April 22, 2024

Century Retrospective

Management of Measurement Constructs

Century Retrospective

One hundred years ago –1903—the average life expectancy in the United States was forty-seven! Only 24 percent of the homes in the country had a bathtub and only 8 percent of the homes had a telephone!

There were only 144 miles of paved roads in the United States, and only 8,000 cars. The maximum speed limit in most cities was 10 mph.

Alabama, Mississippi, Iowa, and Tennessee were each more heavily populated than California. The population of Las Vegas, Nevada was 30.

The average wage in the United States was 22 cents an hour, with annual incomes for the average worker was between $200 and $400.

Only 6 percent of all Americans had graduated from high school.

Astrology in the United States, back then! One Dr. Luke D. Broughton (1828-1898) was responsible for bringing England’s highly developed astrological tradition into the United States. In his book, Elements of Astrology, published in his last year of life, Broughton recounts the busy astrology market in England –led by Almanacs and Ephemerides, and Forecasts by the “angels” (Rafael(s), Sepharial, Zadkiel, etc.)—with a yearly circulation of over a million! The works of Alan Leo and Sepharial were shining, and very astute and incisive works by W. J. Simmonite, a major figure in Victorian England, were known to all. Ptolemy endured as well.

Broughton helped with bringing this knowledge to the United States in the closing decades of the 19th century, and soon –with American publication of Ephemerides (although still with London coordinates!)—people were able to begin the study of astrology, and texts to guide that study began to be produced. –It’s worth noting Broughton’s review of the first American book on astrology: “a perfect fraud and an impostor [was its author],” citing that the book copied copiously from Gadbury’s Doctrine of Nativities according to Horary Astrology. –It was a sparse and rough beginning.

Soon –from an assessment circa 1860 when “there was not an American, either man or woman, in the whole United States who could even erect a horoscope”—at the turn of the century, there were many thousands studying astrology as responsibly as they could. They worked against a societal backdrop of abusive disdain; astrology rankled the enduring Puritan tradition.

And then, there was the marketing phenomenon of the celebrated celebrity astrologer Evangeline Adams.

Karen Christino, in her Foreseeing the Future –Evangeline Adams and Astrology in America [a book I highly recommend; One Reed Publications, 2002] vividly documents the rise of Adams and the publicity-fired popularity that surrounded her. In the 19-teens and twenties, astrology had sensationalism going for it, and its fascination and study grew quickly.

The Quality of Astrology Adams set the standards for astrology back then and for years and years into the future. We can note that, in her own admission, she was no technician: “I have learned to allow myself only three to five minutes out of the precious half hour [the consultation] for making the intricate mathematical calculations necessary to determine the position of the planets in the chart.” Christino puts forth that Adams indeed concentrated on the broad principles of astrology, as we would call them, and I add the suggestion that that there was another dimension working for Adams as well.

Adams basically took the reliably computable cusp lay-out of the consultation horoscope moment as the base of her study focus and placed within that lay-out the client’s natal planetary positions directly out of the Ephemeris. She made a quick adjustment to the Moon position if the birth time were know. –People didn’t know their birthtime with accuracy; the horary moment of the consultation was known; and the horary structure freed Adams’ intuitive dimension.

But before getting carried away with awe of her legend, I want to say that I’ve read some transcripts of Adams’ “readings,” and I have been quite disappointed. Adams was clever; she was a born publicist; she perpetuated a mystique than demanded agreement. But, within her banal generalizations, there was this horary magic in what technique she had and what results she achieved.

I’ve seen transcripts of other famous astrologers’ consultations, even dating to the 1940s and ‘50s. They are so empty; they are shockingly uncomfortable to read.

Approaching the Now In my opinion, two clear forces brought astrology into a modern era: the publication of Dane Rudhyar’sThe Astrology of Personality in 1936 that put Eastern thought into Western wherewithal; and the works of Grant Lewi, arch post-War pragmatist. It took about twenty years for American astrologers to absorb Rudhyar and feel their way into humanistic work, and this in turn birthed the sophistication of the psychology movement, reflecting in astrology what was dominating human studies in the last half of the 20th century. –Lewi’s example and tutelage emphasized the practical; it tightened reliably the nuts and bolts of the astrology machinery in behavioral terms.

The “Now” line of this cursory overview is that we must know how incredibly our astrology has developed, how fine our work is today! –Just on the Discussion Forum on this website and in the presentations in the Essay departments, more sophisticated astrology is explored and practiced than ever before … in one thread of discussion, in one hour or a few minutes of study. Our speed limit is now cerebrally well beyond 10 mph, and everybody’s got a phone line for their computer!!

We can be very proud of all this development. And we can only wonder –in the true sense of the word— looking ahead to the next hundred years of development in astrology, what will bloom in times to come.