I began an investigation into astrology several months back, coincidentally around the time that many other Right-wingers were doing the same, according to PhilosophiCat. I didn’t know that at the time, and so it is like we were all tapped into the same wavelength.
I was originally interested in astrology for cultural purposes, for despite my interest in metaphysics, I had always been skeptical of astrology. This was driven by how fluffy modern astrology is, combined with a veneration of the will to power. But over the past months my attitude has completely changed as I learned more about authentic pre-modern astrology, combined with empirical hands-on practice.
I would like to see astrology rehabilitated, in part because, to use one of their own phrases, the Left has “culturally appropriated” it. Today, astrology is the domain of teenage girls and tacky gossip magazines who, frankly, make things up to help their readers feel good and then dress it up as intuition. There is also an inordinate emphasis on the Sun sign, which is patently ridiculous, as it ignores the ascendant (where the Sun would rise on the horizon, which can change minute to minute instead of month to month), along with a whole host of other complicated yet intriguing factors. Even when these more complicated factors are addressed, it is usually in a vague, sappy manner.
Let’s contrast this with real astrology. I have primarily relied on Chris Brennan’s book Hellenistic Astrology, and while he does not appear to be of the Dissident Right, his book is still an informative dive into both the practices and developmental history of astrology in the Hellenistic world. This Hellenistic astrology had its roots in Sumer and Egypt, but it was the Greco-Romans who brought it to its heights with several new innovations. Interestingly, this innovation seems to have been launched by a figure named Hermes Trismegistus, although later Hellenistic astrologers further refined it.
Hermes Trismegistus is also the root for the term Hermetical alchemy, implying that this person or persons revolutionized both astrology and alchemy, developing them as arts that are meant to complement each other. While there are several opinions regarding Hermes Trismegistus’ identity, Julius Evola opined that he “should not be considered an actual historical personage, but the special spiritual influence that defined the initiatic chain and the organization,” as referenced by The Golden One in an outstanding article giving an overview of Evola’s book The Hermetic Tradition. This would make sense if ancient astrologers felt moved by divine inspiration, as that would make attributing advances in astrology to themselves a sort of plagiarism; they did not invent or even find this knowledge, rather it was already there, and some higher force saw fit to pass it down.
One of the odder primary sources on pre-modern astrology is The Picatrix, a grimoire translated from Arabic to Latin in the thirteenth century. This book shares the same Neoplatonic foundation as Agrippa’s Three Books of Occult Philosophy, which was written several centuries later, but is frankly much more exotic and bizarre and probably inspired H. P. Lovecraft’s references to a fictional text called The Necronomicon. The shadowy author of The Picatrix supposedly read and incorporated over 200 other books, making whoever wrote it a highly-educated genius. We are far from the realm of secular modern art students, indeed.
One oddity which stuck out was how the author alleges that, over time, the procession of the equinoxes advances by eight degrees, and then reverses by eight degrees. This is false, as the procession of the equinoxes is why there is a difference between sidereal and tropical zodiacs. The sidereal zodiac divides the heavens according to where the zodiac constellations actually are in the sky. This changes as they slowly move over time, however, and the change only goes one way. The tropical zodiac is stable, does not change, and is based for unknown reasons on the position of the constellations at 786 BC, which may have been chosen because it coincided with an astral conjunction or the building of a temple in Egypt. I suspect it was because it coincided with the start of a new era. Astrology does not merely apply to the birth of human beings but also to the inception of projects, nations, and other such endeavors. I therefore theorize that 786 BC was the beginning of the Iron Age in the West, less in a technological sense and more in the metaphysical sense of the Kali Yuga. This was roughly around the time of the end of the archaic Greek Dark Age, which was the transition period from the fall of the Bronze Age and the beginning of Classical Antiquity.
Furthermore, the footnotes in my copy of The Picatrix warn that some of the poisons are actually harmless and that some of the medicines are poisonous, and notes that this would have been known as such to any medieval apothecary based on their ingredients. Perhaps there is some relation to the alchemical phrase “we burn with water and wash with fire,” and thus the recipes are meant to convey a metaphysical meaning, but I suspect this was a trap to throw off unworthy amateurs who did not take astrology seriously. I could easily see a novice dilettante claiming that he knew the secret knowledge of the alternating eight degrees, only to be laughed at by professionals. There is absolutely no way that an author who read 200 books on astrology did not know about the correct procession of the equinoxes.
Additionally, the recipes in The Picatrix sometimes have ingredients that are not just disgusting, but also exotic. Take how gazelle brains were not a common commodity, and thus procuring them would have been expensive. In many cases I thought the cost was not worth the purported spell’s effects. I suspect the exotic ingredients were a hint to not use physical ingredients, but rather esoteric energies. This would help keep secret knowledge secret, and also provide some good entertainment in enticing materialistic people to make fools of themselves in their pursuit of material wealth and power. Either way, these exotic materials mean that medieval practitioners of astrology had to be either extremely rich, or extremely intelligent and subtle. It was not for the common people, as modern astrology is today with its dumb-downed, sugar-coated ramblings. It was the province of the nobility.
One of the Picatrix spells calls for engraving an image into a diamond. Cutting diamonds with diamond dust was not discovered until later, however, and is ruinously expensive. Engraving even a simple image should be more difficult than cutting. I originally thought this was evidence of lost archaic technology, such as is suggested in the Pylos Combat Agate, whose small but striking images should not have been possible to make during the Bronze Age. In hindsight, it might have been a clue not to use a physical diamond at all. Either way, it is intriguing and places these matters far above the level of modern supermarket tabloids.
Returning to astrology as a whole, learning about the procession of the equinoxes was a turning point for my skepticism. Using the sidereal zodiac is inherently more intuitive than the tropical zodiac. Brennan explained that Hellenistic astrologers noticed that astrology was beginning to stop working with the sidereal system, however, and then for the most part switched to the tropical system. What we can infer from this is that astrology was not invented mumbo jumbo, but an exact, empirical art.
This leads into another point, which is how exact and detailed ancient astrology is. Having skimmed the original writings of two Hellenistic authors, Vettius Valens and Rhetorious, it became clear how complicated ancient astrology was. Brennan gives a good rundown of the numerous factors that can affect astrological analysis, some of the highlights of which are how the planets that rule the zodiac signs are located and what is going on with the various “houses” or “places” which are calculated based on the ascendant. Astrology is like an onion: The basics such as Sun signs are simple, but there are many advanced techniques as well.
But how does astrology work? While modern people look at the planets as exerting direct forces, the ancients thought that they functioned more like omens. I generally agree with the ancients, but on this point I concur with the moderns. Perhaps both are true to some extent. Regardless, if we assume astrology is at least partially real, it also comes with major metaphysical implications. Christians and Neoplatonists saw astrology as evidence of a divine plan originating from an ultimate Creator. Pagans saw it as a gift from the gods. Despite being polytheist, I find astrology to be the strongest argument for a single omnipotent godhead that I have encountered thus far. Who arranged the planets and stars? Modern people who follow astrology, however, tend to be overwhelmingly atheistic or of the generic “spiritual but not religious” variety which is prevalent on the Left.
Astrology is therefore most likely at least partially real, and certainly part of our heritage. It may also have practical applications, as it can be used to time the launching of projects, predict events, and to pursue self-development. While this predictive power is mostly limited to domains of common themes rather than concrete specifics, as each planet, sign, and house/place has a large number of elements within their domains which can be signified, it could still prove helpful. For example, the skies over Washington, DC on January 6, 2021 had two T-Squares, which signify conflict, along with five planets smashed close together on the border of Aquarius and Capricorn. Take that as you will.
I am not suggesting throwing your fate into the hands of the stars, however. Rudolf Hess had a keen interest in astrology, and he even had a more senior astrologer pick the date of his secret mission to England. But this did not prevent his plan for peace from being foiled by bad luck, destiny, or faulty interpretation.
Even if my newfound belief in astrology is ill-founded, it is still a fascinating subject because it informed the decision-making processes of the European nobility over the centuries. Not that long ago, war and politics were at least some of the time carried out in accordance with the stars. Now, a faux elite makes important decisions based on the dictates of subversive think-tanks. Proper astrology seems to have died out as much from a decline of literacy in Latin and Greek among the aristocracy as from the rise of scientific rationalism. The world used to be a more magical place, and when high astrology fell out of fashion, it was as though a hidden enchantment that had lain over history was broken.
I have no fear of having broken the taboo of secrecy by sharing my findings in this article. The Picatrix’s warning against sharing astrological knowledge with ignorant people who do not thirst for knowledge felt like the medieval equivalent of “No normies allowed!” I am certain that the readers of Counter-Currents are sufficiently aristocratic for it. And for the Southern Poverty Law Center interns and such who comb through our articles, they are so closed-minded that what I wrote might as well have been kept in a musty tome, bound and locked with iron chains. They can enjoy their horoscope in Cosmopolitan.
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