A column by Bles Carmona
For the week of August 20-26, 2014
SERAFIN LANOT AND “A NEW LOOK AT ASTROLOGY THROUGH FILIPINO EYES”
The grand-daddy of all Filipino astrologers is definitely Mr. Serafin Lanot, born on August 21, 1913 in Boac, Marinduque province, Philippines, and died on September 22, 1993. A highly intelligent and multi-talented Leo with an Aries Moon and Sagittarius rising (Wow, all that fire!), Mr. Lanot was also a poet, essayist, editor, and organizer of groups devoted to the study of astrology in the Philippines especially in the 1980s. I have never met him personally but Mr. Lanot and I shared a connection nevertheless. How? You ask.
You see, when I was on summer vacation between my third and fourth year in high school (1986), I and a couple of my classmates at the Manila Science High School were chosen to participate in what was called the Ateneo Junior Summer Seminar (AJSS), the aim of which is to give high school juniors a head start on college readiness. Now the Ateneo de Manila is considered the best Catholic-Jesuit private school system in the country, and there’s always this rivalry between those who studied in the “pang-masa” University of the Philippines like me and my younger sister Cherry (number one daw ang U.P.) and those who studied at the more “elitist” Arr-ne-oww like my only brother Darwin (a graduate of the Physics-Computer Engineering double-major). My only point for elaborating thus is to describe to you the milieu as I was experiencing it then.
So, on with the explanation of my “connection” with Mr. Lanot: There I was, in one of the best libraries I have ever been to (believe me, at 15 years old and given my bookwormy nature, I know my libraries), and it was still the “card catalogue” system that’s in force then, and the first thing I gravitate to is the lone card under “astrology.” Making short work of jotting down the call number, I go to the shelves and locate – ta-dah! “A New Look at Astrology Through Filipino Eyes” by Serafin Lanot, copyright 1982. My hands shook the first time I held the book and flipped through the parchment-like pages. My mind was blown away by what he was proposing. Such a radical idea, I thought at that time (more on this later). At the time, since I didn’t have an Ateneo de Manila library card, my two options were either to photocopy parts of the book or write it out longhand in a notebook for the purpose. Guess what a middle-class high school junior chose? What I did was this: every single day, during lunch break from our AJSS academic subjects, I walked to the library, took the book from the shelf, and then copied the portions I found shockingly innovative into my dog-eared journal. One chapter at a time. I don’t think I finished copying down the entire book, but I was confident that I got the parts that were new to me and therefore worthy of further study.
So there. That was my magical connection with Mr. Lanot circa 1986. I felt less alone in my love for astrology, excited that someone of Mr. Lanot’s stature is writing about the subject. Looking back now, I’m impressed re: his stature because there was a time that under one presidency, Mr. Lanot was appointed to be the Director of Printing, a high government position.
So I’m asking rhetorically: He never hid his astrological interests despite holding a responsible public position, right? Well, bravo and good for him! Le Coeur d’Leon: the heart of a lion indeed! I could sure hear him roar back then through the vibrant ideas in the pages of his book!
Now just what are these revisionist ideas that Serafin Lanot espouses? First of all, back in one of the 1980s conventions of the American Federation of Astrologers (AFA), Mr. Lanot was the only Filipino invited to speak and he was even made a member of the AFA convention faculty that year. This is on the strength of the abovementioned astrology book, which was widely read not only in his home country and the United States, but in Europe as well. He presented his paper called “One World, One Astrology.” Here is what Ime Morales, in the blog “Astrology Friends Philippines,” documented:
“He wrote in that paper: ‘Now is the time for astrologers to assume the leadership in this fight for change, no longer as mere consultants and counselors to money changers and reactionary leaders, but as leaders themselves during this Age of Aquarius, assuming the mantle of seer and sage that both history and legend have thrust upon us. He went on to propose a “one world, one astrology” based on “reason, intuition and inspiration, to harmonize the opposing astrologist views held by East and West. East and West are merely dimensions of a circle, astrology must not forget that they constitute the whole sphere. They motivate each other and their values must be considered as complementary, not as oppositions. My view is that moon and sun should be given the same importance together and that interpretations of the horoscope should be holistic.”
As if proposing that the Sun and the Moon be given equal importance in the horoscope wasn’t wild enough, Mr. Lanot wanted to change the planet rulerships of the 12 signs of the zodiac by including the four asteroids, injecting much-needed female archetypes into the zodiac and ending male chauvinism in the same. The way Mr. Lanot explained it, we will now have 5 female planets (Venus, joined by the asteroids Ceres, Pallas, Juno, and Vesta), 5 male planets (Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Neptune, and Pluto), and a couple of hermaphroditic planets (Mercury and Uranus to represent what he called then as “homosexuals” or “the third sex” but what whose designation we will now update as the LGBT community. He said that there are now enough astronomical discoveries such that we can proceed to assign a single planet exclusively for one sign without any duplication.
The Rulers of Lanot’s Proposed Zodiac
Aries – Mars
Taurus – Ceres instead of Venus
Gemini – Mercury
Cancer – Juno
Leo – Jupiter
Virgo – Vesta
Libra – Venus
Scorpio – Pluto
Sagittarius – Pallas
Capricorn – Saturn
Aquarius – Uranus
Pisces – Neptune
If you come think of it and if we really know our mythology and symbolism, we may find ourselves actually agreeing to some extent about Mr. Lanot’s ideas. Last year, Astrology Friends Philippines headed by renowned financial astrologer Resti H. Santiago celebrated the Centennial of Mr. Lanot’s life and works. I pay tribute to Mr. Lanot now on his birth month and thank him for invisibly guiding my hand when I was 15 years old through his awe-inspiring book, “A New Look at Astrology Through Filipino Eyes.” Maraming salamat po, Ka Serafin!