In recent months the Academy of Astrology and The Tradition journal conducted a House System Poll. The detailed results of this poll can be found in The Tradition News, summer09, which can be downloaded for free at: http://thetraditionjournal.wordpress.com/2009/06/20/the-tradition-news/ .
At a first glance it seems that many of the participants tend to integrate Traditional methods into their Modern way of practicing. This has to be seen as a positive sign and a motivation to continue the efforts to make Traditional teachings available to the interested student.
If we continue to have a closer look at the results concerning the participants identifying themselves as purely traditional practitioners, the picture becomes a different one. Nearly one third of them are mixing two or more systems. Furthermore 21% claim the usage of Placidus and 4% even state that they use the Koch system in their work. This comes as a surprise and saddens the Traditionalist in me immensely.
In my opinion, astrology has to be integrated in its cultural and spiritual context. In the case of Traditional astrology this means that we have to look at the historical background and try to take the worldview of the astrologer into consideration. Traditional astrology was an integral part of a wider system which we call the Hermetic arts and it should not be seen in isolation. If we try and isolate astrology from this complex system by application of modern ways of thinking, we are simply destroying it. The modern world seems to suffer from what I would call pathological compartmentalisation, something the ancient Masters would neither have agreed with nor understood. The first and foremost thought of the Traditional astrologer was that every action had to be for the glory of God. With this aim in mind he could at the same time be philosopher, magician, alchemist or all of it together. It all stemmed from his desire to serve and it could all be reduced to one single focal point, one single truth. This is the reason why it would have never occurred to the true traditionalist to use more than one technique to establish the house cusps. They knew and used the system which manifested the underlying philosophy by mathematical means, and this was enough.
I can only urge the students of Traditional astrology to try and immerse themselves into the philosophy and world view of the ancient masters. Any modern approach decorated with a fashionable fassade of Traditional technique will not bring the desired results.
I leave the last word to the master astrologer William Lilly, as nobody could have said it better: “In the first place, consider and admire thy Creator, and be thankful unto him, be though humble, and let no natural knowledge, how profound and transcendent soever it be, elate thy minde to neglect that divine Providence, by whose all-seeing order and appointment, all things heavenly and earthly, have their constant motion.”