Arthur, Gavin (1901–1972)
Gavin Arthur, an astrologer and occultist, was born Chester
Alan Arthur III, the grandson and namesake of the 21st President
of the United States. He grew up in wealth, but did not
pursue a career in the professions, choosing instead to join the
Merchant Marines. He later panned for gold and sold newspapers.
In the 1930s he traveled widely and came to know many
of the counterculture elite of his day. Among his acquaintances
were pioneer sexologists Havelock Ellis and Alfred Kinsey.
Encyclopedia of Occultism & Parapsychology • 5th Ed. Arthur, Gavin
In the 1950s he settled in San Francisco and devoted his
time to astrology. He began to move in the alternative spirituality
and sexuality community that first became known for its
identification with beat Zen, and he became well-known as an
astrological counselor. He began to develop a perspective on
astrology that, contrary to the mainstream of astrological writing,
took account of homosexual and bisexual gender preferences.
His ruminations culminated in 1966 with his major writing,
The Circle of Sex, for which Alan Watts wrote an
Arthur moved beyond traditional observations on sexual
roles (that continue to dominate astrology books) that treat issues
of sexual attraction and compatibility to argue that each
person possesses a distinct combination of Yin and Yang. We
attract and repel others as they tend to balance our own combination
of malefemale attributes. He then placed this understanding
that allowed for women with much Yang and men
with much Yin, into a complex system of correspondences that
involve the astrological signs, the planets, and houses of the
Drawing on his reading of gay writers, Arthur concluded
that sexuality needs to be separated from the single need to
procreate. Heterosexuals need to be free of the constraints of
marriage, for only then will the transgendered, homosexuals,
and bisexuals be liberated.
Arthur, Gavin. The Circle of Sex. Hyde Park, N.Y. University
Books, 1966.
———. ‘‘Document Received from the Hands of Gavin Arthur
and Its Authenticity Vouched for by Allen Ginsberg, San
Francisco 1967. [previously unpublished].’’ Gay Sunshine A
Journal of Gay Liberation 35 (winter 1978). 29.