This is the first post for calendar year 2016, so it seems like a good time to rethink for myself the purpose of my writing here.
Credit where credit is due – this piece was triggered by reading a phenomenal blog entry by John Michael Greer on his occult blog, The Well of Galabes. This particular piece is titled The Twilight of the Neopagan Era.
He chronicles how we are at the end of a pop culture version of the Neopagan and Occult communites, and as that fades, serious committed followers of neopagan paths will need to weed out the core of their practice from the pop trappings, the candles, unicorns and medieval costumes.
I am a child of that era.
For most of my adult life I have been in and out of various neopagan sorts of paths. The form of spirituality I now practice is closer to Aleister Crowley’s philosophy of Thelema than any other path I’m aware of.
Here’s the kicker sentence at the end of Greer’s article that helped me clarify what I’m about here in this Journal and in my writing in general.
“Still, there’s another thing that will have to be done, and that’s the rehabilitation of occult philosophy and its study—something that was thrown out with the trash early on in the Neopagan era, and will have to be hauled back out of the dumpster, given a good scrubbing, and put back in its proper place.”
Philosophy – that’s the missing piece for me. I could care less about the trappings; what interests me is the underlying worldview, the philosophy.
Back in the late 1970’s I spent a couple of years in a liberal Christian seminary. Out of all the classes I took, there was one that changed how I think forever – the subject was, Theological Interpretation of Popular Culture.
Here’s how the class worked.
We would take a popular movie or novel, and view or read it while keeping the following questions in mind.
– What kind of world view is this piece assuming?
– What is the nature and source of Good, or of Evil?
– What values does it hold up as desirable, and what as undesirable?
– How does it depict the values and roles of men and women, white and nonwhite, rich and poor, and so on.
Basically, what we uncovered with these questions is the underlying philosophy and set of values that lay assumed behind the world of the work of art.
Asking those questions has become a way of life for me. I now keep that that set of questions in mind for everything I read – including, and especially, books of astrology.
For a long time I have felt that astrology today has a need to examine its own philosophical and ethical underpinnings, the values it assumes. I feel like there are unexamined spiritual platitudes that we repeat without realizing their implications.
That was the goal of the series I did last fall on the assumed mind/body split in our culture, and our need to get to a holistic, body positive kind of worldview and spirituality.
I feel like my purpose here in this blog is to examine different schools of astrology today, and examine the sorts of values that they assume. Mind you, I want to do this sympathetically rather than critically. I want to try to find what is really good in the kinds of values that a particular school holds. I want to appreciate what they are trying to do rather than criticize them for what they are not doing.
So, stay tuned while I turn my Theological Flashlight questions on some of the ways we do astrology.