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Advanced Notes for Astrology Students

Building Bridges Between Science and Astrology

We all know there has been a considerable rift between astrology and astronomy, and between astrology and science in general. Through the twentieth century the relationship has often been outright antagonistic.

Yet several astrologers most closely associated with Chiron and the related class of Centaur planets (now with nineteen members, eighteen of which were discovered between 1992 and 2000) are making history, as astrology and astronomy are being reunited as one science.

Nessus, Absolus and Chariklo, the third, fourth and fifth members of Chiron's class to be named, respectively, have had the proposals of astrologers Zane Stein, Robert von Heeren, Dieter Koch and Melanie Reinhart accepted by the International Astronomical Union (IAU), and adopted as the official names. This is truly a paradigm shift for both astrology and astronomy because for the first time in modern history, both sciences are working together.

Many astrologers who work with the centaurs are themselves skilled astronomers, aware in great detail of the highly technical astronomical points of the planets with which they are working. Some write their own highly complex computer programs to calculate these new planets' positions, and then provide the ephemerides to the public. Most centaur astrologers, including many working with Chiron, conduct research in much the way that social scientists do, interviewing their clients and collecting their findings, because there are no cookbooks written about the planets that they are working with.

The best book that deals with the scientific and psychological meaning of the first three centaurs is called To The Edge and Beyond by Melanie Reinhart, available from CPA Press.

Too Little?

Some people argue that Chiron is too small to have an effect on astrology, or to be considered a planet. "Planet" comes from the Greek word for "wanderer." A planet, then, is any celestial body that is not a fixed star. For years, there were just seven planets: the Moon, the Sun, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn. The ancients also used the lunar nodes and Arabic parts, but as calculated points in space, these have no dimension and no mass at all. So the "too little" argument loses most of its validity here, because the lunar nodes and Arabic parts have an obvious effect in astrology but are not "things." They are concepts.

Uranus, the first of what are known as the "modern planets," was discovered on March 13, 1781, heralding what historians call the modern era. In harmony with its astrological themes, Uranus arrived amidst the numerous revolutions of those times, the discovery of electricity and the imminent dominance of technology over religion. Everyone agreed that this was a planet.

The next planetary discovery was not, as is popularly believed, Neptune (discovered September 23, 1846), but rather Ceres (discovered Jan. 1, 1801, on the very first day of the nineteenth century). Ceres is called an asteroid, yet one so huge, 940 kilometers in diameter, that it represents 25 percent of the mass of the entire asteroid belt, and is about half the size of Pluto. And while a few astrologers worked with Ceres before our current decades, it has never been accepted as a planet by mainstream astrology, despite the fact that Ceres, like Saturn, was one of the twelve most important deities of Roman mythology. Its arrival at the turn of the nineteenth century marked the period of women gaining their very relative freedoms over past times.

Ceres was considered too little to be a planet, and it was, after all, named after a woman. That the all-important symbolism of Ceres (agriculture, food, nurturing, children, child-rearing and grief around children) was ignored as a result, is a statement about how the aspects of home and family are devalued by male-dominated institutions. Yet despite its being only 940 kilometers across, one would have to simply ignore Ceres outright to miss its obvious impact as an astrological factor. Since the 1960s, much more attention has been paid to asteroids, but unfortunately they are still considered a relatively unimportant branch of astrology by the mainstream of the profession, including the professional journals. Most people think they are "too little."

It's fair to say that the next 2,068 discoveries of minor planets were also ignored by mainstream astrology until the discovery of minor planet 2070, Chiron, in the last days of October, 1977. It was only a few weeks after this discovery that an astrologer named Zane Stein acquired an ephemeris for Chiron, calculated, at Stein's request, by an astronomer involved with small planet research.

Is Chiron too little to be a planet? Can a 300-kilometer ice cube orbiting way past Saturn have an effect on us? The only way to find out is to cast it into your chart and those of the people you know, and see how it works. Just remember Pluto—that other ice cube at the edge of reality. Compared to Saturn, it's microscopic, but anyone who's ever lived through the transit  Pluto conjunct Saturn, will tell you it's pretty big. Even Saturn thinks so.

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