Exegesis Issue #22

Exegesis Digest Sat, 22 Jun 1996 Volume 1 Issue 22


Date: Fri, 21 Jun 1996 13:50:26 -0700 (PDT)
From: Dale Huckeby <daleh@efn.org
Subject: Rhythms, influences/Resp. to Joanna

On Mon, 6 May [Issue #15] and Fri, 17 May [Issue #16] 1996, Joanna Ashmun wrote:

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.

Agree. There would have been a brief burst of evolution at the point where our species arose, sometime within the last million years, over a span of, say, 20,000 years. But I'm not clear on where you're going with this. Is it your point that we haven't had enough evolution to account for the emergence of these rhythms? If so, I would respond that
arms, legs, etc. don't arise de novo each time a new species emerges, but take off from where the parent species left off. I would expect the same to be true for the evolution of the content of cycles. We would be much like our immediate predecessor but not the same. If that's not what you're getting at, my apologies, but I can't think of anything else at the moment.

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.

But how can "life", which you do not clearly define, "use" something like planetary rhythms?

"Life" doesn't do astrology (or Dale hasn't convinced me yet), people do astrology.

. . . But why would "life" choose Mars? . . .

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.

Whatever I might have been talking about, it wasn't primitive humans sitting around campfires speculating about the adventures of the wanderers in the sky. I'm not talking about the evolution of astrology, nor even of its precursors. I'm talking about the evolution of the actual rhythms themselves, not the evolution of our knowledge about them.

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.

Biological rhythms aren't confined to culture-bearing animals. In my opinion culture expresses and elaborates our species-specific rhythmic behaviors, but the existence of the rhythms doesn't depend on the existence of culture.

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.)

And now _you've_ gone overboard. Biological rhythms are overwhelmingly present in life on earth. Do animals have rituals and make promises? I think rituals and promises are overlaid over something more basic.

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?

I'm simply drawing out the logical consequences of my view as a way of clarifying it. It's not the sort of thing that can be proved or disproved, any more than the new experimental philosophy of the seventeenth century could be proved or disproved. The latter has been proved by now, by three hundred years of experience, but its adoption by the original Baconians was akin to a leap of faith. They had reasons, of course, but not the kind that could establish in advance whether or not the new approach would lead to a greater understanding of nature.

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.

and you add, in your second post:

. . . There is such a great diversity in biological systems that some of them are bound to coincide.

This puts a different slant on Fran's question above. You seem to be suggesting that there are biological rhythms fitting many periods, not just planetary periods. According to my view they'd have to be clustered at certain wavelengths. I remember reading something in the journal of the foundation for cycles research (I forget the actual names), indicating that this is actually the case. What sticks out in my mind is that there are a whole bunch of 5.9 year cycles, only it turns out that the 5.9 year cycle is actually part of a bigger one. The actual average periods were something like 5.88, 5.90, 5.91, 5.86, 5.87, 5.88, 5.90, etc., so that the agreement was more exact every fifth cycle. And adding five cycles together gives 29.4 years. The marking point for the large cycle was Saturn's perigee, apogee, perihelion or aphelion, I forget which.

This was in an article that appeared in the journal sometime during the first half of the '70s. I'd love to be able to find it. It was by Dewey himself, as I recall, and it was investigating the question of whether or not the planets cause or are in some way implicated in the cycles the foundation has been cataloguing.

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?

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.

Don't grok the part about synchronicity, which I deleted, but your comments above anticipate what I've already said and plan to say in more detail in response to Fran's latest post. In a nutshell: atrology in its current and past manifestations predicts everything that will happen and everything that won't happen, also, and sorts them out afterwards.



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