Name: Laura Andrikopoulos
Abstract Title: Did therapy culture take the magic out of astrology?
This talk is based on my PhD in the psychologisation of astrology during the 20th century. It asks whether psychological astrology adapted to become a different form of magic to that seen in the period prior to the so-called disenchantment of the modern world.
Name: Nick Campion
Abstract Title: Visions of Enchantment: The Astrological Art of Xul Solar
In an interview in 1968 André Breton, the author of the Surrealist Manifesto, reported that ‘The surrealists generally took a lively interest in astrology, seeing it from a poetic perspective, without going very deeply into it’. He added, ‘What I've always valued enormously in astrology is not so much the lyrical game to which it lends itself, as the multi-layered logical game which is a necessary part of it and on which it is founded’.
This talk will explore the work of the Argentinian painter Oscar Agustín Alejandro Schulz Solari (1887–1963), who adopted the esoteric pseudonym Xul Solar. Solar is a national hero in Argentina (his museum in Buenos Aires is a regular destination for organised school outings), but is little known outside his native country. He visited Europe in 1916 and stayed for some years, becoming friends with Aleister Crowley and exhibiting in Paris in 1924, the year in which Breton published the first Surrealist Manifesto; although he returned to Argentina later that year, his work should be considered as a major part of the surrealist current in early twentieth century painting. Solar was a practising astrologer and a number of his paintings contain overtly astrological themes, featuring idiosyncratic portrayals of the zodiac signs and planets. This paper will examine the astrological features in Solar’s work and will consider the wider implications of the role of occult and esoteric stands in twentieth-century art.
Name: George Coutts
Abstract Title: The Function of Gendered Language and Sexual Morality in Western Astrological Literature and practice
If men are from Mars and women are from Venus; what planet are queer people from? This presentation will explore the function of gendered language and sexual morality in Western astrological literature and practice. Following George’s recent MA thesis, this talk considers the astrologer’s position at the intersection of celestial and sociocultural conversations about gender and sexuality.
Name: Soledad Davies
Abstract Title: The role of symbol in astrological practice
Astrology is considered a symbolic language, but what are the implications of practicing it? Does the symbol have a power in itself capable of triggering a transformation in the person who practices it?
This conference explores the role of symbol in astrological practice and its potential to trigger a mystical experience when the symbol is considered as a way of knowing.
Name: Manjinder K. Dillon
Abstract Title: Beyond Reason and Rapture: Exploring Plato and Rumi's Mystical Engagement with the Cosmos
Cosmology has been of keen interest to scholars past and present and researched in various ways. According to Nicholas Campion the cosmos is meaningful and 'humanity is an active participant.' Bernadette Brady suggested the cosmos is a self-creating order, Angela Voss and Henri Corbin found it induced the creative imagination, whereas Richard Bucke believed the cosmos was spiritually alive. This presentation will explore how, Plato (Greek philosopher) who was associated to reason and Rumi (Sufi poet) who was associated with rapture, both engaged mystically with the cosmos by going beyond reason and rapture. This talk will include an overview of the following themes: poetry and dialogue, phenomenology and lived experience, dervish dance and motion, mystical experience and enchantment, imagination, love and union.
Nicholas Campion (ed), Cosmologies (Ceredigion, Wales: Sophia Centre Press, 2016), p. 2.
Bernadette Brady, 'Cosmos, Chaosmos and Astrology, Rethinking the Nature of Astrology' (Ceredigion, Wales: Sophia Centre Press, 2014).
Angela Voss, 'A methodology of the Imagination’, Eye of the Heart: A Journal of Traditional Wisdom, 3 (2009), p. 37.
Richard Maurice Bucke, Cosmic Consciousness: A Study in the Evolution of the Human Mind (Philadelphia: Ines & Sons, 1905), p.14.
Plato, Plato Complete Works, ed. Cooper John M (Cambridge: Hackett Publishing Company, 1997).
Rumi, The Masnavi: Book One-Four, trans. by Jawid Mojaddedi (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004).
Name: Maayan Medzini
Abstract Title: The Venus Synodic cycle in the stories of the Goddesses Anat and Astarte
This lecture delves into the stories, iconography and rituals held in honor of the ancient Canaanite Goddesses Anat and Astarte. Exploring the connection between Anat and Astarte depictions and the planet Venus synodic cycle raises the possibility that the Goddesses may be considered as Venus Morning and Evening star. Further, their connection to the planet may shed further light on the nature and role of Anat and Astarte in the ancient culture that revered them.
Name: Emily Robinson
Abstract Title: The Role of Astrological Images in Aby Warburg's 'Bilderatlas Mnemosyne'
Left unfinished at the time of his death in 1929, German art historian Aby Warburg’s (1866-1929) Bilderatlas Mnemosyne was an innovative project that displayed images from 2000 BCE to 1929 CE in various combinations to demonstrate Warburg’s new approach to art history that integrated a variety of disciplines. Astrological images featured greatly in his project, appearing on thirty-six of the sixty-three panels, despite Warburg’s disavowal of the practice of astrology.
This talk will present my close examination of three panels, Panels 23a, 24, and 50-51, to determine what role astrological images provided for the Atlas. This research surveyed Warburg’s writings alongside the images within the Atlas. By utilizing a philosophical lens of Gilles Deleuze (1925-1995) and Félix Guattari’s (1930-1992) rhizome theory, the panels’ astrological images made a web of connections with panels throughout the Atlas. The multitude of connections made visible by this lens indicated that astrological images were shown to demonstrate Warburg’s concepts for his new art history. Non-astrological images were shown to possess this capability. This talk will focus on the further analysis of Warburg’s writings, which reveal astrological images’ ability to specifically act as a gauge in which Warburg could assess the socio-psychological status of society throughout history through astrology’s multivalent and multidisciplinary evolutions over time.
Name: Natalia Sánchez
Abstract Title: Do near-death experiences impact the cosmology of those who experience them, and if so how?
Academic research in mystical/spiritual/religious experiences such as near-death experiences (NDEs) is very scarce in Latin America and especially Colombia. Besides, there is also little research in the cosmology of those who live an NDE. This research project contributed by aiming to evaluate in a group of Colombian people if their NDEs impacted their cosmologies. Notions of reality, meaning, existence and cosmos were key for the study. To find a cosmological impact thirty questionnaires were done and a sample of ten experiencers was taken to deepen their cosmological perceptions through in-depth interviews.
Name: Anupam Kumar Suman
Abstract Title: Can fate be altered? Examining the efficacy of planetary rituals — appeasement (Śānti) and worship (Pūjā) — for cleansing karmic residuum of human fate
Indian classical scriptures related to eschatology, like the sacred Yoga Sutra of Patanjali, claim that the fruition of karmic residuum is responsible for the phenomena of birth, life and experiences. As astrological planets are recognised as the agents of divine to indicate the fruition of karmic residuum, it has been very natural in the astrological and spiritual traditions of India that there is a long tradition of appeasement (Śānti) and worship (Pūjā) of planets. In fact, Śānti rituals have been an integral part of Indian religious traditions since the Vedic times (mostly in Atharvaveda) which were later astrologically adopted by the most authoritative Indian astrologer Varāhamihira. While examining the evolution of appeasement (Śānti) and worship (Pūjā) tradition and evidence of efficacy, this paper will seek to explore the question that if fate can be altered or modified with the help of such rituals. In this process, both the primary as well as the secondary sources related to classical religious and astrological literature will be utilised.