Exegesis Volume 3 Issue #37

From: Mary Downing
Subject: Re: Exegesis Digest V3 #36

Exegesis Digest Mon, 04 May 1998

Date: Sat, 2 May 1998 10:39:50 -0400 (EDT)
From: Mary Downing
To: Exegesis
Subject: Re: Exegesis Digest V3 #36

To: W Tallman

You commented "....... nothing useful can come
 > of applying astrology to the fields of psychology, sociology, or
 > other human studies without a direct knowledge of those fields;
 > nothing useful can come of applying astrology to the understanding of
 > a human being without some knowledge of humanity in general and a
 > willingness to seek direct understanding of the human individual
 > (perhaps in particular, the self)."

I agree. I had a student ( a psychiatrist ) whose practice had a slew of bi-polars. He encouraged them to take my course because he thought that seeing a cyclic frame for the universe would make them feel less helpless to their mood swings. The man himself was mapping seasonal affect; which by now is old hat ( SAD - seasonal affect disorder) but in the '60s was a radical idea. That's marvelous and works very well with astrology.

But usually when we say "psychology" we're referring to a theoretical rendering of the internal human psyche. Emphasize the "theoretical". Yes, it refers in an almost poetic fashion to functions of the rational intellect. It offers an artificial structure that allows us to talk about something that is well niegh ineffable -- but that doesn't mean it's real. It is a gentleman's agreement for communication purposes.

That doesn't deny psychology's value for those who want to communicate such things; but astrology deals with everything that exists in time -- including weather patterns and the mass psyche. It operates at a level below individual psyche, on the plane of sun spots and crop cycles. We have to raise our consciousness to percieve its operation -- then we see it's pervasive. The model is like the oriental concept of chi -- energy forces eddying around and through us, sustaining us and defining certain traits and events.

There are human behavior patterns that are consistent across cultural lines. There is non-rational (or perhaps proto-rational) behavior that crosses specie lines. There are the restraints of the laws of psysics. It's very good to know if an action pattern is hard-wired. It's crucial to know how socialization within a given society modifies our group behavior. Again, that's extremely useful to our understanding of human behavior and our counseling skill, but it really isn't astrology.

It may allow us to predict how a set of transits will affect the native, however, provided we realize that the Catholic native from Brooklyn is going to respond quite differently than the Taoist native in Hong Kong. One step removed, and seen trhough a cultural prism. You said--

 > Nothing can be done from within astrology except the
 > compilation and analysis of clinical data.

Nothing can be done, certainly, until we have some idea what it is we're actually studying. Time itself? The shared energy soup of the universe? We're in the unenviable position of trying to define something only through its effects. Reminds me of particle physics -- which may be why they keep writing books called the Tao of Physics and The Dancing Wu Lei Masters. Somewhere there's a young physicist...
 > You said... " Do you see a way in
 > which these materials (market research, anthropology) can contribute to a general understanding of astrology."

I think an understanding of how and when people act the way they do aids us as consultants. It is a professional consulting and application skill that is enhanced, not astrology. Anecdotal data that describes behavior changes at a given age, or as a result of a specific event, does build a body of behavioral knowledge that is compatible with the astrological premise; i.e., that the " time of something" is an integral factor.

You said------ Could you elaborate
 > on Jung's astrological sources of the notion of archetypes?

Jung was a student of astrology, the I Ching, etc. Said to have carved his horoscope on a stone. Wrote on the I Ching. Of course quite a few (actually most) of the Chinese astrologies other than the 12 year cycle are methods of entering the I Ching. The " journey" concept is simply a current fad, and I've gotten rather curmudgeonly with the new age in my old age. No harm really, they just are so awfully pius about it. I am not referring to the I Ching. That's an altogether different kettle of fish.

you said
 > "I would, however, strongly suggest that we do *not* give up the
 > theoretical work. Trying to prove the validity of astrology without
 > an adequate theoretical basis from which to work is useless, for it
 > can't be done, I think. What we should be trying to do, per
 > discussion above, is to discover why it works, so that we can discern
 > what part of it does work and what part of it doesn't."

I'm unconcerned about proving it's validity. That's for other people. I'm selfish, I want it to work for me, now. It's really a worldview, and it isn't one that bothers me. I see the universe as interactive. Whatever astrology is, it's related to this interpenetration. Maybe I'm talking about a pantheistic God. Maybe chi is the right idea. I've held forth before on my opinion that astrology is a technology not a science. I'm just building better mousetraps.

We can only find out what works and what doesn't by testing each and every. Quite a lot of what is enshrined, just plain doesn't work -- for me (maybe secondary progressions work for the rest of the brotherhood), or works so feebly that I'm sure I should be doing something else altogether. It's odd what works and what doesn't. One wouldn't think horizonal elevation would affect employment prospects, but it does.

You said------------------
 > The clinical approach is eminently useful, of course, but in the
 > final analysis, it cannot be conclusive; the meaning and
 > significance of clinical data without an understanding of the
 > underlying mechanisms is forever open to endless debate.

You, of course, are right. The "underlying mechanism" currently requires mystical perception. Wish that young physicist would get to it!
--Mary Downing


End of Exegesis Digest Volume 3 Issue 36

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