|Exegesis Volume 3 Issue #16
Exegesis Digest Wed, 11 Feb 1998
Date: Tue, 10 Feb 98 13:02:37 -0800
From: "Joanna M. Ashmun"
Subject: Re: Exegesis Digest V3 #15
Well, obviously, I didn't mean to send this to the list.
I'm blushing, and I hope the rest of you are laughing.
Date: Mon, 9 Feb 1998 21:39:30 +0000
From: "William D. Tallman"
Subject: Re: Exegesis Digest V3 #14
> From: "Roger L. Satterlee"
> Subject: Re: Exegesis Digest V3 #13
> Rog comments:
> What I gather from John's appeal seems like a sentiment I once shared
> when the personal search for more generic "facts" seemed the path to
> a more inclusive state of being with my fellow human beings--a
> search for common denominators which allow all people to be compared
> by their likenesses. Over time it has occurred to me that
> individuals exhibit a balance in nature by remaining at least as
> different as they are alike. The rather annoying sense of
> separateness which has its basis in our personal differences seems
> the basis for our "religious" endeavors...this seems true no matter
> what technique we seem to prefer concerning the bridging of the
> inevitable gulf between even the most earnest of souls.
The balance of differences and similarities is, apparently, one of the more striking ideas that is clearly demonstrated by astrological practice. While religions purport to reveal what these qualities and so their balance as well should be, astrology is theoretically able to show them as they are. In application, it would seem that the practitioner carries the baggage of assumptions already held from other sources, which tend to create practices that fall short of the theoretical capabilities. To the extent that this baggage is acquired from religious tenets and considerations, religion and astrology are probably not well served by being connected in any substantial way.
> If there is a path toward a more comprehensive appreciation of those
> who seem at variance with our personal standards of methodological
> excellence, or correctness, etc., it seems that a lowering of the
> threshold of our ability to detect our more mutual and binding
> universal qualities is more desirable than the raising of our
> threshold of "fact" perception. A personal regimen of less
> discrimination of personal "truths" seems a more enlightening
> practice. Our observations of our fellows and their reported
> thoughts should perhaps be characterized by our unlimited
> generosity--our best effort at an open minded acceptance of the
> reported experience of others. Perhaps we all remain as true to
> ourselves as a child graciously introducing an invisible playmate.
Rog, you've been reading too much Mark Jones!!! Well, that's not such a bad thing, I think.....
What occurred to me when I went through this was that, as an individual, I was by definition definable and therefore finite. A implies null-A; anything that we are implies that which we are not. So any cosmology must necessarily provide validity for both all that we are and all that we are not, as well as all that we cannot imagine, for there would seem to be no inherent reason to proscribe anything that can find viable manifestation. It was astrology that provided the foundation for such a cosmology for me.
One of the striking things that I saw was the absence of hierarchy, of any structure upon which comparative evaluations could be made. All things eventually evolve and become wholly new, related to their former selves by process only. What is true at any given point (in time and place), eventually is falsified by process. Even change itself, said to be the only truly universal constant, ceases, for if it did not, it would not be a constant. (Feh!!! Sorry.... )
So there is no need to hold ones own considerations beyond their usefulness to oneself, I think.
> My attempts at self-therapy, so to speak, my search for a mental
> practice which de-emphasized the requirements I arbitrarily placed
> on others, lead to an acceptance of a more generous proposition than
> I previously thought myself capable.
People with large brains build tall walls wherein large portals are not only possible but appropriate. Interesting, that.......
> .....................................................................The possibility that
> individuals are in fact doing their level best to express 'their'
> natal potential now seems a given, and, as such, a standard by which
> I should judge the veracity of another's 'facts'--the "how" and
> "why" of the individual's perceptions as expressed by the native. If
> ever I find that there a nagging nonsequitur concerning the logic of
> a person and the astro-logic of their own natal potential, it is
> then I accept the burden of learning why I am mistaken as an
> astrologer, and not why another is mistaken as a unenlightened
While this might be slightly off-topic, it is interesting to observe that this acquired facility is apparently seen as most profound by the philosophical structure of the I Ching. The Judgment (King Wen) of the 1st hexagram, commonly called the Creative, carries the basic tenet of the Tao and the "correct" acceptance of that tenet.
The Judgment, from Wilhelm-Baynes: "Sublime success, perseverance furthers". All that is, arises from the unmanifest and is therefore inherently sublime, and that which manifests is inherently successful in consequence. So all that is, including ourselves of course, is a sublime success. Perseverance is here a semi-technical usage that names the effort to understand all things in their own terms as a practice having value its its own right. And it is perseverance in that practice alone that creates movement on the path of the Tao.
As far as I am concerned, the practice of astrology is a curriculum for the astrologer, wherein it is possible to learn what is otherwise unaccessable. The archetypal images contained in the mirror that is the natal horoscope make possible the discernment of what is otherwise most likely to be missed, unrecognized, misread, misinterpreted, etc. While we are able to share this learning experience with the client, it is also a learning experience for the astrologer as well, by and large. We are not teachers, we are students and sometimes tutors of what we learn.
> .................Having said all that, I find that I am usually limited in my
> quest for understanding by a certain inexplicable reluctance of
> astrologists at large to share their birth data as readily as they
> would any other individualizing handle.
This is interesting, and apparently not unusual, as you observe. It seems to me that this devolves from magical concerns, such that anyone who can call and so define one's true essence is able to establish some form of control, mastery, authorship, etc. over oneself. Does this imply that these astrologers consider astrology to be magical in nature, at least in part?
I've had to reread Cornelius and so am now contemplating the possibilities of astrology's role as a divination form.
> .....................................................................It has been my experience
> that persons in general are most comfortable when en robed in their
> well laundered beliefs and most spend a good deal of time in front
> of a mirror--obsessively engaged in picking the lint from their
> favorite mental apparel. Such persons more often speak to me from
> over their shoulder so as not to be distracted from what is really
Are we any different?
> From: skyweasel
> Subject: Re: Exegesis Digest V3 #13
> A few thoughts, with no intent to flame or deride John or anyone
> My recollection is that the list was established to facilitate
> philosophical discussion of astrology. I know that lists for more
> down-to-earth discussion do exist, though I personally have not
> subscribed to any for a long time due to the coarse bickering that
> tends to take over and poison most of the wells, so to speak.
Sound ideas have value and are not easily created. People don't readily allow their ideas to be falsified... and so we would expect strife. Here, I think we might want less of a marketplace and more of a laboratory, where we can work on ideas without ownership concerns, without compulsive identification of self-worth with one's intellectual creativity.
> The lack of traffic here and repetition of the same general complaint
> about said lack of traffic may be due to there not being that many
> people who are willing, interested, or able to discuss astrology in
> the terms originally set by Fran for this list. This is just a
> guess on my part, however.
I, for one, really hope this is not the case!!!
Willingness implies confidence in one's own abilities to contribute, and it seems likely that anyone who has remained subscribed to this list would have at least some confidence. Interest implies recognition of the issues that make astrological philosophy and theory a currently relevant subject, and I suppose there are many who don't perceive this relevance. Perhaps those of us who do should assist those who don't, though without comment so they can make up their own minds as to what should or should not be done.
Ability is something else, however. I think we can expect that there are really only a few people who can and who will create value here. The problem is that it's not likely that those will be known in advance, and so anyone who's interested should at least try to do so. Most probably, those who actually do wind up contributing materially to this project will not be identified until some while afterward; any contribution is most likely to depend for its ultimate value on what is subsequently done with it. Almost certainly, only hindsight will provide opportunity for true evaluation.
> My observation has been that all astrology lists as well as public
> forums like alt.astrology, seem to devolve rapidly into flaming
Well moderated lists do not do so.
> ....................Perhaps it is just the nature of the beast; astrology
> today is a smorgasboard of psychology, psychic ability (or lack
> thereof), fundamentalism of many stripes (sidereal vs. tropical,
> ancient vs. modern, Hindu vs. Western, etc.), amateurism, lack of
> fundamentals, a few bright geniuses who mostly don't participate
> online/in public since they are busy making cash elsewhere... well
> don't take this the wrong way, I'm not complaining just calling it
> as I see it.
Are you saying that the purpose of this list is unachievable? That astrology today is all of these things fails to demonstrate that the goal of this list is unattainable, I think. It would be useful if you could show why we should cease from our efforts here, otherwise....
> ....................................The profession, or rather, the craft, is such a
> grab-bag of styles, concepts, opinions, misinformation or ignorance,
> that finding common ground is very difficult. Squabbling over
> fundamentals seems endemic to many areas of study in our era and
> astrology is apparently no different.
Again, the marketplace is where things are evaluated, and it is most often an abrasive process. The marketplace tests thoroughly, and treats more than the simple essence of what is offered. The first thing that is looked at is, why should we look at this?! So anyone who wishes to do intellectual business needs to understand that there is much more to the process than simply presenting an idea, and most of the time a fully qualified presentation in these environments is simply beyond what can be reasonably expected. So the marketplace thrashes out these issues, and much is rejected, often because of perceived irrelevance.
> A definite problem is the lack of any sort of codified astrological
> knowledge; because astrology is practiced in a very independent
> fashion by nearly all of its practitioners, and is practiced in so
> many forms, a high resistance to this sort of unified scholarship
This is an apparency, I think. Astrology is strongly codified, actually, and to such an extent that the primitives of analysis can be offered without commentary and contain enough value to be useful to many people. Cookbook charts are decried by professionals, but not a few practitioners do a brisk trade in them. If there was no value, this sort of practice would dry up, I think. Clearly, interpreted charts are of much greater value, if only because of the interactivity between the astrologer and client.
That there are many forms of practice does not indicate a lack of integrity on the part of the essence or the philosophical core of astrology; it means that astrology is powerful in the diversity of it's applicability.
> ..........Lack of serious interest from mainstream academia probably
> plays a role here but exactly how would be a lengthy discussion of
> its own.
The lack of serious interest from mainstream academia is a matter for which probability has only distant relevance. We have altogether too much certainty about this to address before turning to less than obvious causes. I submit that this single topic contains enough guidelines to create a structure for the work on this list that will increase its effectiveness dramatically.
Academia holds the mandate to evaluate knowledge for applicability. It is the institution that curates the bodies of knowledge that produce useful understanding and valuable contributions to the human specie. That is its job. It it isn't interested in astrology, then we can and should inquire of it why it thinks we have no value, and perhaps the answer we receive will be something we can use. If we don't do this in good faith, and persevere until it answers us in like good faith, we will risk spinning our wheels in a quagmire of our own making where we will like so many before us sink slowly out of sight. I would not do this, I think.
> ......................While astrologers can get a piece of paper from certain
> independent organizations such as NCGR, attesting to the fact that
> they can evidence a certain knowledge of a particular form of
> astrology, astrologers are in fact pretty far out to sea when it
> comes to standing as a group and saying, "this is what we know for
If this is true, perhaps it would be good to establish why it is so, if possible.
> To be completely Libran about it, this uncertainty is not a bad
> thing in the context of human insight; many a good
> intuitive/sensitive has been able to use astrology as a pretext to
> bring comfort, insight or understanding to others, and said persons
> might never pass a multiple choice test or be able to explain the
> difference between equatorial and ecliptic coordinate systems. So I
> am not an advocate of "astrology central", handing down dictates and
> excommunicating heathens.
Nor am I. I, for one, am not disposed to contribute to an "astrology central". Handing down dictates is seldom a rewarding or profitable exercise. Far be it from me to excommunicate heathens, for I suspect I am one.
> Personally I would like to see some sort of collective or
> collaborative research organization arise, dedicated to a
> non-dogmatic examination of any and all astrological techniques. My
> feeling is that testing and training can be good things but the
> sympathetic art takes many years of application to truly master
> (with the exception of a few gifted geniuses one may occasionally
> encounter) and will remain a highly individual discipline, in my
> humble opine.
Nothing about this list, so far as I know, is intended to deal with testing and training of practitioners. The testing of ideas about astrology is, I submit, a very good thing. The problem is that only valid tests have value, and there are many orders of magnitude more ways to devise invalid tests, than there are to devise tests that are useful.
> We don't have much choice but to be tolerant of our many different
> approaches, philosophies, etc.; my hope is as I stated above, that
> some collaborative scholarship, perhaps similar to Hindsight or that
> proposed by the Kepler College, will arise to take us into an era of
> greater understanding and greater agreement, which in turn might
> portend a wider acceptance of astrology and greater benefit to
> society in general from its application. I sound like Grant Lewi :)
Perhaps you have stated the appropriate hope for this list. Maybe sounding like Grant Lewi isn't all a bad thing, either... 8^)
Now that the obligatory naysaying has been processed, how about some actual contributions?
Date: Wed, 11 Feb 1998 01:41:34 -0500 (EST)
From: John Reder
Subject: Re: Exegesis Digest V3 #15
At 07:55 PM 2/10/98 GMT, you wrote:
> From: "Joanna M. Ashmun"
> To: exegesis
> Subject: #1 "Modern Astrology: A Critique"
> The journal Psychological Reports (1997, 81, 1035-1066) published an
> article, "Modern Astrology: A Critique," by I. W. Kelly, University of
> Saskatchewan. As far as I can tell, this journal is not available on the
> Here's the abstract:
> "Summary. -- Astrology, as presently practiced (in either its traditional
> or psychological form), has no relevance to understanding ourselves or
> our place in the cosmos. Modern advocates of astrology cannot account
> for the underlying basis of astrological associations with terrestrial
> affairs, have no plausible explanation for its claims, and have not
> contributed anything of cognitive value to any field of the social
The reason is, because there is no money in it. The big bucks in astrology comes from feeding pablum to the general public. (The average astrology student not being much removed.) Over the years you have had some great writers on horary and electional astrology, such as Ivy Goldstein-Jacobson and Barbara Watters, who have been relegated to near obscurity, because they don't do the babble the hoakum. But writers like Linda Goodman who push the Barbara Cartland concept of astrology "Love Signs" get put on the pedestal. Then you have the writers who promote what I like to call the "I Wet My Bed" school of astrology. These are basically failed psychology students, who turn the subject into some Freudian angst experiment. (Woody Allen has been in analysis for 30 years and still goes off and marries his stepdaughter. I am not really impressed with the value of that subject to begin with, so lets not screw up astrology with it.) If you are going to take your astrology studies from the popular press, at least go for the Farmer's Almanac way of looking at it, over the National Enquirer. You could learn a lot more from looking at good fishing days than Tom Cruises' natal chart . I have tried time after time to get discussions going on a particular event chart or astrological period, but there are never any takers. If you want to learn about astrology and how it works, you will get a hell of a lot more out of day to day transits and phenomena than you will sitting around trying to find yourself. I have seen too many of these great astrology thinker, turn around and begin a project under a retrograde Mars, sign a contract under a retrograde Mercury, etc, etc.. Take your birth charts and throw them in the trash. Learn how to find the best day to buy a car, plant a garden, begin a new job, get your teeth worked on. Then when you know how to get through a day to your best astrological advantage, you might see what it is really happening with the cosmos. Then maybe, a few years from now, yo MIGHT be able to really read a natal chart. The in a couple of decades, you might have a theory about a philosophy. Until then all the theories you come up with are hot air.
Date: Wed, 11 Feb 1998 14:23:50 EST
Subject: Re: Exegesis Digest V3 #15
< My daughter and I play around with charts and guessing charts, and spend a lot of time listening to her music in the car and diagnosing charts for the performers, so the items below are all recent topics with us. I'll warn you that we have a marked taste for the expression of messy, murky, mixed-up emotions. (4) "At the things she asked at the end of the day, Caligula would have blushed. 'You stay in the house far too much,' she said, and I naturally fled." >
This lyric was written by Morrisey, during his years in the Smiths. I've always suspected him of having a strong libran presence in his chart, mostly due to his clever wit, (John Lennon, Groucho Marx, etc) and his sexual ambiguity. He spent his adolescent years writing critique letters to music magazines, virgo perhaps?
No matter what his sun sign might be he obviously has a strong mercury. He really stood out in the 80's for his distinct lyrical presence. I always thought the Smiths were a brilliant put on because of the way they manipulated people's perceptions of them. "Smiths fans" were synonymous with the dressed- in-black, depressed crowd, but Morrisey was obviously making fun of those people. Most people, fans and detractors, didn't get the joke.
This particular lyric suggests a 12th house theme, I would say. I'll go on a limb and say he's a virgo, libra rising. I've always wanted to find his data. Let me know if you find it somewhere.
End of Exegesis Digest Volume 3 Issue 16
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