The Astrology Podcast
Transcript of Episode 147, titled:
With Chris Brennan and guest Rick Levine
Episode originally released on March 7, 2018
Note: This is a transcript of an audio podcast. We strongly encourage you to listen to the audio version, which includes inflections that may not translate well when written out. Transcripts are created by using a combination of speech recognition software and human transcribers, and the text probably contains some errors and differences from the audio version. Please submit any corrections to Chris Brennan by email at email@example.com.
Transcribed by Mary Sharon
Transcription released June 15, 2021
Copyright © 2021 TheAstrologyPodcast.com
CHRIS BRENNAN: Hi, my name is Chris Brennan and you’re listening to The Astrology Podcast. This episode is recorded on Sunday, March 4th, 2018, starting at 10:06 p.m. in Denver, Colorado, and this is the 147th 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 going to be talking with Rick Levine about a recent controversy in the astrological community surrounding an attack on the sidereal zodiac. Hi Rick, welcome back to the show.
RICK LEVINE: Well, it’s great to be here. Thanks, Chris.
CB: Yeah, I think it’s been about what? A year and a half, almost two years since we did our last episode which was on writing a sun sign column, right?
RL: It’s true. That’s true.
CB: All right, brilliant. Well, so let’s see how to approach this. I’m trying to figure out. So, you recently got back from a major trip to India, where you attended an astrological conference there. A major international astrological conference, right?
RL: That is correct. This was sponsored by the Krishnamurti Institute of Astrology, an institution that actually has over 20,000 graduates of astrology, and this was their 28th annual conference. But it was only the second time that they actually called it International and invited people from all over the world to have more of an open forum. It’s a very new venture for them for their students to be looking at or studying Western tropical astrology.
CB: Right. So, there were dozens of different speakers then that came in from different countries and different Western countries. I know there was a bunch.
RL: There were about 40, I think. My number may be plus or minus five, but from South Africa, from Israel, from Russia, Turkey, Iran, all over Europe, all over South America and the United States and Canada. So, it was quite an international crew.
CB: Sure. And the director of the conference, Gopal, he was the primary organizer, right?
RL: Yeah, he is the founder of the school and he runs the conference. It’s his puppy. He’s the main man. He is the teacher, the lead in that school. Yes. Highly venerated, his students absolutely love him. A guru, which he is in effect in India, I would imagine.
CB: Sure. And the conference itself, so I’m sure a lot of stuff happened there, and it was an interesting experience from a number of different angles, especially with so many different talks taking place during the course of it. But after the fact, most of the news and discussion that came out of the conference in terms of, from my perspective, or I didn’t attend it, and I was hanging out back here in Denver at the time, and I started hearing pretty quickly at some point and around the middle of the conference, posts on Facebook and outrage that there was this talk that one of the Western astrologers gave that was an attack on the sidereal zodiac. And then that quickly became, it seemed the primary thing that a lot of people were talking about in the aftermath of the conference.
RL: That that’s true for most people. For me, there was another story, and that is [Rick laughs] that everyone who participated, everyone who spoke had to submit a three-to-5000-word article for the conference proceedings. And the first day of the conference, I was awarded the best article submitted, which was a total surprise to me. And the last day of the conference, they give an award every year, which they call the international astrologer of the year and it’s the person who gives the best talk, and I won that too. So, I have a slightly [Rick laughs] different take on this conference because I went without even realizing there was any competition, I just don’t care about that much. And yet, I was highly recognized. And however, I’m not trying to change any subject or anything. After the conference, the story was not about me. It was about Glenn Perry who gave one of the talks and it did not go over well.
CB: Right. No, that’s actually a really good context. I forgot that that’s part of the context is that award happened a few years ago, and I believe it was Sharon Knight who won it.
RL: Sharon Knight from the UK, yes.
CB: Right, who won that award at their last conference a few years ago, but you basically won the Astrologer of the of the Year award or something to that effect.
RL: Yes. And so, from that standpoint, I left amazed and a little bit shocked and certainly pleased about that. But quite frankly, this whole Glenn Perry scenario, overtook whatever it was that I had going on. There was a lot of pomp and circumstance throughout this whole conference. It was a little bit of how they did it. And the only reason why I’m mentioning this is that for each individual plenary session, they had a dias where there were about 10 or 12 astrologers who were speakers at the conference, who were invited to be recognized and sit at the dias during the talk. And it just so happens that I was sitting at the dias with Emma Courant on one side of me, and Roy Gillett, the president of the Astrological Association of Great Britain, on the other side, and Lynn Bell next to him. So, Lynn Bell, Roy Gillett, and I were sitting in a row. And as Glenn got into his talk, and by the end of it, we were, and there’s a video of this, and it actually shows, I don’t know that it shows Lynn, but the three of us were quite upset, more horrified, just like “Oh, my God!” And so, and there was no hiding it. We were just sitting there listening to the talk like everyone else like, “Is he really saying this?”
CB: Yeah, then that’s actually the hilarious part if you watched the video once they did release it. The organizers released the video after some people asked to see it in order to understand, myself included, what had actually happened. And that’s one of the funniest things about the video is just seeing your reaction and Roy Gillett’s reaction because this Western astrologer who has this history of causing controversy and strife, sometimes in the astrological community, got up and basically gave a lecture on how the tropical zodiac is the one true zodiac and the sidereal zodiac has absolutely no value or meaning and never did and was a total mistake. And then in the video, you can literally watch you guys’ expressions, sitting down below the screen as this is going on. So, you actually watched and were present for and watched this happen in slow motion as it was taking place, this lecture that everyone was talking about. And I thought that would actually one of the reasons I wanted to talk to you about it because you had that perspective being right there at the conference. And it’s not just that, for some weird reason, you’ve actually been there when things like this have happened previously.
RL: It’s not the first time that I was in the room where Glenn did something that created a situation. We’ll get into that a little bit later, I would imagine.
CB: Yeah. So, we’ll talk about the India one first, and what happened recently, and then maybe go back and talk about some previous instances in the past in order to provide some context. So, where should we start? You guys all presented… Should we give a synopsis of the talk? Or what would be a good starting point in order to broach this topic?
RL: Well, I think that it’s everybody who spoke, I say, it was TED-like. Meaning that in the TED Talks, everyone has 18 or 20 minutes to give a talk. In this, everyone had a half hour. It just didn’t matter who you were, where you came from, everyone gave a one-half hour talk, a single one-half hour talk. And many of them were really excellent. And I would say that some of them were even more, I don’t want to say controversial, but yeah, could have been more controversial than Glenn’s. And it wasn’t what he was saying. It was the way in which he said it and the authority that he couched the presentation in, in a way that he apparently believes is true and just matter of fact, and that’s the way it was and that’s part of the problem.
CB: Right. Because in India, I guess, part of the context of people don’t know this, the sidereal zodiac the vast, vast majority of Indian astrologers use the sidereal zodiac and basically have been using the sidereal zodiac for about at least 2,000 years now. So, he was basically speaking to… And what was the composition of the audience like? This was a room basically packed full of Indian astrologers, right?
RL: Yeah, yeah. The 40 or so Westerners were the exception. I don’t know the exact number. At different points in the conference, there were different numbers of people there. But there were hundreds, if not 1,000 people. And my numbers may be slightly off because they were in a couple of different auditoriums, but there was a lot of people and they were mostly students at the KIA, at the Krishnamurti Institute of Astrology and other practitioners in India. And I actually met, there were people there from neighboring from Nepal and perhaps some other places, but most of the people there were practitioners of Vedic astrology, understand that this was the 28th International Vedic Astrology Conference, so the dialogue and the information from the western astrologers is relatively new to them. I’m sure that some of them have had it for a while, and some even for years, and some have begun studying Western or tropical astrology at the school itself, but that’s very new. So that’s right, most of the audience there were not practitioners of Western, psychological, spiritual, evolutionary astrology, humanistic, whatever words you might want to use, or for that matter, even practitioners of any of the Western traditions from the Hellenistic to the medieval, up through, the post Middle Ages. This was not the astrology that they were practicing.
CB: Sure, sure. So, and Glenn basically got up there and gave a 30-minute lecture where he said in no uncertain terms that the sidereal zodiac had no value and that it was essentially a mistake.
RL: He used the word, I think, a ghost or a vestige. But I think from the very, very first sentence of his lecture, or from the very first sentence, he started off with something that I feel was the first problem in his talk, and I’m not sure we want to talk about his talk or talk about the essence what the results were, but his basic underlying assumption at the very beginning of his talk came from what he credited to Aristotle, and that was, one cannot be and not be simultaneously, that something either is or isn’t, but it can’t have two states contrary, simultaneously. And it was this Aristotelian logic that he then said, “Therefore, we can’t have two separate zodiacs describing the same signs that have different places. And therefore, it can either be one or the other, it can’t be both. And no one wants to acknowledge that, but that’s the way it is.” And that’s where he started.
CB: Right. He basically said, or he raised the question because at first it was like a rhetorical question where he says, “Can two zodiacs coexist without contradiction? Or is one zodiac correct and the other wrong?”
RL: And his immediate answer was that we would be falling short of our duty of being intellectually correct unless we said that the two cannot simultaneously exist. That’s what we have to start off. We have to hit that at the beginning. Yeah.
CB: Right. That there can be no way that they can both… What he ends up arguing or he states flatly is just there’s no way that they can coexist, or there’s no way that they can each have some independent value or usefulness that’s unique to each of them, but instead, one of them has to be right and the other has to be wrong, and the tropical zodiac is the correct one and the sidereal zodiac is the wrong one. Because what was interesting about the argument is, he overextended it. He didn’t just say, the tropical zodiac works better for this, this and this or for what I use it for, which is he’s a modern psychological
RL: He made some very strange jumps of logic. And I’m not sure I’m the correct person to argue with him point by point, but he went from once it was discovered that there was a tropical zodiac, that basically made the sidereal zodiac irrelevant and wrong. And therefore, the idea that there can be any effect from places in the sky rather than from the seasons is obvious, and it’s not. [Rick laughs] Yeah.
CB: Right. Well, he hung up the entire thing that saying that because the tropical zodiac influences life on earth through direct or indirect slash to a causation, that therefore is the reason why it has some astrological effect and relevance whereas he argues that because the sidereal zodiac has no influence on the seasons, therefore, it cannot have any astrological relevance, and he overextended the argument and basically tried to argue that the constellations never had any actual astrological significance or meaning whatsoever. So, he actually overextended the argument and ignores the long 1000-year history of even Western tropical astrologers using the fixed stars and trying to integrate those into
RL: There was no acknowledgment of that at all.
RL: And what he said towards the beginning, what he said was to claim that someone born on March 21 is simultaneously a sun sign Aries and a sun sign Pisces is a contradiction if both systems tropical and sidereal distinguished the meaning of Aries and Pisces in roughly the same way. It would be equivalent to saying that an animal is a ram, and not a ram at the same time. The two propositions are mutually exclusive. And since these contradictions apply to every sign in the two zodiacs, both zodiacs cannot be valid.
CB: Wait, did he… Where are you reading that from? Because that’s not in the transcript of the video. Is that the original paper?
RL: I’m reading that from the article that he submitted that he claims his talk was a direct reading of, but as we know, it wasn’t
CB: Right. Well, that’s one of the issues is that according to the organizers, because the organizers were evidently open to having different talks, even dealing with sensitive issues like the zodiac issue, and they accepted a paper from him on this, or at least an outline or something of what talk he was going to give. But then, what they ended up saying was the main organizers said, “There were many negative remarks in Glenn’s lecture which were not included in the transcript he sent us prior to the conference.” So evidently, whatever he submitted to them ahead of time, was not exactly the same. And you actually just demonstrated that because you just read something I hadn’t heard before that was in the paper that he submitted that wasn’t in the actual talk that he gave.
RL: Right. And in all fairness, Chris, he does say that his talk was an excerpt because he was only allotted 30 minutes. Therefore, he couldn’t read his entire paper presented.
CB: Right. Well, and even aside from that, because one of the things I should say is I recorded a two-hour video commentary where I broke down, especially because most of his argument ends up being historical, but he’s not a historian, he’s a psychologist. So, it was really easy to see and to point out which I did the flaws in his historical and conceptual arguments, and people can watch that video, if they want, which I’ll link to in the description page for this episode. But it’s not even his argument and the fact that it was flawed historically, or conceptually, that was really the thing that was a problem here. And I guess that’s something we should emphasize from the start, even though we have major conceptual and historical objections that can easily be made to the talk and there were major weaknesses in it as a result of that. The primary thing is just that it was a very disrespectful talk to the audience that he gave it to. And that was the thing, I think, for me, certainly and I think for the people that were there, from what I understand, that really upset people or caused the controversy. Would you say that’s true?
RL: I would say that too. Also, from the article that he wrote, he says, “It is unclear why they, meaning the Indian astronomers, abandon the linkage between the signs and the seasons. However, since a different language separated the two cultures at the inception of Indian horoscopic astrology in the second century AD, Hindus could only know what was available by virtue of translations from Greek into Sanskrit. Unlike their Western and Arabic counterparts, they never grasped that the constellations had no intrinsic meaning or influence in themselves. And so, Hindu astrologers continued to confuse the visible backdrop, the constellations for the real thing.”
CB: Right. That was one of the over the top. Because basically, the whole talk ended up being not unique. He didn’t present any new research or really line of argumentation. He was largely calling together arguments that other historians and tropical astrologers have made in favor of the tropical zodiac in a 30-minute timeframe. The thing that was unique that he brought to the talk was all of these rhetorical flourishes like that these not-so-subtle jabs, where he’s just saying the tropical zodiac or the sidereal zodiac never had any value or meaning, the constellations are useless. He says at one point, the sidereal zodiac collapsed, a house of cards is one of the weird phrases that he used at one point, he talks about the constellations and by extension, the sidereal zodiac being arbitrary and superfluous and made up.
RL: Well, he also says in the closing in his article, “When there is insufficient evidence to warrant a final conclusion, one should be open to competing hypotheses. However, when there is sufficient evidence, vacillation about the issue merely perpetuates confusion, compromises the efficacy of practice, and weakens the overall credibility of our field.” Woof!
CB: Well, yeah, and I really, I don’t want to read quotes because that paper actually hasn’t been released yet. All that’s been released publicly is his lecture recording and the transcript of his lecture that he put on his website, although even released because he has not released the paper himself. The reason I think, though, when the controversy first broke, he was promoting the transcript and he was sending that around, but what ended up happening is that ended up being partially misleading because part of his presentation was not just his tone and it, but also some of the slides that he used, especially one of the ones at the end when he makes this really over the top statement about how the tropical zodiac murdered the sidereal zodiac. He had the slide of this ominous-looking figure that was behind some smoke or some
RL: It was ghost-like. Yes, it was weird.
CB: Right. It was like a ghost that was meant to represent the sidereal zodiac that was haunting the tropical zodiac because the phrase or the ending statement he ended up making was that, “The sidereal zodiac was effectively terminated by the tropical zodiac, but like a ghost haunting its executioner, it casts a troubling shadow over the profession.” And before that, he said, “The sidereal zodiac hangs on this digital Oregon once relevant to our Babylonian ancestors that no longer in accord with our current understanding of the cosmos.” So, you have to understand that he didn’t just make an argument for the tropical zodiac, but he made it in the most antagonistic and dismissive and arrogant way possible.
RL: I think dismissive and arrogant are important words.
CB: Sure. And we’re both saying that. What’s weird about this is that we’re both tropical astrologers. So, it’s like you would think we would be on his side, or we would be in agreement with him, but one of the things that’s funny is that seeing him take it in such an extreme direction and in such an arrogant and divisive way that’s caused a lot of tropical and a lot of Western astrologers to cringe and basically to call this guy out over the past month, and say, “Hey, that was really inappropriate and that was not a good reflection of that. So, you didn’t represent us well when acting as an emissary.” Because part of the issue is that until this month, actually, or this past week, he was actually a board member and he was the research director and ethics director for the International Society of Astrological Research, or ISAR, and that was part of the other controversy is that he was partially representing ISAR when he went to give this lecture and that’s actually how they introduced him at the beginning of the talk.
RL: It is. And I must say, Chris, that talking about this is putting me through some spaces because as you may or may not know, I’ve known Glenn, jeez, I think probably about 20 years and I’ve been… How do I say this? I would have considered him to be a friend, even through some of his earlier situations, these are conversations that he and I had, we’ll get to some of those in a moment, but this particular instance just pushed me over the top. And there’s a problem. And the problem is not just, well, there’s two levels here. The problem is not just about this particular instance as there are at least a couple of other instances where he’s created divisiveness in the community in a way that was unnecessary, in a way that he could have stated his cause, but instead created divisiveness.
So, part of this problem, or part of this whole situation is about Glenn. But part of the situation is, we’re not going to change Glenn, or fix Glenn, or perhaps it appears that Glenn doesn’t think that he’s done anything wrong, and that nothing needs to be fixed. So, the second issue becomes, what do we do as a community, as an industry, as people who do have a commitment to understanding the truth about what it is that we do, and how do we react to things like this? So, there’s two separate issues here.
CB: Yeah. And eventually, I definitely want to take the discussion in that direction, which is basically what can we learn from this? And if this was the wrong way, which I think virtually, the vast majority of astrologers that I’ve seen comment or react to this have agreed that this was the wrong way to go about dealing with this an issue or a problem in the astrological community, or something that needs to be talked about, which is the zodiac issue, which is fine to talk about and address, but if this was the wrong way to go about doing that in dealing with a sensitive issue in the community, then what is the right way? And what can we take from this in order to get some positive lesson from it?
RL: Yeah, I agree. And it’s interesting, even that Glenn approached this as the two-zodiac problem. Because, for me, like you, I use the tropical zodiac. I’ve had my chart done sidereal and been totally blown away by how impressively relevant it was. So, I have a great deal of respect for sidereal astrology, for Vedic astrology in general. But the real question here is, how do we go about bringing up topics that we don’t agree on? And how can this be such a problem when there are so many things? Just the question of what house caste system you use, or what orbs do you use? There are a gazillion things that we as astrologers don’t agree on, or or have different ways of looking at just like there’s 30, or 40, or 50, or 100 different schools of psychology. It doesn’t mean that one is right and all the others are wrong.
CB: Right. And that’s typically because Glenn often finds himself in this position in the community, or puts himself deliberately in his disposition, where, once he adopts a position, or he finds something that works for him, he seems to think that all of their approaches are wrong, and oftentimes will turn around and start attacking other traditions. And so, there have been at least two other major instances, if not more, of him doing these major attacks on other astrologers.
RL: Yeah, two that I know of.
CB: Sure. So that’s something perhaps worth talking about to provide some context because that’s the other part of understanding if this is the wrong approach, and this is a recurring thing, and what the contrast is to that. So, one of the approaches that I know, and this is a little bit before my time and that’s why I wanted to ask you about it, is I know that he, at one point, attacked evolutionary astrology and Steven Forrest in particular, I heard about an incident at a Northwest Astrological Conference when Steven Forrest was giving a lecture on something and Glenn Perry stood up in the middle of the audience and started arguing with Steven or calling him out or something during the middle of a lecture and he was
RL: I was present. I was present for that. But that event was not an isolated event. That event happened as the culmination of a many month-long exercise that Glenn as part of the then forming ethics committee trying to come up with a statement of ethics for ISAR, that Glenn got involved in this whole discussion specifically about what Glenn refers to as reincarnational astrology. And Glenn wrote papers on that. He wrote actually a rather lengthy piece that was excerpted from a book that he published called Silent Night: The Ethics of Reincarnational Astrology, which was excerpted from a book that he wrote called Issues and Ethics in the Profession of Astrology. And in this article, interestingly enough, he starts it off with another Aristotle quote, I find that just to be interesting, it is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it. Now, in this article, he basically makes the case that that reincarnational astrology or astrology that uses reincarnation, is unethical because astrologers aren’t allowed to make misleading or deceptive claims that are misleading or deceptive if the astrologer fails to disclose material facts, blah, blah, blah, blah. Then he goes on to make a very detailed and, what’s the right word, academically supported case for why reincarnation in astrology is unethical. And of course, this goes back to the theosophists and Alice Bailey, and Dane Rudhyar, Alan Leo, Isabel Hickey, the thread of reincarnation at least in the modern post Theosophical humanistic tradition, even prior to the Jeff Green Steven Forrest Evolutionary Astrology school that Glenn’s problem was not with Steven Forrest, it was with reincarnation. And it wasn’t even that he didn’t believe whatever that means in reincarnation, he just felt it was unethical to use reincarnation in an astrology counseling session as if it was the truth.
CB: Right. It wasn’t just that it was not his cup of tea to try to integrate the philosophical or religious concept of reincarnation into an astrological reading, but he actually went so far as to start arguing that it was unethical and dangerous.
RL: And so, this argument was going on between Glenn and not just Steven, the larger community. But Steven obviously being a proponent of the Evolutionary School of Astrology, where a chart is looked at as basically the map for the soul during this incarnation. Therefore, reincarnation has a very important piece in that whole school. And Steven’s involvement really wasn’t to necessarily take on Glenn. It was to defend his entire school and all the students that have studied with him over the years. So, what happened that night is Steven was giving a lecture, crazy as this sounds, on Ethics and Astrology.
RL: And in it, he brought up Glenn’s argument with him, quoting an article from the mountain astrologer that Glenn was sitting at the same table dinner table as Glenn that night. And Glenn said, “That’s taken out of context, Steven. That’s not what I said.” Well, not quite yet until Steven went on and said, “It is what you said. And I stand by blah, blah, blah, blah.” And then Glenn stood up basically to defend himself and said, “Well, you’re misquoting me.” And Steven basically said, these weren’t his words, but he basically said, shit, sit down and shut the fuck up. [Rick laughs] He basically, became a Capricorn at an electric podium and said, “This is not your place. Sit down.” And this was in front of 250-300 people. And I have to say that because I was involved in the ongoing discussions, and not so much as a creator of them, but certainly reading the work that had been done and submitted by various people, I at that time, I understood Glenn’s frustration, but I also didn’t agree with how he was going about the extreme position that he was taking.
And in fact, the following day after that, when everyone went out to dinner, the people who hung around the next day went out to dinner, and Glenn was feeling very excluded, I went out to dinner with Glenn. So, you got to understand here that it’s difficult for me to take this step and call Glenn for what is going on. Because if that had been the only time and Glenn realized that he maybe didn’t go about it the right way in which he did, he later said that it probably wasn’t the best thing to do, but if that had been the case, and had he really learned the lesson, then it wouldn’t have happened again another time, and then another time. And at some point, in time, you have to look at this and say, is this helping the community or not? Is this person who is the director of the ethics committee, and I know I don’t have that title exactly, right? But is this person who’s responsible for ethics, is this a person that someone with an ethics problem could go to? It makes the whole situation rather difficult. And so, for me, this was just the thing that just pushed me over the edge and said, “No, this has got to stop. Not anymore. It’s enough.” It’s like this seems to be in this day and age, numbers of things from different directions that have been going on and they reach a point of people reaching a point and saying, “Yes, this is the way it was, but this can’t go on like this. It’s not okay.”
CB: Right. And the problem with the Steven situation, as I understand it, was also that Glenn in that late ‘90s, and early 2000s, a bunch of the astrological organizations start getting this impetus to create ethical codes for their organizations and for astrologers that are part of the organizations in order to outline what is okay and what is not okay within the field of astrology or as a practicing astrologer. And Glenn was very much involved in creating the first ethical codes for ISAR. But then he ended up crafting them or one of the allegations was that he ended up crafting them in a way that suited his particular approach to astrology, like modern Western psychological astrology, but that was not okay for some of the other groups such as evolutionary astrology, where you have other groups of astrologers that have certain beliefs, and some of those ended up being excluded.
RL: You have it exactly correct.
CB: Okay. And that ended up being, so Steven got involved at some point in trying to fix or trying to make some of those ethical codes more inclusive that would include schools like his, but he was getting attacked by Glenn over and over in different instances, somewhat aggressively, and then eventually, Steven pulled back from the astrological community. So, Glenn was partially reprimanded in some instances because he was never, for example, invited back to speak at NORWAC again because of that outburst during that keynote lecture.
RL: Correct again. And I think I mentioned this to you as we talked offline. But another piece in this whole puzzle for me, and why I’m here talking with you about this is how insistent I’ve been throughout my entire career of it’s okay to have an opinion and a point of view, but it’s not okay to make outright judgments against people who have different points of view. And the following year, I think that the Glenn-Steven issue, I think that was in 2002, I think, and the following year at NORWAC, I gave the opening plenary talk. And that’s the talk on Friday afternoon when the conference is just getting together. And I was talking about the future of astrology. And during that talk, I said something very, very close to what I’m going to say now. What I said was one year ago in this room, while Steven Forrest was giving a talk about that Glenn Perry who has disagreed with Steven basically stood up to defend his point of view. And in doing that, there is a rift between these two different perceptions of what is right and what is not right. And this, I think, was during the Saturn Pluto opposition, or post Saturn Pluto opposition. And what I said at that time was, “We are too small of a community. It’s too small of a world for us to have these kinds of differences amongst ourselves. That we need to find ways of allowing people to look at things from whatever perspective and point of view they have, whether or not it’s what you use.” And so, I guess why I’m saying this is that this issue, for me, is not a new issue. It’s something that I, that night, I mentioned the fact from the podium that Glenn was born in the summer Cancer of 1949, this is all public record information, and that Steven Forrest is a Capricorn born January 1949, and that I represent their Davison midpoint chart [Rick and Chris laugh] because I’m April 49.
RL: And I said I’m standing here between the two of them, basically saying that we cannot have this divisiveness in our industry. It doesn’t work.
CB: Right, because it became like an internecine war or something.
RL: And still, to some extent, is. That has never gone away. So that was the first of his three, taking on the community and holding a point of view, that may be a valid point of view for him. And that’s okay. But it doesn’t mean that he gets to put his point of view onto everyone else. And of course, I think that Glenn often comes back to this whole thing of evidential astrology and what is provable, and that begs another entirely different question about science and astrology and those things which are irreproducible and the basis of Hume’s idea of repeatability in science. This is a much deeper discussion. But that’s part of where Glenn feels that if it’s not scientific, then we shouldn’t allow it.
CB: Well, yeah. But he has no better basis for calling his astrology scientific than anyone else. So, part of the recurring, theme is that he’s often so aggressive and he often has this tendency once he’s designated a specific approach to astrology as wrong to want to stamp it out and say that it shouldn’t exist. And that tendency I’ve noticed happening, it seems to have happened with the evolutionary astrology attack, it happened with the more recently with the sidereal astrology attack, but there was actually another one. And this is about 10 years ago. And this is when I first became aware of Glenn because I didn’t know who this guy was, or I didn’t know about any of that past history with evolutionary astrology, I was really coming into the community at this point. And then in 2000, late 2007 or early 2008, he published this article in the ISAR journal, which was this 18-page attack on traditional astrology and older forms of astrology, including Hellenistic astrology. And it wasn’t directed at me because I wasn’t anybody at that point, but it was directed against attacking older forms of astrology and making a bunch of claims.
But as somebody who had been studying Hellenistic astrology in traditional astrology for two or three years at that point, I was immediately struck by how many mistakes there were in the article that made it clear that he hadn’t studied the subject very closely or didn’t understand it very well before actually attacking it. So that it became clear to anybody who had studied the subject that this guy had developed a thesis, or developed a preconception, or a prejudice about a specific approach. And then he constructed this whole elaborate argument around it, and then just started attacking it with whatever arguments he could come up with. It seemed superficially plausible for 18 pages. But what was really weird about it is he didn’t present it as if it was going to be attack, he instead mislabeled it. He titled the article, From Ancient to Postmodern Astrology, Towards a New Synthesis. But then there was nothing about synthesis. He basically just attacked traditional astrology for 18 pages and that was the–
RL: Well, Chris that’s the same thing he did with this talk that he entitled The Two-Zodiac Problem Toward an Empathic Understanding. There was nothing empathic or understanding about what his talk was. His talk basically said either this or that and it’s this, therefore it’s not that, therefore you’re wrong. But to title it, in a way, misrepresents where he’s going with it almost as if it’s to suck people in to think that he’s going to somehow make an understanding so that someone could work with both of them, synthesize whatever. Yeah, it’s a totally strange thing.
CB: Right. It’s a reoccurring theme, and it’s a huge red flag because he’s basically dissembling, and in the title, saying the exact opposite of what he’s going to do. So, he says he’s going to present a synthesis of ancient and traditional astrology, but then instead, he rejects that traditional astrology has any value whatsoever. He says, he’s going to present an empathic or empathy focused take on the tropical sidereal zodiac issue, but instead, he just says the sidereal zodiac has absolutely no value and should be rejected. So that right is important because it tells you a lot just in and of itself, about how he operates and what his whole approach is. But this traditional attack was troubling because one of the things it did was just made it really clear that he’s comfortable attacking things without being very familiar with them. And doing it in the strongest language possible, or taking it almost overboard, where it’s like even if he had some good critiques, or good things to say, he always takes it to such an extreme place that it really ruins whatever good there wasn’t his argument to begin with.
RL: Agreed. And because he has a PhD, and because he presents himself in a very cool, clear manner, people who don’t know enough to question him, don’t question him and takes it as this is the truth. And therefore, he does damage on that level also.
CB: Right. Because he looks good on paper as somebody with a PhD. And because he always presents his statement with this complete sense of authority and that he knows what he’s talking about, or that he studied the matter extensively. For example, he said, “Traditional astrology doesn’t work, in my experience,” acting as if he had actually practiced the subject, but then he just kept misstating all these things. He said that the concept of planets ruling signs didn’t exist or that the concept of dispositor ship didn’t exist prior to modern times. And that when ancient astrologers talked about sign rulership or dispositor ship that they only had the concept of exaltation rulers, which is just a really inaccurate statement because almost every astrological texts for the past 2,000 years had that concept of domicile rulership and somehow, he knew so little about the subject he was attacking that he could make a blunder that significant in a printed article in an international journal.
RL: Yeah, agreed.
CB: So that was the second attack. And it’s like I wrote a response to that on my blog, the horoscopic astrology blog that is still up there today, basically just going through and pointing out–
RL: I’ve read it. I read it.
CB: Yeah. And that was a big controversy at the time because a bunch of traditional astrologers like myself and Ben Dykes and Joseph Crane and others wrote responses to that pointing out the issues with it, and it was a big controversy at the time. There was a subsequent debate about it at UAC and other discussions at the time, and then eventually, it faded away. And then a few years later, he turned his sights on another tradition. Then he started attacking the sidereal astrologers first starting with– His main arguments were in the ISAR newsletter with the Western sidereal astrologers, and I think that’s where he first developed his argument was against people like Ken Bowser, who I interviewed last summer on the topic of the sidereal zodiac. But then he decided to take this argument that he had developed against Western sidereal astrologers, who truly and largely are just using basically modern Western techniques, but they’re applying them to the sidereal zodiac. So, it’s basically taking the same approach and applying it to the sidereal zodiac as a different reference system than the tropical zodiac. But he decided to take that argument last month in February to India, and say that the sidereal zodiac as it’s used in India in Indian astrology has no value. And one of the problems again as a repeat with the traditional thing, is that he doesn’t really know that much about Indian astrology. So, he was criticizing a tradition and fully rejecting essentially a tradition that he hadn’t really studied.
CB: That’s problematic. So that could be perhaps like rule number one, if we’re trying to draw conclusions about if Glenn’s approach to a lot of these controversies is wrong or problematic, what could you do that would be better or represent a better approach to dealing with a critique, or dealing with an issue in the astrological tradition? One of the good starting points might be, study and develop an accurate understanding of what it is you’re critiquing before writing a critique of it.
RL: Well, this is interesting because this is one of the main problems that we astrologers have of scientists who are critiquing astrology. We say, “How can you critique it? You don’t study it. You don’t know enough about it. You don’t know anything about it.” Yet that’s what Glenn has been guilty of. And it’s the difference between a skeptic and a, what’s the word I’m looking for? A skeptic is someone who’s inquiring, who’s doubting but inquiring. And I think that all too often in science and perhaps with Glenn, that skepticism is not the correct word. It’s a priori knowing that what you’re… You know what it is? It’s Lavoie CA, who was the first president of the French Academy of Science back in the mid-70s, mid-late 1700s. One of the big controversies at that time was meteors. There was this whole question about what were they, how could they be, whatever, and Lavoie CA, under the guise of the French Academy of Science said, “There are no such things as meteors because they are stones falling from the sky, and there are no stones in the sky to fall.”
CB: Okay. Right.
RL: It’s the knowing where you’re going before you get there. In all of this, there’s one other thing I just don’t want to let fall through the cracks before we shift from Glenn to the larger thing of the community and where do we go and what do we learn, and that is that I wrote a piece that I put on one of the blogs or one of the Facebook discussions that was unfolding. And I was ready to let it go until I saw Glenn’s letter in the weekly ISAR newsletter that was referred to as Glenn’s apology and it was not an apology. It was basically a statement of appreciation. And the entire article that he wrote was this amazing spin on how wonderful the experience was, and how great it was, and how open the conference was that allowed him to come and talk, and that there’s been this great dialogue ever since. And that Gopal himself said that it created a little bit of fire or meltdown or something, and that Glenn said, “I certainly I’m sorry if Gopal and Alex, one of the other conference coordinators, if they had to deal with any excess fire, I don’t remember the exact words that he used, that he created.” In other words, he wasn’t apologizing for anything that he said. He wasn’t apologizing for upsetting people. He was apologizing to the person whose conference it was that person had to deal with the outcome.
CB: Well, he did the classic that, I’m sorry if you’re offended, something that’s not really an apology, but just
RL: Well, there was no culpability at all. And then, since his resignation from the ISAR Board of Directors, I looked a little bit on his Facebook page, and I stopped. I couldn’t. Because basically, the people who are, there’s no culpability. Glenn is not willing, apparently, to acknowledge that it’s not about his perspective and his point of view, that he’s doing something that he’s not being chastised by ISAR because he holds a position that is unpopular. In fact, he holds a position that’s probably more popular in the West than another position. It’s not about his position. It’s about what he does to create divisiveness in the community. And the morning or two mornings after the talk, I was having breakfast and sitting with a group of people, including Lynne Bell, and Glenn walked by for the first time in a couple of days. Although he wasn’t around for a couple of days after he gave his talk, he was apparently very sick, and I certainly can grant him that, although he seems to not have taken any effort to communicate that with the conference coordinators or anyone as to why he had disappeared, that being a totally separate story. Glenn said–
CB: No, that’s actually very relevant that he split and didn’t stick around because there were rebuttal lectures presented by sidereal astrologers in the aftermath of his lecture defending that he-
RL: That’s true. That’s true. But if he was really sick, at least he should have let people know regardless.
CB: I just wanted to clarify that. In light of the fact that he’s spinning every part of this subsequently, in order to be about him being the victim and how he’s the intrepid, he said in his latest post that, “I will always look back on that lecture as one of the proudest moments of my life, not because people liked the talk, but because the ensuing outrage underscored how much courage it took to give the lecture in the first place.” So, everybody is pissed off at him, basically, because he was a jerk to his hosts.
RL: That’s like going into a museum and breaking some old Ming dynasty rare piece and saying, and then not understanding why people are angry and saying you have no idea how much courage it took to do it. It’s a dumb argument. But the point of this little story was that Lynn said, “Hey Glenn, you were a bad boy the other day.” And Glenn said, “No.” And she said, “Well, but I am writing a letter, and I will send you a copy, but I’m writing a letter to ISAR. I want you to know.” And Glenn looked at her and just said, “Well, if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it.” And walked away. And this is true. I was there.
CB: Right. He had no interest in, but the disappearing and not showing up for any of the other lectures after he presented his own was just such a quintessential thing because he wasn’t interested in hearing the rebuttals or interested in engaging in a dialogue with the other practitioners, the other traditions or receive their feedback.
RL: Again, Chris, I totally agree with that. But if he was really sick, and I believe he was really sick, then at least he should have communicated that. In other words, I understand. I totally agree with you.
CB: But fact that he didn’t communicate actually, is the point that was not just illness. All right. So, other points
RL: But I do think it’s really important to note that in all of the aftermath, there’s still only, this is not coming from a psychological evaluation point of view, but it’s a narcissistic self-righteousness that everybody else has misread his intentions and that this was the proudest moment of his life. That’s just absolutely bizarre.
CB: All right. Well, it’s part of his attempt to spin it in a positive way because this looked terrible and basically, people were writing in letters and saying and demanding his resignation from the ISAR Board and certainly as the ethics chair partially, because it was viewed as an ethical breach into the extent that he was representing the International Society for Astrological Research, and that was part of how he was introduced to the conference. And what ended up happening as the board did decide they had a meeting and gave him an ultimatum and said, “Either, you need to step down as the ethics chair, or you need to step down from your position on the board entirely.” And he chose to step down from the board entirely for whatever his reasons were.
RL: Now on his Facebook page, most of the people who are friends of his own Facebook are basically the position that they’re holding is how terrible is it that an organization like the astrology organizations won’t even allow differences of opinion, you should quit them anyhow, this is the most terrible thing, astrologers are so full of their points of view that they can’t tolerate someone with different opinions, and these are people supporting Glenn, and I get it. I had to stop reading it. I couldn’t. I was done. I’m done.
CB: It’s people that don’t understand that he’s not being persecuted for making an argument for the tropical zodiac, he’s having some blowback.
RL: He’s suffering the consequences of-
CB: The consequences not for making the argument, but for doing it in a completely disrespectful fashion too in the foreign country. So, there are other ethical breaches and other problems with the talk. There was plagiarism. So, he actually ripped off a diagram from my website that I actually made that shows the difference between the tropical and sidereal and constellations zodiac, and that’s actually the very first diagram in the video that he uses about two and a half minutes in. So, he did that and took that from my website without attribution and without credit. And there’s dozens and dozens of other images in there that he also, I think, used without credit. Because what’s funny is that the images that he used that were his, he put his name and a copyright notice on them, but then there was a bunch that did not have any name or copyright that seemed to have been from other astrology and astronomy websites. So, it was brought to my attention that he plagiarized at least one line of the talk from Ken Bowser’s book, An Introduction to Western Sidereal Astrology where Ken Bowser wrote, “In this system, and he implies tropical zodiac is defined by the seasons and is disconnected from the stars as a frame of reference, in this system, the sidereal zodiac is defined by the stars themselves and is disconnected from the seasons as a frame of reference.”
And Perry says in his talk, “The tropical zodiac is defined by the seasons and is disconnected from the stars as a frame of reference, whereas the sidereal zodiac is defined by the stars and is disconnected from the seasons as a frame of reference.” So, it’s like almost a word for word, quote from another astrologer’s book, and he just uses it without attribution. So, there’s a bunch of other issues besides just being rude, or being antagonistic, or other things with the talk. And I guess we’ve talked about most of those. Another one was, he throughout towards the end, this actually didn’t get as much exposure as it should have, but one of the bombs that he threw in the talk was that he announces, he goes in this digression at some point towards the end of the talk, and I don’t really know why he did it because it wasn’t really necessary to the talk, but he goes on this digression and starts talking about how, he says, “Most of Indian astrology came from the West or came from the Greeks, basically.”
RL: Yes, I remember that.
CB: So, he starts talking about basically the very delicate issue of the relationship between ancient Indian astrology and ancient Western astrology. And then basically, wades into that argument by again, overstating the point in saying that most of Indian astrology came from the Greeks. So, it’s like another one of those issues where he doesn’t have any real much familiarity with Hellenistic astrology. He has even less familiarity with Indian astrology. But he just starts throwing out statements that are offensive to his hosts and not really necessary for his argument and not even accurate in the way that he’s saying them by overstating the point and saying most of the astrology comes from the Greeks, which is not really an accurate statement.
So, there’s plenty of things then that we’re wrong with the talk or that one could really focus in on to explain to somebody who doesn’t understand what the controversy was or what caused it that might help to explain that. But I guess at this point, maybe what we should segue into and what might be useful to talk about is what can we learn from this? Because one of the things that’s troubling about it to me, and that does represent a serious problem, which is, how do we figure out we have we have a serious issue in the astrological community at this point where sometimes there are different approaches to doing what looks like fundamentally the same thing, and you do have this question sometimes of is this a matter of a situation where you need to choose option A or option B, and there’s going to be a right answer and a wrong answer, or let’s say, from a technical standpoint, a more effective answer or a not effective answer, or are these, sometimes you don’t know if it’s a situation where you have two different options that might have some independent value and it might not be a matter of black and white issue where one is right and the other is wrong. But instead, you have an issue where there might be good points to each or something of value in both approaches. And how do which it is? Because it’s not always clear. And how do we resolve issues like that in the community?
RL: Yeah, good question. And I think that we can look to the medical world for both the solutions and how the solutions don’t work. In other words, the American Medical Association was brought into existence so that there wouldn’t be people practicing medicine doing strange stuff that had no efficacy that didn’t work. The problem is that whenever you have someone defining which way works, it basically cripples creativity and/or solutions that are either outside of that box or coming from another direction. And therefore, in our medical environment, you have negative judgments against things like acupuncture, chiropractic, homeopathy, herbs, whatever, energy healing, there’s lists of things. And so, I think we have to be careful about over licensing, about creating a system, where to call yourself an astrologer, you have to be able to do this, this, this, this, this, this and that and not that, that, that, that, that and that. Because what happens is that we end up legislating away some of the most useful tools and some of the creativity.
Now having said that, the flip side of that is we don’t want anyone basically calling themselves an astrologer and doing stuff that has nothing to do with astrology. I find, quite frankly, in India, if you’re an astrologer, palmistry is part of astrology. And having done a little bit of digging there, I understand that there seems to be a correlation between lines on the body and lines in our life and visible from the planets, if you will, whatever. But the point is, that when we start taking a look at some of the other pieces laying around the edges of astrology, there are places where we arbitrarily make a line and go, I will not go further than that. And the question is, how do we as a community come up with some ways of making those arbitrary places not so arbitrary?
CB: Right. Well, every astrologer has to do that basically, for themselves, where it’s not always completely arbitrary, but at least there is a subjective component where every astrologer has to choose which techniques or which approaches or which traditions they want to integrate into their own practice and they think are valid or useful, or that speak to them. And there’s going to be some practices or some approaches or techniques or whatever, that are going to be the opposite, that don’t speak to you, or that you don’t think work as well in your practice, or you don’t think makes sense and therefore, you choose not to use. And that’s a personal question in and of itself. And then yeah, there’s this larger so then one as an astrologer personally, how then do you interact with practitioners that do that thing that you don’t think works, or that you don’t like, or you don’t agree with for whatever philosophical or other reasons? So that’s one question. And then alternatively, how do we deal with that as a meta issue in the community when we’re trying to talk about things like certification or ethics or other things like that?
RL: Yeah. No, these are really good questions. I would no sooner do a client chart without quintiles and septiles than I would without squares. That’s how important they are in my work. Now, they’re not like that for every other astrologer, I get it. And it’s not my place to push that on every other astrologer or think that the astrology that they’re doing is wrong because they don’t use my technique. By the same token, I might use perfections rather than secondary progressions or progressions versus solar arcs or this house caste system versus that. And the deal is that, on some level, what we’re doing is a practice. And I think this may be goes back to Geoffrey Cornelius’s work that in some way, what we’re doing is a practice that opens up a window. And it may be much to our chagrin that what we do is less important than the fact that we do it.
CB: Yeah, that’s one of the questions and especially it’s something
RL: It’s one extreme. I’m not selling that idea, but I’m saying that’s one extreme.
CB: Right. Well, the underlying issue is that we don’t ultimately know. And I think that’s the thing that should cause astrologers to adopt some position of humbleness and not to immediately jump to a fully extreme or adopt an arrogant posture, especially when it comes to other astrologers because there’s always this question of the problem is this, what if you’re wrong? What if there is something to this other approach? And it does work. Or you can’t always just assume that because your approach works that the other approach that might look like a contrast with yours, is completely wrong, even in instances where they look like they could be or should be mutually exclusive. I think that’s one of the potential issues that really needs to be explored when it comes to the zodiac thing. And that’s one of the reservations that I have is that, even though I use and prefer and I have my different practical and conceptual and historical reasons for using the tropical zodiac, I still think there’s this open question where I’m not ready to just completely reject that the sidereal zodiac has absolutely any value to it at all whatsoever because I feel
RL: In a way, Chris, there’s that whole question of, it’s not just the sidereal zodiac, it’s the sidereal. It’s the stars themselves. If one throws away the sidereal zodiac, does one also throw away the notion that fixed stars and/or fixed galaxies, quasars, pulsars, radio sources, X-rays, there’s all kinds of crazy shit out there and they’re all located somewhere in space. And we don’t know what impact they have in a direct line.
CB: Right. No, that would be absurd. In a limited sense of the fixed stars, I think that the attempt to reject even the fixed stars of the constellations that they have any astrological or symbolic significance at all whatsoever, just for the sake of making an argument in favor of the tropical zodiac, I think is absurd and is a complete overreach or going too far.
RL: Correct. Yeah, me too.
CB: I think 99% of astrologer, I can’t even really imagine many astrologers that would really defend that or attempt to defend that. The other issue that we run into is actually an interesting discussion topic with you, was one what I thought was weird lines of argumentation that Glenn made was that he said that the tropical zodiac has value because it’s connected with the seasons and the seasons influence life on Earth in a very direct and sometimes indirect way. And then he argues, “Because the zodiac has no connection with the seasons and therefore no causal influence on earthly events, the sidereal zodiac can have no value.” And that to me, immediately, is somebody that adopts a causal approach to astrology where astrology works primarily through the planets and stars and other celestial phenomenon acting as signs and symbols and that’s part of why astrology works or it has efficacy in most ways. That’s an absurd argument to me though.
RL: It’s absurd for the reason that you just described, but it’s also absurd because a large part of the planet does not have four seasons. Some parts have two seasons, or three seasons, or five seasons. And there’s then the southern hemisphere problem, which says they have seasons, but they’re different. So, the seasonal thing, even though as I know, the word tropical is less the word for seasons than it is for turning, which is really a turning of the seasons. But if it were just the seasons, then astrology wouldn’t work where there’s only a rainy season and a dry season, or on the Equator, or in the Southern Hemisphere, or wherever else.
CB: Right, that’s really important because that was the other thing that wasn’t explored is just if you put everything on a seasonal argument and that all of the efficacy of the tropical zodiac depends on the seasons and basically, you put it entirely on the Northern Hemisphere seasons, then you run into a major issue, which we’ve talked about a million times in the podcast before, which is that the seasons are reversed in the Southern Hemisphere. So, there’s a problem. Again, adopting an arrogant posture in promoting the tropical zodiac because there’s still this big unsolved issue that all tropical and sidereal astrologers know about, which is that the seasons are simultaneously, a strong point in favor of the tropical zodiac and some of the symbolism that astrologers draw on, but it’s also one of its greatest weaknesses that astrologers haven’t really resolved, which is what makes the vernal point a viable starting point that’s true in both the Northern and Southern Hemisphere. I’ve heard a few astrologers almost come close, but I’ve never heard anybody come up with a fully compelling answer to that question that seems to solve that issue.
RL: I agree.
CB: So, I don’t think that means that it cannot be resolved, or that there may not be actually a good answer to that question based on the reports of especially astrologers that I know who live in the Southern Hemisphere and do not think that the tropical signs should be reversed, even though the seasons are, but it’s still one of those open questions. And I feel like questions like that should be the focus of talks. And if Glenn had gone to India and presented a talk for the tropical zodiac, and explored even the shortcomings and tried to propose a resolution to that question, which is still an issue that plagues tropical astrologers to this day, then that would have been a unique substantive contribution to the astrological tradition, at that point, he would have done something new and unique and innovative. But instead, it was just going to India rehashing a bunch of not unique arguments from other sources in favor of the tropical zodiac and telling all the sidereal astrologers that they were wrong and then going home. And that’s not really productive. That didn’t further our knowledge or expand our knowledge of astrology or discourse about astrology in any way. It just upset a bunch of people and caused us to have had this discussion. So where should we go with this? What are some of the other topics that this can lead us to positively in terms of developing something positive, or have some useful spin off from this?
RL: Well, on one level, I think the most singularly obvious and simplistic piece is that we need to keep an open mind and be kind. Be aware, be kind, be compassionate. Glenn carried no sensitivity to where he was and what he was doing. And apparently, still doesn’t. He would argue and say that he did, that people took him wrong or whatever, but with an exception of maybe two or three people that I know of, everyone took them in the same way. So, I think one of the things is that, I believe, it’s great to have a point of view that no one else has or that few other people have, but present it in a way that this is my point of view, this is not the way it is. And your point of view is still your point of view. It’s like this whole idea of multiplicity of there’s no one single right, wrong, the Aristotelian idea of it’s either this or that and it can’t be both simultaneously. I’ve used the argument which Glenn tried to dismiss and say, “Oh, that!” And that is the idea that a subatomic particle and a subatomic wave are at one time both a particle and a wave and yet they can’t be both in Aristotle’s logic, that’s impossible. But that’s the way it is.
So, all I’m saying is that one of the things that we can take from this is that it’s not always what we say. It’s how we say it. And in saying things, the question to ask is, are we acknowledging who our audience is? Are we being kind? Why are we doing this? Are we doing this to and aggrandize ourselves, to make ourselves seem like we have the answer, we’re more important? Is this an ego-driven thing? Or is this something that’s really for the good of all? Because no one… No, I shouldn’t say no one. Because no one except for Glenn and a few other people could claim that the way Glenn presented, what he presented was for the good of all. It was not. It was for the good of Glenn.
CB: Right. Yeah, and it didn’t win over. Nobody was convinced by this argument. And partially, because the argument didn’t present anything new, it was basically just a historical argument, even though he’s not a historian and has announced that he has zero interest in studying older forms of astrology because he doesn’t think that they have any value. And that was the point of the 18-page paper attacking traditional astrology 10 years ago. He just gave a long historical talk arguing for the tropical zodiac and then that was it. That was literally the end of the talk in terms of what it presented that was new or unique. The only thing that was unique to Glenn, in terms of that, was just that he did these rhetorical flourishes that were rude, basically, towards the end and that was it.
RL: Yeah. Yeah. I’m reminded of the Buckminster Fuller quote who said, “You never change something by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.”
CB: Sure. Yeah. That makes sense. So, some of the points here, like the importance of understanding a traditional approach before you critique it, what is your motivation for attacking something, do you understand what you’re attacking before you critique it, or have you spent enough time studying it, have you acknowledged the shortcomings of your own approach? There’s a bunch of questions like that. And then finally, just are you approaching this in a sense of genuine, curiosity and exploration and furthering the astrological tradition? Or, are you approaching things with almost this underlying tone of a mean, spiritedness that I feel is a recurring thing that most of the people who practice the traditions that he often ends up attacking often feel from those attacks?
RL: Yes, agreed.
CB: Is there’s this sense of mean spiritedness underlying it. And that’s the thing I think that people react to the most is realizing that this is not coming from a place of genuine critiques for the purpose of furthering the field, but this guy doesn’t like what you’re doing and doesn’t think it’s right and he’s going to attack you. And that’s why it’s usually appropriate to characterize it as more of an attack than a genuine critique.
RL: Yeah, I agree. Although I’m pretty sure that Glenn would deny that and say that that’s not true.
CB: Yeah, he would say a lot of things, but I don’t know, I’m past the point of, because he often spins or turns a lot of things and always finds an excuse. There’s always an excuse, or there’s always a reason why what he did was okay, or why it was justified, or why he doesn’t need to apologize, or he doesn’t need to admit any fault or wrongdoing. When he emailed me, for example, I mentioned on Twitter really briefly, one night that a week ago that I laughed when I jumped through his lecture when the video first came out because I saw that he had ripped off one of my images. He sent me this aggressive email demanding to know which image he supposedly ripped off from my website. And I was like, “That’s really dumb. You don’t even know what image you ripped off? And he’s like, “Well, if you’re not going to tell me then I probably didn’t steal any image from your website.” And he actually started getting aggressive with me. And then I pointed out which image he’d ripped off from my website and then he tried to argue the point with me and said that he got it from Google and then it was from Google’s website and therefore he didn’t rip it off or anything else. And then he just started justifying and kept justifying. Instead of just immediately acknowledging the mistake, apologizing for it, and letting it be, he actually kept trying to justify over and over again, even though it was really clear that he was in the wrong. And for that reason, I’m not interested in hearing his spinning of his situation.
RL: I’m done with that. Yep. I agree. I think we go on. I think we look at this event as justice being done within the community by people who are willing to stand up for what is right, although I know it was uncomfortable for some of the people on the ISAR Board, who have been longtime friends of Glenn’s. It’s a bit uncomfortable for me. I’ve been a longtime friend of Glenn’s. Lynne Bell, I think deserves some credit here for actually writing that very, very first email for capsulizing the outrage and shock that we were all feeling, but she put it into a document right away. And in some ways, that got the ball rolling. But I think it’s also to the credit of the ISAR board having to deal with this of basically one of their own and that’s the times that we live in. It’s the old way of doing things. Don’t work anymore. The slippery slopes are no longer slippery slopes, they’re razor’s edges. And we need to come down on things on the right side. And I think that we did in this instance.
CB: Yeah. Finally, it was one of those ends where he’s gotten into many of these conflicts in the past and always skates by or he’s able to spin it afterwards in a way that you never truly has consequences for it. But this was the time when he finally really crossed the line and people spoke up about it. No, it’s actually one of the important things I think about things like that. It’s that sometimes, I think it’s really important when you see something that’s not right or not okay, or when somebody does cross a line to say that and to speak up in the astrological community and not to hold your tongue because you don’t want to get into an argument with some other astrologer, but if you see somebody-
RL: Especially someone who is on a board, or who is in charge of ethics, I was amazed when this thing first started happening on Facebook, with the intensity and the immediacy of how many people came out of the woodwork with stories that were like, “I wasn’t there, but boy, I understand because this was my experience some other time.” So, this is not a public move against Glenn. I think that this is a public move for doing what’s right within the community.
CB: Yeah, although all of those other experiences because I had forgotten all of this other stuff, but the fact that he had been involved in so many other conflicts in the past where he had behaved similarly, inappropriately and so many different people had different stories and different reports of the same experience, that did actually really contribute ultimately, to what happened in people calling for his resignation, and for saying that this wasn’t all right because it finally crossed a threshold where something had to be done.
CB: So, yeah, I don’t know what other specific lessons or specific things. Part of the reason I wanted to talk about this was because it was a major event that was happening in the astrological community that hundreds of astrologers have been talking about over the course of the past month. And I usually try to cover current events and current discussions and other things that are happening in the astrological community partially, because it’s an interesting snapshot in time. And I think about sometimes like somebody 100 years from now, coming back and listening to this episode and listening to what the astrologers were talking about, and what some of the issues were in the astrological community in our time, and what tensions that was creating in some instances, but also how astrologers were trying to wrestle with and trying to resolve those issues. And I think this is a really great instance of that and it’s a continuation of this series that I’ve done where I did a few episodes on the zodiac issue and talked to different people with different perspectives about that last summer. And this is an interesting continuation of that because it’s another facet of that saga about one astrologer adopting a particular approach, taking it to an extreme, and then a lot of astrologers calling him out on that and saying, hey, either that’s not right, or, hey, that doesn’t actually represent us well.
CB: All right. Well, I think that’s it for this discussion. What do you have coming up? Are you going to be at NORWAC this year?
RL: I will be at NORWAC, I will be at UAC, I’m doing my annual summer retreat at breitenbush.com in July, and then I’m back to Bali for my seventh white week-long workshop retreat in Bali. And you can find out about that at heavenandearthworkshops.com, that’s in October in Bali. And that’s a limited amount of people and it will fill up and I’m excited. I love Bali and I’m glad to be going back.
CB: All right, brilliant. That sounds awesome and I’m looking forward to seeing you at UAC. And one of the things I want to mention is, a lot of people listen to our forecast episodes each month, but you do your own amazing forecasts each month and especially on your YouTube channel, I’ve really been enjoying. Do you know what the URL is for that? Because people should probably check it out.
RL: Well, the easiest way to find it is to go to stariq.com and there’s always a link to the current month. The YouTube channel is Rick Levine Astrologer, that’s the channel. But yeah, the YouTube thing has been getting anywhere from between 50,000 and 75,000 views a month. It’s hefty material, it’s not for the lighthearted. Yeah, that’s been exciting to do and I’m looking at doing more video. I have a few things in mind and so, there’ll be some announcements there over the months ahead.
CB: All right, brilliant. Cool. Well, I look forward to seeing you at UAC in May. Thanks for joining me for this discussion.
RL: It was my– I wouldn’t say it was my pleasure, but I think it was somewhere between my pleasure and my duty. And thanks for digging deep on these subjects, you do an amazing job for the community. We appreciate you.
CB: Yeah. Well, thank you. I appreciate it. I’ll have to have you back on the show again another time to discuss a more lighthearted topic.
RL: Good, I’m in. All right, Chris. I’ll see you soon.
CB: All right, thanks. All right, and thanks everyone for listening and we’ll see you next time.