Q+A Interview with Capulus
Capulus has been practicing astrology and astrological magic for 20 years. He studied with the astrologers, Luis Lesur and Robert Zoller, and was the previous president of the Mexico City Chapter of NCGR. He teaches about Neoplatonism and its relationship with mystical practices of Late Antiquity, Greek Religion, as well as Medieval and Renaissance philosophy, at the National University (UNAM) in Mexico City. He is currently about to get his Ph.D. on ancient philosophy on the philosopher, Proclus, and astrology. Capulus works as a consulting astrologer, and teaches about Astrology, Tarot, Geomancy, Mythology, etc., to his own groups as well as in diverse alterative cultural centers and deep psychology institutes in the capital and other cities in Mexico. He also has been initiated into diverse Afro-Caribbean mystery traditions, which he integrates into his astrological consultations and therapeutic work. Capulus has written for several academic and alternative publications in Spanish and in English. Currently, he is participating in some academic projects on philosophical therapy, and regarding the edition and transition of texts on magic and divination from Antiquity to the Renaissance. He is also preparing a book on horary astrology, soon to be published.
Q: How did you get introduced to astrology?
A: I got introduced to astrology sometime after I started studying Philosophy at the university; by then, I had already fallen in love with ancient Greek philosophy, particularly Platonism, so, when I was invited to an astrology class, and thought about “astron” and “logos”, the cosmic soul composed of the sphere of the planets, and so on, I thought, yea, I want to know more about it! I was quite curious, and thank the gods, the astrologer I met then was a most cultivated, experienced and proficient consultant and teacher. I was really lucky to meet Luis Lesur. Some friends of mine knew him, arranged for a group of astrology, to which I was invited, and that's where I met him. The group dissolved some months after it started but for me it was the beginning of many, many years of study and training; by then I already knew this is what I would learn and do in my life, very clearly. I was almost 20 years old by then.
Q: How did you start your practice? And do you have any advice for the student who wants to begin to practice?
A: Professionally I started quite young, in my early twenties, but by then I had spent a few years doing many charts, anybody’s chart I could for free, so I could practice and practice. Of course, it took many years more to become a full and steady practice. And it is also that I have never depended on it completely since I have professionally developed it along a parallel and complementary academic development of my professional project.
In a very important respect, astrology is an art, that is, a technique, and that means that is something to be learned through practice and direct experience, with effort and discipline and for an extended period of time, not in a few weekend workshops or even a few months course; it also means to be learning with an experienced practitioner, not just by books, even when there seems to be a general autodidact element present at the beginning. Had I to give any advice for the student who wants to begin to practice –professionally, I assume-, I guess it would be, simply put, to do not let your business run your astrology, do not let your astrological business run your astrological practice. It seems to me that many assume that to be a good professional is to have a successful astrological business. It is a blessing from the gods to be able to live this kind of life –cause that's what it is to be an astrologer, a way of life- but then, let the gods run your practice, so to speak. What then is to be a “good” professional? Well, for centuries the nature of the good has been a philosophical question just as astrology has been considered a philosophical activity that participates in a cosmic dynamic of self-knowledge, not just a set of techniques to serve mine and other’s narcissistic needs as part of a principally commercial activity, important as that can be.
Q: Can you tell us about your teachers?
A: As I mentioned above, thank the gods, I had great teachers. First I studied for many years with the astrologer Luis Lesur, later becoming friends and colleagues. Before he lamentably parted away (ibae bae entonu), we were working on a book together. Luis was not only a very learned man with a critical mind, and a very knowledgeable and experienced astrologer, but as a teacher he covered many different facets and schools of thought of astrology, so I learned as much about the modern, humanist approach of the psychological schools of astrology as from the traditional, classical methods and authors, but also from uranian astrology and cosmobiology, and so on. He studied with Zoltan Mason, living in N.Y.
Later on I studied under Robert Zoller, with whom I had great sympathy since I had studied ancient philosophy. I completed his old diploma course, but I had the privilege of personally meeting him regularly for a while, since then I was living up-state N.Y. very close to the town he used to live. Actually it was in High Falls that I did my first professional astrological consulting work and teaching. For me, meeting Bob was very important since through him I got introduced to the metaphysical as well as to the magical and mystical aspect of astrology. In this respect another important teacher I have is the English astrologer and kabbalist Shimon Halevi (Warren Kenton). I met him and his school a little time after I started studying astrology and I was also deeply impacted and influenced by his teaching and work.
Q: Do you have any thoughts about the interaction of astrology and culture? Astrology and science? Astrology and entertainment? Astrology and politics?
A: Well, most astrologers don't seem to realize that astrology and philosophy where born together and formed a binomial all the way up to the XVII century. Cause while astrology obviously has Mesopotamian roots it is basically a Greek cultural construction, like philosophy, which, on the other hand, didn't simply first appeared in Greece, but has wider and older roots. So there is both a very sophisticated intellectual structure that developed together with astrology for many centuries, as well as a rich and vast practical, ritual and remedial astrological tradition that also belongs to astrology, but they are both an activity different than interpreting charts; however, this can be understood and practiced in a wider context; that is, modern practice is quiet limited in comparison. Look at the astrological tradition of India. This is how it was done and in my opinion it is still very relevant today for practitioners as it was then, and it is not a matter of dogmatism, fanaticism or romanticizing the past. Platonists where active, learned and experienced practitioners whom at the same time where very critical of the professional astrologers of their time, their very limited understanding about what they do. Divination understood psychologically, and as a tool of self-knowledge is not a modern conception but rather a very old one. It seem to me that we are barely starting to fully reconstruct and recognize the western astrological tradition, and there is still much to be learned. There is a very, very serious need of critical thinking in astrology today; to interpret and adapt to our need of today the rigorous cosmology and metaphysics, the spiritual philosophy of astrology without resorting to superficial mixes of oriental cultures, to the rosy dogmatism of the so called new-age or the very poor discourse of commercial esoterism. For the Greeks, science and mysticism where not at odds, but rather conformed to an integral plan of education and self-realization of the human being, something that we seem to be looking for today.
CAPULUS AT THE MANY FACES OF ASTROLOGY CONFERENCE
Capulus is giving a lecture entitled 'Ancient Astrological Magic and Theurgy as Contemporary Therapeutical Tools' on Saturday, 02/18/17. In describing his lecture, he notes:
Preview of Presentations
This presentation covers the analysis of several horary, event, electional and natal charts related to everyday magical practices, spiritual visions, possessions by the gods, experiences of the ancestors, witchcraft, etc., as they occur in various Latin American countries. The comparative context we will use to understand these practices is theurgy, the Platonic mystical tradition where Astrology has a fundamental and eminent role. The practitioners of the contemporary Afro-Caribbean traditions of wisdom are analogous and strikingly similar to those of Late Antiquity Hellenism.
His lecture will take place on Saturday, 02/18/17.