ecosophia: JMG in lecture mode (Default)
printing pressI was delighted to read in a news story today that one of the more loudly ballyhooed waves of the future has definitely broken and is now rolling back out to sea. E-books, heavily marketed not that many years ago as the inevitable next step in the glorious march of progress that was guaranteed to sweep all before it, peaked three years ago with about 20% of the book market. Since then it's slid back down to about 15%. 

Those numbers are a solid confirmation of something I've been hearing for a while now. Lots of people just plain enjoy books as physical objects, and lots more prefer the experience of reading printer's ink on paper to the experience of reading pixels on a little glass screen. I've heard of several people who got rid of their entire library of printed books in their initial enthusiasm for e-books, only to turn around six months or a year later and start buying the books back again, because once the rush wore off, they missed their books. 

I don't expect e-books to go away forever any time soon -- they'll drop out of use as the technological infrastructure needed to build and use them comes apart, but that's still a ways in the future -- but the old-fashioned book still has plenty of life left in it. I'm particularly pleased to see some small presses concentrating on making books that are a physical pleasure to hold and read -- books that are well designed, gorgeously illustrated, and attractively bound. (Like, ahem, my newly released translation of Giordano Bruno's major handbook on the art of memory, On the Shadows of the Ideas, just out from Miskatonic Press: drop-dead gorgeous doesn't half cover it.) 

In the meantime, I'm going to sit down with an old book and gloat a bit...

ecosophia: JMG in lecture mode (Default)
Ivy Goldstein-JacobsonOne of the gifts I received for this year's solstice was a volume of astrological essays, Here and There in Astrology, by Ivy Goldstein-Jacobson. I've been asked several times why it is that I've moved back to modern or, shall we say, not-quite-modern astrology -- the sort of thing that was in common use before Dane Rudhyar's psychological astrology became all the rage. Ivy Goldstein-Jacobson is the reason.

The first of her books I encountered was Simplified Horary Astrology, which turned up in a used book store in Frederick, MD. (It's the same used book store where I found the obscure book on Welsh grammar that led me to the long-lost meanings of the Coelbren, the alphabet of the Welsh bards, so even though now that I've moved to Rhode Island I'll probably never go there again, it has a permanent fond place in my memories.) I'd been working on traditional Renaissance astrology for some years by that point -- this was not long after Chris Warnock and I published our translation of The Picatrix -- and I was very frustrated by my lack of success with traditional horary methods. 

(A word of explanation is probably needed for my non-astrologer friends. Horary astrology basically uses astrology the way a Tarot reader uses a Tarot deck: the astrologer or a client has a question, the astrologer casts a chart for the moment the question was asked, and the chart reveals the answer. Yes, I know, that can't possibly work; the fact remains that it does.) 

As I was saying, again, I was having a lot of trouble getting clear readings with traditional horary methods. Goldstein-Jacobson's methods aren't traditional; they focus on the aspects made by the Moon, starting with the last aspect formed before the question was asked, and ending when the Moon passes out of the sign she was in when the question was asked. You interpret those aspects as the events that will occur in the situation about which the question was asked, and give the answer accordingly. 

I gave it a try, and found that I could get clear, accurate readings using her methods, which I couldn't manage using Lilly's or any of the other traditional sources. I'm quite willing to accept that the difference is purely a matter of the personal equation, as I know people who get good results with traditional astrology -- but I don't, and so I gradually moved my astrological work over from the medieval and Renaissance approaches to the sort of thing you find in Llewellyn George, Robert De Luce, and Ivy Goldstein-Jacobson. 

One of the lessons I took from this is that the myth of the Golden Age can be just as toxic as the myth of progress. Just as being new doesn't make a technology better, being old doesn't make an astrological system better. Picking and choosing on the basis of personal experience, or even personal whim, seems to work better. 

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ecosophia: JMG in lecture mode (Default)John Michael Greer

March 2019

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