Thursday, 30 April 2015

An interview with Barbara Dunn

Barbara Dunn has recently hosted a horary astrology workshop in Athens during the alterscope festival and gladly gave the organisers an interview where she also announces my appointment as a QHP Head Tutor for greek-speaking students. 

-How did you get into astrology?

The reason for studying astrology arose out of my search for explanations as to why some people seem to lead such fortunate lives, while some others don’t. I could not accept that good fortune, misfortune, good health or poor health were simply random phenomena. I was hoping that astrology could explain that unfairness, or at least confirm it. That was when I decided to study it in a serious manner.

-What kind of studies did you do?

I initially studied at the Faculty of Astrological Studies and received their Diploma, but I became disillusioned fairly soon. The sort of astrology I was taught had very little to do with prediction. Instead it felt as if astrology simply consisted of some vague notions and ideas. It certainly had no rigour in its theory, nor was it underpinned by any coherent methodology. I didn’t feel I was learning anything important until I came across Olivia Barclay’s Qualifying Horary Practitioner course (QHP). After completing the QHP I became a Tutor and subsequently Head Tutor. The QHP was the very first horary course in the world, established in 1984 and taught world-wide. All teachers of the main schools of horary astrology around the world today were once students of Olivia Barclay.

 -Based on the answers you got from your studies, how do you stand on the issue of fate vs free will?

Olivia Barclay used to say that the planets even determine the time we go to the loo! (Laughs) I don’t know if I can adopt this view, which is perhaps quite extreme. Yet I am certainly open to discussion. Having said that, I have yet to hear a convincing argument in favour of free will. In fact, drawing on many years of experience as an astrologer, the indications appear to be that astrology and free will are incompatible. If an astrologer is able to make a clear and unambiguous prediction from an astrological figure (chart), how can it be possible to have free will? 

-How did you succeed Olivia Barclay?

As Head Tutor, I was teaching by her side for many years. When she died in 2001, she left me the QHP course and her vast collection of books, among which was William Lilly’s Christian Astrology in three volumes. She had bought these books many years previously for about 25 pounds. All Olivia’s students were taught using photocopied editions of these very books, published by Regulus Publishing in the UK. The truth is that we horary astrologers are much indebted to both William Lilly and to Olivia Barclay. Both the QHP and my traditional/horary astrology book, Horary Astrology Re-Examined: The Possibility or Impossibility of the Matter Propounded are recommended by Robert Hand for all serious students of astrology.

- What do you think about modern astrology?

I’m afraid that modern astrology isn’t exactly astrology. Very often modern astrology is a combination of some type of astrology and some other discipline, for instance psychology. I’m not saying that such theories and their symbolism have no value, nor that ‘psychological-astrology’ is not a useful counselling tool. However, in reality this is a sort of hybrid, which certainly should not be given the name astrology. 

-What do you say to people that claim that since the world has changed and evolved, so must our astrology?

Have the planets and the luminaries changed their orbits or locations over recent centuries? No. So why should their influence change? Furthermore, why change something that works? If you think it doesn’t work, are you sure you have used the techniques correctly? Ancient authors also had differences of opinion in certain matters, but not one of them attempted to change the fundamentals and create their own astrology. I’m not referring only to modern ‘psychological’ astrologers here, but also to some astrologers who claim to practice traditional astrology, yet feel the need to make serious modifications to traditional theory. I don’t think we have the necessary experience to challenge 2000 years of accumulated wisdom. Naturally, everybody is free to do whatever they want, but I would rather they didn’t claim their personal theories are part of the tradition.

 -What do you plan for the future?

I would like to expand the QHP course to non-English speaking territories, such as Greece and Cyprus. I’m hiring tutors at the moment and I am delighted to have appointed Petros Eleftheriadis as Head Tutor for all Greek-speaking students. He speaks the astrological language of our predecessors and I am very happy to have him on board. I’m certain that Olivia Barclay would have been thrilled at the prospect: the return of this ancient knowledge to a place where it developed and flourished. I also plan to publish a new book, specifically designed for the Certificate level of the QHP, which is going to appear in both English and Greek.

I would also like to organise some weekend courses in London, or perhaps abroad, something that I’ve been thinking about for quite some time. On a more personal level, I’m currently researching medical astrology at the University of Exeter and in terms of my research findings I am collaborating with the University of Cambridge. I am focusing primarily on the work of Simon Forman and Richard Napier, a most
interesting project. 

-Thank you very much!

Thank you for inviting me to your beautiful country and for your amazing hospitality!

No comments:

Post a Comment