|Exegesis Volume 3 Issue #17
Exegesis Digest Fri, 13 Feb 1998
Date: Fri, 13 Feb 1998 01:15:47 +0000
From: "William D. Tallman"
Subject: Critique of brief.
[I.W. Kelly, "Modern Astrology: A Critique" Psychological Reports, 1997, 81, 1035-1066]
> "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 sciences.
> Further, astrology does not have the theoretical or conceptual
> resources to resolve its own internal problems adequately or
> external anomalies or to adjudicate between conflicting astrological
> claims or systems."
There are three statements made in this quote.
The first statement claims that astrology has no value as it is presently practiced. We vigorously reject this claim, of course, and with good reason. As far as we are concerned, most of us both do and have seen done excellent therapeutic work where clients have come to understand themselves in ways not effectable by other modalities. This appears to be true of most (if not all) present forms of practice. There appear to be other benefits of astrological practice that are not easily duplicated by the average practitioner: these include horary, electional, financial, etc., although there is no general agreement on these fields.
When we ask why this is not understood by the general public, the answer should be quite clear; if it is not, then we have a problem, and so perhaps we should look closely at this. We do not have any systematic clinical evidence of our work. It is not necessary for us to make any theoretical statements at all at this stage, all we have to do is make available the evidence of our work in a manner that can be addressed by those outside our profession who are both interested and qualified. As far as I know, though this has been discussed in various venues and at various times, no such systematic work exists; indeed, I know of no system by which it can be developed.
We are at liberty to develop such a system without interference from any outside discipline, and so we can establish what we deem relevant and the manner in which the clinical data is gathered, evaluated and presented. If this data is to be useful to those outside our profession, it seems reasonable to develop the basic translation protocols along with the system itself. Again, I stress the idea that astrologers alone should be responsible for the development of this system, and so have final say regarding all aspects thereof.
I assert that the first step in answering the first statement is the development of a clinical system, very much like those that are already in use in medicine and psychology, for their purpose is virtually identical to the one I am proposing. The models of acceptable investigation in these regards are already well established, and astrology can follow those guidelines in establishing its own. The problem with this is that the work then *has* to be done by enough of the profession that meaningful data is developed. If it is not, then the first statement in this summary will continue to go unanswered, and it will have been the fault of the astrological profession if this happens.
The second statement has three parts. The first part says that we have no idea what we are doing, in that we purport to discover value in the observations of celestial configurations. We have no idea why or how this value exists, and so cannot explain what is taking place when we practice our art to those who would listen with interest. The assumption here is that if we cannot explain what we are doing, there is no reason for anyone to assume that we are doing anything (of value) at all. In any other field than astrology, I suspect very few of us would quibble with this sort of attitude, and if this is true, I would ask why we assume that we should be exempt in this regard.
The answer is, it seems, that we are so traumatized by the results of not only not being able to do so but of not even being interested in satisfying those questions, that we now hide behind this assumption like abused children, afraid of further violence upon our professional persons. We instead strive to show why we are exempt from the relevance of these questions, and indeed strive to show that the questions themselves are fundamentally evil! We carp at science for rejecting our claims, and assert that science is somehow the work of the devil. I suggest this is not a helpful course of action.
The second part of the statement asserts that we cannot substantiate the claims we make for astrology, which is a specific critique from the first part, indicating quite clearly that in order to be regarded at all, we must be forthcoming in these regards. Here again, systematic clinical data would go a long way towards showing that there is indeed something to the claims, even if we can't explain them. A plausible explanation usually arises without undue effort if enough supporting data is present, so the complaint here is not that we have no theoretical basis; we haven't even got anything on which to build that basis. With clinical data, any old place is better than no place to start. Even the most off the wall notions can be tested somehow, even if only to determine that they can't be tested with the data at hand. Then, at least, the process is started, and the finding will be that at least one off the wall notion is not worth putting more effort into as it stands. Then, at least, one step in the direction of understanding what we are doing will have been taken, and it will be available for those who are interested to show that, to that extent, astrology has done due diligence instead of thumbing its collective nose.
The third part of the second statement observes that astrology has not contributed any meaningful insights into those areas of understanding in which astrologers claim expertise. This is the obvious result of the previous problems. If we don't have anything that the social sciences can use, then of course we cannot have contributed anything, cognizable or not. The key here is that we have not contributed anything that the social sciences can use, and this is true whether we like it or not, I think.
The third statement observes that we are not able to put our own house in order, that we haven't done so and there exists no apparent reason to suggest that we can do so. This is probably not true, but there is no evidence that it is not, that academia is likely to recognize at this point. The reason for this is not because we don't have the resources to put our house in order, it is because too many astrologers refuse to even believe that we have a house in the first place!!! Those who do, regard it as no one's business but our own what state our house assumes, or they refuse to invest enough time and effort to achieve any agreement as to the issues relevant to the house, whether or not any agreement in their regards is reached.
In spite of this, there are some number of qualified and interested people who are apparently doing quite good work on behalf of astrology in some of the areas mentioned. Now, there is no requirement that this work be accepted in any way, but there has been nevertheless some amount of vilification heaped upon them for even making the effort. Actually, it appears that these individuals have to supply their own support in addition to doing the work. As it stands, there is no apparent reason for academia to discern that the work of these people represents the astrological profession in any way. If their work has value, it would appear that any credit would accrue to them personally and astrology itself will have successfully divested itself of any benefit thereof.
So I think that the summary adequately and succinctly describes the problems that astrology has in being accepted by academia, if not by society in general. I think it's up to us to respond thereto, and if we don't, it will only be our fault for not having done so.
I would suggest that the first thing we need to do, as professionals, is to develop clinical data, as I have suggested above. I think that if we can do this, the rest will follow with application of diligence. I think that if we do this, academia will not be the only beneficiary; we will discover for ourselves things that we will quite likely never otherwise find accessible.
This is a win-win effort, I submit, because the process of investigation and analysis that will follow will be based on fact, and no-one's pet theory or lack thereof will be gored without sound and demonstratable reason. No requirement to accept anything will be mandated, and the weight of general acceptance or rejection will rest on the evidence itself; no professional will be required to join those regards, but failure to show why will weigh on one's reputation in the profession and recommendations therefrom will likely be less forthcoming. In this, there is no difference between astrology and any other body of accepted practice, nor should there be.
We can do better than this, I think. Among our numbers are those who have been trained in scholastic and academic procedures. How about if they step forward now and make suggestions about the particulars of what can and should be done?
Date: Thu, 12 Feb 1998 12:04:01 -0500
From: "Roger L. Satterlee"
Subject: "...how to get through a day to your best astrological advantage..."
John Reder wrote:
> 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 , 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.
I did express these identical sentiments when I studied only Horary...and I became very good at Horary...in fact it totally dominated my anxious mind...the one true form of occult study, I thought, and so segregated it, and myself in the process...:) Well, partly because Horary seems only as rewarding as one's last accurate prediction, and partly because it left me with an unsatisfied, uninformed, sort of feeling in general when trying to endure other occult students, I decided to try and discover for myself why everyone else interested in an occult discipline seemed quite irrational and obviously mistaken about everything...:) This quest quite naturally led me to start rooting through all the traditional genethlical techniques, most of the psychobabble, and finally the potboiling new age soul-centered mumbo-jumbo. All I can say is that I think I find something familiar in any novel idea as expressed by any person, and that seems to be *the* religious (re-linking) function/experience of *any* mental discipline.
Well, John, I personally had to approach natal charts as if they were Horary charts of some kind...So, if we consider the birth moment as prediction of some defining life event which lies in a potential until it unfolds...What self-defining event might satisfy the portends of this my natal figure, John...:)? And now how about taking a step towards closing the gap between we rational types and all of those silly people who believe nonsensical things...If a person were to feel more free with the details of such an event if they pretended it symbolized the crowning event of a past life, would that be so bad...:)? Not that I personally accept the objective facts concerning past lives, but such reports by the native seem the product of a much less inhibited outpouring of personally tailored myths.
I made up a mythical self once; Pedantus I called him(me)...I was a wandering monkish wizard of sorts who carried a mandolin and a sack of seeds. While hitchhiking about the byways I planted the wild flowers on all the road sides, and found my purpose in that. Can you see what planets in aspect, filtered by sign and house might be *significators* of such an ongoing sort of event?
+------- < 11 > 7Aqu28---- < 10 > 14Cap28----- < 9 > 23Sag54-----------+
| Jup 6Pis02r | | | |
| | | | |
| | | | |
| | | Moo 6Cap46 | |
< 12 > 9Pis11----|-----------------------------|----- 0Sag55 < 8 >
| | Astrolog 5.20 chart | |
| | Roger L.Satterlee | |
| | Wed Jul 26 1950 11:53pm | |
| | Elmira, NY | |
< 1 > 27Ari21-----| DT -05:00, 76:48W 42:06N |-----27Lib21 < 7 >
| | UT: 27:53, Sid.T: 19:02 | |
| | Placidus Houses | Mar 21Lib33 |
| | Tropical / Geocentric | Nep 14Lib50 |
| | Julian Day = 2433489.6618 | Sat 16Vir42 |
< 2 > 0Gem55-----|-----------------------------|----- 9Vir11 < 6 >
| | Ven 5Can18 | | |
| | Ura 6Can56 | | |
| | | | Mer 20Leo00 |
| | | Sun 3Leo33 | Plu 17Leo22 |
+-----------23Gem54 < 3 >
And so it goes..:)
Rog roger9 11:53PM EDT 26Jul50 76W48 42N06 http://www.geocities.com/Athens/7406
Date: Fri, 13 Feb 1998 12:23:09 +0000
From: "Francis G. Kostella"
Subject: Rocks and Shoals
In the last month the list has received an unusually high number of messages that have not passed the meager bounds that have been placed on the conversation. In the charter you will find:
| | Limits: No personal attacks. No evangelism. |
The limits above mean that I will not pass any message that I believe is a personal attack, or which is a repetitious restatement of opinion lacking even an attempt at justification. There are many people who believe they have a direct line to Absolute Truth and that those who do not subscribe to that brand of truth are to be damned out of hand. That's well and good, but it does not belong HERE. If you can demonstrate your Absolute Truth to us and are willing to discuss or debate it, then feel free to post. If you are simply looking for a forum from which to condemn others and advertise your school of astrology, then I suggest you participate in an unmoderated forum, such as Usenet's alt.astrology newsgroup.
Repeated posting of bellyaching about astrologers is not appropriate for this list. If you think astrologers are all screwed up then please demonstrate alternatives. I want the list to be a place where we light a candle rather than curse the darkness.
If you read something here that you dislike and you want to challenge it, then you MUST do it by rhetoric as I will simply send a message containing demeaning remarks back to the author. I sometimes allow challenging items and the occasional slightly-over-the-line remark to pass through, that does not mean that responses in kind are appropriate, nor that I will allow that author the same leeway in the future.
If you find something here with which you agree, please attempt to extend the point into new areas or bolster a weak argument. Simply sending "I agree with you" is a waste of time and resources since it lacks content that other people find worth reading.
I do not edit messages sent to the list, I only pass them on or reject them. Therefore I am unable to remove massive amounts of quoted material. If you send a message with a lot of quotes then I will send it back to you asking that you reduce the number of quotes. We should all assume that everyone has read the message to which you are responding and attempt to make our quotes as brief as possible. (My experience has been that one typically responds primarily to one line in a paragraph and that the process of deciding which line carries the weight is illuminating and improves one's own writing. Pick the best line to quote and allow us to go look up the complete writing if needed. Don't worry about going out of context as the original author will certainly respond if that happens.)
Please take the time to request instructions from the listserver if you want to unsubscribe from the list. See the bottom of this digest for information. If the listserver continues to send the digest to you after you unsubscribe then please verify that your email address and "reply-to" address are correct.
I do not pretend to be perfectly objective or 100% fair, but I do try. I generally allow a lot of slack, especially when people first post to the list. If you have problems with my moderating then feel free to discuss it with me. If there is a need to change the rules here then we can do so, but I will not moderate a list lacking a "no personal attacks" limitation.
Finally, people have raised a few issues about the appropriate topics for discussion. A recent example: "techniques". Again, DEMONSTRATE your point and avoid making broad claims which you are not willing to justify. We might well argue the utility of primary and secondary directions, but if one is not willing to show where one shines and is reliable, and where the other falls down, then one had best not raise the point in the first place (since we already know that there are many techniques in use and different people use different techniques). On the other hand, it may be useful to examine which types of techniques prosper and which do not, which are universal, and which are unique to particular schools, which are taught to novices, and which are no longer in use or come and go quickly. Etc. There's a lot for discussion here, but it is a waste of time to debate from the view of our own bias.
End of Exegesis Digest Volume 3 Issue 17
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