Austin and Andrew talk about astrology from a lived perspectice. The conversation runs through ways in which both have worked with the planets magically to grow as people and achieve practical magic. This is conversation is a rarity in which the actual application of planetary magic gets to be the star of the show.
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ANDREW: Welcome to another installment of The Hermit's Lamp podcast. I am here today with Austin Coppock. And I know Austin from his wonderful chats with Gordon White on Gordon's podcast, where they do a twice a year sort of check in about what's going on astrologically and what's coming down the line. And, you know, it's always very insightful and it sets a nice framework for sort of thinking about the bigger pictures of what's going on. So, I've been listening enjoyably to those and thinking that having Austin on here to chat about what happens as we live with astrology and think about astrology and you know, all that kind of stuff as we go through our lives would be wonderful.
But, in case people don't know who you are, Austin, why don't you give us an introduction?
AUSTIN: Okay. I suppose I'll start with my most public face. I am a professional astrologer. I write about what's happening, what's going to happen, in different time frames, ranging from the daily to the decadely. I've also been a consulting astrologer full time for the last ten years as well -- eleven years -- and I also teach a variety of classes about astrology and also some about the astrological magic tradition.
ANDREW: Mmmhmm. And, how did -- I'm curious how you got into astrological magic. Because I came out of sort of western ceremonial stuff, which I got into as a teenager and spent a long time playing with and working with, and one of the things that was my favorite was this sort of planetary work and those kinds of things. You know? And it's actually one of the few pieces that sort of endures from that time, as something that I still sort of play with in my life and in my practice, but where did that come from for you? How did you find your way into that?
AUSTIN: That's a good question. I have a convoluted but hopefully coherent answer. [laughs] So, when I got -- when I first got really into astrology, when I was maybe 19, 20, it had a lot of paradigmatic implications to me. The fact that it worked -- and it didn't just work in a fun -- it was more than just the extremely colorful Rorschach test, which I thought it was at first.
AUSTIN: And, it does function very well in that regard, right? But it's -- when I started seeing it reflecting life and death level events -- I actually predicted some deaths that happened during that time, which is not something I do in my practice now. Maybe, maybe, if someone really wants to do that, and I think their reasons are good, but you know, I didn't take it seriously.
AUSTIN: And so that's a pretty good way to get you to take things seriously. To just --
AUSTIN: To throw death in there, right? [laughs] And so, that got me -- that also made me take seriously the paradigmatic implications of astrology. If, you know, if astrology could say things that serious, then a lot of what I had been taught about the world was either incorrect or woefully incomplete.
AUSTIN: And, around that same time, I started training with some people who did internal martial arts, where -- cause I'd been doing martial arts for, I don't know, since I was a kid -- but, I'd never really experienced anybody who could do anything that made me think that chi was anything more than a metaphor --
AUSTIN: But then I started training with a guy who was from a school, and then I went to that school, and, you know, the teacher could do things that were impossible if, you know, if this chi wasn't actually describing part of reality. [laughs]
AUSTIN: And so that brought, I'd say, that played a, that was another piece in changing what I thought was real, right? You know? In a very physical way. You know, getting your ass kicked by something you can't explain really makes you think about it.
AUSTIN: And so, as I got -- I started doing massive amounts of chi gong and meditation, and that -- it was sort of in the space that that opened up, that's where the magic came through for me, and it came through hard and fast and confusing, as I think it does for a certain percentage of practitioners --
AUSTIN: And so, I, you know, I'd intersected with some magical material before. You know, you're ... Back when people went to bookstores, or ... like, you know, you go to the astrology section, and right next to it, is, you know, there is Crowley.
AUSTIN: And there's Modern Magic. And, you know, I popped those open, and there are tables of astrological correspondences. So, I was aware of this material because of its proximity to astrology, both physically and as an art, like literally the books were next to each other, right? Which is, by the way, you know, a reason to go to bookstores, right? [laughs] Yeah, I mean, yeah, I can get it on Amazon, but a good bookstore, you're going to encounter things that are proximal to, you know, to what you're doing. It may be that what you think you want is actually just, you know, a pathway to the thing that's right across from it on the shelf, right?
AUSTIN: Anyway. And so, yeah, I jumped into the magic, I memorized, the, you know, Golden Dawn correspondences, and I went crazy with some shadow tarot and Typhonian OTO stuff, and spirits, big spirits popped into my life from traditions I'd never had any intersection with, which was very, that was some of the most confusing. Some of the -- you know, some of the spirits whose names are, you know, primarily found in Haitian vodou popped into my life, and I literally had to look up what these awesomely powerful figures were, cause I didn't even know the names.
ANDREW: I think there's some sort of fundamental connection between that sort of Thelemic occurrence, right? And those African diasporic spirits, right?
AUSTIN: I --
ANDREW: Not to interrupt your whole line of thought.
AUSTIN: No no no no no, that's a really interesting, there's the, well, I'm not, it would be impossible to characterize me as a Thelemite at any point, but, you know, if we're talking about the larger Thelemic current, you know going from Crowley and then to Grant and then working with Linda Falorio's, I don't know, you could call it reification of the tunnels? What I found -- what I got from that was like a deep magical enema! [laughs] It like blew open, it opened up all of these channels. It made all of these ... It created all of these wonderful emptinesses and absences, which you need ... A channel needs to be empty in the middle, right?
AUSTIN: And that allowed a lot of stuff to come in.
AUSTIN: And that's funny, I don't hear people talking about that material in terms of creating, sort of, you know, it's sort of like draining out the nightmares from a tunnel, so that there's a ... so that that beautiful and fecund absence can then, you know, things can emerge from that, that more primordial state.
AUSTIN: And part of my experience was probably because I was coming from, you know, a couple of years of intense Taoist practice ...
AUSTIN: You know, where, there's a lot of ... there's a big focus on returning to the fertile void state, or Wu Chi, and then you're supposed to do that at the beginning of every Tai Chi form, and every pretty much any internal form ... and you know returning to that, and then emerging out of it, and so that was, you know, it's still a very important space. But anyway, that's what I ... that's part of what I got out of that tunnels work. And I was led by various loa to make some excellent changes in my life, and when then not too much longer ... or you know, and I experimented with some of the sort of Golden Dawn lodge-style planetary magic ...
AUSTIN: You know the six and seven stars, and the Denning and Phillips Planetary Magic book, and that was interesting, but it didn't ... It didn't quite sing.
AUSTIN: Actually, you know, just a funny anecdote. The first sort of formal astrological magic operation I did was this evocation of the spirit of Jupiter -- or it was like a -- yeah, it was an evocation of the spirit of Jupiter, and I got this figure that was like this good-natured pigheaded mayor of, you know, like, he was like, "I'm the mayor!" you know, like kind of big and jovial, and I was like, "Pigheaded, huh?" Like not stubborn, but like literally had a big hog head.
AUSTIN: And only maybe last year I was reading Jeffrey Kotyk's dissertation, and Jeffrey Kotyk does some really interesting work. He's looking at astrological texts in Tang era China, and what he's finding are translations of core Hellenistic astrologer, astrology texts, like Dorotheus, as well as a lot of Persian and Indian material, and it's being kind of received, and redescribed, and it gets all the way to Japan, all of that material gets all the way to Japan by the 10th century, which is a very different shape of transmission than what most people have been thinking. Anyway.
So, in one of these texts is like, how to make a magical image so that this planet, you know, you'll have this planet's favor, and it won't fuck you up. And the Jupiter one is, involves the hog. Like in some of those traditions they see the animal of Jupiter consistently being the pig. And so, these are, you know, these are these funny things where you just experience something and then you find out, you know, sometimes years later, that, oh yeah, thousands of people saw exactly that when they looked, you know, deeper into Jupiter's sphere.
AUSTIN: But anyways, you know, so I was doing experiments, and then the -- someone placed the Picatrix in my hand and said "I think you'll know what to do with this," and this was -- this was -- I think this was 2007. And this was when -- this was before the Warnock Greer translation of the Latin, and it was the first volume from Ouroborus Press, and that was all that was available then, and so, I cracked that open and read it, and I was like, "Oh yes, this is it," and went about experimenting immediately. Well, as soon as the next favorable election was.
AUSTIN: Because the ... That current of traditional talismanic astrological magic doesn't, how shall we say, it brings all of the sophisticated timing that astrology provides directly to bear on the operation, and it -- in my experience, it allows for a much much much much much higher voltage current, to transform the things around one, than the lodge style approach to planetary magic.
ANDREW: Mmmhmm. I think it's -- I've done both, at different times? You know, I've spent a lot of time in the OTO and, you know, doing a lot of that kind of stuff, and in the Aurum Solis, and doing that sort of planetary work --
ANDREW: Within that, and so on-- but, you know, it's funny, like the things, a lot of the more formal stuff was fruitful for whatever it was that it was being worked on, but some of the better things that I ever did were works where I was only focused on myself, right? They were sort of like these internal planetary workings, you know?
AUSTIN: Mmmhmm, mmmhmm.
ANDREW: So like I remember, the most significant of which was that I spent a year invoking the moon at each of its transitions between the signs, and doing essentially like a communion ceremony with that, and internalizing that energy as a way of attempting to redress the imbalances that I experienced, both through my understanding of my chart, which was fairly limited at that time, but also through sort of my psychological and emotional imbalances that I was experiencing, you know, and that sort of repeated cyclical work was so helpful at shifting those things, you know? And I no longer remember where I got the idea from, because it's not anything I ever really came across, it was sort of definitely came out of a hybrid of what I was seeing done and it's almost the extent, the depth at which I felt I needed to work in order to make those shifts, right? So, yeah, I think there's a lot -- it's fascinating.
AUSTIN: That 100% makes sense to me. And I've also sort of ended up doing stuff like that. I still do stuff like that, even though, you know, there wasn't a text that suggests that.
AUSTIN: I think that that cycle of work, or course of work model, with a particular planet is ... That is, that's sort of the slowly sanding down the rough edges of that sphere within you and the way that it manifests in your life, and that in many ways I would say that that's the foundation of, how shall we say, being like the archetypal perfect astrological magician. Is that you get to know, and you do your best to perfect all of the spheres within you.
AUSTIN: Now, that makes -- that's connected very closely to some traditions of astrology in India. I've recently begun studying the Parashara tradition with a teacher, with a lineage holding teacher. And the way that they address, one of the ways that they address remediation is, I don't know, you know, my Mercury sucks, so how do I improve that area of my life, right?
AUSTIN: Is that [missing time -- 00:16:33-16:55]
ANDREW: Can you hear me?
AUSTIN: It happens.
ANDREW: So, you were just talking about, basically you just started mentioning the India thing, and how they were remediating their Mercury, or whatever they were going to --
AUSTIN: Yeah. Right. So, the ... One approach to remediation is basically, it's basically a cycle of planetary work. You know, they'll use a deity connected to a planet.
AUSTIN: And so, you know, you'll do a particular mantra, which is -- You know, when you really look at the structure of mantras and how they're used, you know, it's a blurry line between prayer, spell, conjuration, and mantra, in a lot of cases, but you know, you would do that, you would do your work regularly according to the astrological calendar. Like if you're working on your Mercury, you'd work Mercury, every, you know, every Wednesday during a particular planetary hour, and, you know, for your Mercury you might use, you know, a Ganesh mantra, where [missing time 00:18:00-18:07] whereas another person might use -- divine forms associated with each planet, it's not just one for one, but that's very, you know, when you look at it from a distance, it's very similar to doing a cycle of work.
AUSTIN: I -- have you ever done, sort of like a planetary prayer or attunement every day on the day and hour of the planet for a week or two?
ANDREW: I mean, not so much with that. You know, I mean, I did Resh, so the four points of the day, for a long time, the solar adorations, and I did, you know, I did a lot of sort of working with and invoking those kinds of things, but a lot of my other practices that were ongoing were structured purely at the times that were convenient, so I would ... I did a year of mantra work and I would just do it at the same time every morning every day because that was the only time that fit into my lifestyle, so I didn't have the luxury of, or maybe even the consideration at that point of time of tying it to other forces.
ANDREW: Well, we're stuck again.
AUSTIN: Yeah. I found some ...
ANDREW: So, you were just asking me if I had done a sort of series of works that were tied to a planetary hour, which isn't really something that I had done, in a concrete way. I mean, transitions and stuff like with the moon, whatever time of day it changed signs, I tried my best to be in the temple at that time, but otherwise, not so much, but I'm assuming from your question that you have.
AUSTIN: Oh yeah. It's a not terribly difficult or time-intensive way to really get a sense of what the different planetary currents are, in an experiential way ...
AUSTIN: And, you know, and, by, you know, essentially kind of sipping from that cup, every day, you get a sense of both what the planet's essential quality is, as well as how that is changed, modified, obstructed, or supercharged by what's happening now with that planet.
AUSTIN: And so yeah, that's something I just kind of, I didn't set it as like, you know, we're going to do this every day for a month. It's just something I probably do, five to seven times a week. It's just, you know, I just, you know, take 15 minutes. They're not big rites, but it's just hooking in, because the day itself, that's sort of the juice the day itself is running on, the quality of time, which intersects with the day. It's an easy and useful course of work. I believe Gordon White actually suggests that to his members in his membership sort of group project area. I was happy to see that.
ANDREW: Yeah. Well, I think it's so helpful to really understand astrology, at least in my experience, to have more experiences of it. Right? So often people come into my shop for a reading or whatever, like, I want a reading for this person, giving them some advice, and they're like "Oh, I have this sign, so I could never do that," so I'm like, "All right. But, like, I think you have options, right?" But people have these notions that they've acquired about what their charts mean or what this and that means. But these practical experiences of it, you know, I think they hand the real truth of the ability that we have to shape or modify or soften or ameliorate things to our advantage, as well as building that understanding about how we interact with what's going on now both in the world and in the sky
AUSTIN: Yeah, totally. I find myself thinking about working with the energies present, you know, on whatever day as well as those present in my natal chart. I tend to default to thinking about them in Chinese medical terms, traditional Chinese medical terms? Right, you can, with any, you know, any point on the energy meridians, you can tonify it, you can basically boost it, you can strengthen that energy, you can disperse that energy, you can work on circulating it or cleaning it, you know, in a sense there's like pacify, clarify, and stimulate.
AUSTIN: You know, and you might have a chart where, oh, let's say, Mercury is playing a really key role. Like let's say you have Mercury in the 10th house, and so you know, what you're going to be ... That means that your professional life will demand a lot of mercurial action from you. I for example have Mercury in the 10th, and so it's my ... I always have to put things into words ...
AUSTIN: Because I speak and write about these topics. And so, there are ... there's a lot of demand for Mercury, in my professional life.
AUSTIN: Now, you can have a situation in a chart where a particular energy is of pivotal importance, but you don't necessarily, you aren't necessarily blessed with the abundance and clarity of that energy that you need or that, you know, it would be really nice if you had a little bit more of that.
AUSTIN: And so, you know, that would be an example where you wanted to boost that energy. Right? Cause where you're like, no no, I need more, I have like 12 more pages in this book and it's due, you know, in three days, the draft is due in three days ...
AUSTIN: And so, you know, that would be an example of like, needs more. You know, that's where you'd stimulate or add a bunch more Mercury to it. Then you might have, oh, I don't know, maybe a gnarly configuration, let's say Saturn conjunct, oh, let's just say Saturn ruling your 7th house, right, where Saturn is going to speak to the development of romantic matters in your life and let's say Saturn's in kind of a rough condition, and it's, you know, it's just kind of all Saturn all the time. Even when you're with somebody, you feel, you know, you feel confined or alone, you have a hard time breaking through your own walls, right, there's too much Saturn. And so that would be, you know that would be a point where you'd want to calm or sedate Saturn.
AUSTIN: And this is actually something I've been thinking about a lot lately. Partially because I'm teaching a class on traditional astrological talismans for the first time, but, there are other reasons as well, it's just come up, is that, is looking at the structure of conjurations and prayers, to the planets particularly, there's a big, there's a difference between praising, you know praising, exalting, and thereby evoking the energy and power of that sphere. Like that stimulates it. Whereas, you know, if you look at, I don't know, for example, some of the Orphic hymns, the Orphic hymn to Mars, is really, it's a "don't hurt me, bro" prayer.
AUSTIN: It's not a like, "oh lord of the battlefield, fill me with Viking strength," right? It's a like, "you do all these things, and I recognize that, so could you not do that to me? Would that be cool?"
ANDREW: Exactly. "How about you do that outside the walls of my city, or my house, or my heart," or whatever?
AUSTIN: Right. You know, "oh, lord of the forge, let's beat some swords into ploughshares, right, cause you can do that too, that's not maybe your favorite thing but you can do, let's do that version of it?"
AUSTIN: And, anyway, I've just been thinking about how, cause you know, in the past, those are the differences in function of the different planetary calls and conjurations have been less distinct for me. And also, you know, in the Parashara tradition, there's not one god, one planet. Well, there kind of is, but there kind of isn't. You would address, so, I don't know, let's find a good example. Okay! Let's ... for gods that intersect with Mars. Right? Let's ... There's Aries, obviously ...
AUSTIN: And then -- But we could also look at Ogun. Right? Ogun is not Mars. But Ogun can definitely work through and help you work with martial energy. Right? It's important not to conflate them. But, you know if we compare the stories and the quality of the Greek Aries with the West African Ogun, there are different elements that are emphasized. Ogun, for example, has a very constructive quality, you know, industrial strength labor. The ability to heat, beat, and shape the metal and thereby the material world. Right?
AUSTIN: And the machete not only chops off heads, it also clears the pathway, right? It clears the forest. And so, if we look at the traditional planetary significations of Mars, Mars is absolutely the, you know, the planet where you see blacksmithing and heavy industry, you know, it's all there. And so, you're going to get a different, you know, if you're sort of going through a planet to get to a god, and then you're asking a god to shape that planet, or help you work with that planet, you know, the different figures that, you know, the basically, the name that you pick, the god that you see in dwelling the planet is going to change the nature of the operations as a result. Does that make sense?
ANDREW: Yeah, for sure.
ANDREW: You really want to shape it by being clear what you need, right, and what you want. Whether that's more or less or a particular aspect, or hey, do what you're doing but don't do it in the house, or you know, whatever, right?
AUSTIN: [laughs] Yeah.
ANDREW: You know, I think of -- I have Mars in Aries, right, and I think --
AUSTIN: Oh, okay!
ANDREW: About it. Number 1, it's the gas in the tank. I have a lot of gas in the tank a lot of the time. Right? Sometimes I rely on it too much and that doesn't go so well. But it's also the thing that had me doing martial arts for a long time and constantly being like, more, harder, faster, let's go, let's go, let's push the limit, right? And then you know, there came this point where I was like, "less, less of that! That is not helpful!" You know? And I remember, explicitly, I went skydiving with a bunch of friends, and everybody landed and was like "Oh my god, it's the best thing ever," and I landed, and my pulse wasn't even going, because I was doing so much high adrenaline stuff all the time ...
ANDREW: And I was like, "Yeah, it was cool, whatever." And then a few days later I was like, "No, this has to stop. This is not -- that energy is too unbridled for whatever reasons, and now I need to pull that back," right?
AUSTIN: Well -- so generally speaking, a planet that is in a sign that it rules, like Mars in Aries, one, it, unless it's being interfered with by other planets, that area just works naturally, it's like "Oh yeah, you know, like, how do, what do you do when it's go time? Oh, you just go!" Like, that's the Mars in Aries answer.
AUSTIN: Whereas, you know, Mars in Cancer might be like, "Yeah, but it's really uncomfortable to go, and I might, you know, like, you know ..." There's the sideways crab walking.
AUSTIN: So, it's great to have a planet in the sign that it rules, but there is the danger of excess, because that feels so natural and easy, even if it's hard.
AUSTIN: Right? Mars is how we deal with things that are hard and fast, but you're like, oh no, it's natural and easy to deal with things that are hard and fast.
ANDREW: For sure, my motto back at that time was, "If I'm afraid, I should do it, and if I'm really afraid, I should do it now." [laughs] That was it. That was a number of years of my life, right?
AUSTIN: Well, that is a recipe for maximum adrenaline, right?
ANDREW: Right, exactly! You know? So, it's fascinating. But then there's also this thing where, it's time to turn it down, right? Time to roll that back into other things, you know? And so, there was then that process of kind of shifting that focus and doing some work and switching more to internal martial arts --
ANDREW: The Qigong and Tai Chi type stuff, you know coincided with my interest in the I Ching, and a lot of explorations through that and so on, so you know, yeah, it's one of those things where yeah, I grabbed that energy by the horns and like slow it down, and it was very frustrating for a period of time, because it did not want to be slow. But you learn a lot, you know?
AUSTIN: I had a very similar experience. [laughs]
ANDREW: Yeah, for sure! Go ahead!
AUSTIN: Oh no. If I keep going, I'll tangent on martial arts for an hour, so --
ANDREW: [laughing] Well, that'll be a separate episode. We'll have some martial arts talk. So, I think that one of the things that always interests me about astrology is this sort of, this notion of, it can explain everything, in a certain way, like that's definitely sort of the sense of it, right? There's patterns, there's the pieces, there's what's going on. But you know, I hit this point in my own astrology studies where I felt like I had to choose between continuing to proceed full on into tarot stuff, which you know I felt like kind of my superpower area, and the level of study that I would need to kind of continue to understand these complexities and that. And the one thing that I found, though, kind of over time, was that there were things that emerged that I started looking at that were never what I really would have expected. You know, I find the indirects in my chart super-instructive, whether that's just my chart or whether that's the nature of them, or, you know, like those kinds of things, but I'm curious, like, what are, you know, and people know what their sun and their moon and whatever are probably, right? But like, what are some of the other ideas or other things that you look at that are maybe not, you know, a first glance, you know, from reading a book on it kind of idea? What are the placements, or the angles, what are things that sort of stand out to you as things that seem significant?
AUSTIN: Well. I mean, that's a big question.
ANDREW: I know!
AUSTIN: I mean starting with sun, moon, and rising sign --
ANDREW: And if it's too big a question or too unfair--
AUSTIN: I think I can chunk it down.
AUSTIN: So, two things. One, so, you know, the very basics of astrology are the positions of all the planets in the zodiac and those positions in the houses, so that's actually quite a bit, right there, and then the relationship between the significant angles or relationships between those planets, the aspects and their meaning, and then, a lot of people after some study will get that far, but the one thing that's been underemphasized before the semi-recent traditional revival is the role of essential dignity in a chart, which is, you know, what is the difference between a planet in a sign that it rules versus a sign where it's exalted, versus detriment, what is triplicity dignity and all these things, and that gives you a whole.... That gives you a tremendous amount of depth, and it also allows you to gauge not just the type of result -- and we could say, oh, you know, Mars rules the 7th house of relationship, and so we will see, you know, that person will tend to be in fiery and passionate affairs, they don't want to get bored, they don't mind a little adrenaline in the bedroom. But is it ... There are much more functional and much less functional versions of that. And that's -- you know, judging not just type of event, but quality of event. You know, you could have something that was fast and violent but very favorable, and of course you can have things that are fast and violent and extremely unfavorable, and so, essential dignity plays a very important role in being able to predict that appropriately.
A lot of people are aware to some degree of transits, which is, of course, the relationship of where the planets are now to where they are in your natal chart, and that's a widely used prognostic technique. But one of the -- And that's, you know, the 20th century's made good use of and developed that particular technique. But one of the things that is an absolute staple in any sort of pre-18th century astrology, going back a solid 2000 years are what could be classed as a whole ... Time lord techniques. And so, time lord techniques basically will give you periods of your life that are ruled by a particular planet. And so, you know, for example, the largest scale one is called zodiacal releasing, which is from the second century work of an astrologer named Vettius Valens. And so, in zodiacal releasing, you'll have these big chapters of your life which last between eight and 30 years, and, you know, they're ruled by a particular planet, and so this gives you a tool for looking at biographies, and like, you know, the ... What does it mean to come to the end of a 15-year chapter of your life? It's a huge thing, right? And so, the idea, though, let's say Mars is a 15-year chapter. The idea isn't just that yeah, it's Marsy, it's that's the time period where all the significations and meanings of your natal Mars will become obvious and enfleshed in your life. The time lord techniques are, they're basically, the metaphor I usually use is, they're the mechanism by which the latent becomes apparent in a person's life, with any given planetary position, they're an internal clock like puberty, right?
AUSTIN: You know, it's getting ... It's growing hair in new places time; that's just what time it is. And that can be favorable, that can be unfavorable; the environment can facilitate that, the environment can impede that, but it's that time. And so, time lord techniques as a whole give you that clock for when you'll see that part of a person's life unfold. Right cause we, you can look at your chart and you can find all of those spheres within you at any given time, but it's not, excuse me, they're not characterizing the theater of life and what's actually happening equally all the time. It's sort of whose turn is it? So that provides a whole perspective on a chart and life, and I would say is essential to making even reasonably accurate ... It's essential to making consistently accurate predictions about what a time period will be like for someone.
ANDREW: Mmmhmm. That's fascinating because we all have these pieces, right? But when are they active, and what does that mean? And what does it mean to have something that's active later in life than earlier, whatever, right, because you're not tied to, if I understand you correctly, they're not tied to exactly the same way that everybody's Saturn return is at roughly the same time, they're tied to different patterns, right?
AUSTIN: Exactly. Exactly.
ANDREW: And so hence why somebody peaks early or peaks late or overcomes obstacles at some point or you know, those things, it's their chart, right?
AUSTIN: Or they wake up one day and they're like, you know, I feel like, they're just sort of ... So if you do consulting work, so when you get consulting work sometimes somebody will be like, "yeah, I just, I don't know, I'm doing this and it's fine but I just feel like I'm going somewhere else and I don't know what it is," and consistently, somebody will come to me with that, and it's like, well yeah, you're moving out of a 27-year period into a 30-year period, of course it's going to be kind of disorienting. Like, people can feel those shifts. And that's part of learning astrology and appreciating astrology, is like seeing, oh, this person doesn't know this obscure Roman astrological technique, but what they're telling me is exactly what this says.
AUSTIN: And of course, when you have perfect matches like that, you can be like, well, this technique says exactly that about your life, and we can talk a little bit about, you know we can contrast the nature of where you're coming from and where you're going to, and help you see it more clearly, but there's also, there's something grounding in finding out that it's not just all in your head. If a stranger can do math on the positions of the planets in your birth chart and figure out that you would be in this place emotionally at this time, then it must not just be an eccentricity. You're responding to something deeper.
AUSTIN: You know, the deep weave of the fabric of your own life.
ANDREW: Yeah. Well and I think it, I personally love it when people are experiencing that even if they don't have the words for it, right? Because then when you can bring it up with them, whether it's what you're talking about or like, I did a reading for somebody recently and the central card was the Hierophant in their reading, and about halfway through the reading, they're like, "So, I'm going to tell you now, I didn't want to tell you earlier, but like, this card's been coming up for like the last year ALL the time," and we had this big conversation about it, and I was like, "Oh, perfect," which goes with what I was telling them in the beginning which they were arguing with me about, which was "you actually already know everything that's going on here, and exactly what you need to be doing, but let's talk it through and talk about why you're not owning that," you know?
ANDREW: And so, like they ... having those moments when you can pinpoint something like that and hand that back to a person is so empowering, right? Because then it takes us back to this place where ... back to the earlier part of this conversation really where we're experiencing these things, and if we're attentive, if we have space in ourselves and our lives where we can feel those things or be mindful of them, then we can do something with them, and even if we don't know what we're doing with them, we can go and find someone to help us do something with them.
AUSTIN: Mmmhmm, Mmmhmm, Mmmhmm. Yeah, it's, I think an important part of astrology is really paying attention to the quality of different time periods and realizing that, you know, time is as dramatic a landscape as space ...
AUSTIN: You know that they're, you know, there are times that are hot and dry, and there are those that are cold and wet, and there are, you know, there are those that are abundant and full of life, there are different landscapes, and, you know, if you bring the desert protocol to the meadow, you're going to be out of sync, right? And if you bring the meadow protocol to the desert, you're going to be very unhappy.
ANDREW: Mmmhmm. Yeah. And I think that, you know, well, I wonder, were people more living closely with the cycles of nature and the cycles of things. You know, these things make a lot of sense, right? You know, I had the good pleasure of doing ceremony on the same piece of land every month for two years, right? The cycle of, you know, there are those times when I was standing there and there was like a foot of snow and it was blizzarding and I was looking at this tree and doing the ceremony, and there were those times where it was like, you know, so hot, like 35 degrees Celsius, and sunny and clear and standing there looking at those trees, you know, and being in those spaces through all the cycles, I think really can cue us into those planetary changes too, and the way in which the same thing is different at different times. You know and which we --
ANDREW: ... have this false continuity of things, which they continue but they're different, right?
AUSTIN: Yeah, absolutely, absolutely. Would you say the same space is different at different times? Or the same place?
AUSTIN: Like -- I think that's a really nice way to put it. Yeah, and the seasons are the, you know, the place to start with that, for that realization, and then that is most certainly a rabbit hole, cause it goes beyond the seasons. But that -- just living with the seasons teaches you that that is true, that the same place is different at different times, and once you realize that that is the quality, then you can follow that to more subtle levels.
ANDREW: Mmmhmm. Yeah. And I also love it when there are options to see the planets themselves and so on. I remember, when I was, maybe 15 years ago, or so, back when Mars was maybe the closest it would be for some time, that sort of zenith of that arc ...
ANDREW: And I remember the balcony of my house, we could see it, going across the sky, you know? And we would just go out there and turn off all the lights in the house and watch Mars move and watch the moon move across the sky and the various other things, and you know, it's such an amazing, to be able to sort of sit and connect with those things, you know?
AUSTIN: Oh yeah. And you can feel 'em. [phone rings] I'm an asshole. Let me turn my phone off. That was our invocation of Mars calling for disruption. I apologize, giant podcast faux pas, I'm actually so not a phone person that I forget that it's around ...
AUSTIN: Anyway. But yeah, with the light, the visible light of the planets is important. And that's another piece that astrologers have done a really good job recovering over the last 20 years, is making, reminding astrologers that a chart with 12 signs and houses -- and glyphs -- is a very useful thing, but that is an, that is a way of looking at the sky, it's like a decoder ring --
AUSTIN: But the sky is primary, right? That is the fundamental and primordial thing, and we can do things with it. And especially if you're doing any sort of energetic or magical work with the planets --
AUSTIN: [laughs] It's certainly much more useful to be able to see them and feel them. I mean who hasn't looked up at a full moon and been like "Whoa!" and just gotten a little blast from that?
AUSTIN: Not just cognitively but energetically, you're like "Ooooookay!" That is strong drink, sir!
ANDREW: Mmmhmm. Well and just like that you know you see the -- you know, it's on the horizon there, when the moon's coming up over the horizon it's huge, and you don't expect it to be that size, where the colors are different and all these things, you know? Yeah.
AUSTIN: Yeah, and that's -- yeah, that's in a sense the root of astrology, but sometimes, when a tree grows tall enough, the little flowers haven't had a chance to meet the root, or don't realize what's feeding them, and so, one of -- it's interesting astrology a lot -- in a way that's almost parallel to magic -- has benefitted immensely from a surfeit of translations of older works. You know, we have, you know most of the 2100 or so years of the astrological tradition in textual form and available now for the first time in a very long time.
AUSTIN: And so--
ANDREW: And that's a profound depth of history, right? You know, like, people come to tarot and be like, oh, it's from wherever, and like, yeah, it's not that old. But astrology's that old, right?
AUSTIN: Well, and yeah, that is, to that 2100-year-old figure, that is the age of pretty much exactly the same system that people are using in the 20th century, people in the 20th century are missing some pieces, you know, cause things don't necessarily move in an evolutionary manner, right? It's not better every year --
AUSTIN: It's, you know, things get lost in transmission, things get added, things get lost again. But that core signs, houses, planets, aspects, angles, is there 2100 years ago. And, you know, a magical and prognostic relationship to the sky of course has to predate that immensely. If we're going to follow that, we're going to end up at a time depth that is so far beyond written documentation.
AUSTIN: And so, you know, astrology's benefited immensely from recovering its own history, which can, which, you know, and sometimes, and you've probably seen this in magicland, where people recover a piece of history, and they're like, "Oh, well you have to do it like the Hygromanteia. Everything you're doing in a Golden Dawn-style lodge is incorrect because this older thing says something different. Right? There's that sort of cranky traditionalist approach, and we get, we have, we certainly have some of that in astrology, but you know, as long as we can avoid that excess, it helps not only does it give us access to quite literally the wisdom of our ancestors in a tradition, but it can also contextualize new developments, you're like, "Oh, I think, this other technique, I came up with this new technique," well, now you have a context for that, and you can see examples using the same logic from different traditions, and so properly rated, the tomb is fertile soil for new life.
ANDREW: Yeah. If you approach this stuff with curiosity, as opposed to like with the fervor of fanaticism, or the dismissiveness of what you're doing, then what can be fruitful will really emerge, right?
ANDREW: Oh, yeah, you know what, let's bring back this piece. Let's try this for some time and see what happens, right?
AUSTIN: Yeah, yeah, I mean, reconstruction is also inherently experimental, I think?
AUSTIN: It can be approached with dogmatic fervor, but you don't know what's going to happen when you perfect the reconstruction. You can hope that it'll be a better version of the thing that you're already doing, but you literally don't know because you've never done it. You know, you've never -- one of the metaphors Gordon White likes to use for some elements of magic is that it's, you know, it's like plans to build an alien spaceship?
AUSTIN: You know, it's alien technology, and the instructions for how to build it are all in the book, but you won't know what it's like to fly that thing or what it's really gonna do until you put it back together.
AUSTIN: And you know, astrology, I would say, especially from our point of view in the contemporary West, very much alien technology. It implies an entire worldview and thinking and mechanics that are alien.
ANDREW: Yeah, I think, that's interesting. So, one of my biggest magical focuses recently has been centered around leaving the earth, as sort of a notion, right?
ANDREW: And coinciding with that, I've been collecting meteorites and working with meteorites, as a sort of energetic connection to this sort of interstellar traveler, right?
ANDREW: That idea of, "I need to go somewhere else and I need to be somewhere bigger," is the notion that I often come back to, but it's exactly that, I have no idea what exactly that means, right? And I don't really know what that technology is going to be like in action, and as I've been doing it over the last six or eight months and working with these things, I'm noticing the changes and some of them are not at all what I would have expected, right? You know, obviously I'm not actually leaving the Earth, or you know, so on, but I'm trying to use this as a metaphor and a model for changing consciousness, and you know, it really, it's fascinating how that makes pathways to ideas that never even existed, and it's amazing what comes along for the ride. Oh, you know what, I don't remember putting that in the hold, but I guess that is part of the journey, then, right?
AUSTIN: Yeah, yeah, absolutely. On a general note, it seems like the stellar and perhaps even the interstellar as a layer of the real has been beckoning to the human over the last couple years --
AUSTIN: I've felt increasingly drawn to work with the stellar layer of astrology and astrological magic and it did things, exposing myself to that radiation did some interesting things. [laughs]
ANDREW: Fair enough. So, what does the stellar or the intergalactic mean in terms of astrology, like?
AUSTIN: So, on a really simple level, but very important level, the planets move, and the stars don't. From our point of view. And certainly, you know, the planets are, they're racing around the sun, and first they're against this stellar backdrop, and now they're in line with that star, and you know, that's what planet means. The Greek root for planet means wanderer. It's a wandering star as opposed to a fixed star. And the planets are also quite literally subservient to the sun, to our star, they are all once pieces of the same undifferentiated matter, and they, you know, they obey the sun in motion and are fed by its light. Right?
AUSTIN: So, we're dealing with, you know, something, we're dealing with the children of stars rather than stars.
AUSTIN: Whereas each of the stars whose light reaches into our system is its own sovereign; it's its own parent. If we're looking on a ... just on a physical level at ranks of beings in the physical world, there's nothing really beyond stars. Maybe black holes? I don't know. Their nature is still illusive. But like stars are the biggest things, they're the biggest distinct beings or entities.
AUSTIN: And, so, what's interesting is the stars are considered ... So, if we look at the Picatrix, which is, for people who aren't familiar with it, the big book of astrological magic ...
AUSTIN: It's an 11th century, originally written in Arabic, translated and modified a little bit, showed up in Latin a few centuries later and has been tremendously influential. You know, so the Picatrix, when talking about the intersection between stellar and planetary, says that you know if you want something to, you know if you're doing a working, right, and you want the pattern that you're impressing into the world to be enduring, and you know, eternal, enduring to not just be a quick change or a difference next month, that you then align, you align the power of a star and a planet. You let that star manifest through that planet. You get -- the planet is like the lens that brings it into our system, but the star is going to provide a higher-octane laser with which to etch a pattern into life.
AUSTIN: Anyway, there's so much to talk about with stars.
ANDREW: Not un -- not dissimilar in some ways to using a god to come through a planet or using, you know, you're lining up those other energies and then you are creating a bigger vibration or power or possibility through them, right?
AUSTIN: Exactly. Well and that's the art, the traditional astrological talismanic art, is you have the planet, right? and that is, we can see that as one link on a chain of being, but you don't just, you know, you don't just heat up that planet, you have the words that you speak, the way that you're dressed, as well as the way that you speak, should all be of the same nature, your surroundings ideally should be of the same nature, and the material you make the talisman of should be a representation of the same nature at the level of stone, right? The incense should be made of plants that are of the same nature at the vegetative level, right? And, you know, basically, when the art is perfect, everything at every point in the chain of being, you know, from the unnamable all the way down to the dirt beneath your feet should be exactly of one nature, and that's, you know, there's a huge difference experientially and results-wise when you bring every level to bear on making -- impressing a change into reality.
AUSTIN: So, you know... whereas, you can get away with not having the incense, or just doing a paper talisman instead of stone, and you know, maybe having the planet like, not in the best condition, you can do stuff, and stuff'll happen, but it's when, it's when you have, it's in a sense on every level the same reality as far as you know. And it's all tuned to the same, you know, you get that pow.
ANDREW: Mmmhmm. Cause I mean, necessity wins out when you have to do something today for something tomorrow, that's the end of the conversation, just do the thing, right?
AUSTIN: Well and, what I would say, cause again I've been teaching this material for the first time, traditional astrological talismanic magic is absolutely not emergency magic. It's making lasting permanent life-altering changes. It's like building -- it's literally carving a stone, and it's carving the stone of your life. It's building a temple. It's building the pyramids. It's big and lasting, and so you can actually fuck yourself up pretty good if you use that protocol when the elements aren't aligned very well, because you'll impress really deeply into, you know, into the talisman, a pattern that might be good enough for tomorrow, but you don't want to let that pattern colonize your life. You know, some of my sort of hard core astro-talismanic friends, all of us have stories ranging from horrible to hilarious about when we thought this was good enough and made it anyway and we knew we were wrong. Like a friend of mine told me a story about how she made this fixed star talisman, and basically there are a lot of things that are good about the star, but if you look at the lore, there's this association with wounded feet ...
AUSTIN: And then, she picked a time where ... she picked a time to work that star where Mars was extremely prominent and configured to that star, and she got ... and she was wearing the talisman for a couple weeks, and all the good things that are associated with that talisman happened, and she fell down the stairs and couldn't walk properly for six months.
AUSTIN: And that wasn't what she asked for, it's just that that's what that moment in time could provide. And if, you know, if she just did a sort of like, more of a petition, like a quickie spell, to that star, just got enough juice to, you know, move that brick three feet over, or to have the energy to do, you know, whatever labors were demanded over the next week wouldn't have had that, but with the full on talismanic art, you're impressing that pattern really deeply, and you'll get the pieces of that moment in time that you didn't ask for but are part of it anyway.
ANDREW: You get the whole picture.
AUSTIN: Yeah. And that's why the rules are so picky. You can be like, yeah, but what if I have to? Then don't do a talisman, don't do that style of talisman, do a planetary position, you can do that, it'll work.
ANDREW: Go to the Picatrix and call somebody up, and be like, "hey, come and help me with this thing for a few days," whatever.
AUSTIN: Yeah. Exactly. I do micro-planetary magic every day. You know I'll heat up the altar, I've got little informal planetary altars all around my office and house, and so you know during my ten minutes of just, like, checking in and tasting the brew, I might do a little thing to nudge something, cause that's all I need, and I don't need a lot of power to nudge it. You don't need to go full talisman for most things.
ANDREW: Yeah. Yeah. I had Jason Miller on recently and we were talking about, don't do emergency, try not to let it get to emergency magic level, cause that sort of stuff always comes up at some point in our lives, but let's have relationships, let's be in the magic, let's live the magic, let's be in the flow of the magic and work with that, and hopefully we'll be in that place where things become required. And like you say those little adjustments, right?
AUSTIN: Yeah. Always steering? It's funny that you bring Jason up, because, so, I absolutely have to plug my book that's coming out? Because -- I say mine, but there are eleven other authors. I coedited it -- it feels like my baby, but, you know, even a baby is not your possession, right? Although one does tend to be possessive. So, this is an anthology of essays about astrological magic. It's going to be -- it's being published by Three Hands Press; I coedited it with Daniel Schulke, and it's got an essay by me on the fixed stars, and Daniel on the planetary viscera of witchcraft, which is a wonderful meditation, I had the pleasure of editing that recently. But Jason is also one of the contributors. And I brought Jason on for exactly what he delivered, which is you know, okay, when the stars aren't right, what can you do? How can you maybe get something that looks Venusian from Mars? You know, it's that practical, you know, getting into it, I brought him into it for the nuances of practice and how, the better you understand the planets, the more you can do with any one sphere, and he gave the example of how, there's a person who's having trouble with their love life, and all the Venus work in the world wasn't really changing things, but when Mars got brought on, and the focal point was the courage to face rejection, and the willingness to assert oneself, then everything clicked in, right? And so, we can say, relationships are Venusian, and that's true, but if when we're trying to untangle a particular knot, sometimes, in that particular case, it was Mars that needed to be tugged on, not Venus. And then, so, what I tried to do with the contributors that I invited was to provide both a historical overview and also to get people to articulate the traditional principles, and there are several people who did that really well, and then I also wanted -- I'd say the other half are about working with that material, and what you discover in practice, and what are maybe other ways of looking at things, what are -- how shall we say -- what are details of practice that aren't covered in thousand year old books, and what comes up along the way, and so, I believe at this point that we did a really nice job of sort of bridging the present, past, and future. But that will be up to the reader to decide. So that's called --
[cross talking 00:47:57]
AUSTIN: Yeah, I'm looking forward to it. It took a long time! [laughs] So I'm rather looking forward to its publication. It should be out in May and is called The Celestial Art.
ANDREW: The Celestial Art. Lovely. Well, maybe this is a good point to -- I think that I could spend all day talking with you about these things, but maybe we should wrap this up here for now, and why don't you tell people where they should come and hang out with you? You have a great newsletter, and stuff like that, so, yeah, where are you?
AUSTIN: Yeah. So, I'm at myname.com, I'm at AustinCoppock.com, and I offer online classes, both live and as well as the library of past material, I write on a -- not a weekly but a decanly basis, I wrote a book on the decans, or the division of sky and time into 36, and I've started doing my astrological column on that pattern rather than the weekly as an experiment. And I also write a short paragraph about every day's astrology, just a little bit about okay, here's what's in the air at a given time, and so yeah, you'll be able to find all my stuff there, and I'm on Facebook, I'm on Twitter. I didn't quite make it onto Instagram or anything that came after Twitter. I'm at that age where I'd adapted enough and began to ossify and dry out and wither.
AUSTIN: I was like, I can't do any more of this! Another one!
ANDREW: There's another astrological endeavor, right? Which signs and or placements give people predilection for one platform over another? Because I think Instagram is the pinnacle of social media and the best thing ever, so.
AUSTIN: That -- I -- well what I was going to say is that totally -- we could say it's definitely fiery --
AUSTIN: Right, it's not as textual? It's more image based, it's a little bit more dynamic, yeah, and so you said you were ... you sun was in Sagitarrius and Mars in Aries?
AUSTIN: That's a great start for fire! [laughs]
ANDREW: For sure.
AUSTIN: If nothing else is in fire then you are more than sufficiently enflamed.
ANDREW: My ascendant is in Leo, and yeah, I've got a bunch of, a pile of stuff in Sagittarius, so, yeah --
AUSTIN: Okay! [laughs]
ANDREW: I got gallons of fire, yeah, for sure!
AUSTIN: I'm more water than anything else --
AUSTIN: So, I don't, yeah, Instagram seems a little loud for me, visually and otherwise. [laughing]
ANDREW: Fair enough, fair enough. Well, thank you so much for making the time today, Austin, it's been a real pleasure.
AUSTIN: Yeah, it has. Yeah. I enjoyed it.