In episode 113 of the podcast, I interview Dr. Nicholas Campion of the University of Wales Trinity Saint David on the revival of the practice of astrology in the West in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
Nick is the world’s foremost historian on the history of astrology in Western culture and the author of several books on the subject, including The Author A History of Western Astrology, Volume 1 and Volume 2 and more recently Astrology and Popular Religion in the Modern West: Prophecy, Cosmology, and the New Age Movement.
Nick is director of the Sophia Center for the Study of Cosmology in Culture, which offers an MA program in Cultural Astronomy and Astrology at the University of Wales Trinity Saint David. This is the only degree in the world that studies humanity’s relationship with heaven.
Below are the show notes and an overview of some of the main points of the discussion, followed by links to download or stream the recording of this episode of the podcast at the bottom of the page.
View notes and episode summary
- The practice of astrology in Europe decreased from the 17th century.
- What were some of the reasons for this decline?
- Last big bloom in England with Lilly and some of his contemporaries.
- Astrology practice hit rock bottom in the 18th and early 19th centuries.
- Survived in the form of popular almanacs.
- Additional esoteric strand went into the masonry and then returned in magic and theosophy
- The revival of interest and practice occurs in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
- Start with Spiritualism and the Theosophical Society.
- Beginnings of the New Age movement, modern millenarianism, etc.
- The central role of Alan Leo in reviving the practice at the turn of the century.
- Connection with Blavatsky and the Theosophical Society
- Writes a variety of books and articles.
- Books were widely available and translated into other languages
- Innovative method to delimit mass market astrology.
- Desire to simplify the techniques to make them easier to learn.
- Move towards character analysis.
- Role of other characters.
- Marc Edmund Jones
- Dane Rudhyar and the Birth of Psychological Astrology.
- One of the first to incorporate Jung’s work on depth psychology.
- Most prolific astrological writer of all time?
- Invention of the sun sign pillar in the 1930s.
- Subsequent popularization of astrology via sun signs
- Astrology’s popularity exploded with younger generations in the 1960s and 70s.
- Part of the counterculture and new age movement.
- Aftermath. Astrology blossomed in the late 20th century.
- Addendum: The Place of Astrology in Science.
- Why is it important to study the history of astrology?
A full transcript of this episode is available: Episode 113 Transcript
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