by Enid Newberg
I don't know of any astrologer who doesn't jump at the chance to learn more and increase his or her skills. I am certainly no exception to this rule. And this leads me to a pet peeve I have with many otherwise wonderful articles and lectures: I cannot tell where the information came from!
Is this proposed technique an invention of the author? Exactly what older material did the author use to propose this method (and what translation was used and where can I get the entire piece)? Why on earth is this author telling me that this is the "only" way to do something?
I didn't use to be this picky. When I first begin learning astrology in the 1970's, I accepted just about anything anyone said. I read whatever came my way, attended lectures, read articles and lumped every new technique right next to the last one. I mixed and matched and experimented with intepretation. Whatever felt most comfortable to me and seemed to work stayed in my toolkit. Anything I personally didn't relate to fell by the wayside.
Jump forward 15 years. I was just finishing my MA when I got involved in a new endeavor called Kepler College. Helping with the effort to figure out how astrology could be presented in an academic environment, begin to change how I looked at my own astrological knowledge and practice. After Kepler was open and classes began, this change accelerated to warp speed. I wanted more. Where did this method came from? who practices it? were there any controversies around it? And I wasn't alone in this craving for knowledge. It didn't take long before Kepler faculty members and I codified our curiosity by proposing 8 questions to consider when presented with any technique:
1. Historical context - what are the origins of the method
2. Known major variations
3. Connects to what other methods
4. Who uses the method; resides in which schools or lineages
5. Tweaks done by speaker/author
6. Strengths and weaknesses of method
7. Does not work with....
8. Controversies surrounding the method
I could never give up the richness this approach have given to my astrological practice. And so I ask that anyone giving a lecture, or writing an article or book, let me see the path you took in choosing one method or approach over another. I promise to do the same.