The Astrological Journal January 2015
Victor Olliver's Editorial
Sun sign astrology has long been held in contempt, not just by several of the newspaper and magazine editors happy to reap reader goodwill by publishing horoscope columns but by many serious and scholarly stargazers embarrassed by its seeming simplicity if not 'fraudulence'. Harper's Bazaar and Cosmo astrologer Jessica Adams begs to differ. In this issue she argues for its legitimacy and for its inclusion as an option in the curricula of schools of astrology. Be warned: she's taking no prisoners.
Oh, and Journal now has a horoscope - but with a big difference. If you like the notion behind it, perhaps you'll be tempted to contribute...
I can't say my debut issue has turned out quite as planned. Originally, I thought to develop a sober, overarching theme. But as a 'flighty' Gemini - to traipse into annoying Sun sign generalisation - I was soon tempted by a great many other suggestions and the fruit of lightbulb moments. Hence designer Cat Keane's gorgeous elephant on the cover. I ended up thinking: why opt for one good idea when I can create the equivalent of a sweet shop of delights likely to interest the more than the few? I wanted an astrology magazine that can be both serious and fun. Is this possible?
I believe so. Now, take Frank Clifford. If you've ever attended his lectures you'll know how he combines dry wit with scholarship. His wonderful, Herculean essay (p.26) on zodiac power degrees, based on his Carter Memorial talk at 2014's Astrological Association conference, is a case in point. Anyone who can quote Joan Rivers' risqué jokes while shedding light on the meaning of Mercury and Venus in the final degrees of Gemini has my vote.
If Peter Stockinger adds scholarship heft with his learned piece on Jupiter-Saturn conjunctions, ex-Vanity Fair astrologer Michael Lutin (the first to be 'astro-x-rayed' in a new series) can be relied on to take us on a marvellous mystery tour of weird insight. Astrology in politics turned into an unintended focal point, due to a number of unexpected happenings: to our interview with biographer and astrologer Nesta Wyn Ellis (who tells us of her Number 10 celestial chats with John Major when he was British PM); to an interview with David Tredinnick MP - who has cast horoscopes for his Westminster colleagues and publicly supported medical astrology; and to the sad passing of Joan Quigley whom we remember on p.42: in another era this extraordinary Vasser-educated woman favourably guided President Ronald Reagan's schedule via transits and electional astrology (and First Lady Nancy's sound agency).
For me it's a huge privilege to be editing the AA's flagship title, especially since I am a relative newcomer to the world of professional astrology. As someone asked me during my first AA conference last year, after news of my appointment was announced: "But who are you?" This was a good question. Who indeed am I to presume to know what interests the AA membership and beyond? My background is distinctly non-astrological: for far too many years I toiled on national newspapers and magazines as editor and writer; I swanned about the Cannes Film Festival indulging movie egotists (and their PRs); I freelanced for many other titles besides; and lived what is commonly known as the champagne lifestyle on beer money as a travel writer.
Just three years ago I completed the Mayo School diploma - in natal and mundane astrology - under the patient tutelage of Wendy Stacey; though for years before then I'd read around the subject of astrology and been drawn to it in sundry, sometimes odd ways: for instance, one of my first jobs was the editorship of an astrology magazine called Romany, the work of Brighton-based stargazer Eva Petulengro. When I departed my last 'proper' job in journalism, at the Daily Mail General Trust, in 2009, I resolved to make a career of astrology. So, here I am.
I offer grateful thanks to predecessor Carole Taylor for such a smooth and good-natured handover; and for the wise counsel of John Green who edited Journal before her. Trying to fill their boots is a big challenge. One can only try.
This is the editorial from the January 2015 edition of the Astrological Journal, the UK's premier astrological magazine.