The Hamburg School of Astrology Today

by Ruth Brummund, Dipl. Psych.

NOTE: It has come to the translator's attention that the textual content of some of the original articles sent or posted by Ms Brummund from/in Germany have been altered after the translator received the text translated below. The following text is a translation of the content of the article as it appeared on the date indicated at the end of this translated text, and does not include translation of any alterations that may have been made in the German original since that date.


In an interview I was asked what the difference is between traditional astrology and that of the Hamburg School.  This prompted me to reflect a while, since I had believed that this was widely understood.  To start with, Witte carried out examination of chart symmetries among the traditional planets and angles, the Aries Point, and the Transneptunians, with the aid of the movable dial.

Having used the Combination of Stellar Influences as a textbook since 1956, I made contact with the Hamburg School in 1969, at which time I already noticed differences in working methods within the School itself. These differences in technique are even greater today.  Following is a summary of three different historical strains of development within the Hamburg School.

1.   Ludwig Rudolph, as my teacher, showed me in plain form what he understood of Witte's ideas.  In two weeks' time I worked through his introductory text Leitfaden der Astrologie and then proceeded to pose questions to him.  He stressed time and again that Truth lies in Clarity.  Thus, in his working methods he included only planetary clusters (16th harmonic conjunctions)  and midpoints when he began interpretation of a chart.  For rectification of my chart he used the position of directed Saturn and the triggering of a midpoint with the same solar arc. (*1)   The triggering of a midpoint has a dual effect since the midpoint hits the two adjusted factors and the second factor reaches the midpoint with the same solar arc adjustment.  The method can be summarized like this:

d(SU/MO)=SU while at the same time dMO=SU/MO (*2) 

Over the course of time, Ludwig Rudolph further developed his methodology by eliminating superfluous techniques such as the sensitive points and the houses.   Nevertheless, to this day, I see that all too few people have thoroughly understood his train of thought on these issues. (*3)

2.  As part of my evening studies I also attended lectures by Carl Perch.  He used a number of sensitive points, as well as planetary sums.  In addition, he sometimes worked simultaneously with as many as 5 charts atop one another.  Articles by Heinz Schlaghecke and Ernst Esch demonstrate the same working methods including many combinations of sensitive points.

3.  A third variation of Witte's teachings can be read about in Hermann Lefeldt's Methodik.  Lefeldt employed his knowledge of traditional astrology and the houses by supplementing the zodiacal sign positions of the planets with the Transneptunians and a system of manifold house "reflexes" or "reflections".  His followers are to be found primarily in southwestern Germany, in the Freiburg region, and call their school "Modern Astrology".  I know of little development existing since its origins.

One might consider these three working methodologies derived from Witte's teachings in order of precedence, from the teachings of Ludwig Rudolph to the more tradition-based methods of Hermann Lefeldt.  Ludwig Rudolph was an expert at interpreting Witte's teachings.  What Witte lacked in developing a coherent system in his time, Ludwig Rudolph later clarified in form.

It is time that these three differences in interpretation and application of Witte's teachings are made known. 

Our mutual tolerance is brought to question here.  Each individual can only accept what is in resonance with his or her inner nature.  Moreover, one's degree of consciousness plays an important role.  One should not arrogantly deny other methods that one simply does not understand. Genuine human nobility is shown by astrologers through their ability to work with one another.

-- Hamburg, 8 July 1993 -- updated 2 December 2000


(*1)  Saturn stands for separations, among other things.  It is significant, for the confirmation or correction of birth times, to note the time that important separations or departures took place.  For these events, one can use directed Saturn and derivative midpoints for rectification.  Depending on the question, one might use SU/SA for separations from a man, MO/SA from a woman, NO/SA from an association, or AS/SA from a partner or a location. One should use the directed Ascendant only after the birthtime is somewhat certain.

(*2)  In order to ascertain the birth time, the difference between the directed SU/MO midpoint and the natal MC should correspond to the age of a significant event.  Here the example of the double triggering of SU/MO is given because the various manifestations of this combination are of exceptional importance in any given chart.  It may symbolize, husband and wife, body and soul, personal presence among the public, etc.

(*3)  translator's note: the issue of setting aside techniques such as sign rulerships, fixed stars, sensitive points, and dignities & detriments, was actually first suggested by Alfred Witte, as he considered them as redundant, for students in particular.  Mention of this can be found on page 255 of Der Mensch, a collection of articles written by Witte and his contemporaries; thus, in his later writings, Witte himself recognized the importance of simplification and prioritization of technique in order to stay focused on essential points.

Ms Brummund welcomes your questions at Ruth Brummund .

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