The Astrology Podcast
Transcript of Episode 181, titled:
With Chris Brennan and Dr. Jeffrey Kotyk
Episode originally released on November 19, 2018
Note: This is a transcript of an audio podcast. We strongly encourage you to listen to the audio version, which includes inflections that may not translate well when written out. Transcripts are created by using a combination of speech recognition software and human transcribers, and the text probably contains some errors and differences from the audio version. Please submit any corrections to Chris Brennan by email at email@example.com.
Transcribed by Mary Sharon
Transcription released June 16, 2021
Copyright © 2021 TheAstrologyPodcast.com
Chris Brennan: Hi, my name is Chris Brennan, and you’re listening to The Astrology Podcast. In this episode, I’m going to be talking with Jeffrey Kotyk about the interactions between ancient Western astrology and ancient Chinese astrology, and specifically the transmission of Hellenistic astrology to China and to Japan, which is a research subject that Jeffrey has focused on over the course of the past decade. So hey Jeffrey, welcome to the show.
Jeffrey Kotyk: Thanks so much for having me, it’s a pleasure to be here.
CB: Yeah, I’m really excited about this. This is one of my first in-person interviews, so thanks for doing that. You’re actually in town right now for a conference, right?
JK: Yeah, big academic conference, and so the time was just really auspicious to do this.
CB: Perfect. All right. So let’s talk first, where should we start? I mean, my starting point I think, for me, would want to be your PhD dissertation which you just finished a few years ago. And what was the title of that?
JK: Buddhist Astrology and Astral Magic in the Tang Dynasty. So the Tang dynasty being one of these Chinese dynasties that ran from the seventh century to the late ninth century.
CB: Okay, seventh century late ninth century, so that’s roughly like the early medieval period in the West?
JK: It is also the period of the early period of Islam and also the period when the early Arab astrologers were operating.
CB: Right, in Baghdad surrounding like the House of Wisdom and other things like that?
JK: Right, the Abbasid Caliphate. So it’s the same period as Al-Tabari and Abu Ma’shar and so forth.
CB: Okay. And one interesting point, how many… What languages do you know?
JK: Well, my main language is Classical Chinese, but I also speak Modern Mandarin, and also read and speak Japanese. And I also have elementary knowledge of Sanskrit.
CB: Okay, so and then plus English, which is your native tongue?
JK: Right, Canadian English.
JK: For lack… For better or worse.
CB: Where are you originally from?
JK: I’m originally from a city called Winnipeg, which is north of North Dakota.
CB: And where did you get your PhD? Or where did you go to school actually? What was the like sequence?
JK: Well, first I did my bachelor’s degree at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, which is not so far away from Calgary. And then I studied Japanese and Chinese, and I also spent one year of my undergraduate in Japan studying Japanese. And then for my master’s degree, I went to Tokyo, I went to a university called Komazawa. And I did a general Buddhist studies master’s degree. And then between that time and my PhD, I spent about three and a half years just working as a freelance translator, but I was wandering around Asia. And during that time, I was ordained as a monk for two years in India, also spent some time in Taiwan. And then I did the PhD at Leiden University in the Netherlands. And then after the PhD, which I finished last year, I went to Germany where I did a six-month postdoc project looking at the Sinicization, that is to say the localization of horoscopy in China between the ninth to the 16th centuries.
CB: Okay, and when did astrology start to become your main subject of focus or when did you decide to make that the focus of your academic studies?
JK: Yeah, I mean, I’ve always had an interest sort of passive amateur interest in astrology and the skies. I mean, when I was little boy I would kind of do stargazing. But as an academic interest, I would say about 2011 2012, I started taking a serious look at horoscopy and trying to figure out what this meant historically. Not in modern terms, what it meant in ancient and medieval environments. And so then I found some Buddhist scriptures which had references to the zodiac signs, and I thought this was rather unusual because the zodiac signs come from Mesopotamia and Buddhism comes from India. So that basically led me to research the practice of astrology in East Asia, which is my area of expertise. And what I found was that there was actually a lot of Buddhists who were very much interested in astrology, specifically horoscopy from the eighth to ninth centuries onward, and just hadn’t really been researched before. So it was a very fertile area of research to pursue.
CB: And nobody had really done much work on that before, right?
JK: Not as comprehensive as I had hoped. So we have some scholars like David Pingree, who’s very famous, you know. He was one of these polyglots who read, you know, Sanskrit and Latin and Greek and Arabic, but he didn’t know Chinese. And we also have the work of Yano Michio, who had looked at the sort of study of East Asian astrology, but he’s a historian of science and a Sanskrit-ist. So his work is very, very useful, and it’s basically a foundation from which I’ve built up my own research.
CB: So, how are you defining… Maybe really quickly just to interject, how are you defining horoscopy?
JK: So horoscopy being the production of horoscopic charts that indicate the position of the planets at a given hour.
CB: So charts basically like Western astrological charts that have the Ascendant and then the 12 houses and other things associated with that?
JK: Precisely, and as we’ll discuss later on there was a nakshatra that is just a lunar mansion astrology also practiced, but that’s strictly speaking not horoscopy. That’s a different form of Indian astrology.
CB: Sure. And so that’s distinct from so then you’re defining like horoscopy especially in East Asia like in China and Japan as being distinct from other, let’s say, more indigenous forms of astrology that have a different sort of technical focus?
JK: Right. Well, I should clarify that there was such a thing as native Chinese astrology, and when we call it astrology though, we don’t want to conflate it with horoscopy. So native Chinese astrology has a very, very long lineage, and it’s not astrology as we understand it, it’s more celestial omenology. So the Chinese since very ancient times, were talking until before Common Era, before Christ, those centuries, they developed a form of this omenology where they would look at the sky and they divided the sections of the sky into different regions of China, so above so below, that principle was also there.
CB: In China, they actually had that as like an operating principle for their astrology.
JK: They did, yeah. And so if you had any sort of celestial phenomena perceived of as anomalous such as comets and so on, they would look to which geographical area of China that corresponded to relative to the sky.
CB: Okay, so a region of the sky would correspond directly to a region of Earth?
JK: Right, only China though. Yeah, so it was… We call Sinocentric, so centered on China. And so this was the native form of court astrology. But it’s not relevant to individuals because it only discusses the fate of the nation and the territories within it, and it mostly Emperor’s well being, but for common people–
CB: So it’s like Mundane astrology, basically?
JK: Right, it’s Mundane astrology. And this was very well developed and canonized especially around the Common Era. So the same time as the Roman Empire was flourishing, in China, there was the Han dynasty. And during the Han dynasty, they also developed a lot of their calendrical science and astronomy. And so this was also the time that they really canonized their astrological lore.
CB: Right, that’s… I heard a reference, I don’t know if I read it in Pingree or somewhere else, but that was always fascinating to me, the idea that indigenous form of Chinese astrology was standardized early, became synthesized in the Han dynasty somewhere around the same timeframe that Hellenistic astrology was being synthesized circa like the first or second century BCE. Is that roughly the right timeframe?
JK: Yeah, from about the second century BCE until the second century Common Era, so it’s about the same time that Hellenistic horoscopy is coming into development.
CB: Right. Yeah, that’s really fascinating, like parallel development in different parts of the world of just different independent astrological systems being formulated.
JK: Right, and the Chinese system… You have to understand that the Chinese system is completely independent of Mesopotamian influences. And at this time, it’s also completely independent of Indian influences. So the Chinese also developed a system of lunar stations. And so the Moon will go around the ecliptic in approximately twenty seven point some days. So you can divide that into 20 lunar mansions or lunar stations. And the Indians also did this as well, and the Indians call it nakshatras. But the Chinese lunar mansions and the Indian lunar stations or lunar mansions are completely different in their definitions. So that’s why when the Chinese started receiving Indian astrology, which starts in about the fourth century, what they basically did was they just use their lunar stations as functional equivalents for the Indian lunar stations, even though in terms of proportion and also dimensions, they’re entirely different systems altogether.
CB: And the Indian system, the nakshatras each is like tied in with a specific fixed star,is that also true in the Chinese system?
JK: Right, the Chinese system is entirely sidereal. Right, and so that’s how they divide the ecliptic, according to fixed stars.
CB: So each of the mansions is associated with a specific fixed star and that’s sort of partially how you identify it?
JK: Right, and it’s also how you position everything on the ecliptic. So the Chinese manuals of astrology will define or position a planet based on its location within a given lunar station. Right.
CB: Okay. So we have this type of astrology that’s being developed between the second century BCE and the second century CE in the Han dynasty, and this is like the indigenous astrology of India. You’re saying that it’s entirely, because I thought there was maybe some like Pingree or somebody said there may have been some transmission of Mesopotamian astrology in China at some point.
JK: That was Pingree’s idea, but then there’s also been some scholars who have suggested that because the Chinese had 28 lunar mansions and the Indians also had 28 lunar mansions, that they had to have come from the same source, an identical source. But David Pankenier recently refuted this because he points out that there’s absolutely no evidence that there was knowledge of lunar mansions transmitted from India to China or China to India. And you also don’t have the lunar mansions in Mesopotamian astronomy. They knew what the orbital period of the moon was, but they didn’t actually divide into lunar mansions in Mesopotamia. But also the Indian literature, I mean, it appears as early as in its complete form, I think in the [unintelligible 10:29] so 500 BCE to 1000 BCE. And the Chinese it also appears in its complete form around the fifth century, fourth century BCE as well.
CB: Okay. So they seem to have developed… They perhaps are developing independence lunar mansion systems associated with specific fixed stars. And those are really like the the indigenous forms of astrology in both of those regions.
JK: Right, but they’re completely independent of one another because you have the I mean, the Himalayan ranges. And at that point too there was no communication between the Indian subcontinent and China. There’s some people who speculate that there was, but there’s actually no evidence of this.
CB: Okay, so what you’re saying because the Himalayas are just such a natural boundary blocking off trade or access between the two–
JK: And it was really only in this Han dynasty starting in around like the first century Common Era that there was even the first contacts between Chinese civilization and India. And those contacts were through merchants, it wasn’t intellectual contacts, so. The other thing too is that they already had an established form of astronomy in China. So even when they were exposed to Indian systems, they had really no need to adopt those systems.
CB: Okay. And one of the things just to go back a minute, so you said that they did have a sort of principle of like as above, so below, which we see sort of like vaguely canonized in the Western tradition and some of the Hermetic material, but there’s not a lot of discussion about I think you said to me once last night, that there’s not a lot of discussion about the philosophical like premise of astrology necessarily.
JK: Yeah, that’s an interesting thing about China from antiquity until basically the modern period, that there was never a discussion of the underlying metaphysical principles that would explain astrology.
CB: Right, so they’re just like sort of taking it for granted or maybe there is some idea there of a correlation between such movements and earthly events, but it’s just not… They’re focused on the technical, like how do you do this rather than talking about why it works or how it works?
JK: Right, there’s no literature that goes into the same detail as you would find in the Islamic or in the European tradition trying to justify the sort of premises of astrology in China. The other thing is that other forms of divination like the I Ching, which in English is sometimes known as I Ching. That’s another very popular form of ancient Chinese divination that’s still practiced today. But how is it supposed to work? It’s not really explained. And there wasn’t ever really a need to discuss the validity of divination, people just took it for granted throughout the centuries.
CB: Right, that makes sense. So maybe when you understand that astrology originally emerged almost within the context of other forms of divination, that the practices are sort of being taken for granted and maybe that’s part of the reason why you don’t have them trying to justify or explain one specific form of divination or another.
JK: Yeah, precisely.
CB: Okay. Well, that’s interesting. And we have similar issues in the Western tradition. I mean, most of what survives from the Hellenistic material is just practical textbooks on how to do it and they don’t really spend a lot of time talking about the theory of how it’s supposed to work and there’s some ambiguity about how different authors thought.
JK: Right, I think it’s really in the Western tradition, the criticism or the skepticism is really only evident from Claudius Ptolemy, because he was trying to justify astrology in physicalist terms. You know, describing the influence of the planets in physical terms, whereas everyone else described it in sort of, I guess, almost religious terms, that, you know, fate is signaled by the stars. It’s not some sort of physical cause that’s affecting the planet.
CB: Right, it was more of like a correlation or an omen like you said earlier rather than necessarily a specific doctrine of celestial influence, per se. And it’s interesting then that we see something similar in the Chinese tradition. If they’re treating it as divination, then it would be working as more of like an omen or a symbol rather than necessarily a cause perhaps. Although, it’s hard to say since there’s such little discussion. Yeah. All right. So we have that indigenous form of astrology in China and so that’s unique. It’s not like… They’re not practicing… It’s a type of Mundane astrology. It’s not directed towards the individual, the closest you get to that is maybe–
JK: The Emperor.
CB: The Emperor, who is like the earthly representative of–
JK: The Chinese state.
CB: Sure, the state as a whole. But then… And so it’s important to contrast that with what happened then several centuries later. And so the other… What happened eventually is there was some sort of transmission of the type of Natal astrology that was practiced in the West and the Hellenistic tradition, the Greco-Roman tradition at some point was transmitted to China. And that’s been a large part of the focus of your work?
JK: Right, right. But we also have to go back to a bit of the earlier history, which I briefly mentioned. So Buddhist scriptures, so these were Buddhist texts that often gave teachings of the Buddha, who you know, was the enlightened one who lived in India in the fifth century BCE.
CB: Fifth century BCE, okay.
JK: Yeah, Shakyamuni Buddha. But some of these scriptures also, for various reasons include astrological lore sort of incorporated into them. Most of these scriptures don’t have anything to do with astrology as their main topic, but just in passing they do have astrological lore. But the first text to have been translated into Chinese was sometime between 307 and 313. And this text included some astrological elements. It’s called the [unintelligible 15:55] And so it’s a Buddhist scripture, it was produced in India. And what it is is it’s effectively a Buddhist story, and then there’s a divination manual appended on to it. And it also includes information on the 28 lunar stations, the nakshatras. And it includes the very basic Natal predictions, that if you were born under a certain nakshatra, which is to say that if the Moon is lodged in one of those lunar stations, then you will have this kind of personality.
CB: And this is circa third century CE?
JK: Yeah. So the Indian text was probably produced around the third century and it was translated into Chinese for the first time in the fourth century, early fourth century. And then other literature as well, there are some other texts such as the [unintelligible 16:38] and so forth. These are Sanskrit texts that are translated into Chinese that have astrological lore. But this is not horoscopy, it’s the lunar mansions, nakshatra astrology.
CB: Does that mean though that the Indians were using the nakshatras in the context of what might be broadly described as Natal astrology at this point though if they’re applying it to the birth of individuals?
JK: Right, it’s Natal and Electional astrology. So, some nakshatras are more favorable than others. So it becomes a form of hemerology, so a way of selecting auspicious days as well. So and then there’s other elements too in the early Buddhist calendrical system that are hemerological in nature. For example, there is the system of pakṣas and tithis. And so a pakṣa is 15 days, and it’s either the waxing or the waning cycle. So there’s the waxing cycle and then the waning cycle of the Moon. And those are each divided into two 15-day segments. And each of those days, a lunar day actually is called a tithi. And some of them are more preferable than others for engaging in certain activities. And so the Full Moon and the New Moon in the Buddhist calendar are the most auspicious days of the month to carry out anything of a religious nature. So especially when the Buddhist community the Sangha is assembling to carry out a business meeting, they’re supposed to do it on these auspicious days. Which goes to show you though that the Buddhists in India believed passively in astrology in the premise of astrological determinism, that some days are just inherently more auspicious than others because of the configuration of the Moon to the stars.
CB: Right. And this is actually something that’s almost quasi controversial or a point that you had to press recently in a paper, I think you said.
JK: Right, I’m going to be publishing a paper on this in Buddhist studies journal. The title is just astrological determinism and Indian Buddhism. And my point is just to convey that although you have this principle of karma, which is widely accepted by Buddhists, at the same time, they do have the premise or the idea of astrological determinism and there was passive belief in it throughout 1,000 years of Indian Buddhist history.
CB: Sure. I mean, it’s… Well, it’s like in the Indian tradition because it’s become so ingrained in Hinduism over the past 2,000 years. It’s almost like taken for granted that astrology is somehow related to or interacts with karma in some way. But it sounds like in modern times, maybe people are used to dealing with those things separately in the context of Buddhism. And so the controversy surrounding what you’re saying is that maybe there was more of an interaction in earlier traditions.
JK: Right. Well, what it is is that Western scholars of Buddhism tend to focus on the things that they are personally interested in, which tends to be in the last century or so. What has generally been is meditation and philosophy that can be conceived of as more or less rational. So something like astrology is almost taboo, but [unintelligible 19:31] no interest in it. And so if you read an introduction to Buddhism, written even by you know, a very reputable academic, they won’t mention anything to do with astrology. And when there is references to astrology, it’s just it’s very quick and it’s just like well, some Buddhists believed in it and then on to the next topic.
CB: Sure, because it’s viewed as not a rational part of Buddhist theology?
JK: Right and it’s also not considered an inherently important critical part of the Buddhist project which is supposed to be liberation from cyclic existence samsara, this idea of reincarnation and suffering. But if you look at a lot of the Buddhist literature, especially the Vinaya. And the Vinaya is the monastic codes. And so these are the rules that govern the organization and hierarchy of the Buddhist community amongst the nuns. There’s a lot of references to astrology in this literature because you schedule the meetings according to this astrological schedule of the lunar orbit, as well as the waxing and the waning. But modern scholars of Buddhism have just tended to neglect this actually, whereas the scholars of Hinduism have not. So one of the best scholars to date of Jyotish and Indian astrology is Martin Gansten. So his work is sort of… I mean, it specializes in highlighting the very important part that astrology played in the development of Hindu traditions in antiquity, but we don’t really have that so much in Buddhist studies.
CB: Yeah, I love Martin’s work. Also, we were talking about his work last night because he’s got both training in Greek and classical sort of Western languages and he studied the Hellenistic tradition, so he’s very conversant in it. But he also has great training in Sanskrit and in the Indian traditions at the same time.
JK: Right, he’s quite literate in all these languages. He also reads Arabic.
CB: Right, which is just really impressive. I mean, the only other guy I know like that that’s operating right now is Ben Dykes, who as you said last night and as I frequent refrain, is that he’s kind of like a machine who was sent from the future in order to like translate all the existing medieval astrological texts. And he’s quickly making his way through the majority of them.
JK: Right, I’ve made great use of his translations. And I really like his new translation of Dorotheus of Sidon.
CB: Right, and that’s going to become central as the work that you primarily suspect is the transmission route of Western astrology to China at one point. So we’ll get there pretty soon. So before we get there, so where we got to at this point is that we start seeing Indian astrology or portions of the indigenous Indian astrology showing up in Buddhist texts by like the third century or fourth century BCE.
JK: Right, and then it starts accelerating by the sixth century. And then sometime around the year 600, there was another massive manual of Indian astrology translated into Chinese but this wasn’t done through Buddhism. It was a officially sanctioned state translation of a text called the Garga Jyotish, which is actually extinct in Sanskrit, but there’s not a critical edition of it. So I’ve never actually been able to consult the Sanskrit edition of it.
CB: Is that the same text that Pingree calls like the Garga Samhita?
JK: I think it’s related to that one, but the Garga Jyotish, I think is it’s a separate text. But in any case, the Garga Jyotish, it appears was translated into Chinese in 30 scrolls like, the word is scrolls, which you can think of as a chapter. So it’s actually a fairly sizable text. Unfortunately, we don’t have it anymore, so we can’t consult it. But that does show you that the Chinese court around the year 600 was interested in Indian astrology.
CB: And is it being used for official purposes? Like in Mesopotamia like the high point of Mesopotamian astrology was in like the seventh or eighth century BCE under the Assyrians, where astrology is like a state-supported thing, and you have at least 10 different Pingree called them colleges of astrologers who are sending in reports directly to the king. Is it that well integrated with the state in the Chinese tradition?
JK: Well, at this point, foreign Indian astrology, it doesn’t seem that the court was practicing it. But there were ethnically Indian men working for the court. So they probably conceivably provided a second opinion to the emperor. And what’s really interesting is that if we move ahead a century, there was a text called the Navagraha-karaṇa translated in 718 by a Indian astronomer named Gautama Siddhartha, which is interestingly also the name of Shakyamuni Buddha, but this is a different man. And there were other families of Indian astronomers working for the court. And the Navagraha-karaṇa is not an astrology manual, it’s a manual of scientific Indian astronomy, mathematical astronomy. And the Chinese court at the time was very much interested in foreign science. And at the same time, they were probably also interested in foreign astrology.
CB: Circa 700 or so?
JK: It’s around 718. Yeah, so this is when this Navagraha-karaṇa is produced. So it also gives you the formulas for calculating eclipses as well as the rising and setting times throughout the year based on latitude. But then there’s a big problem that we run into here is that China was using flat earth cosmology, but this manual of mathematical astronomy assumes a spherical earth. It’s geocentric, but it still assumes a spherical earth. But the Chinese at the time didn’t actually have a cosmology that embraced this sort of round earth cosmology, it was different. So their manual of mathematical astronomy is extinct, we still have it, and I’ve looked at it, but the Chinese at the time didn’t really make use of it. Which is some scholars have pointed out this is really unfortunate, because you had very scientific astronomy, but the Chinese didn’t make use of it. They didn’t necessarily reject it, they just didn’t understand it because there’s a lot of mathematical concepts like sine function and trigonometry and so on, which was alien to alien to them at the time. But what it does go to show you though is that the court was interested in foreign science.
CB: Right, and this is in addition to… And so to backup to my earlier question, because in the earlier areas like in the Han dynasty, astrology was officially sanctioned and was being used by the rulers., And that’s the purpose of like Mundane astrology during that point, where they continued to have… But at some point as you get some of this foreign sort of astrology starting to come in, you have what you were saying is that you have some astrologers, perhaps they’re being consulted by the rulers as like separate things, but there’s also a divide between the official state sanction–
JK: There’s canonical native Chinese astrology and then there’s the astrologers operating on the sidelines so to speak.
CB: And the canonical stuff is continuously used as an important like court function continuously, right?
JK: Right, and it’s used consistently until basically the end of the Chinese Empire in the early 20th century.
CB: Okay, until the end of the Chinese Empire in the early 20th century, it was still not just state sanctioned, but used by the–
JK: Right, leaders in an official context.
CB: Okay. And that was… Again, just going back to it, it’s that astrology that’s more connecting different it was sort of lunar mansions but also connecting different regions of the sky with different–
JK: Terrestrials. Celestial connected with the terrestrial.
CB: Got it. Okay. And just mainly Mundane astrology?
JK: Mh Hmm.
CB: Yeah. Okay. So then you start getting this influx of astrology from India that’s sort of showing up. And sometimes it’s bringing different astronomical concepts with it, but it’s sometimes not jiving well with the cosmology that they currently adopted. They didn’t necessarily know what to do with it.
JK: Right. But in reality, they never adopted a spherical earth cosmology until basically the early modern period when there was contact between the Europeans and Chinese court.
CB: Right. I mean, there’s some… That’s funny, like there’s some like flat earth like conspiracy theorists are probably very excited to hear that. Sorry about that.
JK: But Buddhist cosmology is inherently… Yeah, it’s inherently flat earth because… Well, there’s this idea of Mountain Meru and the four continents. And that’s ancient Indian cosmology. And it kind of stems from earlier Indo-European cultural backgrounds. Indo-European being the sort of very, very ancient ancestral culture of the peoples of Europe and many of the South Asians as well. So for example, modern Hindi and English are both Indo-European languages because if you go back five six thousand years, they come from the same mother language. But you also have similarly sort of ancestral mythology. So you have Asgard in the Nordic tradition, you have Mount Olympus as the center of the world with the gods residing on it in Greek mythology. And then in ancient Buddhist cosmology, you have Mount Meru and the four continents.
CB: So you’re saying this goes back to, what was the name of the like original hypothetical language?
CB: Indo-European, okay. And so you’re saying it’s not just language but also mythology that ends up connecting some of these cultures as well going all the way back?
JK: Like we have like for example in Europe the myth of the Sun chariot, where the Sun is being pulled by a chariot. But then Surya, who is the Sun god in India, also has a chariot pulled by horses.
CB: Right. Yeah. So you get interesting parallels like that. And that was a really big sort of discovery in just linguistically in like the 19th century?.
JK: Late 18th century, when the British started studying Sanskrit. They were exposed to Sanskrit and a lot of them were fluent in Latin and Greek at that point. And so they saw the connections, and then they realized that there was a common ancestral language to Sanskrit, Greek, Latin, and also the languages that descended from these ancient languages like Hindi and English and French.
CB: Okay. Well, yeah, that’s really interesting. I hadn’t thought about that in terms of also some portions of the mythology or even like sort of religious or cosmological concepts then also having sometimes similar roots as a result of those linguistic origins. Cool. Okay. So and that’s you’re saying that that ties in in terms of the flat earth cosmology being more prevalent at that point or?
JK: Well, it’s because the Chinese, the native Chinese system of cosmology as well as the Buddha system of cosmology are both flat earth. And to be honest, to the Chinese, it didn’t seem like a big deal to them because they were interested in studying the movements of the stars and the planets. They weren’t necessarily interested in so much trying to figure out the ultimate dimensions of planet earth.
CB: Right. Yeah, I mean it’s totally non intuitive from a just a, you know, observational standpoint. That it’s that you’re standing on a globe instead of a flat surface. So, all right. So we’re getting up to like the seventh and eighth centuries at this point. And where are we at in terms of that?
JK: So after 718, you have starting from that time, also the introduction of Esoteric Buddhism also called Vajrayāna. So if you’ve ever seen Tibetan Buddhism, you see these colorful rituals. And that sort of same form of ritual practice was being transmitted into China around the same time. And you had one figure, an Indian Buddhist monk, his name was Śubhakarasiṃha. And he died in 735. But in the 720s, he was responsible for translating very important text on sort of ritual practice of Tantra or Mantrayāna, Vajrayāna. And that was… The title of the text was either the Mahāvairocana Sūtra or the Mahāvairocana Abhisaṃbodhi Sutra. So this text what it says is that if you’re going to produce a mandala, that is a sacred space for carrying out a ritual, and a mandala as we understand is usually the painted version of it. So you have like an image of multiple Buddhist deities in this sort of coordinated, circular or rectangular figure, and they’re all positioned in prescribed forms with prescribed instruments in their hands and so forth.
CB: Right, the image itself is supposed to convey some sort of deeper understanding or meaning?
JK: Right, but a mandala can also be painted on the ground. And so you can actually do it in lifesize proportions. And they actually, for these major rituals in India, they would actually do that. They would actually produce a ritual space on the ground, paint the deities on the ground, and then carry out the rituals on top of that. But what the text says is that you have to produce it when it’s astrologically auspicious, when the asterisms and the planets all align. But it doesn’t exactly define what exactly that means. So if you’re a Chinese monk and you want to time your ritual to when it’s optimally auspicious, you have to consult either an Indian monk who knows this or you have to consult a manual. But there wasn’t any sort of manual available at the time. And there were a lot of other ambiguities in this text. So they produced the commentary. So Śubhakarasiṃha and I Ching, who was a Chinese monk, so an Indian monk and a Chinese monk produced a commentary on this. And so the commentary gives more details about the Indian calendar. It describes the nakshatras, also describes the planets. It’s the one of the earlier references to the zodiac signs as well in Chinese, because they’re not using the zodiac signs yet. And it also describes most importantly, the seven-day week. And it says you have to use the seven-day week. So we kind of take this for granted, but in China, they didn’t have the seven-day week because it’s a Greco-Egyptian calendar.
CB: Right, this is something that shows up in like the first century CE, give or take, in the Western tradition. And then so this is the introduction of the seven-day week into what was from a Buddhist text into China around the eighth century?
JK: Right. So in the 720s, this commentary is produced. And you also had foreigners living in China at the time. So Persians and some Hindus, some Iranian people living in China at the time, Zoroastrian as well. And they observed the seven-day week. And maybe we should back up to the Yavanajataka because we didn’t… We sort of skipped that point, which is that the seven-day week itself would have probably come from Hellenistic astrology to India.
CB: So it’s not indigenous to India. So the Greco-Egyptian astrologers produced the seven-day week as we understand it with the planetary hours recurring in the Chaldean sequence, and where each day of the week is associated with a specific planet like Moon day, Mars day, Mercury day, Jupiter day, etc.
JK: Right. And so that was transmitted into India, not necessarily through the Yavanajataka, but this is one of the key texts that sort of witnesses to this transmission of Hellenistic astrology into India which has been dated to the third century by Pingree, but that’s been contested by Bill Mak on the basis of manuscript evidence. And so the Yavanajataka is more likely fourth or fifth century Common Era.
CB: Right. So the dating of the Yavanajataka is being pushed back because Pingree’s original rationale for dating has been challenged. But there’s still, Bill Mak still acknowledges that there was some sort of… That the Greek loan words were there’s a bunch of Greek like astrological terms that have been translated into Sanskrit in the Yavanajataka still shows there was some kind of transmission of Hellenistic or Greek astrology to India into Sanskrit, but he thinks that the date was pushed back further and that the Yavanajataka itself may not have been the original transmission point because he says that there’s a more thorough and sort of unique synthesis of these different types of both Hellenistic and indigenous Indian astrology with indigenous Indian concepts like karma and Ayurveda and stuff like that.
JK: Right. And it’s also just we have very few texts from that period that are extinct. Maybe the history of Jyotish is highly contested largely because we don’t have a lot of manuscript evidence.
CB: Right, and it’s so and it’s hard to date them even sometimes when you do have them. It’s like circumstantial dating, whereas I know we were talking last night about how it’s nice in some of the later Chinese texts that you work with, there’s often like dates on the texts.
JK: Right, it says who translated it and when. And you also have catalogs of texts. So you also have other sources saying that this text was translated by this guy at this date at this place.
CB: Right. Yeah, that’s really nice versus sometimes in some of the Indian texts you just have to figure it out from like clues or statements or geographical or political statements or things like that.
JK: Right, right. So this the seven-day week came through India. It’s also the Persians as well were observing the seven-day week, at least presumably from the time of antiquity. So I’m not an expert on this, but I would assume that Sasanian in Iran, which was the Persian empire that lasted from the third to the seventh century, was also observing the seven-day week.
CB: Right. So that’s maybe that’s another thing worth stopping on for a second that there was a transmission of Hellenistic astrology to Persia starting around like the third century.
JK: Right, early third century, it was one of the emperors, most likely
Shapur, who ordered the translation of various Hellenistic scientific texts into middle Persian, which is the language that comes before modern Farsi. So this was… So Dorotheus and Ptolemy and these other authors were translated into Persian. And from the evidence we do have both in terms of the Arabic translations of Persian texts as well as witnesses to the Persian tradition on the Chinese side, we know that the Sasanian Persians were very deeply interested in astrology, and both at the elite level as well as the common level. And even to this day, we have this image of the Magi of Persia being experts in astrology, and even with the Star of Bethlehem, that mythology is connected to astrology. The Wisemen were following a star, and the Wisemen were associated with astrology even very early on in the Christian tradition.
CB: Right, and just tracing it back to that like Mesopotamian lineage and the notion of the Chaldeans being associated with astrology [unintelligible 38:15] like Mesopotamian priests. Yeah, so and with that transmission to Persia, what’s partially interesting as well about the third century is just that the reporters or the person who reports this, one of the main sources says that they sent out, deliberately sent out emissaries to like gather scientific and astrological text to both Greek texts, but also I think they sent to Indian and to China.
JK: Yeah, yeah. So the Persians definitely brought together we know for a fact Indian as well as Hellenistic sources, Hellenistic Greek sources together, so this is starting in the third century Common Era.
CB: And of course, Persia just geographically speaking, is in this interesting middle ground between all of these major regions. It is the…
JK: Eastern Mediterranean to the west western frontier of India.
CB: Right. So and that’s also is that part of where like the Silk Road ran through or?
JK: Definitely, yeah. And China and Persia had very deep contacts from fairly early on, at least the first century Common Era. And so the Sasanian Empire was also on very good terms with the Chinese Empire or the Chinese empires that existed at the same time.
CB: So there was a lot of trade and the Persians would have played an important role as like intermediaries in trade going on between all these different regions with like the Roman Empire in the west, and then you have India in the east, sort of southeast, and then you have China over in the far east.
JK: Right, right. And we have records of both Persians and Sogdians living in China. And Sogdians were ethnically Iranian people. They weren’t from the Persian heartlands, but they were these caravans traders who went in between Central Asia, even Western Asia and they brought various products with them along the Silk Road. And we also have literature written in Sogdian. And we also know that Sogdians were very deeply interested in astrology as well.
CB: And so these were people that were ethnically Persian, but they–
JK: Ethnically Iranian.
CB: Iranian, but they learned Chinese and sort of settled in–
JK: Yeah, they became Sinicised, so they became Chinese effectively. So in medieval China, there were a lot of people who maybe their family was of Indian origin or of Persian or Sogdian origin, but they grew up effectively bilingual. And some of them even became Buddhist monks. And sometimes the commentaries of the history say that, you know, they look like a Persian, but they speak completely fluent Chinese. So China in the medieval period was very multicultural. And even at the time like for example, in the seventh century, the eighth century, it was very common for young people in China to wear Turkish clothes because Turkish clothes unlike Chinese robes are actually very suitable for riding horses because there’s trousers. And there’s a cut down the middle so that if you jump on top of a horse, you know, you don’t have your robe getting in the way. And so the equestrian arts were very popular in China at the time. So men and women would wear Turkish clothes rather than Chinese clothes. And then you have the older generations complaining about this.
CB: Right, the younger generations and the decline of civilization is like a recurring theme in different parts of the world.
JK: Right, right. Every generation has issues with the subsequent generation it seems.
CB: Right, and every older generation thinks that the younger generation is sort of going downhill or is destroying culture, what have you. Well, that’s interesting in terms of astrology though and just the idea of… Because that also, evidently, I mean, what we assume or what people like Pingree assume is that that’s part of what happened in the transmission of astrology to India, Natal astrology, Hellenistic astrology. That they discovered the trading or the shipping, they could use the monsoon winds that the traders could use the monsoon winds in order to sort of take goods back and forth between Egypt and India. And that there were some like merchants that settled down in India and started living there and then eventually adopted Indian customs and Hindu culture.
JK: Right. We also have the Greeks in the northwest who settled in Bactria after Alexander the Great in the fourth century BCE. And so you had the… What are they called? The Indo-Greeks in the northwest. But at that time, they’re not practicing horoscopy because that’s too early. But you did have Greek-speaking people even in the Persian Empire. So people who were bilingual, they spoke Persian but they spoke Greek at home, for example, because they were the descendants of the Hellenists, the Hellenis. people who had settled after Alexander the Great in Central Asia.
CB: Okay. But it’s just interesting the notion that somehow that’s probably how different astrologies that are independent or developed independently, maybe eventually get synthesized sometimes as you have people relocating and moving to different areas and bringing some of their indigenous customs but then adopting the language and the culture of their host. And sometimes things getting intermingled or merging as a result of that.
JK: And that’s what we see with the Yavanajataka as well. It’s a merging of Indian and Greek systems. So it mentions for example, the muhurtas, which are the Indian hours. There’s 30 of them in one day, so each one is 48 modern minutes. But then you also have the system of planetary hours mentioned in the Yavanajataka. So you have like Indian system as well as the Greek system coexisting in the same text.
CB: Right. So and then this is kind of where we start heading with the Chinese tradition in terms of us talking about the Persians and their link with the Chinese and being on good terms and acting as a trading partner or intermediary, and also the Persians becoming deeply involved in astrology during this time and translating texts on Hellenistic astrology and Indian astrology into Persian and starting to create their own unique synthesis between the third century and the sixth century.
JK: Right, right, right. And so between the time of Śubhakarasiṃha, who was the monk who produced this commentary on the Esoteric Sutra that discusses astrology to some extent, there was a figure named Amoghavajra. And he was also one of the masters of Vajrayāna or Mantrayana. And he produced the first authoritative manual on Buddhist astrology in Chinese. And the title in Chinese is Xiuyao jing which literally translates as the scripture of constellations and planets or scripture of lunar mansions and planets. And so he produced the first version of that in 759. There was a subsequent revision in 764. And what this manual does is it explains the lunar stations in a way that’s coherent and understandable to the Chinese. So what he does is he uses the 28 Chinese lunar mansions as functional equivalents for the 28 nakshatras, the Indian lunar stations. And so this immediately did away with the problem of trying to define nakshatras in Chinese terms. And this wasn’t a perfect system, but it worked. The other thing is that this text tries to describe the navāṃsas. So the navāṃsas is is where each of the lunar mansions is revised so that they’re of uniform proportions in contrast to the earlier system in which they’re of different proportions. And so each one is divided into nine parts. So nine parts, that’s navāṃsa system. And so it described this and you can kind of make a case for dividing 28 days and assigning each of those days to one lunar mansion, even though that’s not exactly scientific or entirely accurate, but it more or less works because the moon will keep going through this recurring cycle every 28 days more or less. So what they did was they took the Chinese lunar calendar, which divides the year into 12 months, 30 equal days each, and they assign each of those lunar days to one of the lunar mansions. So you only have to know the day on the Chinese calendar and you can determine which nakshatra or lunar mansion the moon is residing in or lodged in. And then from that you can make a decision about whether it’s auspicious or not to carry out the ritual. And this is all… The text also describes Natal astrology in greater detail. So if you know the day of your birth, then you can find out the lunar mansion under which you were born. And then there’s predictions made very brief, but there’s actually some details about this.
CB: So this is still not like birth charts in the western conceptualization of it with the Ascendant or the houses, but it is taking the idea of the lunar mansions and applying it to the idea that the position of the Moon or the lunar mansion that the Moon is in at the day of a person’s birth is somehow relevant to their future life.
JK: Right, right. So it determines your personality and some aspects of your fate, of whether you’ll be wealthy or poor, or in ways you’ll struggle. But in this case, there’s no reference to the planets, it’s only entirely based on the Moon. But this text does, however, mention the planets in the sense that it just has to consult the Indian calendar. But again, we’re in a system where you don’t have access to an Indian calendar in Chinese. And I think given the popularity of this text amongst Buddhists and the fact that he was alluding to horoscopy or something approximating horoscopy, where you start examining the positions of the planets relative to at least lunar stations, it prompted a lot of interest in astrology. And this is where the ethnically Iranian people come in. Because around the year, sometime between 785 and 805, there was an ethnically Iranian figure named Li Miqian, he brings something called [unintelligible 48:01] which literally means the scripture of [unintelligible 48:05] which is actually Dorotheus into China. He wasn’t the translator of it, there was another figure who translated it who was probably Li Su, who was an ethnically Persian bilingual figure, who was from southern China, and he was appointed as court astronomer around the year 800. And Bill Mak has argued that he was actually probably the translator of Dorotheus into Chinese.
CB: And was that a literal translation of the word Dorotheus into Chinese?
JK: Phonetically, it appears to be but it’s not coming from Greek. It’s probably from Persian.
CB: And that’s why it’s maybe a little bit more garbled because it’s the name going through a couple languages first.
JK: Right. Well, we pronounce those Chinese characters now as but in Middle Persian, it would have been pronounced differently. Because, I mean, the Chinese language has changed considerably over 13 centuries. So, but we know this was Dorothean material, it’s not the same text that we have in Arabic, Al-Tabari’s translation, that’s a separate recension of the text. The material that was translated into Chinese is sort of merged together with astrological or connected to the lunar mansions. But that being said, there’s a lot of features of this that we can identify as Dorothean, and primarily in my opinion, is the use of the lots. Because the lots that are defined in the extent material that’s derived from this Dorothean text in Chinese, those lots are almost all identical to what’s in Al-Tabari’s translation. There’s a few minor differences but they’re for the large part identical, the definitions of the lots.
CB: Okay, so you’re what you’re saying is that somewhere around the year 800 like probably there was a text that was translated from Persian into Chinese and this was the introduction of full-fledged Western natal astrology or horoscopy.
JK: Right, true horoscopy. So, there’s the 12 places, there’s the domiciles.
CB: This text contains the 12 places and the domiciles.
JK: The 12 texts, 12 domiciles. There was also probably another lineage of horoscopy that wasn’t connected to Dorotheus that came from a Persian tradition. And I say that because we have one Buddhist text which doesn’t have any Dorothean material in it, but it’s still horoscopy. And so, this one text in Chinese, it’s primarily interested in the 12 places or the 12 houses. And it also includes [foreign 00:41:18] for the planets, specifically the five visible planets plus Rahu and Ketu.
CB: Okay. So, and to back up a little bit, Dorotheus, of course, was a text that was originally written in Greek. It was an instructional text in five books that was written in the form of a poem and we think that it was originally composed sometime around the late first century CE, but then it became incredibly influential from that point forward both in the Western tradition where Dorotheus was cited over and over again, but also in other traditions where it was translated into Persian. And then it was eventually translated from Persian into Arabic around the year 800. And then that spawned a very popular period of large parts of medieval astrology in the West being based on that Dorothean transmission? Okay. So, and what you’re saying though is in addition to that, which was already a huge deal in terms of the influence of Dorotheus on the West, it turns out that Dorotheus also was transmitted through the Persians to China, which is crazy. That’s really interesting. [Chris laughs]
JK: Right. And so, if you look at my dissertation, I look primarily at the lots and in some cases, the parallels between Al-Tabari’s translation, and it’d be really I don’t read Arabic. But I look at Dykes translation and David Pingree’s earlier translation, some of the material lines up just remarkably well.
CB: Where it just has to be because it’s so similar.
JK: Right. And it’s not just technical similarities, it’s in terms of actual predictions. Even the idea of a tropical sign at the ascendant relative to a certain lot signifying that your parents will be of different races, and it says that in the Chinese as well. And so, then there’s all these other parallels which it’s just so obvious to me that it’s Dorotheus. And again, Yano Michio originally suggested that it was Ptolemy that was translated not Dorotheus. But then Bill Mak, I think it was in 2014, pointed out that actually, this material is Dorothean in character. And then I’ve been I’ve been building up on that looking at Dorothean material relative to what is in the Chinese.
CB: So, what else is in this text from a technical standpoint that looks like it came from Dorotheus as text? You said the 12 houses, the use of the ascendant obviously in the 12 houses. Triplicity? Okay, that’s a huge component in Dorotheus?
JK: Right, right, triplicity rulers. The one thing though is that some of this material that’s been preserved in other Chinese texts, for example, there’s a Taoist text that shows signs that this material was localized. So, when it’s describing the Lot of Spirit, if the Moon is in the Lot of Spirit, the native will have an interest in Buddhism. And if it is the Sun, then they’ll have an interest in Taoism. Now what that is telling me though is that when they were translating the material, or at least when they were incorporating it into this Taoist text that they had to localize it. Because if originally in the Persian, it said something to the effect of if you have the Sun and the Lot of Spirit, you’ll be a Zoroastrian. It’s not really applicable to most Chinese readers, so it has to be localized. Interestingly, in the Picatrix, the Moon can represent idol worship. Right. And then Buddhism is a religion that has a lot of use of icons and worship of icons. So, there are those parallels which I’ve speculated about before, but so this material was also localized. And at the same time too, the triplicity rulers and so forth, they define them using Chinese terms using Chinese nouns. So, it’s not immediately obvious that it’s triplicity ruler. So, for example, the word triplicity itself in Chinese is translated as master of three directions.
CB: Okay, that’s great. And the original term was trigonon which means triangle?
JK: Right. So, you can get an idea of the concept underlying it, but then you look at how it’s being defined and it’s identical to what’s in Dorotheus. Actually, I have to commend you for helping me learn horoscopy because when I first started approaching this literature, I didn’t really know where to turn to learn how to cast the horoscope or read a horoscope. So, I ended up reading Tamysn Barton’s book, Ancient Astrology. And then I went online looking for sources on Hellenistic astrology. And then you had your course online, so I enrolled in that. And I went through that. And I really learned the essential components to a horoscope and how to read it and a lot of the core doctrines. And then of course, I read your book as well, when you published it. And then I was able to read the horoscopic literature in Chinese with much greater ease.
CB: Right. And yeah, I always really appreciated hearing that and yours was the first reference in your dissertation that anybody’s cited my book [Jeffrey laughs] in an academic context. So, I appreciated that. Yeah, it’s really exciting to be able to because the revival in the understanding even of Hellenistic astrology is only happened in the past 20 years. So, it’s exciting now to have that happen so recently than to have it be relevant in the study of other parallel traditions.
JK: Right, right. And one of my arguments is actually that the Chinese were as much an error to Iranian horoscopy as were the Arabs because we know that a lot of Arabic tradition is based not just on Greek sources, but also Persian sources. And so, to date, generally, we’ve looked at a few extent texts in Middle Persian, they’re mostly religious texts, and the Arabic translations to try to reconstruct Persian astrology. And so, with my work, I’ve tried to demonstrate the heavy Iranian influence. And this has actually been very well received by some people in the Iranian Studies community because they actually realize that it’s quite significant the amount of Iranian astrology that ended up in China, and to this date, nobody’s really paid so much attention to it. Part of that is just that we’re dealing with multiple languages and so very few people are going to be fluent in Classical Persian studies, and also know Chinese or Classical Chinese.
CB: Right. Well, and to go out of their way to learn ancient Western astrology and be able to compare those traditions and understand some of the differences between them, or the differences between the Hellenistic and the medieval tradition and so on and so forth. Yeah, yeah. And you said there were other techniques in this text that were transmitted that are Dorothean. Did you say transits, or were they timing techniques, or perfection?
JK: Especially the annual perfections, yeah. We also have a horoscope for somebody born on the 3rd of October, 930 Common Era, and that was produced on the 25th of January, 1975. And it’s a miracle story how this horoscope even still exists. So, in the early 20th century, there were explorers who went to the frontiers of China. And there was this cave that they opened up and it was full of all of these texts in different languages, not just Chinese. It was like Persian, Sanskrit, Tibetan. And amongst those documents that had been sealed up sometime in the 10th century was a horoscope. We don’t actually have the table itself, but we have the positions of the planets relative to the lunar stations. And so, I was able to reconstruct the original horoscopy table. But half of that horoscope is basically the astrologer writing to the client explaining annual perfections for at least 40-50 years of his life.
CB: Wow, that’s cool.
JK: And the Japanese horoscopes as well. So long story short, the Japanese learned horoscopy from the Chinese starting in the 10th century. And then you had a medieval tradition of Buddhist astrologer monks that were quite influential at the aristocratic level between the 10th century to the 14th century in medieval Japan. And we have two extent horoscopes from Japan. And they’re also very much interested in annual profections. They don’t have zodiacal releasing, but annual profections were quite popular.
CB: And that was the most popular timelord technique that almost every Hellenistic astrologer mentions or introduces you to in some form or another, but Dorotheus especially has a very large section on that. So, that’s interesting. So, it’s not just that this text from Dorotheus on Western Hellenistic astrology was transmitted to China, but then by the 10th century, it was also transmitted to Japan.
JK: Right. Yeah. And we actually know the monk who carried it over as well. It was carried over in 865, but nobody actually seriously studied it seems until the following century.
CB: Okay. And so, it was by a Buddhist monk. So, was it just for the sake of divination or an interest in that, or was it being integrated in some religious context, or why would we be interested in it?
JK: In the mid-9th century in China, Buddhists and as well as Taoist were very deeply interested in the practice of astrology. It was something I call it in astrology boom in China at the time. And it’s not just religious people as well. You have some poets in China like Du Mu who in their work make allusions to astrological concepts like the 12 houses, for example.
CB: So, this is in the wake of the transmission of natal astrology through the Dorotheus text to China suddenly in the next century, there’s a flourishing of interest in astrology in general?
JK: Right, astrology in general. And it also affects religious practices. And so, this is also when we have the introduction of astral magic. And now this is a very complex subject because you can say that there’s three traditions of astral magic in medieval East Asia. The first one is native Chinese magic, which is more or less Taoist in its orientation and a lot of is directed towards the Big Dipper, the seven stars of the Big Dipper who are thought to govern longevity, and so they’re conceived of as deities. And then there’s also the native Indian Buddhist tradition which it basically calls for the evoking of Buddhist deities to placate the negative influences of the planets. And this is when we have the emergence of the so-called Buddhist figure Tejaprabha who features quite prominently in the art record. And so, Buddhists would commission these paintings of the zodiac signs and the planetary deities and so on surrounding this principal Buddhist figure, and they would worship this icon as a way of mitigating negative astrological influences, or at least being able to avert catastrophe.
And then the other tradition comes also from the Iranians. And so, this is the same astral magic that was practiced in the Picatrix by the Ghāyat al-Ḥakīm in Arabic. And so, then this magic calls for the production of icons at specific times. So, for example, in one Buddhist and Taoist text, they’re citing the same source, but they can reconfigure some of the details so that it’s suitable to each respective religion. You produce an icon of Saturn and Saturn has to be depicted as a hunched over man holding a cane, and it always describes him as a Brahmin. But in the Chinese conception at the time, that meant basically an old man looking Indian, so he would be a bearded figure. And that icon itself, which we also have visual reproductions of from the same period is actually based on originally based on the Greco Egyptian icon of Kronos. It’s not even the Indian icon. So, this tradition of astral magic again is coming through an Iranian intermediary from the Near East and it calls for burning Styrax incense. So, the Orphic Hymns, it says burn Styrax incense and the Picatrix is burn Styrax incense and also use black sesame oil, cloth yourself in black clothes. And also, Saturn, it says that when you’re carrying out this ritual, the general time that you’re doing it don’t listen to music because Saturn doesn’t like music. So, there’s this tradition of astral magic that’s being practiced in China which all comes from ultimately the same sources as was used for the production of the Picatrix which is a very prominent manual of astral magic in Latin Europe,
CB: Right. The Picatrix became the main book on astrological magic during the medieval period and even the Renaissance.
JK: Right, right. And so, we have Christopher Warnock and John Michael Greer’s translation of that. And then right now the Ghāyat al-Ḥakīm which is the original Arabic text that was translated into Latin is being translated by Liana Saif. And we hope to have that published sometime in the future.
CB: Right. You said that she’s doing a critical edition of the Arabic text of the Picatrix plus maybe an English translation?
JK: No, she’s doing the English translation. It was a very critical addition or critical survey of the Arabic texts, the manuscripts. Yeah. Right.
CB: So that’s interesting. So, there’s also a transmission of astrological magic to China in addition to this Dorotheus text that’s transmitted through the Persians, and all of its going through the Persian intermediaries, and then into Chinese. So, there’s a little bit of a game of like a telephone or whatever you call it with some of these texts where it’s going from one language to another, and some of the concepts are being adapted to the host culture. And sometimes, I’m sure there’s little changes or things that are happening along the way as well.
JK: Right. There’s various changes along the way. And then once you get to the 10th and 11th centuries, you have evidence that horoscopy is also being modified to suit certain Chinese concepts of cosmology. So, for example, you have text dating from the 10th or 11th century that have the Chinese five elements, so wood, and metal, and so forth. These are completely different from the four Western elements that we know.
CB: And were any of the four Western elements like the Greco-Roman elements transmitted in the original Dorotheus text? Does that show up at all? Or is it just-
JK: Very interestingly, those are always emitted.
CB: Okay. Because they might conflict with the cosmology?
JK: I think because it would have conflicted with Chinese metaphysics at the time, and it was probably deemed not that important even though it is important to our modern understanding of astrology. Dismissing the four elements would just be catastrophic. But at the time, they didn’t see it as critical.
CB: Yeah. Well, I’ve always suspected that that’s why they don’t show up in authors like Ptolemy whereas his contemporary and Alexandria Valens mentions the elements in association with the zodiac signs very frequently, but Ptolemy omits mentioning that and I think it’s because it would have contrasted with his Aristotelian cosmology because it put the wrong elements in opposition to certain elements. Yeah. So, it’s interesting if that’s also happening in other cultures when they receive some of these philosophical or cosmological ideas that conflict with their own and they have an issue about whether to use it or whether to just quietly drop it. Yeah. Okay. So, what’s happening? So, natal astrology then by the 8th century and forward is in China and it’s being practiced from that point and becomes popular, but what happens to the indigenous form of Chinese astrology? Is it synthesized or is it practiced in parallel still?
JK: It’s still practiced in parallel. And we have records, for example, this one Taoist priest who was also practicing horoscopy in the late 9th century. It seems he actually produced a horoscope for the Emperor as well as a lot of the elite officials in the government. But that being said, the official court astrology celestial limnology was being practiced separately. And so, this literature of the official court astrology never mentions zodiac signs, nor does it ever mention Rahu and Ketu which are originally Indian in origin. So, it actually maintains its indigenous integrity over the centuries until the modern times.
CB: Okay, because it continues to be supported by the Royal Court and it continues to be practiced separately and independently and not merged or synthesized with the other foreign system that’s being brought in.
JK: It’s largely because the native Chinese astrology was based on a canonized body of literature, and that body of literature was not subject to any changes. So, it remained static more or less over the centuries.
CB: And what’s the deal? That actually raises a question because the very little that I know about, what I assume is indigenous Chinese astrology that most Westerners do is the notion of there being certain animals that are associated with certain years and there’s the of dragon or the rat or what have you. Is that the indigenous Chinese astrology, or what is that?
JK: Yeah, that’s indigenous. Yeah. It’s actually just by coincidence that the Chinese also divided the ecliptic into 12 zones. So actually, that stems from the 12 Jupiter stations because of the orbital period of Jupiter, and they’re just divided into 12 zones. So, each of those-
CB: Okay. You know that for sure? That’s not a speculation or something? Because I was wondering about if that was true.
JK: Right. Originally, they divided it into 12 directions. And then those could easily be coordinated with 12 Jupiter stations. And then each of those zones was associated with an earthly branch, which is a Chinese cylindrical convention. And then each of those is associated with an animal.
CB: Okay. And how old is that, the system?
JK: Oh, that goes back into at least the Han dynasty, maybe even a little bit earlier than that.
CB: That’s really interesting if that’s the system that the part of the indigenous system that goes all the way back to that very fertile period, or the second or first century BC.
JK: People say the Chinese zodiac, but this is actually inappropriate because the zodiac is different from the 12 animals associated with the earthly branches.
CB: Sure. So, it’s a different structure in some sense because it’s a yearly structure and it’s based on directions originally, whereas the Western system is based on a division of the ecliptic, partially based on the yearly cycle of the Sun.
JK: Right. Now, later on in Chinese horoscopy, what you do find is the earthly branches standing as functional equivalents for the zodiac signs, in which case, the animal associations are there, but it’s very loose. Yeah. So, for example, I think Pisces ends up being associated with a pig. But that’s only just because the earthly branch is being used as a functional equivalent for the zodiac signs. They also could name the zodiac signs using their Chinese translations. So, in Chinese, Pisces is like a pair of fish. Literally translates as a pair of fish. Capricorn, interestingly, they preserve the Sanskrit name, Makara. And Makara interestingly, in India is a dolphin, but Capricorn originally was a fish goat in Mesopotamia.
CB: Right. Yeah. And in the Greek tradition, they have a weird word for it. That’s Aigokeros, which I think Schmidt translated as goat horned one. So, it’s this ambiguous sign in terms of describing what it even was.
JK: And in ancient India, they didn’t know exactly what was being referred to, so they used a dolphin. And then in China, they didn’t know what a Makara was exactly because I don’t even think anybody could explain exactly what a Makara was to the Chinese at that point either. So, they ended up just depicting it as a giant fish, and sometimes even translated it as just giant fish.
CB: That’s great. All right. So, let’s see. So, then astrology is being practiced. We have horoscopy or Westernish astrology practiced and it’s in parallel. The rulers are sometimes consulting those astrologers. Okay, one of the things that’s interesting we talked about last night is there’s only a handful of birth charts of horoscopes that have survived that you’ve been able to find at this point, right?
JK: Right. I’m only aware of three of them actually. Now we have horoscopy texts, but we don’t have so many extent actual horoscopes for natives in our historical record. two of them are from Japan, and one of them is from China. And it’s unfortunate. Maybe at some point in the future, there will be some archaeological discoveries and we might have more, but we have the manuals of astrology. But astrology also became very popular again, or maybe it never lost its popularity in the 13th century. So, the Mongols conquered China and they’re in charge of China for about a century. And Marco Polo shows up. And one thing that Marco Polo notes though, is that there were a lot of astrologers hanging around the Capitol and doing their business there and they weren’t all Chinese either. At that point, there were Arab astrologers also operating in China as well as Persians and so forth. And it was also in the Mongol period that astrological texts in Arabic were brought into China and they weren’t translated yet. But after the demise of the Mongol empire that had been controlling China, you had the restoration of a Chinese dynasty called the Ming dynasty. And early in the Ming dynasty, you had a translation of the Al-Madkhal by Kūshyār ibn Labbān in late 14th century. And this is actually the first introduction of Ptolemaic astrology into Chinese. And so, Yano Michio, he translated the Arabic into English. And then in that same volume, he also includes the original Chinese translation of the Arabic. And so, I’ve consulted the Chinese. And you can actually see, and this is something Yano already points out, that a lot of the material is directly adapted from the Tetrabiblos of Claudius Ptolemy.
CB: Okay. And what timeframe is this again?
JK: So late 14th century.
CB: Okay. So, we have a transmission of material that’s been adapted from Ptolemy into Arabic.
JK: And then this is translated directly into Chinese. And then in the subsequent in the 16th century, there were some astrology texts that are quoting without actual citation. So, it’s almost like plagiarism, the Al-Madkhal in Chinese translation. So, we know that Chinese astrologers were consulting this text and practicing astrology with it. But that being said, the physicalist framework was not necessarily seen by anybody as contradictory to the earlier Dorothean transmission. In fact, you could probably just say that they more or less just saw them as compatible. So, if Mars is fiery, but then Mars is also indicating violence and so forth. And it’s not necessarily seen as signaling versus influence.
CB: So, you’re saying physicalist because Ptolemy tried to predicate his astrology on a somewhat radically different but partially different framework of celestial causality and that this was embedded in this text as well?
JK: Right. Because it’s adapted from the Tetrabiblos. And then the Chinese translation as well is explaining these things in physicalist terms that Mars is fiery and it’s warm in nature.
CB: Sure. Whereas Dorotheus was probably more originally just symbolic or omen based in the away that it’s describing what certain planetary placements mean. So that actually raises another point which we talked about a little bit last night in terms of some of the things that then from a Western technical standpoint that are interesting that this tradition would have had as a result of drawing on Dorotheus primarily in the early part rather than Ptolemy, like their use of house division, for example. So, it’s pretty much one of the things you’ve said to me is that they used whole sign houses in this exclusively. Okay.
JK: So, we have three extent horoscopes and they all appear to be using whole sign house configurations. And then the other literature doesn’t mention degrees normally. So, the Al-Madkhal in Chinese translation does give the aspects in terms of degree measurements. But in practice, it seems that that was never observed even after the 14th century. The other texts all just use whole sign house configurations. And so, wherever the ascendant is that’s the first house and that’s just whole sign house configurations the whole way.
CB: And the sign after that is the 2nd house, and then they’re using, because it’s from the Dorotheus tradition, many of the same meanings for the houses, right?
JK: Well, that’s an interesting point too that the translations of the house names are actually more similar to what you find in later Zoroastrian texts, or these ones Zoroastrian texts. And this is something a Japanese scholar named Ito Gikyo pointed out several decades ago that the house names are actually stemming more from an Iranian understanding of the houses rather than a direct Greek interpretation of them. So, for example, the 6th house is always called the house of slaves or servants.
CB: Okay. Yeah, that’s pretty standard in the Hellenistic tradition.
JK: Right. Let me see here. So, the first one is the house of life or fate. And then the second one is normally the house of wealth. And the third one is three brothers four fathers.
CB: Yeah, that’s all standard? Children fifth? Is children assigned to the fourth?
JK: The fourth one is estate. Right.
CB: The 4th house is estate?
JK: Right. I actually have this. You might have to edit this part off.
CB: No, that’s alright if you want to look it up in your book. So, you have your dissertation. Maybe you want to show it to the camera. So, you published it. It’s a little black booklet.
JK: Yeah. It’s not an official publication. Yeah. I have to look it up here.
CB: So, yeah, so the fifth house usually is children. So, you’re saying that the second house though it was financial matters, the third house was siblings, and the fourth house was parents?
JK: Right. Right, 157.
CB: I’m trying to think of others, like the six was often associated with slaves or with illness in the Hellenistic tradition.
JK: Right. So, the first one if you translate the Chinese directly, the first is life, then the next is wealth, brothers, estate, children.
CB: Hold on, estate is the fourth?
CB: Yeah. And that’s also the fourth in the Hellenistic tradition is sometimes associated with death, which catches astrologers off sometimes, but it’s very common in the Hellenistic tradition. So, five is children?
JK: Five is children, six is servants, seventh is marriage, eighth is illness, ninth is travel, 10th is rank, and then fortune and distress.
CB: Fortune as the 11th and then distress as the 12th?
JK: Right. Yeah, so they’re very similar to the Hellenistic, but the actual Chinese appears to be a translation of Middle Persian terms rather than for example, as the names are known in Greek or Sanskrit.
CB: Sure, in terms of those are the actual names. If they refer to a house, they’ll refer to the place of house.
JK: Interestingly, the Chinese almost never refers to the houses by numbers. It’s always by the names of the places, the 12 houses.
CB: Sure, that’s actually very similar in the Hellenistic tradition. They’ll say the house of
JK: good Diamon
CB: Yeah. Right, right. So that’s very similar, but it seems the meaning has been clearly transmitted there. All of those significations, I don’t hear one that sounds like it’s wildly different, which means that the underlying meaning of the 12 houses in that whole sign house framework was transmitted more or less accurately.
JK: Right, it was. The integrity of it was quite well preserved. It’s just that, in this case, the name appears to be direct translations for a Middle Persian rather than any Greek source.
CB: Got it. Okay. So, we have that and you said that they mainly used sine-based aspects?
JK: It appears based on what I’ve seen in the Japanese horoscopes which are a direct reproduction of the Chinese tradition, faithfully preserved that they were using whole sign house configuration because they don’t mention degree measurements. So, it’ll mention direct or in square and so forth. But judging from the horoscope table and the absence of any degree measurements that it’s just doing it based on whole sign house configurations.
CB: Okay. And are we mainly talking about natal astrology or one of the things that’s unique about Dorotheus is that in Book Five, he deals with electional astrology or cathartic astrology and sexual astrology. And then later in the medieval tradition, we also have the popularization of the fourth branch which is horary or interrogational astrology.
JK: There’s no horary astrology in Chinese as far as I can see. And when it comes to electional astrology and horoscopy, now here’s the thing is that the horoscopy that I see in Japan and what I see in East Asia is primarily natal astrology. When we’re talking about electional astrology, they almost always turned to the seven-day week maybe because that was easiest for them to practice. But for whatever reason in China, horoscopy was almost exclusively reserved for the purposes of natal horoscopy. And what we do have is these almanacs which describe the seven-day week, but also various forms of Chinese hemerology based on the Chinese calendar.
CB: And hemerology is the study of lucky days.
JK: Lucky days, yeah. And so, it doesn’t seem that anybody tried to determine the most auspicious time and hour and minute to execute an action or to carry out something, but instead, they just use the seven-day week for that.
CB: Okay, that’s interesting, I wonder if that part of Dorotheus wasn’t transmitted or if it just wasn’t viewed as useful because there were already these other approaches to doing basically the same thing or what right what that was.
JK: I think it might have actually just been the absence of specialists who could calculate the positions of the planets regularly. Because in the Hellenistic tradition, presumably in Alexandria, you could probably walk down the street and find people who could sit down and do the calculations for you whereas in medieval China and Japan, the people who had access to this knowledge like the ephemerides just knew how to do it. And on top of that, were literate because literacy was also much lower in East Asia than it was in the Hellenistic world. Part of that has to do with the Chinese language is that it’s not a phonetic script, right? So, you have to learn at least what 4000-5000 characters to become generally literate. And so, in pre-modern times, there were far fewer people who were literate. So, I suspect that the reason there wasn’t as much interest in electional horoscope in East Asia was simply because it was just that much more difficult to do and it was impractical whereas the seven-day week, everybody can use it.
CB: Sure. That makes sense. All right. So, we had this flourishing of astrology and that takes us up to the to modern times, basically.
JK: Right. And then in the 16th century, you have one enormous compendium of horoscopy produced by a court official named Wai Ming Ng. And so, this is sometime in the mid-16th, to late 16th century in the Ming dynasty. This is also the time when the Europeans are showing up in East Asia, the Portuguese and the Spanish and so on. But Wai Ming Ng’s manual is a compendium of very diverse tradition, some of it going back to the 9th century. And he doesn’t always cite a source, but you can usually tell where he’s getting his material from. And it’s about 30 chapters. And there’s 10 chapters in that, that I would like to translate eventually and it deals with the zodiac signs. And so, when a planet is in a zodiac sign or if it’s in a specific domicile, what the significations are. And so, that would be very interesting to modern readers. The other thing I should point out too is that Chinese horoscopy also uses the system of 11 planets. So, to clarify, you have the nine Indian planets.
CB: So, the seven traditional visible planetary bodies Sun, Moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, and then the north and south node?
JK: Right, Rahu and Ketu. And then the 10th and the 11th are these two planets called [foreign 33:11:12] and [foreign 33:12:42] in Chinese and [foreign 33:13:06] literally means ominous or purple cloud and then [foreign 33:17:15] phonetically, it literally means Moon, comet or something to that effect. Now [foreign 33:23:25] this cloud is purple cloud is a pseudo planet like Rahu and Ketu, in the fact that it’s not an actual physical celestial body, but it’s a point on the ecliptic that you can track.
CB: Okay, what is it astronomically?
JK: Astronomically, it’s actually a way of tracking intercalary months. So, on the lunar calendar every couple of years, you insert a 13th month in order to keep the lunar cycle in line with the solar year. And so, it’s a way of actually keeping track of that. But again, it’s not a physical body, but you can track it along the ecliptic, and it was understood as having astrological significance. And then the other one [foreign 34:00:18] is the lunar apogee. And the iconography of [foreign 34:05:02] in Chinese is usually that of a female who’s scantily clad holding a sword in a severed head with very long black hair flowing. And I argued that this is actually going back to an earlier Iranian tradition of the demoness Al, but Al is actually derived from an earlier Mesopotamian mythology which is also the source of Semitic Lilith.
CB: Okay, so Lilith, basically?
JK: Lilith, right. Now, in modern astrology, everybody knows that the lunar apogee is Lilith. I had to try to figure out where does this come from in modern astrology because Lilith isn’t part of Renaissance astrology? And what I found out to the best of my knowledge, so in the 19th century, you have Sepharial who was an English astrologer in Victorian London, and he proposed that there was a second satellite orbiting the Earth on the other side of the Moon or on the other side of the Earth that we just didn’t see. Obviously, this got dropped at some point, but he associated this with Lilith. And it appears he actually started implementing this into his astrological practice. But then sometime in the 20th century, some astrologers started associating Lilith with the lunar apogee. And I thought, well, maybe they got this from an earlier Hebrew or an Arab tradition that I’m unaware of, but I just could not find that. So, it just appears to be a simple coincidence.
CB: Wow, that in the Chinese tradition, they have a body which is the lunar apogee which they’re basically calling Lilith. Not really, they’re translating that through. But if you take the translation back all the way, it goes to the same– and it also has the same iconography
JK: The iconography is the same. And also, the lore is very interesting because it’s a very malefic planet. In Chinese the lunar apogee is arguably the most malefic planet. It’s worse than Rahu, Ketu, Mars or Saturn because there it very seldom ever indicates anything positive.
CB: Lilith was originally a demon or something like that?
JK: She’s a demoness. Yeah. But again, I have to emphasize that this Chinese iconography, it’s not the Semitic Jewish Lilith. It’s actually the Iranian Al who is connected by virtue of coming from the same Mesopotamian origin. But for lack of a better term, we can just say Lilith. [Jeffrey laughs]
CB: Yeah, that’s really fascinating. I’m sure that at some point, maybe it will be a full-fledged paper or something.
JK: Well, in my paper that I recently published with Sino-Platonic Papers, which you can download for free, just type into Google Sino-Platonic Papers and my paper will be towards the top. And then I have the details on that as well as the astronomical parameters which Lilith is defined by. So, it’s the apsidal precession, which is basically that the Moon goes around the Earth in an elliptical orbit, but that orbit itself is also moving in a circular fashion. And so, the lunar apogee is also moving. And then so they also had the mathematical formula for calculating that, 8.85 years it goes around the Earth.
CB: Which is apsidal precession?
JK: Which is the lunar apogee. Yeah. And that probably goes back to at least Hipparchus in the Greek tradition because we know that Hipparchus was aware of the lunar apogee and the way to calculate it.
CB: Okay. Brilliant. So, they used those 11 bodies, basically?
JK: Right, in their horoscopes in China up until the least the 16th century. And then what also changes in the subsequent century is the introduction of the Jesuits into the Chinese political scene. And then some of the Jesuits also translated astrological literature and they also assisted in improving Chinese astronomy as well, scientific astronomy. And there’s been books that have been written about this like the influence of European astronomical traditions on early modern China. But at the same time, there was some influence in the astrological scene as well in China. And this is something I haven’t studied in great detail yet, but it’s something I have to look at in the future.
CB: Sure, probably some transmission of Renaissance texts to China at that point.
JK: And in the Qing dynasty being the dynasty between the mid-17th century and the early 20th century, the last imperial dynasty of China, people were still practicing astrology. And at the same time too, you have the native form of astrology, but then you also have various traditions that had brought together some forms of horoscopy with native forms of hemerology. But I’m not entirely sure what happens between the 17th century and the 19th century with respect to traditional horoscopy that had been so prominent in the 16th century. And I’m not sure if that tradition survives to modernity or not. I’ve heard conflicting stories, but my problem is that people can say that, well, my master taught me this tradition and it goes back to antiquity. People can say that about anything.
CB: Yeah. And that doesn’t necessarily mean anything in strictly chronological academic dating context?
JK: Right. It’s just based on hearsay, or what my teacher said to me. So, I have to actually find historical records or at least texts that were published and dated to these earlier centuries before I can actually determine what happened over those last few centuries.
CB: Sure. But we do certainly still have the indigenous form of court astrology continues to be practiced up until right in times?
JK: Right, until the end of the last dynasty.
CB: Okay. And then what happened? Just a brief historical lesson, we have the revolution in China.
JK: Right, the nationalists and the collapse of the Qing empire and then the rise of the communists in the 1940s.
CB: And then they outlawed that type of divination or all types of divination?
JK: That’s a good question. I’m not sure if they had a standing policy specifically towards astrology, but they basically called it feudal superstition. Anything Buddhism, Taoism, ancestor worship, that was all categorically regarded as feudal superstitions that had to be purged from society. So that being said though, there’s still a lot of people in China as well as Taiwan, but Taiwan was never a subject to communism because the nationalists settled in Taiwan. But if you go to a Taiwanese bookshop, you can find books on Western astrology translated into Chinese. So, there’s actually a lot of interest in in horoscopy in China these days.
CB: Yeah. From what I have seen from other astrologers and people I’ve talked to, it seems like it’s really had a resurgence or Renaissance over the past maybe a couple of decades.
JK: Right, right. And I think it’s also with the internet as well. It’s facilitated as knowledge transfer. But there’s also a lot of native Chinese astrologers who are looking at these earlier texts because they can read them being native Chinese speakers themselves. So, they can read them and they can also start incorporating this material into their own practice.
CB: See, and that’s what I’m actually curious about at this point and interested in maybe a follow-up episode just because my understanding was there’s a revival of interest in astrology in China over the past couple of decades, but they’re largely studying modern Western psychological astrology and that there might even be something about being able to do that or that being permissible because it’s more psychological, and therefore, character analysis rather than predicting events or something like that. And that there might still be some potential for issues, although there are some people that are starting to get into traditional astrology and so some of Ben Dykes books are being translated and things like that.
JK: Right. And that would be very interesting interview to have if you could find somebody who could discuss that. Because I’m actually unfamiliar with the modern Chinese astrological scene because I just tend to deal with these pre-modern texts.
CB: Sure. Well, yeah, that will definitely be a great follow-up episode. I know there’s a great NCGR group in Taiwan and there’s other astrological groups there and then other groups in Mainland China that I’ve wanted to talk to. But now that we’ve set this really amazing historical overview that there were both the indigenous forms of astrology, but also a long tradition of practicing that type of almost Western astrology in China for many centuries, that really opens up our historical understanding for things and will set a nice foundation for the future.
JK: Right, right.
CB: Yeah, thank you. This is amazing. Thanks a lot for doing this. Where can people find out more information about your work or if they want to follow your work or get in touch with you? You have a blog where you’ve posted articles and stuff, right?
JK: Right. I have an ongoing blog and some of it the deals with Buddhism, but also the other half of it deals with my study of astrology. And so, we could put a link to it, or you can just type in Jeffrey Kotyk and then the first 10 pages on Google will be me. [Jeffrey laughs] So, you can find my blog that way. You can also download my papers off archive.org. So again, you just type in my name. If you have a membership on Academia or you register, you can download my papers that way because I have a few articles. Some of them are nearing book length. So, the one for Sino-Platonic Papers is 95 pages and that’s discussing the introduction and domestication localization of horoscopy in China, that’s 95 pages. And then the other major paper is about medieval Japanese Buddhist astrology and astral magic, and that’s where I discussed the two horoscopes that are extended in Japan. And then I also have some other articles which might be of interest. So, if you just download them, they’re all free to download.
CB: Brilliant. And your dissertation, do you plan on making it publicly available or publishing it at some point?
JK: Oh, yeah, you can download that too if you want. So that’s basically more or less a monograph. It’s a book at this point. But I’m actually going to be revising the entire dissertation and publishing it as a separate book sometime, hopefully in the next two to three years. And on top of that too, I’d like to translate some material, at least 10 chapters from that 16th century manual that I mentioned by Wan Ming Ng, which would be of interest because it deals with the zodiac sign as well as the 20 lunar stations and the significations of the 11 planets in each of them. So that way, I think the modern astrologer could actually make use of that. I think it’d be very just fascinating read to just to see how horoscopy is being practiced in 16th century China.
CB: Yeah, that sounds brilliant. It sounds like they’re also drawing on those centuries of practice that they built up to that point since the 8th century. Yeah, that would be great. And also, I’ll put links to a bunch of this stuff, so your websites and different things on the description page for this episode so if people want to find that in addition to just Googling your name. And yeah, I’m trying to think if there’s anything I also forgot. Are there any other major topics that we should touch on before we wrap it up?
JK: I think this is about everything.
CB: All right. [Chris and Jeffrey laugh] Awesome.
JK: This has been a pleasure. Thank you for having me here.
CB: Yeah. Thanks for being my first guest in the new studio for The Astrology Podcast. I really appreciate it. It’s been an honor having you and talking to you about this. Thanks for giving us this amazing overview of the history.
JK: I consider you my teacher. So, thank you very much for having me here.
CB: Yeah, it’s been my pleasure. So thanks a lot. And I guess that’s it. So, thanks, everyone for listening to this episode of The Astrology Podcast. Please be sure to subscribe. You can find out more information about the podcast at theastrologypodcast.com/subscribe. And I think that’s it for this episode. So, thanks a lot for listening and we’ll see you next time.
JK: Take care
CB: All right.