Neoclassicism vs. Modernity in Astrology
Raffael`s depiction of the Assembly of twenty gods, predominantly the Twelve Olympians, as they receive Psyche is not timeless – it is a treatment of the subject from the point of view or say “mode” of a specific period. The greek gods deliver the background on which european modernity takes place. But the moment when they are instrumentalized for classicist purposes they are killed for modernity. This also means that the aspects of modernity:conatained in greek mythology: the permanent variation of mythological stories, the caricature of the gods, the criticism of their behaviour are elements of emancipation which are neglected by the neoclassicist treatment of greek mythology..
There is by the way a definition of modern astrology – just to differentiate the modern from the fashionable. Modernity signifies abstraction of the fashionaible and the mechanical use of the classical in order to understand the dilineation, abstract impact and fuller meaning of methods, mechanisms of attitude and interpretation. When using the words modern and classical without understanding that to some extent even William Lilly but a large extent Claudius Ptolemy, Abu Mashar and Morin de Villefranche were modern astrologers at their time you reduce the meaning not only of the terms but of their astrology itself. Adorno saw the reflection and allowance of the “I” as the major achievement of modernity in the period of “The Modern” in the literature and art of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. I agree that the role of the “I” in astrology is negative in many ways when used by “astrologers” to overwrite the outlook on the actual meaning of results from an astrological method with their own subjective standards of knowledge and their personalities.
But modernity as an attitude of being in one`s own presence (the here and now) and not in the past is substantial in reflecting the responsibility of the individual astrologer to understand the fuller and abstracter relevance of interpretations and conclusions even where the modern of the classical has long been overwritten through the fashionable of the past. Emancipation from fashionable, hierarchical, bourgeois, ideological, dogmatic and commercial patterns that have overwritten the modern of the classical is the responsibility of the individual astrologer. It is called evaluation as a self-responsible application of classical knowledge in chart reading by the individual astrologer. Evaluation without understanding the derivation of classical patterns is irresponsible especially if the astrologer doesn´t recapitualate the limitation of his/her understanding.
Alfred Witte-“The Astrology of Tommorrow”. Retracing the abstract, systemical aspects of the classical approach through emancipation from classical methods and perspectives was the merit of Alfred Witte´s work. But today the astrology of Alfred Witte is not felt as modern anymore especially not in when compared to post WW2 astrological psychology Witte has to be treated as classicistic in some ways especially his “Rulebook for Planetary Pictures” as it delivers a classical form of rules for interpretation instead of keys to a structuralistic, abstract understanding of the systemical significance and role of the signs, planets, houses a.s.o..
The latin word “classical” originated in the roman tax system and the superiority of the highest class to the lower classes. Later the term “classical” was corrupted into referring to the superiority of a class system that holds what has been known as the highest class in the past as the eternally highest representative of what is then treated as the original ideal of a tradition. The effect is that the term is reduced to the establisment of a hierarchy which treats formal elements superior to essence.
The alibi of “Classicism” from thereon contains a tendency to degenerate the core issues of astrology to using the classical knowledge for the construction of the authority of a class system – which itself at the moment of its constitution may even have been modern in itself even. But the effect of the use of the term classical contains the tendency to demand hierachical supremacy. Schiller and Goethe for example with their extreme Pluto aspects applied the term §classical literature” to install a hierarchy based on the supremacy of aristocracy over bourgeois literature for fear of the superior philosophical relevance of Voltaire, Rousseau and the French Revolution.