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Ep. 254 Transcript: Misconceptions About Mundane Astrology in the Media

The Astrology Podcast

Transcript of Episode 254, titled:

Misconceptions About Mundane Astrology in the Media

With Chris Brennan and Leisa Schaim

Episode originally released on May 11, 2020


Note: This is a transcript of a spoken word podcast. If possible, we encourage you to listen to the audio or video version, since they include inflections that may not translate well when written out. Our transcripts are created by human transcribers, and the text may contain errors and differences from the spoken audio. If you find any errors then please send them to us by email: theastrologypodcast@gmail.com

Transcribed by Mary Sharon

Transcription released April 17th, 2021

Copyright © 2021 TheAstrologyPodcast.com

[intro music]]

CHRIS BRENNAN: Hi, my name is Chris Brennan and you’re listening to The Astrology Podcast. Joining me today is Leisa Schaim, and we’re going to be talking about the nature of astrological prediction, especially its interface with the public and what happens when the public looks at astrological predictions and some things that non-astrologers don’t understand about how astrology works when they’re looking at it just from the outside. All right, thanks for joining me today.

LEISA SCHAIM: Of course.

CB: This is my first episode back in the studio in a while because as people know, I was sick for a while for several weeks and had to be sort of separated and quarantined in like a separate room for a while. And then we were trying not to get you sick, and we were able to do that successfully. But now I’m finally getting back to normal life, and I’m allowed in the kitchen again and in the studio again. So we wanted to record something to sort of commemorate being almost back to normal.

LS: Yeah, it was kind of quite a while, so it’s nice to be moving back in that direction.

CB: Yeah, since around what? Like March 14th.

LS: Yeah, mid-March or so.

CB: What is today?

LS: Today is May 9th, 2020.

CB: Okay, Saturday, May 9th, 2020. And we started at like 6:16pm here in Denver, Colorado?

LS: More or less.

CB: So your clock is right?

LS: Yeah, 6:15.

CB: 6:15, okay. Cool. All right. So where do we begin? So this is going to be I wanted to start doing more episodes that are more like discussion, loose discussion type episodes because usually The Astrology Podcast is known for having what one Instagram person tagged me in like a recommended list. It said it was like listening to other astrologers and was like great teacher, good speaker, and that was like The Astrology Podcast. And it was like long and esoteric or something like that, which was a recommendation. But apparently, that’s like the main keyword that the podcast is known for.

LS: Right, long and comprehensive. I mean, you’re also known for doing these very, you know, like, well researched, comprehensive things that are supposed to be like one definitive look at a subtopic of astrology. So this is supposed to be a little more conversational less like preparing for a week kind of thing.

CB: Yeah. So I wanted to start doing more episodes like that because other podcasts are more like that. Like it’s like two people or three people having a conversation, and they go into different topics during the course of that and sort of explore different things. So I wanted to start doing more episodes like that. And this is one attempt to sort of move in that direction by talking about some like recent news and events and like stuff happening in the community. All right, so our main discussion topic today, I guess, was this New York Times article that just came out about astrology.

LS: Yeah, it was basically a critique of astrology not predicting the Coronavirus. I think it’s–

CB: Allegedly.

LS: Yeah, allegedly for sure. I think it said something like will the Coronavirus kill astrology or something like that?

CB: Yeah. Well, it was a really dramatic over-the-top article. And I mean, part of the backdrop is like it seems like the New York Times is frequently running anti-astrology articles. They very occasionally will do like a puff piece on ironically, somebody like Susan Miller or other astrologers, often in New York. But most of the time, like the coverage of astrology, I mean, in the media in general, I guess let’s acknowledge like in general, astrology is looked at as a pseudoscience. And I think Richard Tarnas, he’ll say sometimes that astrology is looked at as like the gold standard of pseudoscience. So as a result of that, most media coverage of astrology is not very positive. But for some reason, the New York Times often seems almost more overtly negative than most.

LS: Right. Right. So yeah, I mean, and it’s been interesting because I know you’ve talked about this on other podcasts in the past too, that the past couple years or so there’s been a lot more coverage of astrology in the mainstream news, and sometimes a bit more positive or more objective than usual.

CB: Yeah, about especially like astrology as a phenomenon and how astrology had become more popular over the past few years. And even that of itself was a weird thing. Because at first if you go back and listen to podcast episodes around that time, what I was seeing at least was it was like one publication did an article about that, like that astrology seems to be getting more popular, and then suddenly like everybody followed suit, and like everybody did an article about how astrology was getting more popular. And there was a little bit of a crossover period where I was kind of skeptical and not sure if that was even true or if everybody in the media was just repeating each other. But then later that year after like, I don’t know, 6 months or certainly after 12 months, I eventually did, not reluctantly, but I did see an influx of like younger astrologers and I did see how astrology had become more popular, especially due to social media around that time frame. And this was what was this like circa 2018 or maybe 2017.

LS: Yeah, something like that. It’s been a couple of years, I would say. Yeah, and it was a little unclear at first, whether it was actually becoming more popular, but then it really was more clear over time. And that ramped up at the same time as all of these, you know, news articles or blog articles about astrology being like this popular thing, but also covering it in more depth. And with a few more, I would say, in more depth and less superficially, even though that’s still relative, like it was relatively superficial still. But like beyond the first few sort of stereotypical talking points, I would say, you know, compared to before.

CB: Yeah. Well, that was one of the weird things always that I thought about, the coverage of astrology. Like most the time coverage of astrology is just very brief and very superficial and only focuses on Sun sign columns and it’s just like and it’s dismissive. And it’s like, “Look at this, this is dumb.” And that’s kind of the end of the piece. But that’s one of the things that’s often surprising, is that there isn’t more coverage of astrology as like a phenomenon that, you know, lots of people are doing or believe in or that according to most polls, like somewhere around 25% of Americans believe in as a legitimate phenomenon, whether rightly or wrongly. It almost seems like from even just a social standpoint that that deserves more coverage.

LS: Right. Yeah. So that’s definitely been a thing that’s ramped up recently, and you’ve talked about it, and we’ve talked about it at different points, the coverage in the media of astrology. But there was this article recently, and while we’re not fully focusing on the article itself, it’s sort of a jumping off point for some of those issues that come up when the media covers astrology. And so the article that was just in the New York Times was about the purported lack of predictions regarding Coronavirus.

CB: Well, yeah, let’s just read the title. The title is, “Will Coronavirus kill astrology?” And then the subtitle says, “The pandemic has affected all of us, who saw it coming?” And the author is her name is Hayley Phelan. Am I pronouncing that right?

LS: Well, I don’t know. Yeah, something like that.

CB: Sure. And so, but then, I mean, ironically, it almost sounds like it’s gonna be a survey of astrologers. And like did any of the astrologers actually call this or get it right? But I think in the article it only ends up mentioning three astrologers. And it only barely analyzes one of their predictions and then maybe almost a second one hardly. And then it interviews a third astrologer, then just gives a very brief thing that doesn’t even talk about whether she predicted or not in about a paragraph.

LS: Yeah, it was very brief the whole thing.

CB: So yeah, it’s brief. It’s not a survey. It’s basically like a hit piece on astrology, which I almost hesitate to use that because sometimes when people use that, it’s just like using a reactive term. But I have a hard time coming up with a better phrase to describe the way it’s written.

LS: Sure. Yeah. Because it was very cursory in nature, because it was not comprehensively looking around at lots of different astrologers predictions over the past year or two, things like that.

CB: Yeah. Because one of the first questions then you would ask would be, okay, what astrologers did she talk to? Did she like what astrologers, especially prominent astrologers, within the astrological community, say or see something coming in terms of greater or lesser terms of specificity, greater or lesser degrees of specificity? And what she ends up focusing on the entire time is just one astrologer essentially, which is Susan Miller.

LS: Yeah, and it’s one of those things where, you know, Susan Miller has a lot of popularity, pageviews, particularly amongst people who don’t know a ton of astrology. And so she ends up being quoted sort of over and over in mainstream news pieces regarding astrology. And so she’s become kind of like one of the go to astrologers to interview when any mainstream news are doing articles on astrology.

CB: Right, and the New York Times has done coverage of her before in the past. There have been a number of articles about Susan Miller at different points. So it’s like in her favor. What can we say about Susan Miller? She is one of the more popular Sun sign horoscope writers. She was one of the earliest people that got into doing a website for that type of astrology, for popular astrology, and therefore became popular and got a lot of followers. But so she’s prominent in the sense of, if we’re talking about number of followers, then yeah, she does like reach a lot of people with that specific type of astrology, but she’s not otherwise known within the astrological community as being like one of the main astrologers, especially when it comes to something like mundane astrology, which is a specific type or branch of astrology. I feel like this is an accurate statement, right?

LS: Yeah, definitely. I mean, reading this article made me think of a lot of particular jumping off sub topics or sub points with, you know, with regard to how the media covers astrology in general, not just with this article. And one of them certainly is illustrated by that, which is concerning who they interview, and not being particularly well versed in the field itself to know like who might be the go to people to talk to about specific topics or specific kinds of astrology.

CB: Right. Yeah, I mean, and that’s generally one of the issues with media coverage of astrology in general, is that usually the reporters don’t know that much about it and don’t really want to know that much. There was some exceptions to that during the period where astrology was suddenly being covered for becoming more popular, and I did think there was some occasionally some interesting pieces at that point where they did make a greater effort to like get a new angle on that story and sort of interview astrologers that were actually more prominent in the community instead of just picking some random person. Because that’s one of the other things is oftentimes the reporters coming from outside of the community don’t have any sense of hierarchies or like who’s more respectable or who’s not. There is often a bias from the reporters in New York like from the New York Times to interview New York astrologers and focus on New York astrologers as if that’s like, I don’t know, as if that says something about their prominence or anything like that. It’s more just probably their local people that they can reach out to or even do an interview with in-person.

LS: Right, yeah. So I think that, you know, when you do interviews with people in a certain field and cover that in the media, ideally, you want to know something about the internal workings of that field. You know, and I know that it’s not easy to know all of it or reporters aren’t going to necessarily know all of that, but especially over time, when you would interview someone in an academic field for instance, you wouldn’t necessarily interview like the person who wrote like the purpose, you know, the pop book for the public about that particular topic, you might go and see who’s actually well known and really well respected within the field amongst other practitioners or, you know, that sort of thing.

CB: Yeah, so the reason why this is important, because the way that the reporter from the New York Times opens up this article is with the statement that, if ever there was one, Susan Miller would be a blue chip astrologer. So in January when she appeared on CBS New York and predicted that 2020 would be a great year and it would be a prosperous year and quote, people listened. And then she goes into whatever else Susan Miller said about what 2020 would be like as a year. So that’s, you know, a blue chip astrologer, like what does that mean?

LS: Yeah, to me, it means when I read that, I mean, it’s supposed to mean like she’s the go to. Like she’s the one–

CB: Yeah, it’s being framed as like she’s the astrologer that is the most respectable or most prominent and therefore is the best example for the thesis that the article is trying to argue, which is that astrologers didn’t predict that anything bad would happen this year or something like that.

LS: Right. Yeah, and that’s simply just repetition. They keep interviewing her and, you know, for various reasons and because lots of people know her, who don’t know a lot of astrology, and therefore, she has lots of followers amongst the public. And I want to say this isn’t supposed to be a hit piece on Susan Miller, you know.

CB: Yeah, because you actually read her columns for years before you got super into astrology.

LS: I did, and I think it’s a good entry point or it’s a good example of one of those entry points where, you know, what she does really well is she writes these very long monthly horoscopes for each sign, which one could read for Sun sign or rising sign, although people I think usually do for the Sun sign in her case. But she actually includes some of the real astrology behind it in the write up. So like the lunations or eclipse, you know, the Full Moons, the eclipses, the ingresses, you know, things like that. So it is beyond sort of the basic basic level.

CB: Well, relative to still being the most basic level in astrology it is. So she’s doing like Sun sign horoscope columns for each of the 12 signs of the zodiac, but she’s still like trying to do that slightly more in an advanced way than she could or maybe then some columnists might.

LS: Exactly. So I think, you know, one of the points here is what kind of astrology do people specialize in that are being interviewed? And that intersects with the notion that from the public perception or stereotype of astrology, most people think Sun sign astrology or horoscopes equals all of astrology. And so that’s why they go to these, you know, like Sun sign columnists. And I think there’s still a further distinction there between, you know, plenty of people who are very knowledgeable in astrology also write Sun sign or rising sign columns, for instance. So I don’t want to say just because people can do that or do do that as part of their practice, that that’s the only thing that they know, you know. So that’s probably like an important distinction to be made because certainly some people who are pretty well versed can also do that.

CB: Can also do Sun sign columns?

LS: Yeah.

CB: Yeah. I mean, she’s somebody that has a background in doing natal astrology. But certainly her focus in terms of the public and public output and career output has mainly been doing regular monthly and yearly and daily columns for what, the past 20, 25 years at least.

LS: Right. Yeah, and she definitely has specialized in that. I just kind of wanted to make that distinction that we’re not knocking that if people do horoscope columns as part of what they do, that they automatically don’t know complicated astrology. Just want to put that out there.

CB: Right. So but that being said, part of the issue that many astrologers immediately thought when sort of waking up this morning and seeing the title of The New York Times says astrologers didn’t predict that was, did they look at any of like the mundane astrologers, the people that specialize in looking at global trends or worldwide events in terms of issuing predictions for the coming year? Because one of the immediate disconnects is a lot of astrologers who did issue predictions for the coming year for 2020 in the astrological community, like especially ones that were issued for other astrologers or by professional astrologers, often for a more astrologically savvy reading community or audience instead of just complete novices that don’t know anything about astrology and don’t necessarily want to know anything about it from a technical standpoint, they just want to hear basic statements or predictions. But there were many predictions that were issued in late 2019 about 2020 being a difficult year that had a lot of difficult or challenging planetary alignments.

LS: Yeah, definitely. That is an ongoing issue that people who are well versed in astrology and are working astrologers are not always the ones who are writing Sun sign columns. And if they’re writing at a more technical level, those aren’t the things that the press is covering.

CB: Yeah, well, partially because it brings up a different set of issues, which is if you’re writing personalized horoscopes for let’s say 12 groups that are supposed to be for individuals talking about their individual life, then you’re not gonna usually for the most part make general statements about like the year as a whole, you’re going to focus in on different energies during different parts of the year. And because that’s personalized, one of the issues that you run into, especially with personal astrology and to a lesser extent with mundane astrology, is the danger of bumming people out. And that’s like a larger sub topic that we’ll get into. But the people writing personalized horoscope columns that are not generalized about the year as a whole are going to be more reticent about making individual statements that are overly negative for individuals.

LS: Right. And it’s also a technical issue. Like if you are writing about the, you know, mundane astrology, which is, you know, the astrology of the macrocosm or the larger collectives, you’re not going to… That’s a different viewpoint or a different focus compared to pulling out what might be most relevant for people with a certain rising sign or people with an individualized birth chart, because you’re gonna zero in on the more specific things for individual people, which is most working astrologers are focusing on individual astrology, I would say. And it might be research interest or you know, something that they just do because they’re interested, but that’s not what you’re paid for. Like that… I can imagine something like an academic field where like, if you were in a university, that would be the kind of thing that people would pay you for, is to do this kind of macrocosmic stuff. But since we’re paid, mostly either people do, you know, sometimes people do podcasts, sometimes people do horoscope columns, lots of people do individual natal readings. So that’s what you’re going to be focusing on a lot.

CB: Right. Yeah, individual astrology and that comes with its own limitations and its own like set of ethics and things like that in terms of what you can and cannot say and things that astrologers end up being sensitive to. But that being said, just to go back to the original point, like in late 2019, like a lot of astrologers got together, they saw there were going to be actually a lot of very rare planetary alignments happening this year. One of which went exact right at the beginning of the year, which is the Saturn Pluto conjunction on what was it like January 9th or January 8th or something or maybe a little later.

LS: It was like the 10th to the 12th, there were three things in a row. There was an eclipse, the Saturn Pluto conjunction and something else.

CB: Yeah, I think I have that from… Let me see if I can pull that up from our year ahead forecast episode, where we actually showed that. So here it is, here’s the thing for January. And it shows Uranus stationing direct and the solar eclipse or lunar eclipse, I should say in Cancer on the 10th of January. And then a couple days later on the 12th was the Saturn Pluto conjunction. And Saturn Pluto conjunctions only occur every 30 to 40 years. So just partially by virtue of the rareness of its occurrence, it drew a lot of attention from many astrologers that were talking about it, especially if they were making a forecast for the entire year and they were trying to focus on it in the context of world events rather than individual people.

LS: Definitely. And before this past year, I mean, people have been talking about this for the last several years, astrologers have.

CB: Yeah, because Saturn went into Capricorn a few years ago, at the end of 2017, so that’s when a lot of those discussions started about what Saturn in Capricorn would mean over the course of the next three years. And a lot of those discussions were tricky because we knew some of what would be discussed would start to go into effect right away at the end of 2017. But a lot of the biggest stuff wouldn’t happen until later towards the end of that transit, which we’re just finally getting to this year when Saturn would catch up to and align with the planet Pluto while Saturn is getting towards the very end of that transit of Capricorn.

LS: Right. Yeah. So over the past several years at least and some people even further back than that, people have been, astrologers have been talking about this looking like a difficult configuration.

CB: Right. So that is a difficult configuration. But then also, not even just that, but secondarily, this being a really important and pivotal and like a new epoch in terms of years and standing out for other reasons, including even potentially more importantly, the Jupiter Saturn conjunction that’s taking place in Aquarius in December. And that was one of the things that I know we started talking about at the very beginning of our forecast episode to sort of set the stage for that. And I know Austin Coppock wanted us to start by focusing on that because of what because Jupiter Saturn conjunctions, those being the two largest planets in the solar system, have historically for over 1,000 if not 2,000 years now, have been treated as very important markers for important turning points in time in either 20-year increments since they take place every 20 years, but also they represent larger increments that don’t recur for almost 1,000 years. So it’s sometimes used for an even longer marker of time and the astrological tradition going way back isn’t even something astrologers are just inventing right now, it’s something that’s been used since the Middle Ages. So astrologers have been talking about this being an important year pretty much across the board.

LS: Yeah, yeah, definitely. And I think that a piece of what happens is… What this article tipped off for me was a couple like unquestioned assumptions that people outside of the astrological world often have about how astrology works or how astrologers work. And so one of them is that astrology should show exactly and specifically something that happens if it’s important. And I know that you had like a good quote about mundane astrology that you were just talking about today, right?

CB: Yeah, I was thinking about it recently in the way that astrologers like, how to describe what it’s like in order to issue predictions about mundane astrology and to look at the future or try to predict the future through mundane astrology. It’s like, if you’re looking at a wall that has shadows projected onto it with outlines and then you tried to say or you tried to describe what the object looked like that was casting those shadows on the wall just by only being able to look at the shadows themselves, so you do you’re seeing something and you’re seeing the outlines of something. And sometimes you can see how large it is or how small it is and you might be able to infer like other things. Like it has limbs or if it’s wearing a funny hat or something like that, but that doesn’t give you the exact always as much specificity as you would like. And that’s one of the challenging and frustrating things about being an astrologer in general, since that analogy is a little bit applicable to prediction in general with astrology. But it’s also why so many people do dedicate their life to it. Because even if, let’s say, hypothetically, you’re just hearing this for the first time or you’re not an astrologer or what have you, if hypothetically that was even true that that astrologers could see even that much of the outlines of history in the making before it’s made, then that would be like a really valuable and really worthwhile thing to study and attempt to do whatever it was able to tell you or whatever information it was able to give you about events in the world in general.

LS: Definitely. And I think once people do get into astrology and see that it can do that, even to whatever extent, that is what is exciting about it. It’s like this shouldn’t be able to tell me anything, and I can see some of the things about what’s happening here, I can see the nature of something, I can see the outlines of something. And I think that is a fundamental misconception between, you know, sort of the casual public or media view of astrology about how it should work or does work and how astrologers understand that it does work. And so if there is this fundamental misconception, then if you don’t break through that, it’s always going to be like, “Oh, astrologers didn’t see the specific thing.” Even though some of them actually did.

CB: Well, that’s the thing, and that we’ve got to talk about is, so then the question goes back to well, fine. If Susan Miller wasn’t like the best person let’s say, that they could have talked to or wasn’t like the only person representative of the entire field, which is frankly, if you’re going to pick an astrologer that was representative of the entire field, I don’t think Susan Miller would get voted in by astrologers as like that one person. And I don’t feel like that’s even a controversial statement to make, even if we’re not trying to knock or attack Susan Miller as an astrologer by saying that, it’s just like a fact of reality.

LS: Oh, for sure. I think that’s true as well. And particularly, because that’s not what she focuses on is like world astrology.

CB: Right. So then that raises the question. So fine, if we’re talking about mundane astrology, so there are different branches of astrology, traditionally there are four major branches. There’s natal astrology, which is the study of birth charts and the study of individual lives. There’s mundane astrology, which is the study of groups of people and of world events. There’s electional astrology, which is picking auspicious times to launch different ventures and undertakings. And then there’s horary astrology, which is answering specific questions based on the chart caste for the moment of the question, which is a form of a more divinatory application of astrology. So that being said then, the question is fine, if you grant that if you concede that, then who are the mundane astrologers that people should be looking at? And who are the most prominent people in the field that are regarded as mundane astrologers?

LS: Right. Yeah. And I think that fewer people fully focus on mundane astrology, I would say in the field, wouldn’t you?

CB: Yeah, because part of the problem is how complicated mundane astrology is, how many compared to an individual life. Like if we’re talking on just scale, we’re talking about looking at one birth chart for one individual and trying to understand the context of that person’s life and then understand the trajectory of that person’s life and the different areas of their life and the different topics and then anticipate or predict where that’s headed in certain areas. But then if you do mundane astrology, you’re talking about, you know, millions or billions of people, billions of lives and what the trajectory is, in terms of like worldwide events, and there’s a lot more context and a lot more moving pieces that are involved in that, so that it’s a lot more complicated and requires a different skill set or different background.

LS: Definitely. Yeah, I’ve always thought that mundane astrology seemed particularly daunting, just because of how many simply how many variables are involved. Because you’re dealing with, like you said, you know, just millions of people. But I think that also, there’s a popular misconception that astrology is very simple or simplistic, and it’s actually pretty complicated. Like if you just look at an individual birth chart, there are already many variables involved in just one person’s birth chart. And particularly when you combine that birth chart with say, what’s going on right now in the sky and or any other timing involved. So when you do that, for, you know, the charts of countries, the charts of national leaders, if you start like adding up all these variables and trying to synthesize them into something understandable, it is quite complicated, I think. And–

CB: Go ahead, go ahead.

LS: I was just going to say, so there’s that piece. There’s also, you know, without all of those variables, you can still look if you don’t even specialize in mundane, per se. You can look at the nature of some of the macrocosmic transits. And lots of astrologers were doing that when talking about Saturn Pluto for instance or Jupiter Saturn Pluto, like we have. So, you know, there’s that, but when you do that, just the nature of those things, that’s when you can talk about the outlines sort of more broadly. And you can still say something meaningful about that. But it’s not going to be like this exact thing is going to happen exactly in this way at exactly this time.

CB: In terms of mundane astrology?

LS: Yes.

CB: So going back to our the point that we’re getting into, if somebody acknowledges that I find that Susan Miller is not specialist in mundane astrologies, who are astrologers that are widely regarded for having done research and work on that specific application or that specific area that you would look to if you’re trying to gauge whether astrologers like called it for 2020 or what have you. And if you asked astrologers, who have done work like prominent work, especially in mundane astrology, two of the main names that come up are Richard Tarnas, in his book, Cosmos and Psyche, which was published in 2006. And André Barbault, who is a French astrologer that actually died not too long ago, who’s also well known for having done major work on mundane astrology. So, yeah, so one of the questions is, you know, have they treated this or what did they say about or would have said, in the case of André Barbault who died, about some of these planetary alignments? So one of the issues of mundane astrology is and one of the reasons that it’s complicated, and that was a discussion we’re going into as well. One of the reasons that most astrologers don’t do a lot of it is not just because of how many moving pieces there are, but also because you have to have a really good grasp of world history and the study of world history and all the things that go along with that in order to be able to study long term outer planet cycles and compare and understand what’s happened in the past so that you can then predict the future. So for example, Jupiter Saturn conjunctions only occur about every 20 years. So you’d have to go back in 20-year increments and understand what the connection is between those 20 those different events or what are some other like longer term cycles.

LS: Besides the Saturn Pluto, I mean, a lot of the outer planet combinations.

CB: I mean, Saturn Pluto is one variation, so that’s between 30 and 40 years between those conjunctions.

LS: Right, and you can do any of the other combinations like Uranus-Pluto, Saturn-Neptune, etc. Those are the longer term trends.

CB: Right. I think Uranus Neptune is one I focused on in the study of the history of astrology, and that happens about every 175 years. And the most recent one was around 1992, 1993.

LS: Yeah, so astrology is the study of correlations really, correlations between celestial movements and earthly events. But when you’re, you have to know your subject in terms of what you’re applying it to. So while you can know the general nature, the sorts of you know, yeah, the general nature of some of the planetary combinations, you still need to know what you’re applying it to in order to make more intelligent or more specific predictions regarding how those might play out in the future.

CB: Right. So for example, if you know that in January of 2020 there’s going to be a conjunction of the planets Saturn and Pluto that are going to literally come together in the sky from our vantage point, if we’re looking at the night sky here on earth or looking out of the telescope or what have you and you want to anticipate or make a prediction or forecast or whatever you want to call it about what that conjunction of planets is going to mean in the year 2020, you’ve got to go back and study what’s happened in 30 to 40 year increments every other time that’s happened. And that’s kind of, even though technically, anybody can do it, in order to do that well, you actually kind of have to be a historian to some extent and you have to know how to study and what tools are available and how to investigate history in general in order to really do that properly. So some astrologers have done that, but it’s kind of unique because of what a large undertaking it was. So one of those astrologers that did that that’s been actually getting a lot of credit and press recently within the astrological community is Richard Tarnas. Because Richard Tarnas set out what, 40 some odd years ago, 30, 40 years ago, to do that very investigation to write a book which focused especially on outer planets cycles and how they have coincided with major shifts in world history at different points in time. And generally to sort of demonstrate that astrology seemed to be a legitimate phenomenon in general, partially through that lens. But what was funny about his story is that in order to do that, he realized he had to understand and sort of have a blueprint for like what even is the history of Western intellectual thought or like world thought in terms of world history. So he wrote like another book while he was in the process of writing the larger book about astrology, which became Cosmos and Psyche in 2006. Before he did that, he wrote this other book that was like a footnote to Cosmos and Psyche which is called Passion of the Western Mind. And that came out in the early ’90s and was really well, really critically acclaimed, and ended up on many reading lists for college courses.

LS: Right. Yeah. And I think that he took something like 30 years to write Cosmos and Psyche because of what a large undertaking it is. To do that level of research into historical events and trends, there’s a lot of… It’s an incredibly comprehensive book if you haven’t looked into it already, it’s kind of like a brick.

CB: Right here it is.

LS: Yeah, there’s the picture.

CB: This is the hardcover version at least. And it’s a tome. I mean, I don’t know if it’s as thick as my book. It might be actually.

LS: Similar, I think. I’m pretty sure it’s similar.

CB: Get into like a book measuring contest, that’s the phrase, right?

LS: Yes, definitely.

CB: Okay. Checking the pages. His book is technically, with the index is only like 570 pages. What was mine like? Six, seven?

LS: Yeah, between six and seven. Anyway.

CB: So that’s Cosmos and Psyche. And you know, there’s a lot of younger astrologers, especially those that weren’t around when it came out in 2006, that are reading it now for the first time and there’s some people doing book clubs and stuff to reread it, especially this month. So you can check out the hashtag Cosmos and Psyche to follow some of those discussions on Twitter. So yeah, it’s a huge book. And it focuses on outer planet cycles, especially the… And he has an entire chapter on the Saturn Pluto conjunctions through history. Because when he did his historical research to see, he went back in those 30 to 40-year increments. He said so what events have coincided with this in the past under the premise that not only would you see repetitions of certain similar patterns or archetypal patterns manifesting in history, in humanity and human thought, but that that could potentially then be projected in the future. And a large part of his study, part of his study focused on the 20th century where if you go back with just the last three or what four conjunctions that have occurred over the course of the past century, you end up with the first conjunction of the 20th century occurring in like 1914 right at the beginning of World War I and coinciding very well with World War I. You get the second one occurring immediately after in the aftermath of World War II like right in the middle of the 1940s. And you get the creation of the Cold War at that point and a lot of the things surrounding that in the aftermath of World War II.

LS: A lot of realignments of national borders as well.

CB: Right, the UN and everything else. And then you get the conjunction in the early 1980s in Libra around like 1981 or so. And with that, you get the especially the outbreak of the AIDS epidemic and the World Health Organization officially recognizing that I believe as a pandemic or an epidemic. And that’s some of the things that he talks about in Cosmos and Psyche. And so then you in all three of those cases, you have major shifts and like different world alignments, especially the World War I instance and especially the one that occurred just after World War II with the sort of formation and sort of onset of essentially the Cold War. And then finally, you get another one that’s very much focused on more of like a health crisis and some of the… Not just the crisis itself, but some of the ways that that altered and changed society and unleashed different fears then surrounding that and changed like social mores and things like that.

LS: And the first one, a lot of people talk about World War I in particular coinciding with that, but it also was the lead up to the Spanish flu.

CB: Right. Okay. So with Cosmos and Psyche then, like when you read his chapter because you’re supposed to understand in reading this that he’s not doing this as a history lesson lesson purely, but if you’re reading it, it’s also partially to understand what those planets are about and what their planetary cycles are about and what sort of things you can anticipate in the future. So he’s writing this in 2006. So a lot of the things that he’s writing can then be applied when those same alignments come up in the future, and therefore are anticipatory or sort of forecasts or predictions of themes that would come up in the future.

LS: Yeah, exactly. It is sort of like you get the grasp of the nature of those combinations and what types of events have coincided with them in the past, and you can sort of see what kind of things that would be similar might happen again in the future.

CB: Right. So I mean, and there’s just like a Saturn Pluto chapter that when you reread it from that perspective, knowing that he published this in 2006, he worked on it for like 30 years. But reading now in the context then is really striking. So some of it I want to skip over, but he’s talking about things like the alignment of Saturn Pluto alignments in 1981 through 1984, and using different ways to describe that. But one of the things that he focuses on is the AIDS epidemic and the outbreak of that with that conjunction or the ramping up of that you could say. So he says in one of these paragraphs, nature itself seemed to conspire in the archetypal shift from the 1960s to the early 1980s when the emergence of the AIDS epidemic during the Saturn Pluto conjunction of 1981 through 1984 brought what was widely called at the time “an end to the sexual revolution and an era of sexual experiment and freedom that had emerged during the Uranus Pluto conjunction and the Dionysian awakening of the 1960s.” And then this is an important part, such characteristics Saturn Pluto themes as mass suffering, disease, death and fear arose at this time in relationship to sexuality as did a resulting conservative transformation of social mores with the establishment of new structures of inhibition and control, both internal and external. So that’s like, and that’s just like one sort of small excerpt from much larger, like 600-page work that’s very dense. But just talking about some of the themes that he both identified as coming up in the history and in world events and in society under these alignments in the past and then in terms of identifying or anticipating some of those things coming up in the future in years like 2020.

LS: Definitely. Yeah, and I did a Saturn Pluto presentation last year at our local group meeting, and definitely drew on rereading some of the Richard Tarnas Cosmos and Psyche material in order to prepare for that. And I think that lots of astrologers were doing that in the last couple of years. And the themes are kind of darker, you know, with Saturn Pluto in particular conjoining. So it’s more of a constraining kind of thing, fight for survival, it’s those kind of like the harder themes in life, I would say. Yeah. Some of the themes that I wrote down when I did that were supercharged drive for power, projection of shadow or scapegoating, authority becoming more powerful, and the breakdown and restructuring of things in society, feeling the weight of collective destinies that are bigger than you, sort of feeling that like big, large scale things were happening that you didn’t have a lot of control over yourself as an individual, and obsessive kind of tendencies. So you know, you can talk about the nature of Saturn Pluto, and some of these people certainly did in the past. And so that’s what astrologers are drawing on if they did address this, which many people did over the last couple years. It’s like okay, this is kind of the nature of what we can expect again, even if we don’t know the singular biggest piece of it. Because it’s also often drawing on the past alignments more than one thing.

CB: Yeah, I mean and that’s one of the problems and the complexities with mundane astrology, is that we’re talking about for example, one of the larger alignments that was happening this year which was the Saturn Pluto conjunction, but not only is that conjunction unique because there’s other major planetary alignments happening at the same time. One of them was that Jupiter happened to go into Capricorn in December, and then is like aligning with all of that in that sign at that time. And then early this year in that period of like March, April, May, Mars moved into Capricorn. So that was one of the things that was nice to me when a lot of the stuffs running the Coronavirus really intensified around the world and it became, you know, identified as a major worldwide pandemic was when people would ask me as an astrologer like, “What’s going on?” I would just say like, “In the sky right now, a bunch of the planets are literally lining up in the same sign of the zodiac and in the same sector of the sky.” So that almost classic image of the planets aligning was almost literally what was happening or what was going on at that time.

LS: Right, definitely.

CB: So but the problem with that is it creates unique alignments, so it wasn’t just Saturn and Pluto. And then under any of those other previous alignments that we’ve talked about in history, while they were recurrences of Saturn and Pluto and therefore shared some of the same qualities, oftentimes there were different planets involved that were changing this sort of mixture or changing the specificities of the sort of archetypal themes coming up at that time, as well as just the context then secondarily in history of different eras of history in different contexts for how those energies could manifest with like, you know, the mid 1910s like World War I era versus just after World War II era versus early 1980s era versus now in like the 2020s.

LS: Definitely, there’s all those variables, and there’s also just the simple fact that it’s often more than one manifestation. It’s not only one thing that you can call. So for instance, the 1914 one, say okay, war, like major world war, but also the lead into the Spanish flu. Both of those, you know, the… I think World War I lined up more exactly but it was still within those ranges. You know, especially like the Richard Tarnas kind of historical ranges of the planetary movements. And so, you know, I think that’s another sort of disjunct between what astrologers know about how this works, and the popular view is it’s not one thing to call, it’s usually like several things if it’s something major like this.

CB: Right. So that’s one astrologer. So for example, she could have… And Richard Tarnas is still around like he’s still giving lectures and still teaching at universities. And, you know, when his book came out in 2006, like it got reviewed in some major publications. And like with the New York Times’s coverage of astrology, they were all similarly just immediately dismissive and largely rejecting it as just absurd at the start without really taking it seriously. Like I think there was like a Wall Street Journal review at the time that sort of slammed the book.

LS: Yeah, there was a little quote that said that the premise may sound like an elaborate joke, calling it an adulterated crack pottery, and that Tarnas’s observations were vacuous, that they “drain human events of meaning rather than fill them with significance,” which is actually really kind of funny because anyone who’s read it, I don’t know, it’s just such an elaborate, you know, exploration of the significations rather than draining it of those.

CB: Right. Well, in his entire thesis that he kind of sets out about the disenchanted worldview, is this point that it’s not that for some reason there is a greater underlying theme of meaning and purpose in the cosmos than you would think at first glance that there should be. And that was part of his thesis of the book, and part of what he was trying to do was reintroduce astrology in as respectable a way as he possibly could to contemporary, modern intellectual discourse. And there’s no other book, I don’t think, that’s made a better attempt at doing that or from somebody that had the necessary background and like accolades to even make that pitch to modern intellectuals than Richard Tarnas. And I think his book has been regarded as that in the astrological community since that time, like that has been the case for, you know, a decade and a half now. But of course, like he’s not the subject of this interview but has come up despite that.

LS: Right, definitely. Yeah, I have this great quote from the book if I could read that. Yeah. So this is he does go into a lot of the specific manifestations, so this is a little bit more of the general feel of the times of Saturn Pluto alignments. But this one says, Saturn Pluto alignment periods are also characterized by displays of personal and collective determination, unbending will, courage and sacrifice by intensely-focused, silent, strenuous effort in the face of danger and death by a deepening capacity for moral discernment born from experience and suffering and by the transformation and forging of enduring structures, whether material, political or psychological. And I think in particular about that, and that’s page 210 out of Cosmos and Psyche if you want to look that up, but think about that particular by intensely-focused, strenuous effort in the face of danger and death. And I think about all the medical workers right now, and that’s exactly what they’re facing, sort of like this, you know, at least in the harder hit places of like working, you know, 14-hour days like every day in a row and having so many people die on them compared to usual and things like that.

CB: Right. Yeah, exactly. And whether… So it’s like is that evocative enough, you know, for someone? Does that count for anything when it comes to this? Yeah, or even I mean, read other… So the other person we mentioned was like André Barbault, who was like a famous French astrologer that died not that long ago, but he was very especially well renowned for his work on mundane astrology. So even though he primarily wrote in French, there was a translation of his book that came out not too long ago, titled Planetary Cycles Mundane Astrology. And he has different chapters on different outer planet alignments depending on just their frequency and things like that, but he focuses on the really long term major outer planetary alignments and has a chapter for each one. And he especially focuses on looking at them in history in order to understand what they mean very similar to Tarnas. So he gives the years at first. Like he says, taking into account at the beginning of this chapter, taking into account the eccentricity of Pluto’s orbit, the return of Saturn Pluto conjunction varies markedly by a few years over 30. In the 19th and 20th centuries, there were conjunctions in 1918, 1851, 1883, 1914, 1947 and 1982. So his first paragraph’s really funny because he ends up being blunt at the very beginning in outlining what the basic straightforward significations are, but then he tries to like issue caution that it’s not just the worst case scenario, even though for astrologers because these two planets are planets that tend to be associated with more difficult or challenging things. When you combine two planets that are normally on their own associated with more difficult or subjectively challenging things, when you combine them together, you get something even more sort of challenging. He tries to caution that there’s still some constructive stuff. But listen to this first paragraph. He says, “We are naturally inclined to assign to this planetary combination a register that is dark and sinister.” So remember this is a conjunction, a combination that occurred at the beginning of this year and is still in effect, like the most intense part was at the beginning of 2020. They’ve separated a little bit, but then they’re going to retrograde back actually starting this week, right? Saturn station retrograde this week.

LS: Station and then go back into the same sign as Pluto in July.

CB: Right, so and then they’ll be lining back up, and they won’t go exact exact, but they’ll get pretty close again later this year. So therefore, this is an alignment that’s sort of coloring this entire year. So we’re naturally inclined to assign to this planetary combination a register that as dark and sinister, a double star that evokes the death wish of Thanatos. Its company after the Jupiter Uranus conjunction in 1914 brings to mind the extremes of the German army’s rapid advance on Paris to the internal paralysis of the war in the trenches of soldiers who are bogged down. Besides the fire of murderous artillery, there was the silent and obscene weapon of asphyxiating gases. But let’s be careful of easy answers. Each of these planets has just as many really positive qualities. And then he tries to go through and does a more detailed analysis of Saturn Pluto through history combinations, especially the conjunctions in the 20th century. So a quote from him from an article was circulating recently and was published, a translation of one of his articles where he… So in that book, he’s looking mainly at cycles in the past, but then he also did work before he died anticipating upcoming alignments in the future. And a translation of one of his articles came out recently or appeared recently in a journal by the astrological association of Great Britain. And I think a quote or a paragraph from part of that was circulating.

LS: Yeah, so the quote, he specifically is discussing pandemics actually which is fascinating at this point. So he said, “Going back to the pandemics and going back to the past century, the four crises of 1918, 1954, 1968 and 1982 are obvious, but two considerable being the first, the famous Spanish flu, which is said to have claimed 25 million lives, and the last one in which AIDS which is even more devastating and continues to be deadly. Since then, there has also been a small influenza surge in 2009 against the lowest cyclical index 2010. We may well be in serious danger of a new pandemic at the 2020, 2021 mark at the lowest peak of the cyclical index of the 21st century with a quintet of outer planets gathered over 100 degrees, a conjunction Jupiter Saturn Pluto can more specifically, and even specifically lend itself to the tissue of this imbalance. Nevertheless, this configuration can also transfer its core of dissonances to the terrain of geophysical disasters without ultimately sparing the international affairs scene, nature and society being indiscriminately affected.” So he specifically actually said, “Yeah, there might be another pandemic in 2020, 2021.”

CB: All right, and this was in like a larger article about pandemics. So that article it’s in French, it’s on his website still, there’s a PDF of it up. And I just asked somebody, somebody just sent me. I asked some people to translate it into English because I’d like it to be more widely available, not just behind in a journal. So it’s already out or has been printed or is about to be in a journal, another English translation of that article from before he died. I think he died like last year or something, in the past year or two. So there’s not just… Yeah, so for this episode, if this is released as an episode of The Astrology Podcast, I’ll put a link to download the English translation or to a page where there will be a public translation of this from French into English so people can read it and look at it for themselves and judge for themselves if this famous French astrologer who specialized in mundane astrology and had written a book on mundane astrology, if he, if you could say or assess that he called the pandemic.

LS: Yeah, so I think there’s two things going on, who are you paying attention to or reading in terms of astrological work and who are they speaking to?

CB: Oh yeah. Are they even researching this topic or are they just taking cheap shots at astrology not really looking into it that much? Because again, this has been like a recurring thing for me that I think we’ve talked about a few times on the podcast. Like every time a new wave of just hit patcher jobs on astrology or hit pieces on astrology come out, one of the points that I always make is, because astrology is not viewed as a legitimate science or as a valid field of knowledge and that astrologers are viewed as charlatans, reporters in the media and the press commonly treat astrology in a very lax way where they don’t have to bring the same level of like rigor, like academic or journalistic rigor to reporting on it in terms of like, you know, who did she interview? How much did she research this piece to see what different astrologers had set or predicted? Versus did she really just pick out a well known astrologer in New York to focus on for this piece and use that as an example of the entire field?

LS: Yeah, I think that they often think that any astrologer is interchangeable with another astrologer in terms of the public view. And so yeah, you can talk to the most famous ones that are public facing and not look at who specializes in what because it’s all kind of the same and it’s not particularly complicated. And so like talking to one astrologer is like talking to any of them.

CB: Well, I’m trying to think of an analogy like… It’s not even a great analogy because more respect or… But like if you were doing a study, doing a report or a piece on a story that involves like a scientific area like virology or something like that, and the person who specialized in that that you should be talking to, it’d be like a virologist to see if they had anticipated this, but instead you interview like Bill Nye or like Neil deGrasse Tyson, who Bill Nye is not necessarily a scientist but Neil deGrasse Tyson does have a degree in a scientific field, but it’s in like astronomy, and like how appropriate it would be to have him representing like somebody in a different subset of science in a completely different area.

LS: Yeah, definitely. I think that’s just an ongoing issue and will continue to be unless reporters or whoever they’re working for make it more imperative that they are more rigorous with it and get to know the field even, you know.

CB: I mean, which realistically, like let’s talk about that realistically, it’s not going to happen. And I realized unfortunately, because we always, you know, moan about it every time this happens, but I was reflecting on and have to acknowledge and come to terms with that a little bit more than maybe I have in my youth. Because thinking about this week, there was that explosion of different conspiracy theory stories that were going around or especially over the past couple of months, especially ones by people like David Icke that were about that… He was trying to say that people aren’t getting sick due to Coronavirus or getting sick due to 5G or there are other ones saying that Coronavirus was a hoax or different things like that, let’s say about extreme fringe. And when I use the term conspiracy theory, I guess I should preface that I’m saying because some people got upset last time in the last episode that I used the term conspiracy theory. I’m aware that that phrase was coined in the 1950s by a government organization and therefore now it’s treated as pejorative. I don’t need like 20 people to remind me of that since I studied conspiracy theories at a certain point, and that was something I am familiar with. But what was the point I was making?

LS: I’m not sure actually something about getting greater respectability or something like that.

CB: The point was I realized in the coverage of some of that stuff, which even to me was really far out there and I understood why some people or let’s say some reporters weren’t taking it seriously or would just immediately reject it because even as an astrologer there are things that I immediately reject. I mean, I guess I should preface that by saying I don’t, again, to the people that might freak out on me, I don’t reject all conspiracy theories, and I know that there are some conspiracy theories that have been validated or initially treated as alternative theories and later turned out to be true. And that may still be the case, there may be some conspiracy theories that I’m open to. But even if you’re open to conspiracy theories, you acknowledge, have to acknowledge that there’s some that are simply not true. So in terms of really, let’s say extreme or outlandish or far out there conspiracy theories like for example, the idea that the world is run by trans-dimensional shape shifting lizards, which is like David Icke’s one of his main theories, that’s one that I don’t necessarily accept. And I can see people rejecting as being, let’s say, not very plausible. I realize when the media is dealing with astrology, they view astrologers the same way and naturally have a dismissive attitude and naturally like don’t feel like they need to invest time into it to understand like the, you know, sub the nuances of the discipline of astrology in the same way that I don’t feel like, even though I actually did when I was in high school, read some David Icke books. So it’s not like I’m unfamiliar with it or I’m rejecting it from not being familiar, I don’t think I need to return to that and brush up on his hierarchy of how the trans-dimensional shape shifting lizard hierarchy works out.

LS: Think you just like this phrase.

CB: Well, it’s a really concise phrase to summarize like one of his main theses that he’s known for. I can understand why reporters often don’t do that, but it’s frustrating obviously as people that are within that field that it’s treated, because it has that reputation as being as Tarnas said the gold standard of pseudoscience, that it’s treated that way.

LS: Yeah, it’s really tricky. Because I could totally see feeling the same way about some other things is like, you know, or like the flat earth theory or something. And, you know, it’s like no, I don’t really need to study it that hard to be like science has actually proved that the world is a sphere, you know. So yeah, I get that. And it’s tricky being in what’s considered a somewhat fringe–

CB: By the way, you’re gonna get hate mail from flat earth people on YouTube, so I just want to let you know.

LS: Good to know, just wanted to throw something out there. But yeah, I mean, I think similarly, it’s like there are some things where people are doing something behind the scenes and you find out later that was actually happening. You have to be discerning and have some yeah, some rigor to your thinking and research skills when you go into these things. Feel like this is morphing topics a little bit.

CB: I mean, it is and we’re going to try to avoid that topic because of how, even though there’s things to say about it, we don’t want to get too much aside into a separate and like delicate area. But it was just irrelevant in terms of the main point was again, just journalists… Honestly, especially from the New York Times for some reason, I don’t know why this is but New York Times seems to stand out in this way of just having very similar treatments of astrology repeatedly. We should probably create a list at this point of just all of them. They actually have some of them in their related articles section like just below this actual article, which is really funny. Do you have it pulled up?

LS: Let’s see, yes. To the bottom?

CB: Bottom of the article it says… It’s like related articles section.

LS: Yeah, yeah, yeah, actually, they’re funny.

CB: And one of the things that’s funny is that it has their entire subsection like the title it gives for that entire subsection at the bottom of the article is, it’s not real, but it’s real popular. And I don’t know what that is… It’s just a heading for the subcategories of astrology that it gives. But then one of the other articles that links to is, astrology is fake, but it’s probably fine. And then the next one is, astrology is hard, even if it’s fake.

LS: Right, so you’ve got to have “fake” in the title?

CB: But it just is funny even as a social phenomenon. And it stands out in terms of even if you treat astrology as not a legitimate phenomenon which is fine, it’s interesting in terms of, if you then… What are you treating it as? Even if you treat it as like a religion or something, normally like you don’t… For the religious things, you don’t even have that level of sort of overt contempt from journalists basically.

LS: Yes, exactly. Although in that particular article that just came out, they did sort of go over that like, “Oh, this is a comforting thing for people, you know, because it’s such a difficult time.” And so they sort of did that angle for a little bit.

CB: Yeah. Well, let’s talk about that because those were the other parts of the article. So the first part of the article just focuses on Susan Miller and whatever statements like Susan Miller made, and I think it’s just drawing… What’s funny about this, I think it’s just drawing on some appearance she made on television or something at the beginning, right? But she doesn’t… When we were searching before that, we were having trouble even finding a written analysis or something that she made of world events. Because that’s not really what she does. What she does is she normally just does Sun sign horoscopes for each of the 12 zodiac signs which is like personalized astrology.

LS: Yeah, she does monthly horoscopes. And not even… You know, some people like that will do a year ahead, but I’m not sure she even did a year ahead even for the science.

CB: Even for the science?

LS: Yeah, I mean, unless I’m unaware, but I don’t see that on her website, it’s still just the monthlies. She did like a yearly calendar, but it has more of the transitory things going on.

CB: Okay, so what was the rest of this article if we can just summarize and describe it really quickly without reading the entire thing? So, I mean, one thing that’s funny is they got somebody to like print out a copy of a birth chart from astro.com and set it on fire, which is a funny, sort of over the top thing in terms of, again, the evocativeness and the attempt or the clear attempt or whatever they’re attempting to do in framing this article and set it up with the title “Will Coronavirus kill astrology? The pandemic has affected all of us who saw it coming.” And it just says photo illustration by Jessica Lerman for the New York Times. So what does that mean that they hired somebody in order to print out a copy of a chart from astro.com and set it on fire? Because it’s not like–

LS: Presumably that’s not a stock photo.

CB: Because that’s the thing, is there’s not people out like protesting in the streets like burning astrology and… You know, burning astrology charts and something like that. And so, yeah.

LS: Yeah.

CB: Go ahead. I was going to summarize.

LS: You can, and then I have like a main point about it.

CB: About the burning of the chart?

LS: No, not about the burning of the chart.

CB: Okay. So yeah, she’s just talking about Susan Miller, and only two other astrologers are mentioned in the entire article. And one of them is Chani Nicholas, who again, that’s actually another astrologer who’s become prominent recently and has become popular. But like it doesn’t really say much about Chani and Chani forecasting this, but instead it just kind of tries to take a swipe at her sort of pointlessly as an aside.

LS: Yeah. And I had a feeling as I was reading this, I was like I know Chani knows astrology well, you know. And so I was just like they must have not included so much of the discussion, whatever the exchange was.

CB: If they did interview Chani, like what was actually said.

LS: Yeah, because this is just the briefest clip and I was like I know her, and so I know that she would have said more than this.

CB: Right. So but what does it say about her?

LS: Just that she knew 2020 would be a tough year. But it wasn’t only the stars, it’s an election year.

CB: Right. But it’s not even just that. I mean, they say the way they set it up is sort of dismissive. Chani Nicolas, dubbed, “a kind of social justice astrologer has built a following for her thoughtful socially conscious astrological briefings, which often reference mental health, queer identity and progressive politics.” Ms. Nicholas said she knew 2020 would be a tough one, but it wasn’t only the stars that gave her that clue. And it says, “It’s an election year,” she said, “and election years are always tough.” Add that to the growing warnings about a coming recession and her own astrological calculations, and Ms. Nicholas felt confident in her own conjectures.” And then it goes on with other quotes, should I read the rest of them? Well, I’m just trying to like be clear about the shortness of the disconnect between the articles trying to set up this premise of astrologers didn’t predict or even anticipate this ahead of time in any way whatsoever, and then it gives one example of Susan Miller and doing a TV interview at the beginning and then the rest of it almost has nothing to do with any sort of investigation about what astrologers said prior to 2020 about what the nature of 2020 would be for the rest of the year.

LS: Yeah, they go on to sort of have the angle that, you know, Chani is saying what can we do from here and astrology should be in service to the moment. And the same thing with the third astrologer who was Steph Koyfman is saying that this was offering comfort because it’s a way to understand what’s going on currently.

CB: Right. But that was another one where I saw her on Twitter mention that where it seemed like she expressed that there was a whole interview that was done with a reporter, and there was a lot of other stuff said and the result of that interview was one paragraph. And I actually had a question of, I know Steph is an astrologer, and I know her just from Twitter, and she has the website, The Daily Hunch. But I don’t otherwise know… I was curious like how did the reporter end up talking to her? What was the basis of setting that interview up?

LS: Right. Yeah, I have no idea either. And the snippets are so common, you know, that’s one of the warnings when you talk to media is that, you know, maybe one sentence or two sentences out of the whole thing, even if you’ve talked to them for an hour might be quoted, so and you don’t know if it was the most important point you made.

CB: Yeah. Well, because part of it… Yeah, so they’ll take whatever, what it ended up with, from whatever interview they did that was just a paragraph that literally just says, Steph Koyfman, a former journalist who founded The Daily Hunch, a site that offers personalized daily horoscopes, agrees that astrology can help provide tools to cope with uncertainty in the daily frustrations and fears brought on by the pandemic. And then there’s the quote from her that says, I think astrology might offer comfort because it’s a way of naming and unpacking archetypal patterns. It allows people to put words to what they’re already feeling, and that helps them feel witnessed. Ms. Koyfman said, “It’s also a way of orienting yourself in history and time, it helps take you beyond, oh my God, why is this happening to me? This is just how time works, it’s a cycle,.” Which honestly is like a pretty solid paragraph and statement to get in there. But of course, the way that it’s framed and the way the reporter tries to frame it, is just that it’s entirely retrospective in the way that she’s trying to frame it in terms of Chani. And also is just that there’s other reasons that are completely non-astrological for why they’re saying anything that couldn’t be even approximating like an accurate statement.

LS: Yeah, those things and also framing for both that second and third astrologer’s, that it’s like a coping tool. That it’s essentially sort of a quasi-religious thing, this makes people feel better in a difficult moment. Yeah. Yeah. So yeah, I mean, and this is common, you know, this way of framing. I mean, I don’t know if you want to move here. But one of the things that this really brought up for me, in addition to the disconnect between how non-astrologers think astrology works versus how it actually does, was this other frequently unquestioned assumption that astrologers always publicize or write exactly everything that they think could happen out of certain astrological circumstances. And I think that’s a kind of a big subtopic but it’s like depending on your audience and depending on what purpose you’re serving with astrology, there’s also internal and external conversations about these things. And so when you look at something like Richard Tarnas or Andre Barbault, they were saying exactly what they thought.

CB: Right. Well, they are partially talking about history and historical cycles, so they’re just able to attempt as best they can to do objective analysis of it.

LS: Right.

CB: And then secondarily, sometimes they’re making predictions about the future based on projecting those historical cycles forward.

LS: Right.

CB: But they’re not like sitting down and talking to an individual over a table and then making individual predictions about their life.

LS: Exactly. And I think that that’s a distinction that’s important because in terms of public facing astrology if you’re talking to–One thing is just talking to other astrologers versus what do you say? More globally if you’re trying to talk to anyone reading this, right? And you might explain things in slightly more general terms or whatnot.

CB: Yeah, or also sometimes political things are off the table. There’s different astrologers that approach that in different ways.

LS: Mhm.

CB: Like some astrologers are more overtly political or have open political stances or incorporate political themes and ideology into their writings whereas other astrologers might not or may attempt to actively attempt to avoid that area in terms of their public statements versus, let’s say, private ones.

LS: Right. Yeah. And so, we’ve already touched on the distinction between mundane astrology versus individual or natal astrology or talking about even anyone born under a certain sun sign or rising sign. But if that’s primarily what you’re doing in terms of public-facing work, then how are you going to slip in like, “Oh, and there also might be a pandemic.” because that’s not what you’re addressing.

CB: Yeah, that one especially for somebody again like Susan Miller that’s writing horoscopes–

LS: Yeah.

CB: She’s writing personalized forecasts as if it’s the next best thing. If you’re not sitting next to an astrologer, then the pop version of that is writing one for individual Sun sign. And those don’t usually contain typically forecasts related to pandemics or famines or whether like some other pestilences or earthquakes will be happening in the world sphere relative to your Sun sign or something.

LS: Exactly. So I think that’s a really important piece that most reporters totally miss about astrology and that could hugely help their reframing if they actually understood that.

CB: So that’s why I guess a good example of why a earlier distinction between like mundane astrology versus natal astrology versus pop Sun sign astrology–

LS: Mhm.

CB: –why that distinction is important and why the specialists who specialize not just in the past historical study of those areas but as well as making upcoming forecasts about them, why that distinction is important to know–

LS: Mhm.

CB: –for outsiders and if you’re trying to make that assessment.

LS: Definitely. And also what role are you trying to play with your astrology? And so for instance like a Susan Miller type of column, you’re trying to provide guidance that’s somewhat specialized to someone’s chart even if it’s not a full individualized look at the birth chart. And you’re trying to provide guidance for that particular person within the larger sphere, so you’re not even talking about–Because even within any macrocosm or macrocosmic moment like we have right now for instance–And I know that Austin was talking about that at some point, the distinction between how things might be going in the next year globally versus how it might go for individuals, specific individuals–

CB: Right.

LS: –and that there were always opportunities within even difficult circumstances that some people might be in better circumstances to take advantage of or something.

CB: Yeah, that was one of the statements I believe he made in the yearly forecast perhaps or one of his forecasts.

LS: Yeah, and I think that’s a distinction that’s aged well in terms of if you’re talking to individual people or even trying to do that within a more generalized sphere of horoscopes. You’re not trying to tell them what might go wrong. That’s not even the role you’re trying to play. You’re not trying to tell them what might go wrong in the macrocosmic sphere.

CB: Right.

LS: You’re trying to tell them what opportunities might they be able to individually grasp in the coming month or year.

CB: Yeah. Although even at that, one of the things that was funny that I keep thinking about over the past few months is we do–For the past several few years on The Astrology Podcast with Austin and Kelly, we do a year ahead forecast where we try to identify the main themes overarching themes in the coming year. And it’s like people can go back and listen to that in terms of some of the themes that we discussed coming up in this year and the different parts of the year that were supposed to be the greater focus or there was more activity going on, and we did. And people can make their own assessment about how well we did in terms of that and how well we did so far in identifying, for example when we focused on that period when Mars went into Capricorn and joined Jupiter and Saturn and Pluto.

LS: Mhm.

CB: And then eventually the conjunction that happened between Mars and Saturn. So Mars ingressed in what like March, February?

LS: February.

CB: Yeah.

LS: Mhm.

CB: In February. Then the conjunction happened at the end of March, and then the conjunction didn’t end that we are focused on in terms of that until the middle of May.

LS: Right.

CB: And then we focused on other parts of the year that are still coming up like the Mars retrograde once Mars goes into Aries in July, and then retrograde stations retrograde in September and then stays retrograde for a while after that. People can make an assessment about that later at some point.

LS: Mhm.

CB: But we also did separate individualized horoscopes at the beginning of January that were like video assessments that were supposed to be more personalized for the entire year.

LS: Right.

CB: And one of the things that was funny to me about that was at the beginning of the year we released those, and people can go back and watch them. They’re about an hour an hour and a half for each of the 12 signs. And we told people you should primarily apply them to your rising sign where your Ascendant is located and secondarily to your sun sign especially if you have a day chart or your moon sign especially if you have a night chart. But even though in like a personal one you have to be more careful about not making overly negative statements, we still did bring up where there might be challenges or difficulties in some areas of a person’s life during the course of the year.

LS: Mhm.

CB: And like one of the people that read that, I got this message through Instagram in mid January, who was very upset and she said, “I feel like you said overly negative things about this year, and it’s really bummed me out.”

LS: Mhm.

CB: And she basically wanted to complain about that, that she felt that I shouldn’t be saying negative things in general with astrology. And that was part of her general, philosophical stance.

LS: Mhm.

CB: And we had this back and forth about that and about whether that was reasonable at all.

LS: Yeah, I remember that. And I remember also doing it because I was in I think seven out of the 12 rising sign horoscope videos with you.

CB: Right.

LS: And so I remember also the challenge in sort of trying to present something that was useful to people and honest and accurate but also not being overly negative or fearful when some challenging things look like they were coming up, and I think that is like an overarching sub piece as well, of the misconception that astrologers always say exactly everything they think could happen under a certain alignment or during a certain year because people do actually try to be judicious in terms of how will this land, how will this impact individual people when they hear these things. And it’s sort of sometimes a careful balance between wanting to be encouraging of what are the opportunities you can take or what is good to know about this upcoming time period versus making people scared unnecessarily or even just making people scared even if it does come true.

CB: Yeah, that was a real consideration going into this forecast for doing the 2020 forecast with Austin and Kelly when Austin flew out from Oregon and Kelly flew in from Belgium where she’s living right now even though she’s originally from Australia and she’d been living in Canada for a decade. But she recently moved to Belgium, so it was a track to get us all out here to record the year ahead forecast in the studio. And the previous year in 2019, there were some difficult alignments that happened around the summer which Austin famously, because he always comes up with really evocative language, referred to as like the meat grinder. And I was always a little bit uncomfortable because then that became like a funny almost catchphrase that people used on social media that listened to the podcast after that and became maybe one of the more popular phrases just partially cuz of how evocative it was but also partially cuz it was kind of a difficult part of the year for many people individually with some of the planetary alignments that were happening at the time legitimately.

LS: Mhm.

CB: There was a listener who had a baby that was born during that time, and somebody printed it up as a funny joke gift, like a onesie that said ‘meat grinder’ on it or something like that.

LS: Mhm.

CB: That made me a little uncomfortable in terms of I wanted to be more careful going into 2020 about being honest and realistic but also not freaking people out and not using overly evocative sort of language. And so I remember talking to Austin about that ahead of time and asking if we could please be a little bit more restrained, really careful in terms of that.

LS: Mhm.

CB: Which is interesting because then in wanting to do that and be careful not to go too far or freak people out, I might have even held some of the statements back that could have been made about how challenging this year could have been.

LS: Mhm.

CB: So I don’t overplay that cuz I don’t think I censored Austin or Kelly or necessarily myself too much.

LS: Mhm.

CB: But I did at least say that we should try to be careful and not freak people out and I want to be careful about what keywords we use that weren’t too bad even though we did still even at that sort of acknowledge that it was gonna be kind of a difficult year especially in certain parts of it.

LS: Definitely. And I think The Astrology Podcast falls in sort of like a middle ground lane in terms of the public facing and specific audience whereas if you’re writing for people just reading horoscopes, it’s usually people who know very little to know astrology. So you’re talking in a very different way. If you’re writing about mundane, it’s purely like historical trends and so forth.

CB: Mhm.

LS: And in between it’s kind of like you’re talking to people who are already interested in astrology and wanna hear more in-depth about it, so I think that’s kind of where that lands. And I feel similarly about when we’ve talked about the yearly forecasts at our local astrology group the Denver Astrology Group, and we’ve done a year ahead forecast for the past several years. I forget which the first year was, but I know we were at least doing it by the end of 2017 because I was sort of thinking back on what I’ve said about the upcoming times about 2020 or about Saturn, Pluto in general.

CB: Mhm.

LS: And I noticed when I thought about that that I said kind of the most dire things early on like in the end of 2017 for instance when Saturn first ingressed into Capricorn.

CB: Yeah, with the onset of the period that we’re at the tail end of now of Saturn transiting through Capricorn when the conjunction, the co-presence of Saturn began the same sign as Pluto began and is sort of building up towards that–

LS: Exactly.

CB: –style culminating.

LS: Yeah. It’s the same energy, but it’s starting to build up towards sort of a climax. And then that happened in January 2020, and then it still goes on for a bit after till at least the end of the year and probably really more than that.

CB: Mhm.

LS: And so I know that I said some of the most kind of “scary things” early on because I don’t really know why. But I was talking about things like the rise of autocratic leaders and things like scapegoating of marginalized communities and things like that sort of ramping up even further than usual.

CB: Mhm.

LS: But I was doing so in an environment that was specifically talking to people who are already interested in astrology and potentially at least understood it a little bit better.

CB: Right.

LS: So I think there’s some choice involved in there, and I just think that reporters need to understand that as well, is that like all of the different astrologers and the ones you’re gonna find easiest online are writing horoscopes. They’re not necessarily speaking to the audience that you’re talking about or that you’re looking for.

CB: Yeah. And I guess that’s fine. We can write that off at this point.

LS: Mhm.

CB: It’s just not happening but in terms of a discussion between us or a discussion with an astrological audience and understanding our own subject better. And so we can define some of the areas that are hard that need to be understood going into it especially if you’re like teaching it to somebody or if we’re understanding and better defining what it is as a field.

 LS: Mhm.

CB: I guess that’s what we’re discussing at this point.

LS: Yeah, for sure.

CB: Yeah. So you mentioned your past statements and predictions about it in the future. And I mentioned 2020. That was actually one of the issues with our forecast this year as we recorded because they flew out here, and we had like a week to record. We like recorded episodes every day for five or six days, and we had recorded the December forecast right before the yearly forecast. And in December is when Jupiter went into Capricorn, so there’s a little bit of an issue. If you go back and listen to our 2020 forecast, you actually have to start at least with the December forecast because part of our statements–because we didn’t wanna completely repeat ourselves. We’re already made in that one.

LS: Mhm. Yeah, definitely.

CB: Yeah. We also did like a Saturn-Pluto episode or Saturn in Capricorn episode at one point.

LS: Mhm.

CB: And then also like you’re saying since that conjunction started at the end of 2017 and is culminating now, some of the previous statements were also made though.

LS: Mhm. For sure. And I know I did a Saturn-Pluto presentation at our local group last year. I think you were out of the country at the time or something.

CB: Mhm.

LS: And that was a little bit ominous, just noting all of the world leaders who had things sort of piled up in Cancer Capricorn or had Saturn-Pluto things in their own birth charts and that this looked sort of like things were kind of aligning for something more important for Saturn-Pluto to affect all of them at the same time or roughly around the same time. The thing that I wished that I had talked about more was my first example of like a tight Saturn-Pluto natally was Jonas Salk who was one of the early inventors of the polio vaccine.

CB: Mmm.

LS: And that’s obviously really relevant at this point and what I was bringing up at the time which was this sort of archetypal fighting against something that was really a daunting foe that was potentially deadly, like that kind of energy but the proactive attempt to vanquish it or to fight against it and save people and that kind of thing.

CB: Mhm.

LS: And so that’s become very relevant, and I had wished in retrospect that I had said that in a more public forum.

CB: Right, just in terms of because you had gone back and looked at people that have that in their birth chart and they’re trying to understand it better.

LS: Exactly. Because that’s another way of understanding these alignments and how they play out in a more widespread fashion is, how does this show up in people’s lives who have already lived their full lives.

CB: Mhm. Okay. So, there was another point that I meant to go towards at this point as we’re getting towards the end of this about forecasts in general or astrological prediction especially as it pertains to–Oh, yeah. It’s only May. We just started May.

LS: Mhm.

CB: And we’re not even halfway through the year yet or almost halfway through the year, but not everything has even taken place that’s going to take place in 2020.

LS: Right.

CB: Not every planetary alignment that we talked about and focused on in terms of the most significant planetary alignments has taken place yet. We certainly have gotten a chunk of it so far because we got the exact Saturn-Pluto conjunction that happened in early January as this new virus was ramping up. It just apparently in November December started to slowly spread out of China, and then by January is right around the time that it was actually recognized formally. I think that’s around–

LS: Mhm.

CB: –like really close.

LS: That was really close. Also, the first death or the first case traced in the US was also really close to the exact conjunction.

CB: Okay. And I think the World Health Organization made an announcement about it at that time–

LS: Mhm.

CB: –formally designated it as an issue.

LS: Yeah.

CB: So around the time of that conjunction. And so we’ve got one of those. We also got past the period or we’re about to finally move out of the period where we talked a lot about Mars moving into Capricorn and joining Jupiter and Saturn and Pluto–

LS: Mhm.

CB: –as well as one of the nodes or the eclipse points of the Moon.

LS: Mhm.

CB: And that period pretty well coinciding has ended up especially in the US has coincided with the period where a lot of people started dying related to it as well as the onset of the quarantine. And now coming up in the middle of May, one of the things that’s really interesting is it seems to also start to coincide with some of the states opening up again–

LS: Mhm.

CB: –as Mars is now finally leaving that conjunction with Saturn.

LS: Right.

CB: But we still got some stuff left to go. There’s gonna be the nodes just changed signs recently and there’s about disturbing eclipses again before too long.

LS: Mhm.

CB: Mars is gonna go retrograde.

LS: Yeah.

CB: Saturn is gonna retrograde. Saturn is just stationing right now in Aquarius and is gonna retrograde back into Capricorn and back towards its conjunction with Pluto. So it’s gonna get close to Pluto again like it was in January.

LS: Mhm.

CB: And Mars, when it moves into Aries in July, is then gonna station retrograde in September. And then we’re gonna have a several week period of Mars being retrograde–

LS: Mhm. Until mid November.

CB: –until mid November. And then at the very end of the year the last month of the year in December we have the last really major thing which is a really significant thing in itself which is the Jupiter-Saturn conjunction.

LS: Right. Yeah, and I think a lot of astrologers are thinking about that Mars transit in particular through Aries cuz it’s a six-month transit through Aries instead of six weeks.

CB: Mhm.

LS: And in addition to the retrograde and the most potent piece I think is that it’s squaring all of that Capricorn stuff, the Jupiter, Saturn, Pluto in the second half of the year. And knowing as we’ve seen now that as we expected when Mars moved into Capricorn and conjoined those that things ramped up at least in the US–

CB: Mhm.

LS: I think there’s an expectation that there will be more to come with regard to all of that and sort of another intensification or problem period.

CB: Yeah, especially cuz when it stations in September, it’s closely squaring the Saturn-Pluto- Jupiter conjunction.

LS: Mhm.

CB: So there’s sort of like a tight alignment of planets during that time that seems like more of a tense aspect that would indicate sort of tension in the world rather than something that’s easy and harmonious.

LS: Yeah, exactly. And it’s of course tragic seeing how many people have died from this from an astrological point of view. It’s also been interesting to see how much worse it’s affected the US so far than some other countries, and I was sort of expecting that because the Saturn-Pluto–Just doing basic basic mundane astrology, the Saturn-Pluto conjunction was aligning closely with the Pluto return itself of the United States chart.

CB: Mhm.

LS: And so it’s like that’s not a great overlap there. Just based on that alone, I was figuring before when this was starting the US is gonna fare worse with regard to this. And it has unfortunately.

CB: Sure. So, yeah. And that ties into some of the other stuff like the birth chart of the US which is the episode I did with Nina. I wanna return to that at some point to look at some of the different times again on July 4th and the different rising signs for more of like an electional standpoint–

LS: Mhm.

CB: –of what different charts would indicate. That might be fun to do with you–

LS: Sure.

CB: –since we focus on electional astrology, and that’s one of the podcasts we do for patrons is the Auspicious Elections Podcast. And you pick out electional charts each month.

LS: I do.

CB: Have not been a lot of good charts lately after complaining.

LS: It’s been rough this year. [laughs]

CB: Right.

LS: Yeah. Unfortunately, 2020 astrological weather is rough for finding sort of glowingly positive. Electional possibility has given that that’s within the context of the current astrological weather.

CB: Yeah, maybe a little bit later in the year. There was one cool one in December.

LS: Yes. [laughs]

CB: So, more broadly just open this up. For me, it’s raised some issues about prediction because we’ve finally seen now the other side of the coin where normally in the astrological community the discussion is on the other end of the spectrum of, “What if you say something bad and something negative and somebody takes it wrong and that has a negative impact on somebody’s life?”

LS: Mhm.

CB: And therefore, especially with the rise of psychological astrology and the combination of astrology with counseling that really peaked in like the 1970s and ’80s and 1990s, a lot of the discussion was about removing difficult language from astrology like the distinction between benefic and malefic. For example one major astrological publisher Llewellyn, I was told by an editor that they banned the use of those terms–

 LS: Mhm.

CB: –for decades from even being used in books because it was seen as too negative or something or too scary.

LS: Right.

CB: And there was a movement to remove a lot of that language from astrology as potentially being psychologically harmful or damaging and to instead focus more on using astrology for empowerment.

LS: Right.

CB: And that’s often something astrologers think about and talk about a lot, and some astrologers gear their entire approach around that about how to be empowering with astrology in useful or constructive rather than having it be something that’s fearful or debilitating or something like that.

 LS: Mhm.

CB: And one of the really interesting things I’ve been reflecting on is we’re seeing a little bit of the other side of that of now it’s a discussion of for example this paper, why didn’t you predict this super negative thing that happened–

 LS: Mhm.

CB: –where everybody’s lives for the most part have been impacted in a negative or a difficult way or where in some instances there have been extreme cases of misfortune and hardship and other things like that?

LS: Mhm. 

CB: And it raises that other side of this issue that we’ve talked about a little bit when it comes to natal astrology where even when you’re reading a birth chart if you see a difficult transit coming up in a difficult period in somebody’s life and you’re in a consultation with them and the question of how to explain that delicately in a way that’s helpful and not harmful and how much you should say and how much detail you should go into versus–

LS: Mhm.

CB: –whether there’s some things that you should hold back or whether there’s some things that shouldn’t be said and other questions like that, now is coming up in a whole new light in the context of mundane astrology to some extent.

LS: Right. Yeah. And that does get back to what I was thinking about that distinction that I don’t think people even think about when they’re writing about astrology because they’re not thinking about astrology as a professional field where people would actually be carefully weighing these kind of decisions of like, “What do I say publicly?” versus, “What do I say to my colleagues?” that kind of thing.

CB: Right.

LS: But most people do actually. Most astrologers do consider those kinds of things carefully and don’t want to do harm. And so sometimes people can err on the side of not saying things that could be really terrible or could be really hard or how to cushion that or all of those things.

CB: Mhm.

LS: But, yeah, it is a question. On the other side, it is interesting that this kind of extreme example has come up to kind of be like, “Oh, well, it’s the other side of that coin. Did you prepare people enough?”

CB: Right. Did you identify the challenging stuff sufficiently–

LS: Mhm. 

CB: –and with the appropriate level of alarm?

LS: Yeah.

CB: What’s the right term?

LS: Yeah, the appropriate level of seriousness or sobriety or something.

CB: Right.

LS: Yeah, it’s like I sort of did in a more distant way like in a worldwide kind of way like a few years ago. And then as things got closer to the exact conjunction, I was a little bit more hands-off. And I reflected on that recently, and I think it was just like, “Okay, if you–” And this was before the pandemic which is sort of a specific manifestation of those. But there were other manifestations already happening, too.

CB: Mhm.

LS: Now it was kind of like as it got closer like, “Okay. If you don’t see it by now, then you’re not necessarily paying attention in terms of some of the more worldwide tensions and things like that.”

CB: Like in the political sphere–

LS: Mhm.

CB: –and in terms of geopolitics and things like that?

LS: Yeah. And the autocratic stuff and power struggles, I would say.

CB: Mhm.

LS: Yeah. But, yeah, that’s a totally different thing than the pandemic per se. And so I remember warning my parents like, “Okay, this might be an economic constraint coming up. You might wanna pull some stuff out.” But I’m not a financial astrologer, so I wouldn’t normally say things like that.

CB: Yeah, I think seeing some of the general themes of like contraction–

LS: Mhm.

CB: –were pretty evident. And I think everybody then, especially knowing the context of everything, understood that that was probably gonna be like a major economic contraction.

LS: Yeah.

CB: And that wasn’t something that anybody was leaving out or not aware of or not stating.

LS: I think that one is probably the most common thing that most astrologers were talking about.

CB: Mhm.

LS: Yeah, across the board.

CB: Sure. Yeah. Well, I guess ultimately that’s part of the reason why I mentioned that we’re only now gotten to May because there’s so much that hasn’t happened yet this year. And part of the thing is that while the outbreak of a new virus may have been the center point so far of this year, one of the most important things and it’s the thing that all of us are focused on right now not just because it’s in the news and the media everyday but also because it’s the thing that’s directly impacted the lives of a lot of people on Earth right now.

LS: Mhm.

CB: But thinking back to, for example, the conjunction of Saturn and Pluto in the mid 19 teens starting in 1914 but still being in effect for a few years cuz it’s the other thing that you have to understand about mundane and outer planet conjunctions is it’s not just the exact hit. There’s like a range in which it’s still effect that’s around that year that extends–

LS: Right.

CB: –for like at least two to three years–

LS: Yeah. Definitely.

CB: –in the instance of that one.

LS: Mhm.

CB: That was if you’d only focused on the start of that. It’s like you have like, “Okay, well, somebody got assassinated.”

LS: Mhm. Mhm.

CB: And if you were at that point that we are now, you might think that’s the only event or that’s the major event and that’s what you’re focused on–

LS: Right.

CB: –not realizing that what you’re seeing is the start of a major not just but also geopolitical restructuring of the world in like a major way and major shifts in society and in finance and in lots of different areas–

LS: Right.

CB: –that it’s gonna have an impact for decades. This cycle, especially with Jupiter-Saturn at the least, is creating the circumstances for a set of events that’s then gonna grow and develop a sequence of events that will grow and develop over the course of the next 30 to 40 years–

LS: Right.

CB: –between now and the next conjunction.

LS: Yes, at each of these conjunctions there have been at least several major things that you could look back to.

CB: Mhm.

LS: So like a major redrawing of national boundaries or major geopolitical shifts in power in particular, I would say, on a major disease or an epidemic of some sort.

CB: Yeah. Well, and like in the episode a few episodes ago I did an episode with Becca Tarnas where towards the end of the episode we talked about outer planets cycles. And we projected that out because just in the same way that World War One was sort of like the eventual cause and led to the circumstances that surrounded and influenced and led to World War Two several decades later when you went into the waning square in the 1930s and ’40s at some point in a similar vein, some circumstances that happen during the course of especially this year with the Saturn-Pluto conjunction and the period in which it’s in effect will set into motion a series of events and circumstances in the world that will then be related to major worldwide events and changes that will occur in the waning square in how long that is from–I think we looked it up, and it was around 30 years from now.

LS: Mhm. Exactly. Because the intense peace is the exact conjunction with a few years of the co-presence of them in the sign or the immediate aftermath, but it’s both the ending of a cycle and the beginning of a new cycle. And so, as it’s the birth of a new cycle, then everything will develop from there further.

CB: Right.

LS: Yeah.

CB: Yeah. So that’s the other part of this, I guess. Still there’s other stuff to come. And while we’re finally getting a sense for one of the things that the astrologers owe across the board, we assumed that that sort of conjunction and the huge archetypal indications of like contraction would indicate was like financial recession–

LS: Mhm.

CB: –and it not being like a great year for finances even if you’re not like a financial astrologer–

LS: Right.

CB: –was relatively easy to call. But seeing the causes of that and now that we are understanding what’s leading to the sort of domino effect of that, we realized that we were seeing the outlines of something much larger. And now that we know what the cause was like the primary or like the proximate cause, we’re looking now to anticipate what the full outcome is and what the full effect is.

LS: Definitely. And I think when you look at the pandemic or you look at the economic constraints, easily you can see more geopolitical stuff coming before the end of it.

CB: Mhm.

LS: Just more shifts in power and things like that.

CB: Yeah. So but then you get into this issue where like that’s a really big thing where there’s individuals that where geopolitics for example is their specialty and that’s what they specialize in and people with that background and having knowing the context of not just current geopolitical events but also past themes and how past trends have gone and past historical studies and things like that. And their trajectory of things are people that would be in the best position to be able to, if they combine that with astrology–

LS: Mhm.

CB: –like make statements about the likelihood of different geopolitical outcomes and different things like that–

LS: Definitely.

CB: –in the same way that Tarnas tried to focus especially on history and had to learn history and not just history but also focusing on Western philosophy and the development of Western thought and scientific thinking and everything else as well as music and art–

LS: Mhm.

CB: –in order to study these cycles in the past to establish what they had coincided with in the past and then attempt to start sort of projecting that in the future.

LS: Mhm.

CB: There’s different ways that you can specialize in different things that then need to be combined with astrology to give it context to create sort of accurate predictions.

LS: Exactly. I think a lot of people who don’t know astrology well or at all assume that it’s just this one blanket thing, but you can actually apply astrology to so many different specific arenas like zooming all the way in on like someone’s psyche and doing psychological astrology or zooming all the way out and looking at like worldwide events and interactions. But anything you apply astrology to, you actually have to know the subject yourself or else you can’t speak to it in the most detailed fashion.

CB: Right. So, that’s been interesting for me over the past few years. Because when we started the podcast, my focus has always been primarily on natal astrology, and that’s been my primary interest. And then secondarily eventually I got interested a little bit and did some work with electional astrology. I did horary a little bit for a few years but then sort of moved away from doing that as much and didn’t find it as interesting. As I got more interested, my interest focused more on natal astrology and electional.

LS: Mhm.

CB: I wanted to start doing like a monthly forecast, and Kelly and I got together. We first came up with that idea at a Northwest astrology conference. I guess it was around like 2015 or 2016 and came home and recorded one. And then the next month Austin was out, and he joined us–

LS: Mhm.

CB: –because he happened to be visiting us at the time. And so the three of us started doing a monthly forecast episode and looking at what the planetary alignments would be for the coming month–

LS: Mhm.

CB: –and trying to make some statements about how that would be relevant and how those archetypes or energies would be relevant to people in a broader sense that sometimes would affect individuals or affect but correlate in individuals’ lives in different ways.

LS: Mhm.

CB: And that’s been like a learning process for me because Austin and Kelly had a lot of experience up to that point writing columns where they would do that sort of approach to mundane astrology of issuing monthly or yearly forecasts and then also doing horoscope columns–

LS: Right.

CB: –that were more individual like specified for different signs. And so we started doing that monthly and then eventually came to the end of the year, so of course we did a year-ahead forecast. And it’s been interesting for me over the past five years then growing as an astrologer and trying to learn and adapt in that way to that completely different type of astrology which is mundane astrology and learning how to do it and how not to do it and having successes and having failures and coming to grips with how it works and everything. Because it’s not that I was completely unschooled in it or unschooled in astrology, but it was just taking the principles and applying them in a different way.

LS: Yeah, definitely. It’s a very different thing to talk about the astrological movements and the kinds of things or the kinds of energies or feelings or events. Those could correlate it in a general way rather than applying it to a specific person or a specific birth chart.

CB: Right.

LS: And it’s a little bit challenging. I think it’s a little bit challenging actually. And I kind of admire people who describe those things well because it seems much easier to dial it down into like what to expect when you’re applying it to a specific birth chart.

CB: Mhm.

LS: But when you’re talking about the energies as a whole and what they might manifest like, that’s just a little broader. And therefore how to make that–Excuse me, how to make that meaningful and specific at the same time without being–

CB: Without being overly broad?

LS: Yeah, exactly.

CB: Yeah. That’s the challenge, how to make it meaningful and as specific as you can as you’re capable of pushing it when you’re dealing with what is ultimately like interpreting symbolism–

LS: Mhm.

CB: –like symbolism of planetary alignments and to get that level of specificity but also without getting too specific in the sense that you’re pushing it beyond what is reasonable to say–

LS: Mhm.

CB: –that it’s like still within the constraints of what’s plausible not just practically speaking outside of the astrology but also what’s plausible within the constraints of the astrological language and the system that you’re working with.

LS: Mhm.

CB: Like I think for example if an astrologer who has a background in certain fields sits down across from like let’s say a non-astrologer or somebody that’s like pretending to be an astrologer and the non-astrologer starts making a bunch of wild statements or predictions about the future or statements about predictions about an individual’s life, an astrologer knows when that person is not really basing that on the system of astrology and the sort of rules and limitations that are within it or that are reasonable. Right? Right?

LS: Yeah, definitely. It occupies a kind of middle ground–

CB: Mhm.

LS: –in terms of like there are broad things you can say, but not everything will be true. You can’t say anything at all, and it’d be true.

CB: Right.

LS: But you also can’t dial it down to the level of like your car will break down next week.

CB: Yeah. Well, yeah, and I’m trying to think of a mundane example or an example of something that would be too far from a mundane standpoint. But, yeah, there’s challenges. Mundane has unique challenges in terms of wanting to be as specific as possible about the range of possible map manifestations while at the same time, yeah, not being overly broad.

LS: Yeah, there’s always a range. And that’s the thing. Again, speaking back to that ongoing theme of misconceptions about how astrology works by people who don’t actually know it well, is that there’s always a range of specific manifestations. And so it’s kind of a gotcha thing to say you didn’t call this specific one.

CB: Mhm.

LS: And it’s nice to see that some people did in fact call this specific one like the Barbault quote.

CB: Yeah. One of the things I remember Nina Gryphon wanted to do a few months ago was the astrology of pandemics episode.

LS: Mhm.

CB: And I told her just frankly I wasn’t interested because one, I didn’t have any background in having studied pandemics independently, and I’ve never gone back much and studied past pandemics with astrology in history to see what some of the different correlations were except for maybe just a vague notion from reading different things like having read cosmos and psyche and knowing about the Saturn-Pluto conjunction in the AIDS epidemic or knowing about–

LS: Mhm.

CB: –like you mentioned, the 1914s and knowing about the Spanish flu and some of that not too long afterwards.

LS: Mhm.

CB: But I didn’t wanna do it partially because I didn’t want to freak people out, and I thought that would be like an overly negative episode to do.

LS: Mhm.

CB: And that’s one of the considerations that is a concern going into doing any sort of episode especially when it comes to mundane astrology.

LS: Right. Yeah, it’s a little tricky especially if you’re speaking to like anyone and everyone who might tune in because you wanna be responsible and not freak people out as you said and yet you wanna be accurate and talk about real things that are happening. So, it can be a tricky balance.

CB: Yeah. So, where does that leave us? I guess I was just talking about learning mundane astrology. One of the things that’s really important in terms of that that has been really eye opening for me is once you take astrology out of the natal context–Like natal astrology is pretty much the starting point for everybody, and that’s been in modern times the most popular application of astrology whether it’s the pop form of astrology with Sun sign astrology or whether it’s in the astrological community doing full fledged advanced like actual natal astrology and looking at a birth chart which is the highest form of that branch of astrology of natal astrology.

LS: Mhm.

CB: So even in terms of that of switching from natal astrology to mundane astrology, it’s been interesting to me to see if you’re paying attention to world events and what’s happening not just in the news but also sometimes just in the collective, whether you’re watching on social media and different movements and things like that–

LS: Mhm.

CB: –or sometimes if you’re watching like natural events and natural disasters. If you’re paying attention to like the major planetary alignments that are happening at the time, you will start noticing correlations between those that are planetary alignments and things that are happening on Earth in the collective at that time.

LS: Mhm.

CB: And as an astrologer you do learn something every time that happens. And the longer you’ve been doing it–Because there’s a difference, and that’s been interesting seeing a lot of people reflecting on this online. There’s a difference between reading cosmos and psyche and reading it as a history lesson of like, “Okay, every time there’s a Saturn-Pluto conjunction, it’s been kind of a difficult time over the past 100 years.” And the first one was World War One, and the second one was the Cold War, and the third one was like the AIDS epidemic and other things–

LS: Mhm.

CB: –as like an abstract history lesson. There’s a difference between that versus all of us right now as astrologers having known that the Saturn-Pluto conjunction was coming up or all these other planetary alignments happening this year and then literally living through it and feeling the collective sense at different points of like fear of like panic–

LS: Mhm.

CB: –of people suffering, deaths, disease, quarantined, and everybody being cooped up or talking with each other and being collectively cooped up, going into other things of like Saturn and Aquarius, moving into Aquarius, and this being the Saturn return of the World Wide Web when it officially debuted in the early ’90s. And everybody’s shifting online and doing all the Zoom calls and meetings and classes and other things like that.

LS: Right.

CB: There’s a difference between reading something in an astrology book or as a history lesson versus living through it, and you truly do get a much deeper level of understanding when you live through events like that. That’s been eye opening and interesting to me over the past few years once I started to actually try to engage with the problem of mundane astrology more.

LS: Definitely. It’s been really striking honestly as someone who was trying to reflect on that intellectually a few years ago and now living through that viscerally. You get the feeling, the actual visceral feeling of the times so much more living through it versus reading about it even if you kind of intellectually understand otherwise.

CB: Right.

LS: And certainly, I know that I’ve talked with some other astrologers about this, knowing that something was coming up that didn’t come around very often like a Saturn-Pluto conjunction–

CB: Mhm.

LS: –and knowing how you describe that in sometimes somewhat difficult terms and the difference between that and actually living through it as a historical era where you have to look back kind of a while to see something that was like, I don’t know, thinking about the Spanish flu. That’s a history lesson for most people who are currently alive.

CB: Right. Right.

LS: It was a few people who lived through it but not that many. Yeah, and also reflecting in reverse how you saw this coming up astrologically if you were paying attention. And you could kind of describe the outlines of it, but it’s still such a different experience than moving into the actuality and living it and going, “Oh, this is actually like a once in a very long time event.”

CB: Mhm. Right.

LS: Yeah.

CB: Yeah, which is funny cuz that then relates to a podcast I believe we did in November about a controversy that was happening in the astrological community at the time, whether it’s okay to practice astrology prior to your Saturn return.

LS: Mhm. Right. Right.

CB: And you get a similar issue there in terms of natal astrology which I’m sure I think we acknowledged at the time which is the conclusion we came to was, yeah, you can practice astrology prior to your Saturn return cuz there’s all sorts of issues with saying that you can’t or with barring people in terms of like the depth of their knowledge of astrology of having studied it as well as how early they got started and therefore, how long they’ve been studying it before they start seeing clients and all sorts of related things with that.

LS: Mhm.

CB: But one of the concessions or one of the things we do have to say is the longer you’ve been in astrology, it does give you an opportunity to experience more like personal transits either in your own life or to observe that happening in the lives of others. And having that actual tangible experience can make a difference in terms of your ability to talk about it not just fluently but talk about it with a certain level of depth and knowledge and wisdom–

LS: Mhm.

CB: –that’s useful no matter how old or young you are. So that doesn’t mean that if somebody is really old and has theoretically been in astrology for years that they’re gonna be a great astrologer automatically cuz there’s still a lot to be said for just aptitude and how much one applies themself and other things like that.

LS: Mhm.

CB: But, yeah, experience is helpful. It’s a helpful additional tool that can expand things for you and certainly doesn’t hurt.

LS: Definitely. I think we both fell on the side of even if you’re young, as long as you’ve studied well and you have good aptitude and you’re paying attention to what you should, then you are on the side of like that’s what’s most important regardless of the age of the astrologer. But, that said, if you add experience to that prerequisite, it does have an additional level of like personal wisdom or personal authority or something like that. It’s just the visceral thing again, I think.

CB: Yeah, the visceral feeling of living through an archetype rather than like reading about an archetype?

LS: Exactly.

CB: And, yeah, we’re all gonna come out of this with a different understanding of those two archetypes especially when they cross pollinate. And then especially one of the other problems that we didn’t bring up is every birth chart is unique, every individual life is unique and presents a unique set of context and circumstances for that chart and the indications in it to manifest. That’s also true for mundane astrology.

LS: Mhm.

CB: There’s some of these cycles that recur. But because there’s all these other planets, no cycle ever recurs exactly the same–

LS: Definitely.

CB: –which means every year is gonna be unique even if there are echoes or even if there are similarities or certain patterns that broadly speaking or archetypally speaking do recur. That’s the other challenge with doing mundane astrology on that scale is the uniqueness of every single planetary combination in every year.

LS: Definitely. And I think that’s at least one piece of what makes astrology such a challenging subject, and surprisingly complex.

CB: Right.

LS: Yeah.

CB: Yeah. So, that’s another fun little thing to have to wrestle with–

LS: Mhm.

CB: –in terms of the complexity of the subject–

LS: Definitely.

CB: –versus–And that’s what’s funny about it is like the actual complexity of the subject and the level of depth and sometimes rigor that takes to do it well or that’s involved in it versus the cheap shotlike treatments of it by unfortunately otherwise respectable outfits like the New York Times.

LS: Mhm. It’s a really huge contrast, the difference. I’ve thought about that for a long time, just the inner workings of like what you understand goes into it as an astrologer or at least as anyone who’s looked into astrology for a long enough period of time or practiced it for a while, you know that it’s complex and you know that it’s all of the different things you have to juggle in your head in order to do it well and all the different skill sets involved in addition to the astrology itself and all of that. So, yeah, it’s always such a contrast between that and the very simplistic notions that reporters or news outlets often bring to it which is just these pure assumptions of just like, “This is super basic, and people are dumb to believe it.”

CB: Yeah. Not that even complexity necessarily means something that is true cuz–

LS: Mhm.

CB: –there’s plenty of theories out there that are very complex and very not true.

LS: Sure.

CB: But, yeah, it’s just too bad. It’s always gonna be too bad. I guess that’s what we have to get used to unfortunately as astrologers cuz I do feel like there was like in the last generation the Pluto and Leo generation there was more of a push sometimes to have where they really wanted astrology to be recognized professionally and recognized as a legitimate profession and as a legitimate phenomenon.

LS: Mhm.

CB: There were not great strides towards actually accomplishing that, and some of the ways in which they went about attempting to accomplish it were ultimately I feel like on some level inherently flawed. Like in the early ’90s there was a push to try to get astrology taught again at the universities because one of the issues of course historically is that in the 17th century astrology was kicked out of the universities and therefore became more of like something of the intellectual ghettos of society and an attempt to like, “Well, let’s create our own college and create college level courses for astrology.” And then you get things like Kepler College–

LS: Mhm.

CB: –which then ultimately was doomed to fail because they couldn’t get accredited because astrology is not seen as a legitimate science or field of study.

LS: Right.

CB: So other courses–Though there were some things that came out of that movement that were more successful in terms of astrology is now actually treated as something that you can study in the context of the history of science, and there’s been sort of explosion of scholarship on astrology from a historical standpoint or a social standpoint–

LS: Mhm.

CB: –which has been positive. But yeah.

LS: Yeah, it is too bad given that it is something that actually takes a decent bit of rigor to do well and is intellectually complex. And I don’t know. At the same time now I feel like there are some pros and cons to that whole thing. Mostly I would prefer that astrology were more well-respected because I don’t love my primary profession at this point being like something that’s looked down upon or makes you automatically suspect as a person. I don’t like that piece. And of course it’s gotten more widespread acceptance lately, and so that’s not like a uniform thing. But, yeah, you’re always gonna run into some of that. Currently and for the past long while there’s some pros and cons though, I think.

CB: Mhm.

LS: I don’t know. I think there’s some–

CB: To not being intellectually respectful?

LS: For not everyone to be looking into it–

CB: Mhm.

LS: –that sort of thing. Like maybe it’s a good thing for some subjects to only be like a focus of people who really are drawn to it or something like that.

CB: Mhm.

LS: That’s not like a fully fleshed-out thought. But I think there’s something to that notion of like some things are better, in a sort of quasi occult sense, that some things are better if it’s not adopted by everyone in the world.

CB: Yeah, occasionally when this comes up with like the hypothetical scenario of what if astrology was never fully accepted by society? The hippies and everybody often were conceptualizing that like, “Oh, well, the Age of Aquarius will break out.”

LS: Mhm.

CB: And there will be peace and love in the world, and astrology will be somehow used positively to help humanity and guide society or something like that.

LS: Right.

CB: The flip side of the coin is there are also hypothetical versions of weird dystopian fantasies where astrology is used to categorize and manipulate or control or segregate or to prejudge people and to take away an element of choice or what have you.

LS: Mhm. Yeah. And this is like a less practical notion, I guess. But in addition to what you were just mentioning, I think that there’s something to be said about topics that are actually kind of profound and speak to how life actually works. But that really should only be fully delved into by people who are oriented in that way–

CB: Yeah.

LS: –something about that.

CB: Sure.

LS: Yeah.

CB: One last thing, and I don’t wanna get too far afield since I know we need to wrap this up soon, that I’m nervous about in the crossover was something that was mentioned earlier was we have seen recently there’s something going on right now that I’m nervous about. Slightly it’s very low level nervous about, but I hope it’s not something that doesn’t grow or a feeling that doesn’t become more prescient about–Over the past few weeks and I guess the past month or two, there have been–So the COVID-19 pandemic broke out.

LS: Mmm.

CB: A virus started spreading around the world. A bunch of people started dying. Thousands of people have died so far. And there was an issue with sites like YouTube or sometimes there were videos being shared that were for different varying reasons sometimes saying that the pandemic was a hoax or denying that COVID exists or that it was different, various things of that or saying that it was not as harmful. And some of the more extreme versions of that started getting removed from sites like YouTube. YouTube was pressured by different sites to start removing videos.

LS: Mhm.

CB: And some of those videos have been removed. Then there was blowback from that. And obviously there’s two sides to that whole story in terms of on the one hand, some people saying that information shouldn’t be suppressed in any way whatsoever even if it’s wrong or non scientific.

LS: Mmm or misinformation.

CB: Yeah, cuz the other side or even some people argue even misinformation shouldn’t be suppressed because then you just make it blow up more in some instances which may or may not be true.

LS: Mhm.

CB: And then what the other side of that is people saying, “Well, if this is a legitimate pandemic that’s killing people, then if there’s somebody who if let’s say hypothetically was falsely telling people that there’s nothing to worry about which leads to the death of many more people than there would be otherwise–“

LS: Mhm.

CB: “–then there would be a legitimate public health concern for removing something like that.”

LS: Right.

CB: And those are trying very hard to give the even both sides of the coin–

LS: Mhm.

CB: –view on that issue. Do you think that was okay?

LS: Right. Yeah, for sure.

CB: Okay, I’m bringing that up because I understood then in terms of both of those sides why that dilemma might come up especially for some public companies like YouTube or Facebook or other sites like that.

LS: Mhm.

CB: And right. It’s interesting that that’s happening because in that chart like I was talking about that I’ve been studying a lot lately which astrologer, who’s been on the show a few times, Samuel Reynolds showed me it’s like the chart for when the World Wide Web was first debuted in like 1981 as a publicly accessible thing. And it has Saturn right at the beginning at like one degree of Aquarius.

LS: At 91? You mean like 93 or something?

CB: I thought it was 91.

LS: Oh, okay. I’ll look it up later.

CB: Okay. And I think it was like the debut at a conference by Tim Berners-Lee. Tim Berners-Lee

LS: Oh, okay.

CB: I’ll have to look it up, it’s on astro.com.

LS: Mhm.

CB: And I wanna do an episode at some point, but it has Saturn at the very beginning of Aquarius which means that one or two Aquarius which means right now with Saturn stationing there–

LS: Yeah.

CB: –on Aquarius in the sky right now, we’re right in the middle of the Saturn return of the World Wide Web and essentially fundamentally of the internet–

LS: Yeah.

CB: –if you take that as like the primary chart. And there might be arguments for what chart you use for the internet just like there are for what chart you use for the United States, but I think there’s something significant to that because it could be relevant for astrology. And I hope it doesn’t become because like with The New York Times article where because astrology is treated as pseudoscience and is currently classified as that, The New York Times doesn’t have to take it seriously and doesn’t have to apply really much journalistic rigor to making a piece like it did here–

LS: Mhm.

CB: –as we’ve talked about. I do worry about the situation of astrology in the future at some point if for some reason it became the target of stuff like that.

LS: Mhm.

CB: And if astrologers were the ones having to make that case in terms of the suppression of certain types of information or certain types of thought. So, I don’t wanna be super alarmist about that. I have brought it up in the past because it’s always made me uneasy that astrology does occupy this very weird place in society where it’s rejected both often by not just scientific groups but also by religious groups. So it’s in this like weird no man’s land.

LS: Yes. I have some of the same concerns, and I’m also hoping that it doesn’t become problematic. But it’s a reasonable concern thinking about the symbolism of a Saturn return of the web.

CB: Mhm.

LS: Because at the Saturn return of something even if it’s not a person, an entity, or an event or what have you, there’s usually like the next development in regards to that but also a sort of more concretization or regulation or different Saturn words like that. So, that could be and sort of like, “Okay, what has worked and what hasn’t with this experiment over the past 29 years or what have you?”

CB: Yeah, like a revising of rules and limitations?

LS: Yes.

CB: And checking in again to see if the ones that are current–Cuz the current is just like everything goes.

LS: Right.

CB: And the World Wide Web is supposed to be this place of largely sort of free exchange of information and news and ideas, and some of the companies that have been born over the past 30 years have largely taken that for granted–

LS: Right.

CB: –with some restrictions like some areas of restriction but where YouTube can be treated as like an open platform or Facebook, for the most part. Obviously there are exceptions but for the most part can be treated as open platforms in terms of people sharing links to or posting videos of whatever they want.

LS: Yes. Yeah. I can definitely see the potential for greater regulation, and that is concerning if astrology is considered something–It depends on how far regulatory things can go because medical misinformation particularly where you could harm someone else with it and not just yourself–

CB: Mhm.

LS: –is sort of like an easier line I think for companies to draw.

CB: Yeah.

LS: Like, “Oh, this is actually gonna physically hurt people or they will lose their lives.” But if you go any sort of further in terms of like, “This isn’t credible.” then you get into like who is deciding what’s credible–

CB: Sure.

LS: –and saying you’re misleading other people. So, yeah, it’s a little bit concerning. I hope it doesn’t become a huge issue, but it’s interesting coming up now to not just the Saturn return of the internet but also this recent stuff in terms of how we’ve come down more on like, “This is incredible.” kind of line with some of the things that seem like conspiracy theories medically.

CB: Mhm.

LS: And so I found that kind of ironic for myself or maybe that’s not the best word but something like that thinking about like I actually feel aligned in some cases with the sort of like, “No, this is the medical word on this.” even though I have lots of experience with allopathic and natural stuff and all these kinds of things but kind of like the rationalist like is this credible kind of feeling.

CB: Yeah, it’s a real major like internal tension for us as like astrologers that have opinions and try to think about things and try to be relatively respectable with astrology in terms of seeing both sides and ending up on weird sides at different points when it comes to that and also in terms of, which I guess actually circles back to our main topic, but the times in which we can see and almost side with the “mainstream media” in terms of supporting some of the work that they’re doing in trying to document events or trying to help the spread of information and knowledge about things versus other times when they’re not doing a very good job of that when it comes to specific subfields that we actually have a specialty and can critique like as experts in that field and different subsets of it.

LS: Exactly. So that becomes a whole other topic or purview of just who determines what is credible or what is the correct information and when can you kind of trust authoritative takes or collective takes on, “Yeah, this is probably the most factual thing here.” versus “When can you actually see that people are sort of using their own biases to overlook things that are actually credible?”

CB: Right, which is funny just because we’re not otherwise oftentimes in recent times are coming down on one side of that of–Yeah, I’m not sure how to frame that.

LS: Mhm.

CB: Cuz we’re also not trying to turn this into a political discussion–

LS: Yeah.

CB: –which until recently I didn’t realize how much suddenly the idea of like “conspiracy theories” had been reconceptualized in the past 10 years as like a pejorative term.

LS: Mmm.

CB: When 20 years ago when I was studying them and I was into them, it wasn’t as much. Like it wasn’t–

LS: Mmm.

CB: I wouldn’t have taken offense if somebody said I was into conspiracy theories cuz it seemed more descriptive.

LS: Mhm.

CB: And it was a theory about a conspiracy that–

LS: Sure.

CB: –oftentimes the government or other powers behind the scenes were involved in.

LS: Mhm.

CB: I didn’t realize that. I didn’t also realize how much conspiracy theories, for lack of a better term, had overlapped with politics and now have become very ingrained to, ingrained with, and integrated into politics so that sometimes talking about it becomes a political issue.

LS: Mhm.

CB: –which I otherwise largely try to avoid getting into for the most part on the podcast.

LS: Yeah, but I think as a larger meta issue. It’s just like an interesting and potentially important thing to look towards the future with respect to like the internet and how many professional astrologers at this point in time make their living by the internet being fairly open to putting whatever you’re selling on there–

CB: Mhm.

LS: –and how different that would be if that was not the case. And that is partially based on who determines what’s credible or if it’s a completely open market in terms of the World Wide Web and things like that.

CB: Yeah, and we’ve already seen issues when that’s not the case. For example, certain payment processors–

LS: Mhm.

CB: –go into it not letting astrologers use their platforms–

LS: Right.

CB: –or actively kicking them off and things like that.

LS: Right. There’s been a lot with Stripe lately.

CB: Yeah.

LS: So, yeah, it’s that kind of thing. But if that were beyond, it will go beyond then.

CB: Right. All right, so we’ll see how that goes cuz this will be again in terms of outer planet cycles if this is the Saturn return of, let’s say, the World Wide Web then it’s opening up and starting a new cycle of setting the foundation for something now especially with Saturn going into Aquarius over the next two to three years will set up the foundation for something that will grow and develop in over the course of the next 30 years of growth and maturation of development, a sequence of events with respect to that thing.

LS: Mhm.

CB: So, anyway, we’ll hope for the best.

LS: Yes, definitely.

CB: All right, I think that’s it probably for this episode of The Astrology Podcast. Are there any final things that we like to put in our hastily jotted down outline that we meant to mention?

LS: Honestly, I think we covered most of it. Yeah.

CB: Okay, cool. All right. Well, we’ll probably remember some stuff later tonight after we finish. But I think that’ll do it for this episode.

LS: Sounds good.

CB: All right, well, thanks for joining me for today for the first episode back in the studio.

LS: You’re welcome. Glad that you’re back.

CB: Yeah. Glad to be healthy again and back doing podcasts, so I wanna hit it hard and do more stuff talking about current events cuz that was one of the things that sucked aside from being super sick and basically just in bed for weeks was seeing everything that was going on and having some vague idea and occasionally checking in with social media or news and everybody talking and sort of like going through together this thing while everybody was in quarantine and all the different social things were happening during that time. And I sort of wanted to be out doing the podcast and talking about what was going on and looking at the astrology of it and everything like everyone else was doing.

LS: Right.

CB: So being able to be back and hit it hard in coming back to the podcast and doing more episodes and talking more about current events and like what’s going on. And there’s this crazy article, terrible article in The New York Times, and stuff is something I want to do.

LS: Mhm.

CB: So we’re back.

LS: Back, more for the future.

CB: Okay. All right. Thanks everyone for listening to or watching this episode of The Astrology Podcast, and we will see you again next time. Thanks to the patrons who helped us support the production of this episode of The Astrology Podcast through our page on patreon.com. In particular, shout out to the patrons Christine Stone, Nate Craddock, Maren Altman, Irina Tudor, Thomas Miller, Christina Caudill, and Bear Ryver as well as the Astro Gold astrology app available at astrogold.io, the Portland School of Astrology at portlandastrology.org, and Honeycomb Collective Personal Astrological Almanacs available at honeycomb.co. The production of this episode of the podcast is also supported by the International Society for Astrological Research which is hosting a major astrology conference in Denver, Colorado September 10th through the 14th 2020. More information about that at isar2020.org. And finally, also Solar Fire astrology software which is available at alabe.com, and you can use the promo code AP15 for a 15% discount on that software. For more information about how to become a patron of The Astrology Podcast and help support the production of future episodes while getting access to subscriber benefits like early access to new episodes or other bonus content, go to patreon.com/astrology podcast.

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