Exegesis Volume 4 Issue #33

From: "William D. Tallman"
Subject: Re: Exegesis Digest V4 #32

Exegesis Digest Tue, 04 May 1999

Date: Sat, 1 May 1999 19:36:10 -0700
From: "William D. Tallman"
To: Exegesis
Subject: Re: Exegesis Digest V4 #32

Cynthia D'Errico Clostre said:

 > I can't tell you how much I am enjoying Exegesis. I'm new to your list so I
 > will just jump in with a comment regarding G. Cornelius.

Hello, Cynthia, and welcome to the fray!!!

 > I read "A Moment
 > of Astrology" (Penguin Arkana) a few years ago and must say that it at once
 > coincided with the philosophical flywheel of my practice and also cogently
 > expounded what I had experienced as I practised this ancient art. It's been
 > a few years but I recall that Cornelius examined the privileging of the
 > temporal basis of astrological practice as an assumption that diverted
 > attention from the intuitive moment of "significant presentation of the
 > symbol to consciousness," or as he named it, "psi" (p.132).

The problem I have with this is that Cornelius, in attempting to become an apologist for astrology, has strayed too far from the subject. I have elsewhere proposed that "psychic" or "intuitive" practices of astrology may very well have a strong foundation. I concur that these modalities exist, and support their use.

The essence of my objection is that, without prior reference to the stars, whatever else we are doing, we are not practicing astrology.

 > As a result, he
 > argues, the discarding, rather than the embrace of, inaccurately timed
 > charts was to diminish the value of the observer/astrologer upon the
 > observed/event. (The event here understood as the res assigned significance
 > by the observer, not, as I understand Cornelius, the temporal event as
 > commonly understood.)

It follows that if astrology requires prior reference to the stars, for it *is* the study of the stars and not that of human psychology, then we can presume that reference is required to be accurate, however precise.

 > His forensics of horary astrology was used to advantage in this regard.

In my view, Cornelius shoots himself in the foot in the opening paragraph of Chapter 6: "Many parts and practices of astrology are ill at ease in the Ptolemaic framework, yet do not contrast with it sufficiently to be recognizably distinct. However, one major dimension of horoscopy has manifestly no place in that scheme. This is the tradition of horary astrology...." (Cornelius: "The Moment of Astrology", Penguin/Arkana, London, England, 1994, p.106)

His use of the word "manifestly" gives it all away: this is advocacy scholarship. He assumes that horary, by his understanding of it, cannot be valid. Nothing that follows, then, in the matter of horary astrology, can have any value, I'm sorry to say.

If this was real scholarship, one would expect him to have laid out all the arguments both for, as well as against, the practice of horary astrology, and then made conclusions based on weighing of the evidence, demonstrating how he has done so. He has not done this. His examples serve his purpose, already established. What he has done here is point out that absent any science of astrology, there is no support for a practice *he* rejects; the real implication is that absent any science, there is no support for astrology itself.

I will simply say that I consider Cornelius to be another of those "astrological scholars" that have bowed to the dictates of the "church of techno/scientism", and turned out an exposition on astrology that would decisively invalidate the concept of astrology itself, while defending some parts of its current practice. Cornelius' work is quite relevant to the present views of astrology, and it probably needs to be addressed; perhaps we can make that a separate thread until we can come to some some useful understanding thereof.

 > The facile compartmentalization of Knowledge upon which scientism
 > (epistemology) and pattern recognition depend would necessarily exclude
 > astrology as both I and Cornelius understand it. Dennis Frank (...I think:
 > I'm a little confused as to who has written what!) wrote, referring to the
 > astrological effect as discussed by Wm. Tallman: "...the effect is indeed
 > inherent in any moment in which time manifests on this planet's surface."
 > Perhaps "effect" and "time" need to be further dissected in terms other than
 > "whether someone is in the event/moment...or not."

Scientism and epistemology are two very different things. The first is an uncritical faith in the practice of (modern) science, and the second is the proper study of knowledge itself. Scientism, at least as I have used the term, is tatamount to a religion in its more corrosive form; it asserts that the modern practice of science is the only source of valid knowledge, and I think we all agree that this is a dangerous as well as unsupportable belief.

The quote is Dennis', and it is a statement of his belief, which I share. To dissect this in terms of "where someone is in the event/moment...or not." is to discuss my original question: does the astrological effect exist independent of a) human awareness, b) human presence, c) life in general. This list has had at least two distinct periods of activity in which I have been involved. This period begin after I relocated and settled in, and my original question was exactly that: does the astrological effect require life? Mary Downing responded immediately that it did not, and suggested some potentially substantial support for her assertion.

Again, Mary, are you out there? Does anyone know whether she's still subscribed to the list?

 > As consumers of the discourse which threatens to reduce astrology to
 > science, perhaps we should deconstruct the very terms we use (coercive
 > determinants?) so as to avoid assimilation and metaphysical closure, or
 > should I say, closure of the metaphysical?

I think that I would caution against the extreme use of post-modern deconstructionism, because it can provide its own mandate for continuation, it's own momentum.

There has never been a suggestion, at least on my part, that astrology should, or could, be reduced to a science. Like all studies which produce a valuable practice, it is a craft in practice, an art in use, a science in discourse, etc. The great bodies of human knowledge display each of these attributes; NB, these are *attributes* and not the thing itself.

This particular thread is focussed on the apparent fact that, though astrology is a venerable craft, and a (sometimes) highly developed art, there is little or no science thereof. It has been assumed that there can be no science of astrology, and I refute that assumption.

 > Luce Irigaray, a renegade deconstructionist critic of Lacan's put it so:
 > "the fact that [the dream] can be interpreted only as a 'rebus' should have
 > persuaded the 'reader' to turn it in all directions and positions and not
 > favour one type of inscription that would already prescribe a meaning to it:
 > a linear (chronological, my addition), teleologically horizontal or vertical
 > displacement over a surface as yet unwritten, which it brands by cutting it
 > up according to rules of repetition and recurrence, obeying processes that
 > already paralyze the 'body's' system of gestures within a given graphic
 > order,etc." (p. 30, Irigaray).

Astrology has long since been turned in its traditional direction, and we can assume that its present form has been paralyzed by generations of usage thereof. But we are not speaking of a dream which is maleable and easily deformed into extinction. We are speaking of an objective phenomenon which the ancients recognized, though (presumably) could not understand. That modern science repudiates the existence of this phenomenon is a consequence of scientism, one aspect of which is "advocacy science/scholarship". This is the fault of the philosophers of science, and not that of astrology or astrologers; we owe no apology.

In fact, what we are, or at least I am, looking for is that point at which we can see what astrology has been developed to address, and see it in its own essence and in its own place in the (our) universe. That, I would hope, would allow us to remove the layers of descriptive limitations that have accrued thereto, so that we can see what truly reflects the manifestation of the effect and what does not. Does this make sense in terms of the quote you offer?

 > It's been a while since I've had the opportunity to broach my philosophy
 > of astrology in a public forum, so I apologize if this seems abstruse; I'm
 > very rusty and my background is metalinguistics/semiotics (as if you can't
 > tell: grin)!

Yes, we can certainly tell!! < grin > My assumption is that the importance of these studies relates directly to the function of the human brain/mind, and thus to the manner in which we treat with the external objective universe. If my understanding has any validity, then indeed, I would suggest, your competency is relevant to the practice of astrology. I would also suggest, however, that we allow science to serve as it may, and use your skills to inspect the direct involvement of the human individual, and the human community, with the astrological effect.

Science itself, outside the hollow grounds of scientism, serves its purpose extremely well with no need for deconstruction; part of the philosophy of science demands that it continually deconstruct itself appropriately. If this process is not readily perceivable, then it requires that the seeker look a little closer, I think.

Well, folks, I'm really gratified by this response! Cynthia promises to be a very substantial contributor, I think. Again, Cynthia, your presence here is, at least by me, actively appreciated; you represent an expert view on a very important aspect of astrology as we now know it.

Who else?



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