Exegesis Volume 2 Issue #39

Exegesis Digest Wed, 17 Sep 1997


Date: Tue, 16 Sep 1997 13:31:01 -0400 (EDT)
From: John Reder
Subject: Re: Exegesis Digest V2 #37

To open a subject, I would like to hear what everyone thought of the recent retrograde Mercury. I always here from someone who thinks that retrograde Mercury is bunk, as relates to things going array. (I also here about how Void-of-Course Moons are bunk as well.) This last retrograde Mercury seems to have been one that I think defies the bunk sayers to challenge.

I know a lot of people don't want to get into a Diana discussion, but it is relevant given the car ride chart. You have Gemini rising with Retrograde Mercury combust and square Pluto. Pardon my French but I have always found Pluto to be the planet of "bullshit" and it has been amazing how much of it has gotten thrown around in the discussion of the accident. No matter what area of the subject you look at, somebody is shoveling it.

The case also goes to the general effect of retrograde Mercury on the mass psyche. It seemed to bring out quite demonstratively the fact that so many people today are sorely lacking in a life outside of the realm of the image presented by the media. They seem to be living vicariously through the cult of celebrity. Have the press and press agents taken over the masses to the point where they have no grounding in everyday reality?

Anybody have any instances they noticed regarding the recent retrograde Mercury?

John Reder


Date: Tue, 16 Sep 1997 16:47:45 -0400
From: Roger L. Satterlee
Subject: Re: A Summary (and more)


Thanks for your thoughts on 'seeds and beginnings'. I'm am, to be brief, more convinced everyday that a perceptive capacity of the individual mind follows the pseudo-logic of astrological arguments AS it invents the argument. This seems a kind of bridge constructing technique which allows us to cross a gap in or conscious knowledge of the world by pulling structural materials from thin air and placing them beneath our impatient feet. How like improvisational musicians we have the freedom to arrive at any conclusion by any path as long as we stay in 'key'. Now, I'f I KNEW what it meant to stay in "key", I would here describe it--if only for myself...:)

Science can apparently be as detrimental to astrology as Western norms are to Yul Brynner's King of Siam...etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.



Date: Tue, 16 Sep 1997 12:45:00 -0700
From: W.H. Phillips
Subject: Theoretical/Empirical Basis of Astrology

This discussion has been fascinating. It has been educational in the sense that it has elicited information not previously available to most of the readership of this list. Notable in this regard were the exchanges between Dr. Pena Tamez and Fran Kostella. These brought forth not only Dr. Pena's vast knowledge of canonical Ptolemaic, medieval and modern traditional astrology but also Francis' intriguing conclusions from his reading of Cornelius.

Here is yet another paradigm. Maybe the distressing unreliability of astrology in certain applications results not from any deficiency in astrology but rather from its unsuitability for such applications. Maybe astrology is but a subset of a body of knowledge whose entirety, if we could see it, would clarify where and how this venerable art intersects human affairs.

In this I must agree wholeheartedly with Fran Kostella's declaration that we are neither able to nor wish to demonstrate the "truth" of astrology in the context of the naive scientism that usually passes for conventional wisdom. There is one caveat, however. Astrology, like much of physical science, is a discipline best defined by statistical means.

The more empirically astrology is understood, the better it works. An example is the recent rediscovery, by statistical means, of the crucial significance of declinations in the reading of a chart. We now know that the parallel declination of two planets is indeed equivalent to a conjunction. We also know that - contrary to tradition - a contra-parallel is also equivalent to a conjunction, not to an opposition as the old theory holds.

This sort of thing demonstrates that in astrology we are not dealing with direct cause and effect. We may be, as it were, judging the workings of motor vehicles by analyzing patterns of exhaust smoke. The bewildering array of variables we use in astrology may correlate with the bewildering array of variables in human affairs, not because planetary patterns influence events but rather because both the patterns and the events result from higher influences utterly beyond our perception.

This paradigm is the one found in the Judaic Kabbalah, in writings such as the Sepher Yetzirah, the Bahir and the Zohar. Similarly it is in accord with the immensely sophisticated Hindu-Buddhist-Taoist world view. According to this view there is indeed a connection between planetary patterns and, for example, human affairs. But the connection is not one of direct causality. It is the connection of two systems resulting from a common causality. We thus cannot even imagine, much less study, this higher-order causality.

According to the Sepher Yetzirah, for instance, Abraham discovered through intensive meditation that the seven classical planets, the 27 asterisms, the 12 houses, the 22 letters of the Hebrew alphabet and many other numbered things all result from influences originating in the unseen universe called in Hebrew "Atzilut." To the human mind Atzilut is invisible, formless and without attributes - yet it is the cause of everything.

The idea that humans may through special disciplines access this formless plane and, by focusing the will, influence mundane events is the basis of the so-called Magical Kabbalah, the Hindu-Buddhist Siddhi powers and Taoism's mystic alchemy. It is also the (generally unexamined) basis of petitionary prayer in all religions.

Perhaps astrologers are therefore a particular subset of the sages and prophets. Whereas the prophet cognizes the unseen directly and in some cases influences events through such cognition, perhaps the astrologer cognizes the unseen by comprehending the abstract relationships among the planet, their motion and causal impulses beyond human perception.

All of this is wildly esoteric, I freely admit, but no more so than Manilius, Paracelsus or Niels Bohr. The question is: what can we DO with it?

On the question of house systems, I agree with Robert Hand (and Maharshi Parasara of Vedic fame) that whole sign houses work best, and that the cusps are focal points within the houses, not boundaries defining them. It is thus possible for the midheaven to lie in the ninth house, signifying the potential for achievement in religion, philosophy, foreign affairs, profound mental interests etc.

Many thanks for all the mind-stretching discussion!



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