by David Cochrane
The Kepler Conference - Why the Name?
“It should not be considered unbelievable that one can retrieve useful knowledge
and sacred relics from astrological folly and godlessness.
From this filthy mud one can glean even an occasional escargot, oysters or an eel for one’s nutrition; in this enormous heap of worm-castings there are silk-worms to be found; and, finally, out of this foul-smelling dung-heap a diligent hen can scratch up an occasional grain-seed,
indeed, even a pearl or a gold nugget."
Tertius Interveniens by Johannes Kepler
For my entire adult life, I have been obsessed with the same vision that Kepler had. In the 1970's I attended astrological conferences where others shared this same dream. The dream faded in the astrological community in the 1990's, as astrology was embraced more as a metaphorical and mythological language, or a form of divination beyond the domain of science.
On the other hand, a few astrologers, myself included, continued with our consistent and unwavering passion to follow Kepler's dream. This dream has propelled me on my own quest to 1) put into software as much of the entire universe of astrological thought and astrological techniques as possible, (2) to learn celestial mechanics, (3) to master research methodology and statistics, and (4) to continually study the ever-widening range of astrological books and traditions.
My obsession with Johannes Kepler's work permeates every aspect of my life. It is so pervasive and deep that three astrologers, all of whom are very intelligent and not prone to flights of fancy, actually believe that I was Johannes Kepler in a past life! Despite my protests that this is not true, they are nevertheless convinced.
I do accept the idea that if there are past lives, I may have known Kepler. I have not mentioned this before in public because of the hubris implied, but I share it now to emphasize that the choice of the word "Kepler" is not just one among many clever words that can be used for an astrological institute or product. In my mind "Kepler" is the purest and most perfect word for an astrological product or institute.
All of us have our favorite colors and some of us have a hero or a favorite sports team. For my entire life, the guru of my professional pursuits has always been Kepler. Kepler is to scientific astrology what Shakespeare was to Elizabethan theatre, or possibly even what Mary is to the Catholic Church. Therefore we should expect that many astrological organizations will want to identify with the name "Kepler."
In fact, "Kepler" is already used widely throughout the astrological community. My first software program that I began developing in 1982 is named "Kepler" and the Kepler software continues today to grow in power and flexibility. The number of Kepler users also continues to grow rapidly throughout the world. In the late 1990's my wife started developing a Kepler School of Astrology, but then, Kepler College opened, so we changed our school’s name to the Avalon School of Astrology. There is also the Kepler Institute in Belgrade, Serbia; another example of an astrological institute that uses the name "Kepler". There has even been a "Kepler Day" conference held periodically in England.
Some people have suggested that using the name "Kepler" for the Kepler Conference is inappropriate and confusing. I agree that there is some confusion, what with several astrological organizations and products already called Kepler. However, I stand by our decision in naming the Kepler Conference.
I was one of four founders of the Kepler Conference. Now I am indirectly involved as a supporter of the conference and a voluntary adviser to the conference coordinator. I fully support and agree with the conference coordinator's decision to retain the name of the conference. If I were the conference coordinator, I would also keep the name of the conference.
We are following in Kepler's footsteps. We are attempting, in our own way, however humble or limited it may be, to scratch up a pearl or a gold nugget, to use Kepler's words. I suggest that all of us should get accustomed to the fact that Kepler, like Shakespeare and Mother Mary, will be enshrined in a great many institutes.
I predict that future generations will come to realize how extraordinarily prophetic Kepler was, for shining a light down a road that few could comprehend until centuries after his passing. "Kepler" is the most appropriate name; especially for any organization or product that is dedicated to the highest standards in critical analysis, research, technical detail, or the pursuit of clear and dramatic discoveries. "Kepler" is the name that perfectly expresses the mission and goals of the Kepler Conference.