Excerpt from the Intro to the Classic British Astrology Report


At the height of the British Empire, certain men and women, who were educated and intelligent, began to redeem astrology from the disrepute of its superstitious past.  In March 1880, Richard Garnett, a wide-ranging author and scholar, who was a librarian at the British Museum, writing under the anagram pen name of A.G. Trent, published an article titled The Soul and the Stars, giving the details and positive results of his astrological study into the charts of historical persons afflicted with insanity [see his E.B. 1911 bio].  He wrote, quite sensibly, that we "fully admit that astral science is incompetent to explain the divergences of human constitution and character without a free use of the doctrine of heredity. Our contention is that the two theories complete each other, the latter accounting for the element of stability, the former for the element of variability."  He went on to say, "We have appealed throughout to the testimony of facts of history and biography, partly astronomical observations derived from no more recondite source than the ordinary ephemeris. Any one can verify or disprove these observations in a moment by the same process; any one who will be at the trouble to search for examples can investigate the subject for himself."  Although they had to protect their careers by writing under pen names, an increasing number of courageous and pioneering men and women did just that.

The labor of a century of workers has been to learn how to read horoscopes in an accurate manner. A major step in this direction came with Alan Leo's 1911 publication of *A Thousand and One Notable Nativities*. The best classic astrology writers clearly spent hours and hours poring over the planet positions of the subjects in this book, learning how to read their charts by synthesizing the placements and patterns of the planets.

The answer as to why astrology revived first in Great Britain must lie in the prosperity of the nation at that time - with their basic needs met, individuals had the leisure time and resources to devote to understanding the human condition.  During the same historical period, pioneers elsewhere, notably in Vienna, had discovered and were studying the unconscious mind from the psychoanalytic point of view.  

This report draws upon the following interpretations:

Alan Leo: Rising sign interpretations and planets conjunct the Ascendant.

Sepharial: Planets in the houses.

Evangeline Adams: Planets in the signs.

Charles E.O. Carter: Aspects between the planets.

John Halloran: Pluto in the signs and houses, aspects to Pluto.

As you read your report, you will note that the classic interpretations tend to deal more with external forms and events than do the increasingly psychological and theoretical interpretations of more recent astrology.  They are also not evasive about the planetary placements and aspects which produce trauma and difficulty. Most of us are affected deeply by events throughout the course of our lives. And it tends to be negative experiences that send people in search of astrological guidance.  Perhaps one of the finest services that an astrologer can perform for a client is to offer an explanation of a traumatic occurrence, an explanation which challenges the politically correct view that misfortune 'just happens'.

So join me in appreciation of the blunt, unapologetic presentation of what these pioneering astrologers observed.  It is information that you are unlikely to get from any other source.

The sometimes rambling, discursive interpretations of the Planets in the Signs are the most different from what you will find in a typical brief cookbook-style delineation. But in addition to the thoroughness of these well-written delineations, the discussion of example charts of historical figures who had that planet-sign position teach us how the famous Evangeline Adams actually combined the planets in a chart to arrive at an overall synthesis. This is a valuable skill to learn. To allow AstrolDeluxe program users to look at the charts of the historical figures discussed, I made sure that they are all included, usually with good birth times, in Halloran Software's Famous Charts collection.  The data-collection process which Alan Leo began in 1911 with his publication in England of *1001 Notable Nativities* flowered with the thorough, careful work of the late Lois M. Rodden, assisted by members of ISAR and many astrological professionals.  Now students in every corner of the earth can spend the quality time needed to learn astrology by easily looking at the relations between planets in a variety of accurate charts and comparing them to known biographies.

I have edited and polished these interpretations, so that they are now different from the originals. In some cases, the astrology pioneers had the wrong birth or chart information for the historical figure. And it was fascinating to see how elements of a subject's life sometimes mystified the astrologer who did not yet have access to information about the planet Pluto, discovered in 1930.  In all cases, Pluto completed the interpretation. These astrologers also did not know about aspect pattern focus planets, the interpretation of which Halloran Software has pioneered.  When important to the understanding of an historical figure's chart, I have edited the discussion to make it complete.

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Last modified on September 14, 2014.

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