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The Astrology Podcast

Ep. 159 Transcript: Live Podcast Event at United Astrology Conference 2018

The Astrology Podcast

Transcript of Episode 159, titled:

Live Podcast Event at United Astrology Conference 2018

With Chris Brennan, Kelly Surtees, and Austin Coppock

Episode originally released on June 11, 2018


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: theastrologypodcast@gmail.com

Transcribed by Teresa “Peri” Lardo

Transcription released January 11th, 2024

Copyright © 2024 TheAstrologyPodcast.com

CHRIS BRENNAN: All right. Thanks everyone for coming. So today is Saturday, May 26th, 2018, and it’s 7:10 pm in Chicago, Illinois, and this is the – I believe it’s the 159th episode of The Astrology Podcast, so thank you all for joining us today.


KELLY SURTEES: Oh my goodness!

CB: So for those of you listening to the audio recording, which I’m gonna release in June, we’re recording this live at the United Astrology Conference in front of an audience of —

KS: Real people!

CB: — our colleagues of actual astrologers. Right.

AUDIENCE MEMBER: An audience of 20,000 people!

CB: Right. So tonight, we wanted to have a discussion about the conference, about the future of astrology, and about where astrology is headed if we were to look back as historians at this era in the astrological tradition and if we were to try to anticipate where things are going and how people in the future will characterize and look back on what we’re doing today. So where should we – before we get to the main topics, are there any like, major things we should touch on first?

AUSTIN COPPOCK: So what have you been doing the last couple days, Chris?

CB: So I’ve been here at the United Astrology Conference —

AC: Oh really?

CB: — having a great time, actually. Meeting a lot of podcast listeners. There’s at least a hundred of us in the room tonight, so thank all of you for attending and for coming to the conference. How many of you is this your first conference?

KS: Wow! That is fantastic.

CB: Yeah, so —

KS: Welcome!

CB: — a lot of people are here for the first time meeting other astrologers, making connections, hopefully connections that will become lifelong ones. So one of the reasons I wanted to get everyone here tonight is because sometimes at these conferences, even though the social component is so important, if it’s your first time attending and you don’t know anybody, it can be hard to make connections with other people until you realize that you all have something in common. So obviously the main thing we all have in common is our interest and our passion for astrology, but tonight, the other thing we all have in common is we all listen to the podcast and some of the discussions that I’ve had on it over the course of the past few years. So I actually started The Astrology Podcast in June of 2012 immediately after the last United Astrology Conference. So it’s been an interesting, what? Six years —

KS: Six years, yeah.

CB: — since that time —

KS: Yeah.

CB: — and this is basically almost the six year birthday of The Astrology Podcast as a result of that. So I wanted to, one of the things I wanted to do is just make sure all of you connect with each other, and after we’re done here, I’d love it if each of you would just go around the room and introduce yourself to each other. And you know, sometimes it’s much easier to introduce yourself once you know that you share something in common, and since we all know that we’ve listened to the podcast, maybe a good conversation starter is just, “What is your favorite episode of the podcast?” And you might find that there’s other people that have the same, you know, interest, or you might find the other person actually hated that episode and thinks it’s, you know, the worst episode of the podcast, which in many instances they might be right. But either way, it will have started a conversation and you guys can remember that conversation and perhaps it’ll start a friendship and you can go from there.

KS: Because really, we actually all meet at conferences.

CB: Yes. I met you finally at – I almost met you at the 2008 United Astrology Conference, but —

KS: We kind of flew past each other.

CB: Yeah. Why was that again? There was a specific reason, I think.

KS: I was a little otherwise occupied.

CB: You met your future husband there.

KS: I did.

CB: Okay.

KS: So I didn’t really do a lot of astrology that weekend. But I did see you! Look, it’s Saturday night; we’re saltier in person, maybe. I remember seeing you, Chris, though, because people had – I was still in Australia at that point and hadn’t yet – I was just going through my Saturn return but had already been working as an astrologer for seven or eight years and was doing something similar in Sydney that you were doing in the states with the Young Astrologers kind of group. So I kept hearing about this mythical, you know, young astrologer from America, Chris, and so it was kind of weird to, you know, see you in person, but I think it was really NORWAC a few years later that we actually got to know – or maybe it was New Orleans? I’m not sure —

CB: Yeah, it was —

KS: — but definitely through the conferences, like, we wouldn’t have had these chances to get to know each other.

CB: Right. It was, we hit it off at UAC 2012, and then —

KS: That’s right!

CB: — I think after that we were inseparable —

KS: NORWAC at the same time —

CB: Yeah, and we —

KS: — yeah, we just used to …

CB: One of the early episodes is us just getting back from our first NORWAC together and just talking —

KS: That’s right!

CB: — about our experience.

KS: Yeah, the conference afterglow.

CB: So and 10 years before that, Austin, you and I actually —

KS: Yeah.

CB: — first met in person at a conference as well, right?

AC: Yeah, the Project Hindsight Conclave in 2006. So just a little tidbit about that: So Chris and I knew each other online, and Chris went out of his way to convince me to drive down to Cumberland. And this shows, I think, this is very characteristic of Chris. I remember driving up in my like, big, beat-up, black Ford Taurus, and got out of the car, Chris is like, “Hey, nice to see you.” And, you know, “I invited you down because I think we’re going to be working together for the next several decades, and I wanted to become friends early in this process.”

KS: Because if you know Chris, Chris always has a plan.

CB: Sure.

AC: It worked.

CB: I mean, I just had a good sense about the guy, and I think it worked out. So. All right, so, yeah, so we’re halfway through the conference at this point. It’s a good time to meet other people, and that’s part of what this is about. But we also wanted to have sort of a broader discussion that would be useful both to everybody in the room as well as everybody listening to this in the future just about this moment in time and this moment in history in the astrological community.

CB: So, I was talking to Lee Lehman earlier today for an interview, and she said, for a lot of older astrologers, they would often tell time and their sort of calendar was by looking back and thinking at when an event happened relative to the last UAC. So because it would always happen in these four year increments or sometimes six year increments, they could kind of, that became a major landmark in their life and they could think about some of the major changes that happened in the astrological community during those periods. So for example, the first United Astrology Conference was in 1986. In 1982 – sorry, 1992, Robert Hand and Robert Schmidt and Robert Zoller met up at the United Astrology Conference in Washington, D.C. And decided to formulate Project Hindsight, and so this led to this flurry of translation activity that turned into a whole movement. At other UACs, I think Kepler College was formed at one point when some people got together and said, “Let’s create a college for astrological studies,” and so on and so forth. So these are often important turning points in the astrological community, but it’s often very small beginnings that you sometimes don’t realize what a major thing it’s gonna be when it happens.

So Austin, you – I guess the first discussion topic is with the advent of technology and the way things are going and the advent of podcasts and YouTube videos and online courses, there’s kind of a question or almost a crisis in the astrological community that’s developing, which is, how do both local astrology groups and astrological conferences where people come up and meet in person, how do those stay relevant when you don’t have to fly around the world in order to take a class with a famous astrologer anymore, but you can just take a class with them online? So what is the component about coming to an event like this that either will stay relevant in the future despite those technological advances, or what can we do in order to continue to make events like this relevant in some way, or should we try? Is this worth it in the long run? So that was one of the questions that I sort of had or wanted to discuss briefly tonight.

AC: Yeah, we were talking about how the virtual interaction in virtual space and physical space define each other’s meaning and so as more is possible in the virtual world, it changes the meaning of what we can and can’t do and what is worth doing in the physical. I don’t think we meant it to be this way, but we ended up with kind of a top five list of reasons —

KS: We did.

AC: — it’s useful to actually be around people.

KS: Yeah. Like, in person, yes.

AC: I contributed very little to this list. So Kelly, one of my favorite points on that was the point you made, which was the difference between what you find when you search the internet for what you know you want, or a known, versus what happens when you go to a place where there are people who know things that you don’t even know that you don’t know —

KS: Yeah.

AC: — and the bumping into people and the difference of encounter.

KS: Totally. Yeah, because when we were sort of brainstorming, that idea of you don’t know what you don’t know, and when you come to a conference like this we’re all each other’s pollinators. So you know, you come out of a lecture or you meet someone in the hallway, and somebody’s buzzing! And you’re like, “Why?” You know, “Who did you see?” And they’re like, “Oh my god, that lecture!” Or, “This talk!” Or, “I just heard about this thing!” And if you’re not in the hallways to have those kind of collisions, you don’t get that cross-pollination. And when you’re online, and this is something I think we were both on this sort of bandwagon, you go looking for something specific. And you go looking until you find that, but you don’t necessarily go off as many tangents online as you would in person. So when you open yourself to an event like this, you get a chance just to take in that pollination without controlling what it is, I guess.

AC: Yeah, it makes me think of the, you know, the ability to search online is almost like the genie’s curse to get what you wish for.

KS: Yeah.

AC: You get what you think you want.

KS: Yeah. But not necessarily what you need. And something at an event like this, you have a chance to get something that might stir you that you didn’t know you needed.

CB: Sure. So there’s something about the almost chaotic nature of conferences where you know, you could make this random decision to go into a lecture on a topic that you’ve never heard of or you’ve never studied before or maybe you think you’re actively not interested in. But then suddenly find something that you didn’t expect and find something that’s valuable there and that you wish to actually integrate into your practice and it could change the rest of your life. So that’s one of the things that’s valuable about conferences is having that ability to get a cross-section of the entire astrological community in a relatively short span of time. And sometimes you have to actively still push yourself to do that by looking at the schedule and perhaps going to a lecture that you might not otherwise, just as a process of growing and challenging yourself as an astrologer.

KS: Absolutely.

AC: So I think this falls under the category or into my Uranus in Taurus category box, because you know, with Taurus, in some ways the most solid of the signs, and Uranus – that revolutionary, you know, lightning from heaven sort of energy – one of the things that emerged in my thinking with that was like, the radicality of actually being physically present as a radical act in a digital age.

CB: Sure.

AC: In my mind, that was the meatspace revolution, that’s how I abbreviated it. And that’s not a radical thing if there wasn’t internet, but context, you know.

KS: Because there is something that I think, to your point, Austin, that meeting in person in an age where you can get information without meeting in person, it’s kind of playing into something that is really hard to put into words, because we did try between all the words that Austin and I sometimes come up with. You know, that feeling of sort of fullness or moreness when you encounter someone in person when you’ve previously just been able to interact with them online, it’s almost overwhelming in the first instance. And I know you guys have had experiences that I know we’ve had where you meet someone at this conference or at other conferences in person for the first time, and there’s just this sense of more, like the energy feels bigger, and that is really magical. But you get more out of the encounter.

KS: And one of the points that I thought about on this, you know, why meet in person, is so much about communication is actually nonverbal. And when you’re in person, you get to experience the physical, the energy, the emotional, and a lot of that is kind of lost or filtered or kind of weirdly morphed when you connect online. So I think online is great for information delivery, but for that experience or that kind of felt sense, that’s where the in person – I don’t think it can ever be replicated, and that’s why I don’t think conferences like this go out of fashion even as the world becomes increasingly digital, because we still need to come and have these encounters and these connections in person, so then we can take that back to our communities and pollinate further from what we have received here.

AC: Yeah. I met a couple people that I knew online but I hadn’t met in person before earlier today and the day before, and it was like I was meeting the rest of them. Like, I knew —

KS: Right, yes.

AC: — like, 20 percent, I was like, “Oh, that’s the rest of you!”

KS: Yeah.

AC: I wasn’t wrong about that 20 percent —

KS: Yeah.

AC: — and then people get that, you know —

KS: Yeah!

AC: — the other way. Somebody remarked, “Oh, I thought you’d be taller” yesterday.

KS: Yeah. And apparently I’m smaller online, so that was a weird – somebody was like, “I didn’t realize you were so tall!” And I thought Austin was taller, so —


KS: — there’s obviously some weird height void thing that happens.

AC: Like a bad internet date, right?

KS: Yeah.

AC: I thought you’d be taller.

KS: Yeah, so that’s really —

CB: And then the other piece that ties in with that is the idea of lineage. So lineage —

KS: Yes.

CB: — used to be such a big thing in the astrological community where in some communities like in Indian, you know, we would have a verbal transmission of astrology, it would be passed from generation to generation from teacher to student for centuries. And we actually reconnect with that a little bit at conferences because you’re actually able to run into and meet some of the elders in the community and some of the people who have been in the community for decades and in some instances are even, you know, near the end of their careers. But to sometimes make that connection and have that handing off or to actually have some sense of feeling like there’s a generation that’s coming in as well as a generation that’s handing over what they learned from their entire lifetime of studying the subject, while you can get some of that from reading people’s books and other things online, I think there’s a much more direct feeling of transmission that occurs at these conferences when you can connect with and sit in the audience or you know, say thank you to somebody like Rob Hand or to Demetra George or, you know, hundreds of other astrologers that are speaking here at UAC this week.

AC: Well, and I think the complement to that, and I was talking to Christopher Renstrom about this a little yesterday ago, is that just the oral tradition of storytelling. Like, let me tell you what Rob Hand was like back in 1993.

CB: Right.

KS: Yes.

AC: I don’t know.

KS: Yeah.

AC: But I would like if anybody knows.

KS: Chris Renstrom probably knows.

AC: But you know, that storytelling – you know how I mentioned that anecdote about like, Chris in 2006, like, “Well, I wanted to be friends with you early because I,” you know, “I foresee us working together for decades.” Like —

KS: Yeah.

AC: — that tells you something about Chris.

CB: Sure.

KS: It’s funny you said that, Austin, because Chris, you said something relatively similar to me when we first were getting to know each other, which was something like, “I think we’re gonna be going around together at conferences for quite a while.” And I was really struck by that because it made me realize that we were part of a community but we were part of a particular stage of that community and that we would be growing and learning and developing together because we just happen to be peers. And I think the beauty of the astrological community is it’s very large, and there are a lot of little components to it. And we all belong to the larger community, and then we can all connect with those different, you know, portions, if you like, that really are people that are the same wavelength or going through similar things to you. And that just feeds that feeling of belonging, which – the more we can give that to astrologers, that feeling that you belong to us and we belong to you and we’re all in this together – I just think that really enhances astrology as a whole and what astrology can do in the world.

CB: Definitely.

KS: Yeah.

AC: Well, and you know, how should we say, the stronger the container, the more volatile the explosions that it can contain without breaking apart. We better we know —

KS: How long ‘til we got volatility in here?

AC: — the better we know each other, the more we can get into it —

KS: Yeah.

AC: — and get something out of it —

KS: Yeah.

AC: — rather than just bitterly disagreeing, going our separate ways.

KS: Yeah. You can go deeper in a disagreement in a respectful way or in a loving way, and that’s more meaty.

AC: Yeah.

KS: Yeah. So yeah. Chris, your forethought tells us something, which is great.

CB: Sure.

KS: Yeah.

CB: Yeah, I’m just —

AC: Don’t be embarrassed. It means that you’re a man of foresight and depth —

CB: Sure.

AC: — which we all know to be true.

CB: Yeah, I think just sometimes when you meet certain people in your life, you have an instant knowing of whether or not you’re gonna, you know, be seeing that person around again for a long time and whether that connection really meant something at the time that you made it. In other instances, that might not be the case. I mean, you might not realize that you just met somebody who will become significant to you for decades or what have you. But with these two, at least, I knew right away. So.


AC: Totally a group hug moment.

KS: I was like, yeah, that’s the water.

AC: It happened on the inside.

CB: So —

KS: So what else are we gonna talk about?

CB: Yeah, so let’s —

AC: We got lots of stuff.

KS: We got heaps.

AC: We’ve got —

KS: Did we get through our five points?

CB: Yeah, I think so.

KS: Okay.

AC: Five was an estimate.

KS: Loose, yeah yeah yeah. Okay.

AC: Well —

CB: So the next topic was actually one that Austin really formulated well and came up with, and I thought it would be a good one to focus on for the rest of this, and then eventually we’ll do, if we have time, a little bit of a Q and A, if people are interested. Okay?

AC: Okay. Oh, okay.

KS: You should start this because you formulated this. That’s your lead.

AC: You know, we were scrambling for ideas of what to talk about, and —

KS: We didn’t want you to be bored.

AC: — weeks ago, weeks ago we were scrambling. And so I don’t know, I suggested, you know, we’re gonna be at UAC, which is kind of the big astrology moment for several years in both directions, and what a better time to kind of take astrology’s temperature. Where is astrology at? And so we talked a little bit about that in terms of how astrology is affected by the larger virtual versus physical space dynamics, but there’s also where the art is at technically, and you know, what’s happening. Because when I think about the past in astrology, you know, we’ve had ongoing for a little while now this traditional revival. Before that, there was a really powerful integration of depth psychology in astrology. There’s the advent of evolutionary astrology. We also had the ‘60s and ‘70s and that huge point where astrology and the counterculture intersected, and I always remind myself that this is a period of history that I’m living in and try to look back at the present from that lens. Like, what will I say, what will everybody say in 10 years? And so this is not something I think any of us know the answer to, but I think we have some thoughts on it. And so one of my thoughts, which I have kind of a fun anecdote about today —

KS: Yeah.

AC: One of my thoughts was that the traditional revival, which began in seed form in the early ‘90s, really got moving in the 2000s and has become quite successful now, I was actually saying to Chris and Kelly earlier, I was like, “I think it happened.” Like, the body is animate. The revival has happened. The resurrection was successful. Because I was sitting with Demetra George  in the bookstore, and I saw a bunch of people walking around with Chris’s book and Demetra was talking to me about her book was gonna be out in just a month, and I thought back to Hindsight in 2006, where all of the this stuff was very in process but nowhere near out. And then we have these pretty massive books. Like, the —

KS: Chris’s book, right?

CB: Right.

AC: Yeah yeah. And Demetra’s is also going to be a brick apparently.

KS: It is gonna be a brick, yeah.

AC: So I was like, “Oh, it’s landed.” It’s here. And now it’s just part of things. And as I was saying that —

KS: This was the three of us were just talking, the three of us —

AC: Yeah.

KS: — and as you said that, Austin literally said, “The traditional revival has landed.”

AC: And then Demetra walks up, and she says, “Ah, you know, it’s terrible that all the traditional,” you know, “my traditional classes” —

KS: The track.

AC: Yeah, the track. “They’re all overbooked, and they’re having to turn people away at the door. It’s just terrible.” And I was like, okay, yeah, the traditional revival – it worked.

CB: Sure.

KS: Yeah.

AC: It’s, you know, worked well enough to become a problem.

KS: Correct. Yeah.

AC: And apologies to any of you who had that problem.

KS: Yeah! I guess the solution is just arrive early. But it was just a lovely, almost synchronicity. I don’t know, maybe not. But it was just funny. You literally were saying that, we were sort of deep in conversation, and then goddess Demetra materializes with this commentary on how there isn’t enough room —

AC: Yes.

KS: — for the demand for traditional astrology, basically.

CB: Well, and things have changed really rapidly. I mean, 10 years ago when I would give a lecture and ask the room if anybody knew what whole sign houses were, maybe four or five people would raise their hands – so a very small percentage of the room, and nowadays, you know, when I ask like, in let’s say a room like this, how many people know what whole sign houses are —

KS: Yeah.

CB: — pretty much the entire room or 98 percent of the room raises their hand. So that’s important because that’s a concept that literally didn’t exist in Western astrology until it was rediscovered by James Holden, who published that paper in 1982 where he pointed out that this was a concept that existed in ancient astrology and seemed to be a really popular form of house division but it had been lost. So you go from, you know, nobody even knowing about this technique or this ancient concept 30, 40 years ago to suddenly everybody knowing about it, and in some recent polls, a large number of astrologers using it today. So that’s a huge and radical shift. Even if you’re not, like, you haven’t jumped on the bandwagon and you’re just using tradition or medieval techniques, if you’re using whole sign houses, that’s just an instance of how some parts of the traditional revival have influenced very rapidly contemporary astrology today.

CB: But you know, one of the things that’s interesting about that though is that none of the three of us, even though we each have interest in traditional or ancient forms of astrology, none of us are exclusively traditional astrologers. And I think that’s one of the interesting things that’s happening in the traditional revival that’s also unique and maybe characteristic of this time period is there’s not a ton of traditional astrologers that are just going fully traditional but instead there seems to be this merging or this blending of ancient and modern astrology that’s taking place at this point in time. And it’s not fully clear yet what that’s going to produce or create or what the end result is gonna look like a few decades down the road.

KS: Yeah, it reminds me of something that when we were sort of throwing around ideas, the idea of you know, conferences in person being a bit like being on a spice road. You know, the interaction and the infusion. And that’s kind of what’s happening here, you know, what you’re talking about, Chris, that traditional techniques have been revived. We have translations, we have documentation, there’s information about what was done in the past, and it’s not so much that we’re all trying to do it like the astrologers of 2,000 years ago. We’re trying to incorporate those techniques into our work today, and there is this weird fusion going on.

AC: Well, and I would say in addition to having the techniques and the books, we also have practitioners who’ve been running those techniques for 10 or 15 years —

KS: Yeah.

AC: — and can tell you exactly what they look like, exactly how to use them —

KS: How they manifest.

AC: — and I think that, should we say, conversation between various traditional astrologers, you know, like, Bonatti doesn’t look the same as Firmicus. Like, you have to have a pretty – you have to dust it off and dig it up to see exactly what it is to compare to another thing. And I think there’s always more to dust off, there’s always more to dig up, that’s, you know, to a certain degree infinite. But we got a lot that we can see very clearly now, and that comparison of similarity and difference in approach and technique and philosophy – that discussion, I feel like we’re in a place where that can really not just begin but can become a dominant thing. Because, you know, and this is another point sort of piggybacking on what you were saying about everybody knows what whole sign houses are now, is y’all remember conferences where there’d be like, one or two traditional weirdos off in the corner – that might have been you. Might have been me.

KS: Us!

AC: And that’s not the case now; it’s just part of what we’re talking about. It’s not that —

KS: Yeah.

AC: — traditional took over and everything else is garbage, but it’s just part of the mainstream of the conversation within the community. Of course that has a place. And so, you know, so that – the question is then, “What comes next?” And I think that the attempts at synthesis, comparison, and contrast is a big part of it.

But another thing that we were talking about that I’d become more aware of is that the – which I think to a certain degree is a consequence of the successful traditional revival – is the reemergence of astrological magic into the astrological discourse. Thank you. That rather affirms the point I was going to make! The point I was going to make – so I’ve been a, you know, weirdo occultist for as long as I’ve been an astrologer, but I didn’t wanna talk about it at astrology conferences because I’d get weird reactions. I didn’t get a round of applause. And so, you know, I’ve been like, edging open that like, broom closet door for a while, and I notice that over just maybe the last year and a half, people’s reactions, instead of being neutral or puzzled, started becoming extremely curious or enthusiastic, and I’m not sure what it is that facilitated or times that shift, but it seems to be very much the case. And then, you know, the book of essays on astrological magic that I edited just came out, and you know, lots of people are interested. It’s not just the other weirdos that I know are into it. And so that’s a really interesting thing to me. I think that that’s one of the things that follows on the success of the traditional revival. And I also think in terms of comparison and contrast and discussion, that allows the recovery of that in the Eastern Mediterranean and Western branches of astrology, that will hopefully facilitate a discussion about ritual methods with Jyotisha, so we can talk the Vedic ritual methods and Eastern Mediterranean or Western ritual methods, we can also begin looking at those in relationship to one another, which we couldn’t do without the recovery of the astrological magic stuff. So I think that’s a piece of it.

CB: Yeah, and you – I mean, you said something really briefly there that’s worth restating, which is that your book on, your compilation of papers from a bunch of leading astrologers and people involved in the magical community was just published and it just showed up for the first time, the very first copy has just appeared here at UAC, so that was actually probably a landmark subtle moment in the history of astrology, at least in terms of the confluence of those two traditions, and it was carried out by our very own Austin Coppock. So I wanted to —

KS: Yeah.

AC: Well, I’ve been working on it for a while. I mean, that’s been part of the mission, but —

KS: Well, the gentleman in the bookstore – I don’t wanna quote his name and say it wrong, but lovely man – I was talking to him —

AC: If you see a lovely man in the bookstore, it was him.

KS: Beard, and he was very sweet. And I know him from NORWAC and I’m sorry that I can’t remember his name, but I’d hate to say the wrong one. Anyway, I was talking to him this morning, and he said he has never seen so much interest in a book on astrological magic before. So he’s been running that bookstore – not Gregory, one of his cohorts —

AC: The lovely one.

KS: — the lovely one, that’s right. He’s very passionate about it himself, and he’s just like, “I’m so excited that this book is getting so much interest.” So —

AUDIENCE MEMBER: Maybe a little help from Neptune in Pisces?

AC: Oh yeah.

KS: I think so.

AC: Definitely help from Neptune in Pisces. Who knows? Maybe that was the one good thing that the Saturn-Neptune square did.

KS: Yeah.

AC: The one good thing.

KS: So that’s part of where you think things are going?

AC: Well, yeah, I think it’s part of it. That’s an observation about the present, about something that’s just been happening —

KS: Coming forward.

AC: — it’s not new for me, but the interest and reception of it is new.

KS: Yeah, it’s true. And there’s a lot of people doing it and somebody when we were having this conversation earlier, somebody said yeah, they read horoscope columns online or in magazines and they now include sections on rituals that you could do that have some of the properties of talismanic magic in them that is now going out into mass media —

AC: Yeah, and my friend Nina Gryphon writes —

KS: Yeah.

AC: — a column of that —

KS: Oh, her column is fantastic!

AC: — for The Mountain Astrologer, you know? And so yeah, I think that’s a piece of it. And at least I personally see, if we’re talking about making astrology whole again after a very hard pair of centuries, not just on astrology but on the world – 19th and 20th centuries were a nightmare. But making astrology whole again, part of that is restoring the ritual and magical side of it, which doesn’t mean because you’ve got, how should we say, the whole shape of astrology back again, it doesn’t mean you need to be awesome at everything. It’s just whether that is, I’m just like, I’m not, I recognize horary as an important piece of astrology, but that’s not my jam. I just don’t have a great skill set there. But just understanding that yeah, that’s a piece of astrology, and having the shape right.

CB: Yeah, I think that’s a really good analogy with horary because that’s been something that changed within the past 30 years is horary used to be something that had a bad reputation and was treated as disreputable, but now it’s something that’s at least, even if people don’t practice it, it’s something that people recognize as a legitimate branch of the tradition that some astrologers use and it’s given a certain amount of respect even if it’s something that you don’t practice or you know, otherwise use in your personal practice, and I think that may be what happens with the magical tradition to some extent is just receiving the recognition that there are some astrologers that are interested in and engaged in that and feel like that’s valid or legitimate. And even if you don’t, like, for myself personally, I don’t have much background in magic and so that’s not where I came from in terms of my studies, but I at least recognized its historical lineage and that there’s important and smart people like yourself who are doing work in that area that’s worthy of recognition. And as an astrologer, that even though magic sounds kind of crazy, I realize as an astrologer, I can’t exactly be throwing stones or I’ve sort of learned a healthy bit of humbleness in terms of making quick judgments or assumptions about things before I’ve studied them.

AC: Right. “That can’t be real.”

CB: Right.

AC: What’s funny is, you know, I also go to magic centric conferences, and they’re like, “Oh, sure – you know, you can call up angels and demons, but the planets don’t have anything to do with your personality. That is absurd.” I mean, I’m joking, but literally I got that. And what’s funny is, you know, we’re talking about astrological magic mostly from the astrological community side, but I got a very similar dismissal at magic events about astrology. And I’ve seen both of those communities sort of average attitude changing steadily over the last 10 years, but something happened, like, maybe a year and a half, two years ago.

CB: Sure.

AUDIENCE MEMBER: You’ve started going on runes, too, is what happened. [Unintelligible]

AC: Well, Gordon told me I had to, so I was just following orders.

CB: So what else is going on at this point, if we were looking back a few decades from now, in the astrological community in terms of new developments? Or what is this nexus in time that we found ourselves in?

KS: One of the other points that I had thought about this was – and I’m not sure if I’m projecting personally, but there seems to be a lot more new and younger people – not new younger people, but just new people coming into the – like, this conference there are so – I mean, I know it’s a big conference, but all UACs are big – but there just seems to be a lot of people attending for the first time. The last few conferences I’ve been to, NORWAC particularly, there’s a lot of, like, infusion of new people coming in. Everybody coming in has got backgrounds, you know, a wide variety of backgrounds, but it feels like almost a little bit of a renaissance, that this landing of the traditional revival, the influx of, like, almost like we’re having a baby boom essentially, like, with new souls and beings coming into astrology. And I’m really excited to see what we do as a community. It just feels like we’re getting bigger, and there’s a lot of fresh, enthusiastic energy, and I think that’s – one of the other things I think is gonna come in is this increased level of professionalism. And I don’t necessarily mean like, business suit and tie; I mean more like, people working as astrologers or working with astrology more openly in communities so that we’re more comfortable maybe claiming our identity as an astrologer out in the community at large because there’s more of us doing it, which then normalizes the experience, it normalizes the role in society, and it just continues to make it easier and easier for everyone who comes up the path behind. So that infusion of fresh and new, and then where that can go from a working astrologer’s perspective. I’m really interested to see how that flourishes.

AC: Yeah, I think that – I mean, you’re bringing up, dare I say, millennials? You’re bringing up the Pluto in Scorpios. This is a huge – and so, I will just say, to your credit, when you know, I think about generations because I’m an astrologer, and I think about time and when people are born, but I did like, a generations class a month or two ago, so I was really obsessed with it. And when comparing the Pluto in Scorpio generation with my Pluto – Kelly and I’s —

KS: Yeah.

AC: — Pluto in Libra, the earlier Pluto in Virgos, and Pluto in Leo, I came to appreciate that and thinking about what it was like growing up during those years, that the Pluto in Scorpios the – how should we say – illusory and confining models of reality, which are the norm, seem to have had extremely little appeal to people of the Pluto in Scorpio generation. I think that has a lot to do with what it was like to grow up, to come to political awareness with 9/11, with the, you know, with the Gulf Wars, and to see the financial crash of 2008, to see the system failing badly and obviously. I think it made those models of reality that were attached to that far less compelling because they weren’t working. And so it seems to me that en masse as a generation the Pluto in Scorpios – it’s much easier for them to cross into the weird. And you know, it’s this lovely dark side complement to the ‘60s Pluto in Leos. And they’re both big generations; they’re both fixed signs. And I don’t mean dark side in a bad way; I don’t think any of the Pluto in Scorpios were offended by that.

KS: I don’t think “dark” offends Scorpios.

AC: No, but you know, you have martial water versus solar fire, right? One is brighter and flower power-y, and then one is more interested in like, “Oh, witchcraft is real? Tell me more. So how do I get some of this?” Right?

KS: “I want that.”

AC: Yeah. And it is a big generation —

KS: It is.

AC: — demographically.

KS: Yeah.

AC: And that’s another parallel with the Pluto —

KS: With the Pluto in Leo.

AC: — in Leo.

KS: Yeah. I almost feel like we’ve been waiting for the Pluto in Scorpio generation to —

AC: Save us! We Pluto in Libras are too willing to negotiate.

KS: Yeah. That’s true!

CB: Well, and I think, just looking around this room, I think we’ve finally seen that many of them have started to come in, that the younger —

KS: Yeah.

CB: — generations of astrologers are finally in and becoming integrated into the community. So one of the —

KS: I agree.

CB: — one of the reasons for that is like, it seems that some of the new technologies are creating platforms for astrologers in order to draw some of those people into the community. So we have like, the podcast, we have podcasting with people like myself or Adam Sommer or Gary Caton or a number of other people that have been doing it over the past decade that are doing really great work. Eugenia Krok and —

KS: Yeah, I think —

CB: — the Accessible Astrology Podcast.

KS: — Jessica Lanyadoo have a great podcast that reach a lot of people, too.

CB: Yeah, and also YouTube is becoming a huge thing. There’s some astrologers – there was a long time there weren’t very many astrology videos on YouTube in the 2000s, and then all of a sudden over the past few years, it’s just exploded, and there’s people getting, you know, 10,000 or 50,000 or 100,000 subscribers that are following their astrology channels. And certainly there’s different levels of astrology being done. Some of it’s being done for more mass market, some of it’s more intermediate, and some of it’s more advanced, but it’s drawing in entirely new generations of people and getting them interested and excited about astrology. And then some of those people are finding their way into the established community through events like this or through conferences like this.

KS: Yeah, absolutely. And when I was thinking about that, one of the things I thought, Chris, you know, is that with the increase of newer people of – there is definitely the Pluto in Scorpio generation, but I’m seeing a lot of my peers as well. Like, newer people in their late 30s and 40s that are just – maybe they’ve done a few other things, and now is the time for them and their astrology. I actually think that many of the conference organizers in astrology owe a great debt to people like yourself, because I think you guys are at this wonderful interface between connecting the public with the community, and I think that’s something I’ve always thought the astrological community has been a little too insular in the past. You know, when people have said to me, well, you know, how do you start a astrology business, or you know, how have you been able to do this? One of the answers to that question is I’m looking for people outside the community because that’s where our client base comes from, but it’s also where there are other people interested in astrology that just don’t know the pathway in and services like yours are – even Nadiya Shah on YouTube and other YouTuber astrologers, they are really part of this movement to bring fresh people in, because it’s getting astrology into people who might not otherwise know how to find their way to us.

CB: Right. And it’s also creating greater diversity in the community —

KS: Yeah.

CB: — which is something that’s been important and needed for a long time, but it’s only recently that suddenly I think it’s starting to happen and in a way that was more dramatic than it was even 10 years ago, because there’s, you know, people doing amazing work like Ian with the Queer Astrology Conference, like – yeah.

KS: Yeah.

CB: Like Ian, there’s Chani Nicholas, who’s doing amazing columns and amazing writings. I think – I don’t know if he’s here, Barry Perlman and Jessica Lanyadoo? Yeah, right over there. So and sometimes part of that is just changing the discussions about what’s important and what we should be talking about in astrology —

KS: Yeah.

CB: — because sometimes for a long time there were just people talking about, you know, what they knew, where they were coming from, but they were coming from a place that maybe wasn’t as like, inclusive as it could have been in terms of what might be interested to other demographics or other groups of people. And now some of those discussions are taking place, and I think that in and of itself is helping to draw new people into the astrological community, and put a sort of vibrancy on it that wasn’t there even 10 years ago.

KS: Yeah. I mean, and Sam Reynolds’s work with diversity in terms of people of color as well,  that he runs a – or he’s got the NORWAC conference to run some scholarships around that as well, so, just diversity on so many levels that is coming in.

CB: Sure.

KS: Yeah.

AC: I think that ties back into a larger theme, or it’s part and parcel of a larger theme, which is maybe what astrology needs to do to get to the next phase —

CB: Right.

AC: — which is make enough space for everybody and all the different approaches, because there’s a lot. You know, there’s a lot of people coming from a lot of different perspectives. And there are a lot of traditions and new techniques that are coming from what seem like diametrically opposed perspectives, and we need enough space to hold that. And you know, when something is, you can tell when there’s not enough space. Right? When you go into a social, you know, you’ve all run into three or four people talking over the last few days, and sometimes you know that there’s no room in that conversation for you. Where a different three or four people talking, you’re like, oh, no, I can – there’s enough space here for me to join or for me to connect. And I think that there’ve certainly been conferences in the past where there didn’t feel like there was enough space. There wasn’t, you know, I think this has been handled beautifully, but it felt like there wasn’t enough space for younger people. That’s a complaint I’ve heard a lot, especially maybe 10 years ago. And I mean, you and I, Chris, certainly heard a lot of that being in a leadership role for the Association for Young Astrologers —

CB: Sure, although one of the things we found is sometimes you just have to ask for it. When groups of people get together and want to see something happen, sometimes you just have to get together and start to interface with whatever the established community is and ask for that. And sometimes that dialogue in and of itself may not always be easy or sometimes it may lead to conflict, but eventually it can also lead to progress and lead to some sort of change. But oftentimes, you know, even though there was this question of “Where are the young astrologers?” on both sides, eventually once we did start getting together and once we started asking, you know, could we have a, you know, scholarships for a conference or could we, you know, organize some talks for some younger astrologers, we found that the established community was more than willing oftentimes to make room for that. They just needed a prompt or something like that.

AC: Yeah. I encountered a lot of like, “Oh my god, where are the young people? We want them desperately, but they, you know, they keep not showing up.” I’d be like, “Well, I know a young person who showed up to your group, and they felt super alienated and weird and never went back.” And you know, those messages need like – and so the young person in that circumstance didn’t know that they were wanted. People just didn’t know how to relate to them and vice versa.

CB: Sure.

AC: So.

KS: Yeah.

CB: Right.

KS: So I think the increasing inclusiveness is part of the future.

CB: Yeah.

AC: Absolutely. It’s part of the present, and hopefully that keeps going.

KS: Keeps going.

CB: But hopefully just like-minded people, whatever your interest is or focus of whatever you would like to see more of in the astrological community, part of the lesson is just try to take an active role in doing so. I mean, I myself am not a terribly extroverted person, and so to be organizing an event like this or to do the podcast is kind of insane if you went back 10 or 20 years ago and told me we would be doing something like this. But one of the things I’ve realized is just some things only happen when people take the initiative, and a lot of times things don’t happen because somebody assumes that somebody else will do it or that, you know, it’s gonna take too much work or they just never make that step to push themself to do whatever that thing is. But I’m hoping that more and more people in the astrological community will just see what needs to be done and then yourself try to take some step to carry it out, whatever that is that you think will help in terms of improving the community.

AC: Well, and Chris, I think you’ve done a pretty fine job making space.

CB: Sure. I mean, I’ve tried to as much as I can for in the podcast. I mean, that’s – if you go back and listen to the very first episode, that was always my intended goal was to showcase the different approaches to astrology and the different traditions in order to open it up and show people the richness of the astrological community and the astrological tradition, and that’s still an ongoing process and sometimes there’s kind of, you know, speed bumps in the process. There’s different, you know, debates about house division, or debates about the zodiac issue or things like that, but at least, you know, keeping an open dialogue and putting a spotlight on some of those issues even if they’re hard sometimes is always important.

KS: Hugely so. Yeah. And I think that the inclusiveness – I mean, we have I know I – and I think I can speak for all three of us, but – we know what it was like to try and, you know, break into the community when we were coming up, and I think we’ve tried to support that in various ways, just you know, how we are conferences, but even things like the podcast and doing this event for instance, because really the goal was just to create connection and help you guys as listeners – so many of you who are here for the first time, you know maybe, feel a little less alone, because I know at my first UAC, you know, there wasn’t Facebook when I came to my first UAC. Maybe there was; I don’t know. I would have been a late adopter if there was. And so you are sort of just walking around a bit dazed and confused with eyes glazed over, and to be able to, you know, connect with someone and have a conversation, it just really helps you feel like you belong, basically, and that – this podcast has been a great icebreaker, I think, for many people.

CB: Sure.

AC: Hope so.

KS: Yeah.

CB: Sure. So in terms of other things, I think those are some of the core things. So the advent of new technology, the increasing scope and diversity of the astrological community in terms of this present moment in time —

KS: Yeah.

CB: — the, what else? The increasingly global nature of astrology, that you have different traditions and different astrologers. There was a conference a few months ago where a bunch of astrologers from the U.S. flew over to India; there were a number of Indian astrologers coming over here. I mean, there’s a number of astrologers from around the world at this conference today.

KS: Yeah.

AC: Yeah, and well, this might just be my personal experience, but Turkey seems to be representing —

KS: Well-represented.

AC: — at the conference.

CB: Sure.

KS: Turkey and China apparently. China’s buying at the bookstore apparently. That’s what the gentleman was telling me, the lovely gentleman. I was getting a lot of information about book sales —

AC: Old Beardy.

KS: — they bought all the ephemerises, actually. He was like —

CB: Okay.

KS: — someone just came up and bought this massive stack of ephemerises. I don’t think they have them!

AUDIENCE MEMBER: The government doesn’t —

KS: Won’t allow them. Yeah.

CB: Sure. So I guess that’s really where we’re at in terms of the —

KS: Yeah.

CB: — historical point in time, if people look back, this was the period in time about a decade or two after the advent of the internet were suddenly a bunch of new technologies became available for things like, you know, mobile phones and the ability of people to access information quickly and easily in a number of different formats, but also to produce and put out content and do podcasts or videos or what have you. And that’s, you know, quickly – one of the things I’m noticing is that it’s giving people a much more rapid education in astrology than they had at any other time —

KS: Truly.

CB: — in history.

KS: Yeah.

CB: And that’s one of the last points, maybe, just to touch on is just how fast a lot of you, all of you who especially listen to the podcast, have been learning astrology and the things that you’re learning are sometimes things that other astrologers in previous generations took two or three or four decades to get to. And there’s something about that that’s blowing even my mind, because it took me, you know, 10 years to go through some of this stuff that some of you are learning in just months.

KS: There’s a real quickening kind of feeling. It’s like people are getting the basics faster or understanding them more easily, and then they’re getting into the more meaty, you know, technical or specialized stuff much faster.

CB: Sure.

KS: Yeah. It’s kind of exciting to see.

CB: Yeah.

AC: It makes me feel a little jealous, but…

KS: Yeah, I know, I’m like —

AC: I’m like, I just had my five Noel Tyl books that I could find at the used bookstore, you know, in 1999.

KS: Yeah.

AC: And I mean, they were good.

KS: Yeah.

AC: But that’s all I had.

KS: I know. I was saying to some of them, totally jealous of the good quality astrological basically classes in videos on YouTube. I’m like, I had to go to the local library that had the slowest internet in the world, and there were a few blogs, and that was it, but you’d soak them up. You would take whatever you could when you’re in that like, immersion infusion stage.

AC: And there’s, you know, there’s something you can learn from hunger and isolation. I mean, you know, you really dig into what little you have —

KS: What you’ve got, yeah.

AC: — you know?

CB: Sure. And that’s – no, that’s actually a funny – it’s a joke, but that’s probably the biggest crisis that new students are running into, and all astrologers are running into —

KS: That’s true.

CB: — is the great diversity of the —

KS: The overwhelm.

CB: — astrological tradition can be overwhelming, and now we have a lot of conflicting traditions that sometimes teach vastly differing things, and how do you reconcile that? So that’s probably the great crisis that if we look back a few decades from now on this period is the period after the revival of so many different forms of older astrology from the Western tradition, from the Eastern traditions, that there was so many different options that it maybe perhaps made it difficult to figure out how to either synthesize them or which one to go with. And it’ll be interesting to see how that shakes out over the course of the next few decades. That’s part of what I’m doing with the podcast is trying to showcase them but not always giving people the answer of this is necessarily what you should do or what direction you should go with this.

KS: Yeah. Just, “This is the smorgasbord of options.”

AC: All right, well, you have to ask, you know, if there are different opinions on the same thing. Like, let’s say combustion. Okay, when I look at it according to this set of rules, one – what is the rationale? What is supposed to happen? And then what actually happens when I test this in practice? And then compare, you know, a different take on it and, you know, compare them, and if they’re trying to say the same thing, one will work better, but oftentimes they’re looking to pat a different part of the elephant. And you’re like, “Oh, do it this way if you wanna see this, do it this way if this is what you’re looking for.” Right? To understand a person’s interior state, you might use a different technique than to look at what things look like from a hundred feet away.

CB: Sure. Yeah. All right. Well, so we wanted to have just a little bit of time to do a Q&A, so maybe we should transition to that now. Nicholas, you have the microphone. Is Caleb in here? yeah. Are we good to go with that?

KS: So we want questions from the audience?

CB: Yeah.

KS: Does anybody have a question?

CB: Does anybody have a question?

KS: Just raise your hand if you do, and we’ll get a microphone to you.

CB: And since we’re limited on time —

KS: We will only be able to take —

CB: — make sure you keep it relatively —

KS: Yeah.

CB: — we’ll just keep it concise.

KS: Concise, okay.

CB: Yeah.

AUDIENCE MEMBER: Hi. So my question is when you brought up the traditional Hellenistic coming into the community, and I’m really into it, but what I’ve noticed continually here is that – okay, particularly the outer planet rulerships and the traditional rulerships. So I wonder if you guys can talk about do you think that’s ever gonna be or how that’s going to play out? Because still, Uranus is being played as the ruler of Aquarius, Pluto with Scorpio, and Neptune with Pisces, and I was just wondering if you could – you guys would talk about that a little bit.

AC: Well, so, I don’t honestly know what other people are gonna think. I can tell you what I think. So, and this is maybe a point that can spark discussion or disagreement or maybe contextualize different points of view, is that the traditional rulerships are visible planets, and so they speak to the layers of reality that are visible to the eye.

KS: Experiential.

AC: And so, Uranus and Neptune are real giant things; they’re real planets, but it is very important to note that they are a part of – they belong to layers of our reality that cannot be seen with the naked eye, which I think corresponds to their symbolic meanings a lot. And so if I were looking for visible, tangible things in a person’s life, I would not use invisible planets to do that. Maybe if I were looking for things that existed more in those invisible realms, then I might use them. I don’t personally, but I can see the rationale for doing so. There’s a thought.

KS: Yeah. The other thought that comes to – I mean, so in terms of your question, which was how do we see this unfolding – I mean, my first sort of response was it’s an ongoing discussion. And I think there are different philosophical ideas around people who choose to use modern planets as rulers, and there is certainly a huge philosophical component to why people don’t use modern planets as sign rulers. And I know I always think back to that original sort of the chart of the world – is that what it’s called?

AC: Yeah. Thema Mundi.

KS: Yeah, the Thema Mundi, and the way the planets are arranged around the signs. It’s funny you ask; I’m actually putting this diagram up in my talk tomorrow morning. You know, and how that represents the way the kind of cosmos was understood historically and how the symmetry plays into the rulership pattern in the traditional associations. So, interfering with the symmetry is my take on what happens when we bring the outer planets in as sign rulers, and I know the Greeks really liked their symmetrical sort of patterns, so that’s just my personal take. But I do think it’s an ongoing conversation.

CB: Yeah, and I don’t know how that issue’s gonna be resolved, but I just think it’s interesting that there’s a choice now and that astrologers are presented with that choice relatively early in their studies. And again, that’s a result and that’s another crisis that’s happening in the community now that didn’t exist two or three decades ago when there was more of a unanimous sort of position on that issue, but it will be interesting to see how it plays out.

KS: Yeah. And that’s a good point. It’s a choice now. I mean, when we all learned astrology, it wasn’t an option. You just had Neptune is the ruler of Pisces. But when other people are learning astrology now, it’s like, well, do you wanna do it this way, or do you want to do it that way?

CB: Right.

KS: Yeah. Cool. Thank you.

CB: All right. Thanks.

KS: Yeah. I don’t know.

CB: Right here?

KS: Yep.

AC: Nick’s got the microphone.

KS: Yes he does. Thanks, Nick.

CB: Thanks to Nick Civitello for —

KS: Yeah.

CB: — doing this.

AC: Yeah.

AUDIENCE MEMBER: Thank you, Nick.

KS: Thanks, Nick.

AUDIENCE MEMBER: And thank you all. Actually, a similar question, and maybe it’s kind of already answered with the invisible issue. But do we have any data on how Neptune and Uranus are affected by sect?

CB: No, I haven’t looked into that.

AC: Well, there is an astrologer that Chris and I knew who’s passed – Chris knew him better, but I carry a few gems from him around, named Alan White, who was part of the Project Hindsight project and he hypothesized – I don’t think he would double down on it, but he hypothesized that Uranus was sort of like, the Sun turned up to 11. You take the idea of individuality and you turn it up to 11. Thought there was a real resonance between Uranus and the Sun and Neptune and the Moon, and that that might provide a basis for an argument for Uranus being of the day sect and Neptune being of the night sect. And I think that I would wanna look at a hundred charts, but that works for me in terms of what I know about Uranus and the rest of the planets that belong to the day sect. It’s very difficult to argue that Neptune is a daytime, at work —

KS: Don’t do it.

AC: — on the clock energy. But it may also just not end up being useful to think of them in terms of sect, but I wanted to share that.

CB: Sure.

KS: Yeah. And there’s a little idea when I teach on temperament, we often get this question – what are the qualities, you know, of the modern planets? And they totally concur that Uranus is a planet that stimulates activity, which would give it the hot designation, which we’d associate more with the day, and Neptune is definitely more of a wet – the most – but certainly it’s cooling because if you’re not sure, think about what you do under a Neptune transit – you sleep more. You slow down. And that’s definitely gonna correlate with a nighttime experience.

AC: Or you drink more.

KS: You drink more, too. Which will also slow you down! But under a Uranus transit, you actually can’t sleep. You are hyper stimulated —

AC: You’re wired.

KS: — you want daytime all the time, so I would come at it from a slightly different angle but end up in the same place.

AC: That makes sense.


CB: Thanks.

AUDIENCE MEMBER: I have a question about research in astrology, but not historical research but statistical research. That means that when you take like, hundreds of thousands of charts, like, control groups, and you want to figure out, you know, how the sect works or how the zodiac works – which one works – do you think it will benefit the astrological community, this type of research?

CB: Sure. So that’s an issue I’ve been wanting to do an episode on, which is past scientific research into astrology and what happened with that, because there was a lot more impetus in the 1960s and ’70s and ’80s to do statistical studies into astrology to see if they could validate it and prove that it was real from a scientific standpoint, but – and there was a lot of excitement about the work of people like Michel Gauquelin and other astrologers or statisticians who were doing that work, but a lot of that kind of fizzled out after the 1980s because basically a lot of the testing or at least these attempts to validate astrology statistically weren’t working out very well. And the ones that did seem to work out or that seemed to show some potential statistical significance to astrology became highly contentious in the attempts to validate them, and there was one scientific group who tested some of Gauquelin’s findings and said that they were able to validate it, and then there was another group that retested and said, no, it’s not true, and it became this whole back and forth over that issue for a number of decades.

But after the 1980s, by the time of the 1990s, it seems like there was this crisis that occurred in the astrological community where some of the astrologers were trying to understand what this meant if they couldn’t validate astrology scientifically and if that meant it wasn’t real, if it wasn’t true, if it wasn’t valid. And different astrologers tried to come to – came up with different conclusions about that, so one of the things that came out of that was the work of Geoffrey Cornelius, who wrote the book The Moment of Astrology, where he argued astrology is divination and therefore as divination it cannot be tested scientifically because it doesn’t fit that framework or that model, but that that doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s not true. And so that has become a very influential book, and a number of astrologers have taken that line of philosophical argumentation in order to still say that astrology is real but it can’t be tested scientifically because it’s not amenable to the scientific method. So a lot of astrologers adopt that position now, and there’s other similar variants of that position, and a lot of the excitement surrounding scientific testing has sort of gone away.

However, there are some groups that are still interested in that, and I’ve seen some activity over the past few years where it seems like there is some growing interest again in returning to that question of, “Could you validate astrology through any sort of scientific method?” And yeah, I think that’s still gonna be an ongoing discussion that’s gonna come up again at some point. I don’t know that – you know, I interviewed Geoffrey Cornelius, and that was one of my favorite interviews on the podcast because I’d wanted to do it for so long. And I had a great discussion with him, but we are hoping to do a follow-up at some point to talk about some of the areas where people might disagree with his conclusions or where his argument – where you could take some issue with parts of the argument that he made. And there’s some people who still treat that as an open question about whether astrology is divination or whether there is any natural component to the subject which could be tested scientifically. So I don’t know, and I haven’t seen a lot of energy behind that yet, but who knows if it’ll pick up in the future.

AC: I just wanted to speak to that briefly.

CB: Sure.

AC: I think the body of astrology is composed of tissues of many different levels of density and subtlety, and I think some of those you can catch in a statistical net, but for some you need a – you know, for others you need an entirely different approach. I think there are some heavy pieces that you can probably catch with well-designed studies. And also like, what – I don’t know. I think you have to recognize what a complicated, strange thing astrology is. And there are virtues, I think, to the purely divination argument, but there’s no form of divination where all of the cards are cast for thousands of years ahead of time. You know, the planets are the stones or bones or cards that are thrown, and we know where they’re gonna be, right? We’re not using sortilege; there’s no randomizing factor. And so it’s not that there’s no part of it that partakes of divinatory dynamics, but we have to say this is a different kind of thing. And it’s a more complicated sort of thing, because, you know, is it physical? Well, the Sun is physical. Part of the reason we say that the Sun is hot and dry —

KS: Yeah.

AC: — is because the Sun is hot and dry.

KS: Makes things hot and dry, yeah.

AC: But we can’t stop there. Like, that’s obviously not the whole thing. So anyway, I think it’s a really interesting and complicated thing, and I’d love to see careful work done to see what pieces might show up in statistics.

CB: Right. I mean, that was always one of my issues with the scientific testing and that all of the astrologers in the 1980s decided that they couldn’t validate astrology scientifically – I had an issue with that because most astrology at that point was largely psychological, but they were sometimes trying to demonstrate it based on like, making concrete statements about people’s lives, but astrology at that point wasn’t really designed to do that. And with the revival of some of these older forms of astrology that have additional technical concepts like sect, the distinction between day and night charts, I wonder sometimes if you didn’t revisit some of those studies of astrologers who were more trained in doing more concrete, predictive type of astrology, if they wouldn’t be able to be slightly more successful. But that’s one of the issues in the astrological community is there’s such a lack of standardization that doing a scientific test really requires everybody to be able to be practicing at the same level, but astrologers are so individualistic and are always at such different levels that you never really find two astrologers that are practicing exactly the same way. So that creates a little bit of an issue, but I’m hoping that that’s something that might work out as the revival of all these different forms of astrology happens. As we create a new synthesis, maybe that can lead to a new sort of standard sort of baseline for astrology about some astrologers practicing it in a certain way and agreeing on a certain set of principles that they all use, and that’s kind of what you see with me and Austin and Kelly, and that’s why the forecast episodes work out so well because we all kind of have fundamentally the same basic technical approach on certain things. And while our interpretations differ in some areas, there’s a lot of commonality between the three of us.

KS: Yeah.

CB: Yeah. So, yeah, I think that’s about it. But I’ll have to save that for another episode that’s hopefully coming out later this year. I’m gonna talk to Kenneth Irving, who’s the author of The Tenacious Mars Effect, and documenting Michel Gauquelin’s work in general and especially the controversy surrounding the Mars effect, because that was the one piece of astrology that for a while seemed to have some scientific validation. But what was interesting about that story is even when the scientists replicated the study, and it turned out that they thought that they had accidentally proved that astrology was correct, they were so convinced that that wasn’t possible that they actually hid the results initially and kept it under wraps because they were like, “No, this can’t be possible, so we must have done something wrong to accidentally validate it.”

KS: Get a strong result.

CB: But it – well, and it turned out that they did. They had made a mistake and then supposedly the effect disappeared, and the study hadn’t actually proven astrology was true, but they had accidentally kind of shown their cards by demonstrating that if they ever did demonstrate it was true they might not actually admit it. So that’s hopefully something I’ll document on an episode I’m working on right now for later this year.


KS: Go for it —

CB: Go ahead.

KS: — yes, please ask your question.

AUDIENCE MEMBER: Okay, hello. Thank you all for all of the work you have been doing with the podcast. I’m a big listener, and I’m very happy to be here right now. So as a horary astrologer, I was really happy when you did this special episode with Lee Lehman.

CB: Yeah.

AUDIENCE MEMBER: However, we are here at the biggest astrology conference, and I didn’t see any lecture or workshop totally dedicated to horary astrology. So I’d like to see your thoughts on isn’t horary the ugly cousin of astrology? But what do you think about this? Because I feel disappointed, actually, that I couldn’t find any lecture or workshop on it here, and I felt like it should have.

CB: Yeah. I think that’s a little surprising and unique just because part of the issue is that in the 1980s and ’90s, horary was revived and exploded onto the scene in a really big way, and so there were actually a lot of lectures on horary, and there was like, an entire NCGR journal on it at one point and a lot of excitement. But what happened I think here was just unique in that some of the astrologers that specialize in horary or that’s their primary practice, they had already done so many talks or workshops on horary that they just didn’t this time. So Lee Lehman, for example, gave two talks at this conference, but they were just on different topics, or I think Ryhan Butler, if he’s in the room, he gave – he’s a primarily a horary astrologer and he gave a talk on something else —

KS: Herbs.

CB: — on, yeah —

KS: I think. Herbs and medical or health astrology, yeah.

AC: Eve Dembowski, as well.

CB: Yeah.

KS: Eve’s here, yeah.

CB: So —

KS: And – sorry.

CB: It may have just been a matter of coincidence, but actually that may be a good point that perhaps each of the branches of astrology should be recognized, and perhaps there should be an attempt to balance that out more in the conference program so that it’s not, you know, all slanted towards natal or towards mundane or electional or what have you, but that you at least have some of the other branches represented.

AC: You know, there are so many tracks; I just assumed that there was a horary track and I missed it.

KS: Well, there is a traditional track. And I think one of the other factors that comes into your point – because as you were saying that I was like, there isn’t actually a talk in the program on horary —

AC: Now that you mention it.

KS: — now that you mention it. But part – it’s a combination of things. Like, there is a traditional track, as Demetra said, there is no room in the traditional track in terms of seats in the lectures. But part of it, as you’re saying, Chris, the topics that get presented often there’s a few different ways that speakers are selected and their topics get chosen, and if you’re chosen as a speaker, you’re often asked to submit a handful of topics, and, you know, if none of the topics – if Wade or Rhyan or Lee submit – maybe they did submit horary talks and they weren’t chosen, or maybe they’re just talking about something different right now. So it is unfortunate that it worked out that way, and that it is kind of interesting that in all the lectures that are happening over six days —

CB: Sure.

KS: — there isn’t one, is there? No. There was one on planetary hours and one on electional, but no, you’re right. It’s like, associated, but not horary.

AC: That’s really interesting.

KS: Because it’s partly what topics the speakers include on their list.

AC: Yeah.

CB: Yeah. And one of the things I will say about that that actually is a good like, actionable point is that if there are things like that that you see again that you want done, the astrological organizations could really use help, and they’re actively looking for people from the newer generations of astrologers or people that are just interested in volunteering to join their boards or to volunteer and put in the work in order to help put on conferences like this to help, you know, pick the conference program, to pick the speakers and other things like that. And that’s something I hope, you know, everybody here once you attend this conference and once you get home if you have a good experience and you wanna see something like this happen again in the future, then one of the best things you can do to ensure that that happens is join the astrological organizations and become involved, because they actually not just need help, but they need an infusion of new energy in order to keep pushing forward and ensuring things like this happen in the future. And without that, they, you know, will probably not do very well or we have another conference of this nature just because there will be nobody there to run it because it takes a tremendous amount of energy.

KS: Yeah.

AC: So on that –

AUDIENCE MEMBER: There’s one, it says here, “From Horary to Natal and Back Again.”

AC: Okay. So I have a point I want to piggyback on that in terms of if you see an absence of the type of lectures you would like to go see, you know, say something. You’ll probably get like, a “How was your UAC experience?” form, but actually fill it out.

KS: Yeah. And there is actually on the app – there is an opportunity to provide feedback; I noticed that yesterday. So if you’re on your device, you can actually go in there right after this and say, “Where are the horary lectures?

AC: And then one more —

KS: And they’ll pay attention; I know that they do read all of it.

AC: Yep. I was just gonna say, so I was having a conversation last night with somebody about astrological magic. I was like, oh, it seems like people are kind of into it now, and we were just talking about that. And he’s like, so what would the bar for successful reintegration of astrological magic into the astrology scene look like? He’s like, would it be maybe an astrological magic track at the next UAC? And I was like, yeah —

KS: Yeah.

AC: — that’s the perfect. So you know, if you wanna write that on your form.

KS: Yeah.

CB: Sure.

KS: So this is actually, I think, speaking to the point that we mentioned earlier about the traditional revival landing. Now it seems like we need more than just one traditional track at a big conference like this. We actually need tracks for specialized branches within the traditional field. Like, there could be a track that was horary and electional, which do have some sister technique.  There could be the magic track, like Harry Potter kind of track maybe.

CB: Right. Yeah. And this was the first time that there was a traditional track, so —

KS: Did you guys hear that?

CB: Yeah. So this was the first time there was a traditional track, so it’s gonna to be based – yeah, last time it was folded, it was the history/traditional track, so —

KS: That’s right! Yes. It wasn’t actually separate, yeah.

CB: Sure. Yeah. So yeah, thanks for that question, though. I think we’re running out of time. So there’s a couple more over here.

AC: Yeah. They’ve had their hands up —

CB: They’ve had their hands up since the beginning, so I just wanna make sure.

AUDIENCE MEMBER: Thank you. I first just wanna say I think it’s important to recognize the importance of this podcast in terms of the traditional revival.

KS: That’s for you, Chris.

AUDIENCE MEMBER: I anticipated that reaction. One of the things I’ve noticed at UAC over the past few days is the incredible amount of, like you were saying, the incredible amount of diversity of techniques, but also the incredible amount of sharing of people from different schools of thought. And I really, I’m impressed with just how much cross-pollination happens, all kinds of cross-pollination, in fact. I swear I have not seen this many ridiculously attractive people in one place in my life. In this room, in this conference, just basically almost everyone I meet is ridiculously attractive. So my question – and I’m serious about this —

KS: I’m very intrigued by what the question —

AUDIENCE MEMBER: — why are astrologers at a certain level all this attractive?

KS: Hashtag Hot Young Astro. I don’t know.

AUDIENCE MEMBER: Hashtag Hot Young Astro, people are saying. Astrological magic, okay.

KS: I don’t even know —

CB: I think —

KS: — how do we answer this —

CB: — just to the left.

KS: Why are all astrologers at a certain level so attractive?

AC: So why does astrology make you hot?


AC: I don’t, maybe some of those planetary effulgences act like a sort of exfoliating lotion as they come down? I don’t know!

AUDIENCE MEMBER: It’s stardust!

KS: Yeah. I’m not sure there really is an answer, but that’s a lovely observation.

AC: Is that not a good note to end on?

CB: Well, that was a good – just two more. So this one —

AC: Okay.

CB: — and this one, and then we’ll end.

AUDIENCE MEMBER: So how did you all know and identify the kind of astrology you wanted to specialize in? Was it a gut feeling or like, a logical resonance with that field, or were you filling a void? So how did you really determine that?

CB: Sure.

AC: I just follow my obsession. Whatever is interesting to me, that’s what I do. And I will do that as long as I’m interested in it, and the things that I’m good at are just things that were that interesting to me.

KS: Yeah. It’s a really good question, because people often think that we have like, a plan – I know Chris has a lot of plans for a lot of things —

AC: Yeah, Chris probably had a plan.

KS: — but for most people, it is literally, “I’m interested in this, this has captured my curiosity, I want more of that.” And it is just a matter of following the breadcrumbs, basically. So I discovered horary astrology in a lecture that John Frawley gave at a conference 15 years ago, and I thought, that’s interesting! And at the conference I was at Lee Lehman was speaking and Demetra George was speaking, was the first time I heard someone talk about the ship and the helmsman; that was obviously Demetra George. And I liked it; it resonated, so I just went for more – I was like, where can I get more of this? And that just fed into —

AC: Yeah.

KS: — this.

AC: “This is delicious – more, please.”

KS: Yeah, exactly! I’d like another serving. So it’s just following the breadcrumbs. Yeah.

AUDIENCE MEMBER: [Unintelligible] In addition to the question, because I just was thinking the same thing – what if you are interested in several things, and you like to collect information, you know, different? This is my story. So as we all know, it takes time to master a certain area of astrology. So how do we decide?

CB: Sure.

KS: What are you most obsessed about?

CB: So I would just say really quickly, partially to answer that —

KS: Yeah.

CB: — and then secondarily this one was even though I do often have a plan, I had a plan. Going to Kepler College, my plan was to study psychological astrology —

KS: That’s right.

CB: — and I’ve told this story a million times, probably, on the podcast, so I won’t recount the entire thing, but just the concise version is I went there to study psychological astrology, I got to the second year, and they said, you have to take this class on ancient Hellenistic and Vedic astrology with Demetra George and Dennis Harness first. And I tried to protest and we got together a class protest, and we were gonna – yeah.

KS: So this organizing goes a ways back —

CB: Yeah.

KS: — for you. Yeah. But you didn’t, you were not successful, were you?

CB: No, because I assumed there was nothing to it, and there was no point to study older forms of astrology because I just assumed they were outdated and no longer relevant, and then you know, thankfully, they told us just to suck it up and take the class. And I did, thankfully, and then suddenly I found after a few weeks that I had found something that was actually genuinely very interested that I didn’t expect or anticipate. So that’s actually part of the answer, and that’s, again, just circling back to why conferences like this are important is I was really encourage you not just to go to the classes and the lectures that fit what you like or what you want to know more about, but sometimes try to force yourself to go to a class on something that you’ve never studied before or you have no background on, or even that you think that you don’t like or wouldn’t be attracted to or interested in intellectually, because sometimes if you do that, while you may find many instances where it just confirms your expectation, there maybe those off chances where it doesn’t. And suddenly you discover something really important that you otherwise would have missed if you hadn’t forced yourself to have that experience. So that’s the best piece of advice that I could give everyone, especially here at this conference, because you have a genuine opportunity to do that this week in a way that you otherwise wouldn’t.

CB: But then secondarily, the other part of the question was just how do you – once you’re had that exposure and you know all the different approaches, how do you choose the one that you wanna focus on and stick with? And I think that’s where both of your answers come into play, which is once you’ve ensured that you’ve exposed yourself to all the different traditions sufficiently, that’s the point at which you have to at some point just decide which one speaks to you the most. And part of the answer may be that there isn’t any one tradition that you want to just do but instead you want to take a few different pieces from many of them to create your own system. And honestly, I think that’s what astrologers have been doing for most of the past 2,000 years when you go back and read books like, by Valens or by Bonatti or by Alan Leo or anybody else, you realize that they’re drawing on a wide variety of different sources, and the end result of their work is a unique synthesis that they created by taking the pieces that spoke to them and then putting them together into something new. So each of us goes through that process, so that’s probably the best answer I could give to that question.

KS: The only thing —

AC: Yeah, I think that’s really good.

KS: — yeah. The only little bit I would add is that do choose something. Don’t try to do everything at once. When you are interested in five different types of astrology, you’ve gotta learn to maybe, you know, walk a little before you try and run; that’s the piece of advice I give to students all the time. Just take your time to really integrate or reflect on or play around with this particular portion that you’re really interested in. Almost say, “I’m gonna do this for six months,” or “This year, my focus in astrology is this topic.” Take in whatever you can, and then go on to something different. You will confuse yourself and make it a little bit harder if you try to take in a lot from four or five different disciplines at once.

AC: So that reminds me of a piece of advice my mom gave me when I was 11 and I still remember. I have a Gemini Moon; it rules my rising —

KS: Random memory.

AC: — I have lots of different interests, and she said, you know, Austin, you have time to do everything you want, but you have to do one thing at a time. You can do it all, but you don’t get to do it all at once.

KS: Yeah.

AC: She’s like, you know, you’re gonna be alive for a long time. You know, be patient, pace yourself, and you know, eat one meal at a time —

KS: At a time. Yeah.

CB: Thanks. All right, there’s one more question that we skipped in the far back, and then yeah.

KS: We will have to cut off at some point.

CB: Yeah —

AC: Yeah.

CB: Okay.

KS: Okay. So is this gonna be the last question?

CB: Yeah.

KS: Okay. We will be outside after, but we will have to stop the official part after your question.

AUDIENCE MEMBER: Thank you for your dedication to the astrology renaissance. In attempts to reach out to the religious community, I’m looking at the life and the chart of Reverend Billy Graham. And right now his progressed Moon is at zero Virgo, and I just wanna know what you would think about as a astrological community kind of getting behind and I don’t wanna say defend but almost defend him as a person, who he was, what kind of statement that would make. Do you understand that question?

CB: Okay. I mean, I haven’t really looked at the chart of Billy Graham and I don’t know a lot about his background. I mean, I know he, you know, was a consultant for a number of presidents, but otherwise I’m not that familiar with him as a theologian or anything like that, so I don’t know if I can —

AUDIENCE MEMBER: He was an Evangelical preacher.

CB: Sure.

AUDIENCE MEMBER: He attracted millions; he went to —

KS: He spoke for Queen Elizabeth, didn’t he? Yeah. It’s in The Crown; I’m not that well-read.


KS: Sounds really intelligent; it’s just Netflix.

AUDIENCE MEMBER: He was a Scorpio, born November 8th, 1918, and he died six days after the eclipse on February 15th, he died February 21st, and he attracted millions. He was a rockstar, a spiritual rock star, and he would go, he went to Korea and spoke to 3.2 million people over a course of like, three days. And he’s just an extreme amount of power behind him, and he just recently passed, and I feel like, as a community, we can make, like I said, almost just state who he was and what kind of power he had to make a difference to reach out to the religious community to maybe awaken people.

KS: Yeah. It sounds like he would be a really interesting chart case study, but I don’t think any of us have —

CB: I would just say that I do think a point we could make is just I think it is – there’s an onus on each of us as astrologers to, even though it feels good to stay within our own communities like we do here at conferences and this is really important, to reach out to other communities and try to interact with whether it’s religious communities, whether it’s the scientific community, whether it’s, you know, other communities. There’s many different communities where, if astrology is gonna move forward in society and we’re gonna have any sort of greater acceptance over the course of the 21st century, it’s only gonna happen partially by going out there and sort of demonstrating by having those interactions that astrologers are not just crazy people. That we’re actually normal people that are interested in this incredibly weird thing but that otherwise, you know, there’s good people, that we’re not just ripping people off, but instead we’re using something or have discovered some incredibly weird property of the universe, and there’s something about that that’s worth sharing with the rest of the world. And if we do that I think enough, then it will help in terms of not just raising the bar of astrology or the status of astrology in the world and in the community, but perhaps in just making the astrological community not just such a small segment of the world in general in the future.

AC: I think that’s true and I think the way to do that is not – I guess I didn’t like the term “outreach” there. You’re already part of other communities, right? You already live somewhere. You probably have other interests. You probably work with people. Like, you’re already a part of those communities, and just admitting that you’re an astrologer in there, that’s outreach, but that’s just being who you are, right? Like, you know, I was talking earlier about, yeah, like, wizard stuff. And so, you know, being an astrologer in the wizard stuff community even if people aren’t excited or interested in that. Like, simply being present as what you are in the communities you are already part of has, I think, a very powerful, organic effect. So you’re not like, some alien, you know, coming —

KS: A hundred percent.

AC: — from somewhere else.

KS: Yeah. It’s almost like that piece around just claiming your title as an astrologer. And it’s one of those things that when people are, you know, transitioning into practice as an astrologer, when students say, like, you know, I’m stuck, I don’t know if I can do it, and you know, I remember the internal experience of that myself, which was the process by which I consciously became comfortable to claim that title as my own. And I think what you’re speaking to there, Austin, is the idea that if you can simply claim and express yourself as an astrologer in communities that aren’t astrological, that promotes and sort of shares with the world that astrology is, you know, created and shared by normal people, not like, Madam Zelda with her crystal ball, you know.

AC: It normalizes it.

KS: It normalizes it!

AC: Because it is normal.

KS: And then you become an advocate for astrology, because we are all advocates for – as soon as you say that’s what you do, you are advocating for astrology in society as a whole. And I think the more we all do that, the better for astrology and the better for future of astrology and future astrologers. So that’s one thing I hope that you would all feel a little more comfortable doing after this conference, basically. You know, yeah.

CB: So, and that brings up the very last point, which was Kelly, you said that you thought, you know, that the three of us are good examples that you can make it successfully as an astrologer, that you can in modern times —

KS: Money?

CB: — no, not just money, but just —

KS: Okay.

CB: — but you can —

AC: Money?

CB: Just that you can survive being a professional astrologer, and —

KS: It is. You can manage, or you can be comfortable, you can – it’s sustainable. That was the word I had, that it is a sustainable choice and that, you know, whether you do astrology full time or part time, it is a viable option. Just like if you are an acupuncturist or you are a massage therapist or you are a psychotherapist; those disciplines operate business models that are very similar to what we operate as astrologers. And if those people can have viable, professional options, then we can too. So like, we are working with a very magical tool that is kind of weird and a bit misunderstood, but it is still a viable option. It’s still a tool. Some people think acupuncture’s weird, and some people think massage therapy is weird, but it is still an allowable thing. So if we can kind of maybe take down that notch of – like, it is special and magical, but it is not – like, to me, and maybe I’ve been doing it for a while, it’s not that weird or unusual. Like, it is different, but it’s not impossible.

AC: Well, maybe reality is —

KS: Yeah.

AC: — strange and magical.

KS: That’s true, yeah. Maybe it’s not us that is, you know, yeah.

CB: Yeah. And if there’s anything that the three of us can do or that we can do as a community to help any of you to, you know, become more comfortable or to make that transition into being an astrologer and joining us and becoming more of a part of this community as a practicing astrologer or just as a lifelong enthusiast, then let us know. Because that’s part of what all of this is about is, you know, we’re so interested in this subject and so passionate about it, we wanna share that with other people and we wanna help people be successful doing that, whatever that means to you in your personal life.

KS: Yeah.

CB: So as part of that, thank you all for joining us tonight, because I think this was really great, and it was really heartening to see all of you in person, because we usually record these episodes ourselves, like on Skype —

KS: Yeah.

CB: — and put it out there. And like I always say, we never really know who’s listening or what kind of impact it’s having, but to actually meet a bunch of you in person tonight really means a lot. So thanks for coming.

AC: Yeah.

KS: Thank you guys.

AC: Thank you.


KS: Oh my god. Oh, this is gonna make me cry.