A Conversation with Robert Hand on Astrology
Part II

by Judi Vitale
(Continued from Part I.)
This is Part II of a conversation among Rob Hand, Clark Stillman of Access:NewAge and myself that took place in New York City last December. After we finished filling ourselves with that lovely diner dinner (I had the Hummous), we departed from the topic of how a beginner can best approach learning astrology. With one innocent question, Clark launched Rob into a fruitful discussion of ancient astrology techniques and how they can give modern astrologers greater insight into their practice.

Clark had been asking Rob about the differences among the various schools of astrology, stressing that there were many similarities as well. Clark said "Well, a square is always a square, right?" And Rob responded, unequivocally, "No..." Puzzled, Clark asked him, "Well, then, when is a square not a square??"


Rob:
"When a planet squares its own ruler in dignity."

Clark for Access:NewAge:
"And then, its a...?"

Rob:
"It's more like a sextile. Another answer is when it's in signs of long ascension. That's like a trine. I think that's one thing traditional western and Jyotish have in common is reversals - when a thing indicates the reverse of what you would expect."

Access:NewAge:
"Can you give me an example?"

Rob:
"The first case I gave you with the square is such an example. Here is a specific one. This friend of mine was told by a traditional astrologer that she would never be successful in marriage, because Uranus was in the first house squaring the ruler of the seventh house. Uranus was in ... somewhere between 10 and 13 degrees of Cancer squaring Jupiter, I think in Aries. This person has recently been married, and it looks like a successful marriage. The issue is that Jupiter is the lord by exaltation and bound of the degree in which Uranus is located. Jupiter is in triplicity in the chart. This means that Jupiter is dignified - not hugely, but well enough. This kind of received square is treated by this traditionalist's very own medieval teacher as being like a sextile in its effect.

Access:NewAge:
"I see..."

Rob:
"Does it lose all of its square nature? No... but it's easier to make it work well."

Access:NewAge:
"That's a beautiful example, how the energy can be used. Okay. So in that example you looked at the degree..."

Rob:
"...of the Uranus. And determined that Jupiter was the major ruler of it.

Access:NewAge:
"And those degrees are given traditional rulerships?"

"... Raphael was the one who assigned Uranus to Aquarius. And the first thing that I understand about Raphael was that he was a terrible astrologer by any standards - traditional or modern...."
Rob:
"Yes, they are called bounds or terms, and triplicities also. They are of the whole sign, but there are three whole sign rulerships - domicile, exaltation and triplicity. Most moderns don't know about triplicity."

Access:NewAge:
"In Jyotish, every two and one-half degrees has some meaning, and then within that system, the same aspect would achieve something else, but similar."

Rob:
"A similar role is played by the bounds in Western Astrology. And they show up also in the Greek material - there are two kinds, there is the two and one-half, and there is a slightly less than which is actually 13 divisions of the sign.

Access:NewAge:
"So, then, the wealth of information that is available for study...given what you talked about. This is not stuff you can just put into the computer."

Rob:
"No..."

Access:NewAge:
"It sounds like it requires a lot of human intervention and consciousness!"

Rob:
"Extensive..."

Access:NewAge:
"Extensive conscious intervention!"

Rob:
"But it is actually more computerizable than modern divination techniques. It has more detailed formal principles.

Access:NewAge:
"Oh, all right - so you can use the computer to find all the specific points that you then have to bring your intelligence to understand. That's one of the good uses of a computer. There it should stop, because there is a human aspect in the synthesis."

Rob:
"I don't think a divinatory act can be done without a consciousness. Doing the divination I mean, not just reading the result. Alphee Levoie has written a program called Nostrodamus. It does horary. I asked a question about a car I was interested in buying. It said, "Don't buy this car, it doesn't work." In actual fact, the car was one that belonged to my mechanic, and it was, at the moment of the question, disassembled on the floor of his garage."

Access:NewAge:
"It didn't work at that moment!"

Rob:
"Yes, so the answer was technically correct, but not meaningfully correct. The car is now put together and it works fine."

Access:NewAge:
"Judi, I would like you to ask some questions - you've worked with Rob, you've known Rob through a lot of practical real-world work with astrology. You're an astrologer. A fellow traveller. Are there some questions that we can ask that would come from your knowledge and experience that would speak to the beginner?"

"I think it would be totally practical to start off as a neo-traditionalist. I think it's actually more feasible, because the princples are more clearly laid out."
Judi:
"Well, the first question that would come up is, what about the newcomer with this timing - with the things you are uncovering through Project Hindsight? The temptation is to immediately kind of delve right into it. How advisable would you say that would be to a newcomer? Would it be wiser to kind of blend the knowledge that is being brought out now with the material that has been established and used in modern times?"

Rob:
"I think it would be totally practical to start off as a neo-traditionalist. I think it's actually more feasible, because the princples are more clearly laid out."

Judi:
"And it makes more sense and adds a lot more foundation."

Rob:
"Yes. Lee (Lehman) has a whole lecture on the subject of the rays- but basically she was the one who pointed out how the keyword list had been composed and in an actual statistical survey of keyword lists she discovered that the keywords for the outer planets are not derived from the planets of which they are theoretically the higher octaves; but these other ones (see the first part of this series). In this same talk, she discussed how Uranus, Neptune and Pluto got their rulerships- historically. When Chiron came into being, or when it was found, people started deriving its symbolism partly from mythology and partly from observation, then seeing what sign of the zodiac it most resembled. Then they tried to assign it to a sign in the zodiac. This has resulted in a plethora of rulerships for Chiron.

Judi:
(laughs) "CHIRON...Ruler of Everything..."

Rob:
"Some people keep asking me what I think of a certain book about Chiron. I say, 'Well, it's the single most important thing in the chart, and it rules everything. That's what I got from the book.' But- back to the other planets and rulerships- Uranus was the first, of course. Astrologers were watching it, and there's a funny story about - I can't remember his name, it may come back to me. Anyway, this astrologer was a painter, and a good friend of Blake's, and he observed that Uranus was about to transit his fourth house cusp. And, when it was exact, he came home and found his house was burning down. He went leaping around and shouting, "I know what Uranus means, I know what Uranus means!"

(Laughter All Around...)

Rob:
"How's that for detachment?"

Access:NewAge:
"But didn't he infer the wrong thing? It was only the fourth house of his chart."

Rob:
"Yes, but he meant a sudden, unexpected event."

Access:NewAge:
"Oh, I see."

Rob:
"At any rate, Raphael was the one who assigned Uranus to Aquarius. And the first thing that I understand about Raphael was that he was a terrible astrologer by any standards - traditional or modern. He was basically more interested in selling magical charms and amulets than in doing astrology really well."

Access:NewAge:
"He was a merchant."

Rob:
"Yes. And, his reasoning went like this- Mercury rules Virgo, Venus rules Libra, Mars rules Scorpio, Jupiter rules Sagittarius, Saturn rules Capricorn, therefore a new planet must rule Aquarius! (Laughter from Clark and me) Then, on the same sterling logic, Neptune was given to Pisces- which means that Pluto should have been given Aries. Something went wrong there, and it was decided to give it to Scorpio, which totally destroys the original logic, because Mars doesn't rule Scorpio, and you no longer have the Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus ordering! So not even in terms of the modern rulers does the rulership of Pluto in Scorpio hold. And a Congress of astrologers after WWII in Germany voted on a motion to the effect that Pluto was not the ruler of Scorpio, and it passed unanimously.

Access:NewAge:
(laughing) "Then it must be so! It's democratically arrived at."

Rob:
"The point is that it's not a unanimous decision that it is so. The reason that most people give it to Scorpio is because the first guy who wrote a book about it gave it to Scorpio - Brunhubner. As a matter of fact there is very little about Brunhubner's book that's changed or about his interpretation of Pluto that has changed significantly since, and the needs for the change are growing by the year. He got the "Hostess with the Mostest" award or something.

Access:NewAge:
"These outer planets - what to do with them? How to handle them?"

Judi:
"Well, there's a big difference, I think, between the outer planets and the original seven - that being we can't see the outer planets with our eyes alone. So right there..."

Rob:
"That does make a difference..."

Access:NewAge:
"It makes them more subtle?"

Rob:
"Aspects of non-ordinary states of consciousness. With transits from Pluto, for example, you get weird situations where if you were to believe one side of a story, the version of the person on the opposite side would have to be given by someone who is nuts.

Access:NewAge:
"Who would be nuts? The person telling or the person on the other side?"

Rob:
"Whichever one is telling the truth."

Judi:
"Ah - The Truth-Teller."

Access:NewAge:
"The truth teller is nuts?"

Rob:
"No, the other side is nuts."

Access:NewAge:
"That's bizarre."

"...that somebody is nearly insane is not your ordinary explanation for behavior. That's an outer planet effect. You have to depart from ordinary rules in order to explain the phenomenon."
Rob:
"Yes. Now, that somebody is nearly insane is not your ordinary explanation for behavior. That's an outer planet effect. You have to depart from ordinary rules in order to explain the phenomenon."

Judi:
"This reminds me of Bob Schmidt's figure that he made of all the planets with relationship to Same-ness, Other-ness, Logos and the Collective Unconscious. He shows how Uranus is the outer reaches of the Same, Neptune the extreme of the Other- something that is completely etherial, and Pluto is where the two meet. It is just sort of this area that he calls the Collective Unconscious. It's this mixture between your dreams, your fears and your fantasies."

Rob:
"Yes."

Judi:
"Now, is this (the realm of the transcendentals) something that we want to base astrology upon?"

Access:NewAge:
"Is Pluto at the apex of the triangle?"

Rob:
"No, it's more like the basement."

Access:NewAge:
"Is that mappable, what you just said?"

Rob:
"Not precisely, no."

Judi:
"It works more like this..." I proceeded to draw out Schmidt's schema, with Mercury as logos between the Diurnal Side and the Nocturnal side. The Diurnal planets, Jupiter and Saturn, work outward from the middle from Mercury, as do the Nocturnal planets Venus and Mars, each group working out from Mercury toward the luminaries respective to their sect. Beyond the Sun is Uranus, the (Rob joins in) extreme Same, and Neptune, the extreme Other. When lines are extended and curved back under the schema, you reach the realm of Pluto.

Rob:
"That is the realm of the neither Same nor Other."

Access:NewAge:
"That's interesting!"

Rob:
"And Mercury is the perfect balancing between Same and Other."

Access:NewAge:
"The Greeks, I understand, refined Mercury, that is to say that there are at least five different Mercuries in five different stories...there is more than one Mercury in the mythology. They are using mythology as a touchstone to understanding the planets."

Rob:
"Yes, that's fine as long as you don't go too far with it. The planets are really based upon Babylonian mythology, not Greek. And, so that's why the planet Mercury is so much more complicated than the god Mercury. Because the Greco-Roman god is a fairly simple beast. The Greek god Hermes isn't, but the Roman god Mercury is. The Babylonian deity is a pair of deities, which is why Mercury has no sex. It is a male and a female deity. One of them is the god of language, the other one is the god of poetry.

Access:NewAge:
"I really think we should cut this short now - it's been a long day and we have a long weekend ahead. Thank you Rob for sharing some of your time and giving us some of your insights. Let's get a night's sleep.


Clark's last thought and suggestion was shared by us all, and we wended our way through the night and onward to the realms of non-consciousness.

Obviously, the mind of Robert Hand is filled with more information that we are able to give justice to in these short pieces. I invite and encourage you to learn more about the things he is concentrating his mental muscle on these days by participating in PROJECT HINDSIGHT, the focus of which is the re-translation of ancient astrology texts. You can receive books, monographs and tapes of lectures by ordering right here on line. For more information, go to HINDQUARTERS at http://www.projhind.com


Judi Vitale is a consulting astrologer. She makes her home in New York City.
Copyright 1996, 1997, 1998 - 2014 Judi Vitale.

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