Episode 79 of the podcast features a discussion with astrologer Christopher Renstrom on the recent debate in the astrological community about whether there are placements in a person’s natal chart that may indicate a person’s sexual orientation.
Christopher gave a talk at the Second Queer Astrology Conference 2015 entitled “The Problem of the Gay Signature: Unearthing the Queer Archetype in Astrological History and Culture,” and he recently gave the same talk as a webinar for Rubicon.
For more information on Christopher’s work, please visit his website at www.RulingPlanets.com.
Below are the show notes, followed by links to download or stream the recording of this episode.
Raffle prizes for June
This is the first June episode of which I am announcing the prizes for the giveaway we’re running for the show’s patrons later this month.
This month’s prizes include a free one-year subscription to The Mountain Astrologer Magazine and a free pass to the upcoming ISAR astrology conference in California in October. Please visit the June giveaway description page for more information.
- Christopher Renstrom gave a talk at the second Queer Astrology Conference 2015 entitled “The Problem of the Gay Signature: Unearthing the Queer Archetype in Astrological History and Culture”.
- The fundamental question in our discussion is whether homosexuality can be seen in the natal chart?
- This has become a point of discussion in the astrological community, with some astrologers saying yes and others arguing that no, you can’t.
- This is an important but sensitive issue that people hold dearly for good reasons.
- Our goal is to explore different opinions on this topic, just as we have explored other discussion topics in the community in the past.
- The main points of the debate, summarized by Christopher at the end of his QAC lecture:
- Are some of the traditional “homosexual astrological signatures” out of date and irrelevant?
- Or do they actually still work, but just need serious optimization?
- Those who say “No, there are no signatures” contradict the underlying implication that was previously present in many astrological texts that the signature (s) would either appear because something was “wrong” about homosexuality or because they considered it something “strange” or “different”.
- Some objecters compare it to being asked if you can see gender in a natal chart or if you can see race, which astrologers generally disagree with.
- Those who say, “Yes, it can be seen in a horoscope” argue that many aspects of our character, desires and other inclinations can be described in the natal chart, and it would be strange if this area were not addressed or addressed in some way.
- Some who object feel that it cannot be seen because then they would implicitly acknowledge or accept a heteronormative point of view that they reject.
- Others might see a birth signature for homosexuality as confirmation of arguments that homosexuality is something you are born with, rather than a choice.
- Some disagree by saying that sometimes “gay” or “straight” is not always a clear distinction.
- The Kinsey scale posits a sexual spectrum rather than a binary either-or situation.
- Some people have straight and gay relationships at different points in their lives.
- Some have been strictly one-sided for many years, but later decide to take a different path.
- The general point is that the idea of a signature can be too simple because things are more complicated.
- Some object by saying that looking for a signature in itself is implicitly homophobic and implies that it is abnormal in some way.
- Historically, this may largely be true, but it does not go without saying that anyone interested in the subject and trying to look at it empirically is homophobic.
- Traditional (old) technical approaches to the topic:
- There is no such thing as a “signature”. Many different possible considerations.
- Surprisingly more nuanced than one would expect, especially when compared to the somewhat simplistic statements made by some modern astrologers on this subject.
- Different techniques for studying different things.
- Renstrom points out that ancient texts contain a number of other things as well, such as signatures for eunuchs, hermaphrodites, celibacy, lustful types, etc. It was not just about homosexuality, but a wide range of ways that sexuality and gender could be expressed.
- The general problem with the “signature” in ancient times is that it was tied into old social norms and traditional gender roles.
- The theme in modern times is similar but with more emphasis on and different from social norms (Uranus) and a simplified technical approach.
- Ptolemy’s primary treatment of the subject is in Tetrabiblos, 3, 15:
- Focused on the Sun, Moon, Venus and Mars.
- Problems arise when there is an imbalance and too many placements in the zodiac signs of one gender.
- The ideal situation is for the balance of placements: sun in the masculine sign, moon in the feminine sign.
- It has been believed that too many of the same sex of the local and the local become hypersexual in their own gender tendencies.
- Too many wear the marks of the opposite sex as their own and they transgress gender and sexual norms.
- Associated with traditional gender roles and values.
- Occurs again in Tetrabiblos, 4, 5, on sexual union.
- Other treatments in Dorotheus, Manetho, Valens, Firmicus and others.
- Signatures in modern astrology:
- Rather, focus on the outer planets, especially Uranus.
- In the 1960s and 70s, homosexuality was often associated with Uranus in horoscopes, and Uranus was associated with other planets such as Venus or Mars.
- Christopher points out that this association may have first developed through non-astrological means and then carried over to the astrological community.
- Uranus came to point out something strange, unique, or against the norm about the native’s sexuality.
- If this is or has been a relevant signifier, the question arises whether Uranus, pointing generally to strange or generally unique things, would continue to indicate homosexuality if it normalized in modern society.
- If society becomes more accepted in the future, can it really be called Uranus when it is no longer so “strange”?
- Astrology always works within the confines of its host culture.
- In theory, that would make this signature temporally and culturally relative.
- Or does the fact that homosexuals make up only part of the population (10% ±) and are therefore not standardized means that Uranus would still be relevant?
- Could still mean “different” or “not standardized” or not quite the norm, even if that doesn’t mean different or weird?
- Uranus is indicating something “different,” but will that difference always necessarily be homosexuality, or could there be other differences in sexuality that it could indicate?
- So is Uranus not always a sufficient indicator?
- One of the recurring points is that it is almost risky to make statements about gender and sexual orientation at any level, as all statements made are in part products of the astrologer’s mindset and whatever the prevailing ideas and theories they may have then subscribed.
- Will these theories always be objectively true or are they only culturally or temporally relevant at this point?
- In recent times in particular, opinions seem to have changed so much that it seems almost difficult today to make statements that will not appear incredibly out of date in a few decades, as some of the texts from the 1960s and 70s show.
- Things We Couldn’t Achieve:
- (We ran into a technical problem with the recording software towards the end of the discussion that forced us to finish things earlier than expected. There were also some topics that were beyond the scope of a single episode.)
- Are Transgender Problems Linked Or Not Linked To Astrological Signatures For Homosexuality?
- Recent proposals to reject gender distinctions in astrology altogether.
- The broader subject of gender and relational astrology in general.
- Are the boundaries different for men and women or should they be the same? For example, is Venus for men and Mars for women more descriptive of relationships?
- Final remarks:
- The purpose of this discussion was to bring up the topic and talk about a number of different facets of the related debates.
- It is such a large subject that it is difficult to do it justice in a reasonable amount of time.
- Instead of coming to hard and quick conclusions, we hope this will help start a discussion and encourage the listener to think.
A full transcript of this episode is available: Transcript of Episode 79
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