|Exegesis Volume 4 Issue #39
Exegesis Digest Tue, 25 May 1999
Date: Fri, 21 May 1999 20:44:23 +1200
From: Janice & Dennis
In Ex3/64 Bill Tallman wrote: "We know what astrology is: it is a construct that allows us to order certain physical information with the intent of applying meaning and significance thereto. That is all it is and all it ever has been. What we get, hopefully, when we use this construct is the ability to discern something of the nature of the reality it reflects; specifically, the ability to discern the meaning and significance of that reality as it may apply to us. What we need to investigate is the phenomenon that this construct is intended to mirror, to model, to reflect. Until we can understand something of that phenomenon, we have little or no real hope of understanding the construct we have developed to make use of it."
I agree. Astrologers are mostly averse to consideration of the link between their belief system and our collective reality. As I have written here before, the reason for this is paradigmatic (in the Kuhnian sense). Since Exegesis has been created to provide realistic astrologers with a vehicle for transcending the inadequacies of co-practitioners, we have the opportunity to use it to extend agreement between us on how to reformulate the metaphysical basis of astrology suitably to provide for progress in our discipline in the coming century.
It has long been evident to me that building the bridge between astrology and physics requires innovative endeavour in the arena of metaphysics. Reality is bipolar in our minds: our personal reality is the reservoir of subjective knowledge, and our collective reality is the reservoir of (relatively) objective knowledge. Human society is built upon the framework of the latter, discounting the validity of the former. People have always agreed that social reality must be a vehicle for collective wisdom. Understanding nature has always been the requisite key to survival. Therefore any community's model of nature is a paradigm providing for collective security and the definition of reality that prevails in that collective. An holistic model of social reality thus recognises that any human collective generates its own group mind on a consensual basis. The universal mind of the human race contains a multitude of such components, all more or less based on the collective reality of life on this planet.
These models of nature function as paradigms, in both the Kuhnian and the dictionary senses of that word. Our problem is that a millennial tradition indoctrinates astrologers with an operating program that is too divorced from reality to be viable next century. The good news is that the ancient astrological world-view has substantially more common philosophical ground with the emerging paradigm of science than with the Newtonian paradigm that most of us were educated into.
So what is the phenomenon that Bill refers to above? Most obviously, it is synchronicity, encapsulated in that pithy piece of hermetic doctrine `as above, so below'. I have located this phenomenon in the mostly readily appropriate contextual framework, using Bohm's concept of the holomovement along with the number archetypes. See "The Astrologer and the Paradigm Shift" (1992).
"In general, statistical studies are able to show where direct investigation may be useful; in specific, statistical studies can serve to confirm or refute hypotheses, about the nature of the item of interest. For instance, Gauquelin, if his work can be trusted, showed that some aspects of traditional astrology are valid. It did not show why they were so. So far as I have been able to discover, no studies of a statistical nature have been done that were not so filled with assumptions and suppositions that they weren't inherently either invalid or meaningless even in concept, much less execution. I think this is to be expected. We are looking in the wrong direction. Instead of looking at astrology, we need to discover what astrology represents."
Again, I agree. I read most of the statistical attempts in the '80s, in Correlation, the AA journal,and in the Dean/Mather astrosceptic compilation. I assessed the Eysenck appraisals, even the rabid CSICOPS stuff. Dean wrote "there are lies, damned lies, and statistics". Both sides, just like politicians, were illogical, obscure and fraudulent in their tactics. I also formed the conclusion that the metaphysical basis of statistical theory was inherently flawed.
"I have elsewhere suggested a fundamental theorem of astrology that has been seen as radical and so somewhat less than well accepted. I state it here: ***There exists a mechanism by which certain terrestrial phenomena are made subject to influence by certain celestial configurations.*** What we don't understand is *anything* about that mechanism. We've no idea whether it is a matter of cause and effect, embedded microcosm, linked by common source, etc., or even if the mechanism exists such that we could presently understand it. I would suggest, however, that we have to assume that we can come to understand it, else our efforts are in vain. There would seem to be reason enough to make that assumption: we are involved in that mechanism; it does not lie totally outside of our universe, our environment, indeed, ourselves!"
I have discarded the view that influence comes from the stars. It seems too partially correct to be more than misleading. I now believe that the influence comes from the co-ordinating effect of the operation in nature of the primal number archetypes. How this happens is described at length in my book.
"From the standpoint of scientific investigation, we need to understand that it is this mechanism we seek if we are ever to be able to validate astrological practice. The fundamental purpose of science is to achieve deep understanding. On the most basic level, science searches for a principle common to the phenomena of interest. Ultimately, however, the end result sought is the mechanism itself. And that is what we must seek if we are to truly understand astrology, I suggest. Lest we fail to understand my use of the term "mechanism", let me say that I use this in its conceptual sense. Here, mechanism is the fundamental process itself, the "what", leaving out the "who", "where", "when", or "why". Investigation of that process (the mechanism) allows us to discern the "how". The rest, in this case, is of subsequent interest, I suggest. I want it explicitly understood that I am not advocating a mechanistic approach to astrology; I seek to know why astrology exists in the first place."
The mechanism is indeed metaphysical. That is to say, because it is a consequence of the holomovement, it involves the generation of forms in space/time by the archetypes of nature. Primal qualities emerge from the realm of potential. Scientists remain averse to quality, since retaining tenure of their careers and reputations requires them to conform. Scientific philosophy has begun to address form in nature in the last decade or so, but this is recreation for the more adventurous scientists. Nonetheless, metaphysical concepts have always been part of the foundation of physics. Force is one. Fields another. Such primal things are as real as one deems them to be. We agree on sensory evidence of their effects. Likewise the archetypes of nature.
"That we are a part of the astrological mechanism, in that the phenomenon functionally includes us, is a matter of apparency; I think we can accept that as a basic assumption. If this is true, then I would suggest that it is reasonable to expect that some people are directly aware of that function, as they are a part of it. It could well be that a close study of that awareness might yield some insights, and so I would recommend it as one avenue of investigation. We are not dealing with astrology here, we are dealing with a sensibility of the function of the mechanism itself; it is fortuitous that some of those who are sensible also possess the ability to use the astrological construct. If we think about sensibility of the phenomenon itself as a function susceptible to internal experience, then we can easily imagine a range of sensitivity, bounded on one end by a virtual lack of any sensitivity and on the other to some degree of complete and detailed consciousness. We can imagine that range having a Gaussian distribution, such that the bounds are probably not represented at all. This would leave most of us with some sensitivity, more or less. And so all of us then can facilitate the astrological phenomenon as a part of the function thereof."
I hear you describing sensitivity to the tides of time, Bill. Those who live in tune with the flow are more instinctively aware of the qualities of the moment. We can learn to resonate with the archetypes, as they manifest in passing time. I grew up attempting to apply my will in order to prevail over social circumstance. A long learning curve ensued, in which the ratio of success to failure turned out not as I had expected. The macho approach of the mechanistic paradigm required us to impose our operating program upon the schedule of natural time cycles and natural development processes. Wrong!
"In short, discussions of how to validate astrology have so far proved fruitless, and any attempt to understand astrology in its own terms will almost certainly also prove futile. Astrology, as we practice it, perhaps as it has always been practised, is not real; it is an illusion, a reflection. It is a virtual image. I submit we are better advised to see how to seek the reality it reflects: the real image."
Yes. Astrology is a belief system ripe for deconstruction, to use Cynthia's terminology. I understand this to mean taking apart, but to enable reconstruction, not destruction. When I learnt it, during the last Jupiter/Saturn conjunction, I consciously saw astrology as a junk-heap within which could be found gold nuggets that weren't apparent to sceptics. I took only the nuggets, leaving rulerships and the other antiquated artificial constructions where they belonged. I didn't realise at first that most astrologers saw the subject as an operating program with which they had to indoctrinate themselves. Consequently my 11th house planets didn't have an easy ride in the astro community, despite my early entry into global interaction. However, I remain no less convinced that my approach was correct. I suspect that such deconstruction, together with assimilation of relevant concepts from other fields, will be the sole viable path to a future which provides the rehabilitation of astrology in mainstream society.
Date: Fri, 21 May 1999 05:55:21 -0700 (PDT)
From: Dale Huckeby
Subject: Apparent vs actual positions
Hi Andre. Hi William. Glad you showed up, Dennis. And I'm glad to see the other new voices who've chimed, who are evidently less reluctant communicators than I. Right now I want to talk about something that seems to me to have been overlooked. The 76 or 80 minute time lag for Saturn, as an argument about apparent versus real positions, is a non-starter. The idea apparently is that if I see Saturn rising it's not really there, because what I'm seeing is where Saturn was about 76 minutes ago (using Andre's figures), when the light that I'm seeing _as_ Saturn left on its journey to Earth. But in the meantime the Earth has rotated about 20 degrees, so despite what I appear to see Saturn is actually 20 degrees above the horizon.
Or is it? Here's a way to picture what happens. Draw circle A near the top of a piece of paper, and let it be Saturn. Draw circle B directly below it and let it be Earth. Draw a line connecting the circles. Let it be the pathway of light leaving Saturn and arriving at the Earth 76 minutes later. Now imagine B is rotating and that a point on the right side, about 20 degrees from the top, will arrive at the top just as the light from Saturn gets there. To the observer just arrived at that position, Saturn will appear to be directly overhead, whereas it's actually . . . directly overhead. The image just arriving is in an almost direct line with the one just leaving Saturn. Almost because in the meantime Saturn has moved about six seconds of arc, and as far as I can see that's the _only_ difference between its apparent and actual positions. The change in position vis a vis the horizon due to the earth's rotation doesn't involve a timelag because the movement that causes it occurs at the Earth's surface, not millions of miles away. If that still seems counterintuitive, consider this. If Saturn and the Moon can be seen conjoined on the horizon, is Saturn really almost 20 degrees further from the Asc (or Dsc) than the Moon, or is there a flaw in the logic that implies that it should be?
Date: Wed, 19 May 1999 21:59:49 -0700
From: "William D. Tallman"
Subject: Re: Exegesis Digest V4 #38
Dennis Frank said:
> "Dennis, as I recall Bell's theorem does not allow *signalling* or [snip]
> to psychology and philosophy to support my astrology work, so my
> recollection and understanding of physics is now very rusty)."
> OK the short answer here is that superluminal signalling seems to be
> effectively proven at the subatomic level. Statements to this effect can be
> obtained from books written by physicists attempting to translate the
> findings into contemporary scientific philosophy. I have compiled some.
> However if I transport them into this forum they will be subjected to the
> garbling effect of the Metalog software, and others on the list will find
> the material inaccessible. Even in ungarbled form much of the raw material
> relevant to the aims of this list is difficult to comprehend and requires
> contemplation. I'd rather wait till the technical problem is solved.
This material should be regarded as valuable, and should not be withheld from the discussion because of technical problems. I suggest that you make arrangements to post this material on a website somewhere, Dennis, and then simply give references here. I dunno anyone who will not have access to a browser of some sort, especially since they are now available for free from both Microsoft and Netscape. The routine of clicking a URL and having it come up on the browser, and then minimalizing it until it is called for should be doable by almost everybody, I would think.
My understanding is that Metalog is not now and does not intend to be more than a server for ASCII text, and so a website is the immediate next step. For free sites, there is always http://www.geocities.com, which gives away 11mb sites just for the opportunity to place ad banners. If you have Outlook Express, then you may well also have FrontPage Express which will allow you to organize a site, to which you can upload Word docs in html format. Ftp clients are for free at http://www.zd.com, but on a related server; follow the clicks to the free download library and look under internet tools. This means you can do a reasonable website for your purposes for free.
> The alert reader will see immediately the profound extent of the operation
> of the number one archetype. Unity is universal, and all parts of all
> wholes are interconnected at the deepest level. Unlike Percy, I'm inclined
> to be cautious about the extent to which this coordination percolates up the
> physical and social holarchies. Seems to me increasing complexity of
> natural systems produces increasing degree of autonomy, and thus free-will.
I think we are at the site of the arena where physics and metaphysics do serious combat. The idea that whole number archetypes provide insight into the workings of the universe is a very old and useful tool, but like all tools, one must be careful to at least be aware of the limits of its designed intent.
It could be said that irrational numbers are at least as powerful, if not more so, in this regard; we do see their manifestation in nature. We also discover the realm of fractional dimensionality in nature, and so forth. I think I'd be inclined toward working with these types of numbers as expressions of archetypes. As I recall, many of the irrationals were long known to the ancients, and were thought to be archetypal in nature. How do whole number achetypes relate to these, or do they?
> Andre writes: "I have suggested before that the solutions which express the [snip]
> unrecognised gap in the physics account which astrology fills."
> Well, my suggestion is that the number archetypes structure space-time.
> This is a metaphysical premise that transcends physics. It provides a more
> comprehensive theory of how nature operates. One proceeds to build the
> theory upon the premise by noting the way that the number archetypes
> manifest in the infrastructure of nature. The astrological mechanism
> derives from synchronicity, so it is necessary to explain how the number
> archetypes produce synchronicity. One only need consider the first two,
> essentially, or perhaps three if the human mind and astrological experience
> are to be included. In 1990 I sent a thesis paper achieving this to
> Correlation, the journal which purports the provide for progress in the
> astrology/science interface, but a professor on the editorial board sat on
> it for two years. It was published in another journal, Considerations, in
Two things here: I have pointed out that synchronicity is a rather weak expression of linkage, as it denotes nothing more than coincidence in time. It says nothing of the mechanism by or through which this coincidence becomes a linkage. In the minds of some number of people, the term synchronicity is deemed as denoting some unknown linkage, but I suggest that this is an assumption on their part, and I also suggest that such an assumption without a great deal of supporting definition, etc., is probably not a good idea at this point in our discussions. It leaves an unexplained answer to an unobserved question.
The second is that, once again, there is material we need to see. More reasons for a website. Incidentally, I've heard of Considerations but know nothing of it; could you say more about it, and tell us what your experience has been with it?
> Andre: "But let me hasten to add that I agree with your general approach,
> just not your particular example. We would want the following criteria met:
> (1) exactly
> timed verifiable events of public record; (2) a precise and unambiguous
> definition of what sort of events we consider will correlate with Uranus MC;
> a definition that any trained person (not necessarily an astrologer) could
> use, and which other trained person's would duplicate to a high degree of
> certainty (about 80% agreement is considered pretty good in social science
> (3) a precise definition of the sought astrological event, which from what
> written sounds like Uranus-MC-same degree"..
> Pretty much what I suggested to Dale. In theory, a collection of accurately
> timed world-changing events could be made, but a scientific approach on the
> terms of the mechanistic paradigm presumes agreement as to which events can
> be put into that category. Thus we immediately are confronted with human
> nature, subjective perception, and personal differences of interpretation of
> the meaning of an event. If consensus can be demonstrated on the
> categorising of events, the old-fashioned approach can be implemented. The
> fact that nobody has tried, or is yet volunteering, is tacit acknowledgement
> that events are too unique to be thus readily categorised in practice.
> People seem to unconsciously sense that they are in the new paradigm,
> perhaps even those still wearing their old-science ideological blinkers.
Sometime back in the early seventies, there was a paperback pulp-fiction called "The Astrologer". It was not possible for me to resist buying this, obviously... < grin >
There were a couple of ideas in the execution of The Astrologer's technique that stuck with me, and one of them bears directly here. The plot was basically that this fellow had actually developed a highly robust ability to predict certain types of event, mostly having to do with the birth of people who would turn out to be historically relevant in some way, which he then sold at a very high price (naturally...) to all the governments. What he did was to discover evidence that certain configurations were meaningful and then plot when they would occur and where they would be most powerful in effect (latitude and longitude). And of course, the government operatives would accompany technicians in the fellow's employ to go out and see who was born then, if anyone.... all this ending in a religious drama reasonably satisfactory, I suppose.
Obviously, there are some questions here, but this is not far from doable with current astrological technology, I think. I propose that we develop, from theory, some number of configurations that should be effective, and set about pinpointing where and when they should be most powerful. This would not be unlike determining angular parans for a horoscope, where latitude is as meaningful as longitude, but would include more than a single relationship. The problem would be to decide what sort of configurations could be expected to be powerful; there are always configurations of some sort at any given time, so the developing of presumably meaningful configurations would probably have to be fairly selective.
At first glance it would seem impossible to track down the predicted results, but in our age of information propogation and exchange, I think it will be increasingly much less difficult than we might imagine. I've no clear idea how to go about doing all this, but there is a point here. If an algorithm is constructed to develop these predictive data along with a reasonable approximation of what is predicted, then if in fact there is found to exist evidence of what is predicted beyond normal expectations, then this would provide much more convincing evidence that the astrological construct has some sort of validity.
I think this is a more powerful approach than construct horoscopes for known past events and claiming a correspondence. This way we will be putting our efforts and whatever else where our mouths are (which say that astrology works) instead of attempting to astrologically define what has already come to pass. Does this make sense?
> "Rather than regard this as an instance of synchronicity, and explore no [snip]
> I have discussed, and which Dale has developed to a greater degree than I
> I cannot understand why someone would assume that deeming an event to be an
> instance of synchronicity requires no further exploration. And it seems
> obvious to me that the timing of actions has a basis in nature, and
> astrology has evolved in recognition of this. If something here escapes me,
> maybe elucidation is required.
My point is as above. What does synchronicity actually imply here? What is it that we assume that is operative between two events or actions that are contemporary? In my mind, this needs a *lot* more work. As far as the timing of events in nature being one of the planks in the foundation of the astrological construct, I would have to agree. One conceivable optional scenario is that the ancients had access to information about our universe not available to us today, and the notion that some of the ancients were psychically endowed such that they could perceive nonphysical linkages satisfies that option, however unfounded it might be. I suspect that there are those who regard this notion as being in some way axiomatic, and I think we would do well to avoid this.
> Andre (re quality control in the astro community): "I broadly agree, whilst
> being less sure than you *seem* to be about what is the universal mind."
> This subject indeed merits in-depth consideration. For now, suffice to say
> that in the late '60s, when I first heard Jim Morrison sing "I was doing
> time in the universal mind", I knew what he meant. The concept was already
> a long-standing element of culture.
Actually, I think that this direction of investigation is necessary. As I said in my last post (I think...), we need to recognize that the objective existence of the astrological effect needs pursuing through the use of science, but that the human experience of that effect is every bit as important, and will require its own methodology different from the objective effect itself. Might one say that some part of our experience of the "universal mind", whatever that is or might turn out to be, is the astrological effect? Or might it be that the "universal mind" is a part of a metaeffect that we recognize in part through the use of the astrological construct? And just what *is* the "universal mind", anyway?!
> "I think you wriggled out of that one a bit slyly Dennis ;-). "Most
> "popular usage", and what happens in Rome have little to do with what we're
> trying to achieve here, I humbly submit! I feel inclined to repeat Bill's
> point; but also, and perhaps this was the essence of your reply, there comes
> a time when definition must stop and work begin. So then, let us *define*
> what we mean by "noteworthy coincidence" in a *particular* context"..
> Well, I was not actually being evasive. The entire point of the
> significance of coincidence is that it is a profound common experience.
> Astrologers will get a better standing in the community if they do not
> migrate from the lunatic fringe to the ivory tower. Succinct definitions of
> terms must be grounded in common experience in order to be exportable, thus
> making it easy for people to access the belief system.
What we are, or should be, about here hasn't, nor will it have any time soon, much if any effect on the general astrological community. We are doing work here that others have not done for whatever reason. I don't think it's useful to worry about the reputation or understanding of the astrological community at this point. We need to make such conditions and protocols as will be useful for us; if we worry about others, we'll be getting in our own way, I think. When we have something to share, we can do so, and explain why we did what we did at that time; those who will have ears to hear, will hear, and those who don't, won't. There is nothing we can do about that. But if we fail to do anything here because we are too worried about how we might be perceived elsewhere, the likelihood of our accomplishing anything is diminished.
> "I am afraid the significance of "primal number" now only strikes me as a
> projection upon the universe of our limited ability to count.. Would you
> care to elaborate some time?"
> It requires use of the right brain to achieve cognition. Look in the mirror
> and contemplate why you have only one head, but two eyes. The division of
> the cosmos by the plane of the flat earth that we experience every day is
> also fundamental in structuring consciousness. Keep remembering that we
> were brainwashed by those who didn't want us to see such things. From the
> redundant Newtonian paradigm, we can at least learn that there are three
> space dimensions, so we can experience distance, and a fourth dimension
> gives us the experience of duration. Consider how natural time cycles have
> an archetypal generic structure provided by the number archetypes. Marvel
> that astrologers, despite being prone to delusions, actually figured this
> out in ancient times.
Newton was a Helmsman, so it is said, but I'm not clear that he had any reason to hide anything of his work. The whole (counting) number system does not, or so I understand it, account for the most substantial part of mathematics; mathematics being a rigorous expression of an hierarchy of archetypes, or is my conception in error here?
> In Ex4/36 Bill Tallman wrote: "My thought was that in Angular Houses, we [snip]
> ability to win. Is this convoluted, or does this make sense?"
> It is quite a reasonable line of logic indeed. However, the mystery to me
> lies in what distinguishes first-rate champions from 2nd-rate. They were
> all champions in his data pool, but the effect showed only for some. I
> would have thought a study of how the excelling planet was configured with
> the rest of the chart was the logical next step. Too much work for
> Gauqelin, understandably, but why did no astrologer access his database in
> order to do this? Did he jealously protect it? Or was the aversion to
> intellectual rigour sufficiently strong amongst astrologers to rule out any
> thought of learning how the astrological archetypes actually do work in the
> chart of champions?
My understanding was that he put it to the sports authorities of the time to make a determination of that distinction, and that there was developed a protocol that made the determination according to how many citations an individual had had in certain publications in some length of time. As I recall, Gauquelin deliberately refrained from making any determination here, lest there be substance to the accusation that he could have fudged his data.
Astrological configurations were not a part of that particular study, and I think it was determined that aspects in general were not found to be useful. It seems to me that Gauquelin did what he could to protect his reputation as a statistician, even to the extent of inviting any and every recognized expert in statistics to critique his work. Certainly, the idea of using the astrological construct to determine the courses of study would have been roundly criticized, I think.
His data base was opened at some point, and I think it remains so today. There have been some number of researchers at work there, whether off and on or on a continuum I don't know. Whether any of these were astrologers, I don't know; I suspect that at least some of them were, but I also must assume that they had some sort of accreditation in statistics in order to gain access to the data base.
We are used to thinking that astrologers in general are rather non-intellectual in nature, and I suppose this is true for the generations we have known. It's perhaps not so much so for preceeding generations: I wouldn't be caught behind a very large wall in a dark cellar denigrating the intelligence of Rudhyar!!! Nor would I of Jones, actually. CEO Carter and Alan Leo were probably not first rate intellects, but the general opinion is that they did solid work when few others were even interested. Some of the published astrological authorities today... well, I dunno. I was told once that to be a celebrated author(ity), it took about 70% just being out there, about 25% luck, and some 5% real ability. Well, I don't actually believe that, but... < grin >
> "If it does not depend on a initial reading of the celestial
> sphere (erecting a horoscope), whatever else it may be, it is *not*
> astrology. Astrology is the study of the stars, not the psyche, not the
> nature of the moment, not the state of the world, etc. It might, and has,
> effectively addressed all those things and more, but it is *not* a study of
> any of them."
> Let's widen that a little. The correspondence of social trends with the
> movement of the outer planets through the zodiac does not require
> horoscopes, but is part of mundane astrology. The stars represent the
> galactic field, of which the zodiac is the most concentrated cross-section,
> by virtue of modulations by the cycles of the solar system. But it is the
> relevance and relativity of these frames of reference to human experience
> that we study with reference to natural time cycles. The nature of the
> moment is the archetypal microcosm of the macrocosm I have just described.
> Astrologers use the lens (horoscope, moment,microcosm) to study the context
> (cosmos, environment, macrocosm).
Okay, your point is made about mundane astrology not requiring a horoscope, but it does require observation of the celestial sphere and some sort of record of that observation is made as appropriate.
Your statements here are an explanation of how astrology is used, but say nothing about what is primary here. I claim that the observation of the stars in primary, and all else follows. If this seems arbitrary, then consider my suggestion above that followed from that book. When we do astrology, we observe the stars and see what corresponds here on earth, or we observe the stars and predict what may correspond here on earth. When we see what occurs on earth and then observe the heavens to seek correspondence, we've got it backward *unless* we are doing research on the correspondences, and that is a proper science modality: see if the process is duplex, and if not, why not.
Otherwise, in actual practice, the observations of the heavens must come first, for they are the fixed frame of reference from which we proceed in the use of the astrological construct. If we do it the other way, what we are *really* doing is seeking justification of terrestrial phenomena in some celestial reflection... and I submit that such is not astrology. I know this sounds picky and perhaps overly rigorous, but at this point, I think we really have to nail down such things and know why we have done so, lest the whole exercise become so slippery we find ourselves at sea without a paddle or compass.
> "I've heard people describe the horoscope as a mandala upon which they [snip]
> astrology is, then we aren't practising astrology."
> I agree with all this. Rudhyar's mandala approach followed Jung precisely,
> facilitating divination that allows the diviner to draw solely upon
> intuition or psychic ability. The downside of this practice is projection
> and fantasy, thus my personal bias to anchor interpretation upon keywords
> derived from the archetypes. This is also following Rudhyar, refining a
> more precise interpretive language. Because I have also followed him in
> developing the theoretical base of astrology, I hew towards those archetypes
> discernible in nature and look askance at Rudhyar's attempts to follow Jung
> in the use of those `social' archetypes that are not identifiable in nature.
> Even if the latter have a fair degree of currency and universality, they are
I guess I have to simply float with this, because we don't have enough of an idea of what is going on here to make any sort of definitive observations, or so I think. I, too, have written a description for the bases of such a type of practice, and in sessions... well, let me briefly say that sessions were always a dialogue during which a useful language was developed, and then I would put forth observations, often from the keyword source, translated into that language. And that worked incredibly well, as it made the client's observational set very transparent to the process. It was the client's specified language (often developed from the client's profession, etc.), and so any statements made therein were readily and immediately accessable to the client.
What is important here is that there did exist a structure that was found useful to both the client and the astrologer, regardless of its source or orientation in the scheme of things. Where they derived was not really important in practice; what was important was what was most relevant to the client.
> Bill wrote "the essential assumption of astrology as a construct
> is the that the effect it addresses has objective existence. Whatever else
> we do here, at least in this thread, until convincingly demonstrated
> otherwise, I suggest we retain this assumption."
> Well, having produced a book that derives a comprehensive contemporary
> theory of astrology from the operation of the natural world, I am the last
> person to assume that astrology is merely a contagious fantasy. The fact
> that the ancients likewise derived it from empirical observation of their
> changing environment suggests that both subjective and objective components
> must be acknowledged. It would be ludicrous to deny or repress either.
> However it must be kept in mind that synchronicity (simultaneity)
> (coincidence) has always been the experiential basis for the belief system.
I hate to harp on this, but just what does "synchronicity" mean? I think it means a commitment to an unfounded assumption. That two items of interest are contemporary is a statement of fact, not necessarily of significance, except and unless that significance has already been defined, described and agreed upon, etc., etc. I suspect we are engaged in circular reasoning here.
> "The initial thrust of the thread was an investigation of astrology as an
> objective effect, and that will
> continue to have merit. The problem with this approach is that there doesn't
> appear to be a lot of useful or meaningful data available, or if there is we
> don't see how to use it."
> Essentially a wild goose chase, in my opinion, unless the relativity of
> meaning is understood by participants. This requires a paradigm shift, but
> in the current transition phase participants will confuse each other until
> all have made the shift.
Would you elaborate on this? May I again suggest a website?
> "The other approach appears to have much more data available; in fact, it
> seems to me that the data available from the subjective approach (our
> experience of the astrological effect), in the absence of any convincing
> data from the other (scientific) approach provides support for the
> conclusion that there *is* no objective existence of the astrological
> Meaning objectifies to a relative extent in human society. This is normally
> called the politics of consensus. We collaborate in the construction of
> social reality. Paradigms constellate, then set the brain in concrete, and
> we do as we believe we must. Those of us that jellify the concrete and
> reprogram have the option to use our right brain more consciously. We can
> cognite our personal reality in the wider context of our collective social
> reality. Applying this approach to list purposes, we can collaborate on
> identifying the more consensual elements of astrological philosophy, theory,
> and practice. I took this approach in 1987, leading a group of astrologers
> in what transpired as a 4-year group process, to identify the fundamental
> principles and hypotheses of astrology. The process of formal consensus was
> quite a discipline, along the lines of the wrangling described by James
> Michener in "The Source", but it eventually did prove effective and
> productive. The final document appears as a chapter in my book. But such
> relatively objective descriptions of collective reality may be just as
> delusional as personal reality unless they are based on nature. The best
> way to get your theory soundly anchored in nature is to use observation of
> natural processes as the empirical basis for conceptual construction. This
> is where astrologers have always gone wrong. They use tradition instead.
Is what you are saying that this list will not be an effective venue for the work we are envisioning? If so, do you, from your experience, have an alternative in mind?
Email has been a tradition technology for a working group connection, where papers are passed around and critiqued and modified, etc. (Not to sound like a broken record here...) the later version of this was Bernes-Lee's hypertext format, now the World Wide Web format. Does this mean that we should all put up websites? Or should be use a file sharing client that allows direct transmission from one party to another: if so, then ICQ might be a good choice, as it allows real-time messaging, two window chat, and file transmission of any format.
> To close, I have no objection to the approach suggested by Bill, but suspect
> that it requires a degree of rigour that may prove too difficult.
> Establishment science itself is on the rocks, degenerating into technology
> and abandoning the search for wisdom. I get the feeling that lateral
> thinking is going to be more effective. The right brain seems to integrate
> understanding from elements that the left brain can't connect. If
> discussion dances all around a multi-disciplinary arena, we might get a
> better result for the group, even if the process does not seem logical at
> any particular stage. Group process seems to occur most readily in
> consciousness-raising mode. Transcending this mode in order to produce
> substantial outputs requires transformation into a team. Maybe we could
> look forward to this some way down the road. Consensual subscription to a
> group purpose is the essential first step, which fortunately we have already
> taken by electing to participate on the terms Francis has outlined for the
> list. Currently the focus is on strategy.
I disagree that (establishment) science is on the rocks. As I am able to determine, it is now as robust as it has ever been, and it has matured marvelously since the close of the last century when scientists thought they could explain everything through experimental science. There have been several paradigm shifts, all without a clutch, and fewer than one might imagine have produced large grinding sounds. Science for profit very quickly discovers what academic science may be allowed to take longer to do so. The difference is in the value of what works and what does not.
Let us not confuse science and philosophy here. There are two entirely different, though related, endeavors. Science attempts to determine fact, and philosophy attempts to determine significance. To the extent that there is any confusion about this, inevitably chaos arises.
With the structure of the disciplines of science, it has long since been discovered that we now have the tools to transcend the limits of these disciplines, and so they should now work together rather than fight turf wars. Interdisciplinary study, while still not the rule, is the usual exception thereto, where no study at all was the usual exception previously.
As far as working groups are concerned, this is now the industry standard (at least in Silicon Valley, from whence I am thankfully now retired), and the technical options I put forth above are all a part of the evolution of that technology.
Now, about science and philosophy: We know that the ante to the big game in science is a Ph. D. and some significant postdoc work, etc. Why is that degree called a Ph.D? Literally, it means a Doctorate of Philosophy (in Physics.. whatever), or as translated "one who can teach the wisdom inherent in the application and practice of...." What is the Philosophy of Science? Does anyone on this list know? I think it would be a very good thing for this to be brought out in discussion, because if it isn't we are likely to misunderstand the extent of the usefulness of one of the most powerful tools available to us. I have openly advocated a scientific approach to the objective nature of the astrological phenomenon, and others here have more or less (more or less tacitly) agreed with me. Some have not, although their reasons, to me, lack coherence. I suggest we do a short thread on what science is about from a philosophical standpoint, and see if we can come to some agreement about how it may be useful to us.
> I certainly appreciate the opportunity to discuss these issues here, despite
> current technical problems.
I certainly appreciate your presence here, Dennis. Next step: a website?
Date: Wed, 19 May 1999 20:51:45 +1200
From: Janice & Dennis
In Ex4/37 Cynthia wrote: "in the absence of a cohering base theory, I explain to myself what I do in mythic/symbolic terms. I resort to this because there is no language for or of astrology, except those terms that have percolated through modern culture, many of which are pillaged from psychology, itself now imbued with collective symbolist theory. So, Astrology ends up displaced, at the end of the (pure) epistemological food chain, relying for self-explication on the terminology of other (acceptable) disciplines, like a mute for whom others must speak."
Well, I don't experience this problem. Two decades ago I assessed the language of astrology as presented by Dane Rudhyar, cross-checked it against usage by the few other astrological writers who seemed to grasp the substance of the subject OK, and did the usual sorting of the wheat from the chaff. I proceeded to apply only that which rang true, thus I never used rulerships. It was obvious to me that some keywords conveyed the essence of the archetype and others did not. This is right-brain territory of course, where the extent of correspondence between selected option for consideration and contextual prior knowledge dictates selection of what works and what does not. Such subjective selection of the components of the language of astrology is unscientific, but who cares? It becomes relatively objective if those who use the language to communicate choose to use the same keywords. When this happens, it is perverse to not acknowledge that participants in the communication process are collectively accessing natural archetypes. Doesn't matter if particular keywords seem to have been subjected to capture by particular in-crowds, academic or otherwise. What matters is commonly-understood meanings of these keywords, which is why we have dictionaries.
"Without its proper language and language proper to it, Astrology remains estranged, marginalized, really on the outskirts, the syphlitic sibling that could never be king."
I agree with the lunatic-fringe categorisation being identified as the key status-motivating reason for us to collaborate. But I see the lack of paradigmatic consistency with mainstream society as being the reason astrology remains marginalised. If the philosophy and theory of the subject are modernised in a form consistent with the emerging scientific paradigm, use of the language of astrology in interpretation of horoscopes and time periods will seem acceptable even if the language is not further modernised. Perhaps a proviso is advisable; it will seem more acceptable if the language dove-tails with that used by other relevant social sciences to describe the psyche and social structures and dynamics.
"The original language of Astrology must have been divination. But no, the original language of Astrology was Astronomy. No, wrong again: the original language was ontological storytelling, or an incipient religiosity that created a collective voice. No, that's not quite it, either."
It did emerge from religion, cosmology, and divination, thus it naturally contains terms used in those fields of speculation, as well as those more specifically nowadays located in astronomy and myth. The extent to which the language of the psyche can be documented in classical times is a prime target for a doctoral thesis, if someone hasn't already dealt with it. Julian Jaynes' monumental and revolutionary work in this area comes to mind ("The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind", 1976).
Astrology is often called a language of life. Astrologers can be forgiven for collectively casting their net this widely because the archetypes of nature, from which the language derives, do in fact manifest in all aspects of life. Any terminological commonality with other disciplines may seem fortuitous, but it is to be expected. Different lenses pointed at the same object can reasonably be expected to produce similar images.
"So when you "certainly (must) point out that the class of moments of time accessible for study via the lens of the horoscope (are) those that unfold on the surface of this planet...(a fact which) immediately separates any possible astrological science from physics at the most fundamental level...." , it is equally certain that you are bound by that ubiquitous oculocentrism that dictates--what?--that if Guido Bonatus didn't have a telescope as powerful as ours today, his Astrology was hopelessly invalid? Or that every time-bound moment is significant only because accessible--accessible for what, and by what means, and in what order of significance, and on which part of the planet? Perhaps I've misunderstood your point here, not being an adept in physics and its presuppositions."
Perhaps you have, and I don't get what you meant by "ubiquitous oculocentrism", and feel your certainty that I am bound by any such outlandish thing is unwarranted! Nothing to do with optics, or even that which can be seen. I am referring to a common description of astrology as the study of time, or the qualities of passing time. Since time is a dimension in the physical universe, according to the old scientific paradigm, the study of time is part of the domain of physics. I was just being the usual Virgoan nitpicker in pointing out that astrologers use the horoscope to study events, which occur in moments of time at locations on the earth's surface. At school we are taught that events are described by their co-ordinates. In Einsteinian space/time, these take the form (x,y,z, t) where the first 3 are orthogonal space vectors (mutually perpendicular directions) that say where, and t is when. In my first piece of astrological theory (1984) I described the class of events accessible for study via the lens of astrology as (x,y,z,t,m) where m is meaning. Strictly speaking I should have used q for quality, which is archetypal and thus not arbitrary. At the time I used meaning in the same sense as dictionary meanings (relatively objective, consensual) but I had not yet grasped that people normally refer to meaning as either subjective or objective. Thus my usage was inherently flawed, sowing the seeds of confusion. But to return to the point, physics is a lens we can use to study time in a universal context: the class of moments it describes is unbounded (except I guess by the big bang origin). Whereas astrology is defined by frames of reference relative to life on earth, and the class of moments available for study via this lens is only those that unfold on the surface of our planet.
"Perhaps my astrologer is the intersecting point of a third thing, neither astrology nor non-astrology. I promised myself I wouldn't delve into subject-object relations, but...I lied. And, I fear I must fall back on metalinguistics to make this point. In metalinguistics, there is always and ever a praxis that exists between two opposites (binaries) yet is beyond, about and around them. There is nothing at all mystical about it, by the way, and it has nothing to do with psychology or the psychobabble that attends much of modern astrology. Temporally and spatially dislocated, this marginalized presence both precedes and follows the binaries it commands and intersects."
Subject/object relations are fundamental to our field of endeavour so you need not regret having to address them. Had to look up praxis. Interesting, since it appeared (from your usage above) to be synonymous with `relation', or `context'. But Chambers gives it a meaning of example or model, practically identical to the original meaning of `paradigm'. Which leaves me confused. Sounds like you are referring, come the end of your paragraph, to unity. Cosmos. Eternity. Bohm's realm of potential, now an eminently respectable structural component of the emerging paradigm, and correctly foreshadowed by that smart cookie Dane Rudhyar decades ago.
To conclude, ("hope my tone has been taken as meant, which is to say, fun and engaging, and not at all offensive") nothing wrong with your tone, Cynthia. You seemed taken aback by my off-hand remark about "fundamentalist astrologers", but this is just a faded remnant of the critical appraisals of the behaviour of astrologers that I was prone to issue a decade ago! I have had to accept that there is more to life than Virgo. Tolerance has come with the ageing, and Libra rising helps me see things from the perspective of others. However, inasmuch as the purpose of this list arises from common misapprehensions created by the collective poor performance of astrologers over the centuries, correcting these does at least require us to note behaviour that produces the negative perceptions of astrology in the public mind. I do appreciate that we ought to be as brief as possible in any such focus.
End of Exegesis Digest Volume 4 Issue 39
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