The Astrology Podcast
Transcript of Episode 331, titled:
With Chris Brennan and guest Adam Sommer
Episode originally released on November 22, 2021
Note: This is a transcript of a spoken word podcast. If possible, we encourage you to listen to the audio or video version, since they include inflections that may not translate well when written out. Our transcripts are created by human transcribers, and the text may contain errors and differences from the spoken audio. If you find any errors then please send them to us by email: email@example.com
Transcribed by Andrea Johnson
Transcription released December 15, 2021
Copyright © 2021 TheAstrologyPodcast.com
CHRIS BRENNAN: Hey, my name is Chris Brennan, and you’re listening to The Astrology Podcast. Joining me today in the studio is Adam Sommer, and we’re going to have sort of a catching-up discussion on a variety of different astrological topics. So hey, Adam, welcome.
ADAM SOMMER: Chris, I love being in your studio.
CB: This is your first time in the studio because you’ve been living out of the US. I almost caught you last year for a little bit while you were in Boulder briefly during the pandemic, but this is actually your first time.
AS: It’s true, first time in the studio. Last time you and I saw each other was in England. We went to the conference together.
CB: Oh, my God, you’re right. That was in June of 2019. So two-and-a-half years ago, I was visiting the UK. I got you to go to your first astrology conference…
CB: …which was that Astrological Association Conference, which was a pretty good one.
AS: It was, yeah. And I remember very clearly learning a ton about zodiacal releasing from your lecture…
AS: …which is applicable to my life at the moment. But also, studying ZR is I think where I’m still at, because as you know, I use the dashas mainly.
CB: Yeah, you have some background in Indian astrology. So a lot of that with dashas and time-lords was probably a little familiar already.
CB: All right, yeah, so let’s catch up. So since we last hung out, we did that ‘Trialogue’ episode with Eugenia…
AS: At my house.
CB: …at your house, and that was even longer ago now. I don’t know when that was.
AS: It was a snowy day in 2018, I believe.
CB: I don’t know what episode that was, but we released part of that as an episode of my podcast and part of it as an episode of yours.
CB: But you were just getting ready to travel at that point, right?
AS: I did. I went on what I call ‘the weird road’ with the wife.
CB: Right. And you didn’t know what to expect at that point, but you actually found something that kept you in the UK, basically, right?
AS: It’s true. The UK wasn’t even a part of the journey really, originally. The first step was a retreat that I had done in Maui. So we went to Maui, it was a lunar eclipse, and we did a really fun retreat there. And then pretty much straight from there, I hit the road visiting friends and family and doing astrology circles pretty much from Colorado to Vermont. Well, Montreal. We went to Montreal too. And then along the road was an offering–Amanda, who you met because of the conference.
CB: Yeah, she was really cool. I just exchanged emails–she was the one that actually told me you might be back in town.
AS: Oh, that let’s the cat out of the bag.
CB: I mean, I hope I’m not saying anything out-of-class here.
AS: No, no.
CB: What was her last name again? I forget.
CB: Simon, okay.
AS: So she offered for me to come to Dartmoor for a month or so to do some writing, and to dream and just to be with that land. I had never been to England or Dartmoor. One of my favorite storytellers actually lives there near Totnes. So I thought about it for a long while and said ‘yes’ to the invitation. And my going there is basically where ‘angel’ Michael steps in and introduces Tansy to me, and it happened pretty quickly.
CB: Yeah, and you fell in love, basically.
AS: Pretty quickly.
AS: Yeah, yeah. It wasn’t a first-sight thing. I think we both annoyed each other pretty good at the first moment.
CB: That’s usually good.
AS: Yeah, yeah, yeah. But there was a long string of very interesting synchronicities that happened, and we hung out again and it was a quickening.
CB: Nice. Yeah, and so now you’ve been out there. Last year, you actually flew back just to do some business or something in Boulder and then got stuck here during the pandemic.
AS: That was week one of the pandemic. Yeah, I like flew out. It was like the last week of February in 2020, and then her flight was a week after mine. And so, I arrived, got to the Airbnb and then things started getting very serious, and the day she was to fly was when the US closed the borders.
CB: Wow, that is bad timing.
AS: Bad timing.
AS: And the borders are hardly open still.
CB: Yeah, they’ve just recently hardly started to reopen for foreign travel, but that’s even spotty. Yeah, all right, well, good times. Well, you’re back now. You’re doing some business, and then you’re going to go back to the UK?
AS: Yes, in January.
CB: Cool. Well, I wanted to talk about just a variety of topics of what we’ve been doing, researching astrologically and other astrological topics today. I don’t know if we can transition to that point. I mean, one of the things I wanted to talk to you about that you’re a specialist in is mythology, and that’s something I’ve been wrestling with a little bit recently.
AS: What’s the ‘wrestle’? Where are you at in the wrestling match?
CB: So where I’m at is I’ve been doing this amazing series that I started kind of on a lark earlier this year when I did an episode on the astrology of the Moon with Israel Ajose, who is actually the president of the Astrological Lodge of London. I wasn’t sure about the episode, but he was sure that this was going to make for a great discussion and we should totally do it, and I went along for the ride.
And it turned out to be an amazing discussion, to do a deep dive on a single planet and everything that it means in astrology across the past 2,000 years, and all the different ways that astrologers use and look at the Moon. And that launched a whole series on each of the planets that I’ve done during the course of this year, and I’ve gotten all the way up through the outer planets, through Uranus and Neptune to Pluto.
And I’m running into an issue with Pluto that I’m struggling with a little bit, which is I don’t think mythology was used as much to develop some of the significations of the older planets, even though we commonly assume that that was the case; but often, they had specific theoretical and conceptual motivations for certain planetary significations in ancient astrology.
And even when talking about Uranus, for example, there’s this famous story about John Varley researching it empirically and seeing this transit that was coming up. Have you heard that story?
AS: No, please.
CB: He’s like researching it and he’s gotten a good idea through repeated experiments with the planet and looking at it in transits. He’s got a transit coming up where Uranus is going to be very prominent on this specific day, and he’s a little worried because he’s gotten some hints that it may be unexpected and a little disruptive or violent in some ways
So he shuts himself in his house this one day, at the appointed hour, but then right at that moment, his house catches on fire. And he runs outside and he’s so excited by what he figured out–he thinks he’s figured out the true meaning of Uranus–that he sits there and he scribbles and writes down in his notes what Uranus means as his house burns to the ground in the background.
So it’s like this funny story that Patrick Curry tells in A Confusion of Prophets, but to me, it points to more of an empirical attempt to understand new celestial bodies rather than immediately jumping to the mythology. And I think that’s kind of reinforced a little bit by arguments that Richard Tarnas makes where he has argued for years that the myth of Prometheus is a much better myth for how astrologers actually treat Uranus than the Uranus myth, in some ways.
And to me, that also suggests that there might be a disconnect sometimes with some of the newer planetary bodies and their myths, that we can’t always take that for granted as the primary or sole starting point. But instead, it might be better to approach it more from an empirical context of what does it actually do in charts or in transits and try to figure it out that way.
But I feel that the mythological approach has been the primary approach for Pluto, which makes me a little bit uneasy. Plus, there’s other stuff having to do with evolutionary astrology or other schools that were built up entirely based on Pluto that have almost created an entire approach based on Pluto, or the nodes, and gone in some instances a little afar with it in making it the central factor of the entire system. So that’s been a struggle for me then in doing an episode on Pluto and figuring out who to do it with. That’s the issue.
AS: Oh, I love it.
CB: Do you have a short, concise answer to all of those issues or that question?
AS: So I think there’s two ways that I’m maybe qualified to talk about this. One of them related to Pluto is that my whole journey started in earnest with EA, as you know.
AS: And so, some of the first astrology content that I was going really deep with was Jeff Green and Steven Forrest, but specifically…
CB: I thought, though, that you started with Richard Tarnas?
AS: No, that was the first book
CB: That was the first book?
AS: Yeah, yeah, but I had never even cast my chart after reading Cosmos and Psyche.
CB: Interesting. Which is really fascinating to me, by the way. That there are people that made their way into astrology through Tarnas’ book just blows my mind. Because you just found it in like a bookstore or something, right?
AS: Well, some context is that there was a philosophy class I took in college where we read Passion of the Western Mind. And I really appreciated that book because it helped me, well, understand a lot of Western philosophy and why we are where we are with it. I think Rick did an amazing job with that book.
AS: So it wasn’t too long after when Cosmos and Psyche was released. And so, I was in a bookstore at the time–I was in acupuncture school in Gainesville, Florida–and it was like on an endcap in the bookstore. And it just jumped out because the cover’s nice, but also I saw Rick’s name there. I’m like, “Huh, well, he has another book.”
AS: And I honestly didn’t know it was an astrology book until I was about 60-70 pages into it.
CB: Cool. Because he doesn’t mention the word ‘astrology’ for the first 60 pages.
CB: And it gets categorized often in the philosophy section of bookstores. So your story is not unique in that there’s probably been like hundreds or maybe thousands of people that have accidentally found it that way.
AS: Yeah, yeah, sneaky. It’s an ‘intellectual’ Trojan horse, kind of.
CB: Right. My last episode was a top eight books for beginners, and I put that as one of my intermediate/advanced/beginner astrology books because I think it’s a good intro to astrology book that also deals not just with the techniques and the concepts, but also with the philosophy of what does this mean about the cosmos; and what’s the nature of the cosmos if something like this is true is a question that he wrestles with and talks about.
AS: And really good, basic descriptions of the planets in the intro, too. Very, very helpful with a lot of the keywords and adjectives and stuff like this.
AS: Yeah, that was the first book. But when I first had my chart, for example, and I had a few readings, I was living in Olympia, Washington at the time.
CB: The home of evolutionary–almost. Seattle is more of the home of evolutionary.
AS: Yeah. Yeah, definitely a ton of astrology happening in Olympia, and it was a very short chapter I was there. But my friend, Ari Moshe, just would read these books, Pluto, Pluto 2. Of course, we were watching a lot of Maurice’s videos. We had these VHS tapes that we would watch of Maurice chatting about Neptune or lecturing about Neptune.
CB: Maurice Fernandez?
AS: And so, that was when I really started to begin chart interpretation on my first clients as well; it was very much a model of Pluto being the soul’s intent, the signature of trauma, and then the nodes being the story that is built around that. So a lot of the first year or two of me doing astrology was baked around that philosophy.
And then a lot has changed over the years. I mean, the podcast, I’ve talked to so many people on the podcast. I’ve studied Jyotish and studied many different types of astrology, like Hellenistic as well. Over the years, I’ve just developed my own approach and my own kind of take on a lot of this stuff. And seemingly, our still popular node conversation, I still get emails about this.
CB: Do you?
AS: Do you?
CB: Yeah. Because we were doing a Q&A, and one of the first questions was about the nodes, and that launched us into…
AS: Two hours of nodes.
CB: …a two-hour discussion about nodes. No, because that’s one of the most important episodes that’s foundational for any subsequent episodes that I’ve done on the nodes, which ties into what we’re talking about now.
It led into or set up my fundamental issue with nodes, which is that everybody thinks they have to do with past and future lives today, and they think that that’s always been the case and it’s an inherited part of the tradition. But when I looked back, I could only find that doctrine going back a few decades, into the 1930s, which left me in a struggle with how to reconcile that with how much focus some schools give to the nodes today, which is a similar issue to the Pluto issue.
AS: Yeah, it is, indeed. And a quick thing about that. People do reach out about that podcast because they like it and they enjoyed our conversation around it, but there’s also people that come at me around it because of the ‘past life’ part.
I don’t use past lives with the nodes as a choice. It’s not that I don’t believe in past lives, I think there’s a legitimacy to them. People get a little heated about that one, and I just want to say that for the record.
AS: Just for the record.
CB: That’s funny.
AS: One of them was on your thread.
CB: I thought you were the one more defending. Because you were the one at least representing more of that school. I was the much more antagonistic one of there being no previous associations with past lives in any of the traditions prior to the 20th century with the nodes.
AS: Well, I think we were in agreement on that point mainly because in Jyotish, Rahu and Ketu are quite different than the way that the EA school uses them.
CB: Yeah. And to whatever extent Jyotish is tied in with karma and reincarnation and things like that, it’s like the entire chart for the most part and it’s not specified to the nodes.
AS: Yeah, yeah, which we can touch on because the nodes are one of my favorite elements of astrology.
CB: Hold on. You know what’s funny about that, with the node thing, is I did an episode, and there’s some modern, contemporary Jyotish astrologers that have been influenced by the Western approach to the nodes, and they’ve taken the past life thing and started applying it to the nodes. But now, they’re treating it as if that’s always been the case in the Indian tradition when it’s not, as far as I can tell both textually and in terms of talking to other Indian astrologers that don’t have that conceptualization at all. So now, it’s getting a little muddled and tricky even in terms of what the Indian tradition is.
AS: The migration of ideas, Chris.
CB: Which is always what happens. Ideas go back and forth in the astrological tradition constantly from culture to culture, and language to language, and even practitioner to practitioner. Every time two astrologers get in a room, they start talking and comparing ideas and those ideas have a tendency to rub off on each other in some way.
AS: Yep, yep. So let’s circle back to Pluto, and I’ll say a few things here. Pluto, being one of the planets, as Chiron is in this camp as well, we haven’t even been aware of its existence for an entire orbit.
CB: For a full cycle.
AS: Right. And my whole stance on this is that that assumes we don’t know everything about this particular planet or archetype or story that is present within it, right? We don’t know the full story. Like we’re, what, halfway through with Pluto about?
AS: Because it was in Cancer I think when it was found in the ‘30s.
AS: Is that right?
CB: My ephemeris knowledge right now is lacking.
AS: Good, me too, but I think so.
CB: I mean, it was in Leo in the 1940s. I know that because of the Pluto in Leo generation astrologers, so yeah, it would be in Cancer in the 1930s. So you’re right, we’re only halfway through right now.
AS: Exactly. So we’re learning, and there’s something really interesting about Pluto/Hades, Lord of the Underworld. Like when you trace it back, actually Michael’s book on Mesopotamian astrology helps in understanding this a little bit.
CB: Baigent, okay.
AS: Yeah, Michael Baigent’s book, my latest to add. With Nergal, the association’s with Mars. Like there’s so many that are pretty much identical to what we’re talking about with Pluto, but there was no awareness of this Plutonic archetype back then.
And there was even more syncretism in Alexandria, for example, with Serapis; it was a very prominent god in Alexandria. And you have the trident, the triple-headed dog; you have all of these symbols that are there, but it’s not Pluto; it’s not Hades; it’s something else.
And so, I think a really interesting point to kind of drag with us into this conversation is how these energies, these gods, change shape throughout time. So when we discover something like Pluto, which technically isn’t a planet anymore, which is also very curious.
CB: Sure. Yeah, that’s a whole thing in terms of its demotion 10 or 15 years ago by astronomers. But then the question is whether astronomers’ classifications of things is relevant for astrologers and whether that makes a difference or whether it does.
AS: Yeah, yeah. And if we’re mainly thinking with our left brain and we’re trying to make logic sense of ‘the icy ball with a heart on it’ at the edge of the solar system and how it could possibly have an impact like it does, we might get tangled. But if you’re just watching, if you’ve experienced a Pluto transit before, you know, it’s a very real situation.
Like with the US going through a Pluto return, it’s clear. We’re in a Plutonic moment, and so we can explore that. But I feel that there’s a lot of watching and learning from it, and there are underworld themes. I mean, Pluto has a capacity of detoxifying and showing us the macabre, but it’s all about power ultimately, right? It’s like how do we manage power? And if we don’t do so properly, it will be exposed when there’s certain transits, and that usually has disastrous consequences.
CB: Yeah, I’m an ‘outer planet’ fan. I use Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto even though I went to traditional astrology. There’s some people that go to traditional or go into Jyotish, or Indian astrology or what have you, and stop using outer planets altogether, or say that you shouldn’t, or that they can’t be integrated into the system.
And that was never my thing. I find that you can integrate the outer planets into the system. Pluto’s just one of the more tricky ones because of some of the additional things that have accreted on top of it in terms of some of the mythology, some of the karmic or past life stuff. Yeah, but the transits and some of those really close hard aspects in the natal chart, they do really stand out.
AS: I think so.
CB: The other issue that’s an issue is the rulership thing, and the modern rulerships of Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto versus traditional rulerships. And that’s something that I also struggle with because I use more of the traditional rulership scheme of Mars ruling Scorpio. And I can see similarities between Pluto and Scorpio, but I want to be careful not to just assign Pluto to Scorpio and then drag all of the significations of Scorpio and apply them to Pluto. I’d rather just see Pluto on its own and what does it signify as a celestial body without necessarily relying on that rulership scheme.
AS: Mm-hmm. How close is Pluto to your Sun?
CB: It’s pretty close. My Pluto’s at 2 Scorpio, and my Sun is at 9 Scorpio.
AS: Yeah, I think one of the last full episodes of yours I listened to was with Steven Forrest, and he was kind of nudging at you about Scorpio themes.
AS: But the way I see it is, again, to bring it back to power, right? Like what you’ve done with this podcast, I mean, congratulations, by the way, at 100K followers, watchers, or whatever you say on YouTube. It’s amazing. And just the transformational effect that you’ve had on astrology, I mean, I’ve been able to witness it. Because you and I have been doing this alongside each other the whole way, you know.
AS: And I would argue that that relates to Pluto, being a Sun-Pluto person. And what is it transiting right now? Your 12th?
CB: Yeah, currently.
AS: It could be a case for Maurice’s 12th house interpretation of that’s how you reach the masses. Like with your message, with these conversations, it’s one of those moments. And I’ll stop it there, but I think it’s a really positive case because a lot of people get really freaked out by Pluto and the rest of the malefics.
AS: But when I think of Pluto, for example, with the Pluto return for the US, there’s a strange excitement that I get around it because I understand that it’s going to reveal where power is toxic and being manipulated, and it’s going to make room for the regenerative growth to happen, right? Like a leaf falls, and what happens to it? It’s like that process where the fungal kingdom takes over and new life comes from it. It’s a really beautiful thing that we often overlook. So you’re doing it.
CB: Yeah, I mean, I’m doing what I can. It’s been a fun ride, and it’s been interesting to see both of our careers progress in doing the podcasts. I think this is going to turn into the Pluto episode because that’s where we’re going at this point. We’re doing it. This is just like the nodes episode, part two.
AS: I’m open.
AS: Sorry, Rick, if that’s what’s happening. Mr. Tarnas, I do apologize.
CB: I did put out a request to see if Rick Tarnas would be interested in doing that episode. We’ll still probably do it, if he says ‘yes’, but let’s follow this line of thought.
AS: There could be two.
AS: The master and the protege.
CB: Right. Yeah, that would be fitting since, like we said, that was your first astrology book.
CB: So one of the things you said made me realize and remember and think that one of the things that’s interesting is that so much of the dialogue in the 1970s and ‘80s, in what we call ‘modern’ astrology, like late 20th century astrology, was about rejecting the concept of benefics and malefics as being too simplistic and not necessarily true or what have you, and not treating Saturn and Mars as malefics necessarily anymore.
But then what was interesting about that is when it comes to Pluto, Pluto in modern astrology ends up being the planet that does often still get this sort of malefic status in some sense functionally, where even a modern astrologer will see a Pluto transit coming and be like, “Yeesh, you’ve got some rough stuff coming up, one way or another.”
And even though there are broader attempts to frame it in terms of transformation and change and other things like that, it still functionally often gets treated as one of the most difficult planets in modern astrology. Is that true? Do you feel like that’s an accurate statement?
AS: I think it’s true.
AS: I think it’s true, and I think the root of it has a lot to do with our relationship to impermanence, to death, essentially. I think that all of our fears, all of our phobias, everything that we project onto the chart is rooted in that. And a great case for Pluto wisdom actually comes from the Buddha.
And if you know anything about Buddhism, you know that when Siddhartha was born, his mother died, and it was a Full Moon that day, supposedly a Scorpio Full Moon; it’s celebrated as Vesak. Not in all the traditions it falls like this, but it’s an interesting thing; so it assumes the Buddha is a Taurus Sun, Scorpio Full Moon.
AS: And then he experiences enlightenment under the Bodhi Tree, under the same Full Moon, and then dies under the same Full Moon. Whether true or not, the symbolism is interesting and how it’s celebrated in the springtime.
And so, you have the traumas; it’s a case for the EA crowd. You have trauma of birth, Scorpio Moon–a fallen Moon–mother dies at birth, so there’s that; and then facing old age, sickness, and death, which is how the story goes. The Buddha steps outside onto the grounds of the courtyard of where he grows up and realizes there is old age, sickness, and death, and then goes out on this journey to try to get to the root of the suffering (What is it? What is the root of this suffering?) and then, ultimately, his own death. I think this is interesting and helpful in how we deal with Pluto because, again, Pluto is the natural ruler or the modern ruler of Scorpio.
CB: Which rulership scheme do you use?
AS: I always look at traditional first.
CB: Okay. I mean, I’m not passing any judgment, I’m just curious in the case of full disclosure.
AS: Yeah, I do. I always look at traditional first. It’s almost like extra information that we get to look at the modern ones too, so I’ll look at both.
AS: So the point of me telling that story in brief is that it gets us to the heart of that question of like what is the root of our suffering, and the Buddha says it’s in our attachment, in our desire. And so, if we’re really attached to our stories, if we’re really attached to our identity, if we’re really attached to whatever the subject may be, it equates to suffering down the road.
And so, it’s not that we all are meant to be monks or nuns and just passing through this life like a waft of air. But having a really healthy relationship to impermanence, that is the ultimate power because then you’re really not afraid, right? And so, the meditation and the contemplation of impermanence and our desires and our attachments and all of this, I think is truly the root of doing Pluto work.
And so, when somebody experiences a catastrophic Pluto transit, the hit rate of Pluto on the Descendant is pretty high as far as ending relationships, right? Don’t know what that percentage would be, but I’ve seen enough cases to where it ends a lot of relationships. Why? I would say part of the answer to that question is there are secrets between them.
Everything is not revealed. There’s attachment to certain stories that they both may have or whatever it is. There’s something occurring within the power dynamics between two people. And what Pluto wants is to expose all of that, so there’s transparency. And then, ultimately, I think it starts spinning the transformation.
CB: Right. Yeah, impermanence. I mean, that’s a struggle though because any living entity’s primary, overriding things is self-preservation. And the drive for self-preservation is part of why any of us stays alive or why, for example, suicide is viewed as not the answer, not an ideal thing to opt for.
When I think about this idea of impermanence and things like that and having a really intense Pluto transit or something like that, and having the destruction of something or the death of something becoming very real, it’s sometimes easier to accept certain things philosophically and abstractly. But when it comes to actually living it, that’s sometimes a different matter.
AS: Like you’re a Pluto-Sun person, I’m a Pluto-Moon person, and so, in some sense, you would assume we’re quite used to the energies of what we’re talking about. And I’m only curious, being a Pluto-Sun person, it’s at the top of your chart, like on your Midheaven?
CB: Yeah. Well, it’s in my 10th whole sign house. It’s in my 9th or possibly 8th house by quadrant, depending on what quadrant system you’re using.
AS: For you, how comfortable do you feel with these themes? Not necessarily in naming it as Pluto, but some of these themes that we’re talking about.
CB: I mean, my core psychological wound early on was I have a Sun-Pluto conjunction in Scorpio, and my father died when I was five, when I was having some of those heavy transits. One of the lovely things about my stellium is Pluto’s at 2, so it’s the earliest planet of my Scorpio stellium. So that means when I was first born, my initial chapters of life were just Pluto grinding over my Sun and Saturn and squaring my Ascendant and hitting Mercury, and squaring my Moon for like the first decade of my life.
AS: So when Pluto was transiting your Sun is when you lost your father.
CB: It was somewhere in between, yeah, Sun and Saturn, basically.
AS: When Pluto was on my Moon–well, actually is that true? Saturn was definitely transiting my Sun when I lost my Dad when I was 17. So okay, you see that story and trauma is like that. And it’s a case for the EA folks again. There is something about the trauma signatures with Pluto in the chart. Whether it’s the soul’s intent…
CB: How is that a case for the EA people? What were you saying there?
AS: Oh, sorry. Well, that’s kind of like the thesis with Pluto. Where you see it in the chart, it’s like that’s where the soul intent is, the polarity point, and that story that opens up where there’s an emotional trauma that exists around wherever Pluto’s at in the chart.
And so, with the story that you just shared, that counts, right? I mean, the symbol of Dad is the Sun, and Pluto gets close to it and then there’s the loss of that.
CB: Yeah. I mean, I guess where I struggle with it is I remember going to a NORWAC and seeing a list circulating–it was like a handout–but it was like ‘The Ten Commandments (or Rules) of Evolutionary Astrology’. I know there’s different evolutionary astrology schools. There’s Jeff Green’s school and there’s the Steven Forrest school and then different subsets based on students.
But the Jeff school seems to really focus on Pluto, and it’s number one rule was like ‘Pluto is the soul’, and it repeated that like three or four times. It was like ‘Pluto is the soul. Pluto is the soul. Pluto is the soul’. And I can’t get on board with that…
AS: Me, neither.
CB: …symbolically, from an astrological standpoint or from any other standpoint. And it comes off to me like a tendency in the late 20th century–that all traditions have–to get a new point and to fetishize it, to overblow a single point; whether it’s Pluto, whether it’s the nodes, whether it’s the Part of Fortune, whether it’s a certain asteroid, or whatever.
Every astrologer or tradition no matter the time period has that possibility to over-focus on a certain point. And I can’t help but feel like that’s what happened in some of the schools in the late 20th century with Pluto, even though it is absolutely an important planet that does things. It does stuff.
AS: It does stuff.
CB: I will say that.
AS: That’s a really great point. It’s one of the reasons why I transitioned from using Pluto in that kind of a way. And everything has soul; there’s soul to Pluto. Soul descends. There’s weight, there’s quality, there’s substance to soul.
And one of the most influential minds of the past year for me has been Thomas Moore, are you familiar with him?
CB: A little bit.
AS: So he wrote a book–I think it was his first book–called Planets Within, and it’s about Marsilio Ficino’s astrology, his ‘natural magic’.
AS: And he talks a lot about soul. I mean, Thomas Moore, all of his books are about soul. And the way in which he writes about it, the way he talks about it, it’s just exquisite. In this book, when I was reading it, I was in Madeira at the time; we got stuck there during the pandemic. And I was slowly, slowly going through this book, just savoring it, because it was important about going through the seven traditional planets, Ficino’s take on them and how he used them, and then just this commentary by Thomas Moore.
And so, I would say I’m more resonant with that school than just, yeah, isolating, ‘Okay, the soul is only this’. Soul is everything. Soul is the entire chart, but also there’s different qualities to soul. We grow soul in our dynamic relationship to all of these gods/goddesses stories, however you want to see them. That’s what I feel.
CB: Well, Ficino’s interesting because he is also then drawing and is the crossway point between the actual Western esoteric tradition of both the Platonic tradition as well as the Hermetic tradition, because Ficino was the translator of both Plato’s works as well as the Corpus Hermeticum. So it’s like there you would find what the Western tradition’s treatment of things like soul actually is when it comes to astrology versus more recently-invented stuff from more recently-discovered planets.
AS: I want to share something about my experience of going deep with Ficino and Bruno and a lot of these Renaissance minds, and what it did is give me a greater appreciation for you and a lot of your colleagues that do a lot of these translation projects and work with the traditional ideas. Because I think for a lot of us, like when we get into astrology, it’s like, well, what do we encounter?
Like first, these days, we encounter these podcasts, and then we read a few books, and then we have a certain idea of what things are. But when I got into it, again, it was the EA stuff, a lot of the psychological astrology, Liz Greene, and Stephen Arroyo and all these wonderful books, but we all start there.
CB: Yeah, well, there’s a funny thing, converse right now–because I just released a book list; it was like top eight beginner books for astrologers, for new astrologers–but newer books have been written in the past decade. And I got a lot of comments I got really annoyed about that were like, “What? No Liz Greene?” “No Stephen Arroyo?” “No Rob Hand?” And I was like those books were written in the 1970s and they’re kind of dated at this point.
And even though that is where I started and that’s where most people started–because the same collection of a handful of astrology books was what everybody 20 or 30 years ago read when they first got into astrology–some of those ideas are no longer current today. That doesn’t make them bad or completely useless, but they’re not necessarily where I would tell somebody who’s starting from square one to start today.
AS: What is your number one book that you tell people to read?
CB: Well, there’s a book by Carole Taylor called Astrology: Using the Wisdom of the Stars in Your Everyday Life. And Carole Taylor is an astrologer from the UK, and she studied with, not the London School, but the faculty of Astrological Studies and taught there. And she wrote this amazing book that I just found in like a Barnes & Noble a few years ago, but it’s extremely well-illustrated, it’s comprehensive, it’s cheap, it’s affordable to buy, and it’s just a really good and readable beginner book.
So that, Chani Nicholas’ book, You Were Born for This–which focuses on the Sun, Moon, and rising and also pairs well with her app–synthesizes modern and traditional astrology, but also has really good sensibilities for modern issues dealing with gender, sexual orientation, and things like that that were not at all where they were in the 1970s. Yeah, Tarnas’ book, there’s a few other books.
AS: Do you still include Michael’s?
CB: Michael, who?
AS: Baigent, again. Because you had told me you had recommended your students to read that one.
CB: Yeah, it’s not on my top eight list because it’s more of a history book on Mesopotamian astrology. I forget what the new title is? What was the first title?
AS: I’ve never seen the first print, but the title now is The Astrology of Ancient Mesopotamia.
CB: Yeah, I mean, that’s an amazing book. That’s one of my top two books for Mesopotamian astrology. It’s like that and another book titled Mesopotamian Astrology by Ulla Koch-Westenholz; I forget if I’m pronouncing her last name. But those aren’t like top eight, brand new astrologer books for me.
AS: Yeah, they don’t help you to read charts or anything.
CB: Yeah, it doesn’t tell you anything about techniques. It is top eight history books if that was a separate list in terms of new astrologers, so it’s like that. There’s a traditional book by Helena Avelar and Luis Ribeiro, On the Heavenly Spheres, Tarnas’ book. I did put my book on this list because it’s the only book…
AS: Hey, it’s a good one.
CB: It’s the only book that gives an overview of the original tradition of Western astrology from 2,000 years ago. So if somebody else wants to write that book, and it’s better than mine, I’ll put that book on the list; but until that time, I feel like I have some obligation to include it. James Holden’s book, A History of Horoscopic Astrology. And then, finally, my last book is The [American] Ephemeris.
AS: An actual ephemeris.
CB: An ephemeris, like a print ephemeris, especially the 1950 to 2050. So you can flip through the pages and see any day, any year; you can literally read the past or the future in one book. I mean, it’s a core good thing to get really early on in your studies, I think.
AS: It’s a good list.
CB: So those are my recommendations, but some people were like we’re dissing these books. Because 20 years ago when I started, or when you started, those books would have been in the top eight list; there would have been some Liz Greene, some Rob Hand, or some Stephen Arroyo.
But the problem is Planets in Transit–which was written in the 1970s–is a good book, but it doesn’t actually reflect Hand’s practice today because he’s grown and changed a lot as an astrologer. And he’s writing a revised version of that book and when it’s out I would probably recommend it. But as it is now, that book is almost 50 years old and doesn’t even reflect the author’s current practice. So it’s like why put that on a core list today? That’s my take at least.
CB: Okay. How did we get there?
AS: I was just thinking, where were we?
AS: We were talking about Pluto in some respects. Soul is all. Isolating something to one planet, which also relates to the nodes being the story, right?
CB: But you started saying that it gives you respect for those that are going back and looking at the older traditions.
AS: Yes, with Ficino and stuff.
AS: And so, I had this amazing feeling of–and also, as I’ve moved through all of Michael’s books as well–realizing that. Like the last time you and I–well, when we did the nodes podcast, I remember joking to you about how you have this knack for history. And you tend to remember everything, right?
AS: And I think the reason why I’ve always failed at that is because I’ve never been truly interested in history, but I now am.
CB: Yeah, I mean, it gives you a reason, or astrology gives you a reason to be interested in history.
AS: Exactly. Now I am, and I think you definitely have been helpful, along with Nick Campion, Michael’s books, and a few others. And it’s like, wow, there’s this whole untold history. Like you mentioned Ficino translating the Hermetica; that was a seminal moment in the history of the world. He was working on the works of Plato for–was it Cosimo? Was it Cosimo de’ Medici?
CB: Yeah, Medici.
AS: And he pushed that aside to translate the Hermetica before he died.
AS: That’s how important that was when it showed up.
CB: Because they thought the Hermetica was older. Although, ironically, Plato was older than the Hermetica.
CB: But nonetheless, it gives you an idea of how much emphasis was placed on those Hermetic texts.
AS: And when you read the Hermetica, and you understand the ideas that are in there, it’s like, what happened? Well, the Enlightenment. A lot has happened between then and now. But what excites me about our time, Chris, is I do think we’re living in a Plutonic moment. I think we’re living in a Renaissance of sorts. You’re definitely a part of it; I think all of us are a part of it. We’re trying to recover all of these old ideas and breathe new life into them.
And I think the role I’ve plopped myself into is trying to do so with story: story and language. And it’s kind of how I use astrology as well, helping people find themselves in their story. And clearly understand there’s two threads here: there’s fate and destiny. When you brave them and see how that works in a chart, and it’s very helpful in doing so, there’s a magnificent thing that happens to the person when they’re able to liberate from the heaviness of fate.
I think a lot of people get the wrong idea when it comes to prediction and working with astrology, like “If I know this, it’s going to limit my freedom,” or “It’s going to make me suffer more,” whatever it might be. But there’s actually in my opinion a liberating effect that it has when…
CB: The acceptance of fate?
AS: The acceptance of fate, which is definitely something I’ve changed my mind on in the 13 years of studying astrology, hugely; and I think a lot of us do. Because of how we grow up in the West, I think we’re in the ‘free will’ camp for the most part. And that’s not to say there is no free will, but when you study astrology, especially these time-lord systems, I mean, I’ve never seen anything like it.
AS: Just the Vimshottari Dasha is the most mind-blowing thing I’ve ever used in my life. Like it’s so crazy how it works. How can it work? How about this one? Are you familiar with the Nadi astrologers, or the Indian palm leaf readers?
CB: A little bit. Yeah, nadi leaves.
AS: Have you ever had a reading?
CB: No. I mean, the premise for those not familiar with it, briefly stated, the premise is that people wrote down these predictions on leaves centuries ago that were then wrapped up, and then you get a reading and it somehow says something about your life today.
AS: So I had at first become aware of this studying Jyotish and the stories are just like mind-blowing. So this is the only information they have, by the way: your thumbprint and whether you’re a male or a female; that’s it, by birth.
CB: And then what happens? They pull out a wrapped-up leaf? Am I actually recalling this correctly?
AS: So they have to search for your leaves.
AS: So I had a guy on my podcast back in June named Dr. Q, and he basically acts as a facilitator to help Westerners experience true Nadi astrology; there’s a lot of scammers online these days. And down in Tamil Nadu, he has met some legitimate palm leaf readers, and he’s basically made a business of helping people experience this, right? So anyway, my point here is about fate.
AS: Thumbprint, know you’re a male or female, and they go out searching. Now what does that look like? Are they like on a bicycle in COVID times searching for your leaves? They have to find them, and sometimes they don’t find them.
They found my leaves. It took two months for them to find my leaves, and there were two different pamphlets. ‘Bundles’ is what they call them; there’s 108 palm leaves in each bundle. And the way the reading starts is they ask you questions. And so, just to give you an example, some of the questions they asked me were like, “Did you father die when you were 17?” “Did your mother die at the beginning of this year?” “Do you have a brother? Is he younger? You don’t have much of a connection to your brother.” Just asking me questions straight from these leaves, all they had was my thumbprint, right?
Actually they did that with the first bundle, and all the questions were a bit mind-blowing, right? And there was one question that was off, and they were like, “Uh, not your bundle,” and then we had to start over with the next bundle. And it was like a similar series of questions, and then it was ‘officially’ my bundle, and then the reading started.
And then they basically tell you where you’re at and where you’re going, and the idea of when things start to putter out and what you can do to remedy it: certain pujas, mantras, things like this that you can do to help remediate it.
So I’ve now experienced Nadi astrology. I’ve studied Vedic astrology, Hellenistic astrology, and have been practicing astrology for 12 years, by Jupiter cycle. And fate, there’s no doubt in my mind about that etching within the soul; like it’s there. The Moirai were the weird sisters who’ve threaded our way into this world. It’s real; I know that much. But then destiny is what becomes most interesting to me because I don’t think they’re the same thing; they’re together.
CB: But that’s a really interesting point though, before you get there, of fate. That’s one of the biggest things, and that’s why I titled my book what I did. Because I think my biggest thesis of the book is that somebody in the 1st century BCE developed this system for studying fate and that was astrology, and astrology was the access point to understand your fate and understand what was predetermined or predestined, and the purpose of doing that was to learn what you had to accept.
And this system became wildly popular in the 1st and 2nd and 3rd centuries BCE. But then it became so popular that this other cult that was a minor cult at the time sprouted up and grew as a counterbalance to it, until it eventually eclipsed astrology because it provided an alternative. And that counterbalancing alternative was Christianity because it said that if you believe in this guy, this Jesus dude from the 1st century, you were free of fate. You were no longer subject to fate and your birth chart no longer will determine your destiny.
And that’s a pretty appealing proposition if you don’t like the cards that have been dealt to you, if you don’t like your fate and you don’t want to accept that, to believe that there’s a way out of it. And then 2,000 years later, our entire Western civilization has been built around these ideas of the rejection of fate and the triumph of free will and things like that. Which is one of the reasons why I think studying astrology and being exposed to especially ancient astrology in whatever form is such a shock initially because it does show you very starkly that there is some concept of fate that exists out there that is real, and there’s something a little unsettling about that.
AS: The way you just framed that, I’ve never heard it quite said that way, with the cults and the takeover. And it’s the easy way out, too. It’s like you don’t really have to deal with the whole fate and the work that it entails.
CB: Yeah, just think about it, astrology became so popular, and Stoicism was so popular at the time and they really went well together with astrology, where all the astrologers believed that the purpose was to determine your fate, so you know what you have to accept. And that went in a different way in the Vedic tradition, which is still also very fated and tied in with karma and reincarnation; although they started emphasizing a lot more, especially in modern times, ideas of remediation and being able to change your fate or certain things to a certain extent, so things are a little bit different there, at least today.
But yeah, one of the core things that’s then so fascinating to me that nobody recognizes about the rise of Christianity is why it became so popular, why it came to dominate the Roman Empire as rapidly as it did. Because we’ve just been living in the aftermath of that, we take for granted much of its philosophy, even if we don’t identify as Christians, because it’s so ingrained in Western society.
AS: I had a good question for you around that. What was it? Oh, the natural magic. So Ficino, Bruno, they were Christian–they were priests actually–and they got ‘bit’ by the Hermetic bug and started studying this stuff, especially with the natural magic angle of things, a way of working with fate and destiny in a very conscious sense. And something you learn going back and studying the astrology of ancient Mesopotamia is they were doing that, too.
AS: Like we know very little, for instance, of Harran. But whatever was going on there, I’m very interested in. Do you have any suggestions on books? Did I email it to you? Because I was trying to find books in Michael’s library and I couldn’t. There’s not much there.
CB: I mean, honestly, the main thing that probably came out of Harran or is a product of the intersection of Mesopotamian and Hellenistic and Greco-Roman and a little bit of Indian occult traditions, one of the primary outgrowths of that that we see a few centuries later is the Picatrix book of astrological magic
AS: Right there.
CB: Yeah, Picatrix, Latin version. I’m waiting for the new Arabic translation to come out some time here pretty soon.
AS: You read Arabic?
CB: I don’t, but it’s going to be translated into English in addition to. So yeah, the magical tradition, you were talking about Ficino.
AS: Yeah, because you had mentioned the Vedic side of it. And I guess my point around it is how this cult of Christianity, our worldview, we’ve lost that, and it’s become almost cartoonish or archetypal, right? When we think of people that are into magic, or witches, or people that talk about Moons and all of this, our culture sees it that way. And there’s been such a successful campaign over the last 2,000 years to do this.
CB: To eradicate that.
AS: Completely eradicate it, when a lot of the evidence around Christ is that he was into astrology. Most were around that time.
CB: Yeah, I mean, he was certainly in the Gospel of Matthew. Somebody just reminded me I meant to make t-shirts–and I’m going to do it this time–that the Magi were astrologers.
CB: Yeah, a little minor story like right at the beginning of the Bible about the astrologers that show up at the birth of Christ because there was a celestial portent that indicates that the Messiah has been born.
CB: It’s a little important. Later theologians of course had to downplay that and like pretend that wasn’t what it obviously was, because astrology and Christianity came to have tension. But it’s interesting that you mention Mesopotamia and the fact that the Mesopotamians had propitiation rituals.
AS: All the way back to Ur.
CB: Yeah. Well, one of them that’s fascinating to me that I always meant to do an episode–because I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately–about what you can do about things that are fated and the extent to which things are predetermined and if there’s any room for negotiability. One of the things they had was the ‘substitute king’ ritual.
AS: Mm-hmm, with eclipses. Perfect timing.
CB: Well, what was funny is we just had one. Did you watch the lunar eclipse that just occurred in Taurus a few nights ago?
AS: I saw a glimpse. I was tired. It happened late.
CB: Yeah, I almost wasn’t going to do it, and then I just sucked it up and like dragged myself out and watched from a roof. And of course, like right before it culminated at 2:00 AM, I stuck in there, and then a cloud came by and covered it up. So I didn’t get to see the red part, but I did take a bunch of pictures all the way up until right before.
CB: So the next day, what was really funny, did you see in the news that Biden went in for a medical procedure and for a colonoscopy.
AS: TMI, yeah.
CB: Yeah, a little bit of too much information. But he was under anesthesia and they put Kamala Harris in charge, who briefly then was like the acting President for a few hours the day after this eclipse. And it just made me think of the ‘substitute king’ ritual a little bit and how that’s kind of a similar thing. If the Mesopotamian astrologers saw a bad portent for the king coming in the next week or whatever, they would take like some peasant or some farmer and make him king for a week, so that whatever bad indication would happen to them. And then once it was over, they would reinstall the normal king.
AS: There’s not a lot of evidence what they would do with that poor chap.
CB: Yeah, I don’t like talking about that part of the school. There’s some versions where I think they kill him in order to fulfill whatever they thought was going to happen. I’m not sure if that always happened. I’ve been meaning to find a Mesopotamian scholar that can actually tell me.
AS: Because there was human sacrifice in those cultures, I do think.
CB: I mean, in some ways then that could be the shadow side of astrology or at least some of those practices.
AS: One of them?
CB: That’s not very cool, but it did make me wonder about the appropriateness of something like that today. Because one of the things I struggle with even today, as an astrologer of 20 years, is the more advanced I get, sometimes knowing the worst-case scenarios and seeing a bad transit coming myself in the future, I haven’t developed the enlightenment of a Stoic sage where I’m just completely cool with whatever happens at this point if it’s the worst-case scenario.
And sometimes that does still worry or concern me. And it makes me sometimes think about the Mesopotamian astrologers, and if you’re having an extremely bad transit, if you can channel it by grabbing the energy by the horns and then doing something with it proactively and if that does work. Because I think all astrologers have the idea that sometimes you can do that. But I’m often curious to what extent you can versus sometimes there’s something that just comes out of left field that you don’t have any control over.
So it’s not a matter of, “Well, if I just do this, then the energy will go away,” it’s like there’s already something set in motion that was headed towards you long before you started to do anything, and it’s going to happen to coincide with your path that day no matter what you do. But there’s still a question sometimes of if that model of astrology might still be true to some extent. What do you think?
AS: We can use an example that was current. So the Mars-Saturn square, you seemed a little concerned about that.
CB: A little concerned. We were worried about that for me, personally. I did see a lot of people use that time in order to grind through stuff that they didn’t want to do but they sort of had to do. And for me, I spent a lot of it just catching up on 4,000 unread emails that I’d been putting off for months and just felt overwhelming because I get so many messages due to stuff and just can’t deal with it. But I finally sat down for a month and just forced myself to do a bunch of that for a long time.
AS: No assistant?
CB: I’m working on it. I’m working on it. Even with an assistant, though, there’s some things that you can’t have somebody else answer and that’s one of the things that’s annoying.
AS: Yeah, yeah, I tried that once.
AS: Yeah, I think we need it. Did you watch the new Dune?
CB: I did.
AS: It was good.
CB: That was my first exposure to the whole Dune universe. I didn’t realize how much Star Wars had ripped off Dune, so that some pieces of it were…
AS: It did come first.
CB: Yeah. I just interviewed an astrologer yesterday who’s name I’m blanking out, but he asked Frank Herbert Walker his birth time at one point.
AS: He got it?
CB: He got it. And Frank Herbert Walker said that his wife actually was a practicing astrologer at one point, which was an interesting anecdote. Ray Grasse, that’s who I interviewed.
AS: Okay, okay. Yeah, wonderful, wonderful world of Dune. And the quote that people use, kind of like “May the Force be with you,” is “Fear is the mind-killer,” right?
AS: And that’s a very potent mantra to keep in all of our minds. It relates to what we were talking about with Pluto and Scorpio as well. And I’ll be honest, there’s no transit that has ever been coming for me that I’ve been worried about.
AS: Mm-mm, no. Like I have a lot of concerning ones.
CB: No, dasha period? No secondary progression?
CB: What about a Rahu–I don’t know.
AS: I’m in Saturn-Rahu at the moment, and you’d think that’d freak me out a little bit, but no. And from the beginning, Chris, my relationship to a lot of this astrology has been like a deep curiosity and a knowing of that, well, whatever’s coming is coming and Great Spirit is working through all of this. So whatever’s coming, I just have to greet it and move with it in the best way possible.
AS: And so, Mars square Saturn. I forget exactly what it was for me, but I remember it vaguely related to how did I get busy again. There were two things that happened. It’s like I’m trying not to be busy these days with work. I’m really trying to have as much time as possible to work on this book that I’m writing, right?
AS: It’s hard. I think it’s just being back for the moment and like everyone just picks up that I’m here.
CB: Like me dragging you out to do a two-hour podcast randomly.
AS: Hey, but I want to see everyone. I mean, that’s the thing, and so it’s like okay. But then there was something on top of it with the Mars-Saturn. I was already feeling a little maxed and then something on top of it happened, and I’m like, “Oh, my dear.”
CB: It’s tricky, though, because the Mars-Saturn didn’t hit my chart closely, and so maybe I experienced just the general weather of that week in a non-localized sense as like answering emails and doing stuff I didn’t want to do. But there were some people where the degrees of their natal chart lined up in a certain way, where there was some tragic stuff that happened. There was the Travis Scott concert.
AS: That’s true.
CB: And there’s a father who takes his nine-year-old son to the concert and has him on his shoulders, and then he gets knocked over and his son gets trampled and dies from internal injuries. So that’s a worst-case scenario-type transit of extreme tragedy and loss and extreme stuff that for some people can be an experience of a worst-case scenario of certain types of transits.
AS: Yeah, yeah. There are certain things just to avoid. I wrote about it the day before it happened. Like avoid hanging out with snakes, poisonous insects, hippopotamuses. Keep away from extreme-minded folks. Like just be smart.
CB: Right. Extreme-minded hippopotamuses, you put them altogether.
AS: Who ride motorcycles.
CB: Right, that’s the worst-case scenario.
AS: Yeah, black angels. I mean, I don’t say that to be pompous, and I don’t freak out about it, but part of the work I do with people is try to help them with, we don’t know enough to worry. It’s like we might see that this transit is coming, and it might hit something that’s very, very sensitive in your chart, but do we really know exactly how it’s going to come? But most importantly, I think as a practicing astrologer, we need to help strengthen our clients and help them be strong in body, mind, and spirit, so they can face any of these transits when they come.
CB: But that’s hard because different astrologers have different answers about what would help.
CB: So for example, when you were giving that advice to avoid things, do you think that could change it or that it could help somebody avoid something that might happen otherwise?
AS: I don’t think there’s ever a good day to hang out with a hippo, right? Like I think it’s just bad form to do such a thing.
CB: I mean, I don’t want to pass judgment on like all hippos because I’m sure there’s some good hippopotamuses out there.
AS: There is someone that kept a hippo for a pet and then got eaten by the hippo.
AS: I saw this story the other day. It’s like ‘Tiger King’ kind of. It’s just bad form. It’s like being born with Mars square Saturn or something like that.
CB: Yeah, it depends on the birth chart of the hippo maybe. Would it change things?
AS: Would it? Yeah, it just seems reasonable.
CB: And is that the job of the astrologer to make those sorts of suggestions? Because something that came up in my discussion with Ray Grasse yesterday is that one of his core rules is ‘don’t tell clients what to do’.
AS: That’s right. I don’t do that.
AS: Well, I guess, okay, with the suggestion. But that’s me being a tad ridiculous and silly in saying that because I don’t think anybody would.
CB: The hippopotamus? Are we still talking about the hippopotamus thing?
AS: We’re still on the hippo thing.
CB: Okay. You need to get away from the hippopotamus thing.
AS: Get away from the hippo.
CB: Let’s ground this.
AS: Yeah, like I have a friend, he has a motorcycle now.
AS: I’m not a supporter of this. And if we were to ask me, “Hey, man, I’m going to take my bike down to Taos tomorrow,” and I know that the Mars square Saturn is there, I wouldn’t say, “Don’t do it.” I would say, “Hey, are you aware of the Mars-Saturn square? Where is it at in your chart?”
AS: Like I would give the awareness to the client or the person and not be like, “Oh, no, I wouldn’t do that. You’re going to die (or you’ll get in an accident).” I think it’s more giving power to the client.
CB: That’s implied, though, when you say that. Because then when they’re like “Why?” you’re like, “Uhhh.”
AS: Motorcycles are dangerous and that’s a dangerous transit.
CB: Yeah. Astrologers certainly, when we see a difficult transit in our chart, or especially a cluster of things, then we do try to exercise more caution on certain days, right?
AS: Yeah, yeah.
CB: Yeah, I mean, it’s just tricky because there are some transits where it does trigger something in you. Let’s say you get a Mars transit and you’re more irritable and you get into an argument with somebody that day or something, or say something you regret, or do something impulsive without thinking and accidentally injure yourself or something like that; whereas if you had cautioned yourself on that day or if you were aware of things, maybe you could have acted differently. And there’s like that version of it, which is easily amenable to the idea that maybe there are things that we can change through self-knowledge.
CB: But then there’s other versions of the external thing of you’re like driving down the highway and some guy just comes out of nowhere and their car like slams into you or something like that, where it’s not really something you can necessarily have changed. Or in some instances, you try to change something, but in doing so, somehow it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy and it sets up a sequence of events that wouldn’t have happened otherwise if you hadn’t attempted to avoid it. That’s another scenario that’s a little tricky.
AS: I’m with you, yeah. It’s tampering with the unseen and how it’s all woven, I suppose.
AS: And being humbled by the mystery is what I try to be, and then again, empowering people with it, and getting them into the story, into the mythic, and outside of the fear. That’s the main part outside of that.
CB: I guess it just gets into that issue of what are we doing with astrology and how can it be helpful. Is it helpful if we’re helping people to avoid things because we believe that you can’t avoid certain things through foreknowledge? Or alternatively, in doing that, are we just freaking people out and causing unnecessary psychological harm through worrying them unnecessarily, let’s say?
AS: Well, this is the most important question. It’s like what are we doing with astrology? Why do we even get into it in the first place?
AS: We’re interested in ourselves, right?
CB: Yes. I had a tweet about that this morning where I was reflecting. I said what’s interesting is that most astrologers use astrology primarily as a tool for self-knowledge. But as far as the public is concerned, most of the public is only interested in astrology in so much as it can make accurate predictions about events, which is a really interesting dichotomy that I know modern astrologers have struggled with the most, especially psychological astrologers; but it’s even an issue for more predictive or traditional astrologers as well.
AS: Yeah, yeah. So the self-knowledge piece is big for what pulls people into study it, and then the general public, a great example of it is the guy I’m renting from right now while I’m here. He’s always asking me questions about what the sky says, about, “When is this going to be over?” “What in January and February? I just heard something about what’s happening in February.” It’s like, “Ah, the Pluto return is getting out. Interesting.”
But yeah, it’s a little bit of both, and I feel it’s the most important question I think to always revisit for any serious student of astrology. Well, why are we doing this?
AS: And again, I’d like to reiterate for myself I think astrology is one of the most incredible tools of helping show where we’re at in this story that we call life. And I really do think that there’s kind of like a mythic substrate or foundation to our lives, that perhaps we’re being dreamt. And my theory around it comes from dream work; it comes from psychedelics. It comes from reading people like Ficino and Hillman, and whatnot.
There’s something very bizarre going on with all of this. It’s one of those things in life where I’m okay with the mystery remaining a mystery. Like I don’t know how astrology works. I think that podcast you did about Jung’s theories about how astrology works, he had at least seven theories.
CB: He had like ten theories over the course of his life, and he would go like back and forth between different ones, as we all do. And it was almost reassuring to see that somebody of Jung’s stature could be wrestling with it for his entire life.
AS: Yeah, and that’s helpful to know about. Someone as intelligent as him has all these different theories and obviously having fun with it..
CB: I wanted to be clear, I’m putting you on the spot, but only in asking you some of these questions in so much as there are things that I wrestle with myself and don’t have final answers to.
CB: So I’m not trying to have you tell me exactly how astrology works…
AS: Oh, I know.
CB: …what are all the answers to these questions, but more expressing my internal dialogue about some of these issues that I go back and forth with myself about what is the purpose of astrology, how does it work, what should it be used for, what are the limits of advice to other people, and what should you be telling non-astrologers about what to do or what not to do with their lives. There’s so many trick issues.
AS: I mean, we are very interested in stories. Like without them, what is life? What is anything of this, right? Like when you meet somebody, we share stories, like that’s what we do. That’s what creates our experience of being human. There’s something absolutely remarkable about how astrology helps with that.
Let’s use a great example of this. Like when you become attuned to how, say, eclipses work, or the Venus synodic cycle–she’s about to go retrograde–when you understand how these movements function a little bit, and then you’re able to see the different iterations of them in your life, whether you’re tracking Saros cycles or like the Venus eight-year thing, you’re able to see these different nodes within your own story and how places, people, themes are there.
AS: Like last time Venus was retrograde in Capricorn, I came back to Boulder the same way I came back this time. I didn’t really have a reason to, but it kind of felt like I had to, to finish things up. It was the same thing of like, “Uh, there’s loose ends. Like I have to come back to do that.” And then the people that were in my life when I came back at that time are the same people that have remained in Boulder.
And it’s like even the area of where I am staying, there’s all of these different things where a lot of my memories are from 2013; like November-December of 2013. It’s like, wow, that was the last time Venus was an evening star over the Flatirons looking at me. It’s a story, but it’s an amazing way of giving context to how we tend to kind of evolve within a Fibonacci spiral with Venus. We get wiser with our heart. We get better at relationship. We grow in our relationship to whether it’s a goddess or something that tunes us to beauty and meaning in our lives.
And I think that is why I keep studying and doing astrology. When I can see that go off in a person’s head, oh, my goodness, like I see it. “Like I can see how these nodes function, and I understand my story.” Like when there’s that moment of true, ‘Aha!’, and they have a mythic context, I mean, my job is done, right? Because they have that now and they can see it, and then they always can relate to it and deepen that story.
CB: Because astrology gives you a glimpse of your life narrative, basically.
CB: That’s it. And then it gives you a glimpse, sometimes briefly, into this story that’s being written; that is your life that you’re experiencing in little slices of time, but large parts of that narrative are somehow tied together in this mysterious way.
AS: Mm-hmm. It’s wonderful.
AS: And for people to be so charged against it, it’s like, well, what’s wrong with people trying to have greater context to their life, right?
AS: Whether it is psychological or fated, or the divide between those two camps, I think ultimately both of them attempt to do the same thing.
CB: Yeah. And when I said ‘self-knowledge’ earlier, that’s self-knowledge. Like the discovery of your own life narrative, that is a form of self-knowledge. Because some of the traditional astrologers push back against that and say, “Well, astrology is predictive.” Like yeah, that’s part of it, but ultimately finding your life narrative through the birth chart is the overarching theme, and that does get into the mythic area of astrology.
AS: It does.
CB: Because myth is partially about that too, of telling stories and the overall arc of a narrative or of a story.
AS: It gets me excited to see our own syncretism between psychology, mythology, and all forms of astrology, the ancient and the different camps, and see how they can come together to inform like a really, really amazing way of seeing ourselves and life. It’s truly exciting.
This is a question for you. Where do you feel is the next movement of this? Like right now it seems the big thing is traditional. It’s a renaissance at the moment; I really do think so. But do you feel that astrology will kind of move into a more therapeutic domain with the popularity of it being used by psychotherapists and stuff like that and that’s how it’ll get its big? Because it seems to be becoming more and more normalized. I’m just really curious of where you feel it’s headed. Because now that it’s kind of getting a resurgence and more acceptance, where to next?
CB: I mean, I think internally, in the field, the next step is the synthesis of modern and ancient astrology and all of these different traditions that have been dug up, by taking the best pieces of all of them and putting them together, and that’s already happening. Some of the latest generation of books that are now starting to come out are showing signs of that synthesis. One I forgot to mention earlier that’s on my list is Demetra George’s book Astrology and the Authentic Self, which I think is one of the first successful attempts at synthesizing ancient and modern astrology together.
So internally, I think that’s part of it. Externally, I don’t know where the top is, but I feel like we’re almost at the top of astrology’s popularity or astrology peaking in popularity culturally right now. Like it’s been this huge zeitgeist recently over the past few years, and there’s an influx of a huge number of younger astrologers into the field, which has been mind-blowing, as well as the diversification of the field, and so many things like that. But one of the things I worry about is the pushback.
Like whenever something becomes wildly popular culturally, it’s only a matter of time before there’s a little bit of pushback. And I don’t know how far into the future that is, but that’s one of the things I think about. And I was just talking with Nick Dagan Best earlier today about when that happens.
AS: Pushback by the culture, or pushback by some of the institutions? Like the cult we were speaking about.
CB: The culture and just a change in either the cultural trends. Like it’s become so trendy today to talk about astrology, and it’s becoming more popular where general concepts are coming in more wide currency. For example, 20 years ago, people knew their Sun sign. But now, you can ask somebody their Sun, Moon, and rising and they’ll know what their Sun, Moon, and rising is, which is amazing. It blows my mind compared to 20 years ago.
Concepts like Mercury retrograde are becoming more popular and more well-known by just general people. But at the same time, you pay attention, those concepts also sometimes are wearing on people that aren’t into astrology.
They’re constantly hearing every three months, everyone starts talking about Mercury retrograde and seemingly going crazy about it. Something that I’ve noticed is there’s some people that are like over that and will mock it or what have you because it just seems absurd to them from an outsider’s perspective, which is a little bit understandable, honestly. And I can just see trends like that go a little bit further in the future
Because I think the skeptic movement has fallen apart over the past decade and is in complete disarray, partially through the loss of some of the previous leaders, like James Randi who passed away. And for some reason skepticism has sort of gotten decentralized and kind of fallen apart and doesn’t have very good leadership. But I could see a renewal of interest in skepticism at some point because we’re in such a flourishing of not just astrology, but also magic and mysticism; a little bit of the dark side of that which is conspiracy theories and some of the other things surrounding that. Like the Flat Earth theory, honestly, I don’t want to get like…
AS: Where’d that go?
CB: I mean, it’s still out there. Still a surprising amount of people are doing big YouTube channels on Flat Earth theory. And there’s stuff like that where I could see astrology getting lump in with that and lumped in with the tendency towards conspiracy theories or other things like that, and then being rejected wholesale as part of that if we moved into a new era where just the winds change in some sense. Like that’s one of the questions I have: Is that going to happen? And if so, when?
Because astrology goes through waves of popularity historically. It always goes up and down. It never stays permanently up for too long. Nothing does.
AS: It’s hard to know with the ancient world, but it does seem before Christ that it was pretty standardized. I mean, most cultures, especially in Mesopotamia, had their astrology, did they not? I mean, it wasn’t the same; it wasn’t the way that we use it. But did it ebb and flow in the same way that you’re talking about?
CB: I think it did. It’s harder to study in the Mesopotamian tradition, but they definitely had eras, like the 7th century BCE, it was super in and super endorsed by the kings. And the kings were using it and had different colleges of astrologers all around Mesopotamia sending them reports; so that’s the neo-Assyrians in the 7th century.
But then the Persian Empire then conquered and there may have been a period where it may have fallen out of favor with the kings and stuff, and this may have led to the development of natal astrology. So eventually natal astrology gets introduced a few centuries later, becomes popularized as a more personal form of astrology. And one of the questions is did that happen because it was supported as much by the state at that point? We don’t really know because it’s not well-documented.
Later, you have the Hellenistic tradition and the invention of natal charts with planets, signs, houses, and aspects in the 1st century. That becomes really popular for two or three centuries and then drops off with the rise of Christianity. Then it comes back again in the Medieval period under the Arabic tradition, and it’s really popular in 8th and 9th century Baghdad; but then through religious opposition, that drops off a little bit once the Quran becomes more standardized, or at least commentaries on it do.
And it just keeps doing that over and over again, of going up and going down, over very extended periods of time.
AS: But ultimately it goes up.
CB: Yeah, it does go back up at some point. So the question is, if that’s an arc, where are we on that arc right now? Because you seem to see it like we’re still down here or like halfway up the arc. But I can’t tell if we’re closer to the peak, which is why it makes me a little nervous.
AS: Oh, I like this speculation.
CB: Yeah, where are we?
AS: I think there’s a couple moments that we still have yet to see.
CB: Like what? Like the President is an astrologer or something?
AS: Well, the Reagan thing.
CB: That’s true.
AS: So there was that President using astrology.
AS: It’s pretty pervasive in music; I know that at this point.
AS: Because a lot of popular music is talking about astrology in there.
CB: Like Adele just released her album, which is based on her Saturn return or something.
AS: Is it?
CB: I think so.
AS: Yeah, and Trevor Hall did a whole album about his Saturn return years. As far as big platforms, there’s never been an astrologer on the JRE before. It’s like who would do that? You? Me? Rick?
CB: I don’t know.
CB: I’m trying to think of the NFL player who was an astrologer.
AS: Oh, Ricky. I had him on my podcast.
CB: Oh, did you? Yeah, Rick, he’s really cool.
AS: Yeah, he’s amazing.
CB: I came across a documentary about his life that was really good on YouTube, and it gave me more context for like who he is and where he was coming from. He’s a very cool guy.
AS: Ricky is cool. He’d be the one because he would smoke weed with Rogan the whole time while they talked astrology.
CB: That would help.
AS: Yeah, yeah. There’s certain seminal moments like that. I think having maybe him and Neil deGrasse Tyson go on together, or it would be really neat to see maybe Tarnas and Neil deGrasse Tyson, or something along those lines.
CB: Yeah, it needs to be somebody that can actually hang with dealing with somebody like…
AS: That level.
CB: Yeah, because usually the trick is they get astrologers that can’t, but that are willing to delude themselves into thinking that they can actually engage with somebody that has that background in science and philosophy and whatever. And when you put two people in a room that don’t, like the disparity gets lopsided.
AS: Very. I mean, that’s just an example. I mean, this is where we’re at in the culture.
CB: But for you, you’re saying you’d like to see there be more cultural acceptance there is today.
AS: Oh, I honestly don’t care, I don’t think. I kind of like being where we’re at. It’s kind of nice. But as far as what’s the mark of the top, what’s the top of our wave? The wave that Chris is on with his two mics at the top of the wave, and I’m somewhere along there. I think we’ve still got some time. I mean, I don’t know about you, but I’ve seen the resurgence kind of be parallel to Neptune moving into Pisces.
CB: Yeah, I keep talking to Austin about this, and he keeps saying it’s Neptune in Pisces.
AS: He does?
AS: Oh, we’re in agreement there then.
CB: And I’ve been coming around to this because if you contextualize it within the broader context. Because his big thing is magic and astrological magic and that’s seen a huge resurgence…
AS: Side by side.
CB: …rapidly. So he attributes that to Neptune in Pisces and points back to the 1800s where you had Neptune in Pisces and you had the whole…
CB: …spiritualism and seances and all of that, and that may actually be what we’re going through right now is a period like that. But then if that was true, then the endpoint becomes like Neptune in Aries, which is several years off. But it’s interesting because Saturn conjoins Neptune right about the same time that ingress takes place, so that would be an important turning point.
AS: Perhaps. You know, those were also the ‘Gold Rush’ years. And there was a lot of expansion, I think, just endless possibility in the collective mind of a lot of people on the planet in the late 19th century.
AS: And that’s happening now in a couple of ways, like a ‘digital Gold Rush’ and also a ‘Green Rush’ of sorts that’s occurring. Uh, I’m not sure. Like if I were to call it, if you were to force me to say the ingress of Neptune into Aries will see something like a top…
CB: When is that again?
AS: 2024, is it?
CB: 2024, okay. I can look it up.
AS: I don’t know for sure.
CB: But that’s roughly probably right.
CB: Okay. Well, that’s right before Uranus goes into Gemini, which is going to be wild, and Pluto goes into Aquarius.
AS: Yeah, I always think about Nick’s work with Uranus in Gemini.
CB: Yeah, and the United States and the tendencies there. I keep thinking about the Meta announcement by Facebook a few months ago. It was mocked and seems so comical to us now, but I was thinking about that recently and it could be one of those things. Because I watched a later interview with Zuckerberg, and he was talking about like the end of this decade was his time frame for this actually becoming a thing.
And that lines up so well with the Uranus going through Gemini and the Pluto going through Aquarius, that I’m a little nervous that he’s right, and that this looks like John F. Kennedy at the beginning of the ‘60s announcing that by the end of the decade, we’re going to put a man on the Moon and just how absurd that must have sounded at the beginning of the 1960s. They actually pulled it off in like 1968-1969.
AS: Are you familiar with Moore’s law?
CB: Yeah. So what? Technical, and processors specifically, increase at this rate.
AS: Exponentially every year.
CB: Exponentially, okay.
AS: So this whole Meta announcement is basically Zuck trying to catch up to what’s already happening.
AS: What’s already happening, the metaverse is already built for the most part. Sandbox, Decentraland–there’s many of these different projects on blockchain.
CB: I was doing Second Life in 2005. We were holding astrology meetings and Nick Dagan Best gave a lecture, and that was like metaverse right there.
CB: But that kind of dropped off, which always surprised me because it seemed really novel at the time.
AS: You’ve got to incentivize it with money, right? And so, what’s interesting about the metaverse these days is you can make money in there. You can buy games in there, you can have shops in there, you can do really anything in these metaverses. And so, the explosion that’s happening, I think what Zuck is trying to do is frontrun what’s already occurring, right?
CB: Okay, that makes sense. Well, they had money. They had Lindens in Second Life and that was valuable. And people were doing consultations and moving money in and out of there, but now, it’s been reversed where Bitcoin is actually a real currency that’s really valuable and has become really valuable in the past year in the real world. And then if you have a digital world where money can move in and out of that, then it becomes valuable.
AS: And it’s through NFTs that are interchangeable.
CB: Explain this. I still don’t know what an NFT is.
AS: Oh, good.
CB: I need an explanation.
AS: And this is totally related to Neptune-Pisces, Jupiter-Pisces talk, like the metaverse and us moving into it. So many people are scared of it. So many people don’t think it’s going to happen. Let me tell you right now, it’s here, and we should be a little worried.
CB: I’ve been trying to understand what an NFT is. I’ve looked it up a few times, I still do not know what the hell it is.
AS: It stands for nonfungible token, all right?
CB: It means nothing to me, but okay. I know one of those words.
AS: Yeah, it’s not really a currency like, say, Bitcoin or Ethereum or as any of these things can be.
AS: NFT basically mints an object, like the JPEG mania with Banksy and all these artists that are minting their art, entering them into NFTs.
CB: One small piece I understand is it’s assigning a blockchain number, just like Bitcoin, to a digital thing, like a piece of artwork, right?
AS: Yeah, that’s the mint, that’s the idea. You basically mint it on ‘chain and it’s the only version; it’s unique.
AS: And so, when it comes to art, that’s very important, right? A great example of this is Banksy.
CB: And as a way of transferring ownership of something.
AS: And it’s programmable. So like a really clever way that some of these artists are working with the NFTs at the moment is, say you create an NFT. We take a snapshot of us doing this podcast right now and we turn it into a cartoon image or something like that, and then we mint it and turn it into an NFT.
AS: We could program that every time it exchanges hands, we get a percentage of it. And so, this is game-changing for artists because it basically pushes aside the record companies where they were completely disempowered, like especially putting your music on Spotify and stuff like this.
AS: And so, NFTs with music, like a lot of artists are on it already. Snoop Dogg and a lot of the rappers actually and DJs are like way ahead of the game as far as turning their music into NFTs. And you can incentivize different levels of the NFT where it grants your fans access to you backstage or certain tickets or whatever. Like it’s basically a programmable item on ‘chain that is kind of limitless, and so anything can be NFTs.
CB: It’s on the chain means it can’t be replicated.
CB: So it’s a unique, nonreplicatable digital signature you can attach to a digital good that can’t be replicated, so it’s the only one of that thing.
AS: Scarcity–and that’s the brilliance of it. And this brings up blockchain really because it’s immutable and it can’t be changed, and that’s why it’s so valuable when it comes to money. But like blockchain technology, as we just mentioned with the metaverse and the NFTs and so many other use cases, it already is changing the world, and it’s Moore’s law; it’s exponential. Like the internet was the fastest-growing adoption curve or network effect that we’d ever seen, ever. Bitcoin and blockchain, it’s like three- or four-times as fast.
CB: Yeah. And somebody said that it’s like the early days of the internet where you could see the applications in 1983 or 1984 that we could do someday online commerce, or people could exchange goods and services through the internet; and people could see that coming, but it looked aways off.
CB: Some of this is like that where people are seeing the long-term impact and how this like game-changing even if it’s not fully there yet.
AS: Yeah. So how does it relate to Neptune in Pisces and Jupiter in Pisces? So there’s this project coming up–oh, God, what do they call it? Is it HotBits? It’s not HotBit, darnit. Essentially, it’s VR that you put on when you’re in a car, all right?
AS: It’s like for you kids or whoever’s a passenger. You put on the VR goggles and then the reality that you see is completely different. So maybe it’s like dinosaurs all around you, or it’s like a cartoon like Minecraft or something like this.
And I look at this and I don’t get excited. I don’t really like the idea of people moving into the metaverse–because you know they will, like the Minecraft generation and all of this. Sandbox, for example, looks like Minecraft, right? I mean, my God, Chris, the land in these metaverses, they’re equal to land in the real world.
CB: Yeah. Did you not do Second Life in the mid-2000s? It was really trendy.
CB: Okay. You were missing out, my friend. Nerdy, 20-year-old astrologer behavior. Yeah, it was like you could buy and sell parcels of land…
AS: There you go.
CB: …and the land itself was on servers. And so, the servers had a limited number of computational power in terms of running the simulation. So you’re buying parts of this land and you’re essentially also buying up server space and that became valuable. And people would get into real estate and they would like buy and sell land in Second Life, or they would make clothes for other people. I was seeing digital clothes, which is a really interesting thing, like the buying and selling of digital clothes. Have you seen this?
AS: Do you mean like skins for your avatar in the metaverse?
CB: Well, that was one thing in Second Life they were doing like 15 years ago. But the new thing that I saw–I was watching a YouTube video about a month ago–was that you can buy digital clothes designed by designers, and you can purchase it. And they will basically photoshop it onto you in a single Instagram picture, which you then can post on Instagram, wearing this elaborate outfit, but it’s an outfit that doesn’t exist outside of this picture, basically.
AS: So you can’t 3D print it yet…
CB: Not yet.
AS: …and make it your own?
CB: Maybe someday that could be like one of the next steps, but it’s interesting purchasing something that alters a digital image in a way but is only in the digital realm.
AS: Mm-hmm, mm-hmm. These ideas, I mean, we’re here; we’re in it.
AS: And the adoption is very, very quick.
AS: And so, like my concern–and the pandemic definitely accelerated this–is people moving into the machine more than ever, right? And when it comes to the metaverse, if you build your practice in it–and I was joking with my patrons about this in a recent Parler we were doing–I could do this. Like I could purchase land, say, in Sandbox, and make it really beautiful, have a pagoda there, and then we all show up as our own avatars, and we do the Parler like that.
AS: Why not?
CB: We did that, a MySpace astrology group. Nick Dagan Best gave an astrology lecture.
AS: And you did it.
CB: Yeah, we did it. It was like 2005-2006.
AS: And so, you’ll be ahead of the curve. You think you’ll be doing this podcast in the future in the metaverse then?
CB: I don’t know, maybe. I like to stay ahead of technological trends, and I think that’s a little bit part of my Aquarius rising, Uranus conjunct the Midheaven.
AS: Yeah. Check out Sandbox.
CB: Yeah, I’ll check it out. It’s tricky. One thing that’s funny that’s going to date this decade that we’ve just experienced of the 2010s is holding little tablet mobile phones; something I was thinking about recently. Like that form factor, even though we take it for granted now, and it’s so ubiquitous, it’s just temporary. And it’s something that will look funny 10 or 20 or 30 years from now, in the same way that a record player looks funny from the 1970s or something like that.
AS: True. Do you think they’ll augment it with a contact lens or glasses?
CB: Yeah, I mean, glasses are definitely going to be one of the next ones that’s coming up. Like Google failed with that 10 years ago, but now, a bunch of the companies are really starting to invest in that because they’re able to get it smaller at this point. But it’s like that, but also, implants and bionic stuff are going to come up…
AS: Oh, Elon.
CB: …at some point.
CB: Yeah, Neuralink and being able to control things not with your hands and not having to manipulate things digitally, but being able to manipulate things through brain waves and things like that, which is how we control our hands in the first place.
AS: So how does this relate to Neptune in Pisces and Jupiter coming together?
CB: To me, actually it was more of a Jupiter in Aquarius and Saturn in Aquarius thing.
CB: I don’t know about Neptune in Pisces, how it relates to that. But the announcement by Zuckerberg about changing the Facebook name to Meta, it came like right after Jupiter and Saturn stationed direct in Aquarius.
CB: What was interesting is that Obama announced they broke ground within 24 hours of Zuckerberg’s announcement. They announced that they broke ground on Obama’s presidential library in Chicago, and Obama of course famously has Aquarius rising with Jupiter in Aquarius. So there’s some sort of weird Jupiter in Aquarius overlap there, and I think that’s part of what may end up being relevant about the Meta announcement with Facebook.
AS: I can agree with that, the tech being built out and Aquarius being a perfect fit within all of that. And then I’d say the effect on culture and all of us will be the Piscean one, where it’s like Black Mirror.
CB: You seem worried about that a little bit.
CB: There’s a little underlying tone of…
AS: Well, I’m worried about the dark side of blockchain as well.
CB: What is the dark side of blockchain?
AS: CBDCs. Central bank digital currencies.
CB: So not the environmental impact or something like that?
AS: No, that’s farce.
AS: No, the CBDCs.
AS: Central bank digital currencies.
CB: All right, I thought we were going to get into a marijuana conversation.
AS: We could.
CB: Yeah, the CBD downside of blockchain I was interested in, but explain this other big thing coming.
AS: Yeah, so China’s already done it. I don’t know to what extent, but they’re definitely controlling like the use of all of their population’s internet, especially with younger kids. There’s like great control happening and they have their digital currency, I think, already out.
CB: And they keep issuing periodically attempts to ban Bitcoin, right?
AS: Oh, they’ve banned it like at least a hundred times since I’ve been involved.
AS: But what they did back in May was legit. They kicked all the miners out.
AS: Which is great for the US because a lot of them came here. Anyway, CBDCs, central bank digital currencies are the idea of digital currencies for nations, right? Now what worries me about them is that, well, when it comes to blockchain, we know the immutability that we were just speaking about, and we know the traceability of all of this stuff and the programmability.
AS: Well, what could a government do with a currency that is that? Well, anything they want really. Like they can control your spending habits. They can see all of your spending habits. They can turn off your access to that money. They can incentivize you to do certain behaviors.
CB: Right. Because with Bitcoin, in the early days, people thought it was like something that could be used on the black market to spend funds secretly with anonymity, but Bitcoin doesn’t actually grant anonymity…
AS: It’s terrible.
CB: …because the whole blockchain and all the transactions are actually public.
AS: Yeah, if you’re a drug dealer, you want cash, not Bitcoin.
AS: I mean, it’s just the silliest argument.
CB: Everyone has learned something just now, all the kids watching this episode, if that’s your advice.
AS: And the Silk Road, be careful. It didn’t go well for whatever his name is.
CB: I think we have a birth time for him actually. It’s a really interesting chart. And speaking of Pluto, when I did a Bitcoin episode with Robert Weinstein a year ago, one of his most impressive demonstrations that he might have had the right chart for Bitcoin was that when transiting Pluto went over the Sun of the Bitcoin chart, there was the Mount Gox hack and the biggest hack in the history of Bitcoin that was just crucial in destabilizing the entire thing for a little 9bit.
AS: Is that the Leo rising chart?
CB: I think so.
AS: That’s the one we all use.
CB: Yeah, which everyone uses. That was one thing where normally I would be more hands-off and who knows what the time is, it’s hard to time something like that, but that was pretty impressive. If the Sun is also the ruler of the Ascendant, that’s pretty impressive. That could actually be the correct timed chart.
AS: Yeah. Now there’s a few things about that chart that are phenomenal. Like for example, Saturn being on the North Node at the moment and Saturn squaring the nodes.
AS: And every exact hit has been like a major hyped period over this past year. Like the first pass, I think it was either February or March, when Saturn first hit the North Node; and traditionally, it rules it because it’s in Aquarius, right?
AS: That’s when Elon got involved and there was all this institutional hype about people getting involved. Yeah, try to pull it up.
CB: I’ll see if I have it saved.
AS: And then the second one was in late July. I mean, it’s so sad to say it, but it was when Elon stopped trolling the Bitcoin space. Like he basically was messing with all of us from May until July.
AS: And then that was the second pass and that was a retrograde one. And then the final one is soon. I think it’s on either the solstice or Christmas Eve.
CB: Okay. Do you happen to know the Bitcoin data of the chart? Do you have it like memorized?
AS: It’s January 3, 2009, Leo rising. So the Sun’s in the 6th, so it’s just after sunset.
CB: 6:00 PM. 5:00 PM.
AS: I think it’s January 3. I’m pretty sure.
CB: And so, this is the one, the Leo rising, where we’re presuming a London starting point?
AS: Yeah, it’s like 4° Leo rising.
CB: For the mysterious founder.
CB: Satoshi, founder of Bitcoin.
AS: That’s not right.
CB: A little bit later. Let’s do 6:00 PM.
AS: You can animate the transits.
CB: Yeah. You want the transits?
AS: That’s close.
CB: Let me share that.
AS: This is the first chart we’ve looked at, Chris.
CB: I know. Well, I tried to pull up one earlier, but I didn’t have the person’s birth chart saved.
AS: When we were in Ficino or something?
CB: Yeah, I forget what chart it was. All right, there it is. So this is now showing for the video viewers. So Leo rising chart, and the Sun at 13 Capricorn. When Pluto hit that, that was just another example…
AS: It was horrible.
CB: …in terms of empirical attempts to understand what Pluto means, like having the criminal underworld, in that instance, hackers hack a bank and steal like millions and millions of dollars worth of money.
AS: And it was the only exchange back then.
AS: So it was like the way that you had to get your Bitcoin was through Mount Gox.
AS: I wasn’t involved then. I got involved a little bit later. Could you imagine, though?
AS: Weren’t you mining Bitcoin?
CB: I mean, early on in 2009-2010, I did very briefly, but I didn’t stick with it.
AS: Oh, my God, you were early.
CB: Yeah, I was super early. But I was like broke and like sleeping on my friend’s couch 12 years ago, and I had just moved to this area of Denver; so I was not at all in a good place. And I had just quit my job as a barista in order to do astrology full-time, so I was not super able to invest in like a big mining rig or something like that.
AS: We have similar stories. It must be Pluto on our luminaries.
AS: I quit the barista job, was broke. So when you look at this chart, the Mount Gox thing is fascinating, but the point…
CB: What were you talking about with the recent transit?
AS: There’s so much to what’s going on with the Bitcoin transits, but the main one is the Pluto-Uranus, or sorry, Saturn-Uranus squares. So just pull up the transits and you can see it. Like the final pass of Saturn is coming, and I think it’s on Christmas Eve. And it’s a good case for the nodes and using the traditional ruler for it. The quick translation I have of this…
CB: What transit are you looking at?
AS: Saturn. So transiting Saturn on the North Node.
CB: So transiting Saturn right now is at 8° of Aquarius, and the Bitcoin North Node using the True Node is at 9° of Aquarius.
AS: There you go. And there’s been two passes already.
CB: So you’re saying every time Saturn goes over that that’s been a negative thing?
CB: A positive thing.
CB: That and Jupiter in Aquarius, it seems like it’s been wildly positive for Bitcoin this year. Ironically, some of the Bitcoin astrologers were predicting that Jupiter in Pisces would be good for it, but what’s funny…
AS: It hasn’t been.
CB: No, it tanked when Jupiter dipped into Pisces over the summer. And that was also when I think Elon started doing some of his weird stuff of putting doubt on it or whatever. But then once Jupiter went back into Aquarius, the price shot up again.
AS: Yeah. So I gave a reading back in 2012 to a couple of fellows in Germany about Bitcoin, and I remembered looking at this transit, this time, starting with the Saturn-Pluto conjunction, and then also tracking this and the narrative of if this is anything, it’s going to basically show its true colors of its efficacy, its adoption curve now. Why? And this comes from EA actually, and specifically Steven’s work because the rulers of the nodes become these tracking devices for the stories.
CB: In terms of tracking the past lives of Bitcoin?
AS: So in simple terms, you look at the North Node of Bitcoin, it’s not a person. So what does it mean? Well, it’s the story that it’s here to write, all right?
AS: So what is an Aquarian story in the 7th house? It’s exactly what Satoshi’s white paper basically outlines. Have you ever read it before?
CB: I’ve read parts of it, but it’s just like outlining the blockchain technology. But it doesn’t get into ‘big picture’ things of how this could change the world necessarily.
AS: No, no, no. But peer-to-peer digital currency, the decentralization and the way that it works, like the monetary policy that essentially is revolutionary to the corruption that’s in the banks and the Fed at the moment.
CB: Oh, right. Yeah, it was partially a position paper because it’s written in the aftermath or current ongoing thing of the financial collapse and scandals involving the banks at the time, and he included that as part of his, not ‘call to arms’, but rationale for releasing this.
AS: Yes. I mean, the most important thing about Pluto’s ingress into Capricorn is that the economic disaster happened.
AS: The worst part about that was so many people were hurt, innocent people by that, with the subprime mortgages and everything. And no one got in trouble and we all watched that happen.
AS: Like we were able to see it in a way never before. Whereas, I was a little kid in the ‘88-’89. There was a crash then or whatever. Like we don’t need to get into markets.
CB: Which was the Capricorn pileup. By the way, the Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune in Capricorn was ‘89.
CB: Ironically, tying back into your story, the mundane astrology book by Nicholas Campion and…
CB: …Michael Baigent.
CB: Michael issued a prediction there in that book, which was published in ‘83-’84, that the Soviet Union would fall or something. He said something very explicit in this 1988-89 time frame…
AS: Sounds like him.
CB: …under that stellium of planets that would pile up in Capricorn. And I know Nick Campion a few years ago, I saw him make a statement that that was still one of the most stunningly accurate predictions that he’d ever seen made…
CB: …in terms of the dissolution of the Soviet Union in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s that happened under that pileup of planets in Capricorn.
AS: Mm-hmm. I have the book. I’ll have to read it.
AS: It sounds like him, right? It sounds like him. And also, a huge part of the narrative as I talk about Bitcoin and crypto more and more–because people want me to be talking about it–is the Saturn-Uranus cycle began then, right? That was the conjunction.
AS: And then the first square was 2000, like in that era, so Y2K.
AS: Then 2008-2009 was the opposition, and then now.
CB: So now? Okay.
AS: So there’s two stories you can track with that: one is the adoption of the World Wide Web, which began in ‘88-‘89–I think that was the first protocol tested or something along those lines–but there was that crash. So you have those two narratives that you can track with the Saturn-Uranus cycle.
AS: And then, 2000, like Y2K, is where we were at with the internet. I mean, it was very, very similar to the feeling right now with crypto: like all these new applications, all these companies, all this stuff, all this hype.
CB: Early days.
AS: Bubble. Crash. 2008. The most important thing about 2008-2009 as far as adoption is the Bitcoin story, right? Like Bitcoin comes out. But also, didn’t we start our podcasts in 2009? When did you start yours?
CB: I mean, yeah, there was an older podcast called Traditional Astrology Radio. I think that started in 2009.
CB: And I took over on my birthday, November 1, 2010.
AS: There you go, so right around that time. And it still relates to tracking the World Wide Web and all of the development and innovation with that technology. That’s one way of tracking the Saturn-Uranus pair I find really interesting, but also, the market crashes.
AS: Everyone’s been calling for a major market crash ever since 2008 really.
AS: But we are pretty prime for that at the moment, by back-testing it from ‘88, 2000, 2008 and seeing this moment that we’re in.
AS: Like for example, when it comes to crypto, a lot of people think we’re in this extended cycle and it’s just going to keep going on forever because of the adoption.
AS: I couldn’t disagree more. I think that everything bubbles. It’s going to get a nice needle in the coming months.
CB: Where are we at though? We’re not at a hard aspect with Saturn and Uranus. We’re at the…
AS: No, no, by transit, the final square is on the solstice, I think.
CB: Gotcha, okay. You’re talking about the three squares that have occurred this year.
AS: Yeah, harmonic fourth aspects are basically what I’m talking about.
CB: Okay, got it.
CB: That makes sense. Yeah, we’re coming up on the third and final one in December.
AS: Yeah, there’s a lot in December.
CB: There’s a lot. Like that’s the other half of this heavy month, but then next month, the Venus retrograde conjunct Pluto, some people wonder if that’s not tied into some financial stuff as well.
AS: Well, look at the Bitcoin chart where it happens.
CB: Where does it happen?
AS: It goes all the way to the Sun. I think that cycle begins very close to the Sun…
CB: So there’s Venus…
AS: January 6 or something like that. 7th.
CB: …in mid-December, conjunct Pluto 26.25. And what are you looking at?
AS: So the synodic cycle’s beginning. So go to January 6, Venus conjunct the Sun. I think it’s very close to Bitcoin’s birthday. There you go. Well, no, that’s not right. I guess it’s a little bit further, may the 8th and 9th. There you go.
CB: Right there at the synodic conjunction at 18, close to the Sun at 13.
AS: Yeah, nothing exact.
CB: I mean, that’s interesting. That’s interesting on Neptune. It’s like hovering over Uranus in the Bitcoin chart lately and the fluctuations this year somewhat unexpectedly–interesting.
AS: I mean, it’s historic. People get caught up in this. It corrected from May until July and people were losing their minds. But for context, for anybody not involved, I mean, it went from $64,000 to 30.
AS: And a year ago, Bitcoin was worth like $8,000. God, where’s my time? At the beginning of the pandemic in March, it was $3,000.
AS: And then a week ago, it was $69,000. So like people complaining about price fluctuation, it’s the most volatile thing that’s ever existed, or it’s also the best-performing asset that the world’s ever seen and there’s a reason for that. It’s Satoshi’s vision.
CB: How has that been for you? Because you were talking about Bitcoin astrology years ago and almost like nobody was talking about it then, honestly. But then it’s really taken off in the past year or two, and then Bitcoin itself has taken off.
CB: Like has that been wild for you to watch?
AS: Yeah, and I think for all of us. I personally don’t see myself as like an early adopter or an ‘OG’. Well, I did the reading in 2012, they offered to pay me in Bitcoin, I didn’t take it.
CB: How many Bitcoins would that have been?
AS: At the time, I think it was one.
CB: Okay, so that would be worth only like…
AS: A $69,000 reading.
CB: $70,000, yeah.
AS: You know, I was living on a friend’s couch literally in Austin, so there you go. I needed money.
AS: So I was aware of it then, and then a few of my friends from that point until 2016-17 when I got involved were mining and getting involved. So I was like very aware of it; honestly, I didn’t have extra money to put into a space.
AS: That’s basically where I was at. And so, when that happened, I got very lucky actually because in 2017 was when I first bought Bitcoin, Ethereum, and all of these coins.
CB: You started buying into altcoins as well at the time?
AS: A bit.
AS: I didn’t know a lot. That was beginner’s luck, very ignorant about what was happening. It was all on Coinbase. And then the parabolic run-up of 2017 in December happened, and I was just like watching it. I had no idea what was happening. I was like, “This is kind of magnificent. Like, wow, that’s interesting how that works.”
AS: And it was after that moment when I actually did a podcast–I did a few of them actually on crypto when I started learning about it. And pretty much for the past three-four years, I’ve been really learning a lot.
AS: There’s some fascinating people in this space that I really enjoy listening to.
AS: Robert Breedlove, Raoul Paul, there’s a long list of folks. Anyway, I’ve just been learning a lot, tracking the astrology. And then as far as like watching the world–are you showing me Second Life?
CB: I mean, I’m trying to pull up some pictures.
AS: Are you even listening to me right now?
CB: I’m listening to you. It’s like there’s parts of the conversation that are still echoing in my brain about the past, and that past echoing and repeating, and parts of the past that were important, but early phases; seeing the rise of that or seeing the repetition of that.
CB: Yeah. But you getting in, in ‘17, in 2017, that’s still like early compared to where we are now.
AS: It was pretty early.
CB: We have countries that are adopting it as a currency at this point.
AS: I love it. Yeah, the El Salvador story. Like if anyone wants to leave the US, wherever you’re at, you can go to El Salvador and get a passport for 3 Bitcoin. I mean, that’s just incredible and like more and more countries are going to do this.
AS: And it’s Moore’s law. It’s very, very quick.
AS: And then you have Hillary Clinton coming out and warning at this teleconference that happened this past week about the dangers of Bitcoin. It’s like, get out of here. The network effect is so large and so global that there’s no stopping it at this point. And countries can try to regulate it out of existence, but all the developers and all the mines will go elsewhere.
CB: You know, something that’s really relevant and important in terms of this–it’s actually very timely for astrologers and tied in specifically with astrology–is some of the issues astrologers have been having over the past few years, but especially the past year with payment processors. I don’t want to mention a name necessarily, but there’s one payment processor that’s been closing astrologers’ accounts.
AS: Really? Don’t say PayPal.
CB: It’s not PayPal, luckily, but it’s one of the other big ones. And yeah, just closing their accounts if they’re doing anything that’s not against the terms of service, but that includes astrology or magic or this whole other host of divination and other things.
CB: And that’s an area where Bitcoin could be relevant. For example, tying back into our earlier conversation, if you saw major pushback against astrology and astrologers having problems being able to accept payment through payment processors and currencies, Bitcoin would be the only natural alternative.
AS: Well, not necessarily Bitcoin.
CB: Or some like…
AS: Yeah, like with what just got integrated on Twitter. I don’t know if you’re aware of it yet, but Jack Muller’s integrated the Strike app with Twitter. It’s part of the El Salvador story.
CB: ‘Strike’ or ‘Stripe’?
CB: Strike, okay.
AS: Strike. And so, it’s basically built on the Lightning Network, which is Bitcoin. And so, you don’t need Bitcoin to use it. Like if you go on my Twitter right now, you can send me any amount of money instantly and for free through my Twitter account.
AS: So it’s brilliant. And you don’t need Bitcoin. You’re just using the Bitcoin network as the medium of exchange for any currency basically. Like you don’t need to know what’s going on in the backend; it’s the easiest thing in the world to use.
So there’s that, right? But that exists. But also–excuse me, this kombucha. That was very unprofessional.
CB: That’s really good. Thank you for bringing this today.
CB: You were the one that got me into Jun Kombucha several years ago at our…
AS: I was making it.
CB: Yeah, it’s still actually the best that I’ve ever tasted. Like I got into the blue bottle Jun Kombucha that’s now sold.
AS: Yeah, it’s all right.
CB: I like that. I drink a lot of that. I’ve been meaning to reach out to them for like a sponsorship or something to see what could happen, but I meant to thank you for that.
AS: Yeah, of course.
CB: And you’ve brought some kombuchas as a nice gift today.
AS: I love this one. “Yeah, this show is brought to you by Alive GT’s Kombucha, and also Liquid Death.”
AS: They sponsor a lot of podcasts. But yeah, that and Unstoppable Domains. Like you’ll get ChrisBrennan.bitcoin or ChrisBrennan.eth or whatever.
AS: You can like buy that domain and it acts as an address. So you just like give that to your clients and they can send you whatever. It doesn’t have to be Bitcoin.
CB: Okay. What about NFTs? How could that be relevant theoretically in the future for astrologers specifically?
AS: Yeah, I’ve thought about this a lot.
CB: Could I like sell my birth chart as an NFT?
AS: Yeah, yeah.
CB: Oh, really?
AS: Yeah, actually Jack Dorsey sold his first Tweet on Twitter for like $20 million. I don’t know exactly what it was, but it was absurd.
CB: Yeah, I’ve been seeing some people, like famous meme people selling their memes and stories about that, and that’s been really interesting and impressive.
CB: Like Overly Attached [Ex-]Girlfriend or whatever selling her meme for like $60,000 or something crazy like that.
AS: Yeah. I mean, it’s a wild space that’s very nascent and trying to find itself. I’m not super involved, but there’s a lovely podcast with Tim Ferriss and Naval Ravikant. Actually Tim has been very much getting pushed into the crypto world. I love watching it because he’s resistant in a way.
AS: He likes crypto, but he doesn’t know much about it. But like his buddy, Naval, and there’s a few others that keep pulling him into it. And yeah, they were talking about NFTs because there was a huge conference in New York City like a couple of weeks ago around NFTs.
And the use case around them that Tim was using is creating kind of like our Patreon; you can create different tiers. For example, you have Chris’ Bronze version NFT, which is your natal chart that you’re selling to people.
CB: Yeah, I’m a little worried about this idea because it’s almost like the idea of ‘selling your soul’ if you like sold your picture.
AS: Maybe just a picture of you doing your first podcast or something.
AS: But there’s a Bronze edition and let’s say there’s 10,000 of those, there’s a Silver edition; there’s 5,000 of those, and there’s a Gold edition, which is a thousand-up, and they’re all at a different price. Whether you’re pricing them in Ethereum or Solana, you can do NFT work on many different ‘chains.
AS: But each one of those NFTs, if you hold them, will give you different access, just like our Patreon does.
AS: So like if you hold the Gold one, you get to go on Chris’ podcast at least once in your lifetime, plus get a copy of his book, his course or whatever.
AS: With the Bronze edition, you just get to have the Casual Astrology Podcast and whatever else you might think of. Again, you can program things into them. So like when it comes to conferences, certain Meetups, there are permissions that you could give to certain NFT holders.
AS: And then the way it works in this space is if you hold a particular NFT, you get airdropped to other NFTs or other incentives that are there. None of it at the moment is that attractive to me because it’s like all around gaming and just pixelated art that’s not interesting to me. But when it comes to music and like this idea, when I heard Tim and Naval talking about it, it started to make sense. And I’m like, yeah, I find Patreon to be very clunky.
AS: Most of my patrons don’t like it either. Like it’s not a great interface. It does what it does, but it could be better. And I think that as technology improves that the NFT will be helpful in like creating communities basically; community tokens even that would be exchanged within our own little metaverse.
CB: Yeah, just in terms of having something that’s not replicatable that somebody could hold on to and that in a public network is documented as belonging to them
CB: Yeah, I could see how that could be interesting. Well, it’ll be interesting to see the applications of that to astrology in the future, as people listening to this think about how that might be applied in ways that are innovative and new and kind of useful.
AS: If anybody does have some great ideas about implementing, where do I look up the NFT stuff that they were talking about? Like I’m interested. I don’t know where to start. I know how to navigate this space, but I don’t know really where to start with that.
But there’s definitely something to it; there’s a way to navigate that, for sure. And with Uranus traveling with the North Node all of 2022 like getting closer and closer–I think it’s exact in July–I mean, this space is so fast, Chris; it’s just really, really, really fast. And I think that by the time you and I see each other next, I mean, it’ll probably be in the metaverse, my friend.
CB: Yeah, I guess that’s true. That’s ending on a sad note, but that’s a good point. So you’re going to go back to the UK after this.
AS: Not after this podcast.
CB: No, but at some point. You’ve got some work to do.
CB: All right, well, I know you have to go at some point, and I said I would keep us to two hours. And somehow, we miraculously…
AS: Have we been talking for two hours?
CB: We have been talking for two hours. We’re about to go over that time.
AS: Oh, dear.
CB: I would keep going, but I know you have stuff to do.
CB: But hopefully, we can do this again someday…
AS: I would love to.
CB: …you’re right, in the metaverse at some point.
AS: Well, let’s get you on my show before the metaverse.
CB: Okay. I’ve got to get you on Second Life or something like that, very retro. It’s funny how retro that is at this point, something from 2005, but that was like a long time ago now.
AS: Yeah. I mean, I’ve heard of it, but I don’t know much about it and how similar it is to what’s being built at the moment.
CB: It’s been like 10 or 15 years. I don’t even know if it’s still a thing at all. I don’t think it necessarily is, which is weird, because now is the perfect time where something like that would be successful and popular; that’s the entire idea of what the metaverse is about to be.
And I’m going to do a podcast with Kent Bye soon. Actually it’s funny that we talked about all of this because I’m going to go do a deeper dive into VR and some of the related things, ‘Virtual Reality with Kent Bye’ from the Voices of VR Podcast here probably next month.
AS: Oh, wow.
CB: Are you familiar with his work?
AS: A little bit from the early days.
AS: Yeah, early days stuff.
CB: Yeah. Well, part of the intersection with the metaverse is the need for the equipment and that part of things.
AS: Big time.
CB: Yeah. All right, what are you going to be doing next in terms of your work? What’s your website? And where can people find out more information about you?
AS: Yeah, so HolesToHeavens.com is my site. It’s also the name of my podcast, so you can just find it that way. Kind of similar to you, it’s funny how you’ve been doing this systematic journey through all the planets. I’ve been doing the same since 2021 started…
AS: …but I’m calling it ‘Constellating Psyche’. So we’re just going through each one and kind of exploring the cosmos, the mythos, and psyche of each planet. We’re on Chiron this month.
AS: You share a birthday with Chiron. You don’t talk about him enough.
CB: That’s true. November 1, 1977. Chiron’s actually a little older than me. I’m ‘84.
AS: True, true, true. So that’s what I’m up to. I’ve been trying to write this book for the Wooden Book series. If no one is familiar with the Wooden Book series, I highly recommend it. They’re incredible. And what else am I doing? I live in the Shire, Chris. I keep life simple.
CB: That’s amazing, yeah, but is the opposite of the metaverse.
AS: I’m not going to move into the metaverse.
CB: Really? That’s so funny because you’re so into the digital Bitcoin and other stuff that you have that resistance to the ultimate endpoint of some of that.
AS: Yeah, yeah. I never got into gaming in that way, you know what I mean? I mean, who knows? I think it could be fun, like when it truly is indistinguishable from us. Like if we were in the metaverse right now and it looked like I was with you, Chris, and you didn’t look like a little Lego man, I’d be, yeah, like this.
CB: Yeah, I just want to say, hopefully, people can see this picture. So this is a picture of me doing a consultation circa 2006…
AS: Oh, no way. Which one are you?
CB: …in Second Life. I’m the blond one with the hair because I used to have hair and be blond.
CB: The other guy was a client.
AS: Why are you looking at each other?
CB: Well, you can’t see it, but on the wall, I had put his birth chart.
CB: So we’re both like sitting there. Those listening to the audio version, there’s like two digital characters in a virtual world that are sitting sort of cross-legged on the floor, and they’re both looking at a chart which is projected on the wall.
AS: You’ve already done it.
CB: Yeah, so I was like doing this a while ago. What’s funny is it was before Second Life even had voice integration. So we’re like typing in a chat to each other the entire consultation, which was, I have to say, not super easy or comfortable. But as new technologies go, there’s always stuff like that that is like very rough early on.
CB: But you can sort of see where it’s going and that might be where all of this talk is going. So I hope you’re prepared for that someday, my friend, to do the virtual reality consultation.
AS: I mean, I embrace themes. It’s just, yeah, I like it here.
AS: I like it here. I mean, Ready, Player One, for example, it’s a great illustration of what we’re talking about, if someone’s familiar.
CB: Of the downside.
AS: Yeah, of just the potential of this. You know, that’s not a future I want to live in necessarily.
CB: Yeah, I mean, there’s definitely a dystopian version. I guess last year, when we were all locked down, one of the things that happened that came up during that year was Zoom and just the importance of Zoom in order to allow people to have human interactions online and to maintain those even when separated, sometimes forcefully, from being in person and not having the ability to do that.
And there’s something about having that human connection with people and connecting with people that’s important and can transcend being in a physical room. Even though this is optimal–and that’s one of the reasons why we did this–I always jump at the chance anytime somebody’s in town to talk in person because that’s a much more genuine exchange, not having that microsecond of a delay through Zoom.
CB: But if you can’t have that, sometimes it’s still nice to try to replicate that as best you can, and that’s why that might be the future.
AS: Oh, it is.,
AS: I mean, I think it’s a huge part of it, yeah. We’ll see. It’s always good to see you, Chris.
CB: Yeah, you too. Thanks for joining me today. I guess that’s it for this episode of The Astrology Podcast. So thanks everyone for listening, and we’ll see you again next time.
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If you like the work that I’m doing here on the podcast and you would like to find a way to support it, then please consider becoming a patron through my page on Patreon.com. And in exchange, you’ll get access to bonus content such as early access to new episodes, the ability to attend the live recording of the Month Ahead Forecast each month, access to a private, monthly Auspicious Elections Report that we put out each month, access to exclusive episodes that are only available for patrons, or you can also get your name listed in the credits at the end of each episode. For more information, go to Patreon.com/AstrologyPodcast.
The main software we use here on the podcast to look at astrological charts is called Solar Fire for Windows, which is available at Alabe.com. And you can use the promo code ‘AP15’ to get a 15% discount. For Mac users, we use a similar set of software by the same programming team called Astro Gold for Mac OS, which is available from Astrogold.io. And you can use the promo code ‘ASTROPODCAST15’ to get a 15% discount on that as well.
If you would like to learn more about the approach to astrology that I outline on the podcast, then you should check out my book titled, Hellenistic Astrology: The Study of Fate and Fortune, where I traced the origins of Western astrology and reconstructed the original system that was developed about 2,000 years ago. And in this book, I outline basic concepts, but also, take you into intermediate and advanced techniques for reading a birth chart, including some timing techniques. So you can find out more about the book at HellenisticAstrology.com/book.
The book pairs very well with my online course on ancient astrology called the Hellenistic Astrology course, which has over a hundred hours of video lectures where I go into detail about teaching you how to read a birth chart and showing hundreds of example charts in order to really demonstrate how the techniques work in practice. So find out more information about that at theAstrologySchool.com.
And finally, special thanks to our sponsors, including: The Mountain Astrologer Magazine, which is available at MountainAstrologer.com; the Honeycomb Collective Personal Astrological Almanacs, available at Honeycomb.co; the Portland School of Astrology at PortlandAstrology.org; and the Astro Gold Astrology App, which is available for iPhone and Android. You can find out more information about that at Astrogold.io.