Astrology For Women

Apart from publishing lists of fortunate or unfortunate days, astrologers such as Sarah Jinner gave advice on a great range of human activities - including sex. Her fellow women astrologers offered their advice freely: "a lusty squab fat bedfellow very good physic in January" advised Dorothy Partridge, while it was generally agreed that the ideal time "to be as a husband to thy wife" was when the Moon was in Sagittarius. The Ladies' Diary (1704), an annual almanac, was especially popular - rather like one of today's women's magazines, it included recipes, essays on virtue and the nature of love, as well as astrological advice. By the 1750s it was selling 30,000 copies a year.

and their power and influences." Meanwhile, it was asserted that every household in America except the poorest contained two books: the Holy Bible and the current astrological almanac. Farmers found the latter particularly useful -one argued that "for the better success in letting blood, taking physick, cutting of cattle, sheep and hogs, it is necessary to know where, or in what part of the body, the sign is." Another claimed that horses should be gelded "in the wain of the Moon, the signs being either Virgo or Aries."

astrology in europe

Astrology in America was broadly imitative of astrology in Europe -though there were consultant astrologers throughout the 19 th century, it was profit from the publication of almanacs that kept them solvent -and they continued to sell in enormous quantities. In mid-19th-century Britain, it was complained that practically no one in "the lower classes" was without an almanac, and most lived their lives by it, refusing to cut their grass if rain was predicted, and declining to dose their cattle if the day was inauspicious.

The two most popular publishers of almanacs in the 19th century were Robert Cross smith and Richard James Morrison, both born in 1795. Smith worked under the pseudonym of Raphael, and made it famous by his predictions on love and marriage, finance, business, and travel. In his The Straggling Astrologer, he published the earliest weekly predictions to be made in a magazine. Meanwhile Morrison, calling himself Zadkiel, took the high ground, advising his readers never to consult astrologers who charged only five shillings

The d iscovery of Neptune and other "new planets" has not undermined astrology; Instead these planets have been used to revise many horoscopes of the past.

for a consultation, when "no man of education would stoop to receive such beggarly remuneration." His magazine, Zadkiel's Almanac, received an enormous boost when in the issue for 1861 he suggested that anyone born on or near 26 August would fall under a very serious effect from Saturn. Later that year Prince Albert, the Prince Consort, died of typhoid. He had been born on 26 August.

mass production

If any person can be singled out as being the one most responsible for the resurgence of astrology in the late 19th and early 20th century, it was W. F. Allen (1860-1917), who called himself Alan Leo. He joined Madame Blavatsky's Theosophical Society in London, became a professional astrologer, and set up a sort of factory in which he employed other astrologers to calculate charts, and clerks to write out his opinions on them; his Modern Astrology Publishing Company soon had branches in Paris and New York.

It was Leo's chief clerk who devised the simple system which made the firm's fortune: separate sheets of paper, each summarizing the effect of a particular aspect of a birth chart, were simply stapled together and sent out without the slightest attempt to synthesize the information. This method is still employed today by the less reputable and cheaper computer horoscope firms.

modern planets

One of the problems facing Raphael, Zadkiel, and their contemporaries was the scientific reaction to the discovery of the so-called "modern" planets: Uranus (discovered in 1781) and Neptune (1846); Pluto was added later in 1930.

The anti-astrological camp latched onto this as proof that astrology was nonsense. Astrologers asserted that rather than creating new problems, the discoveries solved old ones. All over Europe astrologers reconsidered the birth charts of historical figures - Frederick the Great, Marie Antoinette, Catherine of Russia - and found that time and again the "new" planets, placed in the old charts, revealed elements of their subjects' personalities previously unaccounted for by the traditional planets. All that was necessary was a few years of empirical study to work out the particular influences of the "new" planets. It was determined, for example, that Uranus has a positive effect on originality and versatility, but also leads to a concern with sexual excess and possibly deviation. And it is agreed that Neptune concerns itself with the arts, particularly poetry and dancing, and encourages imagination and sensitivity. Many gaps in old birth charts, it was said, could now be filled. Astrology had no more been destroyed by the discovery of the "new" planets than Harvey's discovery of the circulation of the blood had devalued what had previously been known about the bodily processes; both discoveries had simply enlarged existing knowledge.

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