No. I’m just a fairly ordinary guy who spent a decade reading old books about astrology.
The basic premise of astrology is that whenever an event occurs on earth, the configuration of the planets at that moment in time will somehow correlate with or “mirror” the event that occurred.
For example, according to the theory of astrology, when a child is born, the configuration of the planets at that time will tell us something about the child and what kind of experiences they may have in life.
This correlation is usually framed in one of two ways - either causal (the planets cause events), or acausal (the planets correlate with events but do not cause them). Most astrologers today, myself included, adopt an acausal model.
Regardless of philosophy, nearly all astrologers approach the task in broadly the same way.
First, the astrologer casts a chart or “horoscope” which depicts the positions of the planets at the time and place that an event has occurred. Then the astrologer examines the chart to get information out of it. How they go about this will differ depending on the astrologer’s approach to astrology. There are a number of different schools or styles of astrology, and each one uses a different set of techniques to examine charts.
I am a traditional astrologer, which means that the techniques I use have been around for hundreds or even thousands of years, and most of them have their roots in the original systems of horoscopic astrology that first emerged around the 1st century BCE.
I prefer the traditional approach to astrology because it sits well with my personal philosophy of perennialism ». I also like that the system itself is logical, cohesive and sensible.
Some traditional astrologers focus on preserving and passing on the traditional approach rather than innovating; but many other traditional astrologers mix a certain amount of modern astrology into their practice. For example, many traditional astrologers use the outer planets Uranus, Neptune and Pluto.
At present I do not use the outer planets in my practice.
The traditional system of astrology was internally consistent and lacked for nothing, so the discovery of Uranus, Neptune and Pluto caused astrologers some consternation. Some wanted to integrate the new planets into the tradition, but they had a problem - there were no yawning gaps in the traditional system waiting to be filled, no glaring holes that a new planet could conveniently plug.
Over time, astrologers came up with a variety of new significations to give to the outer planets, in an attempt to integrate them into their practice. However, I am concerned that some of the qualities commonly ascribed to these bodies may be ill-conceived; at the very least, their significations are much less well-defined than those of the seven traditional planets (Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, the Sun, Venus, Mercury and the Moon).
For now I am focusing on getting very good at using the seven traditional planets, although I may start to integrate the outer planets into my work in the future.
Similar to the Zen koan, “If a tree falls in the woods, but no-one is there to hear it, does it make a sound?” we might also ask, “If a person asks a question, but there is no-one there to answer it, is it even a question?”
The 17th century horary astrologer William Lilly wrote that in the case of receiving a horary question in the mail, we are to cast the chart for the time (and presumably the location) that we open the letter and read the question:
“… that very hour and minute of hour when I break it open, and perceive the intention of the Querent, is the time to which I ought to erect my Figure, and from thence to draw mine Astrological Judgment.” (Lilly, Christian Astrology , p. 166).
More recently, Geoffrey Cornelius wrote in his seminal work The Moment of Astrology:
“The what of the horary moment is not simply the posing of a significant question. It is the posing of a significant question to an astrologer, with the explicit intention that this question shall be subject to astrological judgement. ... The whole project depends upon the participation and mutual intentions of astrologer and client.” (Cornelius, The Moment of Astrology , pp. 117-118).
I hold a Practitioner’s Diploma from the Federation of Australian Astrologers, which is primarily a natal astrology qualification. I have also completed Christopher Warnock’s renaissance horary astrology course. I do not have any formal qualification in electional astrology but I have been practicing it since 2008-2009.
I have been practicing horary and electional astrology on and off since 2008. I am relatively new to practicing natal astrology; I only started offering natal readings in 2018.
I am firmly of the belief that the simplest solution to a problem is most likely to be the correct one.
That’s why at present I use whole-sign houses - because they are undoubtedly the simplest and almost certainly the original system of house division (see e.g. James Holden’s History of Horoscopic Astrology pp. 14, 91).
Some astrologers insist that you must use quadrant houses for horary astrology, but they rarely present good arguments for why. Often it boils down to “William Lilly used Regiomontanus houses so I do too,” as though horary began and ended with Lilly. The earliest horary texts from the 9th century CE all appear to be working with whole-sign houses (e.g. Sahl’s On Questions, Masha’Allah’s On Reception) and I struggle to see what has changed since then to make this approach obsolete.
I use the tropical zodiac. I find sidereal astrology interesting and I can see the arguments for using the sidereal system, but I would argue that, under a divinatory model for astrology, both zodiac systems are likely to be equally valid. Neither system leaps out at me as being obviously more correct, and I have a sneaking suspicion that both probably work rather well. It’s a bit of a “flip a coin” situation!
It is incorrect to say that the sidereal zodiac is better because “it lines up with the constellations” - as both zodiacs use a seemingly arbitrary division of the circle into 12 equally-sized chunks, neither system aligns exactly with the constellations.
Most of my techniques derive from texts written between around 800 CE to 1700CE. A list of my main sources is below, although I often refer to more books than these:
For horary astrology: Sahl bin Bishr’s On Questions, Masha’Allah bin Athari’s On Reception and William Lilly’s Christian Astrology.
For elections: Sahl’s On Elections and Guido Bonatti’s Book of Astronomy.
For natal astrology: Dorotheus’ Carmen Astrologicum, and Abu’Ali al-Khayyat’s The Judgement of Nativities.
Short answer: I believe in both!
I recognise that fate and fortune do exist, but I also believe that free will can alter or change our fate. “But if that’s the case, can we still call it fate?” Herein lies the contradiction that so many have grappled with over the years.
The most satisfactory answer I have ever heard to this vexed question came from my horary teacher Christopher Warnock: The reality of the cosmos transcends the human concepts of fate and free will. We are trying to get a simple answer to an infinitely complex issue. Fate and free will are both valid and not necessarily mutually exclusive, and the contradiction exists more in our minds than in reality.
Not currently. My goal at the moment is to get more experience in the trenches reading charts before I begin to teach astrology. I do have plans to teach eventually!
Generally yes, but I do not uncritically accept everything that has been written or said about astrology; I try to maintain a degree of healthy skepticism, and take the traditional doctrines with a hefty dose of logic and reason.
While I have at times been blown away by the incredible accuracy of predictive astrology, there have also been times where it has left me wondering if this stuff works at all. There are also large parts of modern astrology that I hold a lot of grave misgivings about.
Ultimately I think that the benefits of astrology on a practical, spiritual and even therapeutic level are so manifold that astrology is still worth engaging with, despite its inherent imprecision and inaccuracy, and despite the problematic way that it is utilised in the modern world.