The Astrological Journal July 2015
Victor Olliver's Editorial
After a certain point, each Journal issue assumes a life of its own. Take this one, for example. I had planned months ago a royal theme for the July-August 2015 edition to mark Queen Elizabeth II becoming Britain's longest-reigning monarch. Kings and Queens through the ages have been guided by stargazers. Let's tell the story and have some fun on the way - was it worth examining the synastry, say, between Elizabeth I and each of the actresses who have played her? So, three astro-royal features were commissioned including Frank C. Clifford's razor-sharp biography of the Queen, partly by reference to her solar arc directions. What I didn't know then - and no, I didn't see it coming - was that the BBC would foolishly reanimate the 13th zodiac sign claim on one of its science websites and enrage a sizeable chunk of the world of astrology. Do I detect growing, educated militancy in otherwise (largely) veggie-practising astrologers? I hope so.
This magazine issue then - aside from its dedication to crowned heads - has turned out reflecting the energy generated by the row. If there was an award for valour and clear-headedness I would give it jointly to leading astrologers Deborah Houlding and Robert Currey. In response to the BBC's Ophiuchus nonsense, supposedly authored by the BBC Two Stargazing Live comic co-presenter Dara O'Briain, both produced excellent and readable reports setting out the history and structure of the zodiac: why there are twelve signs, why a constellation is not a star sign, why the ecliptic is not the zodiac, and much, much more. We are running Deborah's essay in this issue - Robert's will follow in a future one.
The idea behind this (and other pieces to come) is simple: to prime ourselves as astrologers to deal with an uncomprehending media (and aggressive social media science cultists), to quote accurately chapter and verse on our art and craft. If you're not absolutely sure why Ophiuchus is not included in the astrological zodiac, do read Deborah's scintillating piece. I freely admit it: I found (some of) it an education!
And, by the way, Deborah's complaint to the BBC about O'Briain's online item prompted at least one substantive correction - you can read the details in her feature.
This issue also reflects the continuing overspill from the media firestorm that followed our interview with David Tredinnick MP (who was returned to Parliament in the recent UK General Election with an increased majority - so, astrology is not that toxic an issue, after all) in our Jan-Feb 2015 issue. Sharon Knight, on p. 10, writes a first-person account of how astrology helped her recover from 'terminal' cancer, supporting Mr. Tredinnick's contention that astrology does indeed have a part to play in healthcare. Personal testimony is the best response to sceptical guesswork.
Another expression of astrology's growing confidence to deal with so-called debunking science or dubious science claims is Peter Marko's piece, 'Denying the lunar effect'. It's an answer to the research work of one Professor Jean-Luc Margot of the UCLA who claims to have disproved any connection between Full Moon and hospital admission rates, against anecdotal evidence and other earlier research. Peter picks apart (please excuse the alliteration) the professor's methodology, and draws attention to Margot's unwise mission statement against 'superstition'. Perhaps a spirit of open-minded inquiry might prove useful in distilling a fact or two.
Hopefully I'll get to see many of you at the Astrological Association Conference in September - if you're attending, do check out Gary Christen and his talks on Symmetrical Astrology: he's written an introduction to this intriguing approach in this issue.
So, I started by saying that each Journal issue assumes a life of its own after a certain point. I hadn't expected such an abundance of informed comment and analysis as a counter-blast to mainstream silliness. Leaving the final editorial mix to fate or Neptune's apparent whim (within reason, that is) has I think produced something a lot more interesting than what I first envisaged.
My grateful thanks to all contributors for their time, energy, wisdom and knowledge.
This is the editorial from the July 2015 edition of the Astrological Journal, the UK's premier astrological magazine.