The Astrological Journal November 2017
Victor Olliver's Editorial
The otherliness of astrology
I was greatly taken by Alejo López's winning essay in the Astrological Association's Student Writing Competition, published on page 49. The theme this year, "The Importance of Astrology", drew an impressive variety of different perspectives and moods, doubtless making the judges' decision a hard one to make. But Alejo excelled in his risky thesis that astrology's importance lies a lot more in its search for meaning than truth (which, in this context, has materialist connotations of productive "usefulness"). "The more we accept that astrology may not respond to productivity as it is understood today, the more important it becomes," he writes. "The less significant [astrology] is considered by the capitalist world, the greater its value. Because it stands on a different ground from anything else". In another part of his essay he observes: "The importance of astrology lies in its capacity to be applied to any context, as a tool to understand and see the paradoxes that are in constant manifestation in front of our eyes".
Some of these are contentious thoughts, not least because a fair number of sciencebased astrologers are seeking best ways to evaluate the objective truth of astrology. And others will contend that astrology is nothing if it does not demonstrate its practical relevance to everyday life. While all these views and more have their distinct value and serve different purposes, Alejo's essay is a useful, baseline reminder that astrology is essentially "otherly" and in this, potentially, lies its greatest power. Or, let's cherish the mystery at the heart of what we do.
The six best astrology essays ever. Help!
For family reasons I sadly had to miss last year's Astrological Association conference at Wyboston Lakes. It was therefore an added pleasure to be able to attend this year's gettogether in Bedfordshire. As Roy Gillett explains in his conference report on page 6, the 2018 conference will be held in June and at a new venue, in Reading. So book your place as soon as you can - demand is bound to be high.
As you may know, the 2018 conference celebrates not just its own 50th birthday but also the 60th of the AA, hence the 'Diamonds in the Sky' theme. Among an embarras de richesses I shall be one of the speakers - and my subject is The Astrological Journal itself.
The title of my talk is The Top Six Astrology Essays Ever, i.e. the "most stunning pieces" published in this journal since its start in 1959. "Stunning" is perhaps a difficult word to define precisely given the challenge, but by it I mean: most seminal (or impactive), most pioneering or most enlightening. Of course, universal agreement on the "six best" is impossible, but someone has to give it a go. And if my selection gets us thinking about the contribution of astrology journalism, about the AA archive and the many wonderful souls who have contributed to this magazine over six decades, then something useful has been achieved. The talk also allows me to outline six different approaches in astrology. Which brings me to the point of all this. I need your help. Yes, the final best six, culminating in the Number One Essay (ever!), is for me to decide. But I would welcome your thoughts on which essay has left a lasting impression on you. Send me one suggestion or ten suggestions, I don't mind. Few of us will be familiar with the entire archive of Journal but don't let that put you off. Just speak as you found and tell me what blew your socks off. I may not agree with you. But can I afford to ignore a majority vote or clamour? Dare I?
Send your nomination(s) to me by email only: firstname.lastname@example.org. And I look forward to seeing you in Reading in 2018.
This is the editorial from the November 2017 edition of the Astrological Journal, the UK's premier astrological magazine.