NCGR Conference in Cambridge Next Week
The conference is titled ‘Planetary Revolution: Geocosmic Alchemy II’, as a followup to their previous successful conference in Baltimore in 2007.
The main conference is scheduled to take place from February 25th to February 28th, 2010, with pre and post conference workshops and seminars taking place before and after the main dates.
The conference will feature over 60 speakers, and if the turnout is anything like the 2007 conference, then there should be several hundred astrologers in attendance.
They set up a twitter account for the conference, and there will be live blogging from the event as well. I will post that link as soon as I get it.
Research Symposium: Moving Forward, Looking Back
I will be giving a lecture at the main conference, although since I’m the Research Director of the NCGR I’ve also been involved in organizing a day-long pre-conference research symposium on the history and future of astrology that will take place on Wednesday February 25th. The title is Moving Forward, Looking Back: Future Directions in Post-Modern Astrology.
Transmission and Synthesis
The premise of the symposium is derived from a historical observation that I made several years ago, that periodically there are these periods of transmission and synthesis in the astrological community. Basically, during these periods there is a transmission of astrology from one culture, area, or time period to another, and the system of astrology that is transmitted gets mixed with whatever the prevailing system of astrology is at the time. Out of this comes a sort of synthesis of what are the traditional and contemporary systems at the time.
It happened in the 1st century BCE with the Hellenistic tradition, in the 8th century with the early Medieval tradition, in the 12th century with the later Medieval tradition, and in the 17th century with the late English tradition.
Late 20th century astrology was often called ‘modern astrology’, but with the recent revival of older traditions over the past few decades it is clear that some sort of synthesis of the ancient and modern traditions is taking place again now, and this will eventually create a new type of astrology that we might call ‘post-modern astrology’
The idea behind the symposium is that we would get speakers from each of the major traditions from the past, as well as several from the contemporary traditions, and have them all give presentations in which they outline what their traditions’ specific technical, philosophical and conceptual contributions to the history of astrology were, and to make their argument about what parts of their tradition must be incorporated into any synthesis of astrology in the future.
Speakers and Traditions
We ended up with a pretty good speaker lineup. Here are the speakers who are representing the various traditions, along with the sequence in which they will appear during the course of the day:
Morning Session – Past Traditions
- Mesopotamian astrology – Rob Hand
- Hellenistic astrology – Chris Brennan
- Indian astrology – Ronnie Gale Dreyer
- Medieval & Renaissance astrology – Benjamin Dykes
Afternoon Session – Contemporary Traditions
- Modern astrology – Richard Tarnas
- Uranian astrology/Cosmobiology –
- Asteroids/mythology – Demetra George
- Data collection & transit theory – Nick Dagan Best
- Modern statistical & scientific research – Ken Irving
- Closing summation – Rob Hand
The History, Philosophy and Techniques of the Various Traditions
I asked each of the speakers to address four specific areas in their talks with respect to their tradition:
- The history – What is the rough time frame or period in which your tradition was practiced? Who developed it, when and where? Who are or were some of its primary proponents?
- The philosophy – What are some of the primary philosophical or conceptual presuppositions of your tradition or approach to astrology?
- The techniques that it introduced – What techniques did your tradition introduce, or were introduced during the time frame associated with your tradition? What techniques set it apart from the other traditions, or perhaps even represent advancements?
- The future – What can your tradition or approach to astrology contribute to any synthesis of astrology that might take place in the future, from either a conceptual, philosophical or technical perspective?
In the end the goal is that everyone involved with the symposium will walk away with a better idea of what the current period of synthesis in the astrological community is likely to produce over the next few decades. My hope is that it will also provide a blueprint for how this synthesis might actually be carried out as well.
Surely there will be areas of disagreement and contention, but out of this we should all be able to gain a broader perspective on the astrological tradition as a whole, and a greater ability to find areas of agreement and accord between the traditions that will be conducive to the overall development of astrology in the 21st century.
This is a ‘research symposium’ insomuch as the underlying notion of what constitutes astrological research is being expanded to include developments in the study of the history and philosophy of astrology, as well as its techniques. In order to create valid tests and research models for astrology, we must first understand how it was developed, how it is practiced by different people, and what its fundamental technical, conceptual and philosophical presuppositions are. The purpose of this symposium will be to do just that.
Registering For the Research Symposium or the Conference
While online registrations for the conference have ended, you can still show up to either the conference or the research symposium and buy a ticket at the door. There is more information on the conference page on the NCGR website.
If you have a chance to join us at the research symposium then I would definitely recommend it, as it is sure to be quite an interesting event!