The history of the White Eagle School of Astrology is bound up with the story of the White Eagle Lodge itself. As the White Eagle teaching was being given through the instrumentality of the Lodge’s founder Grace Cooke, Joan Hodgson, her elder daughter, noticed that he sometimes used astrological references. Intrigued, she determined to find out more about the subject, and when asked what she wanted for her twenty-first birthday (which occurred about eighteen months before the Lodge work officially began) she requested ‘a library of astrology books’.
This was not then a greedy desire: there were only about ten or a dozen astrology books in print and available in the UK. Her wish was granted, and from then on she studied the subject incessantly. She quickly became very proficient and inevitably Lodge members began to ask her to read their personal horoscopes.
They also began to ask to be taught astrology, which resulted in the publication of the first edition of our beginners’ correspondence course in 1941. As far as we know it was the first such course in the UK in modern times.
Joan also wrote about astrology for the then Lodge magazine ANGELUS, and a series of articles she wrote there about the esoteric significance of the twelve signs of the zodiac was compiled as a book and published in 1943 under the title it still has today: WISDOM IN THE STARS. It has never been out of print.
Directly after the Second World War and during the 1950s and 60s Joan was much involved in the astrological world outside the Lodge. She was a founder member of the Faculty of Astrological Studies, the largest teaching body in UK astrology today, and also took part in the big tropical vs. sidereal zodiac research project undertaken by a number of major astrological figures in the 1960s.
In the early 70s Joan wrote the advanced correspondence course and in 1976 officially constituted the astrological side of the White Eagle Lodge work as a school. She published three further books (see publications page) and continued to lead the School until her death in 1995. The current Principal, Simon Bentley, came into the work in the early 70s and for many years acted as her senior tutor and administrator. He now runs the School, as Joan did, from the White Eagle Lodge headquarters in Hampshire.