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Archive for Thursday 12th September 2002 - The rule of astrology

Ancient civilizations were often very strictly ruled. Manners were correct and formal, and only certain types of music were allowed. Everyone had their particular place in a structured, hierarchical society.

The rulers were highly-educated and rational. Yet, when they made an important decision, such as going to war, they left the last word to the state oracle. If the oracle warned against it, they gave up the idea. The oracle consisted of certain wise astrologers and prophetic women. It represented the irrational element in human nature imagination, intuition and mystical perception. It was also in touch with popular sentiment what ordinary people were thinking. By this combination of man-made reason with the mystical powers of the eternal feminine, the ancients tried to establish a balance between our two sides. I don't suppose it ever worked perfectly. But what does?

In many eastern countries, rulers are still advised by astrologers and seers. That used to be the case here, in Britain. But the modern mind respects only reason, and wisdom is not regarded as a valuable asset. That is why we have no state oracle. But an interesting situation has now arisen. The new Archbishop of Canterbury, along with other ecclesiastical celebrities, has taken on the oracular function, giving thumbs-down to the proposed war in the Middle East. I do not take sides in public, but I am pleased to see the sacred, oracular spirit finding her new lodging in our Welsh Druidic archbishop, Rowan Williams.

John Michell

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