Aquarius and the great astrology revival: 1881-1924

With Aquarius, in 1881, came an astrology revival and a flood of weird and wonderful astrological notions.

The Theosophical Society had already been founded in New York in September 1875 by Helena Blavatsky, Henry Steel Alcott and William Q Judge.

Then in England – in 1884 – Max Theon, Peter Davidson and Thomas H Burgoyne founded the Hermetic Brotherhood of Luxor.

In 1885 they published The Occult Magazine.

The practical occult information that the Brotherhood provided was contrary to that being presented by the Theosophical Society so the two organizations became rivals.

The great astrology revival

In 1890 – in England – Alan Leo joined the Theosophical Society and commenced to disseminate and popularize Modern Astrology.

In 1886 Thomas Burgoyne traveled to America. There he commenced writing lessons on the occult and in 1889 these were published as The Light of Egypt.

In 1890 WH Chaney published Chaney’s Primer of Astrology and American Urania. This text placed great emphasis on major progressions, which Chaney called primary directions.

In 1898 Luke D Broughton – who engaged in an all-out attack on incompetent astrologers for 30 years – published Elements of Astrology.

In the same year Alan Leo’s Astrological Manuel No V11 published Degrees of the Zodiac Symbolized by Charubel. The degree descriptions were found psychically and have never been scientifically tested to confirm their authenticity.

(Charubel’s symbolic astrological degrees later influenced Marc Edmund Jones and his Sabian Symbols of Astrology.)

Elbert Benjamine

In 1898 Elbert Benjamine – a fifteen year old teenager - began his occult studies.

In 1899 he purchased Burgoyne’s Light of Egypt – and in 1900 – at a critical moment in time – he contacted the Brotherhood of Light.

Ten years later – in 1910 – he gave his promise to write the 21 Courses of Brotherhood of Light lessons.

He had given Alan Leo and all the other guys a big start, but was about to revolutionize Modern Astrology.

In March 1914 Elbert Benjamine commenced writing the Brotherhood of Light lessons and in May 1915 he started teaching private classes in Los Angeles.

In 1922 astrology was booming

In 1922 when Elbert wrote and published Delineating the Horoscope – originally titled Natal Astrology (Hermetic System) – there were so many astrological systems available that he was compelled to explain:

‘The Hermetic System of Astrology is different from the systems that today find favor with the vast majority of astrologers only in that it embraces additional features.

It only departs from prevalent methods when experience proves those methods in error.

But, in addition to the factors commonly employed by the most successful astrologers, it contains others which promote greater precision, and which give to the science far greater practical utility.’

He was also compelled to clarify a number of erroneous astrological notions that had gained popular acceptance.

‘In reference to this matter of alleged good and bad signs and decanates, I wish I might impress it indelibly upon the mind of every inexperienced astrological student that every degree and decanate of the zodiac offers equal opportunity for nobility and greatness.

The greatness that more easily may be attained by a person born under one decanate, however, is not the kind of greatness that may be grasped readily by one born in another.’

Sun-sign astrology goes viral

In the mean time Alan Leo’s simple and easy to understand version of astrology, which placed the Sun-sign as the universal factor, was going gang busters.

Leo saw astrology as a coded language that only theosophical teachings could comprehend so in 1911, when he traveled to India, he studied Indian astrology and on his return to England attempted to merge portions of Indian astrology into his western astrological model.

That’s when he introduced reincarnation, karma and the evolution of the soul into the astrological chart: And in his Dictionary of Astrology he presented the Symbolism of the Decanates according to the Hindu.

The call for scientific astrological research

In 1922 Elbert Benjamine was operating in a competitive astrological environment where many popular astrological notions were contradicted by the book of nature and logical thinking.

New systems – the weirder the better – were coming thick and fast.

Alan Leo had died five years earlier – in 1917 – but his astrological legacy maintained a high-public profile through the efforts of his wife, Bessie.

By 1924 Astrology was at a critical crossroad.

Mystical thinking was running riot and the need to place Aquarian Age Astrology on a scientific footing inspired Elbert Benjamine and Lenora Conwell to launch the Brotherhood of Light astrological research department


Astrology for Aquarius – sharing our knowledge


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