The Astrological Journal March 2016
Victor Olliver's Editorial
Planet Nine, Bowie and Shakespeare As I write, news of 'Planet Nine' has just broken. No one's seen it yet but its likely existence in our Solar System has been inferred from a gravitational influence on six other objects in the Kuiper Belt. Planet Nine, thought to be gaseous, could be ten times the mass of Earth and take up to 20,000 years to orbit the Sun. "Will this change astrology?" I am asked on Twitter. Now, there's a question. Astrology has deftly accommodated relatively recent discoveries of Uranus, Neptune, Pluto and many Kuiper planetoids, each tagged with a 'myth', corresponding attributes and an ancient deity or two. Nine was discovered in the wake of the death of showbiz god David Bowie - might this event (an admixture of music, celebrity, star-worship, imagemaking, glamour, global bereavement, courage/creativity in the face of mortality and vast capitalist life-richness) be co-opted in the construction of Nine's astrological symbolism? Appropriately, Bowie's last album is called Blackstar. Might Planet Nine even be renamed 'Bowie'? Probably not. Well, let's await the first photo before we get carried away. Whip out those telescopes!
For this latest issue of Journal, Nine's rumoured arrival in our heads is perfect timing. Because one of our lead features is Sue Kientz's essay on Pluto in the wake of the New Horizons probe flyby of 2015. She addresses the question of whether the Dwarf Planet requires astrological redefinition in the light of new scientific information - and of the news events coinciding with these discoveries. Her approach reminds us of how astro 'myths' evolve - and how Planet Nine/Bowie may yet add to our art and craft. For many modern astrologers, new celestials help to refine and deepen chart readings, though there does remain the problem of the cluttered horoscope.
Death of another 'god' is also in our minds - that of Shakespeare. This year the world celebrates the 400th anniversary of the Bard's passing. Much already has been written of the astrological content of his works, so it is a great honour to publish Priscilla Costello's groundbreaking essay on Shakespeare's use of the archetypal language of astrology in his plays - her analysis of Romeo and Juliet and its Gemini foundations is original and certain to interest a great many, even beyond astrological shores. I am also delighted to bring you Brian Clark's fabulous meditation on astrology. He asks: "When reflecting on astrological practice, has the technical, interpretive and delineative ways of knowing the horoscope overrun the imaginative, intuitive and participatory way?" In an age of advanced science, with its insistence on the 'literal', we risk losing that connection to ourselves which is hinted at in dreams - the wellspring of our spiritual work. Bathe in his words and share your thoughts with us, if you're minded to.
My thanks also to the many talents who have made this issue possible. Among them is the British philosopher Martin Cohen who, despite the immense dissuasive pressure of science, 'rationalism' and his conservative world, has something positive to say about astrology.
Wonders never cease.
This is the editorial from the March 2016 edition of the Astrological Journal, the UK's premier astrological magazine.