30-Mar-2015, 11:45 UT/GMT
|Explanations of the symbols|
|Chart of the moment|
Charles Harvey was my friend for twenty-seven years, and my co-director at the CPA for eight years. The sense of terrible loss that I feel at his death is balanced only by the sense of privilege and gratitude which I feel at having known such an extraordinary man, and having the chance to work closely with him in the sphere at which I believed he excelled: education. Whether he was encouraging different astrological groups to communicate with each other, or building bridges through which intelligent lay people could recognise the importance of astrology, or addressing astrological conferences, or writing articles for journals such as Apollon, or offering seminars and supervision to astrological students, his capacity to inspire and expand others’ thinking and vision was enormous. Teaching information is easy and requires little of the soul. Teaching as a form of awakening the soul is a rare talent, most often found amongst poets, playwrights and philosophers. Being clever is also easy, perhaps too easy for astrologers. Being clever and also kind is more exceptional. The combination of being a true educator, intelligent and inspired but also deeply generous and wholeheartedly interested in others, is all but unique.
It was not possible to listen to Charles teach without feeling profoundly connected to the larger cosmos and the order and beauty which he perceived and so eloquently communicated. This was one of his best contributions to the CPA, a perfect counterpoint to the more individually centred approach of psychological astrology. His capacity to invoke this sense of connection made him a true priest, in a deeper and more authentic sense than many who practise under that name in collectively sanctioned religious institutions. Like a good pontifex, he built bridges over which others could cross to glimpse those eternal realities which we have always known but have somehow forgotten in our blind submergence in material existence. Those who focus only on the more technical aspects of his work on midpoints and harmonics miss the greater cosmic unity which he unfailingly understood, and which underpins all such perspectives. The gentleness and decency of his personality reflected not only a heartfelt consideration for other human beings, but also the very high ethical code which made him determined to act at all times as a gentleman, with fairness and courtesy. In all the years I knew him, I never heard him disparage another astrologer in order to make himself look important, or denigrate a student in order to make himself look wise. He had the unusual gift of genuinely listening, and the even more unusual gift of focusing on and calling out the best in any individual he taught or worked with. Charles was no cardboard saint, and it is not necessary to idealise him. But he stands as an example to all of us, not only as an astrologer, but also as the best of what humans are able to become. He did not use unhappy childhood issues to justify unpleasant behaviour, or unleash unfulfilled personal needs under the guise of helping others. He was always no more nor less than the fine and beautiful man he seemed to be; and all of us who worked with him and felt his warmth, support, and unfailing good humour are recognising with pai n how much that matters in a world sadly lacking in such fundamental values.
When we lose someone we love, it is easy and natural to be angry and feel that somehow this life was cut short and left unfinished. Along with personal grief and sadness, this was certainly one of my initial reactions. The mind rushes in to seek “reasons” when confronting that which seems so unfair and unreasonable. At fifty-nine, Charles was still in his prime, and his appearance, energy, and exuberance were those of a much younger man. We had every reason to look forward to many years of his delightful company and thoughtful and provocative contributions to astrology. From an ordinary human perspective, Charles’ life was indeed incomplete. He should have had many more fruitful years in which to develop his own considerable creative writing talents. He should have had more freedom from material pressures. He also should have had a gentler end, as would have befitted such a gentle and gentlemanly personality. But from a deeper perspective, this was a perfectly complete life, shining and full of meaning and purpose, polished like a work of fine sculpture chiselled out of the raw stone.
Charles was always very willing to offer his own birth chart information, to help illustrate important astrological points. This was never done from vanity or self-justification, but always as objectively as possible, for the furthering of astrological knowledge. It would not be appropriate here to discuss the issues in his chart, although many astrologers will no doubt be doing exactly that in order to make some sense of his death. However, it is fitting to mention that one of the great planetary dyads which began a new cycle at Charles’ birth was beginning another new cycle when he died: the conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn, in the same sign in which they were placed at his birth. There is a hint here that something had completed itself on a deeper collective level, and his life and work were set within the context of this cycle. There is also the hint that the work he did for the astrological community is now ready to blossom and take new forms within the framework of the new cycle. Seeing this extraordinary pattern at work, I cannot help but view it as Charles himself would have viewed it – as the reflection of a profound cosmic order and intelligence. I, and many others who loved and respected Charles deeply, will not only miss him terribly, but will, for a time, feel angry both on his behalf and on our own. But I also share his Platonic world-view, and believe not only in the continuity of the soul but also in the permanent and indestructible contribution of a life committed to the enhancement of life. Everything that Charles did in the world of astrology reflected his deep love and devotion to astrology itself, to all that is Good and True and Beautiful, and to the greater unified cosmos of which he understood astrology to be a symbol. Such devotion will leave its mark on us for the rest of our own lives, and on the astrology of future generations, who will be his truest beneficiaries.
It is fitting to end with the words of the poet, Rainer Maria Rilke.
To praise is the whole thing! A man who can praise
comes toward us like ore out of the silences
of rock. His heart, that dies, presses out
for others a wine that is fresh forever.
When the god's energy takes hold of him,
his voice never collapses in the dust.
Everything turns to vineyards, everything turns to grapes,
made ready for harvest by his powerful south.
The mold in the catacomb of the king
does not suggest that his praising is lies, nor
the fact that the gods cast shadows.
He is one of the servants who does not go away,
who still holds through the doors
of the tomb trays of shining fruit.
Rainer Maria Rilke, Sonnets to Orpheus, VII, from Selected Poems of Rainer Maria Rilke, translated by Robert Bly, Harper Colophon Books, New York, 1981.
Liz Greene, Zurich, March 2000
Obituary printed in The Times, London, March 3rd, 2000
Charles Harvey became synonymous with the attempt to restore astrology's credibility and to rescue it from its associations with fairground fortune-telling. To this end, in 1968, he helped to create Correlation, the world's only journal of scientific research into astrology, and in 1979 he promoted an astrological research conference which attracted the psychologist Hans Eysenck and was to become an annual event.
Yet while he wanted to give astrology a new academic respectability and to demystify it, he also wrote popular books and worked for a time as the enigmatic prophet Old Moore.
He did not attain the household fame of some of his television and newspaper peers, but he was a council member of the Astrological Association of Great Britain for more than 27 years, serving as its president (1973-94) before becoming its patron. He also played a part in the publication of the Astrological Journal.
In all that he did - heading organisations, teaching courses and writing books - he set high standards. But most often he played his part behind the scenes as a facilitator, encouraging students, introducing and supporting colleagues and bringing together specialists in different disciplines, whether within astrology or in the sceptical world beyond. He was convinced that astrology's acceptance back into the academic fold was but a matter of time, and his aim was to bridge the gap between mysticism and science.
Charles Edward William Harvey's father was a scholar and a prominent medievalist, who attempted to recreate a 14th century life. He was, however, less skilled at nurturing children, and although the young Charles won competitions in English and poetry, gaining a scholarship to his local grammar school, he fled to Ireland at 15, and to Spain at 20.
He completed Our Gang, a novel about his childhood (for which a publisher was already waiting). But the bag containing his manuscript and an astrology book he had been reading was stolen in Barcelona. He could not face the task of reconstituting the novel, but thought he could at least replace the astrology book. Browsing the astrology section of a bookshop transformed his life, as he became devoted to what he felt its insights could do for mankind.
He saw himself in a line of English Platonists, and was fond of quoting Plato's dictum that the stars are the "moving image of eternity". For him, astrology was primarily a philosophical art, designed to restore the bond between humanity and the divine.
His connection with the Astrological Association and with John Addey (who became a mentor) began in 1963. Three years later he qualified for the diploma of the Faculty of Astrological Studies, the principal private college of astrology, and he later became its vice-president.
He promoted the proper training of professional astrologers (including many whose names are known to the public as columnists), and spearheaded the development of the Urania Trust, an educational charity which, until last year, ran the Astrological Study Centre in London. He was also co-director, with Liz Greene, of the Centre for Psychological Astrology. His last major contribution was the creation of the Sophia Trust - dedicated to the hope of establishing astrology in mainstream British universities.
As an astrologer in his own right, he was best known for his work in "mundane" (political) astrology, and as a financial consultant providing advice for business people in Britain and America. His books include Mundane Astrology (1984, with Nicholas Campion and Michael Baigent), which explores astrology's role in the analysis and prediction of politics, economics and world affairs, and Working with Astrologyh (1990, with Michael Harding), about contemporary technical methods. With his wife Suzi he wrote two popular introductions to astrology: Sun Sign, Moon Sign (1994), and Principles of Astrology (1999).
Harvey is survived by his wife, a daughter, and two sons.
Charles Edward William Harvey was born on 22 June, 1940, at 9.16 am (8.16 GMT) in Fetcham, England. He died of lymphatic cancer on 22 February 2000 at 2.40 am in Bath, England, aged 59.