• “Science has failed. Science, as we understand it, is too flabby, too simplistic…”
• “Collective unconsciousness? No. That’s flatly rubbish.”
• “Ink on paper survives. Electrons don’t.”
• “Ordinarily, organized religion is the most powerful thing on the planet, but in the Aquarian Age, gays are.”
Welcome to astrologer, publisher and online entrepreneur David Roell‘s world. Those are his quotes above. I promise you a stimulating, occasionally infuriating but always consciousness-twanging read.
What’s that classic Bette Davis line from All About Eve? It’ll be fitting. Oh, yes: “Fasten your seat belts, it’s going to be a bumpy night.”
David and I met a decade ago. I’d tumbled into his online bookstore Astrology Center of America one evening and went missing for hours; hopping from book review to book review — my eyes popping, brain smoking.
Dave’s critiques were piquant — often blunt and eviscerating — and he never shellacked bull to make a sale. I didn’t always agree, but Dave’s disregard for polticial correctness was refreshing. The astrological world could use more of this tough love approach. Too much New Age babble occupies the mainstream while worthy tomes are shoved into the backwaters of academia. And — oops, Sylvia Browne just released a new bestseller.
I fired a fan letter off to Dave that same evening and he responded almost instantly, in that eerie way that makes you wonder if Aquarian people ever sleep (it must have been 3AM in Maryland).
A wild rapids discussion followed. From Mozart’s suspicious death, to planetary nodes, to demigoddess Liz Greene‘s PhD. Somehow we dovetailed from a Venus in Taurus deconstruction into David comparing the weary faces of overworked female opera singers to those of beleaguered California porn vixens. At first I couldn’t follow his logic, but eventually grasped his point regarding the occupational hazards of a throat-based craft. With this later bit of wisdom I knew I’d met a kindred spirit.
Dave’s wonkiness is similar to my own. And who doesn’t like corresponding with someone who is just like you — only better? I also sensed that Dave and I would remain in touch for life.
Although my first teacher was Ivy Goldstein-Jacobson, I’d progressed over the years into the tar baby of psychological astrology. David’s application of traditional astrological techniques impressed me. This goaded me, eventually, into studying William Lilly, John Frawley, Geoffrey Cornelius, Deborah Houlding and others. I kept asking David: “OK, so what should I read next? Send it to me.”
This interview took place over a three week period. Before we’d even started, and in typical Roell fashion, our exchange was darkened by his cup-half-empty appraisal. Dave had revisited the synastry between our charts. His concern: “Hmmm, your Jupiter is conjunct my South Node so this interview will probably turn out to be a whole lot of nothing.”
And of course, in typical Roell fashion, it became the exact opposite.
Enjoy the rabbit hole you’re about to enter. Revel in Dave’s revolutionary ideas about an earth-based zodiac, the near-uselessness of modern medicine, homosexuality and the Aquarian Age, and then go buy some good books.
Please, leave your comments and questions below the interview, even if it’s four in the morning you’ll probably have a response from Dave in an instant.
Frederick Woodruff: How is your business weathering the radical shifts in publishing? Did you foresee this?
David Roell: The only real shift was the collapse of the economy overall, as engineered by Wall Street and as enhanced by the current administration. Brick and mortar bookstores were failing in the late 1990’s. I was happy I knew how to do mail order and could manage my own website. I can beat Amazon at their own game, and did so for many years. As a business, I am two years older than Amazon. As a website, I am six months younger. I’ve been eye to eye for a long time.
The biggest thing in publishing is print-on-demand. Easily the biggest thing in a century, maybe lots more than that. An overgrown, high speed black and white laser printer for text, a color laser for the cover, a machine that collates, binds and trims and produces a finished book in a couple of minutes. Print on demand reduces the cost of publishing a new title from $3000 to $105, presuming the publisher, like me, can do the pre-print work in house.
In astrology, POD is absolutely critical. It enables the self-published author (no one prints astrologers anymore) to get his book in print. Remember the dreck that astrologers used to have to put up with? (Early editions of Robert Jansky, for example?) At a time of astrological rediscovery, POD enables us to rapidly reprint old classic texts. Stuff that would otherwise not get reprinted at all. With POD I have 50 titles in print. Without it, I would have three or four, if that. POD has given us Charles Carter and Vivian Robson, Sepharial and more.
The AFA is currently searching through its old out of print titles and reprinting them, via POD. I am reprinting books that have been out of print for centuries. There’s scads of priceless stuff from the 17th century. We’ve hardly begun getting it all back. The astrological revival owes its very existence to print on demand. Ben Dykes, for example, would not exist without POD. Which is what I told him years before he finally went in that direction.
What was your reaction to Amazon’s Kindle?
POD scores over Kindle. Modern computers make it easy to revive an old book, but once revived, it takes time, sometimes decades, before it’s discovered. Kindle can’t do that. There might be a million Kindle copies of Agatha Christie out there, but when Kindle finally dies (is “replaced” by Kindle mark 2, etc.), there will not be a single scrap of them left. I don’t know how many copies William Lilly made of his Christian Astrology in 1647 — certainly 500 or less, maybe only 100, but copies survived the centuries until we could get it back in print, and POD is what finally did it. Ink on paper survives. Electrons don’t.
I’ve just reprinted Heinrich Daath‘s Medical Astrology, from 1914. One of the very best medical astrology texts. I am working on Duz’s astro medical book of the same era. We desperately need a new medicine, but we need look no further than the medicine of our great-grandfathers, which they were forced by law to give up. It’s all still there, in the old books. Print on demand will give them all back to us.
Realize if you learn by the book, then you need books. You need to refer back to them. Kindle is not an archival means of storage, which means at some point all Kindle books will vanish — as has every previous means of electronic storage. Which makes Kindle is suitable for murder mysteries. Not serious study. Your Kindle books will be gone in 30 years, tops. You have many books in your library that are much older than that. All of Ivy Goldstein-Jacobson’s, for example.
Much gratitude to Tem Tarriktar’s stalwart efforts with The Mountain Astrologer, but what’s become of astrological journalism? As I mentioned last month, the Internet has unleashed a flood of kitsch-drenched astro blogs, websites and newsletters.
First, realize that human achievement, raw human knowledge, is cyclical. Sometimes we’re smarter, sometimes we’re more stupid. So far as the last 1000-ish years goes, we had a high mark right at the end of the Middle Ages going into the 30 Years War, after which there was a long slide into darkness. Which was almost dispersed from 1880 to about 1930 or so, but the effort failed. We are presently running wholesale into a very dark age. Your hopes for Kindle are typical of a general disorder. Culture and history are disappearing at an amazing rate.
Aside from the collapse of civilization and the other high-def auguries associated with the ongoing Uranus Pluto square, I sense something promising for the study of astrology. I suspect the ‘new’ astrology will first be the resurrected and restored ‘old’ astrology, as personified by the efforts of folks like Robert Hand, Benjamin Dykes and yourself. Would you agree?
So far as astrology, we’ve finally gotten to the point where we are now wholesale going back to the past, where we will find many treasures. Right now we as astrologers are in an interim stage, where it’s enough to merely study the past. The danger is that we will trivialize it into a neo-psychobabble, whereupon a great deal of work will be lost. We won’t know we’re really there until living astrologers start to think for themselves. If they can sense the raw power of astrology, if they can smell the imminent collapse of a fraudulent science, they may be egged on to take the final step of openly displacing science and re-establishing astrology as the essential reality in the world as a whole. If so, the result will not be very nice.
This reminds me of something Rob Hand said to me the other day: “Mercury rules astrology and Uranus rules astrologers … because we’re considered a socially deviant group.”
Instead of being laughed at, we will be hated and feared. Science, as much as I dislike it, has always had its head on straight so far as astrology goes. They hate and fear us and always have. They have made every effort to keep us down, to strangle us at birth. I am becoming optimistic that this is now ending.
In one of our email exchanges you mentioned to me that you can spot homosexuality in a horoscope. How does one deduce homosexuality from a birth chart?
The classic one is Capricorn rising, which puts Gemini on 5, Virgo on 8, with Mercury in the opposite gender from the native, in other words, in a female sign if a male. If that Mercury is square to Saturn, or Mars, or Venus, or Uranus, it comes through stronger. Take the time to conceptualize the signs on the relevant houses.
Let’s look at a chart the chart you drew up for the Supreme Court’s arguments related to same sex marriage. You’d mentioned to me that the chart had ‘gay signifiers’ all over it. How did you draw that chart and what do you you foresee in June with the court’s ruling?
The chart for the argument was set for March 26, 2013, 10:00 am. I got that time from the Supreme Court website, where there is a daily schedule. I understand the encounter lasted about an hour.
Mundane charts for gays are always malformed in one way or another. I want to start with the void Moon, but that’s more of a conclusion than a beginning. We must first establish the chart as relevant to the parties:
Gemini rising has many interpretations (it’s my ascendant) but here is young boys, which gays worship. Chart ruler Mercury is typically cross-gendered, here in mutable female Pisces and in the 11th, of friends. Gays often have strongly mutable horoscopes. Note that of the two houses associated with sex, 5 and 8, Mercury rules the 5th, as it often does in a gay chart. Debilitated, Mercury in Pisces would rather be in Virgo in the 5th. Virgo on the 5th cusp, sex must be clean and neat and orderly. Messy things, people who bleed and hide themselves away (females), who want something (whatever it is) , are not wanted. The Moon in Virgo in 5 makes this visceral.
Just as Mercury is disabled in Pisces, Jupiter, the only angular planet in the chart, is equally disabled in Gemini in the first house. Jupiter is nominally male, but is not the strongest male in the chart. It is here in bisexual Gemini, ruled by a cross-gendered Mercury in Pisces, with which it is not only tightly square, but also in mutual debilitated reception, which makes the two planets weak and prone to act out. This is gay.
Capricorn is on the 8th house, which is the house of married relations, in other words, of marriage itself. It is ruled by Saturn, which here is the government and found in the 6th house. The 6th house is the house of health, it is also the house of servants, or slaves. Saturn in Scorpio is itself ruled by Mars in Aries. As Mars rules Aries, Mars is a force unto itself. As it rules Saturn in Scorpio in 6, gays wants the Supreme Court to be its servant, to follow orders, but as Saturn is retrograde, it has no desire to do so and, in Scorpio, may sting in the end.
Pluto is in Capricorn in the 8th, which, Saturn ruling, will make the Supreme Court’s decision decisive in one fashion or another. Note Pluto and Mars – which also rules Capricorn and thus Pluto, are tightly square. Alan Oken describes the Mars-Pluto square as an extremely violent temper, but this is generic delineation. Here both planets are in cardinal signs and both signs are ruled by Mars. Extremely violent may be an understatement.
Venus is also debilitated, here in Aries. Venus in Aries is warrior-sex, it reminds us that Athena was dressed as a warrior-goddess. Venus in Aries has no love, indeed, there is no love in this chart, nor, so far as I can tell, have gays ever emphasized love per se. Gays want rights, they have boyfriends, not lovers. Venus is conjunct the Sun which, well-placed in Aries, has captured it.
Venus in Aries is reminiscent of the Age of Aries (c.2000 BC – 1 AD), in which Mars and the Sun, both strongly male planets, ruled. Venus was debilitated which made women secondary and so very unhappy with their lot (they are unhappy now because men, upon whom they depend, are debilitated in Aquarius). In the Aries Age, Saturn was debilitated, which meant that men, but not women, could get away breaking the rules. You will remember Ptolemy’s remarks on homosexuality in Egypt and Greece, whereas Rome, a Piscean-Age creation, was simply generally debauched.
In the chart for the argument at the Supreme Court, Uranus is midway between Sun and Mars, tightly conjunct both. Uranus says Sun and Mars, both male planets, must act out in some unexpected and/or nontraditional way. Which is another gay marker. The chart is full of them.
There are two ways of looking at the cluster in Aries. One is as a gay army marching through the 11th, of self-important males (there are no females), which is what appears at a casual glance.
The other way of looking at four planets in Aries is to see that the sign on the cusp of the 12th, not the 11th, is Aries and that we should put them all in the 12th. Where they become institutionalized. Armies are institutional, but in a mundane chart armies are the 6th house, opposite. Armies are also an arm of the state, gays are not. On the one hand, as the cusp of the 6th is Libra and as neither Mars nor the Sun care for Libra, you could say the US military is not of interest, but then, as Scorpio is intercepted in 6 and as Mars rules that interception from the 12th, the military is very much a secondary goal in the push for gay equality. The military can be symbolized by Saturn in the military house, being the government’s forces, with the prize being the north node, also there.
The upcoming solar eclipse will be upon us before the Court renders its decision. Note the south node is exactly conjunct the degree of the eclipse, at 19 Taurus and that Mars himself will conjunct the eclipse only a week later. The south node being the chart’s drain or sinkhole, Venus ruling Taurus and itself debilitated in Aries, the Court’s decision will likely be decisive, whatever it turns out to be.
I’ll cover more about a specific judgement in my upcoming newsletters, so have your readers be sure to follow me there.
In one of our email exchanges you mentioned to me that, “organized religion is the most powerful thing on the planet, but in the Aquarian Age gays are?” Can you elaborate?
As the Aquarian Age dates only from 1913, and as the transition period (Pisces to Aquarius) ended as recently as 1968 (the “generation gap”), I had not expected the gay equality movement to be this successful this early in the Age, which has a full 2100 years yet to go. It would seem that Martin Luther‘s crippling of the Church, along with the 30 Years War’s destruction of science, with the autocratic French subsequently imposing a fake science, all of which was then hugely inflated by the easy money of the Industrial Revolution, has so badly damaged the human state as to get this underway much faster than before.
Aquarian Ages of the past have been the period when the earth itself eventually rebelled and drove humans very nearly off the planet, as you may read in Genesis 19, which visibly describes the end of Aquarius and the beginning of Capricorn, which follows. It was therefore of utmost importance to somehow fuse Piscean idealism with Aquarian practicality in order to avoid this awful fate. Which was the goal of the “New Age,” which in fact failed in 1929, when Jiddu Krishnamurti dissolved the Order of the Star, due to its rampant corruption.
Yet so far as I can tell, the effort of fusion, which must always be made, must also always fail. Every Age must assert its fundamental nature. Gays are one of the ostensible culprits of Aquarian failure, but they have many willing accomplices. You will therefore not be surprised that the traditional response to gays has been an outright murderous frenzy against them. There is a race memory of the previous times (there have been many), the feelings are visceral on levels that even Scorpios do not want to think about.
Gays are born that way, yes, but with only a few exceptions, they can also be trained and once gay, society becomes that much more sterile as a result. Sterility, as it turns out, is the key, I have looked and I can find no other. As humans sit atop the entire polarized world, if humans fail to do their duty to procreate, the result is the collapse of physical reality itself. Which is clear in Genesis 19, presumably in other books of “myth” as well.
The mob is gathered outside Lot’s house, demanding he turn over the two angels he is sheltering, which I believe to be representatives of Saturn and Mars, Saturn being the ruler of both Aquarius and Capricorn, Mars being co-ruler of Capricorn. This is the last night of Aquarius, the Age of Capricorn will commence with the next dawn. Lot instead offers his two virgin daughters, for the mob to do with as they will – the text is explicit. These two daughters were both engaged to be married, which, if we read the text strictly and apply logic, means the women’s suitors were in the mob and were bound by their oaths to speak up for them, but did not. Lot’s gambit can be seen as an act of desperation. The mob’s refusal to take the women amounts to a wholesale refusal of procreative sex. A society which, en mass, renounces procreative sex is de facto dead. It has died. There will be no more people, the existing population will die away, humans will become extinct, and by their own free choice, which, remember, is absolute. That is the meaning of Genesis 19, there can be no other.
This is why I say that homosexuality amounts to sterility. In Genesis 19, the refusal of the mob to take the women was followed the next morning by wholesale planetary destruction. While this appears to be mere coincidence, remember that the Bible is a collection of stories that have been preserved for a reason. Here, Genesis 19 says the refusal of humans to procreate unbalances nature itself. Is this true? We won’t know unless or until we blunder through it all over again. In this regard, legitimizing same sex marriage is a step down that road. If I am correct in assigning Genesis 19 to the end of the Aquarian Age, then this sort of problem only arises once every 25,000 years, so old texts, like the Bible, are all we have for a guide. I would like to see comparable stories from other sources, from the Bhagavad Gita, for example, to confirm or deny my hypothesis.
Realize that societies are not perfect things. Even in the best of them there is petty crime, casual corruption, hates and grudges and other nuisances. It is in every society’s interest to keep these things under some sort of control. Gays are just another part of the scenery, they add spice and piquancy. They should let the rest of society alone, we should let them alone. On macro levels, straights and gays are incompatible. Clinton’s Don’t ask, don’t tell, was fair. I would like to hear a good reason why DADT was not acceptable, and, no, I won’t be bought off with sappy stories of “equality.” Fundamental changes invariably produce unexpected results and for this reason should be avoided whenever possible, and no, this is not comparable to slavery nor racism.
It is unknown to me if gays have an overarching purpose, such that they need Aquarian Ages in order to complete their work and then go on to whatever may be their reward. To some extent I would like that to be true, as it is a more soothing explanation, overall, than the alternative, which is that gayness is a waste of time and effort and an injury to the planet for no justifiable reason.
OK, so I need to offer a reality check, Dave. Gay rights have everything to do with equality. I understand you see the ‘rise’ of homosexuality as a marker or keynote within an astrological age. But you’ve polarized too radically against the commonsensical evolution of rights for gays that you can’t see the other side of the equation.
I get that the Sun is debilitated in Aquarius and that marks a shift in the solar function within humanity. But so what? Perhaps part of the Aquarian Age is the advent of greater freedom, freedom from the tyranny of the sex drive expressed solely for propagation. I see all of this differently — not as a gay man but as an astrologer.
The ongoing Uranus Pluto square marks a radical cultural adjustment to ideas about gender and procreation. It’s not simply about gay rights but human rights. The right to unhinge from the compulsive bio-imprint to propagate a planet that is exhausted from so much fucking.
I advocate Zero Population and — as a gay man not interested in children — I’ll add: A decrease in population is welcome news. I align with Jung’s notion that homosexuality makes sense as a sort of safety valve for the species. Gurdjieff would say the same. He viewed humanity in total as a kind of organic film that covers the planet, assisting in the reciprocal relationship between the Earth, the Moon and the Sun. In his cosmology the planets, Sun and Moon are living beings, beings that are higher on the cosmic scale of evolution. Humans play a small part in this process. Again, overpopulation would threaten this balance.
Your delineation of Genesis 19 is fabulous though. In fact I’d love to see that allegory turned into a film. I’d be center row gnawing on Milk Duds while male-male love exploded into libidinal frenzy amidst “planetary destruction.”
But let’s change gears here, shall we?
You’ve a compelling theory that I’ve taken a shine to. You state that the zodiac is not sky-based but rather it is earth-based. What do you mean by earth-based?
I mean that the twelve signs of the zodiac are inherently energies of the earth, presumably based on the 6-sided crystal at the very center of it. It’s geophysicists Lars Stixrude and Ronald Cohen who say the earth is a 6-sided crystal, which, combined with my theory, is an accidental proof of astrology and which, I fear, will get the researchers kicked out of their professions.
I puzzled the source of the zodiac for over a year. Where did the zodiac come from? Why were there two of them, tropical and sidereal? It was clear the actual constellations had nothing to do with the signs of the zodiac, but that only made the puzzle worse. It was only when I put the signs in the earth, and then made the earth, as a whole, inert, that I could see how the relative motions of the various planets could vary the intrinsic nature of the earth and its energies, thus producing astrology as we know it. Everything was explained. Nothing else was necessary.
The zodiac turns out to be a simple grid of elements – air, earth, fire and water – mapped against states of energy, which are, having energy, or Cardinal, resisting energy, which is Fixed, or seeking energy, which is Mutable. There are only twelve possibilities, there can only ever be twelve. Not eleven or thirteen or forty-seven. The Earth is a planet full of energies and elements of all kinds. The sky is almost completely devoid of any energy at all and, as a vacuum, is entirely devoid of elements. If the Earth and other planets are full of energies, if they are of crystalline nature, then they are more than big enough, more than close enough, to have precisely the effects that astrologers have long assigned to them.
Does “as above, so below” still fit? Yes. Only now in a much more personal fashion. One of the great dangers of my theory is that it will greatly empower magic, for better or worse.
Talk about a synchronic event. Just as we’re discussing hexagonal crystals at the center of planets, NASA has posted pictures and a video of a gigantic hexagonal storm on the planet Saturn. What do you make of this Dave?
Well, as I mentioned, Stixrude and Cohen have theorized a six-sided crystal in the center of the earth. I have said that a six-sided crystal represents zodiacal energies as 6 sides translates into 12 features, or signs. I’ve also noted the presence of hexahedrite, a crystalline 6-sided alloy of iron, which is found in many meteorites, which suggests that the solar system is composed of crystalline planetary structures and that astrology is nothing more than the study of very large crystals. It is therefore of staggering importance that a giant hexagonal structure has been found on Saturn, and entirely appropriate that it was found there, since Saturn is the concretizing planet and would show itself to be, if we could only see it closely enough, concretized in any number of ways. Saturn’s rings being another obvious clue. By contrast, the rings (“auras”) of Jupiter and Uranus are much, much more faint. I can vaguely see a six-sided structure printed through on the surface of the earth, in longitudes of land and oceans.
Speaking of auras, your earth-centered notion of the zodiac reminds me of Alan Leo’s original description of the Zodiac, as recounted by Dane Rudhyar. Leo asserted that the zodiac is, in essence, the Earth’s aura.
I like this. It shows how close we have come to figuring it out, over and over again. There are many such hints, scattered everywhere.
How are your ideas about an earth-based Zodiac evolving? What new insights can you share?
Whenever I get a new idea I broadcast it in the weekly newsletter. Which is only to be expected, since I have to write something every week.
Isn’t there a book in there for you somewhere?
There really isn’t enough in the theory to make a book out of it. If you look at my chart: Most everything on the west side. I am reactive. You have to ask me a question and then I can respond. I have no interest in creating anything of my own, I think it superfluous. I am enormously impressed with the overall idea of the Earth Zodiac, that it can be stated in so few words. I thought of writing a book, rather like Chairman Mao’s Little Red Book, that would be small in size and have lots of white space, for lack of anything to fill it.
Once you know the overall concept you can spin out details endlessly. How the earth can produce perfect eyes, for example, as the energies that produce eyes are inherent to the earth itself. It is only a matter of how the other planets influence the earth as a whole as to which creatures have great eyesight, or which humans. Because the essential energies are in the earth itself, the earth is capable of producing results which are perfect unto itself. If the zodiac was an external influence that “fell to the earth,” and the earth itself otherwise empty of it, then the earth would be negative overall. Reactive, rather than creative. Everything the earth produced would be a make-do, a botch. With rare exceptions, based probably on our own misunderstanding, nothing the Earth produces seems to be a mistake.
After your health scare earlier this year the Astro America newsletter carried some pointed critiques of modern medicine and science. You wrote recently: “Science has failed. Science, as we understand it, is too flabby, too simplistic…” Are you implying there was a better science and a better time for science — and consequently medicine? If so when and how did science differ from what we are living with now?
Science has never been any better than it is now. It’s just the way that science is and always will be. To understand this you have to go back to the Italian Renaissance, which was itself based on the 12th Century Translators (mostly Spanish and Italian) who were translating Arabic and Persian books, many of them copies of, or based on, earlier Greek treatises, looted during the Crusades. These books were a revelation.
The better part of the Renaissance wasn’t art per se, but Greek philosophy. Greek philosophy gave the underpinnings for everything else. 15th-16th century Italy seemed to have it all.
The Germans came and extracted Greek philosophy, which also included Greek science. The two were a unified whole. Germany was a most fertile place for it.
The French came and extracted high culture, to which they added a typically French monarchist twist. Well, okay, the French to the west, the Germans to the east, the Rhine between them, the world is a big place and diversity is good, so no big deal.
Then came Martin Luther. Study your metaphysics and only then read his 95 Theses. They’re mostly a rant about petty corruption. Which came as a great surprise to me, given how his breakaway group eventually degenerated into Bible-bashing stupidity.
Which touched off the 30 Years War (1618-48) which was mostly fought in Germany, and to one’s horror, in the same places, over and over again, leaving them not merely destitute, but completely depopulated.
As a result, German culture, German learning, was smashed beyond repair. Into this breech came the French, peddling a monarchist, top-down, do-as-I-say culture. Which was called “The Enlightenment,” the date was 1650. Go wiki 12th Century Translators, Italian Renaissance, German Renaissance, French Renaissance, Martin Luther, 30 Years War, The Enlightenment and read them until the overall story becomes clear to you, because these events ended the Medieval period and ushered in the modern era.
What the French gave us was a science of Know-Nothings. We know what we know and we know what’s right and if it doesn’t make obvious sense to us, then it’s fake and we don’t want it. In the previous centuries this nonsense had been a persistent undercurrent, to which the educated classes, unable to actually teach on a widespread basis, had merely tolerated. Educated people knew Greek and Latin, they had read and understood Aristotle and many others of his epoch. The better ones spoke, and wrote, not in prose, as we do now, but in meter. Rap, by the way, is an astonishing throwback. Shakespeare, anyone?
This greatly simplified system was now to be imposed by French dictat, and it was. A century later, starting in 1750, came Diderot’s Encyclopedie in which French ignorance was codified and widely distributed. You can find translations of the original French Encyclopedie on-line. Hunt it down and read the entries on Astrology and fantoms (ghosts). They are sheer screed. This was the rank intolerance and ignorance with which “science” started. Two and a half centuries has not changed it by one single syllable.
Yet even then, science remained in the background. It was a lovely system, it was fueled by the egos of those who claimed to be “scientific,” (find something, stick your name on it, be immortal!) but for the most part there simply wasn’t any money to finance it.
Which changed in the later half of the 19th century, due to rapid industrialization. The industrial age organized human labor, the result was money beyond anyone’s imagining. Suddenly we could afford science, for the very first time. Which turned out to relate to real, aka Greek science the way the nouveau riche relate to art and culture. As in, how much will my money buy and will it be gaudier and more tacky than my neighbor’s, etc. Once this genie had been let out of the bottle, it will not go back in.
In “science,” what we have is Eve’s apple, square in front of us. Luscious and tempting, it is the easy way, but it is deadly. Science expressly refuses to accept any external, organizing principles, it, like nouveau culture, is as a result suitable only for dull-witted children. Which is why all the various science shows and science presenters are geared towards stunted 8 year olds. Mythbusters is an entertaining TV show, but “scientific” in the greater sense it is not.
The failure of science is nowhere more apparent than in medicine and astronomy. Lacking an organized, cohesive structure — such as that provided by astrology — science can only flail about. When, in the late 19th century, we had the money for science, we already “knew” the body was essentially a machine and that if we but studied it closely, we would soon learn all there was to know about it. So who needed the old books? With all those old and messy cures? We had microscopes, we had cadavers, we had plenty of sick people and lots of easy cures, we would soon be the masters of health! With this enthusiasm — which you can read for yourself in the Flexner report of 1910, we discarded the past wholesale.
But without a knowledge of temperaments, without use of the astrological chart, cut off from the countryside — as city doctors have always been — the results were a disaster. Cancers, which had traditionally been cured by a wide variety of means, became intractable. Incurable. Polio, which was a rare disease before Louis Pasteur accidentally unleashed a virulent strain by eliminating all the inoffensive ones that gave immunity, was declared to be incurable, thus crippling generations. In actual fact, Joseph Blagrave could easily cure polio (“shrunken sinews,” he called it) in the 1670’s. He also noted that most city doctors could not. Which was the same in the 20th century.
Nurse Elizabeth Kenny (1880-1952) cured polio and was widely reviled by the medical community for her success. One of her patients was the actor Alan Alda, who was successfully cured. I am old enough — you are not quite — to remember the sheer relief and joy when the first injected polio vaccines became available — a series of five shots. I once did the horoscope of one Roz Starr, who did public relations in entertainment in Times Square in the 70’s and 80’s and who had been crippled as a child by polio. It was easy to see the cause as an early outer-planet transit to her chart. In asking her about it, she said she was crippled in an epidemic of polio that swept through her neighborhood. She was two years old and already dancing. Imagine the parents’ terror.
And astronomy. Astronomy is the bastard son of a bastardized understanding of astrology. Once it separated from astrology there was nothing to stop it from eventually going berserk. The combination of bad theory (universal application of the Doppler shift, for example) and faulty mathematics has now led to the widely accepted belief that around 85% of the matter in the cosmos as a whole is completely invisible and unknowable. So far, all this invisible stuff is way “over there” someplace, far far away, but in actual fact, “dark matter” must be everywhere, including in this room with me as I write. Which is utter nonsense. What’s happened to astronomy is the same thing that’s happened to all branches of science: Lack of an organizing structure has opened the door to personal egos, some of whom were — and are — so large that no one can dispute them, regardless of any “science.” (Edwin Hubble being one of them.) Lacking direct access to the stars and planets above, astronomy has been free to grow in a whimsical fashion. Proof of this has been the many space probes that have landed on, orbited, or flown past, the planets in the solar system. Without exception, they have all returned data that contradicted expectations. So how good is science, really?
We are now at a major turning point in human civilization, where money is being forcibly withdrawn, which will quickly return us to the poverty of the Dark Ages. Science, being both artificial and expensive, will disappear along with the loot. Astrology will survive, as astrology has always survived. I would like to see a revival of Aristotle, which is centuries overdue.
Do you imagine that astrology could ever return to a place of importance for the modern medical practitioner?
The present medical system in America is collapsing around us. Something is going to replace it, human need cries out. For a full century we have been denied books, which are now being reprinted. I am amazed, frankly, at the reception of my new edition of George McCormack‘s book on weather forecasting. Medical astrology is lots harder, but if we have the books, we have the possibility of learning. Without books, without structure, there is truly no hope. We have been without hope for a very long time.
You’re about to republish the famous French astrologer Dr. Duz’s 1912 book on medical astrology. Why is this an important book and what do you feel it will bring to the ‘project hindsight’ movement, as it relates to medical astrology?
It’s hard to put my finger on just what there is in this book, I have only begun to look at it closely. It seems he has a wonderful concept of how the various parts of the body work together to form a whole. Presently, I’ve glanced at it, scanned it, OCR’d the scans, and done a basic spell-check of the result. I am now resetting the book, word-for-word, line-by-line. Of 250 pages, I am now around page 35. There is much to do, I want to be finished by mid-summer. Offhand, he seems to be using the conception chart (aka prenatal, of E.H. Bailey), rather than the natal chart itself. Eventual price will be around $20. For the knowledge in it, I cannot believe the prices are so very cheap. There will no longer be excuses for ignorance, though I expect ignorance to continue.
Finally, what’s next for the internet’s largest astrology bookstore, Astro America?
The future of the store, for better or worse, is in publishing, as I explained earlier. Once a book is published, it is easy to keep it going. Requires very little work. I am hopelessly impractical, reprinting books of slight interest. I am hopeful that somewhere, somehow, people will catch on and realize the great books that I have in print and buy lots of them. Otherwise I will continue reprinting specialized books, of interest to experts. I want to train my wife and daughter in reprinting books and then let them hunt through the old stuff until they find books that interest them. There are literally millions of books in the public domain, many of which would be of interest if they were brought back into print.
I hope this interview will be of interest to your readers. I wish you well.
Thank you Dave. A memorable exchange — as always. Next go round remind me to tell you about the time I looked into the heart of an artichoke.
David Roell’s latest publications are all available on his Astro America website, they include:
Medical Astrology by Heinrich Daath
Triple Witching Hour the third book of his essays.
Duels At Dawn the second book of his essays
Elements of Astrology by Luke Broughton
Text-Book of Long Range Weather Forecasting by George McCormack
Essence and Application: A View from Chiron by Zane Stein