Who Are the Key Players in Astrology?
Astrology has evolved over the many centuries of its existence from a fatalistic, even superstitious ritual meant for 'kings' and 'rulers' to a viable 'art form' incorporating changes through the centuries in the development of our understanding about human nature.
Let's take a brief but loving journey through the history of astrology and look at some of the key players in the development of the field. After all, you have to know your players!
Astrology as we know it came into being in ancient Chaldea/Bablyon (roughly modern Iraq) around 1645 BC with the first 'horoscope' dating around 410 BC. 'Astrology as we know it' means the procedure of consulting the stars to pick favorable times for doing things, answering questions, forecasting mundane events and analyzing individual destiny by a horoscope. Interestingly, the Rising Sign was first used for predictions, though sometimes the Sun, Moon or Part of Fortune was used as well.
Astrological progress was also made in Egypt, Greece and Rome. Ptolemy (85-165 CE) in Greece was perhaps our first famous unique astrologer and of course he is known for many other things as well.
Copernicus and Galileo
Skipping ahead through the Dark Ages in Europe, there were two famous men who emerged during the Renaissance who practiced astrology, Copernicus (1473-1543) and Galileo (1564-1642). Both these men are famous in the scientific field, but at one time there was a comfortable and natural association between astronomy and astrology, the exoteric and the esoteric of the stars, if you will. In 1524 the credibility of astrology was severely and permanently affected when predictions about the 'great conjunction' that year failed to come true.
Oddly, the resurgence of interest in astrology today can be dated to the birth of England's Princess Margaret in 1930. That year the 'London Sunday Express' ran an astrological profile of the princess that was so popular, it peaked a general interest in astrology and from this developed your newspaper's 'daily horoscope', not that daily horoscopes have much to recommend them.
This is a beautiful little bit of circular history (the more things change, the more they stay the same) because originally astrology was used only for royals. Others like serfs, slaves and peasants did not have much to their 'fate' other than a life that was 'nasty, brutish and short'. But the fate of a nation hung on the destiny of its ruler and his or her horoscope was a critical interest to all.
The first astrologer of modern interest is the very interesting indeed Evangeline Adams (1868?-1933). Adams, who lied about her birth date, was considered the 'Mother of Modern Astrology'. She was a colorful figure who practiced in New York City during the first half of the 20th century. Adams became famous because she predicted a hotel would catch fire. When she was put on trial, she insisted that astrology itself be put on trial. Astrology won! Adams asked for the horoscope of the judge's son and told him things about his own son that convinced him of the veracity of this field. Adams' life is fascinating and there are many biographies, anecdotes and discussions about her in magazines like 'The Mountain Astrologer' and online. Among her clients are reputed to have been John Pierpont Morgan and Enrico Caruso.
Dane Rudhyar (1895-1985), considered by some to be the greatest astrologer who ever lived, was a tremendous force in the development of humanistic and spiritual astrology in the 60s and 70s, beginning the interface of astrology with psychology that so enriched our field. Rudhyar's essays and discussions are well worth reading today. Of particular interest in my opinion are his writings about the relationship between the Sun and the Moon. Rudhyar's book: 'Lunation Cycle: Key to the Understanding of Personality' is a classic addition to any astrologer's library.
An unforgettable force in the field of astrology of a very different nature was Ivy Goldstein-Jacobson (1893-1990). With her professional precision and purity, Goldstein-Jacobson restored the tools and techniques of modern astrology. Perhaps her most famous book is 'Simplified Horary Astrology - .
Reinhold Ebertin (1901-1988), his mother Elsbeth and his son Baldur, have been a major force in both German and international astrology since the beginning of the century. Ebertin's work with midpoints has been influential in developing an understanding of transits and prediction. His book to read is 'Combination of Stellar Influences'.
Isabel Hickey (1903-1980) made a lasting impression on our field during the first half of the 20th century as well. Ms. Hickey's most popular book is called 'Astrology: A Cosmic Science'. It was one of the first astrology textbooks to teach a spiritual rather than fatalistic approach to chart interpretation.
Influential in other ways were two French psychologists Michel (1928-1991) and Francoise Gauquelin. The Gauquelins set out in the 50s to prove whether or not astrology was accurate. Although their results were not amazing, they did establish some correlations in favor of astrological predictability and perhaps more importantly, produced great amounts of statistical data which are still used by astrologers today to develop their theories of prediction.
Linda Goodman Although often downplayed within the professional astrological community Linda Goodman (1925-1995) was a tremendous popular force in the revival of interest in astrology in the second half of the 20th century. Unsteady in her writing, Goodman's first books, 'Sun Signs' and 'Love Signs' were stupendous. Later books wandered far afield. Like many professional astrologers, my first exposure to the field was with these two books. I kept 'Love Signs' by my bedside for many years, looking for the perfect Capricorn lover.
Sydney Omarr (1926-2003) is mentioned because he is perhaps the best known of his genre, astrologer to the stars! Omarr was an outstanding nationally syndicated columnist during much of the 20th century. He wrote 'My World of Astrology'. His annual Sun Sign prediction books are popular sellers every year among his faithful followers.
Lois Rodden (1928-2003) made a major contribution when she developed a system of rating sources for birth data which revolutionized our field. Believe it or not, prior to this astrologers never cited the source of their birth information! Rodden began a practice of citing sources such as birth certificate, family Bible, hearsay, biography or autobiography, for example, giving a rating to each source as to its accuracy. Because of Rodden, many astrologers now routinely cite the source of their birth date when writing about famous people or historical figures and undoubtedly our field has more credibility because of this.
Two major astrologers working in the 21st century are Rob Hand and Liz Greene. Both are available at www.astro.com.
Rob Hand is an astrologer in Reston, Virginia specializing in a philosophical and classic approach to astrology. Hand has written a number of encyclopedic texts which are a must for your reference library, such as Planets in Transit, Planets in Youth (one of my favorites), Planets in Composite and others. Hand is spearheading a project to translate ancient astrological texts from Latin, Green, Sanskrit and other languages in order to present information about astrology by translators who are sympathetic to its nature. Visit www.projecthindsight.com for more information.
Rob Hand was one of two prominent astrologers (Michael Lutin is another) who predicted 911. I believe that Hand's ability to do this particular thing is based on the 9th house influence in his astrology chart, his knowledge of history and his development as a philosophical thinker. There is nothing like knowing history (one's own, another's or the collective) to enhance one's abilities to see patterns and make connections for the future.
Liz Greene is a British Jungian analyst/astrologer currently based in Switzerland. Greene brings in-depth Jungian psychological insights to the field of astrology, is a superb and prolific writer and has produced unsurpassed volumes on the nature of the outer planets Saturn, Neptune and Pluto as well as many other books of interest in interpretating astrology. Anything Liz Greene writes is well worth reading.
Martin Schulman, a contemporary astrologer about whom I have found little biographical information, introduced the concept of karma into astrological interpretation with a series of books on the Moon's Nodes including 'Karmic Astrology: The Moon's Nodes and Reincarnation' and 'Ascendant: Your Karmic Doorway'. Schulman is in a class of his own.
Astrologers are an independent, eclectic, futuristic and dynamic group of people. We welcome all who are interested into our field. Most astrologers are self taught (it is our nature) but you will find small classes available wherever you live if you look carefully! In addition the Kepler College of Arts and Sciences was founded in 2000 in Lynwood, Washington. Kepler College is the only college in the western hemisphere authorized to issue BA degrees in Astrological Studies. The entire curriculum is based on astrology. If this is an approach you would like to take, try www.kepler.edu.
If you would like some excellent books about classical astrology and its development through the ages, visit http://www.astroamerica.com/index.html.
About the Author
Nancy R. Fenn is a professional astrologer in the San Diego area. She enjoys working creatives, intuitives and visionaries to discover their mission in life.