This was in response to a twitter thread initiated by Chris Brennan on the question of Astrology entering a post ephemeris Era, which quickly morphed into, on one branch, a humor thread on Astrology in a post-apocalyptic time.
This prospect is what kept me going through learning Calculations, which was a totally brutal trial for me. An Astrologer that can’t hand-cast from a Book is useless in a world without computers. Sad but true. Then again, in a situation without the right Books, we are all useless without being able to read the sidereal night sky. I certainly am not there yet, myself.
In a real apocalyptic, or apocalyptic scenario, remember though, you have to be selective – very selective – when choosing what to carry on your back. Ephemerides (especially Raphael’s, God help me, I had to demand latitudes…had to…) and Books of Tables are heavy, bulky, and FLOPPY, which is infuriating, so changes are you’d ditch them really early in the Onset of Return to the Old Ways, during the Initial Chaos, to carry water, shelter materials, or other Really Vital Survival Items, for yourself or others, when undoubtedly you’d have to migrate away from your Abode and Library because, you know, apocalypse & stuff.
That said, people tend to be insistent on carrying tools of their trade, until they absolutely can’t anymore. So, even if you were able and willing to carry them, they are very easily damaged in a post-apocalyptic scenario by any and all of the 4 elements, so unless you are a member of a stationary compound where you can keep a library safe, it’s not likely you’d have regular access to a readable Book after a short time. Thin-paged and soft-covered books in backpacks in survival scenarios are vulnerable. & I haven’t tried, but I don’t think they fit in your average Airtight Gallon Plastic Bag.
May I say though, and this may be a radical stance here, a truly self-actualized Mage may not worry about carrying their Books, but understand that a Book appears when it is needed, and that they would synchronistically come across abandoned or time-traveled copies of others’ Books, or happen to return of the location where they left their own watertight lock-box, or maybe even their own Books time-traveled, when they or a querent most needed to consult the Oracle. It could also make sense, if safe, to set up a stationary camp where one finds the Books, because, why not? Having a storefront and roof is always easier than working as a traveler, when dealing with Book Reading. For one thing, it can’t be raining when you open that Book, no way.
In the case of a Migrant Astrologer, without the quiet and controlled comfort of an Office or Sanctuary, a reading would be an extended and dangerous undertaking. The querent would have to provide food, shelter, and safety for the Astrologer during the work, and at least a week’s worth of currency or provisions so that the Astrologer could get to their next destination safely and with confidence.
If not mobile, but instead stationary at one’s own Camp Astro, these rates could be a bit lower, but contingent upon the likelihood of another Querent coming by. The Astrologer would have to work on a sliding scale, also – charging more for work from someone who has more to Offer is totally fair. A Chieftan of a Horde would have to pay considerably more than a peasant person or family, for example.
Either way, that’s a lot of potatoes.