Exegesis Issue #15
|Exegesis Digest Mon, 06 May 1996 Volume 1 Issue 15|
Date: Sat, 4 May 1996 20:45:52 -0700
From: "Roger L. Satterlee" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Pedantus' Journal 04May1995
Pedantus' Journal 01May1996
Horoscopic Expressionism: Archetype as "Formula": Surrealism as a source of material for the astrologer:
Salvadore Dali 11May1904 8:45 AM GMT Figueras, Spain 02E58 42N16
Lois Rodden data AA B.C. (from Birth Certificate)
Art-Philosophy-Psychology...In for penny , in for a pound: If, as I suspect, the universe is one of mind , then Astrology is a means to participate in the generalizing, intuitive function of mind. Intuition is probably at the root of all occult experience and the very basis of our ability to to adapt, to socialize appropriately (if only unconsciously) according to the needs of a given environ. The extreme emphasis on regimented socialization should, by necessity of balance, drive many people to re-link with the generalizing, abstract organization of mind: a socially imposed reduction of symbols to icons, signs, or sterile images to be accepted on the basis of mere authority, might actually trigger an anxiety in order to prevent the atrophy of an individual's mundanely enabling intuition.
Here are two paragraphs to which I would (perhaps naively) point and say, here is what Jung has to offer: [Quoting CG Jung: p.232-233 "The Portable Jung" Edited by Joeseph Campbell Psychological Types: General Desciption of the Types: I. Introduction: 3. The Introverted Type a) The General Attitude of the Consciousness (paragraph 5) ]
" The psychic structure is the same as what Semon calls 'mneme' and what I call the 'collective unconscious.' The individual self is a portion or a segment or representative of something present in all living creatures, an exponent of the specific mode of psychological behaviour which varies from species to species and is inborn in each of its members. The inborn mode of *acting* has long been known as *instinct*, and for the inborn mode of psychic apprehension I have proposed the term *archetype*. I may assume that what is understood by instinct is familiar to everyone. It is another matter with the achetype. What I understand by it is identical with the "primordial image," a term borrowed from Jacob Burckhardt, and I desribe it as such in the Definitions that conclude this book. I must here refer the reader to the definition of image. The archetype is a symbolic formula which always begins to function when there are no conscious ideas present, or when conscious ideas are inhibited for internal or external reasons. The contents of the collective unconscious are represented in consciousness in the form of pronounced preferences and definite ways of looking at things. These subjective tendencies and veiws are generally regarded by the individual as being determined by the object--incorrectly, since they have their source in the unconscious structure of the psyche and are merely released by the effect of the object. They are stronger than the objects influence, their psychic value is higher, so that they superimpose themselves on all impressions. ...."
Life as an art seems to be a search for one's *own* pattern-- for identity through things found to be a 'mirroring' of the "self"-- semi-recognizable patterns, visual or otherwise, with an inherent and somewhat perplexing 'amnesia' attached to them. So, I also like to point out that dream interpretaion seems quite central to Jung because of this part of the quote above: "[...] The archetype is a symbolic formula which always begins to function when there are no conscious ideas present, or when conscious ideas are inhibited for internal or external reasons. [...]"
"Persistence of Memory" & "Metamorphosis of Narcissus": Salvadore Dali's "Persistence of Memory", the one with the droopy pocket watches hanging about, is probably the most famous of surrealistic paintings. It addresses something akin to Darwinian evolution (and it is a self-portrait). His "Metamorphosis of Narcissus" seems and attempt to graphically depict a shift from simple vanity to a more transcendent search for self as a 'mirrored' Jungian "formula". The latter seems more personal and more universal at the same time. It appears that both works are attempts at self-expression but "Persistence.." in dulges in a bit of cartooned iconography while "Metamorphosis..." seems more an exhibition of a personal recognition of Jung's "formula" idea. This is great art, to me, and the planets of Dali's natal chart are best projected here. Dali places a penetrating saftey pin through the top of an egg-shaped solid: the shape and position of these objects 'parallels' or immitates the head of a complete human figure on the left side of this painting. This seemed obvious to me, perhaps only to me, but a formal '=' sign is all that seems missing between the left side of the painting and the right side of the painting. It appears to me as an algebraic form of 'self-expression'. If we employ the planet/aspect symbols of astrology as common 'language' on a type of Rosetta Stone, then Mars conjunct Mercury and Sun '=' a safety pin piercing the top of an egg-shape in such a way as to also extend from the 'head' like a old television's rabbit-eared antenna. (This is consistent with the assemblage of similar objects in drawings by children, concerning this planet/aspect formula.) The relative position of the 'head' is definitely a parallel of Dali's natal Sun in House 11 (a clockface position of about 10 o'clock, visually). It is though this placement is one of the visual cues in Dali's world which 'mirrors' Jungs "formula' notion of the *archetype*. To quote Jung again, "[...] The archetype is a symbolic formula which always begins to function when there are no conscious ideas present, [...]". *Archetype*, here, would not necessarily apply merely to the alchemical formulas which are the planet symbols, but more like to the whole of the natal chart as the "formula"--a symbol crudely mapping a structured psyche with some notion of 'parts' assembled in a certain way. As Jung continues above, "[...] The contents of the collective unconscious are represented in consciousness in the form of pronounced preferences and definite ways of looking at things. [...]" I would add here, definite ways of 'making things look a certain way'--the act of projection-vs-perception.
In "Metamorphosis...", Dali presents two instances of patterned forms. Each I assume to represent some idea about the material form, or the psychic form, of man; or a man, or himself. So, is he representing an individual idea of selfhood? Could be. Is this painting perhaps an expression of his personalized collective unconscious? Jung might say this is most likely. It is probably an imperfect graphing or charting of his Jungian use of *archetype* as "formula". Because Dali could be considered highly socialized his reality as an adult in western society is always likely include something in the nature of a compromise for the sake of effective communication. A rule of the painter's 'thumb', here, is probably sure to include equal potions of personal mythic material and icons with social context as 'hints' or 'signposts' to the more popularly accepted or classically 'correct' metaphors, etc.. Even though his depiction is a specialized one, it has probably been created as though Dali had a good portion of universal material on his pallet , but a lot of rather ordinary social context need be referred to in order to identify his work as professional, commercial enteprise. It could be that all human activity is a form of "self" portraiture--a transcendent yet narcissistic search for one's reflection--one's own, specialized, pattern within the field of the collective's infinite possibilities. This 'field' may be the field of our vision at any given moment and for the psyche it may truly be a case of "what you see is what get"--our whole response to sense oriented life may be a search for actual images which stimulate us to respond with a judgement--"like me : not like me" . The path to selfhood may be an artistic participation in life as performer, critic, and collector who learns to identify the *archetype* of "self" as "formula", learning as we do according to behaviorists ,by successive approximations.
An Afterthought: I find the above desription of *archetype* as "formula" an inspired starting point; and this formula-with-no-name seems unlimited in it potential use as a type of solvent in the analysis of the collected symbols I call my "self". Though this idea is fortunately available to me as a starting point, I note that above writing appears in 1921, some 17 to 18 years into Jung's opus of collected works: this rather fundemental notion seems to have 'popped up' as an instantaneous synthesis of long considered experiences (and it is also Jung's premise that all states of the psyche are the products of many years of living, "half a lifetime" is not uncommon says). This founding principle may have been an impulsive 'neptuian' act as it finds itself not as a title or a chapter heading, rather, it seems a treasure buried in the subheading above: perhaps dreamed up on the very moment of this writing...maybe not. Perhaps a Jungian scholar will set me straight on this point as I am little lazy at the thought of searching the previous 18 years of Jung's writing. However this sweeping, vague notion of archetype as formula would be a good candidate as a parallel expression of Jung's natal Saturn *square* Pluto (90 degrees apart--suggesting a piling of ideas as evidence--as one pile's bricks). It becomes very easy to view Dali's surrealistic paintings as a search for *archetype* as "formula", "Metamorphosis of Narcissus", as largely the product of Dali's Saturn *trine* Pluto (120 degrees apart--suggesting forms as created by the process of an instantaneous, mutual infusion of ideas). The reported difference of the square aspect vs the trine aspect indeed seems appropriately conceived because Dali's dream-like themes, unlike Jung's, are conjured into tangible objects, and not a Jungian compilation of intangibles. The reported, 'easy as 1,2,3', nature of trine apsect is probably consistent with my thinking of Dali's 'forms' as being much more immediate in their accessability and a lot less weighty than even, "The Portable Jung"...:)
July 26, 1950 11:53PM EDT Elmira, NY 076W49 42N06 27Ari 19 Asc
Date: Sun, 5 May 96 08:51:30 -0000
From: "Joanna M. Ashmun" <email@example.com>
Subject: Re: Exegesis Digest V1 #14
On Sat, 4 May 1996 19:14:21 +0000 Fran Kostella replied to Dale Huckeby on the subject of Dale's "Rhythm" post in Issue #11.
I have some comments and I disagree with Dale in general, but I disagree with Fran even more on some specifics.
Later, you remark that it "a condition that life has adapted to", but life has also adapted to the mixture of gasses in the atmosphere. Why should light be a factor in astrology, but the level of Nitrogen not?
The source of its content would be biological evolution.
And astrology is not limited to biological processes.
Yet I believe we do manifest rhythms that correspond to their movements.
Yes, we're all astrologers and subscribe to this idea, albeit worded differently in some cases. To borrow a "mode" from Ken, this is axiomatic to astrology.
With this in mind I think it's worth postulating that life needs rhythm in order to live. How can processes dovetail in their timing so as to coordinate with one another unless they're organized in time? But if they are how does life know when the cycles are supposed to turn? How does life keep time? My supposition is that life *uses* planetary rhythms as a temporal skeleton around which to organize itself. Thus we have not only 24 hour and 28 day rhythms, but also 22 1/2 months, 12 years, 29 1/2 years, etc. rhythms.
In regard to this stuff about rhythm and cycles and evolution--our species hasn't evolved to speak of in the past two milllion years or so. Those people had bodies and brains and minds just like ours. There is a slow trend towards brachycephalization, which produces greater cranial volume and also produces more difficult childbirths, along with impacted wisdom teeth in those with rounder heads. There is a very gradual adaptation to plantigrade posture and bipedal locomotion, also contributing to difficulties in childbirth, but we still have essentially the spines and circulatory systems of quadripeds, such as dogs, evolved to function horizontally rather than vertically, making us subject to back and heart problems from walking on our hind legs. Nonetheless, standing up and walking on two feet is not a learned behavior; it is a spinal reflex and everyone with a normal neurology does it. The important thing, though, is that those people like us had most of two million years to figure out the sky before anyone wrote anything down. To paraphrase somebody's old song, they've forgotten more than we'll ever know about that. Always, always, always be skeptical whenever anyone characterizes any human activity as "natural." *Nothing* we do is natural--everything we do is cultural--and in that regard we are like animals in the zoo: this is life in captivity. And we *like* it like this, as there are bears in these woods. Leaving astrology out of it for a minute, it is not biological cycles or natural cycles or planetary cycles that make human lives orderly and predictable, to the extent that they are. What makes human lives predictable and orderly are (1) rituals and (2), most of all, promises. Rituals typically include promises, oaths, or vows, so it's *promises,* making them and keeping them and enforcing them. (Yes, I have an 8th-house Scorpio sun, but that just means I know what I'm talking about on this.)
But how can "life", which you do not clearly define, "use" something like planetary rhythms? The implication is that "life" has some ability to grasp what is at hand and apply it to a "purpose".
"Life" doesn't do astrology (or Dale hasn't convinced me yet), people do astrology.
Now, the patterns of the Sun and Moon, as applied to the natural cycles of seasons and tides, which *do* have some physical basis, are easy to see. But why would "life" choose Mars? We do not know of blatant physical manifestations of Mars, so why would "life", which one assumes would only use what is available in the environment, choose to use the Mars cycle as opposed to the Sunspot cycle, or any other recurring pattern? The implication is that "life" finds special significance in the cycles of Mars, enough so that it emphasizes it over other, more blatant, cyclic occurances.
You overdid it here, Fran. If you've got nothing to do but sit home (or even go to sea or to war) and look at the sky night after night for two million years, the planets will make themselves conspicuous against the fixed stars. With that kind of motivation and opportunity, even Dale and Roger would be making up stories about "Swift-Bold-Impetuous-Male" and his adventures on the great highway in the sky.
From this perspective Saturn's effects aren't intrinsic to Saturn itself but are simply the result of evolution developing processes which match that wavelength. If the planetary periods were different the periods which characterize life on earth would also be different. Nor are the rhythms that correspond to Saturn's periodicity the only ones that _could_ have evolved. If the evolutionary clock were set back to zero we'd again evolve a temporally (and functionally) coordinated set of processes, but not the same ones. Finally, this view assumes that organisms are able to "see" the planets in some sense and track their movements, but is agnostic with respect to how they do so.
You've really gone out on a limb, Dale. How many organisms and "periods which characterize life on earth" do you plan to account for? How many will you need to agree in order to verify your hypothesis?
Are you suggesting that it is all accidental?
Why not, Fran? And you have to give us a better reason than you don't like it.
That through some mysterious means all the important cycles *just happen to* correspond to the planetary cycles?
Before jumping to this conclusion, we should let Dale distinguish between, say, varying fertility rates in populations of woodland rodents and--the more typical astrological sort of question--the timing of people's job changes.
As I said, I'm skeptical about evolution, why should planetary cycles be important and not some other arbitrary rhythm? To me this implies a causal connection.
Then you need some logic and philosophy of science.
But we've already (in this thread) dismissed "influences". From here, it looks like a restatement of the problem, not an answer to the problem.
If the "clock" were reset why would the EXACT same patterns NOT emerge again?
They might, but the probability is that it would be something else.
If the development of rhythm tended toward the planetary cycles then how can they not do so again? If the development of rhythm tends toward some arbitrary pattern, that just so happens to correspond to our planetary cycles, then why study the planetary cycles and not the "essential" rhythm that would be behind the rhythm in any case?
"Arbitrary" is probably not what you mean here--or, if it is, for my sake, please specify whose discretionary choice determines this pattern.
And "organisms are able to 'see'" and "track" the planets seems like a description of "influence", even if this seeing is "agnostic". Again, this seems to be a restatement of the problem of "influences". We can already say "there is an influence at work, but we do not know how it operates, or what exactly it is; we are agnostic to how this occurs and accept this as an axiom", why do we need to posit "the rhythm supposition" if it does not improve upon this?
Part of the difficulty in our being able to imagine an adequate theory of how astrology _could_ work is our habit of associating with a given chart those events and developments that _affect_ that person rather than those events and developments that are in some way outcomes of processes _centered_ in that person.
Ah, but it is difficult to say what is "centered" in the person and what is not. DesCartes be damned, I see no fine distinction between internal and external. I was sitting at my desk last Spring, looking out the window when a bolt of lightning struck the big tree that my window frames. Did the tree have a Uranus transit? Was it important to the tree? It sure as hell was significant to me. I can show charts for this event that have personal import and require no stretch of imagination to read. But where's the seed of this event?
This is a typical synchronistic event (as defined by Jung): it was a coincidence of the lightning strike with the charts and it got a big emotional reaction from you. It does not require astrology to be true. I know that it is difficult to absorb this, but coincidences are very common, and the more things you allow to be potentially meaningful in this way*, the more often you will have meaningful coincidences. It's simple.
*The thing that matters in this context is how many different chart configurations would you accept as accurately describing the event? To get a rough idea, you take the number of planets/bodies/points and multiply by the number of aspects, and then multiply by the orb allowed/360. If different aspects or bodies have different orbs, you just add up the separate calculations. What this tells you is the probability that *any* transit *any* day will fit into your signifying configuration. Since you say this happened last year, we know that you aren't talking about something as obvious as transiting Uranus conj a natal planet.
I hope this is not impossible to read with three of us--or maybe someone with a lofty and noble mind will synthesize it all and post a digest.
Date: Sun, 5 May 96 13:06 EDT
Subject: Re: Exegesis Digest V1 #14
Note: Ive added cue lines to keep the dialogue strait. - MBD
Fran:".And astrology is not limited to biological processes."
MBD --This raises THE issue: before we begin discussing astrology, we should agree on exactly what it is were discussing. Obviously one person here is examining co-relations between organic life and planetary (plus optional but undefined other) cycles. The other is widening the field to encompass any event occuring within a media --- that media being time, which is itself a measurement of change.
I suggest: we are studying both events and entities and something else as well. Some of the entities are simple (people, animals, even trees) and some are compound (corporations, cities, indeed all forms of government.) Their single link for our purposes is a initial placement in a timestream. We may even select a " moment in time" arbitrarily and interpret it as a diagram of energy patterns that reflect manifest reality (horary).
Since "change" cannot exist without a "changing being", we are left with an undefined universal object of our devotion that is "changing." We apply our interpretive techniques to an accessible sub-set of orbiting flotsam and jetsam that exhibits these changing properties. Whatever this "universal" is, supports all the entities and events. This is true even if we chuck our solar system as a model and create an astrology for planets orbiting Aldeberan.
We could call it Chi, or we can use the Aristotelian model of limited matter and imperfect form, essence and accident which has some concepts that are very useful in any astrological metaphysics. That is what we are really doing discussing the nature of being, as seen through the lens of astrology.
DH --So far as I know, we don't use radiation or any other physical manifestation of Mars or the other planets in a similar fashion.
Fran: Right, and here is where the real problems begin.
DH --Yet I believe we do manifest rhythms that correspond to their movements.
Fran: Yes, we're all astrologers and subscribe to this idea, albeit worded differently in some cases. To borrow a "mode" from Ken, this is axiomatic to astrology.
Are you suggesting that it is all accidental? That through some mysterious means all the important cycles *just happen to* correspond to the planetary cycles? As I said, I'm skeptical about evolution, why should planetary cycles be important and not some other arbitrary rhythm? To me this implies a causal connection. But we've already (in this thread) dismissed "influences". From here, it looks like a restatement of the problem, not an answer to the problem.
MBD -- If we consider cycles as an expression of the limits incorporated in a particular entity, we have no problem. To "change" any "thing" must be imperfect. It exhibits fluctuations based on its essential nature. We have an "essential" planet that "accidentally" happens to be Mars, one symptom of which is a two year orbit. It would be in the nature of Mars as could many other properties.
This is an Aristotelian pyramidal hierarchy, however. There are greater entities than "planet" or "solar system" that engulf the realities of smaller ones. Were pretty far down on the relevant food chain. In this structure, at some level we cannot yet access, there is a "reality template" that incorporates the very cycles we follow and they permeate all of existence as we know it.
This of course makes possible other competing "reality templates" that differ from ours. Something that keeps science fiction writers in business.
Fran: If the "clock" were reset why would the EXACT same patterns NOT emerge again? If the development of rhythm tended toward the planetary cycles then how can they not do so again? If the development of rhythm tends toward some arbitrary pattern, that just so happens to correspond to our planetary cycles, then why study the planetary cycles and not the "essential" rhythm that would be behind the rhythm in any case?
MBD: If the clock were reset in our environment it should replicate. My personal experience is that while planetary cycles are extremely informative they are far from being the whole picture, and have a strange "skewing". This may be because we insist on applying perfect models to inherently imperfect subjects.
Perhaps some day we (more likely a physicist) will perceive or at least describe the "essential rhythm". It seems the East (with "Krishnas dance", Ahura/Mazda, the Tai Chi symbol) have an intuitive perception that we do not. Weve fairly excised the "change" concept from both philosophy and science. That could be due to the predominance of Neo Platonic influences in Western culture, but thats another thread altogether.
I dont believe thats our mission, however. Were technicians. We are using, applying, etc. techniques that "sort-of" work. We dont have to understand exactly how; that can come later. People were baking bread and brewing beer long before anyone discovered yeast, much less microbiology. Of course we havent yet employed fully all the possible data to be derived from the planets themselves. It may be possible to see the universe in a mustard seed or "close enough for government work" at any rate.
DH--Part of the difficulty in our being able to imagine an adequate theory of how astrology _could_ work is our habit of associating with a given chart those events and developments that _affect_ that person rather than those events and developments that are in some way outcomes of processes _centered_ in that person.
Fran: Ah, but it is difficult to say what is "centered" in the person and what is not. DesCartes be damned, I see no fine distinction between internal and external. I was sitting at my desk last Spring, looking out the window when a bolt of lightning struck the big tree that my window frames. Did the tree have a Uranus transit? Was it important to the tree? It sure as hell was significant to me. I can show charts for this event that have personal import and require no stretch of imagination to read. But where's the seed of this event?
MBD: Why only people? Why not Washington DC, Ford Motor and Cleveland OH? Why not my occupancy of a building or ownership of a car? Time measures all. Internal and external are irrelevant; even my dualism cant conceive an inner me without something to house it.
DH--If we assume that the developments relevant to a given chart are those developments, and _only_ those developments, that can in some sense be said to derive from the person whose chart it is, _then_ we can imagine a way astrology could work that doesn't do violence to common sense or existing canons of causation.
Fran: It is not clear why the rhythmic patterns should be concerned with people, or simply organisms. The lightning chart was significant, but we never think of lightning as an organism. What I'm getting at here is that astrology deals with things beyond biology, and as such, we need a description beyond "evolution".
MBD - Lightning is "energy", though, and unless I totally misunderstand modern physics, the message is "every THING is energy". No little static building ball particles. If this is true, then there is no REAL difference between a rock and a rabbit - except possibly the imposition of something very like the Philosophers concept of "form" a template that holds it all together.
So I suggest re-evaluating the dualistic proposition -- matter(energy)+ form = changing being --as a metaphor for astrological reality.
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