Here are the contents of the current issue, plus representative extracts from previous issues. Details of back numbers are at the foot of the page. Details of ordering are here.
FAQ: "Where's my Apprentice Issue 20?" At last! Issue 20 is now (Sept 28th) at print and is due within the week.
What they say about us:
"The Astrologer's Apprentice is dark, funny, subversive, and corrosive; but more than that, its astrology is alarmingly rigorous and true....The whole magazine takes on a delirious dream-like quality which has aficionados shrieking with laughter at the same time as being shocked and made to think, hard, by the astrology or the philosophical challenges. There are more good ideas in an issue of the Apprentice than in several volumes of other astrological magazines....If ever there was a cult magazine for astrologers, then this is it - its style, its content, and its attitude all mark it out as being way ahead of its competitors." - The Astrological Association Journal
"It is wonderful. I cannot remember the last time I have laughed so hard or enjoyed anything more...a great magazine." - Carol Wiggers, editor The Horary Practitioner
"If you like well-written, scholarly material that can make you laugh then get The Astrologer's Apprentice. It is rare for me to be able to recommend a magazine, but this is one that you must have if only to maintain your sanity in our mad astrological world where poor writing and technique proliferate...It's worth subscribing for the article on receptions alone." - Sue Ward, The Traditional Horary Course
Issue 19 contents include:
Some Like It Cool: we investigate the astrology of jazz
The House of the Rising Sun: the stars tell the story of Eric Burdon's greatest preformance
Tory Boy: a disastrous election for William Hague
The Surgery: medical charts reveal the true value of horary
Let's Get This Straight: cazimi, recreating old charts, dreams, tenants, and frustrations
and much more, including advice from Neptunia, our sensitive seer.
From "The William Hill Astrology Awards" (Issue 5)
Whenever we find ourselves lamenting the cruel fate that has born us into a world that has so little regard for the art that we practice, we would do well to remember that we are blessed with a patronage that our fellow craftsmen of past ages would have envied. For Mr William Hill, supported by Mr Ladbroke and Mr Joseph Coral, have founded an institution solely for the support of astrologers in their studies.
Their bursaries, which can be quite substantial, are provided on an on-going basis, with no restriction to the number of awards any one astrologer may win. Applications may be made at any time, and Mr Hill and his colleagues have thoughtfully opened shops in every high-street, just so that astrologers in throughout the land may have access to their largesse. All that the budding astrologer need do is to make a specific prediction, usually of some form of sporting event. Mr Hill will make his own estimate of the likelihood of this prediction coming true, and, if the astrologer is right, will make an award based on the unlikeliness of the prediction.
There are those among us who look askance on their brethren accepting this bounty, but the Apprentice believes it can play an important part in any astrologer's education, not least by encouraging him to put his money where his mouth is and make his predictions what they should always be - specific. After all, if we cannot predict the outcome of a football match, what are we doing attempting to predict the fate of nations?
Will Chelsea Win the Cup?
The Final of the FA Cup this year was played by Chelsea and Middlesbrough. Chelsea were hot favourites, though the unprecedented number of foreign players involved in the match was held to give it an air of unpredictability, Johnny Foreigner being an unreliable sort.
The question "Will Chelsea win?" (May 16 1997, 2.52 PM BST, London) was asked by a Chelsea fan, so Chelsea are given the Ascendant. Immediately, we are struck by the Moon applying to conjunct the Ascendant. As the Moon represents the course of action, its flowing to Chelsea is strong testimony of their victory. It is notable that, had the question been asked a short time earlier, the Moon would have been prohibited from this application by its conjunction with Mars; but this is now past. Lucien Windrich has suggested that the Moon going from Mars to the Ascendant might indicate an early goal - the previous record for fastest ever goal in a Cup Final was broken in this match.
The North Node just inside the Ascendant, and consequently the malefic South node just inside the seventh, the house of the open enemy - Middlesbrough - is a second strong testimony. The Moon's next aspect is to trine the Sun, which is generally a sign of good fortune, especially here, as the Sun is in Taurus, the Moon's exaltation.
In any contest horary, we need to weigh the respective strengths of the Ascendant and Descendant rulers. Jupiter, significator of Middlesbrough, has slightly more dignity, being in its own terms while Mercury is in only its own face, but Mercury is greatly strengthened by its mutual receptions with both Venus and the Moon - the more so as the Moon is so prominent in this chart. Mercury's placement in the eighth house is redeemed from its usual unfortunate consequences by his not being in the same sign as the house cusp. A planet in a house but in a different sign to the cusp is almost in limbo: the house placement has little effect. So Mercury's superior strength is a third testimony of Chelsea's success.
Saturn on Middlesbrough's second cusp is a serious affliction: they had two players, including their star striker, taken off injured early in the game, the second house representing the team's resources. The Part of Victory (Asc+Jupiter-Part of Spirit) falls at 14 Gemini, and so is disposited by Mercury. Apart from its obvious significance, this gives added importance to the mutual reception between Mercury and the Moon, showing the Moon also taking victory to the Ascendant.
So we have a clear Chelsea win; but only the most partisan Middlesbrough fans really believed any other outcome was possible. The querent then asked for the score. I do not know a reliable method of determining the score from a chart: the best possibility seems to be based only on feel. Here, there is no positive indication at all for Middlesbrough, which is a fairly reliable pointer to their not scoring. Chelsea are obviously dominant, but dominance is not necessarily translated into goals.
The Chelsea testimonies could be stronger, so they probably won't score a lot, but testimonies are sufficient for at least one goal. 2-0 seemed a reasonable option (a prediction that was recorded before the match. Result: Cheslea 2, Middlesbrough 0).
with further discussion of sporting predictions, this time by the events charts for the matches themselves
While we find that the idea of the outer planets ruling signs - or part-ruling signs, or 'being associated with' signs, or being nodding acquaintances of signs - betrays so vast an ignorance of the foundations of astrology that its bearers cannot be taken seriously, neither can we agree with those who would disregard them altogether. If we consider the possibility of an astrologer resident in Australia, undiscovered in Lilly's day, refusing to use Uranus in a chart because it was undiscovered in Lilly's day, we can begin to see the absurdity of this view.
The outer planets clearly have their functions within the chart: in previous issues we have convicted Uranus of the killing of Nicholas Culpeper's bride-to-be (Issue 3), and seen the dire effects of failure to placate Pluto on the Czech Republic's opponents in the European Football Championships (Issue 1). Neptune is a particular favourite of many astrologers: in recent discussions on the astrology of rock music that the Apprentice has attended, Neptune was assigned rulership of music, of drugs, of sex and of so many other things we can only conclude that the remaining planets were too stoned to do their jobs during the late 60s.
These two charts display one aspect of Neptune - that, as its name suggests, beyond all the ideas about confusion and duplicity which do, if used with circumspection, seem to hold, it is above all else wet.
The chart for the start of the Wimbledon tennis tournament is cast for noon on June 23rd. Mercury, the Lord of the Ascendant, is currently in a hot, moist sign. It is about to enter a cold, moist one, but combustion will stop any rainfall that might promise.
As a sporting event, we are particularly concerned with the fifth house. The Lord of the fifth is Saturn, a cold, dry planet in a hot, dry sign: no rain there. Jupiter, the traditional ruler of rain, and the Moon, ruler of all things wet, are both in a hot, moist sign in the fifth; but they are in a different sign from the cusp. This greatly lessens their effects on affairs of that house.
But the briefest glance at the chart, with Neptune retrograde immediately applying to the fifth cusp, is enough to predict rain, and plenty of it. As this article is written, at the end of the first week with even some first-round matches still unfinished (Moon applies to Uranus, planet of disruption) because of unremitting rain, it seems plain that the blame for this weather can be given to Neptune.
Finn McCool and his companions were out riding one day, hunting the wild boar through the wooded hills of Ulster. While they rested at midday, lying eating in the sunlight of a forest glade, McCool posed the question, "What is the most beautiful music of all?"
The fearsome, one-eyed warrior Golla MacMorna spoke first: "It is the sound of battle," he opined. "The sound of sword on sword, of the spear in flight; the sound of fear and of victory."
Then spoke Diarmid, so beautiful that no woman could look on him and not lose her heart. "It is the sound of a soft voice calling from her chamber in the night; the sound of sweet words whispered in the dark; the faint trembling of lips as they hover for that first long waited kiss."
Then Fergus spoke, who told of the singing of the wind through the cornfields near his home; Connor, of the tympani of waves crashing on the shore; Conan, of the murmur of his child in sleep; and Oisin, Finn's own son, of the warmth and wisdom in a father's voice.
Each one answered, each with his differing view. Then, when all were quiet, Oisin asked , "And my father, Finn McCool: what say you is the most beautiful music of them all?"
"The music of what happens," said Finn McCool, "That is the most beautiful music of them all."
And that is what, as astrologers, we are privileged to study: the music of what happens, indeed the most beautiful of them all.
There are many ways in which man has attempted to make this music intelligible - to read the score, as it were. Some of these are inevitably more successful than others. The experimental methods of what is now, for some reason not immediately obvious, called 'science' seek not to read the score or hear the music, but to understand it purely by examining its effects on its listeners, the existent animate and inanimate entities of the world, so putting many levels of opaque reality between themselves and the composer. At the other extreme, the mystic attempts to comprehend by realising his oneness with the mind that is creating this music.
Of what might loosely be called the divinatory arts, though limiting astrology to this does her a great disservice, some attempt to predict by humming along with the tune until the operator, if skilled enough, can catch sufficient of its form to gauge where it is going next, while some, of which astrology is the epitome, use the vestiges of true scientific method to objectively - or dis-involvedly - understand the nature of the forms from which the music is built: its notes and tempi, for example. From an understanding of these forms - the building blocks of the music of what happens - the astrologer can then proceed in two directions: to understand the music that is made from these blocks and predict its flow, and to understand the mind that created the blocks. The astrology that we have is, in this sense, a fragment of a structured, disciplined mystical science.
Plotinus says that if we establish the comprehensive principle of co-ordination behind all manifested phenomena 'we have a reasonable basis for the divination, not only by the stars, but also by birds and other animals, from which we derive guidance in our varied concerns.' That is, if we imagine all manifested phenomena as two dots on the surface of a balloon, these dots will move as the balloon is blown up. It is not until we realise that the balloon is being blown up and that this has an effect on the dots that their movement becomes comprehensible to us. Once we have grasped the basic coordinating principle of the balloon's expansion, a knowledge of the movement of one dot will enable us to determine the movement of the other. If one of the dots is me, it is of no matter whether the other dot is the planet Venus or what my cat had for breakfast: the understanding of the basic coordinating principle will still enable me to deduce things about my own position from observing it. Over the centuries, the position of the planet Venus has proved rather easier to tabulate.
In practice, of course, the position is rather more complex than the metaphor suggests, in that we have the familiar Aristotelian principle of balloons within balloons; but the idea remains the same.
It is the size and apparent regularity of orbit of the planets that has made them of so much more practical use than the movements of birds or animals, especially so for a sedentary race increasingly removed from contact with the natural word against which the movements of animals must be seen if they are to become comprehensible. In India, we are told, the classical model of the astrologer at work has him seated in a clearing, making judgement from the surrounding world as well as from the chart itself: the weather, the direction from which the client comes, his clothing, movements of animals, the chart - all are used as one.
That we are a sedentary and, increasingly, an urban race has a profound effect on our choice of technique for grasping the coordinating principle. We judge from pieces of paper rather than the livers of newly-slaughtered sheep; but the form, too, of our astrology has been shaped by our culture.
After a meeting of any astrological group, tradition demands that those present adjourn to the fifth house. The novice may tag along in expectation of an evening of light-hearted banter and informative astrological chat. Little does he know he is about to enter a desperate struggle for survival, where only those with nerves of steel, the reflexes of a jungle cat, and an inoperative hearing-aid are likely to emerge alive.
In order that the novice may prepare himself for this ordeal, and that those who are used to it may hone their survival skills in preparation for the next fray, the Apprentice is proud to launch Ye Merrie Game of Astropubbe. Hours of fun for all the family.
In any group of twenty astrologers, there will be three with whom one may have an enjoyable conversation; three who can induce life-threatening degrees of ennui merely by saying hello, and two who not only study other planets but give every indication of living on one of them. The remaining twelve are neutral.
In the game of Astropubbe, the board is modelled on a typical saloon bar and each move represents fifteen minutes of elapsed time. The players aim to manoeuvre their counters next to the pieces with whom they may enjoyably converse, while using the neutral pieces to shield themselves from the attentions of the boring and the insane.
If a player finds his piece within two places of one of these malevolent counters, he should move it away immediately. But the neutral pieces, who have so far been so useful in screening him from unwanted conversations, now become a barrier making it physically impossible for him to move quickly, or making comments that must, out of politeness, be answered, thus slowing his escape from peril.
If you are unable to move your counter out of range of a malevolent within two goes, you are considered to have died of boredom. Unfortunately, this does not mean you are out of the game: you just have to stay exactly where you are, in the grip of the unwanted conversationalist, with rigor mortis setting inexorably in, until eventually, after several aeons have passed, the landlord calls 'Time'. Suicide, however tempting, is not allowed.
By this stage of the game, the fortunate player will have acquired a "Powder Room" card. This is your only means of escape, enabling you to move your counter to the toilet square, a place of sanctuary ('bathroom square', in the American version - don't forget your towel). It may stay there for only one move, but you are then allowed to return it to the game at the place of your choice.
Even a Powder Room card may, however, be trumped by one of your opponents playing a "Nativity" card. This causes all the neutrals to simultaneously show you their birth-charts, demanding "What was I in a past life?" and "What is the significance of my natal Chiron/Pluto square?". At this, without any possible appeal, the game is most definitely over and you are out..