Modern Astrology

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Evangeline Adams (1868-1932) was an American popularizer of astrology on both personal and business matters.

Modern astrology (Revised Astrology) is a catch-phrase for several types of astrology practiced in western countries since the turn of the twentieth century. After Traditional Astrology nearly died out in the West by the mid-nineteenth century, several "new" astrologers hoped to revitalize astrology, but to do so using the insights of science, psychology, human potential movements, and essentially by speaking to the conditions of modern urban life. They also began to popularize astrology through newspaper columns and primers that displayed some remarkable departures with the past.

One of the major features of modern astrology is its focus on the personality of the individual (Individual Astrology.) Although traditional astrologers wrote about people's "temperament", and the quality of their "soul"; modern astrologers examine character in terms of motivation, behaviours, emotions, and inter-personal relationships. A major branch of modern astrology, Psychological Astrology, uses the insights of the discipline of psychology to interpret humans as unique individuals.

A key difference with traditional astrology is that modern astrologers streamlined many methods of traditional astrology. For example, a traditional astrologer might occupy himself with a variety of minute observations and calculations to assess the relative strength or weakness of a planet in a horoscope. A modern astrologer would be more likely simply to delineate planets in signs, houses, and aspects. Some planetary configurations might seem more difficult for the individual to manifest constructively than others, but each planet is seen as contributing in a more equal way to the whole.

Having largely discarded traditional astrology's determinations of planets' Essential Dignities, many modern astrologers look at more recently developed potentials in the horoscope, such as planetary Midpoints, Asteroids, and Minor Aspects.

Most modern astrologers use the outer planets Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto to interpret horoscopes; whereas many traditional astrologers today stick with the original seven "naked eye" planets. Most modern astrologers use the modern rulers of Aquarius (Uranus), Pisces (Neptune), and Scorpio (Pluto; although some would examine these signs' traditional rulers as well (Saturn, Jupiter, and Mars, respectively.)

Many modern astrologers include "natural Houses" and their planetary rulers. This system relies on the correspondence between the first sign (Aries) and the first house, the second sign (Taurus) and the second house, and so on. Consequently because Mars rules Aries, it becomes the natural ruler of the first house; Venus (the ruler of Taurus) becomes the natural ruler of the second house, and so on. Traditional astrologers hold that some planets are stronger in some houses than others, but do not use these affinities.

A major difference between modern and traditional astrology concerns the degree to which its adherents believe that most people have considerable opportunities and choices in their lives, or whether astrology presupposes a more fatalistic view of the influence of the heavens on the outcomes of people's lives. Although fatalists and "Free Will" advocates appear in both camps, in general modern astrology developed as a reaction against the more deterministic pronouncements of traditional astrology.

Some modern astrologers fuse their work with beliefs in various metaphysical schools and Indian Astrology; or, in contrast, an interest in the stock market. Therefore there is no single unified "modern astrology" but rather a range of practices and expertise.

Modern astrology shares with traditional astrology a concern with the mundane and material circumstances of people's lives, their health, and their futures.

Bibliography

  • Nicholas Campion, 2009, A History of Western Astrology, Vol. 2: The Medieval and Modern Worlds, Continuum.
  • Robert Hand, 1981, Horoscope Symbols, Whitford Press.