July 2018 - Christopher Renstrom

LECTURE: Oct. 11, 2019
Christopher Renstrom
Trash Astrology: The History of Popular Astrology in America

Astrology came to America with the first settlers. It was brought over in their herbals, almanacs, and “Books of Knowledge” – small books that cobbled together Astrology, palmistry, and bleeding tips alongside helpful hints on animal husbandry and farming. These cheap publications were consulted on a daily basis and then tossed out at the end of the year when they grew threadbare. And it was in these 17th century versions of self-help books that Astrology survived and then thrived in American culture.

“Trash Astrology” traces the history of popular Astrology in America from the pre-revolutionary period, to the dream interpretation pamphlets circulated during the Civil War to the commercial success of Birthday Books at the end of the 19th century, and on to syndicated newspaper columns which began during World War 1. Astrology hit the radio waves in the 1920s, appeared on newsstands beside movie magazines in the 1940s, was regularly featured on the daily talk show circuit in the 1960s and 1970s and went viral in the late 1990s. Trash Astrology will explore how these low brow Astrological publications anticipated breaking social trends and then popularized them.

It can be argued that the twelve signs with their personality profiling introduced psychology to main street America.  Exposure to Eastern religions, alternative health therapies, feminism, and changing sexual mores were all transmitted through horoscope columns and magazines. If it weren’t for “Trash Astrology” then Astrology might have ceased to exist when it was thrown out of the European universities in the 1600s. It’s the commercialization of Astrology that kept our artform from petrifying into a fossil science.

SDAS/NCGR/SCAN members: $8 | Guests: $14


Need a quick introduction or review of the language and concepts that will be featured in this evening’s lecture? Come to the Joyce Beers Community Center for a pre-lecture mini-class from 6:30 – 7:00 pm – free with your paid attendance for the evening’s lecture! Please arrive a few minutes early so you have time to register before the class begins. WORKSHOP: Oct 12 2019, 10 am – 1 pm, Joyce Beers Community Center
Saturn:  A Newer Look at an Older Devil
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The Renaissance philosopher Marsilio Ficino feared the presence of Saturn in his horoscope while Robert Burton, the author of The Anatomy of Melancholy, wore his like a badge of honor. Saturn is Astrology’s greatest Malefic – traditionally seen as gloomy, baleful, and destructive, Saturn has been dressed up in recent years as the shadow aspect of our horoscope. The part of ourselves that we resist, deny, or project on to others because we find it so unattractive; the dark side that we need to integrate into our psyches in order to become whole and healthy human beings.

But what if it really is Saturn’s job to bedevil, to thwart, to inhibit and to prohibit? What if his nature is to be stubbornly adversarial; to resist the impulse to integrate and to incorporate?
 Where Saturn resides in our horoscope is where we can expect to face our deepest struggles. He will show us where we spite ourselves and he will show us where we will succeed despite ourselves.

For the first part of the workshop we will examine Saturn in art, culture, and history. We will look for Saturn in the Book of Job, Oedipus, the temptation of Christ in the desert, and the fall of Richard Nixon. We will see how his adversarial role actually plays an integral part in consciousness raising because he is (ironically speaking) the voice of conscience.
We will look for Saturn motifs in the horoscopes of Rush Limbaugh, Oprah Winfrey, Bill Maher, and Betty White.

We will then examine Saturn in the horoscopes of attendants to the workshop to see what are the lessons that we are learning (and perhaps not getting) in our charts. One of the meanings of irony comes from Greek drama where the full significance of the lead character’s actions – like Oedipus for example – are recognizable to everyone but himself. Discussing our Saturns in a group may reveal things that wouldn’t have occurred to us otherwise.

SDAS/NCGR/SCAN members: $25 if paid by Oct. 11, 2019 | $35 at the door
Non-members: $40 if paid by Oct. 11, 2019 | $50 at the door

Workshop cancellation policy: Full refund with 48 hours or more advance notice. With 48 hours or less notice, 40% refund will be given. No refunds if we are not notified in advance. Payment is non-transferrable. Call Treasurer Jim Hennum with any cancellations: (619) 709-7756

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Christopher RenstromChristopher Renstrom is the creator of Rulingplanets.com, a subscription-based Astrology website adapted from his book Ruling Planets, published by HarperCollins. Renstrom writes daily horoscopes for The San Francisco Chronicle and SFGate.com. Exclusive astrologer for Patti Stanger (the Millionaire Matchmaker) his weekly forecasts appear on Sheknows.com. He’s lectured at ASC, NCGR Boston, UAC 2012 and 2018, NCGR-SF, NCGR-NY, SFAS, and both Queer Astrology Conferences. Renstrom has done webinars for Astrologyuniversity.com, Rubicon, and appeared on Chris Brennan’s Astrology podcast. He can be reached through his website.

PAST EVENT: Oct. 11 & 12, 2019: Christopher Renstrom, Pop Astrology, Saturn
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