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Uranian Astrology

Uranian Astrology

Uranian astrology is an innovative system of astrology developed early in the twentieth century by Friedrich Sieggrün (1877-1951) and Alfred Witte (1878-1943), two pioneers of the contemporary astrological revival. The system is sometimes referred to as the Hamburg School, a reference to Witte's main teaching centre in Germany.

The Uranian system was distinguished from traditional astrology at several points. First, traditional astrology bases many of its interpretations of the chart on the angles formed between planets in the charts. Important relationships or aspects are formed when planets are apart as 0° (conjunction), 30° (semisextile), 45° (semisquare), 60° (sextile), 90°(square), 120° (trine), and 180° (opposition). There are also a set of lesser aspects. Some aspects have traditionally been regarded as beneficent and others as more malevolent. These latter, now termed the hard aspects, include the square, semisquare, and opposition. The Uranian system emphasized the role of hard aspects.

Second, the Uranian system introduced the idea of midpoints to astrological interpretation. As the name implies, a midpoint is a spot halfway between any two planets pictured on the horoscope. The midpoint is the place where the combined energies of the two planets manifest. The two planets and their midpoint form a planetary picture. The calculation of said midpoints requires an additional level of mathematical skill by the astrologer drawing up the chart, a fact that limited the spread of the Uranian approach.

Third, the most questionable aspect of the Uranian system was the introduction of hypothetical planets to the chart. Prior to the advent of space travel and the development of various means of verifying the existence of otherwise unknown planets, the existence of different as yet undiscovered planets was proposed. Such speculation was encouraged by the discovery of Uranus and Neptune and heralded the discovery of Pluto(1930) and Chiron (1977), a comet originally believed to be a planet.

Uranian astrology was unique in suggesting the existence of no less than eight hypothetical planets that were given the names Cupido, Hades, Zeus, Kronos, Apollon, Admetos, Vulcanos, and Poseidon. Each of these planets was assigned its particular role in the chart.

Uranian astrology enjoyed its greatest success in German-speaking countries during the first half of the twentieth century. It also gave birth to cosmobiology, an astrological system started by Reinhold Ebertin, one of Witte's students. It has had little success outside of German-speaking countries, though Witte's most important book, Rules for Planetary Pictures, was published in an English edition in 1939. Also, modern advances in astronomy made the addition of hypothetical planets to the horoscope an increasingly dubious endeavor.

Sources:

Brau, Jean-Louis, Helean Weaver, and Allan Edwards. Larousse Encyclopedia of Astrology. New York: New American Library, 1982.

Holden, James H., and Robert A. Hughes. Astrological Pioneers of America. Tempe, Ariz.: American Federation of Astrologers, 1988.

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