The Astrological Journal July 2018

Victor Olliver's Editorial

Victor Olliver - Astrological Journal editor Backward trickster medicine dance

Have astrologers lost touch with the "vast temple of the living heavens.with their observational roots?" Put a lot more simply, do we lift our heads from books or charts enough in order to star-gaze? How familiar are we with the actual intricate movements of planets and with the added significances opened up by such study? These questions arise from the work of Gary P. Caton whose essay on Martin Luther and the Mercury Elemental Year we publish in this issue. Among his many observations is that "Mercury traverses the zodiac [in a year], [but] he does not spend an equal amount of time in each sign. Rather, Mercury shows decided preferences, spending as much time in the three signs of one elemental triplicity as the other three combined. An extended stay of such a speedy planet represents an ideal alchemical environment where the volatile is made fixed". Consequently, in "tuning into the themes of the Mercury Elemental Year, you become naturally resonant with the symbolic currents of the times in which you were born, and those in which you live, work and grow".

I am reading Caton's new book Hermetica Triptycha: The Mercury Elemental Year, and discovering a whole new frontier of interpretation from a deeper understanding of the planet's retrograde cycles; or as his publisher puts it, "Mercury's backward trickster medicine dance".

Botticelli's astrology lessons

The story told in Phoebe Wyss' original study of Botticelli's Venus paintings involves a naughty scion of the Medici clan and the astrological lessons encoded in the artist's work as potential life guidance. It had been noted that the young man had "a strong, unruly Mars in his chart" and it was the hope of at least one of his teachers that a "dose" of Venus might moderate his feral ways - hence the exemplary Venus paintings. We are transported back to a time when the very learned didn't think twice to consult the horoscope for insights. And we now live in an age when critics are probably oblivious of astrology's part in these great works, as gallery audio guides serenade visitors with safely secular historical or philosophical background detail. Never mind. If art lovers wish fully to understand what they appreciate in Botticelli's Venus paintings, a copy of this issue of Journal may be recommended or gifted.

The Faculty at 70

The Astrological Association has just celebrated its 60th birthday at its 50th annual conference, and the party season continues. Frances Clynes marks the 70th anniversary of the esteemed Faculty of Astrological Studies with a brief history - and what a history! Call me a ghastly old gossip but I love nothing more than to hear of the power battles of yesteryear, of passionate people locking horns over this or that vision. Margaret Hone's astrology book is the one many of us read in our early studies, and I had no idea what a fierce person she could be in her triumphant management of the Faculty. Suddenly, she is fascinatingly alive in my imagination in contrast to the very different impression she left from her sober prose style.

The test

Finally, do take the visual test Kyösti Tarvainen has set and see if you can tell whether Sun or Moon is on the Ascendant in the charts of featured celebrities. It just involves looking at mugshots or videos and applying your knowledge. Trouble is, there are so many factors.let us know how you fare.


This is the editorial from the July 2018 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!