Modern Astrology started in the early 20th century when Alan Leo (William Frederick Allan, British,1860-1917) created an astrology based on psychological principles. Rather that the stars predicting the future, they now indicated a person’s character. A Theosophist, he also added karma and reincarnation to the interpretation of the Natal Chart. In so doing, Leo also side-stepped the question of free will versus fate. He also sought to legitimize Astrology by applying scientific laws to the craft. Leo did this to avoid being arrested for fortune telling.
Dane Rudhyar (Daniel Chenneviere, French-American, 1895-1985), another Theosophist, founded Transpersonal Astrology. His book, “The Astrology of Personality (1930),” presented the Natal Charts as insights, not predictions. According to Rudhyar, Astrology offered choices, with people having total free will. He saw Astrology as the “workings of cycles and holistic patterns in people’s lives.” (Rudhyar is also known for his presentation of the Sabian Symbols (a 20th Century development) for each degree of the Zodiac.)
In regards to the Planets, Rudhyar said that Jupiter needs to work within Saturn since that Planet forms the purpose of a person’s life. The Planet Saturn offers the structure to do that. Meanwhile, Uranus (a non-Classic Planet) will pierce through the walls of Saturn, and abruptly change things. (This differs from Jupiter being the Planet of expansion, while Saturn is the Planet of restriction in Classical Astrology.)
In Modern Astrology, the newer Planets – Uranus, Neptune and Pluto – are important to the workings of the charts. Included in Natal Charts are the asteroids such as Ceres, Chiron, Juno, Pallas, and Vesta. Lilith, in her various forms such as the Black Moon Lilith, are plotted as well. While the Asteroids affect an individual’s character, the outer (newer) Planets impact the character of generations.
In the 1970s, the Twelve Letter Alphabet System was introduced by Zipporah Dobyns (American, 1921-2003). Also known as the ABC System of Astrology, the system has the Houses correspond with the Signs, which then correspond to the Planets. An example would be First House (A), Ares (B), and Mars (C). In this system, the Planets are Archetypes. Meanwhile, the Zodiac Sign determines how the Planet will manifest in a House.
The ABC System changes the meanings of the Planets from their Classical sources. For example, Venus, the traditional ruler of love, is now associated with the Second House. That House governs resources, and has Venus ruling money. In Classical Astrology, Mercury is the Planet who rules money and exchanges. Another example is the Sun which is associated with Leo. Now because Leo rules the Fifth House, the Sun now governs children. Classic Astrology has the Sun ruling royalty instead.
When I first encountered Astrology, it did not interest me. It seemed to be inane and chaotic. After reading about William Lilly and his works, I realized how elegant Classical Astrology was. In contrast, Modern Astrology is more ad-hoc and intuitive. Because I have a brain injury, I prefer “maps” to navigate by. Classical Astrology provides that for me with the malefic and benefic Planets, and the rules of interpreting their effects on daily life. I find Classical Astrology more useful to me since it clarifies things better. That approach to Astrology is structured and methodical, which suits me better.
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