The Astrological Journal March 2020
Victor Olliver's Editorial
Astrology gets a 'good' press. For a change
Now here's a strange thing. Suddenly and without much if any warning - did we see it coming? (Answer below and elsewhere in this issue) - astrology is on the cusp of being intellectually fashionable again. Do I exaggerate? Just possibly a little.but no, I don't think so. Let's be optimistic and make the most of the germ of truth in these opening words. A book has just been published which is about astrology and which is not being ignored or sneered at by people who wear the intellectual designer label 'scientific' or 'rational'. Quite the opposite. The title is actually drawing rave reviews in mainstream newspapers and magazines. It helps of course that the author, Alexander Boxer, is a scientist. He has "a doctorate in physics from MIT," his publisher Profile Books informs us, and "a master's degree in the History of Science from Oxford and a bachelor['s] in Classical Language from Yale. His technical research has appeared in journals such as Nature Physics." Boxer's essential Enlightenment credentials are fi rst established, then. Just as well because this brave man has decided to explore science's debt to astrology. A perilous thing to do even though we kid ourselves that we live in an age of free speech and thinking. Will his career come crashing down as PhD peers look away in embarrassment, wondering as to his sanity and all that money spent on his epic education? Unlikely given the reception he's getting in the media.
Dr Boxer's book is A Scheme of Heaven: Astrology and the Birth of Science. You'll fi nd more detail about it in Astro News. The Financial Times tells us that this "data scientist" argues that "looking to the stars shares common ground with our faith in algorithms". The Spectator reminds us in its review that "Those who think numerical data will unlock the world's secrets should remember that Babylonian astrologers have been that way before". Yes, indeed. Boxer has discovered what a great many astrologers know already: that a mathematicsbased system of understanding humanity is not so diff erent from what Google and Amazon geeks and wonks are doing right now, as they algorithmically strive to categorise and herd online behaviour for clickbait heaven.
We should not get too carried away. A number of book reviewers have been rude about astrology before perversely conceding its part in the history of science. Yet a close reading of A Scheme of Heaven reveals that the author seems persuaded by (or open to) astrology in certain particulars. For instance, he finds credibility in the Saturn-Jupiter 20-year conjunction cycle which signals global upheavals...a thought which brings me to the late planetary cycle master André Barbault...
Did Barbault foresee the likes of the Boxer book?
Well, yes, sort of. But don't just believe me. Read the Barbault interview on page 52 in which he envisages a time in the 21st century when astrology is recognised as "important" by the general public. The DVD of the interview can be bought at a 12% discount in our special offer. It is my view that Boxer's A Scheme of Heaven opens the door to a more intelligent and appreciative mainstream understanding of astrolo...a pleasing thought as we consider what's next under the Aquarius Jupiter-Saturn conjunction of December 2020.
There's much about planetary cycles in this issue. Nick Campion reminds us of Jean Bodin, Anne Whitaker refl ects on Saturn-Pluto and Sue Kientz argues that we should add the dwarfs to the major cycles.
This is the editorial from the March 2020 edition of the Astrological Journal, the UK's premier astrological magazine.