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Authors at Astrodienst
Interview with Liz Greene
Astrology and Computer Horoscopes

In 1987, you and Alois Treindl created the first AstroIntelligence computer horoscope together - the "Psychological Horoscope Analysis". Being a psychologist and counselling astrologer, what was your motivation to join in the creation of a computer generated horoscope? What fascinates you about this work?

Liz Greene:
Astro*IntelligenceInitially my motivation in working on a computer-generated horoscope was curiosity: if it were possible for the computer to be programmed to synthesise horoscope factors according to an "expert system" rather than the usual linear, non-synthesised interpretations on which all other computer-generated horoscopes are based, could it come close to a valid description of character and psychological motivation? I had no clear idea of what would come out, or even if it would work at all. I was very surprised by the results. I do not think it would have been possible with any other programmer, since Alois is quite brilliant in this field, and unique in terms of his ability to combine computer science with a knowledge of astrology.

Is it possible to understand a person's personality with the help of a computer generated horoscope?

Liz Greene:
If the factors in the horoscope are synthesised and considered as a dynamic energy pattern rather than a static list of personality traits, yes, a computer-generated horoscope can offer quite profound insights into a person’s inherent character and development pattern. The difficulty with most computer-generated reports is that the human psyche operates according to particular laws and energy dynamics which affect the way different parts of the horoscope are expressed. If psychological knowledge is not applied to the birth horoscope and blended with the different chart configurations in a computer-generated report, one winds up with merely a list of characteristics many of which contradict each other, and there is no central focus or sense of a living individual at the core.

How does an AstroIntelligence horoscope compare with face-to-face astrological counselling? Can such a written report replace personal dialogue?

Liz Greene:
LabyrinthA written report cannot replace the personal dialogue between an astrologer and a client, although it can be immensely helpful. The most important factor which is missing in a computer-generated horoscope, however sophisticated it might be, is that the computer cannot determine in what ways the individual has applied free will and choice in terms of how they express the different dimensions of the birth chart. A birth chart cannot indicate consciousness, and a person who has chosen to do inner work and has made the effort tointegrate the hidden sides of their personality will express planets, signs and aspects quite differently from a very unconscious person who simply acts without reflection and blames their problems and conflicts on everyone else. The difference here lies in the level of expression, rather than in the basic character itself. The inherent personality is given in the horoscope, and also the likely ways in which it will unfold over time. But the more conscious we are, the less "fated" we are by our unconscious complexes and compulsions. Only a dialogue with the client can reveal to what extent the individual has accepted responsibility for their own psyche and their own life.

Apart from the Psychological Horoscope, you have written several others like the Child's Horoscope, Career and Vocation or the Relationship Horoscope. Do you have any plans for further projects?

Liz Greene:
We have discussed several possibilities for new projects, and one or two of these will probably be developed over the next year or so. The favourite at the moment is a programme dealing with the issue of what happens to us on a psychological level when we leave our birth place and relocate somewhere else in the world. As the world’s population is becoming increasingly mobile, this is a very interesting area to explore, and many people have already requested such a programme. We cannot trade in our birth chart by moving somewhere else, and it would not be wise to base such an important life decision merely on the evidence of a relocation chart; but there are subtle changes in the way we express our birth charts which could be very helpful to understand when such a move actually does take place.

Astrology in a modern world

Astrology has been practised for more than 3000 years. Do you think such an old "science" has the potential to help with the solution of the complex problems of our modern world - on an individual as well as collective level?

Liz Greene:
Astro*IntelligenceAlthough our views of the cosmos have changed over three millennia, and our technology has altered our way of relating to external reality, the essential nature of human beings has not changed much, if at all, over that time. Astrology is the first psychology and is still perhaps the most sophisticated one, and it continues to be a tremendously helpful symbolic map of the essential patterns of development within both individuals and collectives. The remarkable thing about the astrological map is that it has so many layers and levels, and is compatible with many different psychological and spiritual perspectives. Studying the horoscopes of nations and their leaders can certainly help us to gain a deeper understanding of world events. But ultimately the complex problems of the modern world can only be solved by individuals who are willing to take up the responsibility of living their own lives more consciously and creatively. Here astrology is perhaps the most useful tool of all, because it can offer so many insights into self-understanding. And self-understanding is essential if we wish to make intelligent and constructive choices that might contribute to a better world.

In his book "Psychology of the future", the well-known American psychiatrist Stanislav Grof writes that he has found astrology to be an indispensable tool in understanding the human psyche. Can you envisage the integration of astrological concepts in the wider field of psychology in the near future?

Liz Greene:
Astrology has been integrated for a long time into the area of what is known as depth psychology; Jung used birth horoscopes to gain insight into his patients, and courses in astrology have been taught at various Jungian Institutes around the world for many years. There are also many Psychosynthesis practitioners who use astrology to augment their understanding of their clients. The value of astrological interpretation has already made its mark in many spheres of modern psychology. Clinical psychology as taught at universities has also begun to be influenced by astrology, at least in the United Kingdom, where astrological research has been carried out at the University of London and Southampton University. Post-graduate courses in the history of astrology are being taught at other UK universities such as the University of Kent, the University of Leicester and Bath Spa University College. Something similar appears to be happening in the US as well. There seems to be a growing interest in incorporating astrology into academic programmes, including those in psychology. I believe it will not be long before it becomes more or less accepted as a valuable tool in psychology and psychotherapy. The value of the astrological map as a picture of the individual’s inherent psychological patterning is enormous, and so is the applicability of astrology to particular times in life when a person is going through important experiences that need to be understood more deeply. The entry of Uranus into Pisces and, after a few more years, Neptune into Pisces, is likely to shift our focus from technology and collective thinking to the inner world, the imagination, the spirit and the hidden dimensions of reality. This will undoubtedly bring astrology into the limelight as an avenue of exploration of these deeper levels of life.

© Astrodienst / Liz Greene, 2003


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