Traditional vs. Modern

Many astrologers today blend psychological with traditional astrology, making little distinction between the two philosophies. Many of the differences are historical.

When I first studied with Zoltan Mason (who was born in 1906) in the 1980s, he’d say things like, “Wherever you put Saturn you get some kind of difficulty.” Then I’d read something like Liz Greene’s 1976 book on Saturn and she says, “Saturn fosters the exhilaration of psychological freedom.” A bit confusing! But the difference shows the change in astrology over the 20th century. Mason studied works written in Latin by astrologers like Jean Baptiste Morin (17th century), and Greene had a contemporary point of view.

Over the centuries, astrology often adapted itself to prevailing trends. Alan Leo practiced a more predictive type of astrology until his conviction for fortune-telling in 1917, when he decided for legal reasons to delete all predictive references from his work (he died trying). Evangeline Adams’ work from the same time shows a very predictive bent. But her books from the late 20s and early 30s have a more psychological tone as she tried to reach a wider audience. As time went on, more astrology books described personal development and character, paralleling the rise of psychology.

Bob Zoller has always said that the concept of “evolution” is a very modern idea. Scientists today typically use linear thinking: we at the contemporary end of the line of time are always “better” than those before us, “more advanced” and knowledgeable. And astrology is a remnant of the past.

If we think of how tough it is to understand a Shakespeare play written about 400 years ago, how much more difficult is it to understand Plato, writing almost 2,500 years ago? It’s a stretch, and that’s in translation, too, putting it another step away from us. The first Greek horoscope is from around the time of Plato, but the idea of astrology is at least 2,000 years older and maybe even more.

Modern astrology is an adaptation to a contemporary perspective. Traditional astrology comes from a completely different paradigm, which is not understood very easily today. Whatever appeals to you, use it!