s like, “Oh, right.” So we actually have to put our hands under the water and point down, right? And so just getting into that or being able to go outside and see the Midheaven, or to know that the chart is not just a representation of the planets as they surrounded the Earth, you know, at the time of birth, but also where they were in our sky.
So the 4th house is a really wonderful example that you bring in, and I contemplate this a lot as well. It’s like, okay, well, what if I put the Sun in each of these houses? What’s my experience at that time if the Sun is at the IC, which is the direction north for any of us in the northern hemisphere above the Tropic of Cancer, or the direction south, if you’re in the southern hemisphere, below the Tropic of Capricorn? Between the tropics, it can get very interesting, and it can actually be directly below in special circumstances between the tropics. But here in the northern hemisphere, where I’m sitting right now at home in Seattle, the IC is always due north and underground. And that place, when the Sun gets there, it’s the middle of the night. And if you’ve studied temperament or qualities, you know, we shift away from cold and dry when the Sun sets in the west—moves into the 6th house—and in the middle of the night we shift to cold and wet. And you can feel it; it’s that time, if you’re out all night checking out the stars.
I’m keen on taking pictures of the stars lately, and I’ll just be out there for hours and hours, and suddenly there’s that moment in the middle of the night where it’s like, wow, it’s been cold, but it just got really cold, right? And now I’m feeling it in my bones. Well, that’s when the wet came in. And so I always like to suggest to people, okay, if you’re gonna study temperaments/qualities, spend a night outside. Spend a whole day outside and just experience the shift of the temperature of the energies and you’ll really start connecting these temperaments to the directions and to the diurnal motion.
And this came in for me earlier when you were speaking about that the under the beams is a visible thing, for example. And the beams are great because you can watch the Sun set, and if it’s clear, and you get those beautiful different colors. Well, the beams are like that yellow bit, that bright yellow bit, then it kind of merges into blue above that. And if planets are hanging out in the yellow—I mean, sometimes Venus, you know, ‘cause she’s so bright—but besides that you’re not gonna see them; they’re literally under the beams. And by the time it gets dark enough to see that particular planet, it’s already set, right? So it’s a very visible thing.
Usually we’re working with astrology really only from a perspective of what we call the secondary motion, right, which is a zodiacal motion, which goes Aries, then Taurus, then Gemini, then Cancer—most of us learn the chart that way—and not from the primary motion, which is the diurnal motion, or as a result of the spin of the Earth, right, he rising and the reaching and the resting and the rooting of the Sun, of the Moon, whatever it may be. And that direction is what brings us into, well, was Venus a morning star when you were born or an evening star? Was she under the beams? Is she invisible? Was she between Earth and the Sun, retrograde? If under the beams, was she, you know, opposite the Sun, on the other side? And really interesting information comes through, and frankly I feel just as much through contemplation as in delineation if we think about planets and their condition in that way of where they are in the houses, in the signs, and think of it from a natural perspective.
A last example I’ll give is the 7th house. So from a zodiacal or the secondary motion perspective, well, the 7th house might mean relationship because after being underground—the 1st through the 6th house maybe represents within and then the visible houses, 7 through 12 above the horizon represent without—well, obviously getting to the 7th house, being the first house that’s visible, that’s maybe coming out into this visible world where relationship happens. But if you think about it in the other direction, the diurnal direction—where, for example, the Sun is rising in the 12th house, culminating at the Midheaven, the cusp of the 10th and then setting where the 7th becomes the 6th—well, that’s where the heavens are ‘marrying’ the Earth, right, like where they’re literally descending. If you just sit west and watch the west, you will see that at night the stars are setting into the horizon. It’s like the heavens and Earth have a marriage at the 7th house right there anywhere on the globe—sorry, on the Earth. And I think that’s really important for us just to have that time and those contemplations. So I always invite people to go spend a night and just sit west and just dig what the west does, and you will learn so much about astrology—things that we can’t write in books.
CB: Right, definitely. And so, just to reiterate, what astronomers or what astrologers used to refer to as primary motion is sort of connected with how the Sun rises over in the east each day, and then it culminates overhead around noon, and then it sets around the Descendant in the evening, and then eventually it hits anti-culmination at the IC around midnight, and then eventually rises again in the day. And all of the planets do that. They all rise and culminate and set each day, and that’s essentially what the houses represent is different points in that cycle each day in a 24-hour period, and that’s primary motion. And then secondary motion is the movement of the planets around the zodiac or along the ecliptic, which is essentially their movement through each of the 30° of each of the 12 zodiacal signs. And this is why we have sort of as a related thing—this the reason why we refer to primary directions and secondary progressions essentially because secondary progressions are progressions through the zodiac or through the chart, one day for each year. And then primary directions oftentimes are being directed using primary motion basically, right?
GB: Yeah, and a beautiful way I’ve heard it transmitted—this came to me from Gary Caton who I think was inspired to go there by Robert Hand in looking at some of the old writings of Plato—is that the primary direction is rise in the east, culminate, rest in the west, root. I like to say ‘rise, reach, rest, and root’. And I’m careful to not assign Midheaven and IC to a particular direction because it’s different for the two hemispheres. But that is the same because it’s a result of the Earth’s spin, and therefore, the Sun, the Moon, Jupiter, Venus, Mercury, Mars, you know, all of the visible planets, all the zodiacal stars—they rise in the east and they rest in the west. And they don’t spend equally 12 hours above the horizon and 12 hours below the horizon; it depends on what sign they’re in. That’s more technical than we need to get right now, but for the most part it’s the same, right? Whereas, the secondary motion, from Aries to Taurus to Gemini and what not, that’s different because the Moon circles the zodiac in 27.3 days and the Sun in 365.24 days and Jupiter in 11.86 years, etc., right? Saturn, 29.5. So the same and the different.
And it’s amazing that we spend so much of our time really as astrologers—I mean, 95% of our time—looking at the difference and really not observing this energy of the same. And so, when that was introduced to me, I realized, well, so much of what I’m doing is I’m wondering about Venus as morning star or Mars as evening star, Jupiter under the beams, and these things that don’t necessarily apply as much to the secondary motion—or the zodiacal motion or the different—as they do to the diurnal motion, the primary motion, the same. It’s like the first time we met, which was at NORWAC a couple of years ago, and we were talking about observational astrology, you said, “You know, there’s this thing I’m working on. It’s like the importance of sect. Were you born at day, or were you born at night?” I mean, this principle, natural reflection of a nativity, yeah.
CB: Right. And that’s a great example of how far astrologers have drifted from astronomy. Until very recently, in modern times, it’s like the difference between day and night charts was not even a consideration that was taken into account. Partially, it’s just due to changes in the astrological tradition and the loss of techniques from ancient times, but also it’s due to just the drifting of astronomy and astrology, and astrologers not always taking into account, you know, very basic observational astronomy considerations.
GB: Yeah, I mean, it just seems so simple, right? I mean, I also wonder, was it windy? For me, in my nativity, Jupiter was the only visible planet above the horizon. So was it cloudy? Was Jupiter visible, right? Did my parents have the wisdom to hold me up to Jupiter then? I wish. But, you know, those same questions, what was happening in my general environment—that’s taking us beyond our craft really. But yeah, is it day or night? And you asked me, “When does day start? Is it when the Sun’s right at the Ascendant? Well, we know the Sun is half a degree in diameter from our witness here on Earth. Why is there a tradition of chanting to the Sun as it begins to rise, as you first see the disc crest over the horizon, and then until it’s finished rising, until you can see all of the Sun?”
And so, I think that’s a really interesting contemplation. I still don’t have an answer, but I spend a lot of time on what I call the ‘Chris Brennan question’ when I’m out there, especially if I’m staying up watching Venus’ morning star lately and just seeing the Sun rise. It’s like, okay, when is sunrise? And would it make a difference if there’s hills here or a large mountain in front of me? Am I waiting till I can see the Sun, or just on the chart when it’s in the 12th house? I think it’s a really fun contemplation. Those things we don’t necessarily get from the language and the delineation. And I really appreciate that your quest back into the Hellenistic traditions and some of these questions about sect have opened these investigations that really we can only explore by getting out there and watching the world.
CB: Right. Yeah, I mean, the issue I was struggling with at the time was, you know, when do you treat a chart like a day chart and when do you treat it as a night chart; because that has major technical implications for certain techniques that I use, like zodiacal releasing, which is a timing technique that’s based on the lots. And in order to calculate the lots, you have to know if it’s a day or night chart; and if it’s one or the other then it can completely change all of the resulting timing periods. But the issue that I was running into is while astrologers often treat day vs. night—when you’re looking at a chart—sort of abstractly. Since we know the Ascendant roughly represents the eastern horizon and the Descendant roughly represents the western horizon, if the Sun is anywhere above the Ascendant/Descendant axis then it’s a day chart ‘cause then the Sun is visible above the Earth, whereas if the Sun is anywhere below the Ascendant/Descendant axis then it’s a night chart because then the Sun is below the horizon or below the Earth.
But in reality, from an astronomical context, one of the issues that I was running into is that both the realization that it actually starts getting bright out when the Sun starts getting close to the Ascendant, but before it’s risen completely over the horizon, it’s pretty bright by that point when the Sun is even, you know, a few degrees off from rising; and similarly, it doesn’t always get dark immediately as soon as the Sun sets. And I was starting to struggle at that time with the fact that there were some charts where I realized when the Sun was really close to the Ascendant or Descendant, they were still behaving like day charts rather than night charts even though the Sun was below the horizon barely or just technically. And the reason for that was potentially this observational issue of, you know, if you were standing there that day, would it still be bright and daytime out, or would it look like night?
GB: Yeah. And to me, these are really important contemplations, and I don’t really have answers for them and I don’t know if there is an answer. I would go to the same place you have that basically if the Sun’s below the horizon on a chart then it’s a night chart. But, I mean, if we’re considering this as an idea—if we project ourselves into an ancient lifestyle—I mean, it’s a lot safer to travel during a Full Moon time or during that time at night if we’re gonna walk around; you know, I do this all the time. Though I love the Moon, it’s also a little tough for me because it’ll eat the stars. So if I’m in Sedona, for example, I’m there to photograph the Milky Way, if the Moon’s around, it’s not happening. But the beautiful thing is I can, without a flashlight, just walk around those beautiful red rocks without an issue. I mean, if there was a snake, I could see it in that bright moonlight, right?
And in city life and modern times with electric lights we often forget how important that phase of the Moon is just for safety and travel and how that idea of a fortnight is so significant, and the same thing comes into this contemplation. This is always fun. You know, when we’re looking at these motions of the Sun’s daily motion moving—northern hemisphere, anyway—clockwise, and yearly motion moving counterclockwise, these primary and secondary directions, we’re relating the day and the year. And we can bring the Moon into this contemplation, as I am as well; because, as you were saying, you know, maybe it’s daytime when it’s light out and that happens before the Sun rises. Because that’s a time too where at the end of the night, it would be, in a sense, safe to travel again if you’re worried about predators or robbers or whatever that would be, right?
So these contemplations, they don’t necessarily have answers, and that can get really difficult for us, you know, as intellectual beings and folks who are here to basically look into the mystery through these systems. I mean, for me, that’s one of the great gifts of astrology, one of the wonderful arts of the chart, so we can get frustrated when we don’t know, and in a way can’t know a thing. And you basically have to just say, “All right, here’s the rule. This is how it is,” right? And there’s nothing wrong with that I think, but it’s also great to know where that came in. In mathematical systems, okay, here’s this constant that I’m using in physics, for example. Where did the constant come from? And part of what I feel like we’re doing in this hindsight—if it’s okay to use that term in going back to the ancient ways—I’d just like to say to my students, “I’m not just gonna give you a set of equations to use astrology like mathematics. We’re going to, through our own lived experience, connect the proofs,” right? Because if I know where this equation was derived from, now I’m not just regurgitating. I’m actually connecting from my own experience. And also in my teachings, I’ve moved away from—well, I haven’t moved away from astronomy for astrologers at all; I do teach the language, you know.
You know, I started the Shamanic Astrology School—it’s got its own approach to the soul path and what not—when I first went to an astrology conference, and that was when we met at NORWAC. I loved the fact that walking through the halls, everyone was speaking this language; you know, suddenly I wasn’t just some freak who’s studying astrology and speaking a language no one knew. But the thing that was painful for me is I realized that people were saying a lot of things that I had no idea what they meant. I mean, astrology we know is like this; it can be an endless study; like I’m just learning now really about the genius of antiscia. So when I met you and I saw your lecture, I was like, “Wow, I need to go back to the roots.” I had already been studying a bit with Gary Caton some techniques of traditional astrology, and then I’ve taken your Hellenistic astrology course. And while that’s not necessarily my practice, it’s been so informative to get back to some of the roots. Like if we want to speak about the void-of-course Moon, well, it’s very helpful to first know about the techniques of the transmission or translation of light ‘cause that’s where that comes from, right?
So in my own mathematical study when I was young, you can get to this point where you’re learning how to derive the equations, you’re learning the proofs, and you have the opportunity then to kind of connect in a very intimate relationship to the mathematics itself to where you can look ahead and understand the development of math—and maybe even get to the idea for what the next equation’s going to be before it’s taught to you. So I think it was true in the ancient traditions it said that astrology was the ‘highest of the low sciences’, but to gain access it’s like the prerequisites for our study of our craft were the quadrivium, which are the sacred sciences of number; so arithmetic, which is number in nature, sacred geometry, which is number in space, musical harmony, which is number in time, and astronomy, which is number in space and time.
And so, my students these days can get a little impatient, and I understand ‘cause a lot of the ‘wax on, wax off’ before we really get into reading charts is like, “Okay, here’s a compass. Go draw some circles and come back and tell me what a circle is. Here’s a keyboard. Let’s listen to a minor third, and I’ll tell you that’s a square, and a major third, that’s a trine.” Just these different devices where we can in a sentient experience: like drawing, embodiment, musical harmony, listening, this embodiment, astronomy, being out under the sky, seeing how it works, seeing how Leo rises north of east and Sagittarius rises south of east and what does that mean. Then we can bring that to the delineation and to the language and have a practical history in our own experience that helps us understand why these rules were derived in the first place.
CB: Right. And one of those that you and I were talking about earlier is, you know, in traditional astrology, and in the Hellenistic and Medieval and Renaissance tradition, there was a lot of emphasis on dexter vs. sinister aspects, or left- vs. right-sided aspects; and the doctrine in the Hellenistic tradition was that planets that are on the right side play a dominant role in any aspect configuration between two planets, whereas planets on the left side play a more passive role or are on the receiving end of an aspect between two planets. But, you know, that’s one thing to look at it in a chart and determine what right vs. left is, but one of your things is actually going outside and showing people and pointing out the stars and the planets in the sky and saying, “This is what right vs. left (or dexter vs. sinister) actually looks like if you’re looking at the night sky.”
GB: Right. When I read the old passages about dexter vs. sinister, for example, it’s just like, “Wait. What?” And fortunately with some chart examples, it helps anchor it in. But as I’m speaking right now, the Moon’s rising in Sagittarius and it’s applying to a square to the Sun in Virgo, right? I love this. I just want to say to the listeners Chris and I were thinking about there was a window to record yesterday, and you said, “You know, I’m gonna wait until the Moon clears the square to Mars, and we’ll record when the Moon ingresses Sagittarius tomorrow.” And I just love, Chris, that you’re a true astrologer; everything deserves an electional.
But yeah, so right now here’s the Sun looking at it—you know, it’s in the southwest—and the Moon is just rising, and a little bit later today I’ll go outside. And the waxing, you know, first-half Moon here—the first quarter Moon, the waxing half Moon—we can very visibly see during the day. And the faster-moving planet, the Moon, right, I will notice as I go outside; it’s to the left of the Sun, and sinister means left and there we have it. You know what I mean? And so, there’s something about reading these old transmissions. It’s very hard to explain some of the astronomical without a bunch of pictures. But when we just bring somebody outside, or most importantly, bring ourselves outside, it’s like, “Oh, I get it. It’s left-handed.”
Now I should share that, you know, if you’re listening in the southern hemisphere, you’re not gonna listen to this today anyway, but the waxing half Moon, the first quarter Moon in the southern hemisphere actually appears to be on the right of the Sun. And this is always an interesting thing for me because I’m teaching these models of what the chart and how that reflects the sky. You know, a lot of the language or a lot of the translation from the astronomy to the astrology, it kind of breaks down between hemispheres, and it confirms in so many ways what we know, that this language was written in the northern hemisphere. And things changed a lot even in the language itself as folks, I would suggest, started traveling around the globe.
Like we used to call the South Node the descending node because in the northern hemisphere the South Node is where the Moon descends from above the ecliptic to below; from northern latitudes to southern latitudes. And while that whole transition from northern latitudes to southern latitudes is also true in the southern hemisphere, in the southern hemisphere, southern latitudes are above the ecliptic; so the South Node is actually where the Moon is ascending from below the ecliptic to above. And so, while I’m not saying we should work with the South Node in the southern hemisphere as we do the North Node in the northern hemisphere, I am saying it’s worthy of our contemplations of, does this make a difference? And in these ideas like dexter and sinister it still looks the same in the chart, but in the natural experience, out in the sky, it’s actually backwards. You see, this can get just very technical. I mean, we already have taken this further down the rabbit hole than we want to go, and maybe by video we can share some of this stuff another time.
CB: Right. Yeah, I mean, I think the general underlying point is important. It’s just that one of your things lately has been, you know, looking at the chart, looking at the different techniques and considerations that astrologers use when they’re looking at charts in that two-dimensional diagram, and then actually going out and looking at what the astronomy is of that and understanding how astrologers draw interpretations from the astronomical placement and how that can inform the interpretations; but also sometimes noting when astrologers are making statements that are inconsistent with what the astronomy actually looks like when you go outside and seeing if there’s instances where either we need to reform or modify the way that we’re talking about those things. In some instances, I don’t know if you would go far as rejecting or not saying certain things or using certain things anymore if it doesn’t line up with the astronomical reality.
And I know that thing about the nodes that you just mentioned earlier—how there’s a difference between the northern and southern hemisphere—when you pointed that out on a Facebook forum recently, you know, you got some kind of hostile responses where people were scrambling to figure out how to answer you. And one of the answers that I was kind of surprised about is they said, “Well, the astrology’s just a symbolic language and the astronomy doesn’t matter,” or “Astrology is not based on astronomy,” or something like that. And I was really surprised by that response where sometimes astrologers might have a knee-jerk reaction instead of wanting to truly get to the bottom of this issue and work it out and maybe even reform the way that we talk about certain things if it’s not consistent with the astronomy. Sometimes there’s a sort of defensive reaction to reject that as being relevant in some way, which is an interesting reaction that some people had.
GB: Yeah, I think it’s another beautiful purpose of bringing our astrology out into our experience in nature if we want to call that astronomy or not. Because I feel—I don’t know the right terminology for it. It almost feels like sometimes we astrologers just kind of tuck-tail in the face of ‘mighty’ science, you know. And it’s easier to say that our craft is not a science than to try to protect the truth of the sacred science and just say, “Oh, this is just a symbolic language. Don’t worry about it. We’ll just be over here helping people, doing something that obviously can’t be possible for great scientists. Never mind us.” Whereas if we actually connect our astrology to nature, in the quadrivium, it’s really been helpful. When astronomy’s saying—I shouldn’t say astronomy—but some astronomers have said, “No, there’s actually 13 zodiacal constellations, and therefore, there’s 13 signs,” well, first of all, if you study with a compass and a square and use the co-harmony alike, you’ll find that there are 12 because this is how creation creates. And we reflect this ourselves from the development of one celled beings through mitosis, etc., and that’s a tale for another time perhaps.
But, you know, astronomers themselves—at least the science of astronomy—in this attack on astrology because, you know, your star sign, they say, is not what you think it is, as we know precession of the equinoxes shifts the tropical signs from the zodiacal constellations over time. And if we don’t understand this—unfortunately many astrologers, I noticed, do not understand not only the function and why of precession—I would argue that maybe nobody really understands that—that it is a thing. We just have the inability to stand up for our science in the face of the opposition. And as we do, you know, what I find is many of the astronomers actually, they’ve just lost the connection to very—I don’t want to call it basic—but important natural astronomy. The tropical signs are a function of astronomy. They are a function of the Earth and the Sun, of the tilted rotational axis in respect to our revolution; it’s really important.
It used to be the way that we would keep the calendar was by watching the Sun’s movement on the eastern horizon at sunrise or the western horizon at sunset. And, you know, the spring and summer signs, northern hemisphere, rise north of east; losing that connection, just as human beings, I think we are a little bit more disconnected from nature in general. But I’ve been out in the field with astronomers, I mean, PhD astronomers who are showing me amazing things about neutron stars 3,600 light-years from here and contemplating the beginning of time. And it’s like, “Well, what about right here, right now? Isn’t Saturn particularly bright tonight?” “Which one’s Saturn?” “Really? It’s over there in the southeast.” “Which way is southeast?” “Really?” And so, that’s the part of astronomy—and I would call it maybe sacred astronomy or ancient astronomy—that I’m so keen to reconnecting to the wisdom of the stone circle builders, for example, or the day-keepers, the calendar-keepers. So obviously I’m going off on a whole tangent here, I guess, but to bring it back into reality, these are the kinds of things that I feel are really important.
So there’s a statement that came to me a couple of weeks ago where there was this whole 8/8 Lion’s Gate phenomena happening, and people were playing with numerology to say that August 8, 2017 was 8/8/8. And we did this a couple of years ago in 2015 with what’s called digital roots. 2015, 2+0+1+5 is 8. And so, you can say August 8, 2015 is 8/8/8. So people were saying 8/8/8 with August 8, 2017, and I was like, “Well, what is that about?” Because 2+0+1+7, 2017, is a 10, which by digital roots is a 1. And people said, “Yeah, but you add that 1 to the August 8 and you get 8/8/1 is 16+1 is 17. And 1+7 is 8. So 8/8/8.” And it’s like, “Well, hold on, that’s a little too creative. That’s actually not mathematical.” And what came in for me is let’s keep our sacred sciences sacred by keeping them scientific.
While I don’t want to get so cold into ‘this is just a science,’ ‘this is just a language,’ that’s certainly not my experience of astrology at all. There is something about rooting into the science of astrology that helps us in a very grounded way, not only to protect the beauty of our craft, but also to understand and preserve its ancient traditions. So when I see folks who have the Lion constellation tattooed on their arm, and I know they were born in the tropical month we call Leo, I don’t have the heart to tell them that the Sun was probably aligned to the constellation of the Crab at the time of their birth, you know. But this is a very important thing. I see astrologers all the time who are tropical astrologers speaking about, “This is your constellation. Leo, here’s the Lion. Gemini, here’s the Twins.” And that unfortunately is not true. And I feel, Chris, that it’s one of the reasons why it’s difficult for we astrologers, we tropical astrologers to go to the sky because there is this realignment or this difference between signs and constellations and it can be a very confusing thing. And just to clarify I say ‘we tropical astrologers’, but this is true for sidereal astrologers as well.
For example, I was born October 24, the very first degree of Scorpio Sun for me, and it was not aligned to the constellation called Scorpius. Like if I did a 24° difference to get back from tropical to sidereal and said my 1° Scorpio Sun is 7° Libra, well, the Sun was not aligned to the constellation I call the Scales either. It was actually aligned in the dress of the constellation I’ll call Priestess, or what the astronomers call Virgo. So am I Virgo, or am I Libra, or am I Scorpio, and hence, Gemini Brett, you know, one of many reasons? But I think it’s really important to understand that the zodiacal constellations are not the same thing as zodiacal signs, whether we’re working with tropical or even sidereal astrology.
CB: Yeah, yeah. And, I mean, I spent most of last month talking about that and doing interviews with different astrologers about the difference between the tropical and sidereal zodiacs. So I want to clarify that, you know, most astrologers, most tropical astrologers understand the difference between the tropical and sidereal zodiac and that the constellations are no longer aligned with the tropical signs. It’s really more of public PR issue where there’s the assumption that the zodiacal constellations, in the general public, are the same as the tropical signs; and most people think that when they’re talking about their tropical sign—most public people, non-astrologers—that it’s one and the same as the constellation. And that’s also where astronomers are also often confused about what astrologers believe, and a lot of the issues about the zodiac debates sort of arise from that. But, you know, that’s sort of a whole separate sort of thing, but it’s tied into this general issue that astrology has about the astronomical component and what that role that plays in the astrology, and what astrologers are truly using astronomically in order to make their statements or predictions or interpretations.
GB: Yeah. You know, the final thing I’ll say about that is that the tropical signs are definitely a product of very real astronomy; you know, they’re not just made-up. So when we get into these differences between northern hemisphere and southern hemisphere it just gets interesting, and I think it’s something that we should explore. And it’s easy I think for us to say, “Oh, well, you know, this is just like this mystical happening. It’s not necessarily a product of nature.” Well, of course it is. And we do know that, you know, the tropical signs of the zodiac work for natives born both in the northern and southern hemisphere because we have a lot of experiential proof in our own astrology around this; it therefore becomes an even more intriguing thing. You know, I’m chasing that cat, I should say, and I hope to pet it before I check out in this lifetime.
But I think this can bring us to one of the reasons why you invited me onto the show this week. Because really what I’m suggesting is that in our own experience, if we are bringing these theories that we receive, or these teachings that we receive—and that might be comprehension, you know, intellectual learning—and then bring it out to nature and reflect with nature then we’re having understanding; we’re having experience. And it’s just really alive in this interesting, you know, Flat Earth phenomena that’s happening now.
CB: Sure. Yeah, so let’s transition into talking about that, since that was really the second-half of this discussion that we wanted to have today. And this first came up when it was like you and Leisa Schaim and Adam Elenbaas—the four of us went out to dinner at NORWAC a few months ago, and you were telling us how you’d recently been looking at some videos on YouTube and engaging in some debates with this growing fringe group or conspiracy theory of people who believe that the Earth is flat, and this is a real thing. And it was interesting talking to you about it because you didn’t take necessarily a scornful approach or a dismissive approach, but you actually thought it was interesting as a conceptual issue to actually engage in argument with some of these people in order to check your own beliefs and in order to use that as a sort of mirror for reflection in some ways.
And you brought that up, and we had an interesting conversation about it over dinner. And it was interesting to me because, you know, astrologers, they’re initial and immediate reaction to hearing something like Flat Earth theory is just like any normal person; it’s just dismissive and just, “Oh, that’s absurd.” Perhaps even more so as astrologers because even if we are somewhat divorced from the astronomy, we still use it enough and know enough about it to realize how absurd something like Flat Earth theory sounds, and therefore, astrologers will dismiss it. But it’s interesting, from an outsider’s perspective, the way that an astrologer would reject Flat Earth theory outright is the way that most scientists and a lot of other people in the public would think about and reject or dismiss astrology immediately.
So even though, you know, it’s not something I personally believe in, it’s interesting as a thought experiment to have that debate and to think about it, and to be cautious when approaching and engaging people like that because it sort of provides an interesting mirror about how the public or how scientists think about astrology and how you would want to be dealt with if you were, you know, engaging somebody about that. So where should we start with it? I mean, I guess the transition point is that recently this actually came up, and I didn’t know that there were any astrologers who believed that the Earth was flat. But recently, through some of these debates on Facebook over the past two days, I found one astrologer, if not two astrologers, who are actually promoting that as a legitimate thing. Have you found others, or is it just those two astrologers as far as we know?
GB: I think it’s just one that I’ve experienced. I don’t know, let me reflect on what you said earlier before we go there even. Yeah, I mean, one is just the practice of tolerance for others’ belief systems; and that is something I’m gaining through this exercise of holding space, if you will, for those of the ‘Flat Earth’ fold. My initial reaction was, “This is absurd. This is ridiculous. This is not worth my time. And I can’t even believe people would go there.” And I think I should just share—because there might be a lot of listeners who haven’t heard of this modern ‘Flat Earth’ phenomenon now—that there’s basically a movement. I mean, you could just search ‘Flat Earth’ on YouTube and you’ll see tons of videos and thousands, if not tens or hundreds of thousands of supporters of this philosophy that the Earth is indeed flat as we used to believe and that this whole globe thing is just a deception by the powers-that-be to keep us confused. And so, you can just say, “Well, that’s absurd. I mean, we have pictures of the Earth from space.” And then people will say, “No, those are part of the deception.” “But pilots see the curvature of the Earth when they fly. So are they all in on it?” And it’s like, “Well, have you seen it with your own eyes?” That’s what gets important to me because when I first heard about this thing, it’s like, “I’m not even going there.”
GB: But then I went there, and, Chris, I was angry, right? I have this rage against it. And you can just read what people are saying in the comments of these Flat Earth videos of “you idiot,” and just a lot of name-calling. And that response in myself—I found this strange thing where I didn’t know it, but, wow, I’m religious. I am a member of the Ball Earth, as the Flat Earthers call the ‘globe’ theory. I’m a member of ‘Ball Earth’ church. And, oh, my gosh, not only am I a member, I’m a priest. Like I teach Ball Earth cosmology and astronomy for a living, right? It’s like, oh, my gosh, not only am I religious, but I’m a priest. And what do I say ‘religious’? Because the anger that I was feeling, so much of it—I find now through contemplation and in some presence and meditation upon this—is that I’m trying to defend parts of my own personal belief system in cosmology that I’ve not experienced with my own eyes.
I wanted to read this. This is from Dane Rudhyar’s An Astrological Triptych. And the reason is when you invited me on to have this conversation with you, a friend had just bought this book, and she flipped to a random page, and Dane Rudhyar on this page of An Astrological Triptych says, “To comprehend is to take all factors together and to define thus the character of their relatedness, but to understand is literally to stand under this gather of elements and to bear their weight,” and he goes on to speak about this. This has been the most important thing about the invitation of this Flat Earth contemplation/initiation for me personally: what is knowledge? And it goes back to what we were speaking about in observational astrology. It’s like, okay, I can learn all these things, the teacher teaches me all these things, but are they true in the sky? Like for me, personally, Sun-Uranus, I’ve got a strong rebellious streak especially because I grew up being taught and frankly believing that astrology was utter nonsense, you know; I was like a science kid, a mechanical engineering degree. And it took me a long time to break down these barriers that were conditioned into me before I could take a look at our craft.
GB: And I think this thing is happening for a lot of folks now where we’re realizing that we weren’t open-minded and we weren’t open to truths just because of the programming that we received in school. And there can be an instant reaction to that, to rebelling against anything from authority figures, including scientists or pictures from NASA or whatever, right? Then that just opens the window to believe in anyone who says, “You’re right, they’re all wrong, and here’s the truth.” And frankly, I’ve been that guy. So one thing that’s been really powerful for me in witnessing myself through this Flat Earth contemplation is I’m on the other side of the table. These days I’m an astrologer and that means from most people’s point of view I’m the pseudo-scientist. And so, if I’m judging the scientific approach from the ‘Flat Earth’ camp, I get to feel what it is to be on that other side judging the pseudo-scientists, and that’s healthy for me, right?
GB: And the other thing is I’m a pretty avid conspiracy theorist. And so, to look again from the other side of the table, like, “Oh, you’re just ridiculous,” or “You’re being manipulated by fake news,” or whatever it may be, it’s really healthy for me to be on that other side. So you mentioned, “Astrologers and this Flat Earth thing, I can’t believe any astrologers would do that.” Well, probably, as we’re reading the text of these astrologers from thousands of years ago, that probably was their cosmology, Flat Earth, with these spheres of the planetary influences beyond the Earth; not for all of them.
So there’s one thing in contemplating this cosmology—which actually might tend to things we’ve already discussed today—is going back to the roots of our tradition, to the heritage, to see things. Like in the Introduction to the Tetrabiblos by Porphyry, he mentions that Sun rules Leo and Moon rules Cancer because those signs are closest to us, and I’ve never been able to understand what that might mean from, you know, heliocentric cosmology. There’s a sense in the Flat Earth cosmology where it kind of makes sense. And so, I wonder if that’s the worldview that was going down that had him express that sentence.
So I was really shocked at NORWAC that year that we met. I mean, I was talking about some conspiracy; I think I was talking about 9/11, and I shouldn’t really use that word ‘conspiracy’ there. But anyway, I was really surprised that—and this is ignorant—but I was really surprised that not everyone came to astrology the way that I did, which was having to break out of this conditioning and this firm mold that it must be nonsense. And for me, that path was awakening to some of the painful truths that the world is not what I believed it was or what I was taught it is to be. And for me, personally, I just went through a pretty Scorpionic and dark rabbit hole on the way there, right? So I was surprised to see, like, wait a second, not all astrologers are a part of this alternative research truth movement? Oh, okay. I guess, we, even in our own ways, can all be different, and there’s all sorts of different kinds of astrologies. When I talked about some of that stuff with a dear friend who’s an astrologer, he said, “I won’t go into any conspiracy theories because I love astrology so much,” and I didn’t get it. And he explained to me that, “If I even step into any of these places that could be questioned from people outside of me, they’re just gonna say, ‘Astrologers believe in this, and therefore, astrology is even more fake that we even knew it was.’” Do you know what I mean by that?
CB: Yeah, I mean, I think that makes sense. And I sometimes have some of that to the extent that I came into astrology through some of the conspiracy theory and New Age track myself, so I have some background and some understanding and all of that, but have lost a lot of it. And one of the few things that remained was the astrology because it was one of the only things that continued to seem consistently externally valid and true. And then the more that that became my profession, the more that I had some investment in, you know, working on astrology’s public image and figuring out how to make this look like not just some crazy, crackpot thing, since this is something that I believe is valid and something that I practice and would like to promote. And sometimes there is that tendency to want to be very careful not to conflate astrology with other things that look crazy or look false or are looked down upon in different ways.
GB: Yeah, so it’s fun we get to have a ‘Scorpio Sun’ conversation, something you and I share; but I’m born at night, Gemini Moon, you see. But yeah, so we see this division also—not to get distracted from the topic at hand—in, you know, the so-called traditional vs. modern astrology debate where in some sense people looking back to the old texts and working with the science of astrology can be very offended by anyone who they feel is like a New Age intuitive; I think I apply. And it was really healthy for me to hear Robert Hand speak at NORWAC this year about the importance of intuition and astrology—or intuition in astrology and how there’s some ancient doctrines speaking to that.
Because, you know, I’ve seen people online say, “Oh, okay, you’re gonna use your intuition in astrology. You might as well be reading tea leaves.” And first of all a statement like that, suggesting that tea leaves themselves don’t have a history and a system, you know, is just absurd. But I do believe in the importance of going back to our roots and learning where they come from; and this, again, brings us back to that kind of observational astrology and the language of astrology conversation. But to be open-minded and to allow space, right, that’s a really interesting thing.
I remember last year I was at a music festival and I gave a talk, and one of the things I was speaking about was the archetype of Virgo and speaking about our sacred work and the connection to our own personal yoga. After the talk we were kind of moving through the zone of the festival, and a friend asked me, “Well, what’s the shadow side of everything you were just talking about?” And right then there was a man at the fire—the sacred fire that’s kept all weekend at the festival—and he was yelling, “No booze, no shoes,” and he ended up getting in fist fight with this person who was breaking what he felt were the rules of spirit that should be held at a sacred fire. And I said, “That,” you know. So on one side is tuning into our own, what I like to call, ‘undependent direct connection to Spirit’ is one of the great principles of that mystery school, but then believing that our way has to be the only way.
And I’ve been guilty of this so often, unconsciously so. It’s really nice to see as I’m awakening to my own awareness of that, to see it reflected in the world without. And if we’re ever trying to protect what we believe to be the rules of Spirit and getting in a fist fight around it, I mean, it would seem that we’re already wrong. So our conversation today was in so many ways inspired by a lot of name-calling between a couple of camps in the astrological world, but that are reflective of this strange pain and odd division in the contemplation of these cosmologies like Flat Earth, which would say that the Ball Earth is wrong.
Okay, so back to my own sharing around how I experienced it, at first it’s like, okay, I’m not gonna look. The second time, and especially when they raised some flags about the Ball Earth—which I’ve always known and loved—because I didn’t have responses, I got very angry and antagonistic. And fortunately I didn’t start throwing comments around on the videos or whatever, I was patient with that, but I witnessed this in myself that I was defending in a very aggravated way my own personal belief system; because there’s things of my own cosmology that I have not experienced with my own senses, but rather have only taken on faith. And I’ve had a globe in my hand since I was young and what-not, right?
So learning to relax that, in a more tolerant way approach these Flat Earth videos—which is very challenging for me—and also to have conversations with some dear friends that have become Flat Earth cosmologists I guess has been a really great lesson just in self; again, observing the so-called pseudo-scientists from the other side of the table, observing the conspiracy theorists from the other side table, but also wanting to understand the psychology behind this thing. And more importantly it’s opened an invitation for me to explore ways in which I can confirm that the spherical or near-spherical Earth is true. And as I found some of these—let me just interrupt myself. The game that I play now is the only information I can use is from my own experience, and that’s why I read that Rudhyar quote; it has to be from my understanding. It can’t just be, okay, here’s a picture of the Ball Earth from NASA, and therefore, it’s a ball; it has to be something I witness with my own eyes. And to tell you the truth, I have never personally experienced or witnessed visibly the curvature of the Earth. I’ve had—go ahead.
CB: Well, hold on, ‘cause I want to be clear before we go any further. Part of the purpose of this discussion—and I don’t want any of the audience to get the wrong idea—I don’t want to have the discussion to in any way legitimize and I do not endorse and I do think it is an absurd fringe conspiracy theory. I’m just interested in this discussion in so much as it is interesting, as you said, being on the other side of the table and being in the position of a skeptic, or being in the position of somebody who’s dismissive of something and what the process is in connection with that. And I don’t want to spend too much time debunking the Flat Earth theory itself; you know, there’s plenty of other videos and things that are specifically devoted to that.
And so, it’s not necessarily something we could even fully get into in a way that’s proper here, nor do I want to even legitimize it that much by focusing on attempting to defend what eventually just becomes like a huge, absurd conspiracy theory that’s tied into other things, like them saying, you know, it’s the government who’s coming up with fake Moon landings; and they start getting into racist stuff, like the Jews are doing it and all this other bullshit that I just don’t even want to deal with.
But there are just pieces of the way that it forces us to reflect on and see how the world views astrologers that I think is really interesting. And part of what I wanted to get into here was some of those things and how that’s been coming up recently where now evidently an astrologer who has a popular following or has somewhat of a following is promoting some of these theories and how that should be dealt with within the astrological community. Sometimes you have this issue of, on the one hand, wanting to be open to different views and different theories and different approaches, but then on the other hand, this question of where do you draw the line and when can you come out and say that something is absurd.
GB: Yeah, so just to reflect upon that I would just invite any astrologer out there, if you approach something like Flat Earth and you feel that aggression or this is absurd, this is ridiculous, just take a pause and say, “Oh, my gosh, this is what people think about astrology.” That’s healthy for all of us.
GB: Where do we draw the line is a great question. And yeah, I’m just trying to relax my feeling of this is absurd and making a definition. I am absolutely a Ball Earther, and I think everyone understands that.
CB: But I have some trepidation ‘cause they have all of these cute terminology things that they use in order to attack and be dismissive of whatever.
GB: Like ‘Ball Earther’.
CB: Yeah, and I don’t even want to use their terminology too much here and give that the level of respect that it doesn’t necessarily deserve in using their slang attack terms. It’s so hard to even figure out how to talk about this and that’s why it’s so interesting. You know, when do you adopt and use that sort of terminology? When do you, you know, believe in a round Earth or something like that? It’s almost like you’re giving up ground or you’re trying to acknowledge their weird equivocation or something—false equivalency between these just being two different belief systems or something like that, which is how I’m sometimes seeing it framed. It just brings up all these really interesting issues.
GB: Yeah, I mean, it’s hard to say, “I just believe in reality” because that can be really offensive to this other camp. And so, that’s why I do use that ‘Ball Earth’ term and I find it to be kind of cute anyway. But yeah, it’s just important for me to state that because, you know, I don’t want to be associated there just because I’m tolerant and open-minded to it and actually learning tolerance and learning open-mindedness through this. But where do we draw the line? Because one of the things that stimulated this conversation was just some really ugly name-calling. And that’s just rough for me to because, you know, if we’re trying to defend what we believe is true and, again, we need to beat up somebody at the sacred fire to protect what we think is true—or to fight these wars, or to finger-point and name-call—is it really truth that we’re defending at that point? Truth doesn’t need to be defended.
So in this video recently one of the claims was that you can see very clearly that because the Moon during the solar eclipse moved from the west to the east, this is impossible in a Round Earth cosmology, and so clearly the Earth is flat. And it’s not the Moon that’s eclipsing the Sun, it is the Moon’s node Rahu. And so, you know, this could be in a different direction if you want to go here for this conversation. What I found, the calling is, okay, at least explain to people why that’s not only possible, but it has to be that way, to watch the Moon eclipse the Sun from the west to the east. Because as that question or that challenge was posed, I found that a lot of people—they’ve come to me and said, “Hey, why is this? This doesn’t make sense. Is the Earth flat?” And it’s like, no, that does not mean the Earth is flat. It means that we as astrologers have not learned astronomy and the primary and secondary directions, which say this has to be the way. Do you want to go there, Chris?
CB: Yeah, just where, you know, astrologers should have some basic competency in astronomy if somebody puts forward a stupid theory like that. And we should be clear who we’re talking about, who the genesis was. So there was this guy, Santos—what’s his name? Santos…
GB: Bonacci I think is the pronunciation.
CB: Right. Okay, so Santos Bonacci. And he has a relatively large following on YouTube. But he’s been making videos there for years; I think he has like 71,000 followers/subscribers on YouTube. And he, you know, used to do different astrology videos and things and some of it was sort of vaguely interesting, but some people told me over the past few years that he became a Flat Earther. And somebody who had followed his work said that his work had suffered as he descended further and further into this thing where he’s become this aggressive proponent of the Flat Earth theory. And the exchange that you and I saw a few days ago was just some astrologer from Australia, Julija Simas—is that how you pronounce her name? I’m terrible with names.
GB: Yeah, Julija.
CB: Julija, okay. She just posted a link to one of Santos’ videos and he was promoting some Flat Earth theory where he said that the nodes were actual physical bodies that eclipsed or moved in front of the Sun, and that the Moon cannot move in front of the Earth because somehow that violates the Flat Earth cosmology or something like that, right?
GB: Yeah. And we’re gonna have to get a little bit into the Flat Earth cosmology just to say why that is.
CB: I don’t know how much I want to explain it because it’s almost something that doesn’t need explaining. Just saying that they think that the nodes are physical bodies, or that the Moon cannot move in front of the Sun in and of itself is so absurd that it doesn’t need full explanation. It just needs to be stated that that’s the idea that was being promoted.
GB: I think it’d be a healthy place for us to go. I can do it just in a minute. I mean, one thing is a lot of the Flat Earth people that I know, they want to go back to the ancient cosmology of Earth and then these spheres through what we call the Chaldean order—the Moon sphere, and then Mercury, and then Venus and Sun and Mars and Jupiter and Saturn planetary speed from Earth’s vision—which is something that we as astrologers should know. And even in that cosmology there would be no problem of the Moon eclipsing the Sun because it’s closer to Earth than the Sun is. But in this recent Flat Earth cosmology—I’ll just say this very quickly—is that the Sun doesn’t rise and set. It’s basically spinning only 3,000 miles above the Earth and it moves in circles around the Earth; and as it’s moving away from you, it appears to set, and as it’s moving towards you, it appears to rise.
And it’s actually an interesting thing if you take a pause and check it out. So they say the same thing about the Moon, that the Moon is actually a luminary, that the Moon is not reflecting sunlight, but that it’s giving its own light. Now one challenge I have for anyone who wants to contemplate that cosmology or believes in that cosmology is then why are the Moon’s phases directly proportional to the Moon’s angular distance from the Sun? As we witness with our own eyes every month if you choose to go to nature and see this.
But so basically for me retrograde planets are great examples. From a geocentric or Earth-centered perspective, we throughout time have come up with all of these different mathematical models, physical models, to attempt to explain the motion of a retrograde planet: why Jupiter for four months of the year stops and starts moving backwards through the constellations of the zodiac. How can that be? And none of these models worked. And I actually think that we hold a lot of our pain around retrograde planets from this time where because we could not explain them intellectually, we were so frustrated by them.
And I think that the astronomy—as we move to a heliocentric model of our own cosmology—the heliocentric cosmology very easily explains what a retrograde planet is. When the Earth is passing an outer planet like Mars, it’s just like passing a car on the highway. When it’s Venus or an interior planet—Mercury being the other one that’s retrograde—we’re actually visibly from Earth witnessing the planet moving in the opposite direction against the backdrop of stars that we normally do, and it’s very easy and elegant and simple. And I believe as we are moving forward and expanding our own consciousness-thought-awareness, connection to nature that the systems that replace the old ones—they should be more simple, and therefore, more elegant.
So what’s happening in this Flat Earth cosmology is that because they’re saying that the Sun and the Moon are their own luminaries, there’s no way for the Moon to eclipse the Sun. And they’ve kind of created this other celestial body that I’ve heard described as this invisible disc, unless it’s eclipsing the Sun. And this would be Rahu, right, which is the name that we give to the north lunar node. There must be a second one, Ketu, I guess if they also want to work with this with the chart; and that was really interesting in this video that Santos put in. And I think that the video that I watched anyway, it was Santos speaking about this, but somebody else using astrological charts. So here are some of the issues; basically what he’s saying is that because the Moon can’t eclipse the Sun. And he says—which is really interesting, which will bring us back to the nodes from our own cosmology—that if the Moon eclipsed the Sun, we would have an eclipse every month, every New Moon. And that’s just a lack of understanding of what the nodes are.
So I’ve watched several of Santos’ videos years ago; his thing was like astro-theology. It was interesting. I was never such a fan of his astrologer, per se, but he was bringing some interesting correspondences into different systems, whatever. And I, too, as you kind of referenced from someone else’s witness, have seen this kind of Flat Earth passion kind of take him over; I’ve seen that happen with several people. And that’s just a very interesting study from a psychological or sociological place; and it also allows me to kind of have a look at myself too. I feel that anyone who gets into what we could maybe consider ‘savior complex’, the general idea is that if you awaken the world to the truth that the world is flat then everything will change; or if you can awaken the world, for another example, to alien disclosure, that we’ve been, you know, communicating with aliens since Eisenhower or whatever then everything changes; or if you can awaken the world to the truth that 9/11 was a false flag then everything changes. And we see people commit themselves to such a cause and kind of lose reality in their passion for it. That’s just my own witness of that, not only in others, but also in myself. And so, I’m very cautious of that.
So anyway, what this video is suggesting is that it’s not the Moon, but rather Rahu at the time of the solar eclipse on August 21, 2017 that we saw passing in front of the Sun because the Moon goes behind the Sun; if the Moon didn’t go behind the Sun, we would have a solar eclipse every New Moon. And it’s hard for me not to respond to that by saying ‘absurd’ and ‘ridiculous’ and ‘ignorant’ and whatever. So I’m just gonna throw those words out right there so I won’t go there. But, you know, if the Moon and Sun don’t meet at the lunar nodes, we should know that the Moon’s path is not equal to the ecliptic plane; the ecliptic plane is the Earth’s orbit about the Sun. If we extend that plane towards infinity we encounter the constellations of the zodiac. No other planet is exactly orbiting on the same plane as the ecliptic, so all planets have nodes where their own path crosses from Earth’s point of view, the path of the Sun, or from the Sun’s point of view, the path of the Earth. This is true for the Moon as well. The Moon can separate itself from the plane of the Earth-Sun orbit by 5° north or 5° south. And where the Moon and the Sun’s path cross from the Earth’s point of view, they’re called the lunar nodes. So I think most of your audience really knows this, but it’s a healthy thing to understand.
Imagine your bracelet or your wrist with two bracelets on it—so one is silver and one is gold—and they’re not parallel; they’re crossing. Let’s say the golden bracelet’s a little wider, so they’re kind of making this ‘X’ on your wrist. Well, if you imagine looking at this from the point of view of your wrist, those crossing points of the gold, which we’ll call the Sun’s path, and silver, which we’ll call the Moon’s path, those are the nodes. So if you have a New Moon—Moon and Sun in the same longitude, the same degree of the zodiac—and it’s not near the crossing points, what you’re gonna notice is that the Moon and the Sun do not appear to be in the same place, and the Moon is closer to us, right?
So on a typical New Moon, from one hemisphere’s point of view, the Moon will be above the Sun; if so, from the other hemisphere’s point of view, it’s below the Sun. But this is under the beams as well just from a latitude perspective. So the Sun is so bright that we don’t see the Moon above or below the Sun; but because they’re not aligned at the same plane at the time of their zodiacal meeting then no eclipse for you, right? I mean, that’s just very basic and important astronomy for astrologers that we should all understand. Because if you’re working with the nodes—and so many of the modern paradigms are so focused on the lunar nodes—but you don’t understand their function in nature and astronomy, I think you’re missing a lot of the information that’s available to you, especially the original thought that will come in from learning them, you know, as was kind of the focus of the beginning of this conversation.
CB: Right. The nodes are not bodies. They are just the point at which the path of the Sun intersects with the path of the Moon.
GB: Absolutely. And I used to teach them as visible points, right? But as I’ve come to learn to see the ecliptic in the sky, the way to do this is to learn the fixed stars that are very closely-aligned to the ecliptic—you know, so low-latitude stars—and then watch the Moon get high above the ecliptic plane and low during the course of the day. I can actually watch the Moon crossing the ecliptic plane—as she does when she finds her way to a South or a North Node, her South or North Node—and therefore, I actually can see where these nodes are in space; that doesn’t make them physical bodies. And that’s what Santos is claiming here is that we actually saw Rahu, some celestial body, crossing in front of the Sun.
Now if that was true then why would that happen during the New Moon, which was at 20°50’ Leo, and the node was over there at 24° Leo? Why wouldn’t it have happened when the Sun was conjoined the node days before, right? And why, if it’s not the Moon eclipsing the Sun, do solar eclipses only ever happen at New Moon when the Moon and the Sun are aligned longitudinally? Like that should be enough for anyone to say, okay, this is ridiculous because the node was 24°, the eclipse was in the 29th degree of Leo. That near 5° separation between the two, if you extend your arm at arm’s length and hold your three fingers together, that’s 5° of the sky. And if you watch the sky, you will know that that separation is far too great for anything to eclipse or to occult anything else, right?
CB: Right. Well, the main point is just that if you have only the most basic understanding of observational astronomy, you immediately realize how absurd what this person is saying, and literally millions of people watched the Moon move in front of the face of the Sun last week. So, you know, this guy’s crazy. I mean, I don’t know any other way to say that, and I’m sorry if that sounds dismissive to whatever small fringe group of people who believe in that theory. But what happened is that Julija on Facebook the other day made a post linking to this video and was like, “Hey, guys, look. This is kind of crazy. There’s this astrologer who’s saying that the nodes are bodies and that the eclipse was not the Moon moving in front of the Sun the other day.”
And it was just sort of an obvious thing, and she was like, “Wow, this is really weird.” And then he showed up in the thread and started freaking out and insulting her appearance, calling her ‘Ms. Piggy’. He started calling everyone else cunts and threatening people and throwing out all these accusations. And then people that spoke out against him, he started stalking in private emails and sending them, you know, hateful private messages to anybody who also said, “Hey, this is weird. You should stop doing this.” And then she blocked him, and he set up a new fake profile and started attacking her on the same thread and saying the same terrible things using a fake profile.
And this guy basically freaked out, so it became clear that not only was he kind of crazy with some of these crazy theories—even though you especially are trying to be kind and open-minded in addressing them and explaining the reasons why they are incorrect instead of just dismissing them outhand, as I’m partially am. It became clear not only was he promoting crazy theories, but also that he was kind of deranged and was, you know, attacking people in this very terrible way as well, and that was sort of tied in with this.
GB: Yeah, totally. I mean, if, you know, link that to the astrology of our time right now, I mean, great windows open into learning our own craft, right? So this is maybe deterring from that part of the conversation, but I don’t think so. I was never really interested in politics or news or whatever until I became interested in astrology because now it’s really interesting to see it engaging in real life, and not only in my own reality, but in the greater world outside of myself; so there’s a lot of symbols in the chart right now. I mean, I think the Flat Earth thing in general really seems to be alive in this Saturn-Neptune square; you know, that was mostly happening when I first witnessed this Flat Earth thing erupting onto the scene. And I think Mercury’s retrogradation in Virgo right now—especially as we’re speaking—and this Moon in Sagittarius that’s waxing into the Virgo square, you know, this is aftermath as far as what you’re invoking here, but it’s a really cool time to be speaking about it. And yeah, I mean, all I can say about that is it’s ridiculous. Like we really shouldn’t attack one another. But I think you’re making a very important point, Chris, where you say, “Okay, but where do you draw the line?”
CB: Right, ‘cause he ended up having a few defenders, including a few astrologers, Santos did, even after he freaked out and started saying all these terrible things against Julija and other people. And some people were like, well, Julija shouldn’t have questioned or shouldn’t have berated his original video where he was saying that the nodes were bodies and that eclipses aren’t the Moon moving in front of the Sun. Because one of the issues that’s come up in the past two decades in the astrological community is that there’s so much diversity between the different astrological traditions that are being practiced now, there’s a tendency for astrologers to want to be more—partially it’s a political thing. Most astrologers tend to be more liberal, and therefore, want to be more open to different cultures and views and religions and things like that and that gets applied to the astrology.
So the astrologers want to say there’s many different approaches to astrology and they’re all equally valid and everything else. But then it comes to stuff like this where you get to the most extreme possible case and there’s some astrologers that are still taking that tact of, you know, “How dare you even question this guy’s belief in a Flat Earth,” vs. other people, you know, like myself who are like, “No, this is probably the point at which it’s okay to draw a line and say this is kind of absurd that he’s promoting this within the context of astrology that the Earth is flat; and it’s okay to call that what it is.” But there’s an interesting question about where you draw that line.
GB: Right. Can we now at least agree upon the shape of our planet?
CB: It’s like that’s one of those things where when it gets to the point, I feel like, yeah, that’s where you draw the line. Certainly somewhere before we get to the point about arguing whether the planet is spherical or flat, we should have drawn the line somewhere before that of, no, we have a certain baseline, especially as astrologers, where astronomy is an integral component to our practice and what we do. You know, that’s one of those things where it starts becoming really iffy, especially as it reflects on astrologers. There’s a lot of people on YouTube that find this guy for the first time and that’s their first exposure to astrology; and therefore, he’s representing what those people will then assume all astrologers think in some ways. Is that a problem? Should that be seen as problematic from the standpoint of the astrological community? And that’s where some of those previous debates over the past few decades about certification and standardization, or the lack thereof, in the astrological community become very relevant, and sort brings that up again of why that was a debate at one point in time, and when you do have a lack of standardization or certification in a field what some of the pitfalls can be, and this is I think a good example of that.
GB: Yeah, I mean, it’s such an endless and interesting contemplation. It’s like, does every Christian believe the Earth is 6,000 years old? Because some do, right? But we’re very sensitive about astrology because we’re just coming back from these times of, you know, those of our craft being burned at the stake and these things, and we’re really careful to protect the truth. And that’s why I say, you know, keep the sacred science sacred by keeping it scientific. And this is the great importance of astronomy for astrologers because if we actually know the celestial dynamics from the point of our cosmology then we won’t fall prey to people who are just presenting bad concepts like this, and we are more likely to step up in our own comments and say, “Hey, that’s wrong, and this is why.” And then people who are looking from the outside will say, “Yeah, those people are just crazy. Astrologers are crazy.” Wait a second. Actually I’m reading the comments and people are making a lot of sense, right?
I mean, I have the opportunity—I’m not on the quest of bringing astrology to astronomers; I’ve had the great experience of doing that sometimes. I’m one of these people who was first connected to astronomy and always thought, as I said earlier, that astrology was nonsense. And then as I, myself, took a scientific look at astrology, it obviously became undeniable, and here I am. So I’m not out to try to awaken all of these astronomers to the beauty and the truth of astrology; I’ll do it anytime I can if I can do it gently, and I always move from the outside-in. But I am about bringing astronomy to astrologers for the many reasons we mentioned before; and this is a very critical one.
So I want to do two things, Chris, as I feel like we’re kind of waxing or waning here; one is to just look again, this hindsight idea, back to the old cosmology. When would it be that we had collected enough observational experiential data to know that the Earth could not be flat? And one thing that’s necessary when you’re out in the sky is to start moving around the world. So again, I believe when ‘northern hemisphere’ astrologers went down to the southern hemisphere, they said, “Oh, we can’t call this thing the descending node anymore because in this other place it’s actually functioning as an ascending node. So let’s call it the South Node because in either hemisphere, anywhere in the world, the Moon is moving from northern latitudes to southern latitudes when she crosses the South Node.” Okay, right? Also, when you’re moving around what you’ll notice—for example, if you move around the northern hemisphere, I live here in Seattle; we’re about 48° north latitude.
Most people don’t know this: the altitude, the height from the horizon, the angular distance from the horizon to the North Star, Polaris, equals your latitude on Earth. So here in Seattle, Polaris is about 48° due north of the horizon; and in Denver, a little bit less, about 40 where you are. If I go down to Hawaii, it’s down at 20°. If you go to the equator, it’s at the horizon. If you go to the southern hemisphere, the North Star can’t be seen. And while this is all kind of fundamental, we can take that on an intellectual level; I can tell you that, you can believe it.
But as you move around and travel around, which it’s awesome that we can these days, have a look at that. Witness that. Experience that. So one challenge to the Flat Earth camp is, why, if the Earth is flat, can I have circumpolar activity in the sky both in the northern hemisphere and the southern hemisphere alike? And I’ll leave that there. But I would love to give folks not only an explanation for why the Moon moved from the west to the east across the solar disc during the solar eclipse on August 21, 2017, and will every time, but also invite everyone to go out to the sky and have a practice where you can witness the secondary and primary motion in one evening. Does that sound okay?
CB: Yeah, I mean, I think that’s a lot more gracious and open of an invitation to those people than, you know, I’m almost comfortable doing, and I appreciate that you’re balancing out that side of the conversation, you know, for that reason. ‘Cause one of the things that some people were starting to say was that this someone’s belief system and you can’t question someone’s belief system or something like that, and that was almost the direction some of the conversations were going in the astrological community with a very, very small percentage; it was like a lot of people were saying that. It was mainly just supporters who were Flat Earthers who were trying to make that argument, but there were at least one or two astrologers that seemed to go there as well.
But this is somebody who’s making scientific statements about the nature of the world. Even though they’re invalid, they can’t just be categorized as this person’s religious beliefs or something like that; it’s actually demonstrably untrue scientific statements. And to the extent that those are being made I think you can say or you can point out that that is wrong and explain why that is wrong, and that’s okay. And that’s, you know, this difficult tightrope line that we’re gonna have to walk in the astrological community over the course of the next century as all these different astrological traditions are not only revived. But as astrologers start trying to deal with how to integrate them and different things like that part of the issue in the astrological community as well is, you know, when can you even just personally for yourself decide that something is valid vs. something is not valid, or when to accept vs. when to reject something.
GB: Yeah, I mean, if you want to tell me that trees are made of stone, we could go outside and you could show it to me. And that you can’t show it to me will have me not believing that belief system of yours, right? So yeah, I mean, just the question of tolerance and open-mindedness and acceptance vs. where to draw the line is super important. I don’t know how to reflect upon it more. I appreciate you making clear to our audience today that my approach to this thing is not yours; I think that’s very important, yeah.
CB: Well, just to the extent that you have a lot more patience. And I appreciate that because I have some of the same reactions or have gone through some of the same process that you probably already went through a while ago, you know, being exposed to it, having an initial gut-level reaction, and then being interested by your process of processing that afterwards and sort of stepping outside of yourself and seeing, you know, how the process you’re going through could apply to the way that other people view astrology, and then some of the questions and issues that arise as a result of that. I mean, in all honesty, it’s very troubling because when you step outside of yourself and realize that that’s how most people view astrology, it’s pretty disturbing as an astrologer; and then it makes you start wanting to figure out how you can find a way to justify things in a way that is better and more consistent, and that can make a case for what you’re doing as being valid.
But then at the same time you also have to think about, well, what if you’re just doing the same thing that some of these Flat Earth people are doing, which is just coming up with tons of excuses and not very good conspiracy theories and other things in order to justify a predefined belief system that doesn’t have any basis in reality. And, you know, most thinking astrologers I don’t want to say struggle with that, but it’s something that you think about and have to come to terms with in terms of making sure that that’s not what you’re doing and that that’s not, you know, the position that you find yourself in in the world.
GB: Yeah, I mean, it’s so important. It’s amazing, too, though, to see astrology—and I don’t want to say maybe a more genuine astrology than the pop astrology I grew up seeing at least in the magazines or newspapers or whatever. You know, I was just in an art store yesterday and there was a book about Mercury; and I think people are becoming more open to astrology as a sacred science, if I can call it that. And so, yeah, we want to be careful to protect the truth of our craft. And when you spoke about certification earlier and what not, these are all parts of the considerations. You know, you’re a leader in the Association of Young Astrologers; you know, these are very important considerations for us now.
And so, for me, again, I’m saying if I’m gonna bring astrology to an astronomer, I’m gonna go outside-in. I’m gonna say, “Yes, this is Saturn. Do you know it takes Saturn 29-1/2 years to orbit the Sun?” They say, “Oh, wow.” I just gave a talk at the eclipse retreat; there was an astronomer who came in to speak about the astronomy of eclipses. And we were waiting for the projector to arrive, and so I went up, and to stall, spoke about eclipses and eclipse cycles and the Metonic cycle and Saros series and all of these things, and the guy’s jaw dropped. When we got done, he was like, “Wow. And you’re an astrologer?” “Yes. You should check it out.” And so, there’s ways where we don’t necessarily have to just defend our craft from the naysayers.
I don’t think, Chris, that we are seen in general any more as wacky as the world sees Flat Earth folk, but it’s close, and it’s worth a consideration. And as far as me reflecting on myself through this exercise, I mean, this tolerance that I have it’s still learning to grow; and I can apply that in many other ways in my life where I feel personally that I lack. But, for me, everything in my own philosophy it’s kind of the ‘as within, so without’ philosophy. So when I see this chaos in the world, what I can do about it is reflect upon where that chaos is within me and bring some love and healing to it. So I try to do that with everything that disturbs me, and it’s really difficult. This has been a great challenge for me, so I appreciate having the time to bring this forth. But I do want to make sure that I kind of empower, we of the astrological fold, with the truth of why the Moon moves from the west to the east across the solar disc during a total solar eclipse; so if you’re challenged by people, you know, or more importantly, you’re connecting to nature in this way.
CB: Yeah, and reuniting astrology with astronomy and perhaps this being an important and extreme manifestation of why that’s important, and perhaps greater motivation for astrologers to, you know, reflect on, but also study up on that subject so that they have a better grasp of and better understanding of the observational astronomy that is involved in astrology.
GB: Absolutely. So here’s the trick: the Moon moves both ways and you can witness this. We were speaking earlier about primary and secondary motion, and the primary motion being a result of diurnal because the Earth is a globe and it spins. And so, as the Earth is spinning what we notice is planets rise in the east, setting in the west. And so, the Moon does this just like the Sun does this, right? And the other direction, the zodiacal direction due to the orbits, is from the west to the east. And so, if you go out in the sky at night, you will see that, for example, the constellation Capricornus is to the east of the constellation Sagittarius.
So the zodiacal motion, we know that soon Saturn, on the December solstice this year, will ingress Capricorn; he’ll move from Sagittarius to Capricorn, and you can actually just look at those constellations. You could look at Saturn tonight and say, “Okay, in the next few years, he’s gonna be over there,” and you’ll see that it’s east of where he is now. So the zodiacal motion is from the west to the east. And as I mentioned before they’re different because Saturn takes 29-1/2 years to do that, or Jupiter takes 11.86, etc. Moon, 27.3 days. They all have a different rate and period through the constellations, through the signs of the zodiac; whereas rising and setting is relatively the same because that’s an effect of the Earth’s spin.
So the Moon is amazing because you can watch her do this in one night; you can watch her move in both directions. And so, here’s a practice; everything that I teach, it’s really an invitation for you to go integrate this in your own experience. So here’s a wonderful practice and the Full Moon is a great time to do it. Why? The Full Moon rises at sunset and sets at sunrise, and that means you have all night to play with the Full Moon. So the practice is this: watch the Moon rise, let it get a little dark, and then make a drawing of where the Moon is against the backdrop of fixed stars. Maybe there’s some planets in the neighborhood; just make a drawing of other bright points near the Moon. And together you will witness the Moon and those stars, maybe planets, all rising in the east and eventually setting in the west.
But what you will also notice if you stay tuned—and to stay tuned, what I really encourage is just to be out there with the Moon, just watch this happen, be patient, be with your breath, be with your thoughts, be with whatever is happening in the heart, and just experience this. What you will notice is that the Moon—wow, moving from the east to the west with those stars—is also separating from them very slowly from the west to the east. So by the time the Moon sets, she will have distanced herself further than you could imagine from that geometry. So the way you could do this if you don’t want to be outside all night long is just make that drawing at moonrise and then check in about every two to three hours, and you’ll see that the Moon is distancing herself in the direction west to east from that geometry that you drew. That’s true for both hemispheres. And the cool thing about a solar eclipse is you get to witness this during the day.
So what happened at the time of the solar eclipse is that the Moon rose before the Sun; and you can just look at this on the chart. Yeah, the Moon was in earlier degrees of tropical Leo the morning of the eclipse. At the eclipse, they’re in the same degree. After the eclipse, the Moon’s in higher degrees; in fact, she ingressed Virgo in Idaho where I was before she set. So together Moon and Sun are rising in the east in the morning, setting in the west at sunset; but during the course of their movement from the east to the west, the primary motion, the diurnal motion, the Moon is also moving west to east. And you know what, so is the Sun, but the Sun does this 1° a day and the Moon does this on average 13° a day.
And so, we got to witness that. Not only is the Moon closer to Earth than the Sun is—big deal, we all know that from school—well, you get to see it with your own face. We also get to notice how much faster the Moon moves than the Sun. And to experience these things and embody these things, this is what I’m getting at. This is my primary motion or devotion—to say, yes, learn academically the amazing art of the chart, the science of astrology and then take it outside and allow that to be reflected by nature, on this most important planet, the one that we chose, Earth.
CB: Definitely. Well, I think that might be a good point to end on or to wrap up this discussion then. Is there anything else that we meant to touch upon that we didn’t get a chance to, or that we meant to mention briefly? It’s like we didn’t really hit all of the points that we could have with some of the Flat Earth stuff, but I’m not sure how much more it was necessary to go into that. Is there anything we forgot to touch on?
GB: I don’t think so. We got into a lot of places that weren’t on the outline, and I feel pretty complete. I might just share that folks can find me at MoreThanAstrology.com or on Facebook at ArtsofTheChart. And, Chris, I’m a longtime listener and first-time caller. Really an honor to be on your show. Thank you so much.
CB: Yeah, thanks a lot for joining us. And you’ve been doing a lot of livestreams and a lot of videos recently on Facebook and stuff as well, right?
GB: Yeah, and folks can follow my page there, which is GeminiBrett. I intend eventually to shift that over towards Arts of the Chart. I’ve been an agent of this Cosmic Intelligence Agency that’s come in a little bit, so I do live things there; I always eventually share it on my page. And there’s a radio show in town, whatever, but all this stuff you can find at MoreThanAstrology.com when I’m not too lazy to update my website.
CB: Okay, awesome. Yeah, and I hope sometime soon we can do a few videos to talk about some of the observational astronomy things that we’re talking about here to sort of illustrate some of these concepts, and you’ve already done that yourself. But I know one discussion I want to have that’ll tie into some previous podcast episodes is just a discussion we had last summer about the difference between the three different or two different things that astrologers refer to as the Midheaven. And while that’s something that’s a little bit hard to describe with just audio, hopefully at some point we can do a video to talk about that. I know you’ve done some pretty great videos in the past that have focused on that topic and actually showing the astronomy of those different points in the sky.
GB: Yeah, I would love to do that, Chris, because, you know, it’s hard to express these things through words alone, and I really like to create experiential practices for people to go out to the sky. And the fact is that if you learn the stars of the ecliptic, you can see the Midheaven. Like I can usually nail the Midheaven within 1° to 3° in the zodiac when I’m outside at night. I’ll be teaching this at the OPA retreat in Mount Zion in October. I just love bringing—even at NORWAC, where it’s a super bright parking lot—bringing astrologers out there and showing them that the chart is the sky and vice versa.
And, you know, your great talk at NORWAC last year—I guess this year—spoke about these different house systems and the truth that, you know, a high percentage of the charts that we have from back in the day are all whole sign houses; it’s really difficult to catch the Ascendant or Descendant visibly if you want to do that. Nowadays we have a computer button, but back then they had to keep time in very challenging ways if they wanted to work with the Ascendant/Descendant by tables. But there’s actually a way to work with the cusp of the equal house or equal sign 10th house that will show you what the Ascendant and Descendant are. So yeah, I’d love to share some of that stuff because just extending these video exercises and saying, “Now take that to the sky,” that really serves as devotion. And I’ve found that it’s really helped people anchor their astrological wisdom into their experience.
CB: Cool. Well, yeah, hopefully we can do some videos about that soon. And people should definitely check out your website for more information about your work on observational astrology at MoreThanAstrology.com. Cool, well, thanks a lot for joining me today.
GB: Thank you, Chris, my treat.
CB: All right, and everyone for listening, and we’ll see you next time.
GB: See you sometime out there on the round Earth.