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A 1910 symposium
The value of astrology to the world

Reprinted from Modern Astrology (New Series), 1911, 8, 140-151.

Abstract -- Around 1910, at a meeting of Alan Leo's Astrological Society in London, members read papers on the value of astrology that showed a "wonderful diversity" of viewpoint. In this article Leo presents eight selected papers under the labels of recluse, philosopher, student, scientist, palmist, wayfarer, practical man, and onlooker. By today's standards the papers are wordy (wordiness being the style of the day) and devoid of the scientific insights that came three-quarters of a century later. Nevertheless, compared to modern views, they show breadth, humanity, and freshness, possibly because astrology in those days was less embattled by scientific attacks. One might even ask if modern astrologers are worthy heirs of Alan Leo. On the other hand, these eight views can also be seen as a testimony to the power of hidden persuaders (see Artifacts in reasoning under Doing Scientific Research), which in those days were unknown and unsuspected. For the Recluse astrology enables people to make the best use of time, thus advancing their own development and that of society. For the Philosopher astrology shows the tides of fate just as astronomy shows the tides of oceans. Just as for a ship, to miss a tide is to miss an opportunity. Astrology is our compass in life. For the Student astrology provides insight beyond the ordinary senses, in the same way as the gauges on a steam engine provides insight into its remote workings. Faults are thus easily discovered and corrected. For the Scientist astrology provides a personal equation, a prism for separating the components of divine wisdom, a radiograph of our strengths and liabilities, a clue to knowing thyself. For the Palmist astrology seemed at first like fortune telling. Then its true nature became clear. It helps us understand ourselves and deal with difficulties in life perhaps more clearly than does palmistry. For the Wayfarer astrology is about spiritual well-being. It points to a higher life and liberates us from crass materialism. Its value will be determined by the kind of people who use it. Its study fosters tolerance and compassion, which are things the world needs and might secure if kings and rulers used astrology as a national guide. For the Practical Man it is too early to judge the value of astrology. It needs time to prove itself just as radium did, so it must be more widely practised to make its value more evident. Organisations such as the Astrological Society are ideal for this. For the Onlooker the value of astrology to the world is more than the collective gain of individuals. It provides a universal standard, a Metric System for anthropology and philosophy. Just as we take our Time from the stars, we can also take our Tune. Alan Leo concludes "Surely, it may be argued, a study which arouses the zealous espousal of those whose outlook on life is so various, must merit the attention of all thoughtful people?".

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