• Search
  • Lost Password?
The Astrology Podcast

Ep. 404 Transcript: Astrology Chat with Stella and Cameron

The Astrology Podcast

Transcript of Episode 404, titled:

Astrology Chat with Stella and Cameron

With Chris Brennan and guests Stella and Cameron of the Mercuranians podcast

Episode originally released on June 15, 2023


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

Transcribed by Mary Sharon

Transcription released September 9th, 2023

Copyright © 2023 TheAstrologyPodcast.com

CHRIS BRENNAN: Hey, my name is Chris Brennan and you’re listening to The Astrology Podcast. In this episode, I’m joined by Cameron and Stella from The Mercuranians Podcast who are joining me. They’re driving through Denver right now on the way back from The Northwest Astrology Conference. So hey, welcome, and thanks for joining me.

STELLA: Hello, hello.

CAMERON: Yeah, thank you so much for having us here. We’re just ecstatic to be here with you.

S: Yeah, such a pleasure.

CB: It’s always good to meet up with other fellow astrology podcasters. And it just sort of fell together this way, we didn’t really plan it, but today is actually the day of a Mercury-Uranus conjunction. So it’s actually kind of perfect for our meeting today in terms of the name of your podcast.

C: Yeah, totally.

S: Yeah. Our name comes from Mercury and Uranus, Mercuranian, and it’s just bizarre how perfectly that aligned. We couldn’t have elected it even if we wanted to. [laughs]

C: Right. Yeah.

CB: So here’s our chart for right now for the moment, so it’s a Mercury-Uranus conjunction at 20 degrees of Taurus. Cool. All right. So you’re coming back, you’re doing a road trip on the way back from the Northwest Astrology Conference. This wasn’t your first conference, you’ve both been to other conferences before. What conference…? How many have you been to?

C: I think this is my fifth conference over the last few years in person. But yeah, I’ve been to NORWAC, ISAR, and also the astrology gathering out in Lilydale in New York. Yeah, I volunteered with Stella last year. We were both there.

CB: What year was your first conference?

C: 2021 at that conference in Lilydale.

CB: Got it. Okay.

S: Yeah. I skipped out on the 2021 Lilydale but I was at NORWAC last year, then ISAR, and then the astrology gathering that fall. So this was number four for me.

CB: Got it.

S: Yeah, the astrology gathering isn’t a super popular one but it’s really fun, really close, it’s more of an intimate conference, it’s in a super spiritual town. So that was a really nice contrast from ISAR or NORWAC.

CB: Did you both do NORWAC last year?

C: Mm-hmm. Okay, so what was the comparison? Because one of the comments I heard– I think Austin told me after when I got the debrief because I wasn’t able to make it this year– he said that it felt a little bit more congealed like people are more coming together because many people had gone to the last year’s conference, which was the first one back since the pandemic. I guess they took two years off from doing in-person conferences after they did the one in 2019, so they did 2022 last year. It was the first one back in-person again, but there’s so many new people in the community and part of meeting up with conferences is catching up with old friends you’ve seen at previous conferences. So, was that sort of the vibe in terms of this year being the second one back, that it was a lot of reconnecting with people you had seen last year?

S: Yeah, very very palpable. I mean, last year was Mars and Jupiter together and Aries, right? It’s like it was totally all over the place like that. There was just so many meeting new people and new things. Everything was very new for me, especially, because it was my first conference ever. But this year, you saw a lot of familiar faces, names, and stuff like that. And while it was less, I don’t know, chaotic, it was still really really fun.

C: Yeah, that was nice, though. Because to me, it felt like a one-year change, I guess. You know, like the Jupiter in Aries, Mars conjunct like you said. Yeah, there was just a lot of commotion and this year it did feel a little more contained a little bit more. I guess expected or stable, everything went relatively well. Everyone had a great time. So I thought it was… Yeah, it was a spectacular weekend.

S: Yeah. Last year there were dozens of people in the lobby until well after midnight.

C: Yeah, I have to say. Yeah, we were in a 6:00 am sunrise gang and this year it was like the lobby was dead after midnight! I was a little disappointed because-

S: On a Friday night!

C: Yeah.

S: There was nobody down there.

C: Yeah, I was really surprised by that actually. It was very early to bed for a lot of people, I guess.

CB: Yeah. Maybe people were conserving their energy a little bit better compared to last year?

C: Yeah, probably that. Yeah. [chuckles]

S: For the better. For the better, at least on the first night.

CB: Right. Well, that sounds good. Conferences are so important because one of the differences is just like the online astrological community these days versus in-person ones. And I know over a decade ago around 2010 or so when I was the president of the Association for Young Astrologers, so much of what we tried to do is find ways to do scholarships and things to help younger people get to conferences because that’s one of the places where you can really interface with the existing established astrological community, and that that’s really important. You don’t really understand the importance of it until you get there in person and actually experience it. So, were you guys able to connect with a lot of different astrologers from different generations and eras?

C: Yeah, absolutely. And I feel like that’s one of the most beautiful things about being at an astrology conference because everywhere you go, you’re gonna meet someone who you can automatically have an hours-long conversation with. And it doesn’t matter how old you are, whether they’re someone in their 20s talking to someone in their 60s. It’s like everyone’s just there to meet and share their passion and love for astrology. So it’s a really welcoming environment. And definitely though off of what you were saying about the importance of that kind of connection compared to digital spaces, I think it’s really important and there’s nowhere else you can go to find a community like that. I know for myself last year at NORWAC, I met two other people from my city in Salem, Massachusetts, where a few months afterwards we actually started a local astrology group now out of Salem. And that wouldn’t have happened if we didn’t meet up at NORWAC first. So yeah, it’s a special opportunity for sure.

CB: Yeah, there’s sometimes things like that that happen that are unique that can only happen when people get up and meet in person. Because it’s kind of different atoms that are shooting around inside a glass jar and then sometimes there’s these collisions that you can’t anticipate until they happen. One of the things I was reflecting on actually as it was happening this year that I realized afterwards, I was thinking about the early history of the traditional revival and how Project Hindsight got started at a United Astrology Conference in 1992 when Robert Hand and Robert Zoller and Robert Schmidt and his wife Ellen Black met up in person and formulated this idea of doing some sort of archive for historical astrological texts. And I think that was the original name, it was ARHAT. Yeah. But then by the next year, they had formulated this idea of doing this unique subscription service translating astrological texts and then releasing them to subscribers who signed up to get a new one every time a new one came out. And they announced that for the first time at the Northwest Astrology Conference in Seattle in 1993, so it was really interesting because this meant this was the 30-year anniversary of that announcement of Project Hindsight, originally, and just how much things have changed in the past 30 years and how that sort of transformed or has been one of the things that’s transformed the astrological community.

S: Yeah. Yeah, that’s huge. Even just the internet alone I’m sure has done crazy things for the community, I can’t even imagine what it would be like to not have limitless sources at my fingertips. But per your earlier comment about being online and then the digital community versus being at a conference and actually getting to speak with people, there’s so much beauty and value to that. Because you hear about these kinds of projects that are budding up, right? You hear these kinds of conversations between astrologers where they’re like, “Oh, yeah, we’re doing X project. Keep an eye out for it later this year!” Or there’s the free note cards and posters section where there’s all of this little stuff that you can look out for. And you would never know that, right? And I don’t know, sometimes interactions between differing schools of thought online can be so abrasive. Whereas at a conference when you run into somebody who doesn’t share your same viewpoint, you’re both immersed and ready to learn, whereas that dynamic does not really carry over onto the internet.

C: Right. And I think also, especially with what you were saying about it being this 30-year major cycle completion for the community and for the world in terms of the revival of traditional astrology, I think that was really alive and felt at this conference. Because there was almost more discussion in the sense of, “All right, now this stuff is out.” You know, these techniques are being practiced and written about and we can all see it coming alive like everything is working as it should. But now we’re kind of at these crossroads of integrating the technical skill that we have at our fingertips now from all of that ancient material with the perspective that 20th-century astrology sort of began to bring in the lens of counseling and depth psychology, and now it’s just this merger point between those two perspectives; like Steven Forrest’s evening keynote kind of spoke to that journey that we’re on as a community now. So I think a lot of people were talking about that as well and that stage that we’ve kind of crossed like you’ve brought up.

CB: Of synthesizing things as a community?

C: Yeah, or just kind of navigating the soulful element. And everyone has their own practice, everyone’s going to approach things differently, but how we can holistically incorporate the psycho-spiritual element to an astrological practice that’s still really well grounded in technique and in tradition.

CB: Okay. Yeah, that’s a good question in terms of once you can do something technically and that’s been accomplished like what you should do or how you can find a way for it to be helpful or healing to a client, rather than just something that’s just impressive from a technical standpoint.

S: Yeah. I’m being reminded of Eric Purdue’s recent lecture at NORWAC on finding the name of your daemon. And using the Hebrew alphabet and a number of different steps, you can find the name. And finding the name might be like, “Okay, cool. Now what? Cool name, should I get it tattooed?” Or it can be something that you immerse in your spiritual practice that you really take to heart and use in a metaphysical way. And I think it’s really wrong to kind of– I’m not saying that you did this, but to say like, “Oh, traditional astrologers are less spiritual,” or “Modern astrology is too esoteric.” That’s not really… It’s a little bit extreme on both ends. But I think you catch my drift.

C: Yeah, I know. There’s an incredibly soulful element to ancient astrology still. A lot of the great philosophical discussion that you’ve brought up on the podcast about different elements of the spiritual component of someone’s nativity or birth chart that can be discovered. But yeah, I think it’s just this kind of… Like we were saying, it’s this merger point where it can be impressive from a technical standpoint and it can be… I feel like for myself in the younger stages of my lifelong practice with astrology, I know it can feel like a bit of an ego trip at first because when you start seeing it working and you start doing more readings, it can feel all-powerful like you can read the future, the past, or anything. But I think it’s important that practitioners are able to be, you know, all of us can be grounded in the sense that people are coming to us as practitioners because they need our guidance or help or whatever it may be in any kind of situation. So I think it’s just a good jumping-off point for more discussion in the community about how that can blend the best of both worlds as we move into the future.

CB: Yeah, that might be a good Saturn in Pisces discussion that we’ll have over the course of the next three years because that does tend to be a more compassionate sign versus the past six years of Saturn transiting through first Capricorn and then Aquarius. And some of that’s at least coincided a little bit with the popularization, some people have noted, of traditional astrology in a more mainstream sense over the past six years. So yeah, that could be an interesting dimension of that. I keep thinking about how in the 1950s or ’60s when Saturn was in Pisces, the example I used on the Year Ahead Forecast that Nick Dagan Best shared with me about how major television channels in the United States switched from black and white television to color television as Saturn was going through Pisces and it was really accomplished during that period. And just this idea of seeing that change not just on a technical level in different parts of society, but also in other areas like that like perhaps in astrology or things like that.

S: Yeah, I love that you brought up this analogy of seeing something in color versus in black and white. When you think about how much energy had to go into the reconstruction of the tradition and all of the projects and everything that came with it, you don’t really have the time to color in all of these things and make them magical as you’re discovering them and uncovering them. But now that we have a much clearer framework, we can build these beautiful… We can color it, right? We have the basics– not basics, there’s a whole tradition and there’s lots that we still have to uncover. But yeah, I think you caught my drift. The spiritual engrossment within your astrological practice as the ancients did is something that I think is also coming back.

C: Yeah, I think the revival of astrological magic is just getting started, which is going hand in hand with all of this. And that’s really where I see the next dimension of this fusion happening where more people are empowered to work on a spiritual level with the spirits, the daemons, the planets, the guardians of this reality however, you know, an astrologer would, or could, advise them to based off of some kind of principle of remediation or working with difficult planets or placements or challenging or obstacles, you know? The things in the chart that present difficult life circumstances, how can we work with those and attune ourselves to changing our internal perspective or spiritual perspective that causes that kind of outer shift in our reality that we experience externally.

CB: Right. Yeah, there’s a lot of stuff about the daemon that I’ve been researching recently in ancient astrology and how that was conceptualized and how you had the place of good daimon, which was the 11th house, and bad daimon, which is the 12th house, and how the different astrologers conceptualize that in the Hellenistic tradition as well as the notion that a lot of the major philosophies of Hermeticism and Gnosticism and Neoplatonism shared about the soul descending through the planetary spheres and picking up these qualities from the planets that after death you give up as the soul ascends through the planetary spheres. And how that’s tied in with some of that and how that in and of itself may have been the original, or at least the traditional approach to psychological astrology essentially was associating the planets with those qualities or properties of the soul that you get upon incarnating or what have you. Yeah, so it’d be interesting to see how things like that might be looked at within the context of modern astrology or how that might gel with some of the modern notions of psychological astrology.

S: Yeah. Even the celestial spheres, right? That school of thought emerged pre-Copernican Revolution, right? They thought there were fixed crystalline spheres around the Earth and there was a scientific element to that; astrology and science were one. But now we’ve kind of had this divergence where it’s forked off into two different things, astrology is not science anymore. And so the spheres and the idea of a soul trickling down through these different concrete things which exist out in space around the Earth, maybe a reimagining of that that’s a little bit more attuned to our physical knowledge today, or our scientific knowledge today I guess would be better, might come about during this time too. Or maybe it’s not you’re dripping through the spheres, you’re collecting them with your gravity or something.

C: Yeah. I feel like it’s just like everyone’s personal natal chart is your own unique map towards how you’re going to ascend back out one day. You know, the way that we can all prepare ourselves to relinquish those vices that each of the planets offer; like in the Corpus Hermeticum and what you were referencing that journey to the withdrawal the consciousness of the mind or the soul from the senses of the body, in a very general way that’s going to be specialized and detailed for everyone in their own birth chart. Based off of what kinds of imbalances their chart is making them predisposed to working with that energy in that kind of remedial context like we were talking about, I really do believe is an incredibly potent step that anyone can begin to take in terms of if you’re searching for something to enhance or alter your spiritual direction, working with the natal chart in that context is your personal gateway into divinity.

CB: Right. Yeah, and that’s one of the questions that some of those philosophies had in the ancient world were either a neutrality or sometimes an antipathy towards the physical world and the physical incarnation because the Gnostic religious sects or different philosophies had a much more negative version that the material word world is bad and we are trapped here and the planetary spheres are gatekeepers that are keeping us trapped and almost distracting us in a way with these different things that they’re associated with in the material world, and that our goal is to get the hell out of here and get back to the source somehow. And while some of the hermetic texts had some of that, there were others that were a little bit more neutral to positive about the physical world and didn’t take it in necessarily that negative of things. So it’s just interesting when you’re mentioning– or when modern astrologers are mentioning synthesizing a religious or philosophical approach with ancient or with technical approaches, one of the questions is whose philosophy or what philosophy are we synthesizing? Because different people with different religious or philosophical views come from wildly different perspectives in terms of how they approach astrology and that’s one of the tricky things. The astrology itself is somewhat neutral and so you can’t necessarily assume a specific philosophical or religious approach just because somebody is an astrologer.

C: Yeah, it’s a hard debate. There’s going to be no correct answer to it, everyone’s going to have to find that for themselves. But I do think ultimately at the end of the day, we all have to prepare to leave our body one day. And I think that the way that we can all go about doing that is going to come down to how can you find balance and harmony in your life. And if the natal chart is in any way a map towards what you can do or what your potential is, then maximizing that effect towards finding a sense of purpose in your life is the bottom line that everyone could agree on, at least.

CB: Yeah. Well, that’s a good idea establishing what the bottom line is that all astrologers could agree on. And it would have to be some very basic things like that, that the birth chart, the alignment of the planets in the cosmos, at the moment a person is born has something to say about their future and what will happen in their life, either internally or externally in their future, and also that it may relate to some extent to their telling you something about the meaning of the person’s life in the broadest sense. I guess those are two things that we could say are true no matter what philosophical approach or school of astrology you’re approaching things from.

C: Yeah.

S: Honestly, I don’t know if we will ever reach a point in the modern era where we have widespread astrological consensus and synthesis over– let alone techniques, God forbid, like philosophy and your religious views independent of astrology now, right? Because we did have that divide historically where astrology was no longer science and it’s no longer religion, it’s something kind of in between and both at the same time. And so when you have so many differing schools of thought, I think that one of our goals as a community should be not to form a consensus but to ensure that there’s space for all of them. And that to be able to put yourself maybe in a different school of thought and further your practice by doing so, right? A very simple example of this would be Western astrologers studying Jyotish, where you put yourself in a different school of thought. You put on a different cultural lens to look at astrology through and you see how that reframes not only your practice but your worldview and your own divinatory practice or spiritual practice in general.

CB: Yeah, one of the prerequisites for that that people often don’t understand when they’re studying different traditions or approaches is to try as much as you can to drop all of your preconceptions and all of your own personal beliefs going into it and just experiment with ‘what if’ I just embraced this approach in its entirety in terms of its philosophy and its techniques and everything else and just tried it out for a period of time almost as if you’re trying on a new pair of clothes? Or if you’re trying out a new profession and you’re playing that role for a period of time. Because one of the things I think people do that can be problematic when trying out different traditions is they hold on too much to whatever their pre-existing assumptions about things are. And I see that sometimes when people, I don’t know, when somebody asks if they study Hellenistic astrology, can they use whatever house system instead of the one that was used most then? Or can they use these rulerships for the signs of the zodiac instead of the traditional relationships or what have you? Or with Jyotish, you know, different questions like that; can I still use whatever Western approach and import that into? And usually, the best thing is instead just to start with a blank slate and learn things and just understand it on its own terms first. And then later if you want to modify things, that’s okay, but at least you’ve given it an honest shot first. I think it’s usually a good piece of advice.

C: Yeah, it’s also just hard to even ask people or to be even ready to do that. Because astrology is just inherently so non-binary that we don’t want to accept at first that something could be so self-contradictory and still work so well in so many different ways. There’s so many different ways we can encounter those kinds of paradoxical binaries generally in the study of astrology, and I think that’s not easy to approach it. I think that’s why it is so esoteric because it is the ultimate blend of ‘As above, so below.’ It’s this irreconcilable fusion of two different worlds and all we can do is just, like you said, really start from the basics and from the beginnings and observe slowly what you find to be true and just aggregate that over time. And everyone does that in a totally different way, which is also what’s really cool and which is also what’s really cool about going to these conferences and meeting other people who maybe practice some totally eclectic blend of Uranian and Hellenistic astrology or whatever it is nowadays. Yeah, it’s just really cool because it’s that non-binary element of astrology, that Mercurial piece of it that makes it so vacillating yet so uncontained and boundless.

CB: Yeah, that’s something I keep going back and forth in what to call it and I sometimes call it the Mercurial element of astrology. But I don’t know if because of the connotations that Mercurial has today of something different, I don’t know if that’s a good term. Or sometimes I call it the Hermetic nature of astrology but just in traditional astrology, astrology was ruled by Mercury or by Hermes. And part of the insight into that if you always keep that in mind is that whenever you come to an issue where it looks like there’s two different options that equally seem to be true like the answer, and that it’s an either-or situation, usually the answer is often that it’s both in some way or there’s pieces that are both true in different ways. Just in the same way that Mercury comes up in that way over and over again in the technical part of astrology, being the planet that has its joy in the first house which is partially above the horizon in the daytime part of the chart and partially below the horizon in the nighttime part of the chart. And he plays that vacillating role between those two seemingly opposite paradigms of night and day or masculine and feminine or what have you. I think that’s also part of what astrology is inherently and is also probably the key to reconciling many of the issues that we find ourselves with these days due to the revival of ancient and modern astrology where you have these seemingly wildly different approaches that can’t be reconciled that somehow finding the reconciliation is possible by understanding that both can be true in different ways.

S: Yeah, absolutely. To simmer on modern understandings of that, a lot of modern astrologers give astrology to Uranus. If you have Uranus really prominent in the ninth or something, you’re an astrologer. And well, Uranus is also a psychopomp. Right? I don’t think that Uranus rules Aquarius but it can only be seen when it’s opposite the Sun. What’s opposite the Sun’s domicile? Aquarius, right? And so while I don’t personally use Uranus as the ruler of Aquarius, you can see how clearly that can be woven into the pre-existing traditional schema. You don’t have to go out with Saturn and in with Uranus, but it’s pretty striking that you can only see this planet when it’s opposite the Sun. And what’s opposite the Sun? The Sun’s domicile. Uranus also has this psychopomp nature that Mercury has where it weaves between the spheres of the celestial sphere, the highest sphere, and makes its way back into Saturn’s sphere. I guess you could say or maybe it would have its own little sliver, but weaves its way back into the visible planetary movements. Because it’s not quite a fixed star, but it will always appear as one to us. And I don’t know, there’s something very modern that can coexist with the tradition in a way that is not contradictory or offensive to either party involved.

C: Yeah, I think it’s really like the quantum effect of astrology. It’s this experiencing saying how can something be superpositioned or in multiple states at once. For instance with Uranus visibly in the sky, you were saying it only appears for one or two days once a year when it’s opposite the Sun and it just kind of pops out of nowhere. It just makes me think of that classical thought experiment of Schrödinger’s cat. It’s a thought experiment in quantum physics to explore what the math is proving about what scientists are discovering about the nature of the universe, which is showing us that things can be totally paradoxical. Something can be measured to be almost simultaneously in two places at once or reflects something on the other side of the universe and have this totally synergized or synchronized effect from light years away. And I think astrology is discovering the same thing that science is. We’re kind of running on the same parallel track that our human minds can’t rationalize, can’t put it into a binary, and we’re not going to be able to because that’s just not how this universe is really designed.

CB: Right. Yeah. In astrology, it’s like Schrodinger’s house system. [laughter]

C: Yeah, exactly. Exactly.

S: Absolutely.

C: If we can all just laugh about that, then maybe we can accept that dualities exist and they will forever, and they’ll be ‘both and’ at the same time.

CB: Right, the cat is both in the 12th house and dead and it’s in the 11th house and it’s all frolicking [crosstalk] with its friends. Okay, I like that. I have been actually thinking about that lately because I had a fourth house, a whole sign house, Mercury retrograde transit recently, the one in Taurus. And it had me reflecting on going back to where I grew up and going back and seeing my house where I grew up and things like that. It was a retrograde and so it was interesting because it was very literal. It’s like returning back to one’s home in a very literal way, but also going around and driving around my old neighborhoods and just seeing how everything had changed over the past 30 years. And in the quadrant houses, Mercury went retrograde in my third house but in whole sign it was in my fourth. And that was just giving me some insights because I know the medieval astrologers were trying to reconcile whole sign houses and degree-based forms of house division like Placidus and other quadrants systems. And we see some hints of them trying to say different things. And even in Firmicus, he makes some statements about using both at the same time. But that was giving me some ideas and some insights about that and how you might approach it and how it might truly be both, which is I know something a lot of people say or have said anecdotally in different ways, but I think one of the tasks now is to see is it both in the same way and that literally they have the same exact meanings and the same purpose and they just operate at the same time? Or are there different contexts in which you can use both? That way you have a handle on saying what each one says or the way in which each one works, I think is one of the big questions to solve today.

C: Yeah. Do you want to go?

S: You can go ahead if you have something to say.

C: Yeah, I was just gonna say it makes me think of in physics, you know, the observer effect is you change the outcome or the physical calculation or result of an experiment just by observing it. And it makes me think of, “Well, okay, what is divination then?” If people can throw bones or read through smoke or scry into their third eye, it’s like… I think as long as the intention is there to receive a symbol from the universe to observe some symbolic result off of what is being initiated on the diviner’s part, we’re gonna get something. If two different diviners look at the same entrails or look at the same bones, they could say different things sort of in the same way just like two astrologers that use different systems are going to unravel the same information. And it’s just about that instant observer effect moment of, “I’m going to look at it because this is my symbol set that I work with and I know if I use it like this, I can say this and that will probably be true.” I think that’s just that irreconcilable duality with astrology.

C: Yeah, I had a very similar train of thought but just the idea that, I don’t know, do you know what angularity is and how the four angles can work independently of signs? If you remove the Zodiac from the equation, can you point to a chart where Mars culminates and know what that means? Can you point it out in the sky? I feel like that serves a distinct purpose and while it may not be a different purpose once we divide that into house systems, it has a distinct power to it that is different than when you look at a whole sign system. Because I would never ever read the houses from Fortune through a quadrant lens, that seems incongruent to me. But when I was first getting involved with astro-magic, I was pretty strictly whole signs. I would use a little bit of quadrant, more emphasis on the angles than anything, and then I started doing magic and I was like, “Yeah, that Mercury was definitely in the 12th house for this experience that this item just brought to me.” I don’t know, and using different systems for different purposes. That’s also a whole topic in itself.

C: Yeah. It’s really hard because, again, I think it’s just going to come back to everyone is their own best astrologer. It’s like you’re going to overtime… And it’s not even about technical skill. To me, it’s just about being able to have the acquaintance with a symbol system that is specific enough to you to relay the information you need to someone, whatever it could be about.

CB: Sure. Yeah, and just what the person is asking about as well and what they want to know. So one of the topics that came up earlier that we mentioned briefly is… One of you said that you talked to Rick Levine and he was contrasting the resources he had when he was starting out as an astrologer versus what’s available to all of you. What was the quote from that again?

S: Yeah, we were with Rick Levine and he told us this story about how when he was younger, when he was getting into astrology, there were three books in the astrology section of the library or maybe five if you were lucky. And you could check this library and that library but nope, same copy. You know, there’s only so much information that you could even access. But now, figuring out how to filter through the information that’s available to me was a huge step in my learning journey, just being able to figure out what is going to contain the information that I’m looking for. Because there’s thousands and thousands of blog posts and articles and tweets and all of these things. You have things ranging from scholarly academic papers that you can access on JSTOR to 30-second TikTok videos telling you something else as well. Especially when you’re first starting, that’s very overwhelming, because the minute the algorithm learns you’re looking into astrology, that’s all the content you get too. So I don’t know, you have to figure out how to navigate the information that you have available to you. And it’s a huge blessing. I’m eternally grateful for the fact that I had access to your podcast and publications online and just all of these different voices. It’s been such a key component to my practice. But at the same time, it made my first year very stressful, honestly. It was really hard to navigate that.

CB: Yeah, that’s a really interesting difference for astrologers starting now versus 20 years ago when I was starting or 30 years ago or 40 or what have you and having much more limited resources back then. Like when Rick Levine’s talking about, an astrologer might have access to a handful of just core books that everybody reads, which is like Dane Rudhyar or something like Rob Hands’ Planets in Transit, copy of the Ephemeris, you might be doing charts by hand for that matter and even pre-internet, so not having access to that even. When I was starting, the internet was still relatively new in 1999 or 2000, and thankfully, astro.com existed so I could get free chart calculations, which is crucial. And we don’t think about how that’s changed because that’s relatively recent and innovation’s only 20, 25 years ago now. But even the internet was much earlier in that time period so you didn’t have podcasts or blogs or anything like that necessarily. There were fewer even websites to draw information from, but one of the things that was interesting is that it led to artificially a little bit more consistency or most people are on the same page more or less even though there are different approaches or slightly different approaches to astrology. It led to a little bit more people being on the same page because it was like everybody had read that one Rob Hand book or what have you, versus today there’s such a huge amount of resources that people can be coming from wildly different places in terms of their understanding of astrology. But yeah, that’s interesting thinking about how the struggle now is not a lack of resources, but too many. Even if you just restricted yourself to podcasts, you’d still have 30 different podcasts. Or YouTube channels, you’d have 100 different YouTube channels to decide which ones to watch and that’s a challenge.

S: And they have hundreds of hours of content, and you’re seeing negative reviews on this one but excellent reviews on another one but then you don’t quite agree with the worldview or the philosophy of this creator. It’s a very nuanced issue. And so like while navigating the sea as you said earlier, it’s really important to get your foundations, get your basics, learn something, even if you don’t quite agree with it, take it as it is. And then if you want to tweak it, tweak it a little bit later. Also don’t be shy to tweak things a little bit, especially depending on who your source is and what you’re planning on doing with this information. I’m not saying go ahead and reevaluate the entire dignity schema and claim that that’s the way it’s supposed to be all along. I’m just saying that if you see something that you don’t totally agree with like Mars in the ninth house makes men who lack intuition but you have Mars in the ninth and you have a great intuition, keep in mind that there’s context to that. Keep in mind that there’s always more information out there. And you also probably are not the first person to have thought of your idea, just knowing how to look for it can be a little hard on the internet, too, because sometimes you type in an astrological term and Google starts giving you plumbing companies or math.

C: Yeah, I feel like I often do the Google search of some random specific thing and nothing comes up. But then I’m like, “Oh, I have to type astrology afterwards,” and then it will generate what I’m looking for. [Stella chuckles]

CB: That’s really funny because a few years ago, an Astrology Conference sent me an invitation to speak but they sent it to a Chris Brennan from Ireland who is a plumber. [laughter] Thankfully he didn’t accept and we later during a Mercury retrograde figured out what had happened when they sent it to my correct email address. I decided to speak at the conference but it gave me a great opening joke for that lecture.

S: Yeah, that’s hilarious. Was it the UFC fighter? I don’t know if it’s UFC, there’s like a…

CB: No, that’s a different guy. Apparently, there’s a lot more Chris Brennans than I realized but yeah, we’re all battling for the supremacy of the Google search results.

S: [chuckles] Isn’t everybody nowadays? Which is a really key part of finding astrological information as well, you know?

C: Yeah, you have to consider too that what is circulated is what the algorithm is going to push out more. So the sources that maybe are more valuable than many others are just not seen, you know? What’s hidden will remain hidden. But also, I do think kind of what you were saying was making me think of the quote from this amazing astrologer William Lilly who always said– kind of writes, “Mix judgment with art,” in the way that you’re reading a chart. And I think approaching your own learning journey is very similar in the sense that there’s an element to which I know, for myself, I feel like I was sort of always guided. Even if I didn’t know where the next step was, it was kind of like I’m always on a trail of breadcrumbs and it’s bringing me somewhere. And astrology is a crazy rat race in that sense because there’s no curriculum, there never will be. It’s just so vast and for everyone it’s just going to come down to finding… Hopefully, everyone can at least study with a teacher or a mentor or someone who can be a personal source of Gnosis in a way or experience. But yeah, beyond that, navigating the internet is just going to take time for more digital archives to compile different digital sources or textbooks or any of these books that become available digitally as PDFs. I think as, maybe, more work is done to make those archive digital archives… And your website is great, actually. The Hellenistic Astrology website has so much on there, especially for the ancient manuscripts and facsimile editions of whatever old scan books are on there. But yeah, I think it’s just gonna come down to growing a better collection of credible resources and networks of teachers who are out there and sharing and guiding people.

CB: Yeah, I’m actually in the process of redesigning the Hellenistic website right now.  Just want to mention that in case it looks a little wonky in the meantime.

C: Yeah. Nice.

S: There was something I had to say about that but I just totally lost it. It’ll come back to me eventually.

CB: Yeah, there’s something I had as well. I wrote down ‘teachers and lineage’ because it brings up interesting things about that I’ve been thinking about recently. That’s an important component of finding a teacher can be really helpful sometimes, although it can be kind of hit and miss because just because you found a teacher doesn’t mean you found a good teacher. But sometimes if you do find a good connection, that can be really crucial. Oh, yeah, that’s what I was actually going to mention. You mentioned sometimes finding something and it being seemingly random but important and meaningful, and that’s actually something I believe in a lot that I was thinking about recently and reflecting on and realizing it was part of my core philosophy. But sometimes I find myself in a situation where something happens or something negative happens and it pushes me in a certain direction and I have to stop and ask myself why or what will come from this if I go this direction. And sometimes it’s not a direction I’m wanting to go but I’ll be pushed in a direction sort of forcefully by circumstances and events and fortune, but then it’ll lead to something that was really important that I wouldn’t have done otherwise. Or sometimes even just a random chance – finding a passage in a book or something like that – has been important or crucial. And I actually think there’s things like that that happen all the time in people’s lives that they just don’t fully realize because we’re not used to noticing those patterns and understanding the importance of them because they seem like minor things at the time, and it’s usually only in retrospect that you realize the significance of something – of a chance meeting or a chance encounter or what have you. But I think as astrologers it’s actually really important that we pay more attention to those things because it’s part of the whole nexus of fate that astrology is very much tied up in. And sometimes that’s what the astrology is indicating, is a chance encounter that will be more important than you realize at the time but sometimes the astrology itself is telling you that something important is happening and that you need to pay attention to it.

C: Yeah, totally.

S: Yeah, yeah. I’ll also add that sometimes there’s value in not paying attention to it. Sometimes there’s value in letting life catch you by surprise. Because I got, especially with my ambiguous Ascendant, I have fallen down so many rabbit holes just picking apart every experience of my life. And I kind of reached this point where I was like, “I need to take a step back and exist in the world as me, and stop trying to look for what is trying to be said and just listen in day-to-day life.”

C: Yeah. There’s also that balance between looking for synchronicities that are purely astrological versus if it was some book you were gifted when you were six and you randomly re-opened it and it led you to…

S: Random peak period. Yeah.

CB: There’s definitely a balance between– because anything taken to an extreme can be unhealthy and I know I’ve certainly seen, for example, if somebody had struggles with issues like that already where they see things that aren’t happening or they read too far into things sometimes, you can have a malfunctioning of that faculty of the mind that can just like run wild. And if you’re not sort of keeping things in check, it can go to a bad place. So you definitely want to be careful.

C: Yeah. I think it’s challenging because that Mercurial side of astrology, which is so geometric and fractal and it’s so beautiful because it’s always generating beautiful cosmic symphony, however you want to observe it, it’s also like– I guess, what’s the right analogy? It’s like a train wreck that you don’t want to look at but you can’t not look away from it. Right? It’s beautiful on its own, but there’s a line between going too far with anything that’s just not… We’re not meant to be only up there, you know? We’re down here. So I know for myself like a pretty Mercurial person, yeah, there’s phases of going in and out of that path. But yeah, wandering and maintaining presence in the body is very good and necessary for anyone. Sure.

S: I did just want to backtrack just a little bit if that’s okay, unless somebody had more conversa- Okay. Because you were mentioning having a teacher and having a good teacher, right? Because not everybody always has the time or the resources to be able to take a course and be certified. So part of that really involves finding a teacher who you can connect with, right? Whether it’s somebody’s sources like someone’s actual course or a book in an author’s reading style that you can really really comprehend and you like to enjoy. Whether that teacher is a formal authority figure or simply having been talking in a Twitter Space and someone saying, “Actually, sorry, Jupiter rules Pisces, not the Moon. The Moon rules Cancer.” Little things like that, that accumulate over time. And of course, keep a critical eye because not everything you hear is true. But also just the emphasis on community. There’s teachers everywhere, you just have to keep your eyes open for them.

C: Yeah. I think it’s this, again, this tough straddling the line of like, “Well, if we’re saying what’s important is knowing your symbol set and being acquainted with it over years of practice, that you can be confident enough to say something that will probably be true.” Again with astrology, that’s hard because we have this egregore. It’s like a collective consciousness that’s been in the tradition and it’s been rich with practitioners in a lineage for thousands of years, but at the same time new schools of thought can emerge and kind of branch off of that where eventually on the tree, those branches could be very distant but still simultaneously you’re gonna get to what you’re looking for. It’s hard to really say you need to just study with one teacher who really knows their stuff. Right?

S: Yeah, and like… I’m sorry, were you gonna…?

CB: I was just gonna say that yeah, most of the astrological tradition has been a textual transmission. And sometimes learning from a teacher doesn’t necessarily mean– well, it’s nice if you can have one-on-one interaction. Even just learning and studying someone’s work and somebody’s life’s work and internalizing some large part of that can in and of itself set up a teacher-student relationship. I’m thinking of, I don’t know, the way that Abu Ma’shar drew on Ptolemy. So we’re talking about two people that lived hundreds of years apart who spoke a different language and lived in different areas of the world, but there was a close connection and an emulation between Abu Ma’shar’s works and Ptolemy’s works. But that’s a point that I’ve made a lot is that it’s rarely about just learning under one teacher and then completely emulating those methods, but instead, usually anybody’s approach to astrology is basically going to be a synthesis of a few different whatever your primary and most influential set of sources are. Especially let’s say, the two to three most influential teachers that you learned from in some manner or another that you really focused on learning their work and learning their approach, that your own approach to astrology will be sort of a synthesis between those sources you drew on and your own personal observations and experiences during the course of your career. So yeah, learning with a teacher can be not just direct one-on-one learning, but just studying and really coming to understand somebody’s life’s work and somebody’s approach to astrology. Whatever format that’s in, whether it’s listening to lectures they’ve given or reading their books or what have you.

S: Yeah, and as long as the person is alive. There’s emails out there, there’s ways to contact astrologers. If you have a question if you’re active in online communities, chances are you’ll come across some kind of astro nerd who’s read all of everything five times over, basically, and they can tell you which page of Dorotheus that thing you’re trying to remember came from. And so, like, looking for help when you need it. Also, that was kind of why I was saying don’t be shy to disagree, right? Because part of your own personal practice is going to be shaped, yes, of course, by the tradition. You have to learn from somewhere, you’re not just pulling out of nowhere. But also, you can hear something and practice it one way and not really resonate with it and see someone else who uses it differently and be like, “Yeah, I agree with that more.”

C: Yeah, and it can change over time. Everyone’s practice is going to shift and morph with the more you learn and the more you interact with the astrology. But I think it’s also interesting because just thinking about that kind of transmission textually versus being with a teacher, there is that important element to which at one point it’s like, well, the teacher dies and the student becomes a teacher. And there’s that element where– even in astrology, we have these concepts of fortune and spirit, which is kind of analogous to what you’re given and what you create, or the past and the future. At that point, the Lot of Spirit or the Part of Spirit was also called the Part of Things to Come or the Part of The Future in some translations and traditions. So I feel like there is that crucial element here to which we’re only being handed the torch to just give it off again. There has to be creation and innovation, and especially right now in a time where it is so ripe for all of that between this merging of thousands of years of different traditions from across the world, and with technology and the power and capability that we have now to run statistical research into these different methods. Yeah, it’s just the beginning of a really exciting time and everyone’s just gonna start… You know, the tree’s just starting to branch. We have the big trunks but I think it’s just about to get even crazier. [chuckles]

CB: Yeah, those periods in astrology in which there’s a transmission and older forms of astrology are synthesized together with whatever the contemporary prevailing paradigms are always really great times in the history of astrology when it sort of flourishes after that happens. Yeah, but there’s a lot of older astrologers from the previous generation, especially the Pluto and Leo generation that are starting to pass away now and so it’s something I’ve been thinking about is collecting… I’ve been trying to collect some of those stories and some of those oral histories especially about that because I’ve just been reflecting a lot on recently how different people’s stories end. And sometimes their work continues on through their students, but sometimes the telling of those stories still needs to happen in terms of passing some of that knowledge and information down about what happened in the past and what led to where the tradition is today.

C: Yeah.

S: Being able to say not just what has changed, but who changed it, how they impacted the field, what this person brought not only to their clients but to their friends and to their social circles is a really important part of not just astrological history but history in general. Right? There’s so many ways that this can be taken but if you have a conversation with somebody, you’re only going to get so much from that conversation. And that’s how a book works, right? It’s the same principle. If you don’t have that context to the person behind these words on pages, you’re missing a big part of the tradition and existing in the world with people. That’s not just about the tradition, there’s almost a sort of disconnect from the world around you if you are so hyper-focused on the actual words on the pages and the information that can be gleaned, that you’re not really pausing and recognizing who’s saying it, what importance this project might have had for them… I guess the more watery side, too.

C: And I think just the more nowadays that we start maybe doing a better job of keeping track of those things, you know, astrologers down the road hundreds and thousands of years from now– not hundreds and thousands, but hundreds of years– it’s like they’re gonna really appreciate that we took the care to archive those changes in the translations or different editions. Because now we’re searching back 2000 years ago trying to figure out who the heck Critodemus was. We don’t know, but apparently he was some important transmission figure in the tradition.

CB: Yeah, that’s something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately because such an important set of events have happened over the past 30 years and I realized people will be going back and studying this period for a long time for many decades or centuries in the future. And that some of those stories are being lost as more astrologers that were active then pass away, and that sometimes those stories are told while the person is alive but they cease to be told at a certain point. And yeah, how to record some of that or how to preserve some of that can be tricky.

C: Yeah. Well, I think that’s a great project for Saturn in Pisces, too. Just the reconciling and containment of the broadness of the tradition or the larger scope and trying to contain that into something that can be passed on or put towards purpose with that larger perspective from the range of time that is being consolidated.

S: Yeah. What’s that one quote from Valens where he’s sad about his student dying? It’s his student who passes. Yeah, can either of you quote it for me? There’s something…

CB: I mean, he just says… He is doing some technical discussion and then I think at the end of the book, he apologizes for not going into more detail because he says his eyesight is failing and he was also depressed because of the loss of his favorite student. So he hopes that the reader understands and cuts him some slack, basically.

S: Yeah. And that little passage, I’ve heard that discussed so many times. It has so much value. Suddenly you pause while you’re reading and you’re like, “This is not just an astrological text, but this is a book written by a person who has their own journey.” And there’s so much value to that. And it’s the same thing with used books versus fresh books. When you get a used book– I mean, if you’re into energy stuff, I guess you can feel the energy of the last person who has read it. Their knowledge has kind of seeped in between the lines. And it’s a similar kind of idea here.

C: Yeah. I was just gonna say in some ways I almost wish we had more of that remaining from the ancient text than… The techniques are awesome, obviously, it’s cool to learn and test things out, but that glimpse into the direct life of what it was like to be an astrologer 2000 years ago. And your recent episode on the Astrology of Ancient Egypt I think was beautiful in contextualizing and putting images and thoughts into more people’s minds about what that entailed and what an exciting and thrilling experience that was, and societally, culturally, how different that was to what we experience now that I wish we did have more of that. And so it’s so important going forward to document this and talk about conferences, right? Things like that.

CB: Yeah, I do too. I wish there was more of that because that’s one of the reasons that Valens is so special because he does have those personal digressions and he also uses so many example charts, including his own and people he knew and different things like that. And we see eventually as the tradition progresses more and more of that eventually, till that point where you get to somebody like William Lilly where he has his own autobiography. And then in modern times, you get better and better documentation of the lives or personal lives of some astrologers. But yeah, you get a lot more when you also know about the life and backstory behind the techniques sometimes. Especially because sometimes technical discoveries are based on the person’s life experience. It’s not always that way because there’s that tension always between passing on the tradition and just the established whatever the approaches that you learned. And astrologers often attempt to, especially in more older texts, attempt to pass that off as they inherited it. But there’s that tension between that part of the tradition versus your own personal innovations. But sometimes personal innovations come from life experiences, either in consulting with clients or in just like things you’ve observed in your own life that you’ve seen work. Like my anecdote earlier of that retrograde through my fourth/third house and the sort of conclusions that I drew from that, you know, starts developing a technical doctrine that maybe somebody will pick up and run with. Yeah, but there’s both of those and I do wish we had more of that in terms of some of the tradition.

S: Also, huge, huge part of conferences is relevant to this conversation today because you can watch Austin Coppock in The Astrology Podcast, but do you see him and talk to him? Getting a different idea of his body language, his tonality, his personality… Right? Because to a degree, everything that is presented somewhere online or in a book or whatever has been refined and distilled in some way. It’s being filtered. But you get a peer behind that when you’re face-to-face with somebody. Yeah, for sure.

CB: Right. Yeah. For some reason, I was out walking earlier today and I was thinking about that, though, because I can’t… For example, I was thinking about recording some of my own story with astrology where somebody asked me recently how I got into astrology. And I tried to give the cliff notes, the synopsis version, but there was so much more behind that that I couldn’t even explain. You can’t actually, even if you tried to convey the totality of your life, you can’t really and you can’t really convey all of that. So it’s kind of tricky in terms of telling some of those stories. So, that’s just for yourself. Like, imagine trying to tell your own story, but then imagine trying to look at another astrologer and write a biography for them. That can be even trickier in some ways. I was thinking about recently with some of those astrologers that have passed on at this point and how to tell their stories is some of the things I’ve been thinking about and struggling with.

S: Something that is common in the field of philosophy is just reading their rough drafts, even; their unpublished stuff, the rough drafts, the ideas that got tossed away and they decided that never got published. There’s a really huge thing. I’m sure that you have access to that. That’s so exciting.

CB: I’m actually dealing with that right now because I have a rough draft of a translation of an ancient text that this scholar did. And over a decade ago, I had an email correspondence with him and he said it was just about finished and he’d send me his draft of it. And then I didn’t hear from him and I contacted him again a year later and it turned out he had passed away. So I had a correspondence with his widow a few years later– and have for several years– and she just finally sent me the only surviving version of it that exists, which is like a printed manuscript of it because the digital files may not have survived. So figuring out what to do with that, and also there might be a second printed version and it may be an earlier draft from what he was going to publish as the final and just how to deal with things like that. It’s funny that you mentioned that.

S: That’s really cool that that’s coming up for astrology too because that’s one of my– as a philosophy student, that’s one of my favorite things. It’s not actually like your published work, but your notes and your journals. The journals of philosophers that get published tell you more about their philosophies than their actual published work.

C: Yeah, I think the personal journal is the ultimate teaching tool. It’s like sitting down… And earlier, we were talking about the daimon or a guardian spirit or higher energy that’s working with the incarnated soul to guide and teach and learn. And I think that personal experience of like, you know, your notebook is your own limitless range of potential for learning and discovering and exploring. And I know, for myself, my own personal notebooks are where I have so many of my personal revelations or insights or that kind of time to just explore and play when you’re just with your daimon getting to be playful with it. Especially with astrology because I don’t think it’s very hard to. I think it’s so geometric that if you can have something that’s astrologically symbolically sound, you’re gonna find or discover something. So I think it’s just great now this kind of discussion that we’re having this whole chat about containing time and preserving things for the future or lineages in the way that gets passed on in the terms of how students reconcile old knowledge and bring new knowledge forward. This is very much like a simulacrum of the conversations that are happening at conferences like NORWAC or in other kinds of communal spaces where astrologers can come together and talk about that. So I think this is great that we’re throwing a lot of these ideas out to other people to think about. You know, what can we actually start doing to make that happen for the future?

CB: Yeah. That makes me think, though, of this other issue I was running into which is that what if a person has earlier versions of stuff that they didn’t want to publish and make their final thoughts? Would you want your rough draft of something to be, or your scribblings of something to be the main thing you’re known for if it was something that you didn’t yourself think was complete or something like that? Not with that project I was thinking about earlier, I was thinking about this as a separate thing recently of an astrologer who passed away who had earlier preliminary versions of something they were working on but they never completed it. So they themself never wanted to publish and make the preliminary version their main thing, they always had plans to do a final complete one but didn’t make it, weren’t able to do that. And what the balance is between honoring a person’s intention by not making their rough draft version of something the final thing that they are known for, versus needing to recognize the earlier stuff if there was something of value to it. I try to explain that but it’s a connected thing I’ve been thinking about recently.

C: Yeah, an artist doesn’t want an unfinished painting in a gallery. Right?

CB: Right. Exactly.

C: But at the same time, there’s still a process that happens with every piece of art or a piece of literature or a textbook that someone writes where each stage is valuable to get insight, both from the reader’s perspective if we don’t have the author alive to talk to, what their thought process was around why they’re organizing their ideas like this. Because like on our podcast, we’re reading through Rhetorius who is a very pretty ambiguous ancient figure from who we have this surviving compilation from these early manuscripts and critical editions that were kind of put together. It’s like we don’t really know exactly the exact order or sequence or methodology behind a lot of what we are picking up on. So the more that we do that cross-checking or thinking back or what was the intention behind this piece of art or piece of literature or whatever, that actually can in some ways have more to say than just what the text is saying itself. I think.

CB: Yeah, Rhetorius is really interesting because there’s a constant question in Rhetorius that he often does clearer versions of things that there’s only hints of earlier in the tradition but you’re often not sure if Rhetorius is just making something more obvious that was already there and was implicit in the tradition but that we don’t have as many traces of because we’ve lost so many sources, or alternatively if Rhetorius is doing something new and him elaborating on some of those things represents a progression or development that’s happened later in the tradition. We often don’t know with Rhetorius and it’s one of the trickiest things about him.

S: I don’t have a solid answer on that, of course, but something that we were just recently discussing with Kate was the fact that Rhetorius addresses derivative houses from fortune and planetary periods and then-

C: Angular tria… He introduces a series of…

S: Well, he introduces the angular triads too. And he does it in such a way that it’s almost glaringly obvious that– I mean, to me it seems like it is– that he’s about to introduce ZR, but he never does. He touches on all of the different ZR things but never quite reaches that point in what he’s saying.

CB: Sure. He mentions this in passing at one point in this sort of thing that Levente László translated that is like Rhetorius’s approach to how to delineate a chart. He does mention in passing at one point to do the releasing technique as is mentioned in Book 4 of Valens. So it’s like he was aware of it and recommended at one point, but he doesn’t otherwise have his own treatment.

C: Right. But it was interesting because, again, this speaks to what we’re talking about with, you know, there is that piecing together of, “Well, it looks like there was intention maybe behind why these chapters would have been organized like that.” But there’s just so much ambiguity and so many different steps in the process of how that– I don’t know if you have it in here– but how that book published by the AFA translated by James Holden actually came to us from so many other links along the way. But that’s just where we’re at right now in terms of recovering a lot of the ancient material.

S: Also in terms of recovering and understanding even not-so-ancient material, unfinished Picasso is still Picasso that would go in a museum somewhere, you know? So even if somebody hasn’t really finished this work, it still has tremendous value in their knowledge and how they applied that. And even if from the grave they’re scoffing and shaking their head like, “Argh, no, no! No, that’s not what I said. That’s not what I meant!”

C: I’m sure there’s a lot of that happening still.

S: Yeah, like Valens shaking his head from the room. [laughs]

C: Or even like the thing about the 10th house representing the mother, you know, is a potential mistranslation that again brings us back to like, “Well, if enough of an egregore or consciousness practices this concept, over time it can actually work.” And we’ve talked about that too in our recent episode that we did on the Lots, which are these very mathematical and weirdly behaving points in a chart. And there’s so many and we were just talking about how they started developing more and more of these specific points where there’s a time where you have to just think, “Someone just thought of this.” You know? Someone just had to put their reasoning together and their astrological symbolism in their head and craft something. Like, the part of water journeys is from 15 degrees of Cancer to Saturn and that distance projected from the degree of the Ascendant. And I went back through my photos just looking back at a ton of different moments and that point happened to be super active in all of the charts I was looking at. And it’s like, at what point can we just say is something brought into the tradition enough because someone said it and enough people believe it and so it’ll work? Versus maybe you can claim some kind of prophetic divine inspiration and the universe was like, “Yeah, we’re gonna drop this piece of information into your consciousness now and it’s just gonna work.” Right? We don’t know. We don’t know how that works but it’s very peculiar.

CB: Yeah, that brings up… There’s all sorts of different ways in which new astrological techniques are introduced in the tradition, and that could probably be a whole episode into it of itself at some point, but one of them that is tricky is sometimes astrologers looking back at earlier texts in the tradition, they can misread or misunderstand something and it can then end up being a creative misunderstanding that leads to the introduction of a new technique that didn’t exist earlier. But sometimes that misunderstanding can actually be creative and can be creating something new that can be valid. I mean, other times it doesn’t always have to be. It can be just a genuine misunderstanding that leads to a weird branch in the tradition that might not be as valuable, but there can sometimes be instances where maybe a creative misunderstanding takes place. It was a thing that Robert Schmidt always said about algebra– not algebra but a branch of mathematics– that there was this mathematician, François Viète, that was going back and trying to reconstruct what he thought was this lost approach to mathematics in ancient times. And he ended up creating something new in mathematics that was actually valuable but it turned out that his reconstruction, once later scholars went back and looked on it, that he had created something new even though he thought he was recovering something old. And I think sometimes that happens and is a possibility that we have to keep in mind. But we also have to be careful about the other version, which is that sometimes we can read things into a text that didn’t exist and figuring out the line between the two is always one of the trickiest pieces of that entire process.

S: Yeah, there’s never going to be a clear line in the sand but that’s one of the most important parts about community. Right? Because one person can read this and think, “Oh, you know, XYZ.”And then another person can read this and be like, “Well, actually it’s ZYX as stated clearly if you would have known this just going into it.” I know the obvious seems like it’s the case but it’s not always. I’m being reminded– I wish I could speak more eloquently on this memory– but there was a female archaeologist and there were these other archaeologists who were really struggling to figure out why women had certain hairstyles or markings on their scalp or something like that. And it took this woman who was a hairstylist to just being like, “Yeah, they’re styling their hair. Those are braids. That’s your hair. It’s not serving a historical purpose and there’s no function, it’s fashion.” And it was like, “Wow, that makes perfect sense.” Same principle. It’s the value of having different voices. And while we may not reach a true consensus, I mean, we usually do.

C: Yeah. I think it just brings us right back to the question of what is divination, you know, and if it’s ultimately just about the singular inspired moment that a diviner has to observe the effect of something. You know it’s not going to contain a simple duality in the way we want to understand it to or wish it would be so.

CB: Yeah. Or the subjective nature of interpretation, I think that’s the core theme there is when you’re doing textual studies, you’re reading an ancient text, you’re reading it through your own lens of your own vantage point, your own understanding of the language, and all the other things like factors, you know, your current understanding of astrology. Imagine if you’re reading Rhetorius as a modern astrologer or as an Indian astrologer or as somebody that has a background in Renaissance astrology or medieval astrology or what have you. Whatever your perspective is, you’re bringing that a little bit to your subjective interpretation of that text. And that’s also true if you’re reading a person’s birth chart. Whatever your life experiences are, you’re bringing those to bear for better or for worse on your interpretation of that person’s life. So maybe it’s just a matter more of acknowledging that the subjective is a major component in astrology while there are objective features. And I think that’s actually really important and it’s one of the ways in which I disagree with Geoffrey Cornelius and the view that astrology is entirely divinatory or entirely subjective. I think it’s a huge component that needs to be recognized as well because it’s not a purely objective phenomenon, there is a subjective component to it which doesn’t make it less valid and it’s actually just a different piece of it that needs to be recognized.

C: They just dance with each other, the subjectivity and objectivity. And that’s all you can say about it.

S: This is getting a little bit out there but subjectivity and objectivity are also just one of the same, right? We will never be able to perceive any component of reality unless it’s through our human bodies, through our personal experiences, etc. But just like Schrödinger’s cat earlier, the grass can’t perceive you unless you’re perceiving it. It can go the same way where you have this kind of dialogue of change that happens over time where I’m taking from this or I’m giving to it. We have overproduction of astrological literature and stuff like that with the printing press, where everybody was giving almanacs and delineations for different political figures and everything – and we’re starting to have a similar thing today – but you have this flourishing and all of this going out, and then you have the recovery; where the tide goes back and whatever remains is left in the sand.

C: Right, the wave is definitely cresting right now. I feel like we’re on an uphill, we’re on this really exciting phase, but it’s just gonna come back to now is the time where collaborate, experiment, explore, that’s all we can do. That’s what we’re doing on the show is just talking about what we think that the book is talking about and throwing charts up and seeing how these things work if we try to interpret them from our perspective. And that’s all anyone can do, I think.

CB: Yeah. The point also is that this subjective is actually valid and is interesting and is important in and of itself. The subjective component to something, even though we’re used to in a modern scientific context that the scientific method is specifically designed in order to control for and to remove the subjective component of things as much as possible in an attempt to establish what is a sort of consensus reality of what phenomena is actually occurring objectively outside of the field of the observer, astrology and blending both of those worlds shows you that the subjective component of things is actually valid and is just as important in this unique and mysterious way. I think that is worth exploring.

C: Yeah, totally.

S: I could talk about the scientific revolution forever but one of the biggest changes that happened with that is that we saw this digression from things that are meaningful in general and have value, and we moved more towards things that are measurable and have value. So if it can’t be measured, it can’t be gauged, it can’t be… It’s not valid, it’s not sound, it’s not reality. And it’s only recently Thomas Kuhn’s Structure of Scientific Revolutions played a really big role in starting to help academic communities, like collegiate communities, shed that lens of objectivity is the only important thing out there. But truly, when… And the subjective does have so much value because you cannot have the objective without it, right? I had somewhere to take Kuhn, it’ll come back to me.

CB: Yeah, one of the important… Going back to a much earlier thread in our conversations, one of the other important I feel like foundational principles of astrology is that the location and perspective of the observer experiencing the events matters. And that’s a principle of divination in general. But it’s something that comes into importance with astrology that you cast the chart for the location and the time and the vantage point of the person who is born at that moment. And that the arrangement of the cosmos at that moment relative to that specific location is what’s important and will give you signs or omens for something that will come in the future. But looking at things through that perspective, it’s incorporating a subjective perspective because sometimes people will say, “Well, why don’t you cast a heliocentric chart? Why aren’t you casting the birth chart for the Sun or something because the Sun is the center of the solar system?” And part of the answer is that it’s because you’re casting it for the person experiencing the phenomenon and their location in time and space and that that’s part of the equation. That’s the thing that’s most important. So I think that’s something that would be part of the cornerstone if we were trying to go back and create some of those foundational principles that are true for all astrologers. That would be a major one of them from a theoretical standpoint.

C: Yeah, and it’s just magical because it’s like we know that whatever consciousness is inserting itself, this programmed universe or whatever it is it’s going to keep a record. Even though there’s no cosmic data bank like astro.com on where you can look everything up, somehow the universe is still keeping receipts for everything and everyone that happens. And I think we all just literally co-create it by being. Just by being down here and experiencing that, it’s just all intertwined. They have to happen together. So as long as people continue to live and observe and say at this place in time this was the effect that happened down here, as above, the chart has to reflect it somehow.

S: Yeah, and the subjective element of astrology really speaks to one of its powers. Because for once, the planets are the objective things here, right? Everyone in the whole world has these planets in this position. But-

C: Yeah, we have a finite data set which, well, nowadays is maybe not so finite. But for a long time, it was. It was very much like we were given a code, structure, a program that now is just taking off.

CB: It’s still the thing. Even if there’s a subjective component, that brings us back to the objective component, which is that those planetary movements are happening objectively out there whether we’re aware of them or not. And that’s one of the interesting components is that you can see astrology working still when you study the biographies of famous people. You can see astrology operating still in their lives even if they’re not aware of it. That’s where the more objective component of astrology lies that’s interesting and provides an interesting… The other part of the more objective component in the phenomenon of it is that it’s something that is objectively occurring out there even if we’re not paying attention to it. And that’s also interesting and weird.

C: Right. So the cat is dead and alive, you know? The astrology is working. And it’s not working if you don’t know it is, but it is.

CB: Yeah, it both subjectively can have a presence in your life that you’re aware of, and it can both objectively be existing out there in ways that you don’t. For example, there’s techniques that each of us is not aware of or is not paying attention to and doesn’t know about or is not using. But those techniques, let’s say timing techniques, there’s some obscure timing technique that works really well that’s out there like sort of a clock objectively timing things in your life. And you’re not aware of it at all but it’s still out there doing something. Someone may or may not discover it at some point or know that technique but yeah, it’s just one of the ways in which astrology is out there operating objectively.

C: Yeah, and what better a system to have created if you were the creator than that? Because we can still divine with bones like we were talking about, you know? You can still get symbolic truth. But there’s something about that that’s not on par with any other system really.

CB: Yeah. Well, that’s actually really important because it’s that that I think makes astrology unique. Because there’s a question about is astrology divination or is it not divination? And in most ancient forms of divination, they’re based on using chance-like phenomenon or the principle of fortune, which is random and chaotic and indeterminant, and then taking a snapshot in a moment of time like rolling some dice or you shuffle the tarot cards or you throw the coins for I Ching or what have you. And the random or chance-like phenomenon at that moment, especially if you have an important inquiry or a question at that moment, the time and space collapse at that moment. And that chance-like phenomenon, actually even though it should be random and meaningless, actually will provide you with an answer that is the opposite of that that is actually purposeful and is meaningful in some way at that point in time. But it has to be based on randomness. It has to be all the different forms of divination are the same in that they take that random or chance-like phenomenon and somehow harness it in order to be able to tell you something about the future. Astrology is kind of like that in that the chart is rotating and there’s this random moment that’s outside of anybody’s control in terms of the moment of birth, and I think that is the chance-like element of astrology. But then there’s also this other objective phenomenon where the moment you’re born, all of the planetary movements and periods that will occur for the entirety of your life are decided and are predictable and fixed. So you get this weird… That’s one of the things that makes astrology unique as a form of divination and unlike other forms of divination, is it has both that subjective chance-like characteristic as well as an objective one.

S: So, were you saying that the birth could be compared to the throwing of the coins? Is that the idea that you were getting at? That that moment is when the random action happens.

CB: Yeah, because it’s like we’re all used to, with Horary astrology, seeing that is really easy for us to conceptualize as a parallel to the tarot cards or the I Ching, because the Horary moment is when you ask the question to the astrologer and they cast a chart and the chart for that round a moment in time will mysteriously reflect both the question as well as the outcome or the answer. That one’s easier for us to conceptualize as a form of divination because it’s sort of similar in that you’re taking wherever the planets are placed, which seems random at that moment that you ask the question, and then generating the chart and the chart itself will actually produce meaningful answers at that time. But the birth chart I think the way they conceptualized in the ancient world was similar in that, especially back then, the moment of birth is out of anybody’s control. It’s something that just happens at some specific point when you’re born and the randomness of that moment is the chance-like element of the divination, and that that’s that part of that component or that component of it.

C: Yeah, it makes me… Again, I guess a lot of my personal philosophy is a sort of meld with different studies I’ve done in quantum mechanics and quantum physics. Because it just makes me think about that observation state, which is when scientists are tracking the movement of tiny particles, essentially what they’re doing is they’re just taking snapshots over and over and over again and they can over time build up a predictive model of where they think they’ll be able to observe something. They know within a range of space and time, they could find it here. And that’s like the wave function, it’s like the full potential well for where it could manifest. Then there’s that instant that they observe it and they find it somewhere in that wave function and it collapses. And so I think that birth is in the same way where there’s going to be this wave function potential or a window of time where you can expect to get some kind of outcome. And then it just comes down to the exact timing of how that’s decided, probably by an intelligence maybe greater than ourselves, maybe it’s a part of our higher self or whatever you want to call it– the daimon. Maybe there’s some management that they have in it being able to maybe tweak or specify the birth second or whatever and we don’t know. But yeah, I guess it just makes me think about how it’s… And until we observe it as a particle, it’s a wave. We observe it as a non-localized range of space and of energy and so there’s just a continual interchange. And that’s what E=mc2 really is, it’s like you can have energy in motion and it’s like that combination of movement and physical matter. It’s kind of like turning a shirt inside out and back out. It’s like this Klein bottle or a weird multi-dimensional thing that’s just flowing in and out of what we can even understand. That makes probably no sense, I don’t even know what I’m saying. [laughs]

CB: Yeah, but that’s why I subtitled my book Hellenistic Astrology: The Study of Fate and Fortune. And I didn’t really get a chance to… I ran out of time and space to explain the fortune component, but just that some of the ancient astrologers viewed fortune as subservient to fate in a way and that fortune in some ways was helping to do the work of fate but through this chaotic or this random-seeming chance-like events, but that were ultimately deliberate and purposeful even though they seemed random on the surface.

C: Yeah, but doesn’t Valens say fortune and hope are both kind of like mistresses for fate? Am I saying that right? He talks about how– and I guess maybe that fortune is like that observation and that hope is like that wave function where we’d like things to be in life or where we’d like to find something. And then some outcome has to manifest and it will be somewhere within that range of what we can expect or predict based off of the astrology that we’re practicing and observing.

CB: Yeah. He also kind of says that fortune and hope are distractions or are things that can lead you astray because they can have you wanting something that’s not possible. But that part of the purpose of astrology, at least for him in this more stoic mindset, was learning about the future so that you know what you have to accept about the future and that you can prepare yourself for it ahead of time so that you’re not thrown off internally but instead can adopt an internal sense of tranquility no matter what types of events happen. That was part of the mindset at the time, which then brings up something you were kind of just talking about or something we could go into, which is that issue of the astrologer making predictions, and what happens when you come up an event in your own life and something’s about to happen and you can see it with the astrology, and what role your ability to see that as an astrologer has. Because I think one of the things that we’re not used to dealing with is that tied in with the prediction and the outcome is the fact that you’re an astrologer and you’re aware of it, and sometimes your knowledge of things actually influences events in the future in a really striking way.

S: Something that has really helped me because I’m trying to be better about not attempting to control things that I can’t is setting up positive things for me to remember and reflect on during dark times. If I know this is a good period of time and I’m having lots of fun with friends, take videos, take pictures, and look back at them during that dark time. It’s just a little thing but it’s something you can do ahead of time rather than once you’re in the darkness of any given moment. Just set yourself up for an internal positive experience regardless of what’s happening around. It’s like bettering emotional habits and stuff like that. But I found a tremendous amount of value in being able to look on my calendar and be like, “Okay, this day things are gonna change.” You know? And I still do find a lot of value in knowing when things are going to be better or worse. Yeah, I feel like that’s half of… That’s the whole point, right? [chuckles]

C: Yeah. Well, it’s hard because like you say, we kind of have an influence on it when we observe it for ourselves. And I do believe just in my own spiritual perspective that as much as we have to question that balance between what is predetermined and what is of our creation in our life, I think at the bottom line something we can say everyone can agree on as astrologers is that no matter what happens, the astrology is going to reflect it. Right? So it’s like no matter what option you choose in any present moment, somehow there’s going to be a compulsion or necessity to move in one direction. And I think it’s that kind of more liminal space of being aware of what your transits are or what your Time Lords are doing that invite the opportunity to work with that energy because you know you have to experience it. And I think that also could circle us back to why remediational practices are so powerful because– I forget who said that quote, some famous name, but it was like, “Failing to prepare is preparing to fail.” And I think with hard transits, it’s like, yes, there is an extent to which there are really challenging circumstances in people’s lives that are not necessarily always surmountable or not necessarily that we can take control of in our own two hands. But I think going back to what Valens’ perspective is, it’s just knowing that you have to endure that kind of inner strength and building that resilience up can do, in some ways, more on a spiritual level than just letting the mind obsess and fly around about dealing with some difficult situation when, like you said, there are things we just can’t control and we have to submit to that.

CB: Yeah, I think that’s something each astrologer has to learn during the course of their career or their studies of astrology is that can be definitely a pitfall of how not to obsess when you have difficult transits coming up, or how to deal with that especially when dealing with the more predictive forms of astrology that are a little bit more concrete or clear about which periods are going to be difficult or easy, and what do you do when you have a really difficult period coming up. That’s still something I’ve explored myself in terms of how to deal with that and what your actions are in gauging your reactions, and what’s healthy or helpful versus what’s not.

S: Yeah. My personal standpoint, I was into Stoicism for a little while and I was like, “I think maybe this might be a path that I want to walk down.” And then I was like, “Actually, you know what? You should be able to revel in joy and suffer in pain. And that’s okay. That’s what happens, that’s what life is about, that is part of the human experience, and trying to stifle that is not healthy, at least for me.” And so knowing that you have fun that’s coming to the end, you get the five-minute warning at the skate rink or whatever, you can tell that the movie is ending or whatever you want to give it… Really just taking some time to reflect on how this positive era has prepared you for what may be coming and also recognizing… You can usually start to see some of the threads emerging with more challenges. Like, usually before it happens, you can kind of pick up on it. Making preparations around that specific area of life doesn’t always help either. So, fostering positivity independent of any potential negative experience that you may be having in the future. Keeping those separate.

CB: I like that analogy of the five-minute warning that the skating rink is about to close because that’s an interesting experience in and of itself. When you’re nearing the end of a positive period as an astrologer and seeing that and recognizing something closing down or ending in your life and reflecting on that is kind of interesting.

C: Yeah, there’s a lot of catharsis from that and I think that’s where a lot of the healing comes in in terms of the counseling space of an astrology reading for people. I mean, it depends on what someone’s going through but whether that is more like reflective work on seeing how their life has kind of come together and led them to where they are or if it’s just about talking about the last two months and what’s changed, it’s like that space and time for reflection is that perspective that allows for the door to close and for it to be a separate place in time and in your mind. But I think astrologically observing that and trying to track or understand how that can be predicted or what cycles work behind that, that’s where there’s this game that we kind of learn as astrologers over time and not having to be so overwhelmed by what you’re looking at that you’re making things confusing for yourself. Because I think it’s honestly very… I think it’s usually very simple. Astrology, if it works well like it should, it should do what it does in a way that doesn’t need to be so complex or take so much time. And I think that’s the beauty of some predictive forms of astrology in the sense that you can get reassurance on the general energy for any period of time pretty specifically. That’s also puzzling because, again, it brings us back to, “Well, how can that be?” But we know it is.

CB: Yeah, that’s a good point because I’ve found that repeatedly in my experience. I’ve never stopped being a little amazed by that, as how simple sometimes the correlation of a transit or a Time Lord period can be so much more simple that it catches you off guard in its simplicity and its elegance. Like my experience of there was a Mercury retrograde in my fourth house and I just had this internal compulsion to go back to where I grew up and the house that I lived in earlier in my life. And I didn’t think about that transit going into it. It was only as I was winding down and heading back and heading home from it that I had this moment of reflection of like, “Oh, Mercury’s retrograde right now in my fourth house.” Because sometimes as an astrologer, you think of the more elaborate or a major event that would be more… You’re anticipating something more complex. But actually, sometimes the way that both natal chart placements as well as transits and other timing techniques play out is sometimes subtler than you think it’s going to be. And I think people often then overlook it because it’s more subtle or because it’s something they’re taking for granted that isn’t standing out for them. But sometimes if you articulate it to somebody else and you’re talking to somebody else about it, they’re able to tell you or to mirror that back to you and show you how that’s actually a unique experience that not everybody is experiencing either in their life in general or at that point in time. And in some ways, that’s the value of an astrological consultation, is getting that external mirroring back to you from an individual who’s objectively outside of you.

C: Yeah. I feel like that’s that Pisces state where it’s kind of the end of the cycle and there’s this brief breath of like, “Okay, the next thing is about to start. I can see the whole journey from how it’s unfolded.” Even in the day cycle, to me, Pisces is like that deep dreaming state before you’re gonna wake up the next day. And it’s kind of like that is where we… You know, we do have access to so many and so much internal wisdom or inspiration or memory or kind of weird… It’s like deja vu. The way all of our consciousness is kind of flowing is like when we make time and space to do that for our lives and you don’t need astrology for that, you can just journal and reflect on your life. But astrology, again, it’s awesome because it’s mapped out and we can talk about it and be scientific about it. But also, you know, come back to mixing the art and judgment because they both play with each other too.

S: Personally, I had a… I knew I was going to be injured when it was coming up. I knew it was going to happen last year. I had timed it, I had the week roughly estimated, and I was eternally grateful for that that I had the time to prepare. But there’s some things that you can’t prepare for. Also, sometimes you prepare and prepare and prepare and to no avail.

C: And that’s the lesson sometimes that you can’t be prepared for everything in life. Especially even as astrologers, I feel like I’m bamboozled all the time by the universe. We wouldn’t keep learning if we weren’t, right?

S: Yeah, exactly. And so keeping that cognitive flexibility towards your personal delineations is really important because sure, you may think, “Oh, Mercury retrograde in the fourth house, maybe I’m going to reorganize my bookshelves.” And that might happen or you might end up visiting your childhood home as you were saying. So yeah, just maintaining that flexibility and open-mindedness is really important too.

CB: Yeah, I think that’s actually where freedom lies in astrology. And I’ve thought this for a while that even if astrology was completely deterministic if everything was completely predetermined in a person’s life, with astrology there’s too many possible manifestations of any one placement or transit or Time Lord period or what have you. There’s multiple different ways in which that can manifest because astrology is archetypally predictive, so that you can never be certain until you actually experience the event or the particular manifestation or the exact manifestation, even if you get really close and even if your prediction ends up being super close to what actually manifests, there’s still going to be something about it that’s slightly different than what you expected because you can’t always get all the particulars, you can only get the rough outlines of it. And so that may be, even in a completely deterministic mindset if someone were to adopt to that, that would be where freedom lies, is that you still have to probably push for and attempt to manifest the most positive or optimistic scenario possible and hope that it’s that version of that, even if it’s a bad transit or what have you, because you never know for sure 100% until you’re there.

C: Yeah. And to me, again, it’s like it goes back to that analogy. Like, that’s your wave function right there. Your optimization of getting precision is lessened the bigger your wave function is. So if you’re using all these techniques and throwing everything onto it, your range of possibility for accuracy in the prediction is actually going down. And this goes back to I think what we were saying earlier about the simplicity and beauty of transits, right? That’s the foundation. When you keep it simple, the prediction is very accurate. The symbolic systems are awesome. They all do work in their own different ways. And some people are gonna resonate with some techniques more than others, but transits I think are a great reminder that it is simple, it is a language to an extent, and the more that we want to throw onto it, we can discover more. But also, the more we kind of simplify that wave function and throw our potential for error down, we just increase the accuracy in the prediction.

CB: Yeah, transits are still the most important timing technique for me and I think is the master timing technique of astrology because that’s the one that is connecting real-time events as they’re happening with the movements of the planets in the sky at that same time. And you don’t have to accept any other philosophical premises or symbolic things like directions which get increasingly more abstract or more wild in terms of their symbolic assumptions that they’re making, whether it’s a day for a year or whether you’re stacking planetary periods on top of each other or whatever, but with transits it’s just like, “Did this event coincide with this transit?” And you can objectively say whether or not something happened that matched that symbolically or not.

S: Transits are also really important because it’s another way to measure time, right? You know, “Oh my gosh, it’s been a whole Jupiter square! I’ve changed so much since this has happened.” Whereas sometimes you might have a tendency to just go through and let everything pass you by. So yeah, it’s a good reminder to slow down also. Yeah.

C: Well, I think it’s cool too because it makes me think of how astrology is a language… It’s the coolest language because it’s space and time. Like in the ancient system of liberal arts, you had the quadrivium which was a set of four different subjects that they would teach students over years. You begin with arithmetic, which is just basic mathematics, and then you learn geometry and this way we can construct the same numbers and ratios in space. You learn music theory, which is harmony and kind of like how that progression happens over time. But then the fourth and final one was astronomy or astrology, which is really kind of this cumulative synthesis of it. It’s space and it’s time and it’s like in one unit, you can just say “Saturn” and you’re describing so many different things at once. I think that’s why to pinpoint on transits can be so archetypally powerful because you’re not straying from the archetype in terms of what it’s programmed to do. You’re not making any assumptions, you’re not jumping to any conclusions. It’s just like, “Yeah, Saturn return,” or “Aries rising” or whatever you want to say. Yeah, you’re gonna be able to say very specific things about that.

CB: Yeah. Well, it’s one of the really concretely empirical areas of astrology where you can either look forward into the future or look back into your past and say what happened during this time period when this transit was occurring, and then connect it with an event that did or did not happen and learn something from it. And I think that empirical component is really important.

C: Definitely.

CB: And then tying in what you were saying about space and time, I’m actually really excited for when… periodically in the history of astrology there’s some person that comes forward that’s like an astrologer and also like a scientist who tries to connect astrology with whatever the prevailing scientific paradigm is at the time. Ptolemy was one of those people in the second century where he tried to connect– because he was a polymath and he was writing all these works on many different areas of science and knowledge. And one of them that he wrote on was astrology and he tried to situate astrology within the context of the scientific paradigm of how they thought the universe worked at the time. And that worked for many centuries in terms of what their view of the universe was. There’s going to be somebody that comes along again at some point that tries to do that in terms of whatever the current scientific paradigm is and I’ll be really interested to see what that looks like or what that synthesis is. It may only be temporary because it may be something where, again like Ptolemy centuries later or 1000 years or 2000 years, we find out new things about how the universe works that invalidates or supersedes the old model. But at least for a period of time, it’ll probably look pretty compelling and will connect astrology with some of the current scientific trends that have developed over the past century like Einstein’s work on relativity or other things like that.

C: Yeah, it’s a big age we’re headed into, and yeah. If 2020 did anything for the world, it was definitely starting a new intellectual renaissance in terms of how all these fields of knowledge are about to start mingling and expanding and the rise of artificial intelligence and just what that’s about to do to really turn our world around is going to be really exciting to see unfold over the next few years and decades.

S: Also, we are only one field of knowledge. Right? And within astrology, there’s so many different fields. Right now, we’re at this kind of awkward stage in scientific progress. This is what I was gonna say earlier about Kuhn, I’m so glad we came back here. We are at this awkward stage where even the things that we think we know with certainty, we’re having a difficult time putting the puzzle pieces together with what we thought we knew in the past and this new information that’s coming into us. And so over the last 30 years, we haven’t had a really powerful consensus in terms of quantum mechanics, for example because there’s so many holes in things and that’s leading us to– And space in its entirety. We’re needing to start to reevaluate some different things with matter and all of these givens and what was just accepted as true. So once the scientific community maybe gets a grip on what’s going on there, I feel like we might have a hard time jumping in before they’ve settled into a consensus. But astrology, also, I feel like is going through this sort of revolution where we had… The tradition was suddenly almost uprooted and we were like, “Hey, this astrology goes back several thousand years. And it continued and remained constant for thousands of years, actually, until this one person in the last 100 years said this one thing and then it was changed.” And so finding how to reintegrate what we think we know about the modern astrological world and modern astrological techniques and unionize that with the tradition and the history of astrology and some of the different concepts both metaphysical and technical, all of that I feel we will probably need a little help settling that down before we can integrate into the whole world.

C: Yeah, I think AI is going to be a big part of that because as we are approaching the singularity, which is sort of this consciousness-shattering event for humans where artificial intelligence is going to become essentially stronger theoretically– I guess more capable and more powerful, whatever you want to call it– that we’re also approaching an astrological singularity in terms of the ability for technology to start not just tracking astrology and confirming it in its own system, but this question of where as a human lineage and tradition we’re creating new astrology. Where is the… You know, how do we define what consciousness is within artificial intelligence? And how is its own consciousness evolution, just like humanity’s, kind of accelerating in terms of the way that it could one day begin to discover things about advancements in quantum mechanics or whatever and making some stupid new Time Lord system that is going to work better than all the others or whatever it is? It’s like we’re also interfacing that merger of, you know, science has these fractal parts that are coming together and so does the astrology community. And these are coming together and this is all this human knowledge that’s merging with AI! It’s just too early to really see how it’s going to unfold but it’s a big process of yoga, a union that’s brewing.

S: And understandably, a lot of astrologers have reserves with AI in astrology and the digital world. But whether you like it or not, our field is going to have to adapt if we want to bring it forward with us in the next 500 years.

CB: Yeah, that’s what I said on the AI episode recently. It was just whether you like what’s happening with AI or not, it’s going to be one of those things like the internet was in the ’90s and there were some astrologers that adapted and learned how to use those tools to accentuate or to enhance things they were already doing with astrology and there are others that kind of didn’t. But the ones that adapt tend to be the ones that thrive more. And historically, astrologers do tend to be early adopters of new technology so I think astrologers will do okay but I think it’s the choice that some people will have, and that will see people go in different directions during the course of the next few decades not just with that but also other emerging technologies I’m sure in the not-too-distant future as well. But I think one of the things in the past 30 years that happened that was… The thing that was most important about the traditional revival is rediscovering the theoretical principles of astrology that astrologers have been taking for granted, especially in terms of some of the technical principles and the technical construct of Western astrology. I think it was the rediscovery of the rationale for some of those things that had been lost or wasn’t clearly understood. That’s the most striking thing to me that I think has happened in the past 30 years and I’ve been reflecting on that a lot lately being surprised in what a, at least relatively, short span of time that astrologers have discovered all these things about the system that astrologers have been using for the past 2000 years and where it came from and how it came together. There was another discovery recently about the exaltations that I’m looking forward to announcing soon that gets another step closer towards reconstructing where those came from and what the basis was for that and how it integrates into the other techniques. I’m just continually astonished by how a lot of this has been discovered over a relatively short span of time in just the past few decades.

S: Yeah, the ‘whys’ of things are so crucial, right? And I don’t know, just kind of tying that back to our earlier conversation is it’s almost foreign to me to imagine a world with astrology without an answer to why. Like, why is this diurnal and this nocturnal? What is diurnal and nocturnal? I mean, sect was reintroduced. So yeah, that whole process. “Why is the Zodiac in this order?” “Couldn’t tell yet.” That’s crazy. There’s so much value in the idea that we’re going to be able to have answers to not only questions but things that we didn’t know we needed answers to. That’s incredible.

C: Yeah, it’s all those technical foundations that are going to allow for more things to flourish in terms of… You know, it’s like however solid your foundation is, this is how big the house can be. So it’s just gonna allow, with more reconstruction, it’s like yeah, the roots are growing and the branches are just growing higher. It’s really cool to be a part of that process so I think we’re both very lucky to be.

CB: Yeah, that’s a good analogy of a foundation because then you’re building the foundation now that then we’ll be able to build more structures upon or higher structures upon in the future now that we’ve gone back and shored up the foundations of Western astrology.

C: Yeah, absolutely.

CB: Yeah. All right, I’m trying to think if there’s any other topics we meant to touch on or anything we meant to discuss because I think we’ve been talking for a couple of hours now, which is a short podcast. I don’t know about you guys and how you do it in terms of your podcast, but I tend to go a little long. I don’t know if you’re aware of that.

S: I never knew. I have no idea where we even are right now. [laughter]

CB: All right, guys. Well, yeah, I will not subject you to that because you’ve been such gracious guests who have come here to visit me in the studio. I will not subject you to a five or seven or 10-hour podcast.

C: That’s okay. I think we’d both be happy to stay and talk, honestly.

S: Yeah, truly. If you want to cut it here, we can. If you want to take a break, we totally can do that. We’ve had some really long episodes too. This is how we are all the time. This is what we… We just talk like this. [crosstalk] We’re in the car and we’re like, “So what do you think about the fact that…?” Yeah, whatever.

CB: Yeah. Well, tell me about your podcast a little bit about it.

S: Yeah. We’re students of astrology, the eternal students just looking to host a study group kind of a deal. Right? We try not to get too formal, we don’t always manage to do that. We like to keep a conversational tone.

C: Yeah, I think we just try to keep what could normally be maybe dry or bland or technical and just kind of insert more life into it. That’s really… in our name is Mercury-Uranus, it’s like we’re kind of trying to blend ancient and modern perspectives in practice and just talk about the ways we’re exploring that and finding that come up in our research and our lives.

S: Yeah. And like with ancient texts like this current Rhetorius project that we’re doing right now, this is an idea that we want to carry forward into the future. And as somebody who tried picking up Abu Ma’shar two years ago and crawled into a hole and was like, “I feel like I can’t read!” I would have loved to come across a podcast of somebody being like, “So this author said this really crazy wordy sentence, but if you just reword it, it makes this much more sense.” And so we’re just trying to offer maybe a little hand in places where there might not be as much aid like understanding ancient texts.

CB: Nice. And recently you’ve been reading through Rhetorius as part of your episodes or series?

C: Yeah, we got the awesome greenlight from the AFA to, you know–

S: Shoutout to them also for letting us do this great project. So cool!

C: Yeah. We’ve just been going through from the initial chapters and throwing some of the techniques he’s adding onto the same chart and kind of synthesizing his approach. Because I think one of the great strengths with Rhetorius is like you mentioned earlier, a passage where he’s talking about synthesizing timing techniques and other passages where he’s talking about how you synthesize reading a natal chart. That’s lacking in a lot of other authors in a way that Rhetorius is really clear and explicit about using a lot of different methods, which is overwhelming and not really reasonable in many cases to throw all of that at a chart. But, you know, we’re talking about what it was they said that they would practice or observe or look at in a chart, and we’re just seeing how we can apply it. Yeah.

S: Yeah, and sometimes re-imagining different things like, “Okay…” Like, spear-bearing was a recent episode that we did. It was a technique that was reserved for elites pretty much. Unless you met every single check and you checked off every single item on this list, you would not have it. But the different lists that are given for what’s needed vary from author to author. So what are those core principles that we see being repeated in different places? And how can you apply that to delineation as a whole, rather than just saying, “Oh, nobody has an angular exalted planet. Even though you have two angular planets, nothing good could ever come of this?” So, yeah.

C: And that’s a good example because that technique, like you said, is very specific for offering protection or indication for eminence or whatever. But everyone is kind of protected in their own way in their community or in their family, you know? And it’s that thinking that we apply to a lot of those techniques in terms of how can this sound like a really bland, binary ancient way of talking about someone’s life or someone’s experience. And how can we encapsulate that into a more lived and embodied experience of what that astrology is alluding to?

S: Yeah, we use current dialects rather than historical.

CB: Yeah, that’s really important. That process of adapting the astrological tradition to modern times and to whatever the contemporary society is like is a process that I think different astrologers in different eras always go through and it’s one that’s kind of important now as society is growing and changing and yeah, how to make some of this material relatable in a modern context.

C: Yeah, totally.

CB: Cool. All right. So, where do you release the podcast or how can people find it?

C: You can find it on YouTube at the Mercuranians.

S: That’s m e r c u r a n i a n s.

C: A little bit longer but the archetype serves. So, yeah. It’s also on Spotify.

S: Yeah, so season one we have on pretty much everything; Spotify, Apple Music, YouTube, Anchor… I feel like something else also that’s out there.

C: But season two of Rhetorius we’re just live streaming on YouTube.

S: Yeah. And if you catch us live, we will absolutely respond to your comments. We are there involved with the audience so yeah, tune in.

CB: Nice. All right. Well, I’ll put a link to it in the description below this video on YouTube or on the podcast website for this episode and to where people can find out more information about you. And you’re both also on social media, right?

C: Yeah.

CB: Do you have individual URLs or handles?

C: Yeah. So I’m Cameron or @omegastrology on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook. Yeah.

S: And I’m @stellarstrology, s t e l l a r a s t r o l o g y. However you spell astrology? [laughs] Yeah, I’m there on Twitter mostly. I’ve been kind of detoxed from the digital world lately and that was part of my Mercury retrograde return, thankfully. But I’m around. I’m around enough to say hi and I love to talk to people online. I genuinely enjoy having conversations with them. Sometimes we’re in Twitter Spaces, too. Twitter Spaces are so fun with astrologers.

C: It’s like a virtual Zoom hangout, basically, if you don’t know.

S: But it’s so casual, too. It’s really nice. So yeah, catch us online. Thank you so much for hosting us, Chris. It’s really been a pleasure.

CB: Yeah, I’m glad this worked out. I’m glad we could do it and that it lined up with the synchronicity in terms of Mercury conjunct Uranus today and it being kind of a chance thing. But I’m glad we did it, so thanks for joining me.

C: Yeah. Thank you so much, Chris.

CB: All right. Well, thanks everyone for watching or listening to this episode of The Astrology Podcast and we’ll see you again next time.

A special thanks to all the patrons that helped to support the production of this episode of the podcast through our page on patreon.com. In particular, shoutout to the patrons on our Producers tier, including Thomas Miller, Catherine Conroy, Kristi Moe, Ariana Amour, Mandi Rae, Angelic Nambo, Issa Sabah, Jake Otero, Mimi Stargazer, and Jeanne Marie Kaplan. If you appreciate the work I’m doing here on the podcast and you’d like to find a way to support it, then please consider becoming a patron through our page on patreon.com. In exchange, you can get access to bonus content that’s only available to patrons of the podcast, such as early access to new episodes, the ability to attend the live recording of the monthly forecast episodes, our monthly Auspicious Elections Podcast or another exclusive podcast series called The Casual Astrology Podcast, or you can even get your name listed in the credits at the end of each episode. For more information visit patreon.com/astrologypodcast.

If you’re looking to get an astrological consultation, we have a list of recommended astrologers at theastrologypodcast.com/consultations. The astrologers on the list are friends of the podcast that have been featured in different episodes over the years, and they have different specialties such as natal astrology, electional astrology, synastry, rectification, or horary astrology. You can get a 10% discount when you book a consultation with one of the astrologers on our list by using the promo code ASTROLOGYPODCAST.

The astrology software that we use and recommend here on the podcast is called Solar Fire for Windows, which is available for the PC at Alabe.com. Use the promo code AP15 to get a 15% discount. For Mac users, we recommend a software program called Astro Gold for Mac OS, which is from the creators of Solar Fire for PC and it includes both modern and traditional techniques. You can find out more information at astrogold.io, and you can use the promo code ASTROPODCAST15 to get a 15% discount.

If you’d like to learn more about my approach to astrology, then I’d recommend checking out my book titled Hellenistic Astrology: The Study of Fate and Fortune where I go over the history, philosophy, and techniques of ancient astrology, taking people from beginner up through intermediate and advanced techniques for reading birth charts. You can get a print copy of the book through Amazon or other online retailers, or there’s an ebook version available through Google Books.

If you’re really looking to expand your studies of astrology then I would recommend my Hellenistic astrology course, which is an online course on ancient astrology where I take people through basic concepts up through intermediate and advanced techniques for reading birth charts. There’s over 100 hours of video lectures as well as guided readings of ancient texts, and by the time you finish the course, you will have a strong foundation on how to read birth charts as well as make predictions. You can find out more information at courses.theastrologyschool.com.

And finally, thanks to our sponsors, including The Mountain Astrologer Magazine, which is a quarterly astrology magazine which you can read in print or online at mountainastrologer.com.