Exegesis Issue #23

Exegesis Digest Sun, 23 Jun 1996 Volume 1 Issue 23


Date: Sun, 09 Jun 1996 00:17:02 +1200
From: Michael Freedman <freedman@ihug.co.nz>
Subject: Harmonic Aspects Method


Throughout the 20th century, astrologers have tended to increase the range of the different kinds of aspects which they use. However, outside of Harmonic Astrology, initiated in around 1950 by John Addey, the use of anything other than Major and Minor Aspects has been sporadic, not organised and largely a matter of personal preference.

The situation generally has been that some astrologers take notice of quintiles, while others look at septiles and so on. This is possibly due to the fact that many astrologers have difficulty even finding quincunxes or sesquisquares in an astrological chart, let alone quintiles or septiles.

There is also another, more important reason, to be discussed shortly, why most astrological attention has been largely confined to the Major and Minor Aspects.

The concept called the Harmonic Aspects Method provides techniques for handling any aspects of whatever kind. The word "Harmonic" has been used because the principles of the Harmonic Aspect Method are similar to some of those used in Harmonic Astrology, although its techniques are different.

1. Both the Harmonic Aspect Method and Harmonic Astrology regard every planet in a horoscope as in aspect to every other planet. Every link between every pair of planets in a horoscope has some significance.

2. Both the Harmonic Aspect Method and Harmonic Astrology regard aspects as the result of the division of the horoscope circle by whole numbers.

3. Both the Harmonic Aspect Method and Harmonic Astrology use the finding of John Addey that traditional esoteric teachings on the significance of numbers provide clues to the meanings of the various series of aspects.

However, apart from these points, the techniques of horoscope analysis and interpretation associated with the Harmonic Aspects Method are otherwise much closer to traditional astrological methods than to those of Harmonic Astrology.

The Harmonic Aspect Method does not add any more factors to a horoscope. What it does is look systematically at all those aspects which are already there.


The commonest kind of astrological chart is a map of the heavens at the time for which it is drawn up, viewed from a specific place on earth. It is possible to cast a chart for a current time at night, take it outside and use it to locate any planets that happen to be above the horizon. Use the chart to find two planets, then hold up your arms and point one hand at each planet. The angle made by your outstretched arms is a rough indication of the angular separation between the two planets.

When angular separation between a pair of Planets is close enough to one of those angles which divide the circle by a whole number, it is called an Aspect. A typical example of an Aspect is a Trine, when two Planets are about 120 degrees apart. Three planets each about 120 degrees from the others divide the circle into three approximately equal parts. Squares divide the circle by four; Sextiles by six; Quintiles by five; Undeciles by eleven; and so on.


All the members of an Aspect Series are made by dividing the circle by the same Harmonic Number. In theory, but not in practice, there are the same number of aspects in an aspect series as its Harmonic Number. For example, in theory there are three aspects based on the number Three: 1/3; 2/3; 3/3. However, the Third Harmonic Series in practice has only one member, the 1/3 aspect of 120 deg., called a Trine. This is for the following reasons.

1. When the angular separation is measured between two planets lying on the zodiac circle, we can measure either the shorter distance between them or the longer. It is astrological practice to measure only the shorter distance. Two planets 240 degrees apart measured the longer way, are 120 degrees apart measured the shorter way, so that angular separations of 120 degrees and 240 degrees are both described by astrologers as 1/3 or a Trine.

2. Although the 3/3 aspect is part of the Third harmonic aspect series,it is actually a Conjunction or 1/1 aspect. It is usual practice among astrologers to describe an aspect by the smallest Harmonic Number which describes it. For example, 180 degrees is both 1/2 of circle and 2/4. But we always refer to it as a 1/2 aspect (Opposition) never as a 2/4 aspect.

These principles are shown in operation very clearly in Table 1, where the 8th Harmonic Aspect Series is set out in detail, dividing the whole circle into eight parts. It can be seen that, in actual astrological practice, the 8th Series has only two members, the Semisquare and Sesquisquare, and not eight members, because two of the others are just these two going the other way round the circle. The other four belong to more fundamental aspect series than the Eighth.


1st member (1/8)45 deg.Semisquare 1/8
2nd member (2/8)90 deg.Square 1/4
3rd member (3/8)135 deg.Sesquisquare 3/8
4th member (4/8)180 deg.Opposition 1/2
5th member (5/8)225 deg.Sesquisquare 3/8
6th member (6/8)270 deg.Square 1/4
7th member (7/8)315 deg.Semi-Square 1/8
8th member (8/8)360 deg.Conjunction 1/1



Astrologers have used the aspects formed by dividing the circle by 2 [Opposition], 3 [Trine], 4 [Square] and 6 [Sextile] for at least 2000 years. These four, plus Conjunctions, when two planets are within a few degrees, are called Major Aspects. Since the 17th century, astrologers have also used aspects formed by dividing the circle by 8 and 12. The latter are called Minor Aspects.

Table 2 lists all the aspects in common use during the past 400 years.


Conjunction1/1360 degrees(12/12)(8/8)Major
Opposition1/2180 degrees(6/12) (4/8)Major
Trine1/3120 degrees(4/12)Major
Square1/490 degrees(3/12) (2/8)Major
Sextile1/6 60 degrees(2/12)Major
Semisquare1/845 degrees(1/8)Minor
Sesquisquare3/8135 degrees(3/8)Minor
Semisextile1/1230 degrees(1/12)Minor
Quincunx5/12150 degrees(5/12)Minor

NOTES TO TABLE 2: 1. All Major and Minor Aspects belong to either or both the 8th and the 12th Series of Aspects.
2. When two planets are 0 degrees apart, they are also 360 degrees apart, which is why Conjunctions belong to the First Series.



These propositions are an attempt to provide a working structure to handle a theoretically infinite number of harmonic aspects. They are offered as working propositions which are supported by nearly twenty years' personal investigation into aspect theory and practice.

PROPOSITION 1: Every planet is in aspect to every other planet. What this means is that every Angular Separation between two planets potentially has significance for the person or event for whom the horoscope has been cast.

For example, let Venus be separated from Mars by 137 degrees 30 minutes 28 seconds. Only a few astrologers in the late 20th century would be comfortable treating this as a Sesquisquare (135 degrees), as it is beyond the 1 or 2 degrees orb most would allow. Therefore, most astrologers would ignore it, while even harmonic astrologers would be lucky to pick it up unless they happened to cast a 21st or 34th Harmonic Chart; or a 1597th Harmonic Chart, in which it would it is within 0.18 seconds of partile, that is, exact.

The Harmonic Aspect Method restricts itself, for good reasons discussed elsewhere to the first 36 Harmonic Aspect Series. It would regard the following as a full definition of this aspect:

Planets: Venus/Mars Angular Separation: 137d 30m 28s Primary Aspect: 13/34 37% strength Secondary Aspect: 8/21 13% strength: 0.04

What this description shows is that 137d 30m 28s is within orb of a 13/34 aspect, close enough to exact to have 37% of its potential strength. It is also within orb of an 8/21 aspect, but at only 13% of the potential strength it would have if exact.

13/34 is called the primary aspect, because it is the strongest aspect between Venus and Mars; 8/21 is the secondary aspect, because it is the weaker.

PROPOSITION 2: A harmonic aspect is any division of the 360-degree circle which can be defined by a fraction in which both the numerator and the denominator are integers.

This proposition sounds more complex than it actually is. It merely states that you can redefine the angular separation between two planets, which is usually expressed in terms of degrees, minutes and seconds, in terms of a simple fraction, such as 1/2, 1/4, 5/12, 4/9 or 13/34. It has long been an implicit principle of astrology that the denominator (the lower figure) of such fractions reveals the nature and effects of the aspect on the two planets linked by it.

PROPOSITION 3: Aspects become stronger as they approach partile; and their strength varies inversely as the square of the distance from partile.

The Method of Harmonic Aspects produces many more aspects than the traditional methods of astrology. You must be able to assess how much notice should be taken of any aspect in comparison with other aspects. Calculating the comparative strength of each aspect enables the astrologer to view them in perspective, taking more notice of stronger aspects and less of weaker aspects.

Because this paper was originally no more than the first chapter of my book on Harmonic Aspects, a point has not yet been made.

When using Harmonic orbs, the orb of every aspect is derived from the Conjunction orb, according to the following rule:

The orb of any aspect is the conjunction divided by the Harmonic of the Aspect.

If you set the Conjunction orb at 12 degrees, as I do, then the following table can be generated:

Conjunction 1H 12/1 = 12 degrees Opposition 2H 12/2 = 6 degrees Trine 3H 12/3 = 4 degrees Square 4H 12/4 = 3 degrees and so on.

If anyone is alarmed by the enormity of a 12 degree orb for a conjunction, consider that in this system the strength of an aspect is a vital consideration. If you are not taking much notice of any aspect below 10% strength, then the Orb of a conjunction is effectively 8 degrees.

Example: If an Opposition has an orb of 6 degrees and an Angular Separation is 175 degrees, then it is 5 degrees from exact. [6-5] divided by 6 = 1/6]= 0.1667. Square of 0.1667 = .0278 which is 0.03 to two decimal places. Expressed as a percentage, this aspect has 3% of its potential strength

The following Table sets out an indication of how to assess the comparative strength of any aspect from its Strength No.

100% Partile [exact] aspects are dominant factors in a chart 90% to 99% Powerful aspects; pay close attention to them. 70% to 89% Very strong aspects. 50% to 69% Strong aspects. 30% to 49% Fairly strong aspects. 10% to 29% Not strong; only occasionally have much effect 01% to 09% Weak; rarely have much effect, unless they are part of a larger structure.

PROPOSITION 4: There are fundamental differences between the effects of the Major & Minor Aspects and those of all other Aspects.

An infinite number of Aspect Series can be formed by dividing the circle by a whole number of whatever magnitude, e.g. 5, 7, 9, 10, 11, 13, 37, 144, 180, 380, 1597 or any other number. Before the 20th century, aspects other than Majors and Minors were virtually ignored entirely,


PROPOSITION 5: There are four levels of aspects, to one or more of which every angular separation belongs: (1) OVERT or Conscious level of experience 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 6th, 8th, 12th Harmonic Aspect series. Commonly called the Major & Minor Aspects, the Overt Aspects in a natal chart are pointers to the obvious tendencies of the individual. Unless they are very weak indeed, it is quite likely that people's thinking and behaviour will reflect the characteristic thought and behaviour patterns signified by them in ways that are quite noticeable, if not by the individuals themselves then certainly by their acquaintances. It seems appropriate therefore to refer to the Major & Minor Aspects as the Overt Aspects.

(2) POTENTIAL or Pre-conscious level of experience 5th, 7th, 9th, 10th, 11th Harmonic Aspect Series. These are the most accessible of the other aspects. They seem to refer to potentials that are reasonably easy to develop into overt behaviour patterns or personality characteristics. The effects of any Potential Aspects in a natal chart are not obvious in the personality traits and behaviour patterns of the individual. However, if there are one or more Potential Aspects in a chart that are stronger than any or most of its Overt Aspects, overt effects from them are more likely to take place. They might not be obvious, but they will certainly affect the individual's behaviour, even though there might not always be any conscious awareness of their influence.

No matter how strong any Potential Aspect is, its effects are never as obvious as those of any but the weakest Overt Aspects. Even the strongest of Potential Aspects seem to function largely at the pre-conscious level. It was not until the latter half of the 20th century that human personality and behaviour patterns were understood deeply enough for us to appreciate the differences between the obvious effects of the Overt Major and Minor Aspects and the covert effects of Potential Aspects.

Aspects of the 5th Harmonic are the most overt of the potential aspect series.

(3) LATENT or Subconscious level of experience 13th to 36th or 37th Harmonic Aspect Series. The Latent Aspects can have an overt effect on the lives of people in whose horoscope they appear when they are partile or almost partile, and thus extremely strong, but those concerned usually need to undertake depth analysis or use esoteric consciousness expansion techniques to unfold any conscious awareness of them.

It is relevant to note here that there are "no more gaps" beyond the 29th Harmonic. This means that it is possible to define any Angular Separation between any pair of planets in a horoscope chart in terms of one of the aspects within the first 29 Harmonic Aspect Series. I have contemplated using only the first 29 or 30 aspect series, but I had built up a useful store of information about the first 36 series by the time I became aware of the precise point at which there were no more gaps.

(4) INSTINCTUAL or Unconscious level of experience. Beyond the 36th or 37th Harmonic Aspect Series. Theoretically, it is possible to analyse every horoscope in terms of any of an infinite number of Harmonic Aspect Series but, beyond about the 36th or 37th aspect series, they seem to have less and less relevance to the cognitive levels of human experience. It has been suggested, half in jest, that they might relate to instinctual, psychophysiological levels of being. Much more research needs to be done in this area.

The phrase "Level of Effect" is not meant to be a precisely defined scientific term, but merely to give an indication of the way in which each group of aspects seem to correlate with levels of experience in the human psyche.

In practice, I rarely analyse a chart beyond the 12th Harmonic, except in the special case of Midpoint Structures. Unless the individual is engaged in some kind of depth analysis, to be told that they have this or that latent trait can only serve to confuse them. Unless they are willing and in a position to undertake guided expert exploration of their significance, this knowledge is of little use to them. On the other hand, mere knowledge of the potential aspects in a chart.. i.e. 5H quintiles, 7H septiles, 9H noviles, 10H deciles and 11H undeciles, is often enough to bring them into overt play.

Of the Potential Aspects, experience shows that the quintiles are by far the most Overt, indicating talents that a person is almost certain to develop.


The major task for every astrologer is how to handle the vast amount of information generated by an astrological chart. Even using only the Sun, Moon and Planets, North Node, Ascendant & Midheaven, normally do, a full Harmonic Aspect analysis of any chart will yield 78 primary aspects, plus some secondaries. If Chiron and the four asteroids were added, there would be 153 primary aspects to interpret.

If you also use Midpoints and i find them very useful, especially when considering events rather than traits, the amount of information poured at the hapless astrologer is beyond handling.

The way I handle this problem is: 1. I do not use any but the solar system planets and points, except in unusual circumstances, when the particular light thrown by Chiron or the asteroids is warranted. This would only happen if I knew enough about the individual already for me to consider it warranted.

2. I use only the first 12 harmonics, i.e., the Overt and Potential aspects, unless the native is also undergoing depth analysis of some kind.

3. I pay regard only to those midpoints where all three of the aspects involved are on the same harmonic, using all 36 harmonic aspect series. This means that the midpoint has to be very close to exact for it to be considered.


Proposition 1: Every planet is in aspect to every other planet.

Proposition 2: A harmonic aspect is any division of the 360-degree circle which can be defined by a fraction in which both the numerator and the denominator are integers, e.g., 1/2; 3/8; 4/9; 9/23; 55/144.

Proposition 3: Aspects become stronger as they approach partile. Their strength varies as the square of the percentage of the distance of the planet from the orb edge.

Proposition 4: There are fundamental differences between the effects of the Major & Minor Aspects and those of all other Aspects.

Proposition 5: There are four levels of aspects, to one or more of which every angular separation belongs: (1) Overt; (2) Potential; (3) Latent; (4) Instinctual.

Further papers are written or in preparation on Behaviour Chains; and on the suggested interpretation of all Harmonic Aspect Series to the 37th Harmonic.




Date: Mon, 17 Jun 1996 13:41:44 -0700 (PDT)
From: Dale Huckeby <daleh@efn.org>
Subject: Re: Exegesis Digest V1 #21

On Mon, 17 Jun 1996, Fran wrote:

Right, and I had hoped that Dale would post a reply to my objections as I find this whole idea of a evolutionary "force" too ambiguous. . . . Sorry about the delay in the response, I'd hoped Dale would post his reply . . .

Ouch, ouch, and more ouch! Guilty as charged, and I'm very sorry. My only excuse is that I've been suffering more or less continuously from writer's block since the spring of 1978, and it gets worse to the point of paralysis in certain circumstances. Then it becomes almost impossible to write, and when I nonetheless manage (because I'm extremely stubborn) I'm prone to withholding the result because, like the anorexic looking in the mirror and seeing only fat, I look at it and see only an ineffectual attempt at communication. But I'll still the inner censor long enough to forward this response which I finished about a week or so after Fran's original response:

On Sat, 4 May 1996 "Francis G. Kostella" <fgk@ix16.ix.netcom.com> wrote:

that in Issue #11, Dale Huckeby wrote:
A consideration of the diurnal cycle might help clarify the question of causation. Does sunrise cause us to want to get up? In a way it does, but would we want to say that the sun beams down wakefulness or would it make more sense to say that we've _evolved_ to become sleepy or wakeful on a 24 hour schedule?

[Fran's Message]
I question how universal is the "24 hour schedule" in most people's lives. I, for one, work on a 25+ hour schedule and constantly need to correct my pattern to match the rest of the human world. Some of my tangential reading suggests that 24 hour-day/night pattern of modern society is perhaps not the norm.

I'd say you're tilting at windmills here. If anything, our ancestors were more bound to the diurnal cycle than we are. I doubt that they plowed or hunted or gathered on anything but a twenty-four hour rhythm, otherwise they'd have been doing it in darkness as often as in light. In a modern society we have all-night convenience stores, streetlights, indoor lighting and the possibility of "making a living" in ways not dependent on daylight and thus on a 24-hour rhythm.

Here's one of the opening paragraphs of *The Clocks That Time Us*, by Moore-Ede, Sulzman, & Fuller, which is used as an introductory text by neurobiologists who study circadian rhythms:

The expression "as sure as night follows day" reflects the stability of certain cycles in our environment. The earth, spinning on its axis approximately once every 24 hours, submits plants and animals to highly predictable daily rhythms of light and temperature. The availability of food and the activity of predators are in turn affected by these periodic variations. It is not surprising, therefore, to discover that the behavior and metabolism of most organisms follow a 24-hour schedule.

The most obvious explanation for such 24-hour rhythms is that plants and animals passively respond to the cycles in their environment. However, when an organism is isolated from all environmental time cues --when light, food, temperature, and sound are kept constant around the clock--the majority of its rhythms persist with an independent period. This "free-running" period is usually close to but not exactly 24 hours.

The denouement is that in humans the free-running period averages about 25 hours. I suggest that your work situation is such as to facilitate your slipping into your free-running period. Rather than imposing on you and everybody else a uniform 24-hourness, modern society is precisely what enables you and a few others to differ from that otherwise universal pattern. It's not its 24-hourness that sets off modern society from its predecessors, but the extreme precision with which it marks off the intervals of that period.

Is the "24 hour schedule" a learned pattern? Or is it somatic? At which point can we discern the workings of the social structure (i.e., the agrarian society, the industrial society) in the diurnal cycle?

Can you discern the workings of the social structure (i.e. the agrarian society, the industrial society) in the circadian cycles of dogs, cats, lions, springboks, gazelles, etc.? Circadian rhythms are not learned and are not a product of civilization.

In the latter case the sun can be said to time the cycle but is _not_ the source of its content.

It is not clear from your remarks WHY this should be the case. If I assume that the 24 hour schedule is "natural" in humankind, then why cannot I assume that the Sun is NOT the source of the pattern?

Huh? You can assume that the Sun isn't the source of the pattern if you wish, but I think you meant the opposite of what you just said.

That is, can we not say that the Sun does indeed "beam down" light, which causes wakefulness or sleepiness? Just because we have some degree of control over our sleep patterns does not mean that the Sun has none.

I wasn't counterposing our control vs the sun's. I was examining the *nature* of the sun's control or effects. Yes, the sun beams down light, and that has something to do with our sleep patterns. Yet the same signal that coincides with our wakefulness coincides with the lion's sleepiness. Hence it's not wakefulness or sleepiness *per se* that the sun beams down. Living organisms have developed the ability to be affected by the sun's radiation, and different organisms have developed different ways of being affected by it, which means different ways to express a 24-hour rhythm.

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?

Light is present and not present in a regular pattern, nitrogen isn't. One thing we do all pretty much agree on, practically the only thing, is that astrology is about "planets". Nitrogen isn't. There are lots of things we're adapted to that have nothing to do with astrology. That's not the point. We're presumably talking about those things that do have something to do with astrology.

The source of its content would be biological evolution. But that's no explanation to me. It is not clear to me that "biological evolution" means anything beyond a description of how species change over time.

To reiterate, living organisms have developed the ability to be affected by the sun's radiation, and different organisms have developed different ways to be affected by it. The ability to "see" light is not conferred by the sun. What is conferred by the sun is solar radiation, which strikes a particular area of the earth's surface intermittently according to a 24- hour schedule.

And it is a theory still hotly debated.

By creationists maybe, not by biologists. Biologists disagree only about the nature, not the fact, of evolution. At present they disagree mainly about whether evolution is continuous at a more or less constant rate (phyletic gradualism) or intermittent (punctuated equilibria).

Where the evidence that "rhythm" is an evolutionary input? I don't doubt that such evidence may exist, but invoking "biological evolution" is an appeal to vague authority to my eyes. I'm not a biologist, and have yet to hear anything that would convince me that the historicist/scientism view of "evolution" is anything beyond a nice tale for "keeping the masses in line".

The fact that numerous biological processes in thousands of organisms display circadian rhythms is pretty good evidence. I'm surprised to see that you have such an antipathy to evolution. To what do you contrast the "historicist/scientism view of 'evolution'", and how is it a tale for "keeping the masses in line?" And what does this ideological stance have to do with whether or not evolution is a fact?

And astrology is not limited to biological processes.

How do you know?

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.

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".

Are you really at a loss as to what life is in the absence of a formal definition? Devil's advocacy is good, but line by line nitpicking is more likely to bury us in detail and prevent us from clearly seeing and engaging the main issues. "Life" is simply a shorthand way of referring to biological organisms in general. As for the implications of "use", lots of organisms *use* oxygen, yet no one takes that to mean that their ancestors consciously decided to do so, or that they themselves know and grasp the fact of their usage.

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.

I didn't say that life chose Mars all by itself, or that it "emphasizes it over other, more blatant cyclic occurrences." In fact, I didn't say life *chose* Mars at all. I said life *uses* Mars (and the other planets) to time its processes, just as mammals use lungs to absorb oxygen without that implying that they chose to have them.

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.

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.

no, No, NO. I'm saying it's NOT accidental. I was trying to explain WHY so many of our cycles (appear to) correspond to planetary cycles.

If the "clock" were reset why would the EXACT same patterns NOT emerge again?

Because evolution doesn't work that way. It doesn't have a fixed goal. Natural *selection* refers to the metaphorical selection by nature of those *accidents* (i.e. mutations) that turn out to be advantageous rather than neutral or fatal. It staggers the imagination to suppose that the billions of genetic accidents that have occurred in the history of life on earth would be exactly duplicated in the same sequence if life on earth were wiped out and started over again.

If the development of rhythm tended toward the planetary cycles then how can they not do so again?

Again, you're got it backwards. I'm arguing that they *would*. There would be 6-month rhythms, 3-year rhythms, 7-year rhythms, etc., but the developments that recurred at those intervals, for that alternate reality, wouldn't be the developments that occur for US at those intervals. We can't assume that the same *processes* would evolve, only that they would fit the same periods.

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?

I'm not saying it tends toward some arbitrary pattern "that just so happens" to fit planetary cycles. I'm saying the plantary cycles ARE the pattern. If the (quarter) cycles of the planets were 1 1/2 years, 5 years, 9 years and 17 years, those would be the ages when developmental turning points would occur. When I say the planetary cycles are the pattern, I mean only the temporal framework. The nature of the recurrent developments, and of the processes underlying them, would be the part that evolves over time. It would be the planet's timing that these recurrent developments would fit, and not any meaning inherent in that planet or in its name.

And "organisms are able to 'see'" and "track" the planets seems like a description of "influence", even if this seeing is "agnostic".

Part of my intent in offering my thesis was to rehabilitate the notion of "influence". Having done so I'm not sure "influence" is appropriate, but it's not clearly inappropriate, either. I see it more as life having evolved the ability to use cyclic positions as signals. Nothing inherent in sunlight itself influences an organism to wake up or go to sleep, but organisms have adapted to the intermittent but highly regular availability of light with activity patterns that fit its schedule.

My point is simply that if the processes organisms evolve in response to environmental pressures also have characteristic wavelengths which match those of planetary cycles, those organisms could hardly follow the schedules they keep without *some* way of knowing the locations of the hands of the clocks they're using--the planets. It's the means by which organisms "know" where the planets are that I'm agnostic about.

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?

Perhaps "we" don't need to but "I" do in order to avoid absurdities. "Influence" as you define it is essentially incoherent. What, for instance, was the nature of Uranus's "influence" on the lightning strike outside your window? Did it predict it? By what means, since you say it was the chart of the strike itself that was revealing? Of what use is a chart that _in principle_ can't be erected until after the event it supposedly predicts, chronicles, explains, whatever?

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?

You're proceeding according to an unannounced assumption here, that a chart drawn up for the time and place of the lightning strike actually contains information about that strike. I don't buy it. As for being centered in the person or not, the next part of the paragraph, which you quote below, makes the point crystal clear.

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

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".

I don't think of lightning as an organism, either, but that doesn't bother me the way it does you because I don't _assume_ that the lightning chart was significant. You should say, _if_ astrology deals with things beyond biology we need a description that goes beyond evolution. But you _haven't_ established that as a fact, and it is a questionable debating move to _assume_ it in order to prove your point.

can imagine a way astrology could work that doesn't do violence to common sense or existing canons of causation.

"Canons" have been upset before.

Certainly they have, but it makes more sense and has less of the flavor of tiltng at windmills to assume that astrology needs to get in step with the rest of the world than vice versa.


"In the empty space--lacunae, vacuums, pauses, voids, black holes--new things begin. We are born anew from the unexplored space, the badlands, the outlaw territory." - Sam Keen


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