The Astrological Journal July 2017
Victor Olliver's Editorial
The Hellenistic past
Robert Graves' I, Claudius - the unforgettable BBC TV adaptation rather than the novel - introduced me to the character Thrasyllus, astrologer to the Roman Emperor Tiberius. I say 'character' because back in the mid-Seventies I made the offhand assumption that Thrasyllus was just a dramatic invention to represent ancient oracles in the Principate. For some reason, my school history teachers never got round to profiling any astrologers, not even John Dee in our study of Elizabeth I. Only later did I learn that Thrasyllus of Mendes (or Alexandria - alias Tiberius Claudius Thrasyllus) was an actual historical figure (who died in 36 AD), an Egyptian Greek grammarian, literary critic and.feted imperial astrologer. In later research I was disappointed to learn that little or nothing of Thrasyllus' astrological techniques had survived antiquity - but happily this turns out to be uninformed. Chris Brennan - whose splendid debut book Hellenistic Astrology: The Study of Fate and Fortune I highly recommend - tells us in this issue that there are sufficient extant clues to Thrasyllus' chart work to give us an "outline" of some of the techniques he used, such as in inceptions. A direct, practical link to the Hellenistic world such as this certainly excites my imagination. So much so that I plan to study Greco-Roman astrology in the near future and incorporate certain classical techniques by the side of modern methods, if possible. I like the idea of 'fusion astrology'. You see, when I see an astro-tribe, I reach for my running shoes.
The hellish future?
The techniques of Thrasyllus (and those of other classical and later 'traditional' astrologers) comprise intricate calculi of literal prophecy, to determine outcomes in large or small matters. Many modern astrologers shy away from this idea of fixed predestination while nonetheless making forecasts that allow freewill a hand. In Wendy Stacey's comprehensive analysis of the Jupiter-Saturn mutation conjunction in Aquarius in late December of 2020 (great conjunctions stay in air till the year 2159), a speculative vision of the future is described. This feels as much a part of a credible, recognisable evolution (for instance, we can already envisage mega-sonic aircraft traversing the Atlantic in a few minutes, post-Concorde) as some kind of blueprint based on the patterns of past great conjunctions. As an aside, on a personal level, Wendy's essay revived my tendency to question the champions of freewill. Did anyone ask you whether you want artificial intelligence to run your life, as Wendy forecasts? Or whether you want to live in cities that boast eco-buildings tall enough to merge with the sky (very Aquarius)? These great tides (such as the mutation conjunction) seem to carry us along regardless of what any one of us thinks or wants. Will this new Age of Air (starting with Aquarius) just reduce us further in human tumbleweed status? Well, read Wendy's essay and see what you think.
Incidentally, if you conclude that materialistic, smog-making earth gets a bad rap in the mutation conjunction piece, don't miss Dr. Vangelis Petritsis' piece on how he thinks earth was paramount in the development of 20th century music. Your thoughts on this are keenly awaited.
The hellish present
Yes, yet another general election, in the UK this time. This is why the July-August 2017 issue is rather late. Stress levels rose as deadlines were brushed aside, but I'm sure you'd agree we could hardly go to press without some astrological coverage of the national poll. Astrological Association president Roy Gillett offers us his thoughts on the course Britain is now set, while elsewhere we look at natal and national charts for election time. If you made a forecast for this election (published/written with a timestamp) sometime before the result (which sets out your technique step-by-step) then do send us a copy.
This is the editorial from the July 2017 edition of the Astrological Journal, the UK's premier astrological magazine.