Exegesis Issue #8

OK, you wallflowers, speak up!


Return-Path: jmashmun@mail.nwlink.com
Date: Mon, 22 Apr 1996 07:24:01 -0700
Subject: Exegesis
From: "Joanna M. Ashmun" jmashmun@nwlink.com

Hello to all--Here follows a little article I've been working on since just after Elvis died.

In late 1977, a woman I met in an astrology class told me an interesting story about a synastry class she'd taught in another city. One of her students took the lessons to heart and pored over the ephemeris to determine the birthdate of his Perfect Possible Wife. Then he went looking and found a women born the right day, or near enough, and she agreed that theirs was a match made in heaven.

I asked, "So did they live happily ever after--for the past couple of years, anyway?" The teacher said she really didn't know, that both of them had already been married to others when they met and there was such a scandal over their affair and divorces that they had left town. She hadn't heard anything more of them.

I asked, "What in the world were you teaching that he put so much reliance on? Astrologers almost never trust their own rules enough to take such decisive action." She said she had taught nothing special, just the usual stuff.

I asked if she had any favorite rules she'd trust this far. She said no. I asked what she used in her practice. She said it depends. I asked if she used things on other people that she wouldn't use on herself. She was offended by my curiosity when to her it was primarily a moral issue about the proper uses of astrology--and she thought adultery and homewrecking shouldn't be committed in the name of astrology. She also said this experience had disturbed her enough that she'd stopped teaching synastry.

Over the next few years, I tried this story on a lot of people, because I thought it was interesting. Nonastrologers thought the student had acted sensibly. Why bother to learn all that stuff if you don't mean to put it to use? They thought this is what astrologers do, why people do astrology, and were mystified when I said that this was an exceptional case, universally condemned by every astrologer of my acquaintance.

And those astrologers most certainly didn't like this story. They said it was an abuse of astrology, the sort of thing that gives astrology a bad name, etc. I asked them about their uses of synastry and got vague, conditional answers. I asked, "If you were going to do this on yourself, what would you use?" They just looked at me like I was out of my mind, till someone said, very quietly, "Oh, I'd never do that on myself." I said, "Why not? How do you justify using something on your clients that you don't trust for yourself?" The man shrugged and said, "It's not that I don't trust it. I'd be afraid of finding out I married the wrong person." I was astounded--and I didn't say, "Don't you KNOW whether you married the wrong person? Do you need astrology to know *that*?!"

It had been clear from the very beginning that astrologers judged this case by extra-astrological standards and values. That is, they didn't approve of relying primarily on the chart indications but rather tailored their opinions to prevailing mores where they lived. It's always a hard question--naturally, I've seen charts and transits that looked like the native could get away with crime, but I haven't suggested that the person explore that potential avenue of success or self-expression, and, when asked, have recommended against it, *in contradiction of the astrology*. That's because this person and I are members of the same community, and it is in my interest to discourage crime and misconduct, even at the price of restricting someone else's self-actualization. Yet, one could take the position that it's unethical to "edit" the chart reading in this fashion.

Anyhow, to return to synastry, from watching and listening, I'd formed the opinion that astrologers were deriving their rules for synastry (picking a favorite set from the wide body of lore) from the synastry of their important personal relationships, but it hadn't occurred to me that they might feel ethically obliged to change partners if they knew too much and so they were very careful about protecting themselves from knowing too much--such as how many charts are available to satisfy their synastry requirements, etc. Every astrologer who would discuss synastry with me clearly believed that the proper practice of astrology is deeply conservative; many of them would be horrified to be described as conservative, but in the crunch they go for the status quo. There are no rebel angels in that crowd. Anyhow, if they are conservative, and if their synastry rules were drawn from their own personal relationships, then doing synastry on themselves should pose no threat of leading them astray, should in fact confirm them in their principles.

And no, I hadn't tried it on myself, either. I'd been interested in a survey of opinions and practices. I thought I'd pick up some tips and interesting anecdotes, but after several years I still had only a couple of rules I'd use on anyone else. They didn't comprise a system of anything, and I knew that other astrologers thought them both crude and frivolous. I was pretty sure these two rules were drawn from the synastry of my husband's and my horoscopes, though unconsciously, and I figured I could think of lots of worse examples to follow.

Because I'd married before I learned astrology, I had a hunch that my synastry rules would not exclude my husband's horoscope--and I knew that, if they did exclude his chart, it would be a simple matter to find more "accurate" rules!--though I didn't see that my two rules were discriminating enough to pick his birthday. I was mistaken. My two rules:

1) No Saturn squares between charts. There's plenty of trouble walking around; you don't need to take it home and keep it.

2) Whenever there's a choice, go for good aspects to and from the moon, Venus, and Jupiter. I am conservative, too, and pleasure is the strongest bond.

My second rule is much more important than my first, though I still think those benefic trines and conjunctions (and a nice Mars square can be refreshing) should outnumber Saturn squares by at least two to one: It's awfully nice to still be able to laugh together by the end of the day.

As a relevant but not quite pertinent note to this, in the course of analyzing this matchmaking/elections-cum-synastry, I was naturally interested in figuring out what was the least you have to know about a chart to be able to identify its date. That is, you can just make up a chart but maybe your dream lover's horoscope never happened; maybe it's impossible. (The Perfect Husband has Venus trine everything in my chart and loves everything that I do, but this can't happen in a horoscope so I must settle for the Perfect Possible Husband.) Once again, I was surprised to find out how little information is needed to tie things down astrologically, but the signs alone (degrees not necessary) of Saturn, Jupiter, Venus, Mars, moon (others redundant) will get it down to a couple of days from a very long period of time. (Somebody who likes to crunch numbers could give a more precise answer on this.) If you are willing to commit to a moon aspect, you can narrow the time down a lot, but you stil need a location to get the angles.

Any comments, anecdotes, tips, observations, comments, etc.?

What is synastry FOR? Is it for understanding and managing existing relationships? Is it for selecting new associations to undertake? Is it matchmaking? Marriage counseling?




Administrative Note.

A few folks wrote asking if they'd been "lost" during a move. No. I was "gone" for a few days during the birth of my son.... Amazing. Exhausting. I'm starting to wake up after a long long weekend traveling through the 4/8/12 houses. Three-day-old Benjamin is fine, Mom and Dad are fine but sleepy....zzzzzzzzzzz :-)

So send your messages, my free time has become more limited and I've had to drop many other internet astrology interests and I want to focus in on one forum--this one.



Unless otherwise indicated, articles and submissions above are copyright © 1996 their respective authors.

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