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General Meeting Info
SFAS invites you to join us on the last Thursday of the month for a lively astrological presentation, discussion and excellent company.
Meetings start promptly at 7:30 p.m.
Meeting location: The Women's Building 3543 18th St., San Francisco, CA, 94110
(In November and December, to accomodate the holidays - and when there are special events at The Women's Building - meetings may be earlier in the month, but still always on Thursdays.)
New to Astrology
Read about the various types of astrology and how different techniques are used for a variety of situations and circumstances on the New to Astrology page.
New to Astrology?
Astrology as practiced today is an art and science that can be compared to a gigantic living and growing tree with many branches and stems representing a wealth of different astrological traditions.
Very basically astrology is the art, science, craft and some would say spiritual study of the heavenly bodies - stars and planets - as they relate to human life. Its fundamental principles greatly predate the modern scientific era. An astrological chart called a horoscope delineates the positions of celestial objects relative to a particular time and place.
Here are a few of the questions and areas of life that astrology can illuminate:
This branch of astrology focuses on the individual and is based on a birth chart.
Is both the oldest and some might say the most practical of all the branches of astrology, in that it uses a chart cast for the moment that a question is asked to determine the outcome of a specific question such as: "Will I get that job?" "Will she marry me?"
This branch of astrology focuses on controlling the timing of specific events, such as the most auspicious times to solidify a partnership, when to move to another city or when to buy a house.
The astrology of world trends, the destinies of nations and of large groups of individuals, based on an analysis of the effects of equinoxes, solstices, new moons, eclipses and other celestial phenomena.
One key misconception that astrologers often have to dispel has to do with the idea of astrology as "fatalistic." While one could write a book on the subject (and many have!) few astrologers today believe that the heavenly bodies - planets and stars - directly "cause" any specific results to occur. What we do see however is a meaningful correlation between these planets and stars and events in person's life in the world.
In actual practice, astrology gives clients a wider range of options than might be at first thought. While astrology can sometimes make specific predictions about external events that a person may encounter - a facet of astrology that may be seeing a resurgence with the reintroduction of older astrological techniques - some feel its best use is to illuminate one's inner life, psychological tendencies and subjective reality, incorporating archetypes and mythology into such an understanding. It also has great potential to "ground" people on this planet - whether through an appreciation of cycles gleaned through observational astronomy or through the use of remedial healing measures including herbs and flower essences.
One thing is certain - right now is a very lively and exciting time for astrology. Not only is there a diversity of astrological traditions alive and flourishing but now more than ever astrology has entered into academia and serious research and astrological programs are being developed through institutions such as Kepler College in the US and Bath University's Centre for the Study of Cultural Astronomy and Astrology in England. What is most exciting is that practitioners and students of all these branches of astrology are learning from one another and enriching each other's collective wisdom.
So rather than embracing one particular mode of astrology, the San Francisco Astrological Society strives to present speakers representing a variety of traditions to encourage the stimulation and sharing of new ideas.
We've outlined below some of the varieties and schools of astrology that you might hear mention of in our meetings- but keep in mind that ours is a living, breathing tradition that doesn't necessarily fit neatly into categories! Many astrologers practice a combination of different branches of astrology, some have practiced different traditions at different times, and some remain keenly committed to one tradition throughout their entire lives.Contemporary Astrology
Sometimes called "psychological astrology," this branch of astrology focuses on the individual as understood primarily from the birth chart and from examining transits (a snapshot of the heavens at any given time), progressions and other astrological techniques to pinpoint unique psychological characteristics and archetypal inner and outer events in one's life.
In the English-speaking world Alan Leo and Dane Rudhyar were key figures in the development of a person-centered astrology in the 20th century and in the last 30 years, Liz Greene and San Francisco's Richard Tarnas (among many, many other writers of the Pluto in Leo generation) have furthered our understanding of the potential psychological, mythical and archetypal meanings of the planets. Robert Hand continues to be a towering figure in contemporary astrology, having played a key role in putting astrology onto computers and more recently leading the way in the revival of traditional astrology.
As taught by astrologers Steven Forrest and Jeffrey Wolf Green starting in the 1980s, Evolutionary Astrology takes as its central tenet that human beings incarnate in a succession of lifetimes and that the birth chart reflects the evolutionary condition and intentions of the soul for the present life. Evolutionary Astrology in particular emphasizes the planet Pluto and its relationship to the Moon's Nodal Axis as key factors in understanding the growth of the soul from life to life. Perhaps because of the teaching career of the charismatic Green, this philosophical viewpoint seems to be particularly influential in northwestern USA.
Traditional Western Astrology
Traditional astrology is a vast umbrella term to encompass the astrology practiced in the Middle East and West prior to 1700 and includes the various systems of Greek astrology and medieval and Arabic and Latin astrology. In general traditional astrology is more oriented to predicting events and external circumstances of a native's life than modern forms of astrology. Since the 1980's, through the research efforts of scholars such as Robert Hand, traditional western astrology has enjoyed a resurgence throughout the global astrological community.
Hellenistic Astrology - Is the study of the earliest form of Western astrology which arose out of a synthesis of Babylonian, Greek and Egyptian ideas between the second millennium B.C. or earlier, and the second century B.C., when something that we would recognize as horoscopic astrology first came into existence. Robert Schmidt with his comprehensive astrological translation research called Project Hindsight, and Demetra George of Kepler College are key figures in studying these most ancient methods and bringing them into contemporary application.
Medieval Astrology - The roots of Medieval Astrology go back to Arabia, ancient Greece, Egypt and Mesopotamia, and continue through the European "Middle Ages" and Renaissance, including particularly crucial contributions by the Arabic culture of the period. Works by such astrological writers and practitioners as Abu Ma'shar, Ibn Ezra, Bonatti, John Dee, Placidus and others are becoming available again. As major scholar, astrologer, medievalist, and Latin translator, Robert Zoller is the leading modern exponent of the reawakening of these traditions.
The Revival of Horary - Recent developments in Great Britain have seen something of a movement away from interpreting the individual birth chart in favor of predicting occurrences in the world. Geoffrey Cornelius's teachings starting in the 1960's may have pioneered this trend but it is Robert Frawley's revival of William Lilly's 18th Century horary techniques that are currently influential.
Jyotisha: Vedic Astrology
Jyotisha literally means "Lords of Light." It is the astrology of the ancient Vedic Seers, and renowned for its philosophy, psychology, prediction and remedial methods.