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Ep. 59 Transcript: Misconceptions About Older Forms of Astrology

The Astrology Podcast

Transcript of Episode 59, titled:

Misconceptions About Older Forms of Astrology

With Chris Brennan and Leisa Schaim

Episode originally released on December, 30th 2015


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 January 7th, 2021

Copyright © 2021 TheAstrologyPodcast.com

CHRIS BRENNAN: Hi, my name is Chris Brennan and you’re listening to the Astrology Podcast. Today is Wednesday– Is it Wednesday?


 CB: All right. Today is Wednesday December, 30th 2015 at 1:36 pm in Denver, Colorado, and this is the 39th episode of the show. The primary topic, we’re going to deal with a few topics today, but the primary topic will be Misconceptions about Older Forms of Astrology. If you’d like to subscribe to the show, you can find out more information at theastrologypodcast.com/subscribe. Today I’m going to be talking with astrologer Leisa Schaim. Leisa, welcome back to the show.

 LS: Thanks for having me.

 CB: All right, so let’s see. Our topic today– Actually, I guess I should say before we get into that, I have one announcement that my course on Hellenistic Astrology, my online course on Hellenistic Astrology, I’ve finished a two-year process of revising and expanding it and I’m raising the price on it by about $100 starting on January 1st. But anybody who signs up for it before January 1st will get access to the full course, but for $100 less than you’ll pay after that point. There’s still a ridiculous amount of information and it’s still hugely underpriced, but anybody that wants to sign up now you still have a little bit of time until the 1st. With that announcement out of the way, let’s get into our main topic. This episode is kind of unique because what’s happening is I’m actually taking the next few months off from doing astrological consultations in order to finish writing a book on Hellenistic Astrology or on Ancient Astrology in general, and I’ve been thinking for a while. I wanted to keep the podcast going during that time but because I’m going to be so focused on writing, I wanted to do at least an episode each month over the next few months where I do a series talking about, and checking in on what some of the main topics are that I’m writing about at the time, and some of the issues that I’m trying to iron out during the process of writing the book.

 So this is going to be the first episode of a series on me writing what I hope will eventually become a successful book on Ancient Astrology and indeed will be one of the first books, or one of the early books on this specific form of astrology that’s only been recovered in the past 20 years. We’re going to talk a little bit at the beginning about some things that I’m working on right now and some things that I’m wrestling with and then after that, we’re going to get into our main topic which is Misconceptions and Preconceptions about Traditional or Ancient Astrology, and Hellenistic Astrology in particular, but things that are more broadly applicable. And I thought you would be a good person to talk to, Leisa, because you had that shift from being into and being solely having a background in modern astrology to having a background in traditional astrology relatively recently, maybe about how long was it? Was it seven or eight years ago?

 LS: Yeah, exactly.

 CB: Since that happened more recently for you, for me it happened about, I guess, 10 years ago. So starting in December of 2004, which is actually not 10 years ago, that’s 11 years ago now. It’s a little bit more distant. I still remember some of the things that were misconceptions or preconceptions or things that made me think that there wasn’t any value in studying older forms of astrology that I learned during a very quick span of time were not correct. I think your process with that was a little bit more gradual, but it’ll be interesting to compare and contrast the two. The reason I’m bringing this up is because this is actually a topic that I’m trying to address, or I’m thinking about addressing a little bit in the introduction to the book, which is…in the introduction, I’m making the pitch for what the book is about but also why it’s appropriate or why it should be appealing to contemporary astrologers because that’s who my primary audience is, you know, modern day people in the 21st century that are using astrology obviously, that think that it’s a valid phenomenon and that is practicing it and that they want to learn something new about it from a technical perspective especially, but also potentially from a historical or philosophical perspective. In the introduction, one of the things that I’m potentially addressing as a series of questions of, what are some common objections that people have to older forms of astrology or some common preconceptions about it, and what are some answers to those in order to clarify why oftentimes those are misconceptions about older forms of astrology. We’ll get into those later in the show.

 All right, so things that I’m working on right now in the book since this is kind of the journal, this is my living journal of writing this book right now, and I think it’ll be interesting as I’m writing it, certainly, but also once it’s finished to see how I was thinking about and conceptualizing some of the issues that I was running into at that time. But right now I’m working on the history chapters and eventually transitioning into the philosophy chapter shortly after that. This episode is primarily going to deal with those topics on the history and philosophy of ancient astrology and some of the stuff that I’m running into there. In future episodes, I’ll talk more about the techniques and some of the specific technical issues that I’m trying to iron out.

 This book– Maybe I should give a little bit of background since it’s the first time that I’ve done one of these episodes and this is sort of the start of this series– I’ve been working on this book for a ridiculous amount of time. I think I started the very first draft on an election in September of 2006. So we’re talking about nine, going on 10 years here that I’ve been working on this book on Hellenistic Astrology. And one of the issues that I really ran into especially by 2008-2009 is I knew a lot because I spent two years studying at a translation project for ancient astrological texts from 2005 to 2007. I knew a lot about– and had pretty much committed to memory and had literally memorized every translation of ancient astrological texts that were available, and I was familiar with most of the literature on the subject. I was familiar with the techniques so that I felt like I could write a book at that point about just the techniques of ancient astrology. But then the issue that I ran into at that point around 2008 or so, 2008-2009 is I realized that I needed to know more about the history and the philosophy and the broader societal context in which this astrology was developed and practiced in the ancient world, and then I was going to have to do a lot of additional work in order to give myself the type of background that I felt like I needed in order to talk about all of that more authoritatively so that I could not just talk about the techniques of ancient astrology and how it worked, but I could also talk about some of the philosophical concepts that are motivating it, or I could talk about the historical context in which astrology was developed and things like that that I think provide important information about where the astrology comes from and the context in which it was being practiced.

 So I spent most of the past decade, basically, trying to familiarize myself not just with practicing the techniques and getting an acquaintance with how they work, but also with trying to understand western history better and understand the history of western philosophy better. That ended up leading to numerous delays and numerous announcements that I was going to focus on the book and then it not happening, and all sorts of things which you’ve sort of had firsthand witness to, I think, Leisa.

 LS: Yeah, it’s definitely been a long very comprehensive process.

 CB: Sure. That’s something where I finally I feel like I’m coming to a point where I feel comfortable and I feel like– I’m not going to pretend as if I’ve mastered the ancient history and ancient philosophy at this point because that’s certainly not the case, but I have studied enough of all of the different fields that are relevant to Hellenistic Astrology and to this type of astrology that I feel like I can write about it in an authoritative manner or in a manner that is sufficient to give a comprehensive overview of the subject, or at least a relatively comprehensive introduction to the subject. Which is what I’m trying to do with the book. Interestingly, one of the issues that I ran into right away or that I’m thinking about right now is even just the designation of the type of astrology I’m writing about that I’m wrestling with, which is that it’s usually referred to as Hellenistic Astrology. This is derived from the historical period that starts in the fourth century B.C. Let’s say circa, let’s say the last quarter of the fourth century B.C. Let’s say 325 B.C, starting with the conquests of Alexander the Great. Alexander the Great takes an army of Greeks and Macedonians out of Europe, storms through the Middle East, takes over Egypt, Mesopotamia, all the way through Persia to the Westernmost portions of India, and then after that he dies, but then there ends up being this several century-long or this few century-long periods after that of Greek-speaking rulers ruling over that whole area in the Mediterranean and the Middle East. From this, we get the designation Hellenistic which means influence– On the one hand, it means influenced by Greek culture. That’s part of it, the Hellenic… the notion of things being Hellenized in terms of being influenced by Greek culture, and language, art, philosophy, and things like that, but then, on the other hand, you also have it as a historical designation of a period in which there was a synthesis of a bunch of different cultures so that it’s not just Greek, but it’s the blending of Greek with Egyptian, the blending of Greek with Mesopotamian things, with Persian, and with other areas into this sort of melting pot in the Mediterranean in the ancient world. Historically, the designation is usually used to refer to a time period between the fourth-century B.C.E, and let’s say, the first century B.C, so ending around 30B.C is usually the rough time frame when the Hellenistic era is said to end according to historians.

 What happened is that some new type of astrology was developed during that time period, partially as a result of the blending of cultures that occurred, when these Greek-speaking peoples took over all of these different areas that were the areas where ancient astrology in Egypt and Mesopotamia originally developed. Then, because they were under the control of Greek-speaking rulers, the types of astrology in those different areas started to merge and blend together and create a synthesis which produced a new system. This new type of astrology emerges somewhere around the late second, or early first century B.C. We call it Hellenistic Astrology because it emerged during what’s historically referred to as the Hellenistic period, but it was actually practiced, and most of the texts that survive, survive from the following several centuries, starting from the first century C.E going through until about the sixth or seventh century C.E. When I say Hellenistic Astrology, or when astrologers use that term, they actually mean a type of astrology that was practiced from roughly somewhere around the first century B.C, until about the sixth or seventh century C.E.

 I have a bit of a conceptual problem recently, which is that I can defend that, that terminology of calling or that designation of calling it Hellenistic Astrology, on those grounds that it originated during the Hellenistic period, and that it continued to preserve some of the cultural and philosophical and cosmological or technical concepts that emerged during that period. It continued to carry on some of the same forum, but it wasn’t really practiced during what historians normally refer to as the Hellenistic periods.

 Oftentimes, the period that I’m talking about during the Roman Empire from the first century through the seventh century is often referred to more like the Greco-Roman period is what you might refer to it as. For example, Jeffrey Cornelius in his book he refers to– Uses the designation Greco-Roman Astrology at one point, which would be an accurate alternate designation instead of calling it Hellenistic Astrology. However, there’s a lot of weight at this point behind calling it Hellenistic Astrology. There are some good arguments for it, but I have been thinking about that recently and going back and forth. Does any of those designations strike you as better or worse, Leisa?

 LS: Well, no. I’m always practically oriented towards things like that. So, the fact that the name has built up a certain history at this point within the field, even if it’s not scholastically the most exact or historically, that seems to win out to me especially depending on who you’re talking about it the most with, which audiences. Which is mostly the astrological practicing community.

 CB: Right. Yeah, I guess, and that’s what’s important. The important point, ultimately, is that many times historical names or descriptors that we give to things are arbitrary, in some sense to begin with, or that they oftentimes will have these issues where they don’t completely fit everything, but you’re trying to find something that works or is broadly applicable as a designation for whatever you’re trying to name. I guess, from that perspective, I should be not too obsessed about or too concerned about the fact that this is not a perfect phrase to use in order to cover the entirety of the period. I guess, partially just because the entirety of the period can’t be covered by a single designation and since this is the designation that most people use at this point, both in the astrological and academic communities, it’s probably something that should be retained rather than just attempting to completely go against the grain, right? Anyway, but that’s an example of one of the things that I’m thinking about as I’m trying to finalize some of my thoughts on Hellenistic Astrology in this book, and some of the things that I’m trying to be very deliberate about in making certain choices, especially when it comes to terminology and designations and things like that because I realized that this book will set the standard for other people who will then adopt certain terminologies and certain ways of referring to certain things just because I’ve set up a precedent with one of the first books that dealt with that topic in modern times.

 All right, so that’s just an example of one of the historical things that I’m working on right now. There are other things that we’ll probably deal with in subsequent issues on this, or in this series on podcasts while I’m working through the book. Why don’t we get on to our main topic? Which are misconceptions and preconceptions about traditional or ancient or older forms of astrology in general? This is a good one because both of us had the experience of being– Both you and I learned astrology first in a modern context. We learned late 20th, early 21st-century contemporary modern astrology, I think, right?

 LS: Yes, it’s definitely what most people come to, not all but most when they’re first getting into astrology because it’s the most publicly accessible. It’s easy to find when you’re looking up astrology anywhere and it’s easy to think that that’s all there is even for a while although I think that’s starting to change a little bit.

 CB: Yes, and it’s interesting because I came into astrology thinking– I had certain preconceptions about what astrology would do or could do, and what I was looking for astrology to do, and then when I actually got into the astrological community and started reading books, and seeing what was available and finding astro.com and started casting charts. I found, basically, modern astrology and especially modern psychological astrology, which is one of the dominant trends in late 21st-century astrology is psychology and character analysis. That was very different than what my preconceptions of it would be. It was different, but I then adapted what I thought astrology was to fit what was available. I thought astrology was something else, but then once I discovered it, I realized this is what it is. Which is modern psychological astrology, essentially, and I adapted my perceptions of astrology to fit that for a while.

 LS: You thought it was more predictive or something before that?

 CB: Kind of. I assumed it was maybe more predictive. I had weird specific things that I was getting into it for where I was reading some new age books that were more far out there New Age stuff, and so I had some assumptions that there were specific things that astrology could say about past lives or things like that. When I got into it and what I then discovered was, essentially, modern psychological astrology of the type of Liz Greene, Howard Sasportas, and Rob Hand and stuff like that. On one hand, I realized that they weren’t really saying much about past lives, but then, on the other hand, I also really quickly realized what astrology could do and how it operated, and how that made some of the things surrounding past lives much more speculative or much more– If it even if it did, hypothetically, let’s say something about past lives, how it would be much more like the person’s not looking into a crystal ball you were definitely a prince in medieval Europe in the 12th century. They’re just looking at some themes in the chart that might say– Some brought something very broadly or archetypally.

 I think that was my biggest shift. That as well as finding that it wasn’t as predictive as I thought it would be, but it was predictive in a different way, but it was almost predictive accidentally. The fact that you could say that a person might psychologically be prone to getting angry or upset during a Mars transit on a specific day next week and therefore if they’re not careful, they could get angry and drive their car off a bridge or something like that. It was indirectly predictive via what it could say about psychological impulses or traits or things like that at different points in time. That was a thing that I had to adapt to initially when I first got into astrology, where it wasn’t quite what I was looking for, what I thought it might be, but it did still have this weird indirect way of dealing with prediction in some sense. Did you expect that it might have had any predictive thing, or what were you getting into it for?

 LS: When I first got into astrology, I don’t know that I had a lot of preconceptions other than seeing horoscope columns and things like that, but I wasn’t maybe as deliberately seeking it out as you were in the very beginning. When I did happen upon some things, I was going through some hard times, and that was my main thing. I just wanted to see if they could tell me why that was happening and probably in the back of my mind when it would stop, but mostly why it was happening. I wasn’t so much looking for anyone specific thing though, at the time, I think it was more of curiosity and looking around.

 CB: Sure, and then both of us had different– One of the things we should say, and you wanted to say this right up front, which is just that both of us went through a similar process of having our views on astrology change, as a result of being exposed to older forms of astrology and Hellenistic Astrology in particular, but one of the points that you’ve made is that a lot of our changes in perception ended up being technique-driven, right?

 LS: Yes, definitely. For me, for sure, that’s the way it works because I remember having discussions early on when I was first being exposed to any of the Hellenistic ideas or techniques and, for me, it’s not that I could just pick up one of the philosophical ideas and say, Oh, yes. Actually, that does sound persuasive now. It was more because astrology overall, even from the beginning when I learned modern astrology, it was about seeing these techniques work, even transits or progressions and so forth, or even a natal chart and seeing that match up with me or someone I knew psychologically, it was already technique-driven.

 I feel like astrology occupies this nice intermediate space in between the metaphysical area of how things work beyond the five senses, but also empirically based that’s not purely based on faith or an idea about something. For me, even the modern astrology, I learned was technique-driven, and so for me to change any of my ideas about how it worked then after I had learned that it had to be because I saw it technically working differently.

 CB: Right, so there was some technical difference in what you’re seeing that you weren’t seeing before. One of the problems with that though is that, therefore, because some of our change of perception was driven by exposure to these different techniques, and seeing how they actually worked in practice, is that therefore it’s hard to convey or hard to understand that until you’ve actually tried it. I think that becomes one of the biggest stumbling blocks to having a conversation like we’re trying to have today and how having that conversation with the public is that it’s honestly hard to realize that you have misconceptions or preconceptions about astrology and what it’s capable of or what it can do until you’ve tried out some of the other approaches to it. Because there’s going to naturally be some assumptions that you’re making about what it’s capable of that you won’t realize are maybe more negotiable or more flexible than you thought until you’ve tried another approach.

 LS: Right.

 CB: Each of us had different stories or different backgrounds in terms of how we got into Hellenistic Astrology, and both of them are funny. For me, and I think I’ve told this story before, but I was basically– As a modern astrologer, I got into astrology around 1999/2000 quickly shifted to focus primarily on modern astrology, especially psychological astrology, finished high school, and then went to Kepler College which had recently opened and was offering what was supposed to be accredited degrees and bachelor’s and master’s degrees in astrological studies, or at least with a heavy emphasis on astrology or things that are relevant to astrology. Got into Kepler– Kepler’s catalog at that point, they said that you go through the first year and the first year is entirely history, then you get to the second year and you have to do some basic technical astrology orientation courses and chart calculation courses, and then right away starting in the second of three terms in the second year, you’re supposed to be able to pick one of five specialization tracks in order to go in a specific direction with your studies, and to specialize in this specific type of astrology.

 I had always read the catalog and been under the impression that I was going to be able to then go on to the psychological astrology track, and specialize in that starting in the middle of the second year. I go through the entire first year of history and that’s pretty interesting, and it certainly raises my interest in the history of astrology. I came in late, actually, because I didn’t get out of high school until I had to finish up another term. I didn’t end up enrolling in Kepler until December of 2003, so I actually accidentally skipped the first history class, which would have been on Mesopotamian, Hellenistic, and Roman history. I came in late in the middle of medieval history, half of the year, and then went into Modern history, which I really loved. I get into the second half or the middle of the second year, and I’m ready to take the psychological track and they say, We don’t have it ready, all we have ready for you to take is this other track, which is the East/West track. On the East/West track, what they do is a continuous comparison between Indian astrology and Western astrology essentially starting with 202, which was an introduction to Hellenistic Astrology from roughly 2000 years ago, and Indian or Vedic Astrology also roughly from 2000 years ago. I was pretty pissed off, frankly, and everybody was not happy. There’s another person, I think Laura Machete was in my class and there were a few other people in our class that were pretty annoyed. I protested it and was like, “I want to take the psychological track that was what I came here to study. I have no interest in studying these older forms of astrology that are old and outdated and don’t even use outer planets or anything like that. You guys better get this other track together pretty quickly so we can take it. Otherwise, I don’t know if I’m going to stick with this.” And they’re basically like, “That’s tough. Shut up and take the course.” After some complaining I just took the course and within maybe like a week or two weeks, I was like, “This is really amazing.” I realized that I had accidentally stumbled across something very valuable, and had a lot of unexpected insights that I really wasn’t anticipating about the core principles of astrology.

 Primarily from taking the Hellenistic side, which was basically an introduction to Hellenistic Astrology with Dimitra George, who was the primary instructor of that course, and also to some extent in taking the Indian side with Dennis Harness, because one of the things that they really emphasized in that course, one of the things– They didn’t even emphasize, but one of the things that just came out naturally when you’re teaching Indian astrology next to Hellenistic astrology is how similar the two are, and how much overlap there is between the two systems. It really turns out that Western astrology if you take it back 2000 years, if you go back in time 2000 years to the type of astrology that we practice in the West today looks extremely similar to the way that Indian astrology was practiced back then, and to some extent is still practiced in certain parts of India to this day.

 Part of the reason for that as I’ve talked about on the podcast before is because of the, on the one hand, the transmission of Hellenistic astrology to India around the second century or so. That some of the techniques were being exchanged between the traditions that are leading to the similarities, but then on the other hand, because in India, they’ve had a much longer and much more stable transmission of astrology over the past 2000 years than we have in the West. Therefore, the way that their astrology in most areas is practiced today is still very similar to the way that it was practiced 2000 years ago.

 Anyway, I realized very quickly that I’d stumbled upon something very useful and very quickly, my opinions changed about it. I became very invested in investigating and re-constructing this approach to astrology from 2000 years ago, called Hellenistic astrology. I did that for a couple of years, I went to the translation project, and I studied the text directly for two and a half years, then I left and moved back home to Denver in late 2007, early 2008, and that’s when I met you, actually, Leisa, right in the spring of 2008.

 LS: Right. Yes, so we ended up meeting at a local astrology group meeting, and then subsequent to that started a local astrology group in Denver and got into a relationship. Just by being around each other a lot, I ended up hearing about Hellenistic astrology a decent bit. A funny sort of precursor to that is that Chris had come through town the year before, maybe six months before to do a talk at the other local astrology group on Hellenistic astrology, and it turns out I wasn’t able to make it because of my work schedule, but I also remember thinking at the time, Hellenistic astrology, not even fully consciously, just sort of a half-second subconscious thought of like, “Oh, that’s ancient stuff that isn’t really relevant anymore.” That was my first preconception of that.

 CB: Right, so I’m pretty sure you ditched my lecture [laughing] because it was talking about older forms of astrology and you thought that was pretty lame?

 LS: We’ll never know. [giggles]

 CB: All right. I started lecturing on it. I’ve been studying it for about three years at that point, and I gave a lecture on it. Then, we got together in the spring and summer of 2008. One of the things that’s funny is we connected pretty quickly and had a really good connection and built a great friendship over the course of that summer, but you were not… I don’t think very impressed by whatever I was doing with astrology. I don’t think necessarily or at least interested in taking up Hellenistic astrology. That didn’t seem to be something that was on the top of your to-do list at that time, I think, right?

 LS: Right.

 CB: You had a healthy sense of skepticism about it.

 LS: [giggles] Yes, you could say that. I wasn’t immediately into it at all, and I thought at the time, that’s cool we’re just both doing astrology, but somewhat different things, but I was I definitely wasn’t driven to immediately learn Hellenistic astrology or what that was all about, or feel like something was enticing that I was missing out on yet.

 CB: Sure, and at one point we had met up to go to the library one day, and then afterward we were talking about our charts. I think you pulled out your chart for the first time, and I made some comments about it. One of the things that’s funny that we always joke about in retrospect is that you really weren’t impressed by some of the delineations that I made at the time, and I thought that I actually really, whatever I had said, had been really bad interpretations based on your reaction to it using some of the Hellenistic techniques, but it later turned out that either some of the statements I made that day ended up being true. That I found out during the course of the relationship, and you just didn’t connect it or you didn’t realize it at the time because you weren’t used to conceptualizing things in your life that way, or there were things that I said that later ended up being true, but they just hadn’t happened yet at that point in your life.

 LS: Yes, and it’s easy to laugh about for a long time afterward, after learning these things myself, but I think it actually ended up being a good case study in retrospect of both some of the issues that you run into in talking with people who haven’t learned to that angle of looking at a chart yet and the preconceptions that one can bring to it in terms of you’re used to looking at your chart a certain way and understanding your yourself and your life from that perspective, so even if there can be other things that are also true from a different perspective, looking at the chart sometimes people don’t immediately connect with that.

I think, especially, at first some of it was about modern astrology is, even if it’s not exclusively psychologically based, it has a lot of that going on. When you’re used to thinking about say a certain placement in a certain house, you’re thinking about maybe your internal experience of that, your internal feelings about that, or something. Whereas, as we might get into a little bit later in the discussion here, some of what you were looking at and what I wasn’t seeing immediately was some more concrete circumstances of someone’s life. It also had some to do with new mitigations and the complexities of delineating those specific circumstances, but I think on the whole it’s a good story that we’ve both seen repeated and talking with clients and things like that since then when people aren’t used to thinking about their lives a certain way.

 CB: Right, and the issue of, that I think I’ve talked about in previous episodes as well, of just on the one hand, as you said, a person’s subjective experience versus the objective reality of their life. Which is something, I think, Ben Dykes, and I did an episode on last year as I was finishing the lecture for the Hellenistic course on the rulers of the houses. Where that was an issue that I really ran into where sometimes you could make a statement about a person’s life that would be objectively true, but the person would have a hard time recognizing it because it’s hard to step outside of yourself, and to view your life objectively because we’re so used to just adapting to the way that things are.

 Sometimes it’s hard to identify the things that are unique to us that are not true for everybody. If everybody just had let’s say difficult time forming relationships, sometimes they might come to internalize that and think that that’s just how life is for everybody. Whereas there might be other people that relationships just come really easy to them, and it’s something simple that you don’t even have to think about, and they might then think that’s the way it is for everybody. Then something that you and I have talked about frequently, that’s a spin-off of that observation is how it’s funny that then people will create or develop a sort of philosophy of life for astrology surrounding those things, but it ends up being very much predicated on their own subjective experience, which sometimes is not universal.

 LS: Yes, definitely. Yes, we could go on for a few hours about that. [giggles]

 CB: Sure. Well, that’s maybe worth mentioning here as well just in terms of this discussion.

 LS: Right.

 CB: Okay. You gradually– There was no specific point that you started learning Hellenistic astrology, but instead there were just points when you gradually started, I think humoring me at first in terms of looking at some of the techniques and looking at some of the basic concepts like whole sign houses, or the concept of a sect, which is the distinction between day and night charts, which indicates when some planets will function in a more positive manner, or when some planets will function in a more negative or problematic manner, and eventually, it was this gradual process where it seems like you started noticing things working, or you started seeing how there could be this alternate perspective perhaps that was still relevant to you today.

 LS: Yes, I think it was very gradual for me. I think I’d have a hard time even pinpointing a certain time period where anything switched, but I know that some of it were definitely looking at the whole sign houses and comparing charts that way and talking about things like if you saw something in a quadrant house chart that you were used to and you didn’t see it that way and a whole sign house chart that maybe it was being indicated in another way through the rulers of the houses instead of the planets in the houses or things like that are aspects to the ruler of that house. I think that was probably one of the earliest things where I was starting to notice that working out, and then kind of softening like, “Oh, okay. Well, maybe it is working then.”

 CB: Right. That was funny because that became one of my earliest statements about your chart that was wrong and that you very vocally [giggles] let me know was wrong at the time but then later turned out to be correct. Which is that I noticed that you had the ruler of the 9th house in the 11th house. Also, conjunct the M.C or in the vicinity of the M.C and I said that could indicate an association with astrological groups or people with similar beliefs like that, and potentially a leadership role or something in something like the astrological community at some point in time. When you’re blending the ruler of the ninth house, which signifies astrology with the 11th house of groups and social movements, and then with the degree of the MC, they’re importing career significations at the same time. At the time, one of your objections to that was, “No, I’ve never been involved in ninth house-related social groups or anything. That’s not really something that I am interested in, I think.”

 LS: Yes, that and that ended up being a good example of the challenge of when you’re talking to a client or a friend, or whoever, and something in their chart hasn’t happened yet if you’re talking more objective circumstances, concrete event-oriented things. That simply hadn’t happened yet but happened very soon after that. So, yes.

 CB: Eventually, you became involved in first organizing the local astrology group here in Denver with me, and then eventually independently, got involved and got on the board of AFAN, and then a few years after that you became the presiding officer, which essentially what in other organizations would be like the president, or the chair of the organization, for this national astrological organization for AFAN at this point.

 LS: Right. Yeah, and it’s just funny because I know that you’ve definitely– We’ve both run into that and talking to other people about their charts from time to time is that it’s something just hasn’t happened yet, and so they’re going to be very vocally like, “No, that’s not true at all.” Especially because in modern astrology, we’re used to thinking about it as a lifelong psychological tendency or internal feeling or disposition, or things like that, rather than something that has or hasn’t happened.

 CB: Yes, that’s one of the major issues. Let’s move on to some of the other issues, such as one of the primary presumptions or misconceptions is just this immediate– When you’re presented with the idea of let’s study or let’s practice some really old form of astrology, one of the immediate gut reactions that I think is natural to have and that most normal people have is, “Isn’t it old or outdated?” It’s an extension of that there’s this other implicit and sometimes not implicit in some contemporary astrological texts, it’s been explicitly said that, “Haven’t we evolved, or haven’t we moved past that?” With a number of assumptions being attached to that.

The name itself, calling it Hellenistic astrology, I think one of the things that you pointed out, one of the gut reactions that you had is the idea that the name itself makes it sound like it’s a type of astrology that’s set back in the past, and that there’s something where it implies that culturally, technologically, and perhaps even, let’s say spiritually, or philosophically that it’s old and outdated, and therefore no longer relevant. That’s one of the things that I have to, and one of the reasons we’re discussing this is because this is one of the things that I have to both address in the book that I’m trying to figure out how to address directly in the introduction, but also just anybody that picks up and reads the book is quickly going to realize that that’s not necessarily the case. They’re going to be met with some answers to those presumptions that they might not expect. I guess figuring out how to frame that sometimes can be tricky or how to get people to that point.

 LS: Yes, and I think that the issue with the name is a big issue. Like we were talking about earlier with the name versus Greco-Roman. For me, it’s more of a practical issue. Yes, you want to be technically and historically correct, but on the other hand, I don’t even think that either of them expressed that it is a living type of astrology that you can practice and have really good results from right now. It immediately evokes the past and something that’s not current.

 CB: Right, past evokes things that are irrelevant or obsolete in some sense, and that’s actually partially just due– It’s a modern bias that I think that we have just as people living in the 21st-century. The idea that that’s a pretty common either implicit or sometimes explicit notion that astrology has evolved or that the modern tradition has jettisoned anything that didn’t work. I’ve heard specific people make this accusation. I think Glenn Perry, for example, in his attack on traditional astrology several years ago, back in 2007/2008, he explicitly argued that case, or at least he just made it as a declarative statement that there’s a bunch of techniques that were used in traditional astrology that astrologers found out didn’t work, and so they got rid of them.

 The problem with that assumption, it is an assumption, is that many of the techniques that we’re recovering now from older forms of astrology were things that were lost in the transmission and they’re things that astrologers didn’t know that they had lost because what happens is, astrology over the past 2000 years in the West has constantly gone through this period of being revived and developed in a certain culture and a certain language. Then, usually, something happens, and there’s a downfall, or there’s a decline of that culture or language, and astrology is lost or goes dormant for a while then it gets transmitted to a new culture, a new language, and it gets translated into that new language. They revive the concepts, and they try to reconstruct what the previous culture had done. They get a few translations of texts from that previous tradition, but they don’t get all of them.

 What happens is this twofold process where every time astrology is transmitted to a new culture and a new language, on the one hand, some concepts and some techniques, and some things are lost simply because not all of the texts make it through the transmission you only get a certain amount of texts that survive and are passed on in the tradition each time. The alternate issue is that when you translate a technology like this or the technical terminology into a different language, every time you translate something, it’s changed a little bit. Sometimes these changes are minor and not huge and other times these changes are very significant. Every time you have a transmission of astrology to a different culture, a different language, some things are changed, and some things are lost but additionally, other things are added, so astrology continues to grow and develop, but it’s not necessarily a clean process.

 It’s not like a clean process over the past 2000 years, where we’ve just tested different techniques, and we get rid of the ones that don’t work, and we keep the ones that do work and then add more. Instead, we’ve had this very spotty process of transmitting astrology from culture to culture and language to language, and that’s happened several different times. Astrology has gone through three or four or five major cultural and language transmissions over the past 2000 years in the West before it came to us today. One of the things that we’ve been doing is rediscovering and going back to the earliest source texts and finding some of the techniques that were lost that we didn’t know about until we went back to those texts. Sometimes that’s showing us that astrology didn’t necessarily evolve into the state that it’s in today but instead sometimes it just lost or misplaced certain things that were really important concepts.

 The concept of sect, the distinction between day and night charts is a perfect example of that because it’s such an obvious astronomical cycle. It’s one of the most basic astronomical cycles that every human being experiences. Which is the transition from day to night and the difference between day and night just as a visceral experience in terms of living on Earth. It’s so shocking that that concept just literally does not exist in modern astrology if you ask any modern astrologer, “What’s the difference between somebody born during the day and be born during the night?” They’re really not going to have a good answer, and that’s because this core concept from ancient astrology that had a technical distinction and told you how to interpret charts differently depending on if it was a day or night chart was lost in the transmission and therefore didn’t make it through and modern astrologers both don’t know about it, but also don’t realize that they’re missing. They don’t think that they’re missing anything, and they don’t realize the significance of what they’re missing and they can’t until they’re exposed to it. That’s an example that I use commonly to counter this, “Haven’t we evolved, or isn’t it old and outdated?” The argument that sometimes comes up either explicitly or other times implicitly.

 LS: Yes, it’s just through a lack of knowing. It’s just this half-second assumption that things are more well organized than they are. Well, of course, everything’s been passed down, and so if we’re not using something anymore there’s a good reason. It’s almost like even if you’re confronted with that idea as an assumption, it’s a hard one to shed because I think that’s a more general modern assumption about everything especially since we’re so technology-driven and those things have built on each other largely anyway.

 CB: Right, and it’s an assumption that either also you’re putting off on earlier astrologers, assuming that, let’s say, like a 100 years ago, that Alan Leo or somebody did the work and researched all the ancient texts and decided what should stay and what shouldn’t stay, and that’s not necessarily true. They had their limitations in terms of what they had access to. In fact, we have access to more texts today, right now in the year 2015, at the very end of that year almost 2016, than have ever been available to any astrologer at any one moment in time. That’s really important and really notable and people don’t necessarily realize that, but the catch is that you have to actually read them and take advantage of them and if you don’t then you don’t know what you’re missing. That actually leads to another potential issue, which is that sometimes you’ll get the people that are like, “Well, I looked into it. I didn’t find anything useful there.” Because they picked up, let’s say, Ptolemy, and read a few chapters, or they picked up Manilius and read a few chapters, and they didn’t really get what was so important about it.

 There you run into a separate issue of you’ve read something, but do you understand it? That becomes one of the challenges and the obstacles of reading ancient texts are that it’s one thing to look through a translation and get what it’s saying maybe. It’s another thing to know enough and have enough background to actually get all of the nuances and details of what’s being conveyed. That’s actually something I think that’s the most difficult and that’s really the primary purpose of my book is going to be to give people enough background and to initiate people into the study of ancient astrology so that they could pick up a translation and understand fully what the person is talking about coz one of the tricky things that I ran into when I started studying is that if you just pick up a translation of an ancient text and start reading it, a lot of it’s going to look foreign and you’re not going to get it. I would say the majority of what the person’s even referring to unless you’ve had some sort of primer or some crash course in that type of astrology because it’s oftentimes so foreign and so different from what we’re doing today. You can’t just pick up a book on ancient astrology as a modern astrologer and assume that you’re going to understand everything that’s being said right from the start because there’s a lot of subtlety, nuance, detail, and technical terminology that’s being used that’s completely different than what we’re used to today. Do you have any other thoughts about that?

 LS: No, not really. I just definitely agree. That can be a huge barrier in the beginning or at least for a while. That’s why I appreciate that some people like yourself and other people are doing the work of translating it for people who aren’t as used to reading even just things put in ancient term terminology, much less the technicalities of the astrology.

 CB: Sure. All right, so let’s move on to some of our other misconceptions. One of the other misconceptions that’s really important is the idea that modern astrologers have that older forms of astrology are more fate oriented, and that that is inherently somehow bad. This binary equation that they have is basically like freewill equals good, fate equals bad.

 I think that’s a really simplistic and often misleading assumption to make, but it’s one that’s so tricky because the fate/freewill issue, the debate has been such a long one, and one that’s never really resolved. It’s hard to approach that and deal with it. I think this has come up a few times in the past, for example, in my discussions with Mark Jones, and we’ve talked about fate and free will, and we’ve talked about the specific exchange that he and I had surrounding that and surrounding benefic and malefic planets, but I think part of the initial issue is just addressing this weird equation that free will is always good and fate is always bad. I’m not sure that that’s necessarily the case, but I’m also not sure if that argument is necessarily the one that’s going to win people over, or that even in itself trying to question that or bring up that point is just going automatically lead to a defensive posture on certain people.

 LS: Yes, I think that’s one of them for sure. In my experience, that caused some real mulling over philosophically after realizing that some of the predictive techniques did work oddly well and precisely well. We’ll talk about this a little bit more, but then things felt more faded than I thought they were before. It’s interesting because I think, if someone immediately got into astrology and learned this first, I don’t know that it would be as much of a problem. I think some of it is just getting oneself into a mindset of what it looks like astrology is doing and then having to shift that later. For sure, it started to look to me like things were more faded, and then I had to really grapple with what did that mean, or was I okay with that, or what feelings that brought up in me? Because fate is automatically equated with bad or the loss of freedom, loss of self will, and things like that. I think this is a two-fold answer to that preconception which is; one, that it’s not inherently black and white i.e. Even if things look more faded than you thought before, it’s still not necessarily like zero or 100, and different astrologers certainly could still have different takes on what amount of free will one had within those predictive techniques.

 The other piece is just that is fate inherently a negative thing or it could instead be something like– People like the word destiny, but they don’t like the word fate, and it’s like that destiny implies a map ahead of you that’s purposeful for your life, and events and people in it.

There can be a very positive model for something that’s faded, or it can be this other feeling that’s more of the usual preconception which is, there is this map laid out, and I can’t deviate from it and therefore, I feel ineffectual, or I don’t have as much room to make my own decisions. That’s something that I think people do have to grapple with once they start learning some of these things. At least, it’s pretty common too.

 CB: Right, and one of the things in terms of questioning the whole free will automatically good, fate automatically bad, is that there are certain ways in which even modern people will sometimes reverse that. For example, fate isn’t even always conceptualized as bad if it leads to good things, for example, the modern common trope is the romantic trope of meeting the love of your life, or being destined to be together with a specific person and both people’s paths leading up to the point where their paths intersect or crossed, and then they got in a relationship and then spent the rest of their life together and that happens. When that happens, people conceptualize that as being fate or destiny sometimes, but they view it in a positive manner. That’s an instance where even if you think about it, and even if you question that a little bit, the whole fate automatically bad or always a bad thing is not necessarily always true because there can be positive fated events. If that’s true, or if we accept that to some extent then, even just that and of itself forces us to reconceptualize or to give some ground to, on the one hand, acknowledging that fate as a concept may not always be negative, and therefore, it may not be necessary for us to reject that out of hand at all times. That there may be some good applications of it, or someplace for it, or some instances where we’re already using it as long as it’s just only being applied in certain ways.

 Obviously, at that point, we then have to question whether that needs to be expanded more. Which is what you end up doing when you look at natal charts, and you see how some people have certain parts of their life that go relatively well compared to other people, whereas they might have other parts of their chart or parts of their life that do not go as well compared to other people. That could be conceptualized in some sense as a person’s fate, to some extent, that you have certain things that are either built into your life or that occur in your life that for one reason or another go a certain way. That becomes a characteristic thing in your life that makes your life unique, but also makes your life–I don’t know. I’m sort of having trouble finding the specific term, but just the idea that certain patterns might be built into it already or certain signatures that are built into people’s lives that are not purely psychological things, but are sometimes things about their objective, external circumstances and the events in their lives that have a certain quality, a certain faded quality to them.

 Those can be either subjectively positive or experienced as subjectively positive like meeting the love of their life, or they can be subjectively negative like having an accident or something like that. The other part of that is that one of the things if you accept a free will oriented approach, is that if people have a completely free will then that means that people also have free will to fail or free will to mess up their own destiny in some sense. There becomes a bit of an issue with that. There’s this part of like a broader discussion, I guess, we can’t fully get into, but I just wanted to point out that there can be positive sides or downsides to both approaches into both concepts that you don’t necessarily have to immediately say that one is good and one is bad in this black and white, or positive and negative manner.

 LS: Right. I think it’s often assumed that way pretty easily and assumed that that can be backed up pretty easily, we all believe that, but if you do think about it a little bit, there are downsides to each. Now, I’ve talked about that a lot in terms of compassion for people who are having trouble in their life and that not always being conceptualized as they having created it themselves necessarily.

 CB: Right, free will gets extended to such an extent and emphasize to such an extent in modern times that it sometimes puts astrologers in the position of telling people that have terrible things happen to them that it was their fault, or that somehow either they brought it on themselves through not exercising their free will, or that it was somehow their own intentionality that chose that for themselves rather than it just being something outside of their control happening to them or happening in their environment.

 LS: Right.

 CB: All right. That’s one of the objections. Another objection is the idea that older forms of astrology are more oriented towards prediction, and then again this binary thing where there’s this assumption, either implicit or oftentimes explicit, that prediction is inherently bad somehow and whatever the opposite of that is, is good. This leads to some weird things. I think that might have been our last episode that you and I did in September where I ranted about that a little bit, right?

 LS: I think so. Yes.

 CB: Okay, so we don’t have to fully recapitulate that, but we were just talking about this last night, and one of the issues that we brought up is just that modern astrology is set up in a way where prediction is not necessarily– It’s both not the goal, but it’s also technically not possible in the sense of prediction is very difficult because the technical concepts have been watered down to such an extent and have been geared so that that’s not what you’re trying to do, you’re trying to be more just descriptive and not predictive. Therefore, it’s not really geared in that way, and so when you practice that type of astrology, you assume it’s not possible. Which for the most extent with that approach it’s not except indirectly like I mentioned at the beginning of this episode, where sometimes you could say, somebody’s having a Mars transit, and they might get so irritated or angry that they accidentally drive off a bridge or something like that, or get in a car accident, but that’s like an indirect way of predicting based on knowing or thinking that a certain psychological component of their psyche would be getting activated that would cause irritation and anger and the potential for rash movement or accidents,

 LS: Right. I think, again, this is another one of those things where it wouldn’t be nearly as much of a problem if people just got into this framework, to begin with when they got into astrology, but it’s hard to adjust once you’ve been working with certain tools, and then you develop an ideology of how astrology works around those tools, or around what you’ve seen work or be possible or not be possible in your experience. I think that because certainly a lot of people get into various metaphysical pursuits looking for predictions. A lot of people who are interested in astrology, for instance, are also interested in tarot, itching, or things like that. They’re looking for uncanny ways of seeing things you shouldn’t be able to see otherwise.

 CB: Right, so insight into different perspectives, and a perspective that is accessing something that’s outside of or beyond your own vantage point, your own ability to see things.

 LS: Right. Yes.

 CB: Yes, so one of the things is that it’s true, I think, to a certain extent that, however, you want to frame that, that older forms of astrology are more oriented towards prediction, but that’s not necessarily inherently bad. For one, the argument that that prediction is inherently bad is not necessarily true. It’s often framed in a consulting setting that making predictions within the context of a consultation is inherently bad. That’s more arguable, but that’s one of the things I’ve consistently said on this podcast is that that’s a separate issue and that that issue of what’s appropriate or not appropriate in a consultation is a separate issue that needs to be dealt with independently from what can astrology do on its own, and what is astrology capable of as the primary and the core thing that astrologers need to explore and need to establish? Because we need to establish what it’s capable of first, and then after that, we can have a consultation, or we can have discussions and debates about how it should be applied, or what’s appropriate or not appropriate to do with the general public.

 Within that context of what is astrology generally capable of, I think you’re in a weaker position to argue that prediction itself is inherently bad, just if astrology is capable of that. That it’s morally wrong to predict if you can, or that astrology itself as having the capability to predict is somehow morally bad as a universal thing. The fact that it can do that becomes a weird argument when you frame it in that way. That’s a separate issue, and then there’s the issue of can it predict? That’s one of the reasons I think that modern astrologers object to that is because there’s an underlying implicit assumption they have going into it that it cannot predict, but once you get into traditional astrology, or older forms of astrology, especially Hellenistic astrology, one of the things that you find, and one of the things that I found that really turned me around within that first couple of weeks of studying it starting in December of 2004, is that there was a type of astrology out there that was capable of making predictions originally, and that it works. That changes everything that I knew about astrology up to that point, and for a lot of people, I think, it changes what they know about astrology if all they know is modern Western astrology.

 LS: Yes, and I think there are certain positive things that– Again, it’s very tied to the free will/fate thing, the previous item, but aside from that it’s like they’re very positive things that one could use prediction for. Like, isn’t it good to know if you right now have just started the most important pivotal point in your career for your life? Isn’t that good to know somehow? You can do it either way or go through it, but how is that inherently negative to know something like that?

 CB: Well, [giggles] the value of prediction becomes a separate thorny issue that we’re just exploring for the first time, and it’s a funny and interesting thing in the past year, or 10 years, as I’ve gotten into traditional astrology, and as other astrologers have started to revive and fully figure out how to use some of these techniques like Zodiac releasing, is that they can do things that you didn’t know were possible with astrology. Like, predict when a person will hit the highest point in their career, or perhaps when a person will become famous.

That argument can go actually either way because you could say, on the one hand, how could it possibly be bad to know that you’re starting the high point of your career, but then you could have this other argument, which is, how could it be bad to know that you’re going into a difficult 30 year career period for your career and for your reputation or something like that? Like, what if– Yes. There are literally different examples.

 LS: Yes, absolutely. I agree, and I’ve long wanted, ever since I started learning some of these tools, have long wanted more collective astrologer discussions around this. Like, how does this affect you personally? How do you think about this for your own life? What are the positives and negatives that you see? Just on a more quick basis for the purpose of this podcast just to say, there are counterpoints to prediction is inherently bad.

 CB: Yes, there can be instances where prediction can be great. One of the example charts that I used a bunch of times in my recent lecture runs a diagram releasing on timing peaks and transitions in a person’s career and life direction is that the technique showed that Robert Downey Jr. would hit a major career transition around 2007/2008 and that after that he would go into a 20 year peak period shortly after that.

That’s actually if you had gone back to let’s say the year 2000, where he was really struggling and he went from being a famous actor to going in and out of jail and out of rehab, and really struggling with drug abuse issues. It looked like he was quickly turning into a tragic story and that it was a downward spiral that he wasn’t going to be able to recover from potentially based on how that had gone for other famous people in a similar position. In fact, the techniques showed that this was preparatory or a build-up period and that he would eventually have a career transition in 2007/2008. Which turned out to be him getting the role in Iron Man, and then the release of that film, and then that completely turning around his career from that point forward. Then, he moved into the new 20 year peak period, and then suddenly, within a few years of the Iron Man movie coming out, he becomes the highest-paid actor in Hollywood.

 That would be a context where there would be potentially a positive thing of saying– Like if you went back into the year 2000, Robert Downey Jr. is having an astrological consultation with you and said, “Things are looking pretty bleak for me, I don’t know if I’m going to be able to turn my life around in my career around. Do you think I’ll ever be able to make a comeback?” In his instance, at least if you looked at his chart, you would very clearly be able to say, “Yes, I think if you work hard and keep at it you’ll be able to make a career turnaround, and things will improve dramatically for you around 2007/2008. As a result of that, you’ll go into a 20-year career peak period, where you’ll do some of the most important and active work in your entire career.”

There can be contexts where prediction could be good or helpful or beneficial even really hardcore prediction like that. Where you’re making very specific statements about specific parts of a person’s life. Obviously, there are negative potential examples that you can use and there are counterpoints to that, but the point is just to question the general narrative, which is a little bit too strong and just completely ruling out and saying that; (a) Prediction is not possible. (b) Even if it was possible that it’s not good ever. Both of those statements from the vantage point of Hellenistic astrology are simply not true. At least not entirely true.

 LS: Right, and again very technique-driven, as we were discussing earlier, knowing the techniques, knowing what’s possible.

 CB: Right, it’s literally an argument that you can’t fully have and fully engage in until you know the techniques of Hellenistic astrology because otherwise, you don’t know what’s possible and what’s not because there are techniques that can do things in Hellenistic astrology that you might not realize were possible. That’s the game-changer, and that’s the big thing that’s changing to me or for me in the astrological community today.

That’s the thing that’s going to take off, it already has started to take off because of teaching my course over the past 10 years, and because of other people who’ve been promoting Hellenistic or traditional astrology like Dimitra George or Benjamin Dykes, but I think that’s one of the things that I’m really going to do with this book is finally write the book that gets all of that out there for the public to discuss for the first times.

 That everybody’s on the same page about what techniques are actually available, and what they’re capable of, and then that will spark some of these additional discussions and this additional philosophical crisis, really, because that’s what I had for a few years after learning Hellenistic astrology and after learning the Zodiac releasing, in particular, was just a philosophical crisis of, “Oh, my God! I didn’t know astrology could do this. What does this mean for the implications about the nature of the world? What is the world really like if a technique like this can actually exist?”

 LS: Yes, I think we definitely both went through that.

 CB: Well, yes. [giggles] I got to introduce you to the technique, and then unleash that on you, and then watch you go through that process once you started paying attention to Zodiac releasing, and slowly having the realization that it was working, and then realizing how well it worked. Then, suddenly starting to worry about what that meant, and why it was working that well. Why it was capable of saying some of the things that it says.

 LS: Yes, it was pretty prolonged, but I think that most people would go through that if they already know some form of astrology that’s more psychologically-based, and then move into that. At least if you are– I think most people period would go through that and especially if you’re the type of person to think about what the philosophical assumptions are of different things like this working.

 CB: Right. How did that go for you, or what was that process?

 LS: When I knew just modern astrology, it was similar to what you were talking about before, where it’s more indirectly predictive. Where if you’re psychologically going to feel a certain way at a certain time, or if you’re psychologically predisposed to be a certain way all of the time natively. There’s a little bit about the side where people talk about, or you could encounter this from someone else if you’re having a heavy Neptune transit, you might meet a really Neptunian person and things like that. There is a sense that things can come into your life externally through some of these measurements, but it was just so clockwork in especially the Zodiacal releasing. Honestly, I have to say, I’m still thinking about all of the implications [giggles] not because I haven’t come to some tentative conclusions, but because, weirdly, it works. It goes against a lot of the ways we normally think about the world.

 CB: Yes, one of the things that’s annoying about it is that it’s partially– It’s using a lot of spirit and a lot of spirit is associated with a person’s will and the things that the person brings about in their life as a result of deliberate choices, and is essentially what we might almost associate with free will, except it’s telling you when you will make certain choices that will be important and will affect the trajectory of your entire life and your entire career at specific points, but the problem is that it’s indicating you’ll have some of those transition points because the technique is entirely calculated based on the position of certain points in the chart at the moment of birth. Which means you can calculate your entire life, or like the first 100 years of your life, in those periods from the moment of birth, and it divides the entire life up into almost like a book with different chapters and different paragraphs that you know what the different chapters are and you know what the tone of each of the chapters are, and then you know, what some of the most important chapters are in the entire book, as well as part of their character and what the narrative is.

 One of the annoying things about it that causes some crisis is that sometimes what it’s indicating ahead of time are you making choices before you know that you’re going to make a choice at that point, or before you’ve consciously made that decision. I think that’s one of the biggest things that often causes a crisis for me or at least did at the time when I first got into it and went through that around 2005/2006/2007?

 LS: Right, because it’s mind-warping because you think in the more free will based modern form of astrology, you think, “Well, I get to the certain crossroads and I mull this over and then I very freely make this decision may be influenced by who I am natively.” But then when you see this more concretely mapped out, but it’s not that you are taken out of the equation, you are still there, and then you just go through that at that point in time. It’s just a very weird thing to both witness and experience internally, and then see on the page at the same time,

 CB: Right. What happens when you’re part of the equation of fate and that fate is not just this external thing that’s happening to you in your environment, but that fate is you actively participating and bringing about your own destiny by making certain choices at certain points in time and certain points in your life. What happens if some of those choices themselves are to some extent pre-determined?

 LS: Right, and I think that is one of the definitions of fate. That it’s just not the way that we always think through in detail what that means.

 CB: Yes, we usually conceptualize that as an external thing, even though, in one of the things I’ll deal with, in the philosophy chapter of my book that the stoics had their very definition of fate. There were two forms of fate, there was an external fate that happens outside of the individual, but then there was also an internal fate that defines the individual themselves and who they are, what their background and conditioning are in psychology is and what kind of choices they make at different points in their life based on that.

Usually, we’re not used to seeing that in astrology. I think that’s the thing that’s offsetting, or that can be surprising or off-putting is that we’re not usually used to the astrology itself being able to describe both in terms of both the person’s internal fate as well as their external fate and circumstances. Which is where the lot of fortune comes in, in terms of the zodiac releasing technique.

 Anyway, and then being able to make predictions based on that, and so forth. That’s going a little far afield, from the original answer, or to the objection of traditional astrology is more oriented towards prediction and that that’s bad. From this perspective, that almost becomes like a stupid question or a stupid objection, when you look at this technique and see what it can do. It’s almost a joke to say that older forms of astrology are more oriented towards prediction, and either that that’s not possible or that that’s somehow inherently wrong become absurd objections on some level once you see what astrology is capable of in its fullest form.

 LS: Right. Yes, you just have to check it out firsthand.

 CB: Yes. Again, it’s one of those things where we’re talking about this, but a lot of this discussion probably will sound really implausible, I think, unless a person is familiar with the specific techniques that we’re talking about, but unfortunately, that’s the nature of things.

 Moving on, another objection or misconception or preconception is the notion that because– one of the objections that I had early on was that I knew older forms of astrology because they were discovered recently didn’t use the outer planets and to a lesser extent in us the asteroids or other bodies that have been discovered since that time. In the past 10 years, we have the discovery of all of the minor planets, and a lot of people– Actually, recently, people are falling all over themselves to write books about Eris, Sedna, and other minor planetary bodies at this point. One of the assumptions then is that any types of astrology that are older and therefore didn’t know about those bodies are somehow incomplete, or somehow obsolete as a result of that. I know that was one of my major objections early on. How about you?

 LS: I’m sure it was. I can’t think of thinking that at this moment, but I’m sure it was. As well as the confusion over people using outer planets as rulerships, then that completely gets taken out of the equation because the outer planets aren’t there at all, so it seems like a bigger thing than just the three planets in or out of the chart. I think that a couple of things in relation to this is that it’s kind of this, again, a black and white thing that is not in actuality black and white. A lot of people who use Hellenistic techniques also add in the outer planets usually not as rulerships, but it doesn’t have to be like you completely reject everything that you’ve seen before this time, you know?

 CB: Right.

 LS: That’s one piece, but I think another bigger piece is that you can do more things with the seven traditional planets than you maybe were doing already. That’s a big misconception or misunderstanding because I think if you have the modern astrology toolbox, and then you take the three outer planets out, which we often use heavily to talk about different dynamics going on, then it kind of feels like there’s not much left. I think sometimes there’s been an over-reliance on the outer planets to say certain things in a chart, either natively, or with transits, and then once you bring back in both what those can say on their own as well as techniques around that you didn’t know you could use, then it becomes a much fuller picture. It’s not just about knowing what you know and then taking out the outer planets.

 CB: Right. Yes, and part of the thing that you end up having to do when you start studying older forms of astrology is reorienting yourself and gaining a better appreciation, I think, for the inner planets and for the visible planets. I think I’ve said this plenty of times already in other episodes of the podcast, but because astrology is primarily based on symbolic interpretations of a celestial phenomenon and specifically observable celestial phenomenon, to begin with. The fact that the inner planets, the seven traditional, planets are visible to the naked eye is actually an important conceptual distinction and practical or technical distinction that puts those bodies in a class of its own that’s different from and unique from, in some ways, the outer planets or the minor planets, or the asteroids, or other bodies like black holes, or quasars, or other deep space objects that some astrologers are using.

 LS: Another thing that I’ve noticed since learning more of the Hellenistic framework and techniques is that a lot of the outer planet significations were taken– It’s not that they are entirely double, but some of them are taken from some of the traditional seven planets. For instance, some of the significations of the moon you can see what we often talk about are Neptune. Similarly, I’ve really noticed with Saturnian qualities. There’s a lot of overlap between the traditional framework of Saturn and some of how we talk about Pluto now.

Again, it’s not a one to one correspondence, but I think that’s another answer to people’s concerns that it’s taking out a lot of important information that you won’t be able to see otherwise. That you didn’t know was actually supposed to be contained in the seven planets. Now, I personally also still use the three outer planets, because I do feel that it adds additional information for me. But you can see quite a lot more than I used to realize with the seven planets.

 CB: Right, and part of the process of studying older forms of astrology is just to sharpen your ability to use and understand the seven traditional planets because they have a lot greater range and depth of meaning and complexity than I think we’re used to recognizing in modern astrology because there tends to be almost an over-reliance on using the outer planets. For some astrologers, even other bodies beyond the outer planets, and in the process, the inner planets or the visible planets tend to get shortchanged in the process. So, part of the process of learning these older forms of astrology is learning what the basis of astrology was because even though we know about outer planets today and even though we know about asteroids and everything else, the seven visible planets are still the fundamental framework of the entire system. If you’re not using those to their fullest extent then, your astrology is not as strong as it could be, I guess you could say?

 LS: Yes, and I think this is a huge preconception, actually, because I remember thinking earlier on that if you took out the outer planets the rest were boring because they didn’t have the fullness of their description that they did earlier.

 CB: Right. Yes, and because you often, again, end up relying so much on the outer planets that when you take those away sometimes people don’t know what to do, but it turns out that you can do a lot more with them than you thought. Additionally, even with the rulership issue, I mean, the biggest issue I had early on was the rulership issue because that was the big stumbling block for me, but I think honestly, once you experiment with it and once you just give it a try, once you try the traditional rulership scheme, but more than that not just try the traditional rulership scheme to see if it could work as an alternate or a secondary rulership scheme. If you’re not comfortable giving up the modern rulership scheme of, for example, associating Uranus with Aquarius, or Neptune with Pisces or what have you, and just try it as an alternate scheme.

 You also have to try it within the context of the broader system. Once you see how the traditional rulership scheme ties into the rest of the system, and how it’s tied into the aspect doctrine and the houses and all other things, the basic meanings of the planetary significations, you start to gain a much greater appreciation for the traditional rulership scheme than you might have otherwise. I think that was definitely one of the first points where once I saw that, and I saw how the traditional rulership scheme was tied into all these other parts of the system, in order to create a unified, an actual system like a unified whole, where all of the different pieces were integrated and work together. That’s when I started to say maybe there’s something to this, maybe I should take this seriously and look at it more honestly than I have up to this point.

 LS: Definitely, and I think that’s a really important point because I think oftentimes when people do think that they’ve briefly tried and it doesn’t seem like it’s working, it’s being tried outside of the context of everything else that needs to fit together to work.

 CB: Right, that’s really important. Don’t just pick one thing or something else and use it in isolation because I know that that’s what I did with the rulerships. That’s also what I did with whole sign houses because I remember coming across whole sign houses and an article by Rob Hand, at least a year before I actually started using them or taking them seriously, and I just thought it was absurd. It sounded like an absurd approach to house division, and just when I briefly glanced at it, I was just like, “There’s no way this works.” And wrote it off for a year, and then when I came back to it, it was within the context of learning how whole sign houses was used together with the traditional rulership scheme and with the traditional visible planets and how it was integrated with the aspect doctrine, how it was integrated with the transit doctrine, and with the time lord systems and all of these other things, that I realized that I had to give it a serious chance within the context of that system.

 That’s actually true for other forms of astrology as well, where oftentimes, if you’re investigating other forms of astrology or other types or traditions of astrology have to be very careful that you’re not just picking out one piece and then applying it completely out of context, but instead that you’re testing different techniques within the context of the system that they were originally used in. Sometimes that is much more important than you might think it should be otherwise.

I realized there are counter-arguments of, “Well, that shouldn’t be the case.” Or if something works then you should be able to pull it out and use it in isolation, but I’ll just caution people that even though you might have that presumption, and I can understand why you would have it, nonetheless, much of the time you would be surprised how much it’s actually important to try certain techniques and concepts out within the context of the system that they were actually developed and used in because of the way that they often end up being integrated into other techniques that they can’t be used without, or that become like an integral component to applying that original technique effectively.

 LS: Right. It reminds me of a lot of investigating Indian astrology and then just saying very quickly, “Oh, well. That chart doesn’t look like me because my sun sign is a sign earlier than I’m used to now, and that doesn’t sound like me.” But instead of looking at the interlocking parts of what that’s connected to and not necessarily your usual conception of what you’re doing with the sun sign and that sort of thing.

 CB: Sure. That brings us to our next point, which is one of the other common preconceptions is this assumption that if what one already does actually works, then there’s no need to learn other approaches, or in the more extreme version, or an extreme variant of this it’s the assumption that if what you do works already, then that must automatically mean that all other approaches are automatically wrong because if what you’re doing is right, therefore, the other approach must be wrong since it’s different than what you’re currently doing that’s working. I’ve seen specific astrologers do this, there’s one in particular, where he’s rarely aggressive about whatever approach he’s settled on. He will then vehemently attack other approaches that are different from the one that he uses not because he’s actually studied them, honestly but because his approach works for him that other approaches then must be false. That’s actually a surprisingly not accurate position to take, you’ll often find if you force yourself to genuinely or honestly study other approaches to astrology, it’s actually probably one of the most frustrating things about probably something about the core nature of astrology in general.

 It’s an experience that all of the students who went through Kepler College had. Where they exposed us to so many different forms of astrology, and you would see that they oftentimes worked on their own terms within the context of their system and that there were multiple different truths or approaches to finding the truth from these different perspectives. It wasn’t just this all or nothing thing where there had to be one system that was right and all the other systems had to be wrong, even though that’s a common assumption that people make and it’s an easy one to fall into because it’s probably the most natural thing that all humans do in every other area of life as well. When it comes to politics, religion, sports teams, or whatever in astrology, it’s especially the case. It’s a road hazard that you have to watch out for.

 LS: Yeah, and I was thinking about this earlier, in terms of that is not always something that people are even aware of. It’s quite the knee jerk subconscious influence, I think that people think if they’re already using a kind of astrology that’s working well for them then, something else will naturally contradict that it has to. It really doesn’t, but again it just goes back to what we were talking about, before that, about taking systems within their own contexts.

 CB: Right. There’s an issue here that I’m still working on conceptually, where there’s something to be said for trying different approaches, or trying different techniques and then settling on one that works for you or feeling like you do feel that one approach to something out of a few different variants works best, or is most effective for something you’re trying to do. I think there’s something to be said for that in and of itself, while at the same time still keeping in mind this thing where there may be multiple paths to the truth or using that analogy of astrology as a language which I think I talked about with Jeffrey Cornelius or with Rob Hand recently.

The point that there are many different languages, and they’re all able to convey information or convey what’s attempting to be said, but in a different way, even though they mutually incomprehensible to each other because they’re speaking different languages, but asking the question of which language is better is not necessarily a reasonable question to ask because all languages convey meaning just in different ways. It’s not necessarily that one language is wrong, just because one language is right, but instead, there are many different ways of doing the same thing.

 LS: Right.

 CB: We may ultimately run into an issue with astrology where if it’s true that astrology is a type of language, which is something that astrologers have brought up as a model for understanding what astrology is that’s been around for 1000s of years, going back to the Mesopotamian astrologers, and the 1000 years B.C, 1000 BC, 2000 BC, and this idea of astrology as a celestial language. If that’s true then it might provide some insight into why sometimes astrologers when they study different systems run into that issue.

 Other than that, so that actually leads to the next point, which is, sometimes with specific techniques, and this has already gone over this before in the past few episodes, but one of the reluctance is that people have and I know that you had early on, Leisa was a reluctance to some of the basic concepts things like whole sign houses, for example. What was the part of the resistance to that?

 LS: Well, for whole sign houses, I think part of it was what we were just talking about. Which is, if I was already doing astrology for several years and I had been using a quadrant system and it seemed to be working out decently descriptively then switching that had to be wrong because two things can’t be right. I think also kind of humorously now, in retrospect, it was that it sounded too simple. I had an objection to that. Also, another piece of timing technique, annual perfections, both sounded too simple to be correct. That sounds funny to me now because it’s like, “What’s wrong with simple?” The idea that it had to be complicated in order to be working well. Whole sign houses also fundamentally shifted a bunch of the planets in my chart. As we discussed earlier on, I had to grapple with, “Well, were those things explained a different way?” Also, in addition to that, were there things that I wasn’t seeing about my life that this illuminated? That you maybe didn’t see immediately upon looking at it and you had to reflect on why that would be the case?

 CB: Yes, because it changes. It’s like people have understood their life in a certain way through the lens of their birth chart up to that point, and then suddenly, for many people, it shifts a bunch of things, and suddenly forcing them to relook at their life through a different lens, or from a different perspective. Sometimes that can be jarring or not a positive or easy process because of the attachment that one feels to the original way that one had conceptualized their life using whatever house system.

LS: Right. Also, something I’ve noticed, certainly when I went through it, and also other people I’ve talked with about whole sign houses and how that shifted their charts. Again, this isn’t a completely black or white thing, but it seems to me that there’s a trend towards the whole sign house chart showing more objective circumstances of someone’s life in that area and those topics in that house, versus how they feel about that area in the quadrant system. I think that’s held up decently well, it’s probably not 100%, and that’s often where people don’t identify with it because they’re saying, for instance, “Oh, well. I am really reclusive and my 11th house, something, something, is really emphasized in the whole sign house.” Maybe they do a lot of stuff on the internet or they’re connected to groups in some way they just don’t maybe enjoy it or something, things like that.

 CB: Sure. Yes, and that’s been one of the ways that people have wondered about and have tried to reconcile whole sign houses and quadrant houses. I know that that’s something that you’ve still really felt pretty strongly about in terms of seeing going through this process of starting to over several years gradually of seeing the validity of whole sign houses. Somewhat reluctantly, but then at the same time still seeing the validity and usefulness of quadrant houses and still seeing meaning there and therefore wanting to just find a way to reconcile the two?

 LS: Yes, and I think that’s a good example for anyone curious, but not necessarily wanting to give up what they’ve already learned. You don’t necessarily have to, and it doesn’t have to be in the black and white thing, it is certainly simpler. I look at whole sign houses, most of the time, and just a little at the time now look at the quadrant, but it’s because it becomes complicated to look at both all of the time, but I don’t think that it necessarily invalidates what you see in the quadrant. I still see something’s working well there.

 CB: Sure. All right, and the general point, also, that you’ve made just that it’s not necessarily it doesn’t always have to be a zero-sum game, but sometimes two things can be still corrected, but just in different ways.

 LS: Right.

 CB: All right, and then you also made another point, which leads into the next one related to annual perfections. Which is just both whole sign houses, but also especially annual perfections sound too simple and therefore, it doesn’t seem plausible, doesn’t seem like they could work because they just sound too simple and too basic. That’s one of the themes that come up over and over again, in Hellenistic astrology is just there is this real elegance and effectiveness, despite the simplicity to some of these techniques.

 It does get complicated. It’s like one of the things that are misleading sometimes is that when you view some of these concepts, let’s say whole sign houses is just an idea or annual perfections as an idea in isolation. Like with annual perfections, you just start from the rising sign, and whatever that sign is the first year of that person’s life is ruled by the planet that rules that sign, and then when they have their first birthday it moves to the second sign-in zodiacal order from the rising sign, and whatever planet rules that sign become the planet activated that year. It just keeps jumping one sign per year.

 That sounds so simplistic that you wouldn’t almost think that would work, and yet somehow, not only does it work, but also it’s not as simplistic as you might initially think. Sometimes when you present that idea, it sounds just so basic that anybody could do it, but when you start looking into the techniques and stacking them on top of each other and integrating the entire system at once, then things do get actually surprisingly complicated even though sometimes in isolation, things are looking somewhat basic.

 LS: Right. Yes, I think when I was looking back on my initial reaction, I think it sounded too simple and also too discrete. Like we all know that one-year blends into the next and things continue, and it’s not just these like, okay, you do a year here and then that themes done, and then you get to the next theme, but you’re right, as you said, as you integrate different tools within this at the same time you see it working. As well as using more advanced methods of the perfections and things like that.

 CB: Sure. All right, and our next point, we’ve already talked about zodiacal releasing. The final point here in terms of just preconceptions or misconceptions is just– One is that there’s the idea that there’s no psychology or there’s no spirituality in ancient astrology, both of which are false. I mean, maybe you could make the argument that, as it’s defined in the 20th and 21st century, that there’s no psychology maybe, but there is a study of the psyche or the soul to some extent, and there is some ability to do character analysis. It’s just done in a different and somewhat more limited way because there are certain points that you focus on in Hellenistic astrology that will tell you about the person’s character and psyche. Whereas other parts of the chart tell you about other things that are not related to that. Whereas in modern astrology, we’re used to conceptualizing the entire chart is just being one big map of the person’s psyche.

In traditional astrology, there are specific things that you look at in order to do character analysis or psychological analysis and it’s not necessarily the entire chart. Those things do actually exist and it does present you with a much more clean and approachable framework, I think, for dealing with some of those topics. I think then you have some times in modern astrology where everything is just an extension of the person’s psyche in some sense.

 All right, so that concludes the list that we had of misconceptions and preconceptions about older forms of astrology. Why don’t we run through really quickly our list of some of the positive surprises that we’ve had upon learning Hellenistic astrology? We’ve touched upon some of these already.

 One that we already touched upon is that there’s a far greater systemization of the techniques than one would think. The aspect doctrine, the doctrine of the houses, planetary rulerships, the planetary significations, and a bunch of that stuff all integrate together in this very weird and this very elegant way that you wouldn’t anticipate before you’ve studied it. That’s actually useful not just from a conceptual perspective, or philosophical perspective, but also because then it’s much more clear how to approach the process of synthesizing chart placements, and producing a delineation that takes into account multiple factors so that you know how to approach certain topics, and you know how everything works together so that you’re not just producing delineations of stuff independently on its own, but you’re actually starting to synthesize the different components of the chart into a working whole, in order to provide a holistic overall interpretation of the entire chart.

 LS: Yes, I think that’s a great benefit. I know in the later part of my using only modern astrology, but not having been introduced to Hellenistic, yet that I was starting to feel like I wanted a greater structure to what I was doing, but I didn’t see how to get that.

 CB: Right. Let’s see other points, sometimes it’s greater power and simplicity, I think we’ve talked about that already. Sometimes the most simple techniques can sometimes be some of the most powerful and they can sometimes really blow away. Some of these are more complicated, so it’s sort of like esoteric techniques that we have in modern astrology even though they seem so simplistic you’re almost surprised that they work at all. Then, once you start using them, you realize how well they work, and that sometimes that simplicity is a benefit, or I don’t know– Something that bolsters it rather than detracts from it.

 Other things that sometimes basic distinctions like second whole sign houses are really important. Sometimes through basic distinctions like this, you can see concrete circumstances in a person’s life more clearly. That’s certainly one of the big surprises for me in getting into traditional astrology, in Hellenistic astrology, that it actually gave an access point for making statements about concrete circumstances in a person’s life, which prior to that time I didn’t think were necessarily possible, or that it was only possible as a byproduct of doing psychological interpretations.

 LS: Yeah, that’s been huge for me and it makes me feel on much more solid ground when I’m talking with someone about their chart, and especially about the areas of life that are routinely more difficult for them or go really easily for them. I really appreciate being able to use those tools like sect, benefic, malefic, and whole sign houses all together to see why that is and go from there in terms of counseling, but, as a starting point, seeing what the circumstances generally are there.

 CB: Right. Yeah and that also, obviously, changes the discussion of many things that we’ve come up to this point. Some of the topics of debate just because if you can see some concrete external circumstances in a person’s life, and if your astrology is actually capable of saying some things like that then it really does change the nature and the tone of some of these debates about what should be done or what’s possible. Yeah, the next point is that astrology is more capable of being predictive than you would think, which goes along with that, and you had a specific point about that.

 LS: Yeah. For me, especially the things that I was just talking about using sect, benefic, and malefic, and so forth. It really can put the ideas of luck and effort into a better perspective. We frequently talk about the chart– especially in modern astrological– I think the general consensus is, you put in a certain amount of effort and things will go better or worse and that the more of the outcome is up to that than the placement oddly enough, even though we’re using astrology to talk about it all. For me, it’s just given better proportions to maybe you still can’t see, to 100% accuracy exactly how much is luck versus effort, but it certainly gives you a better sense of that and it gives you a better sense of maybe where people can push forward even more and get a lot more for their effort, versus areas that someone’s really frustrated with. You kind of understand that area actually does present them with more difficulty than the next person.

 CB: Right. Which becomes important in terms of, I don’t know, statements about people overcoming difficulties or manifesting their full potential or the extent to which someone can overcome certain circumstances more easily than somebody else. All right. The other point was, the surprising point, was that some techniques work so well that they really raise major philosophical issues like how predetermined things are, what the nature of the universe is and how it works, and how we’re all connected to each other in different ways. These are all points that I know you and I have talked about a lot over the past few years.

 LS: One of the weirdest things to me about the zodiacal releasing technique, in particular, is that it seems more symbolic to me. It’s based on the lots which are mathematical calculations, and it’s based on some planetary periods, but it’s not like watching the current time, planetary transits in the sky, for instance. So, if things that are based on calculations and symbolism like that work so well, and like clockwork. That makes me feel like the nature of the universe is even more weird if you did not already think that to some degree from astrology working at all. It’s like it’s a whole new level of weirdness, I think. [giggles]

 CB: Right. Yes, it really is in a way that you know we’re talking about something really weird if astrologers themselves are already being weirded out by what a technique can do then you know that’s some next-level stuff.[ giggles]

 LS: Right.

 CB: All right. Finally, the last point is just that the– One of the things that’s surprising, I think, to both of us is that it’s possible to integrate traditional and modern and then it doesn’t have to be completely all one or the other. You certainly can do that, you can be all one or the other and there’s nothing wrong with that, but at the same time, if you want to integrate the two, somehow, you can as well. I think that’s the approach that both you and I have taken where the basis of our system at this point the foundation is Hellenistic because that is essentially the basic basis of Western astrology, but that you can take that basic framework and incorporate things from modern astrology on top of that including the outer planets and some other things.

 LS: Yes, and I think that’s really hopeful and encouraging to know if you’re just starting out and getting curious about this. You don’t have to discard everything you already know, and you don’t have to decide that everything you’ve been using doesn’t work anymore, that sort of thing. It’s very possible to learn traditional frameworks and techniques without being a zealot or a purist or things like that. There’s definitely room for integration.

 CB: Right. All right. Well, and I think that basically brings us to the end of our discussion. I have to take everything we’ve just talked about and somehow cram this into the book into what is essentially the introduction. Over the next few weeks, I need to weigh the pros and cons of how much I need to take some of these points and explain them right up front and just attempt to make the pitch in the introduction versus how much I just need to do the astrology and teach the astrology of ancient Hellenistic astrology in the book and let it speak for itself and let some of these points speak for themselves, just because a lot of it is conclusions that a person will naturally come to upon learning the techniques and starting to use them.

 LS: Yes, that’s definitely the challenge in making concise this huge body of knowledge, but also the tangential things that are important, but you can make a 600-page book out of it.

 CB: Right, which has been my issue of why this has taken almost 10 years to write as I keep writing these huge dissertations that are 600 pages long and then eventually having to start again from scratch in order to write something that’s understandable to contemporary astrologers. That’s my task over the next few months. This has been the first installment of my series where hopefully I’ll check in from time to time about how I’m doing with that and what I’m focusing on at the moment. Yeah, it’s going to be a little while, at the very least, probably at the earliest until later this year before that book is out. However, part of what I’m doing with the book is I’m taking some of the material from my online course on Hellenistic astrology and I’m distilling some of that into the book so that the book will be like a concise treatment of that, but everything will be treated more fully in the online course and Hellenistic astrology still. I just finished in the past couple of weeks, a two-year process of revising and expanding all of the lectures in my course so that it now has something like over 80 hours of audio lectures, and PowerPoint slides with diagrams and hundreds of chart examples in this huge 10-part course, or at least what is currently a 10-part course.

As I said at the beginning of this, I’m raising the price on that just by $100, which is not a ton, at the end of this month, so starting on January 1st. If you happen to have listened to this episode and you would like to sign up for the course then you could sign up for the course now and get in at the lower price between now and January 1st. Otherwise if you’re listening to this at a later date, it’s still extremely well priced. People tell me that over and over again. Considering how much information and material I have put at the course at this point that it is still going to be pretty underpriced even at the next price that I’m going to be setting it at on January 1st given what’s offered there. I think you’ve made that comment to me several times, Leisa.

 LS: Yeah, and not just because I know you personally, but just that there is so much in there, and then there are so many courses that are much higher priced. I think even for someone who is fairly budget conscious you’re definitely getting a huge amount of material and value for the price.

 CB: Right. If anybody wants to sign up for that, and if you’d like to help me in the process of writing the book, then that’s also helpful in terms of signing up for the course and that would give me a little bit extra time and money to write the book and get all this out on paper. All right, I think that brings us to the end of this episode. This might accidentally end up being the longest episode that I’ve done I think. We are clocking somewhat over two hours here. Thanks, Leisa, for joining me.

 LS: Thank you for having me again.

 CB: All right. You’re actually doing consultations right now as well because you know basically zodiacal releasing. I’ve stopped doing consultations and so right I’m offloading a lot of my consultation on you. What’s your website again?

 LS: It’s leisaschaim.com, L-E-I-S-A-S-C-H-A-I-M.com. I am doing both natal and timing consultations as well as elections.

 CB: Excellent. All right. People should check out your website, and for more information on my course you can check out my website at chrisbrennanastrologer.com or the other website which is hellenisticastrology.com. All right. Well, thanks everyone for listening and we will see you next time.

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