The Astrological Journal January 2016
Victor Olliver's Editorial

Victor Olliver - Astrological Journal editorThe revival of traditional techniques is one of the more surprising developments in the world of astrology in recent years - as true in the UK as, say, in the US. A lightning Google recce tells us of flourishing courses in the astrology of Classical Greece, and of the Middle Ages or Renaissance. Horary, electional and natal predictive techniques are proving popular with young and student astrologers. And we have yet to mention Vedic or Chinese systems. Hermeticism for many reconnects astrology to supposed divine or magical sources while teacher-astrologers such as Öner Döser in Turkey strive to harmonise modern and ancient methods. A reaction against the 20th century trend in 'psychologising' astrology may be one explanation - though whether this adequately accounts for the power of spiritual or intellectual inclination is another matter. What do the planetary cycles have to say? I won't go into that now. However, thinking of the revivals from the distant past turns my attention to the range of writers in this issue and where each 'stands' in the trads vs mods debate.

Take Michael Lutin, for example: one of the world's most popular stargazers, thanks to his much-missed quarter-century astro-column in Vanity Fair magazine. For all I know, he could be the returned soul of Hermes Trismegistus. But in his look-ahead over 2016 and beyond, Michael keeps his mind open to what the pesky dwarf planets in the Trans-Neptunian Kuiper Belt - such as Sedna and Quaoar - might tell us. He even introduces us to notions of an 'exo-astrology' which boldly takes us into alien cosmic territory well beyond the Kuipers, and certainly does not confine us to the ancient Chaldean order.

I have never asked Deborah Houlding what she thinks of the Kuiper Belt Objects, Eris or Pluto, so I won't presume anything. But I did ask her at the last APAI Open Day in Liss, where she gave a thrilling lecture on electional astrology (see the Astro News), whether Neptune might symbolise the movies, as asserted by many moderns. This is because of the nebulous planet's association with illusion. She politely demurred. Leaving that aside, how wonderful to have Deborah in this issue - her interview sizzles with revelations.

As an aside I must thank Deborah for bringing us two writers new to me. Angela Cornish teaches horary and in this issue shares her knowledge of astrology and past-life regression, which presupposes a nomadic spirit or soul behind science's disposable flesh and bone. Her findings are intriguing - and demonstrate the fluidity of astrology to adapt to so many different ideas. The other writer is trad astro-herbalist Marcos Patchett who explains Rejection and its variants in the horoscope - contrasted with Reception/Mutual Reception. He applies these techniques to modern celebrity, such as singer Morrissey, suggesting a timeless validity. The second part of his essay, which focuses more on health and medicine, will run in the March-April 2016 issue.

I mentioned Öner Döser whom I had the pleasure to meet at last year's Astrological Conference. Robert Currey profiles his work in a survey of astrology's revival from practical and mystical traditions in Turkey. Entrepreneurial Robert of course is famous for pioneering computerised astrology reports through his company Equinox; and he has helped advance the application of locational astrology (actually, an old method) through its late 20th century development, Astrocartography.

Claire Chandler's Carter Memorial Lecture rises above such matters as trads vs mods to address the question of the power of astrology and of astrologers. Where does this power come from? How do we use it responsibly? This is a unifying theme that cuts across techniques old and young, classical or last week.

From this perspective, astrology's many expressions are not in the least divisive. Instead, they testify to richness of knowledge and dynamic engagement.

This is the editorial from the January 2016 edition of the Astrological Journal, the UK's premier astrological magazine.

The full table of contents is here. If you'd like to read the rest of the magazine, you can do so by joining the Astrological Association - members receive the AJ free. Join here!