This August 6th - a two-hour workshop
from 10:00 AM - Noon PDT
Known more for his theories on history and the status of art in the age of mechanical reproduction, German philosopher Water Benjamin (1892–1940) also wrote about astrology. This workshop examines the overlooked role that astrology plays in his body of work.
First we begin with establishing the context of astrology in Germany during the Weimar Republic, a period of severe turmoil in German history. Then we explore Benjamin’s writings on astrology. Along the way, we will cover topics such as allegory, the history and culture of early modern Europe, graphology (the art of interpreting handwriting), and optical technologies such as photography, cinema, and the newly invented planetarium.
Benjamin suggests that an alternate observational reality is at work in astrology versus astronomy, one that lies at the foundation of the human capacity to read the world, form language, and eventually become literate creatures. This course will show how Benjamin’s focus on “reading what was never written” radically shifts our understanding of how we read and, also, how we read as astrologers.
Participants will emerge from this workshop with a deeper knowledge of astrology in pre-World War II Germany, its role in Benjamin’s philosophical work, and new perspectives on how literacy and astrology are intimately bound up with one another.
Bio: Jenn Zahrt holds a PhD in German literature and film from the University of California, Berkeley. Zahrt is a professional astrologer, author, and editor for Sophia Centre Press, Ouroboros Press, Three Hands Press, and her own publication house, Rubedo Press. As a recognized expert in the field of the cultural history of astrology, Zahrt has taught and lectured domestically and internationally in places such as Germany (Berlin, Hamburg, Leipzig), the United Kingdom (Bath), and Canada (Montréal). She currently lives in Seattle, WA.