Exegesis Volume 2 Issue #26

Exegesis Digest Mon, 12 May 1997


Date: Sun, 11 May 1997 23:44:31 +0000
From: Francis G. Kostella
Subject: ''Axiom'' of Beginnings

Dr. Gonzalo Pena Tamez wrote:

> Ptolemy did not invent the "theory
> of seeds and beginnings", he only
> compiled a tradition that is as
> old as astrology.  

As far as I can tell, Ptolemy was the originator of this particular bit of theory. I may be wrong, and I'd love to find any written work that predates Ptolemy that posits the same theory.please provide citations, if such exist. I've checked every authority I could lay hands on, and I've been unable to find any written work that suggests other than that this is Ptolemy's contribution to astrology. If I am incorrect, then I would love to be corrected as my understanding of the earliest age of astrology is incomplete. If you check the section of Book 3, Chapter 1 that I quoted before, you will find the following a few lines below my final quotation, concerning prediction of nativities:

| we shall decline to
| present the ancient
| method of prediction,
| which brings into
| combination all or most
| of the stars . . . and
| furthermore we shall
| omit it on account of
| the difficulty in using
| it and following it.

That seems fairly straightforward, Ptolemy himself states that he is not simply compiling and passing on traditions, he is editing it and shaping it -- to fit his views of a proper intellectual discipline and admits it himself.

> The chaldeans and babylonians were
> casting horoscopes for the birth of
> special children thousands of years
> before Ptolomy (second century). 

No, 410BC is the earliest "horoscope" on record (as of 1996), little more than a half century before Ptolemy, not the thousands of years you claim. All of the historical records that I've been able to read about suggest that before the Greeks, what we call astrology was more like omen lore than the more organized methods we employ. I wouldn't call any pre-Greek astrology "genethlialogical astrology" without more proof. Aside from that, the proposition I posted does not make claims about birth charts or the appropriateness of using the birth time for a nativity.

> Further, I don't think it is a
> theory, I have always call it
> Axiom #2 of Astrology, or the
> Axiom of Beginnings, and it is the
> most solid undeniable fact of the
> astrological correspondence
> between what happens in the world
> and the state of heavens.

You're mixing two things that do require being joined, correspondence and beginnings. Correspondence, I think, *is* an axiom, as we cannot posit astrology without it, and proving it is damn hard. Beginnings, however, are not *required*. Despite that, the proposition is not invalidated by simply calling beginnings an axiom and calling it "the most solid undeniable fact". If it is solid and undeniable fact, then show the facts that apply rather than all of the opinions you show. Simply stating that something is an axiom, does not make it an axiom. The fact that some people consider it an axiom does not make it an axiom. Only the fact that you cannot do astrology without it would make it an axiom (and, to be technical, assuming that it is not subject to proof). If you can discard the so-called axiom and still do astrology, then the axiom status is lost. Axioms can and should be tested if a field of study or intellectual endeavor is to grow and change. If it is an axiom, then I should not only be unable to prove it, but I should be unable to DISPROVE it so easily.

Finally, and most importantly, if it is an axiom, and I can develop theory statements without it that contradict the theory statements drawn from it when it is added, then I must suspect that it is not a "absolute" axiom, or is not an axiom, or is simply false.

> To even consider tossing out this
> "theory", is the most ludicrous
> thing I have ever heard. 

It does seem offensive the first time you encounter the idea, but that is often the case with strongly held beliefs such as religious beliefs. However, calling the proposition "ludicrous" does not invalidate it. The proposition merely states that PTSB is not REQUIRED to do astrology. What is needed to invalidate the proposition is a firm disproof of the proposition, such as a proof that PTSB is needed for every chart.

> And let me add that it is not
> something we accept uncritically:
> it is something that we check
> everyday as we practice serious
> astrology.  I have never read a
> chart that I have not previously
> rectified, and when you rectify
> a chart, working with the
> stainless steel 2-tips protractor
> to detect canonic relations
> between the positions of the
> transiting planets on important
> dates of the client's life and
> the natal chart, you learn to
> respect the undeniable fact that
> there is always a particular INSTANT
> OF INCEPTION when the state of
> firmament freezes, as it were, to
> become the radical or root chart
> with respect to which you are
> going to measure everything from
> then on. 

This is an empty statement as far as "being critical" is concerned. The statement that you rectify charts and find it important does not invalidate the proposition. The fact of radicality is not called to question by the proposition. The fact that you find a significant "instant" is not under question. The use of a protractor, stainless steel or not, or of any mathematical techniques of rectification does not invalidate the proposition. The proposition does not reject rectification, nor does it directly invalidate any mathematical techniques, nor does it suggest that the birth chart is invalid for any reason. I hardly see how one can justify this "axiom" by way of rectification or the fact that a chart is drawn for one particular moment. The propositions does not contradict radicality, or the fact that charts are drawn for a significant moment. If you remove PTSB, the chart is still significant, and the radicality of the chart is still there.

> I do this every day and have been
> doing it for 25 years and I just
> cannot understand how you can
> respect the opinion of this
> Cornelius, who obviously just
> doesn't know what he is talking
> about.

Were it a simple matter of counting years, then I might add my years to those of Cornelius and "win" the argument by simply doubling or trebling your number. Then you could find two compatriots of long practice and beat our total years, and so on. but all that ignores the issue at hand.

Unlike many astrologers, Cornelius makes a measured, reasoned argument and proceeds through all of the difficult parts step by step. (And his argument goes well beyond the proposition I put forth). Astrologers typically make arguments by demonstrating technique and ignoring theory and running away from difficulties, and Cornelius should be applauded, I think, for attempting to reverse this unfortunate tendency. (When one examines the behavior of scientists, one finds that they will examine their theory statements when contradictions become unavoidable. I do not consider astrology a science in the modern sense of the word, but I do think we should be able to look at our theories if they seem to be out of kilter.) The more I study his book the more I respect I have for him, something which I cannot say for the majority of astrologer writers I encounter.

At no point does Cornelius claim that astrology will not work, in fact his claims go in the opposite direction, that when we discard this useless limitation we open up our astrology in a new way that takes us beyond some prior limitations. However, I am not his official spokesman, so perhaps you should read the book before stating that it is "obvious" that he is mistaken. This is fairly easy to do, and the book is not a long one, nor is it especially technical nor difficult, and it is not expensive, I purchased mine for $12 a few years ago and think that price dirt cheap for one of the few astrology books to even touch the ideas of astrology theory in a serious manner. We have thousands of technical manuals, and counseling guides, but damn few theory books.

> That's often the case in births
> where there were 2 conceptions but
> only one implantation, or else
> one of the embryos disimplanted,
> while the other one remained viable.

A claim that you can see inside the womb with astrology is interesting and I hope you'll find a biologist or two to study these conjectures further (and I'm sure that the skeptic groups like csicop would love to put your claim to a rigorous test for validity, like a double-blind test) but this claim to see inside the womb does not invalidate the proposition. Even if you could prove this claim it would not invalidate the proposition as it would simply provide a few isolated examples that fit PTSB.

> you cite for example "Horary
> astrology" but here you have
> the commencement as equal with
> the chart of the question, cast
> for the moment the astrologer
> understands the question, because
> that is when the question is
> delivered. The chart of the
> question is like a beginning, a
> real commencement, and thus is
> doesn't challenge either the Axiom
> of Beginnings. The chart of the
> Beginning of the Query, as it is
> also called, clearly aludes to the
> fact that you are casting a chart
> for a beginning, and there you
> are going to look for your answers. 

You say "as equal with" and "is like a beginning", and "clearly alludes to the fact". You need make more confident claims than this to dismiss the proposition. Show how a horary question is PRECISELY LIKE a birth and how every chart and every bit of astrology REQUIRES PTSB in order to work, and then I can withdraw the proposition. Further, the fact is that different astrologers use different rules for how horaries are delivered: some use the moment of receipt, some the moment the querent sends the question, some the place of receipt, some the place of the querent, and so on. There are literally dozens and dozens of possible beginnings, and each astrologer chooses the method they prefer. Yet, none of these differences invalidate horary astrology.

> So it is utterly false to
> state that Horary is an example
> of astrology working without
> "the theory of seeds and
> beginnings", because it is
> actually quite the contrary !. 

You CLAIM it is contrary and false, please SHOW how it is contrary. SHOW how a question is like a birth, show why the delivery of a question can be set for a locale different than where the question is asked--a nativity is never set for the location of the astrologer, it is set for the actual birth, not the understanding of the astrologer concerning the birth. Again, horary astrology is not natal astrology and is not bound by PTSB and, from the point of view I am defending, it invalidates PTSB as a universal axiom of astrology.

I restate the proposition thus:

The so-called "axiom" of beginnings is NOT an axiom and can be removed from astrology without harm.

Horary is the perfect example. The oft-repeated claim that a horary is cast "for the birth of a question" is absurd and cannot be proven in any manner whatsoever. And I mean PROOF, not a CLAIM as if it were proof. Even a reasonable explanation that deals with all of the most critical ramifications of mentation as it relates to the process of developing questions would be a step in some right direction.

> Then you cite Solar Charts, which as
> everybody knows are very imprecise
> and thus are only used WHEN YOU

Again, this does not invalidate the proposition, which made no claims about the validity of solar charts, or whether an astrologer would have a precise birth time. Quite the opposite, a solar chart works amazingly well, does it not? The "axiom" of beginnings does not in any way account for this. You need to modify your axiom to account for this type of chart (and I've removed the extended theorizing about hierarchies of rulers). The idea of "precision" you raise actually works against your argument, as it implies that the "axiom" of beginnings is not really a beginning, but a "continuum of beginning" that is spread out over time, say a day or so (or more? Who knows!). Again, to defend PTSB requires appending a number of "supporting axioms", as you did, in order to match this once "pure" concept. If we drop PTSB, we still have all of our existent techniquea, but we no longer need to justify every astrological method to Ptolemy's conceptualization.

> Divine charts are not good for any
> serious predictive work either,
> and are used only by oracular
> astrologers that could just as well
> use anything because they rely
> on neptunian paranormal abilities
> that have nothing to do with
> rational scientific astrology.

The proposition made no claims about the scientific validity of astrology, yet divine charts are imbued with astrological meaning, Neptunian or not, and regardless of your feelings about their validity (in fact, according to Firmicus, the traditional rulerships are drawn from a divine chart). I think that they are a very interesting development that can be instructive about the way in which astrology is used and where our traditions come from. In any case, inserting the words "rational scientific astrology" into your argument does not invalidate the proposition, nor does it make your claims stronger. If you have a "rational scientific" basis to your astrology that can withstand the rigors of scrutiny by scientists, then stop wasting time arguing with a fool such as me and prove to the world the scientific basis to astrology. If you can do that then I will have to withdraw the proposition simply out of respect.

> As far as "wrong charts" that
> work, well, let me tell you
> that if once a wrong chart
> "worked" then either it was a
> real fluke or else we just
> have different standards of what
> it means for a chart "to work"..
> ...that is pure nonsense as far
> as I am concerned. ...But that's
> is not true astrology at all.

"Wrong charts" are a fairly well-known phenomenon, and I have no reason to suppose that your opinions about which astrologers are capable and which are not are any better than any other person's opinions, in fact the evidence does not suggest it. If your methods and approaches were clearly superior in an objective way, then after 25 years they should have come to dominate the field of astrology, yet. they do not. You opinions about what is "true astrology" do not invalidate the proposition. Your opinions about the lack of skill or quality of other astrologers do not invalidate the proposition.

"Wrong charts" that work do exist. Wishing them away does not make them go away, and this is a fact we have to deal with. The proposition makes a step in this direction while PTSB cannot admit their existence.

The defense of the existence of "wrong charts" is easily done through your own words: You claim to rectify every chart you read. Undoubtedly, unless you are omniscient, AT LEAST ONE chart you have rectified in the last decade has been a "wrong chart", which you have proceeded to read as if it were correct. I can only assume that the chart worked, despite your "standards of what works". If, however, you claim that EVERY single one of your rectified charts has been accurate at least to the minute of birth, then this is simply the most outstanding and amazing claim by an astrologer that I have heard in the last two decades! We can immediately ignore the proposition and find both "scientific astrologers" and "honest skeptics" to set up a test of this ability. My understanding is that a solid proof of astrology that can withstand scientific scrutiny can win a large monetary prize for the author. However, before going quite so public with such claims, it would be best to have an informal test, with a few dozen charts for which an accurate birth time can be verified by the observation of one of this readership, likely birth times of children of readers. Although this mailing list is not explicitly for scientific verification of astrological claims, I'd find a claim of 100% accuracy in rectification so astounding that we simply would have to test it. And not only test it, but publish it! 100% accuracy in rectification would transform the field and destroy arguments of astrology's detractors!

> Every now and then I have
> clients whose charts don't seem
> to work and rectification does not
> appear possible for the date given
> ....The last time this occurred
> the fact that she had never been
> told about her being adopted. 

That's a nice story, and I applaud your abilities, but it doesn't do anything to invalidate the proposition. The question of your abilities and skill as an astrologer is not addressed by the proposition. The proposition is not invalidated by a single counterexample where a "Seed and Beginning" seemed to be at play, but by demonstrating that EVERY chart has a "Seed and Beginning"--every natal chart, or horary, or solar chart or you-name-it chart. To counter that claim I simply need to show one example where PTSB is not at play, and I have provide many more than one.

> That proposition is cheer
> nonsense and it amounts to throwing
> out the baby with the bathtub water.

I disagree, we lose nothing! We still use birth times, the best available, from medical records, or from rectification, or what have you. However, we now no longer need to try to fit everything into Ptolemy's nice little box.

> Fortunately it will never happens
> because we know better than that.

My perception is the exact opposite. From here it looks like this proposition will not only be accepted, but may be embraced as the basis for a stronger and more vital astrology for the next century. But I have no scientific basis for that claim, only astrological ones.... :-)

A much stronger case needs to be made for keeping PTSB. And even if nobody can find it in them to adopt the proposition, I do not believe we are damaged by examining our theory.



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