Exegesis Volume 4 Issue #49

From: "William D. Tallman"
Subject: Re: Exegesis Digest V4 #47

From: Cynthia
Subject: Re: Exegesis Digest V4 #47

From: Janice & Dennis
Subject: holism

From: Candy Hillenbrand
Subject: Re: Whale Blubber

From: Janice & Dennis
Subject: Virgo, the corrective

Exegesis Digest Tue, 15 Jun 1999

Date: Thu, 10 Jun 1999 23:57:07 -0700
From: "William D. Tallman"
To: Exegesis
Subject: Re: Exegesis Digest V4 #47

Dennis said:

 > >In the newsgroup alt.astrology.moderated a couple of months ago the
 > >suggestion was made that `as above, so below' was new-age dogma, whereas I [snip nice variety of quotes}
 > >The point of these quotes was to document the extent of consensus. If
 > >astrologers in different cultures and different periods of history subscribe
 > >to the same metaphysical premise, we ought to be able to assume that the
 > >premise encapsulates a profound intuition of cosmic wisdom.
 > >
 > >So I posted the above compilation and conclusion to a.a.m to correct the
 > >misapprehension. It is a measure of the calibre of the participants of that
 > >newsgroup that they proved incapable of producing even a single response.
 > >So the following material would have been completely lost on them and I
 > >couldn't be bothered following through...

This is a sad but very obvious example of the current state of the condition of astrology. Not only are some number of astrologers out there apparently illiterate (oh, they can read but figure reading is only good for knowing what they need to know to stay in the "in" group), but they don't care that they are so. Essentially , no one cared, I think.

 > >The guts of the above compilation consists of the juxtaposition of typical
 > >manifestations of the two primary number archetypes, 1 & 2. This is
 > >evidenced by keywords in the quotes: (holism) one, universe, whole, cosmic
 > >order; (dualism) above/below, heaven/earth, correlated, correspondence,
 > >mirror, reflects, macrocosm/microcosm. The Tao (1) subdivides into yin/yang
 > >(2). The holomovement (1) produces synchronicity (2).

I think I just recognized what has bothered me about your assertion that it is "number" that contain the necessary insight. I view these numbers as counting symbols, and I do so in the context of a class of numbers, probably appropriate to Mathematics. I knew what you were trying to get at, Dennis, being adequately literate in these matters, but I have mounted somewhat the same sort of objection every other time I run across numbers used as deep symbology.

Perhaps there is some other attribute described by a number that is more appropriate to the work you (we? all of us?) are doing. I recall the idea of the Monad, the Duad, the Triad, etc., that seems somehow more descriptive. Unity, duality, triplicity.... I dunno, Dennis. I know that counting numbers seem like a reasonable shorthand, but... well, it's probably my own problem, I guess. I'll assume that's so unless I ruminate enough to regurtitate a (metaparadigm? no no no... please.... < grin > ) some sort of useful insight.

 > >There is an ancient symbol that depicts this. It is a circle with a dot at
 > >its centre. Astrologers use it to represent the sun, scientists use it to
 > >represent the hydrogen atom. In China, it was the original symbol for
 > >heaven, except the dot was large in relation, presumably because it
 > >represented earth. However the later, but still traditional, common Chinese
 > >coins had a square hole instead, that did indeed represent the earth's four
 > >corners whilst the outer rim is known to represent heaven. These are still
 > >favourite devices for consulting the oracle, I Ching. In developing a more
 > >contemporary theory of holism, to modernise astrology, I used the original
 > >version as a generic symbol of all holistic relationships. The dot is the
 > >part, the circle is the whole. Exercise: use your right brain to spot the
 > >two primary number archetypes in that symbol. Hint: there are two singular
 > >items, and a binary relation connecting them. Synchronicity emerges from
 > >the holomovement in that binary relation.

How about awareness focalized into consciousness, manifest as purpose... basic astrological abstract of the Sun. Another is: the area is the manifestation and the dot is the essence. This is the principle of the YinYang, where each area contains a dot in its center of the opposite nature. Each pure state contains within it the *potential* of the other. There are some number of different directions that these number principles take, and they aren't all cognate.

There is a great deal of descriptive literature out there, or used to be, elucidating these abstractions and showing different ways that they are represented in manifestation. Maybe it would be good for the audience of this list to take a look at some of these, as may be possible.

 > >Now Kepler calls the astrological mechanism "some occult principle" (above)
 > >that connects happenings in the heavens to the earth and the faculties of
 > >natural things, without explicitly mentioning the simultaneity of the
 > >relation in this particular quote. I have explained it in metaphysical
 > >terms, using the two most influential number archetypes. Anyone finding it
 > >difficult to cognite this explanation may find it helps to consider the
 > >following analogy: a pebble drops into a still pond, circles expand as
 > >waves from the point of impact. Any two wee boats equidistant from that
 > >point will bob simultaneously when the same wave reaches them. Synchronous
 > >effects, unitary origin...

I guess I'm not sure that Kepler really intended simultaneity as a factor. One of the better known experiences in astrology is that of the delayed effect, and I would suggest that Kepler was well aware of this.

Your example is appropriate, but synchronicity is descriptive; embedment is definitive. I think we can use the latter more effectively than the former. Another example of my problem with the idea of synchronicity: absent any deep definitive ability, it remains only descriptive. For those out there who wonder what the difference is (jeez, am I really *that* dense? well, yeah, hardwood is.... < grin > < knocks on skull > ): definitive says something of the essence or nature of a thing, something that can be understood as an attribute or part and so has value in the effort to understand the thing in its own terms. Descriptive means that something is an observable reality, but does not (necessarily) convey any understanding in itself, and so doesn't contain anything of assumable value in its statement. Does this make sense?

[snip bio of Dr. John Dee]
 > >Dee signed his letters to the Queen with the code number 007, which writer
 > >Ian Fleming subsequently recycled for his famous secret agent James Bond.
 > >Later in life his reputation suffered from his deepening involvement with
 > >magic, but a bright moment came when he was living abroad and Elizabeth I
 > >urgently requested his advice by letter when informed that the Armada was
 > >sailing. After examining the astrological situation, Dee advised her to
 > >wait until it was inside the English Channel before attacking. The English
 > >captains followed this advice, so presumably the Queen had so commanded
 > >them, and the Armada was destroyed.

This guy was very interesting. He ran across a psychic by the name of Edward Kelly, as I recall, and to make a long story short, they set about scrying (psychic television) another reality and came up with a symbol set that presumably represented a language and all the sorts of things that attend languages... Dee called it the Enochian system and I *think* the idea was that it contained the wisdom that was made available to Enoch when he took that walk in the (well, actually several levels of) heavens (see KJV: Genesis 5:22-24) and two different versions of the Book of Enoch available at your friendly local psychic bookshop). Kelly was crazy of course and finally ran off.....

Candy said:

 > >Hello everyone,

Well!!!! It's about time!!!! I mean, really!!!! One of the more intelligent and passionate advocates of a compassionate use of astrology around, who has absolutely nooooo trouble using a keyboard, and she's been
 > >>>lurking!! < Jeez..... LOLOL!!!

Welcome, Candy. You are, as are B, A, D, and R, veterans of other astrology lists and their intense discussions, flamewars, and such. I say this in introduction to list members who do not know her. Candy, you probably don't know Dennis and Cynthia, unless they've been in other astrological venues you know and I don't. It's pretty clear that they are strong contributors, though. I'm looking forward to your contributions, which wind up often making me be a whole lot less turgid and clearer in what I'm saying.

 > >I joined Exegesis a couple of weeks ago and have found the discussions here
 > >fascinating, if not totally overwhelming.
 > >
 > >I've read so much that I would like to reply to, question, clarify, add to,
 > >in so many of your posts - Bill, Andre, Cynthia, Dale, Rog, Dennis - but
 > >have floundered when it came to starting. The depth and breadth of the
 > >material which you have all touched on is so profound, and quite startling
 > >in its implications.
 > >
 > >I realise I have come in on the middle of your discussion and have no
 > >doubt missed much. I also confess to having skimmed some of the material.
 > >So apologies if I go over old stuff and/or display my ignorance. There is
 > >also much in some of your terminology and language that I have struggled to
 > >understand, so I feel a bit like a child here, still learning to read and
 > >write, groping to find my feet. Anyway, I would like to join in with some
 > >of my own general observations and in particular to reply to Bill's latest
 > >post.

Now that you've dispensed with the obligatory apologies..... < large grin!! >

 > >It seems that you have all been discussing "what is astrology?" and "what
 > >is it that we do?" I understand Bill, that you have put forward the theory
 > >that there is an "astrological mechanism" and that the *key* to this in
 > >man/woman may lie in the limbic system of the brain? Is that right?

Well, somewhat. I have postulated that there is an astrological "mechanism", but I use the term in a fairly philosophical sense. There is some complex of functions that produce an effect we observe as a correlation between the configurations in the heavens in events/circumstances on earth. This is probably a reasonable statement of our basic assumption about the nature of astrology. I use the word "mechanism" to label that complex of functions.

My assertion is that we are well disposed as members of the astrological profession, whether practicing or not, to do what we can to understand that "mechanism". I do so while recognizing that this is likely to be a long and difficult process and one we are not likely to accomplish any time very soon. What I claim as vitally important is that the astrological profession stand up and clearly state that this does indeed need doing!!!

I have speculated that we (h. sap.), as part of the terrestrial realm are equally affected by that effect, and that there may in fact be some point in the limbic system that is sensitive to that effect, whatever it is. I have elsewhere expanded on how we are affected by that sensitivity. I have supposed that the initial matter is whether an individual is sensible of the effect in the first place, and if so, what level of sensitivity is involved. I'm in the process of rethinking some parts of that, however. But the notion that the limbic system may contain the organ that senses the effect seems reasonable.

 > >At this point, I think I should come out of the closet and confess right
 > >away to being a hardline new-paradigm seeker. Oh dear, I can see you puking
 > >now Bill. hehe. What do I mean by this? I don't really know. I've been

Well, I've had to desensitize myself... it was the use of the word (urkkk) *meta*paradigm that got me going < grin >

 > >studying and practising astrology for 17 years, grounded in Dane Rudhyar,
 > >and increasingly over the years, I have become more and more uncomfortable
 > >with what it is I see that we do and say about what we do. This discomfort
 > >has increased exponentially since joining cyber astro discussion groups,
 > >and encountering a sense of the general fatalistic astrological mindset or
 > >world view, which I believe is held by the vocal minority and presumably by
 > >extension, the silent majority. What I see truly *alarms* me, so much so
 > >that I frequently consider abandoning astrology altogether.

By fatalistic mindset, I think I discern that you are referring to the idea of astrology as a tool to read "fate", and not that they are resigned to remaining as non-entities on the fringe of whatever.

 > >It is not just what I see of astrologers that alarms me; it is also the
 > >public perception of non-astrologers towards our so-called Divine
 > >science/art. And it is not that the latter perception is inaccurate. The
 > >public are not a mass of stupid flatland morons, contrary to the claims of
 > >some vociferous astrologers. They perceive the flaws in our persona, they
 > >sense the fearful fated deterministic paradigm which lies behind all we do.
 > >No wonder we are marginalised, ridiculed and associated with the lunatic
 > >witchcraft fringe.
 > >
 > >I believe that it is the *determinism* and hence *fatalism* inherent in the
 > >prevailing astrological world view that is at the root of the 'problem'. I
 > >guess Bill, that this is where I have problems with the idea that there may
 > >be an astrological *mechanism*, presumably discoverable by scientific
 > >means, which somehow registers in the human brain. I must admit, however,
 > >that it was precisely this belief which first led me to study astrology. My
 > >youthful scepticism and agnosticism was first challenged by experiences in
 > >my early 20s of "feeling influenced" by the Moon. The primal female
 > >experience huh? < g >
 > >
 > >I am really pleased that you have brought up the subject of fate and
 > >freewill in your post. As soon as I saw it, I jumped with glee, for I too
 > >believe that this issue lies at the root of the "problem of astrology".
 > >Your post helped me to clarify that it has been my own desire to come up
 > >with an astrological approach which embraces freedom, choice, will, and so
 > >forth, which has fuelled my quest for a non-deterministic paradigm or model
 > >of astrology.

I'm leaving this whole quotation in because I'm probably going to refer to parts of it out of order.

As you noted, I've expressed some views on the reality of the fate vs freewill debate. My first observation is that there is *so* much emotional baggage containing unfounded assumptions about this subject that unless that baggage is unpacked and spread out... and inventoried and sanitized and neatly folded and put away, it is almost certainly impossible to even begin to inspect the issue. So I've made some statements about the nature of free will, it being the human option, and they are probably a bit difficult to swallow without some nice lubricating fluid... I like orange juice!

That the issue of fate vs free will has been inherent in the problems of astrology is a matter of legend. Although sometimes I wonder if it's not the matter of free will that is at issue, it's the matter of who or what is dictating the fate. For those who are religious, the idea seems to be that we are indeed fated, but that there is a divine hand guiding our fate and we influence that guidance by accepting one or another dogma. So, religion really *is* an issue in the matter of astrology. The only way the church (any church) can swallow astrology is if it arrogates the practice to itself and then pretends that only the priestcraft can practice astrology because it is the fate *as guided by the deity of choice* that is being discerned. This is almost certainly what the Catholic (Roman) Church did to astrology whenever it could get away with it. (Thought occurs that writer actually doesn't recall what the Catholic (Byzantine) Church did with it.) Oh well....

It's no wonder that the astrological community lives in fear of being thought deterministic, even when their experience shows time after time that most individuals follow the path of least resistance which usually is rather nicely described in the horoscope. A few actually stand up on their hind legs and shout about it. The rest cower and dither and dissemble, etc.

Now, what Candy is on about is not the technology, or the theoretical base, or the capabilities of astrology, etc., it's the insistence to the client that they are forever doomed by fate (which they can divine, of course). The fact is, I think, that for most people, the thought of the reality of fate *without beneficent divine guidance* (see above) is just too much to bear. Why is this so? The answer is lucidly clear.

Fate has to do with survival. Above all else, the drive of life is to survive. It has been observed, of course, that the drive is genetically based and can be seen in many cases as the drive of a community of genetic material (constituting an individual) to survive *even if that means sacrificing the individual in order to protection the reproduction of the genes*. Whatever the case, the individual is geared towards physical survival until reproduction is assured. In the case of the upper vertibrates (mammals?) it is mostly observed that reproduction is usually problematic, and so the drive to survive remains throughout the life of the individual. Well, that includes h. sap.

When someone comes up and says they can predict one's death, the natural reaction is to nullify that prediction, if possible. Astrologers have claimed to be able to do that. I've actually done it without informing the client (he died before the consultation)...*that* shook me up, I can tell you!!! As far as I'm concerned, the ability probably does exist although how dependable it might be, I'm in no position to guess. So there seems to be some basis for the claim. The question is, for what conceivable reason would one make that claim?

One can come up with a few answers, and in doing so, we can turn to another very well known although discretely spoken of phenomenon, and that is foresight (clairvoyance). I would be willing to bet that the majority of the people on this list either have had someone in their family who has done this, or they know someone who did. I even suspect there are list members that might actually admit that they themselves are clairvoyant. The relevance here is the ethics of the clairvoyant.

When one forsees something that is a clear and present danger and can communicate it meaningfully, does one do so? There have been a variety of experiences, and I guess it seems that most who have actually seen that sort of thing tried to communicate. It also seems that this generally only happens the first or first few times. As I understand it, the individual of interest here winds up actually putting themselves in harms way in their attempt to avert the fortold event. A few of these sorts of results, and one can see that the clairvoyant would think twice about telling what is seen. What is the purpose? What's the use if they are going to die anyway? Or something like that.

Clearly, however, the intent is to be of service to the person in the vision. The seer (clairvoyant in older terms) has only the intent to be of service, to warn someone out of harms way, yet the results are not uniformly successful and not because the vision was invalid: it just worked out a different way to the same result! What does one do about this? This is still a matter of question and it would seem that every seer has to answer it alone.

Now, let's put that on the astrologer's dilemma. Let's say that the astrologer is able to see that the client is going to enter a difficult time when they will be vulnerable to a certain type of accident in a particular part of their lives (astrological configuration bearing on a given House). Let's say that the astrologer, in talking with the client, discovers that this is indeed a matter of some concern, although not in this way. Does the astrologer warn the client that the potential for this accident exists?

What is likely to happen if the astrologer does this? Well, that's pretty easy to imagine. And it is this that concerns Candy so passionately. How does that information affect the client. We know from our own experience that this sort of information, if it is thought to have any relevance or value, is likely to cause all sorts of anxiety and actually risk triggering the event itself, where, for instance, it can be determined by witnesses that the client was awkward or stiff or fumbly when he/she should not have been and were the cause of his/her own fate. This is the nature of the self-fulfilling prophecy, although the example is a fairly unsubtle one.

Candy is a healer, and she is adamant that: "Above all, do *no* harm!" I cannot assert strongly enough that I am in total agreement. What is at issue here is not the theory or philosophy of astrology, it is the *practice* of astrology. The essential nature of the problem as these two aspects of astrology are connected is this:

There are too many practicing astrologers who make predictions *just because they can!!!*

They find out they can dependably predict all sorts of things about most people because most people take the path of least resistance, and then in order to aggrandize their own faltering ego (making a catagorical statement, here...), they go out and show the world how powerful they are by predicting *especially negative things* to clients whenever they can.

This is, and I make no apology for using the word: *Bullshit!!!!!*

If I could be an avenging angel for a space of time, there are a few people who would feel my wrath, and those people are amongst them. Yeah, I feel strongly about this, and I suspect there are a number of people on this list that do also. I also suspect there are some (hopefully few) people on this list that engage in predicting negative stuff under the notion that they are being of service, and I would say to them that they are engaging in something that is ethically extremely unsound. I would tell them that if they are going to do that, they are bound by the ethics of this profession (now watch *me* making pronouncements.... argghhh) to follow up on their clients and offer what assistance they require *even to the extent of calling in other expertise* if that is called for. I would tell them that they are taking on a *huge* amount of responsibility (kharma?), and they are well advised to make very sure they know why they are doing so. Oh lord, this is gonna be a long post... sorry.

 > >As an aside, I am interested in both Andre's and Dale's suggestion that
 > >they are developing an idea which could embrace *both* a mechanism and
 > >*non-determinism*. Or have I got that wrong?

That would be the most desirable result, although it's not clear that this is what they are trying to do.

 > >Bill, I've seen you say this in a number of places and each time have
 > >wanted to jump in. I have to say that it is my understanding that Rudhyar's
 > >use of the term "mandala" in relation to the chart, was not to use it so
 > >much in a 'psychic' sense at all, but rather to see the chart as *akin* to
 > >a mandala, in that it symbolises our wholeness, just as a mandala does. In
 > >Jungian terms, as I understand it and I am no expert, the mandala is a
 > >symbol of the 'individuated' [read 'integrated', in theosophical
 > >terminology] self, just as the birthchart is a symbol of the [whole or
 > >actualized] self.


 > >I too use this technique of seeing the chart as one's own personal mandala.
 > >I certainly do not use 'psychic' techniques with a chart. I am not psychic,
 > >and have no desire to be. Do you see what I mean? It's more a *way* of
 > >viewing the chart, an *attitude*, a *perspective*, than something one
 > >*does*. And from that attitude, one sees the chart as symbolic of the best
 > >or most fulfilled or most integrated that one can become. It shifts the
 > >focus from negative problems to positive potentials. Which is not to say
 > >that the former should be ignored either.

It seems to me quite clear that we are not in a position to differentiate between what is or is not a psychic function/process.

The matter of holism vs reductionism is pretty much an issue outside of the realm of technical expertise, I think. The general public gets to thinking that this or that way of doing things is better than another because its done in this or that (high profile... highly regarded.... looked up to as a role model) manner, and then they jump on it as the thing to do, without ever understanding that what they are doing is using a powerful tool so far out of context it becomes dangerous. This has to do with Science and the ToS.. (read last post). The reductionist technology produces some very powerful results when correctly used. But reductionism is a philosophical (if you will) *tool*, just as is holism. Use each appropriately!!!

Now, as to the issue of negativity and positivity, I would ask how the astrologer is in a position to make these sorts of determinations? The astrologer can point out what might be challenges that require a workout in order to make growth possible (no pain no gain... well, that's likely true within an acceptable context when the goal is clearly understood and that's another part of the astrologer's job). The astrologer can point out where already acquired strengths exist and need to be recognized and used wisely. The astrologer can point out areas of activity that require special concern and attention, etc. etc. etc. In none of these cases is the determination of negativity or positivity ever used.

Another astrologer friend pointed out to me one of the only things I ever heard said by Geofferey Dean that I find acceptable. He is said to have asserted that the best astrology is practiced by an amateur with a friend in need over a kitchen table. Think about that venue: two friends who care about each other. The idea of positive and negative is not going to be a big issue here, because there is common agreement (probably) of the relationship between the views held by each, and one doesn't deal with that sort of thing because it can upset a friend that's already in need of guidance. Same thing with clients. Same thing exactly.

Don't treat people differently. Treat everyone with the same concern and consideration as one would treat a friend. (Dennis, that's a large part of being a gentleman... < grin > ) And treat your clients as if they were friends across the kitchen table.

 > >My feeling is that Dale and Dennis, from the limited amount I've seen,
 > >don't seem to be talking *directly* to each other. Perhaps through dialogue
 > >some clarification of differences and points of consensus can be found.
 > >Dialogue includes answering each other's questions and seeking
 > >clarification when one dooesn't understand the other, as well as stating
 > >one's own position. This necessitates that the one *wants* to listen to the
 > >other.

Well... < grin >

 > >Bill, what the hell is a metaparadigm???? < g > How is that different to a
 > >paradigm? Is it a subparadigm. I'm *very* interested, philosophically
 > >speaking, in postmodern theory, deconstructionism, constructivism, and the
 > >like, but I'm afraid I'm not yet up with all the lingo! Or did you make it up?

I hope we haven't embarrassed Cynthia to the point she won't post again! I don't expect so... she's gotta be made of stronger stuff than that!

Meta basically means larger as a result of being later on in a process. In its current application, it would indicate a more fundamental or overarching entity, even though that is somewhat of a convolution of usage. The idea is that the longer things go on, the larger they grow, I suppose. So, in the current philosophical sense, its reference to process and therefore to time goes away. What is implied is that the larger context has the same basic characteristics as the smaller one, I would guess.

 > >What a wonderfully passionate diatribe Bill!! < g >
 > >Any suggestions?

I'm glad someone appreciates my diatribes, thanks < grin > and no, I really don't know and that's why these sorts of terms get used. There isn't a better one at hand. I stand on what I said about paradigm... metaparadigm is just a natural convenient extension < shrug >

 > >>In principle, it seems evident that if one cannot demonstrate the basis for
 > >>the validity of a practice, one ought not use that practice.
 > >
 > >You've just deconstructed astrology. I love it!

Ooops... what did I just do? Deconstruct means to take apart, I presume. Is that reductionistic or holistic? That's a whole discussion in itself.

 > >>I agree about the dangers of the use of symbolism. Symbols as a study is a
 > >>profoundly important discipline, but the use of any symbol set outside the
 > >>closely defined parameters of its validity is meaningless. This is not to
 > >>say that much may be discovered by tentative applications outside those
 > >>parameters, but I mean *tentative*, not determinative.
 > >
 > >Hmmm yes, this is one of the major problems with the 'symbolic' form of
 > >astrology which I see about. Endowing a symbol with some sort of latent,
 > >archetypal, essential, call it what you will meaning, is no less
 > >deterministic than imagining an energy field emanating from the planets and
 > >zapping one in the brain! And who and what *determines* the meaning which
 > >we attribute to a symbol? I have done a lot of thinking, and some writing
 > >on this, with reference to the assigning of meaning to Chiron and the
 > >asteroid Ceres in particular. And am still trying to sort it all out...

I guess this is why I shy away from creating symbols. As I've said, I think abstracts are good. At least one knows what they are and they are fairly precisely defined. They certainly don't have to be ambiguous even though they contain subsets with subsets etc. An abstract simply gets to the common essence and leaves out the detail for more specific forms that are closer to manifesting. This is probably a useful area for discussion here, because at some point it's going to become obvious that there are insights that should have that sort of treatment. And if there are symbols formed of them... well, who knows what the symbol means.

In a lot of ways, what a symbol does is apply an approximate definition that is already used in some other context, and the result is: "well, this is like that other thing... sorta, but you get the idea (don't you?)" In times when the level of comprehension was geared to rural agricultural (right in nature's face) life, the use of symbols that were already used in that context were quite powerful: they got the point across quite well, thank you very much!!!

In our times, though, it's quite different. We live in an already artifical social environment, and so natural symbols are not that dependable: the purpose is to communicate the conferrence of an already known and understood reality. One supposes, I guess, that later on the thing acquires its own symbol when it gets better understood. Well, in my view this really doesn't happen and that's why I think that using symbols out of context is dangerous. There is way too much room for misunderstanding and misinterpretation; hence, use symbols very carefully and transfer them tentatively. In our highly artificial environment, why don't we just skip to the end result and create an abstraction (develop an abstract). We can call it whatever we agree to call it, I suppose.

 > >This is very interesting Bill. I quite like the idea of looking at
 > >astrology as a counterculture. I have come across so many astrologers who
 > >believe that within this field they have accessed the ultimate *truth*,

Would it be fair to observe that one person's "revealed knowledge" is as good as another person's "revealed knowledge"?

 > >and that truth, of course, is "written in the stars", so hence it must be
 > >inviolable. Perhaps this may also fit in with your notion somewhat,
 > >Cynthia, of the marginalization of astrology. Could we be marginalized
 > >perhaps, not simply because we lack a meaningful language, but because we
 > >[the collective we], think we have all the juice on the *Truth*? I would
 > >say that, to use Bill's words, illusion has certainly crept in and
 > >understanding all but disappeared.

In the matter of "revealed knowledge": one person's "divine language" is probably as good as another person's "divine language".

Well, in the Holy Roller church's, in the area where I spent some of my childhood, speaking in tongues was a sign of the "holy ghost". It was probably tacitly understood that any considerations of language and therefor communicated significance were irrelevant. Don't suppose that it's all that different for air-headed astrologers.

 > >>The idea I was pointing at was that *if* the "astrological mechanism" is a
 > >>matter of pure significance, then it may well propagate faster than light.
 > >
 > >This is an interesting notion, and I understand that Dale is responsible
 > >for developing it more fully, yes?

Well, that's really unclear at this point.

 > >So what does this *mean* in terms of human experience? Is it this
 > >*physical* factor of the faster- than-light-speed of the astro-mechanism
 > >which is supporting the theory made by others that an acausal or chaotic
 > >factor can be brought into the equation? Is this where the suggested
 > >interface rests within Dale's and Andre's idea of a mechanism theory which
 > >embraces chaos and freewill??? I know I haven't quite got all this yet, so
 > >please forgive my naive and poorly put questions?

Ahhhh..... well, physics holds that no physical entity can exceed the speed of light, and that the existence of transluminal entities is probably limited to subatomic particles. The notion of the Implicate and Explicate (concepts put forth by the legendary theoretical physicist, David Bohm) being Complementary in the sense of the Copenhagen convention (a Scientific statement of principles) is highly speculatory. The upshot is that totally nonphysical communication of significance *could* be superluminal.

Acausal and chaos refer to two different matters. When we say acausal, we generally are using it as a shorthand to mean linked in some other manner than by cause and effect through a process, which positions them both in time... usually the cause comes first, depending on the direction of flow. The term chaos is now semitechnical and describes a state of apparent randomity where the laws are nonNewtonian in nature...just what they are is, as yet, not entirely clear, but they have developed the framework for a mathematics to describe chaos as a state.

It's probably not useful to try to connect chaos and free will. Chaos is a state of apparent lack of order, and it's just as likely that free will is as difficult if not even more so in a state of Chaos than in a state of Order.

 > >Hmmm. When I first began to ponder these things, I always stopped at this
 > >point, because I could go no further, and would content myself with the
 > >idea that some things are simply unknowable and that is how it should be,
 > >and that one needs to let go of wanting to know everything and *embrace*
 > >the Mystery of life. That idea is still very attractive to me. I think it
 > >helps one to flow more with life, to be spontaneous, to live in the now,
 > >and all that.

The attraction is that one does not have to clutter up one's interior landscape with irrelevancies, and so is free to respond appropriately in a timely manner. The contemplation of these sorts of things is best carried out with a specific protocol which puts them to bed, as it were, when one is finished having them out and playing around with them. One of the more fascinating abilities is the compartmentalization of the cerebral interior. The ability to file the entirity of an experience, most often in terms of interior space, I suspect, allows one to be able to access total recall at command, and allows one to file things away when one is done with them. I think this is one of the techniques used in those societies (Celtic, Gaulish, Teutonic, etc) where knowledge was kept by Bards who had these capabilities and who passed down both the lore and the ability to hold the lore from generation to generation.

Nothing kept these guys from living in the now unless they were being called upon professionally.

[snip appreciative remarks not addressed to me...]

 > >You know, it's not as laughable as it first sounds. One can find meaning
 > >within the *exact* return of say Saturn, simply by considering the return
 > >chart. I had a one-hit Saturn return. I didn't experience anything which I

Yeah, well, I'd forgotten about returns, and that might be relevant, I suppose. I dunno if I would use one for a Saturn return though....

 > >can remotely relate to the "similarity of experience" idea to which Dale
 > >has referred. My experience didn't fit the 'typical'. My Saturn return has
 > >only had meaning for me well after the event in the context of the chart
 > >for the moment of the exact hit. This is a very profound chart for me. It
 > >explains to me symbolically, and very generally speaking, about the
 > >*purpose* of this entire cycle. The seed was only sown at the Saturn
 > >return, and I was scarsely aware of it. Now, at 42, I can see the Saturn
 > >return chart more clearly. This highlights, I hope, the problems I have
 > >with seeking strict causal links between one thing [Saturn return] and

This is something I've seen a number of times. A chart that I would not expect to be significant turns out to have resonance, and that's one of the vast number of things I haven't a clue about when it comes to astrology. Some of my clients started casting their own charts for various points, and the problem would be to see how it integrated with the overall life. I was edified in that I learned right along with them!!!

 > >another [the human experience at that time]. I guess that's what you were
 > >getting at Bill, and yet, there is also meaning, I submit, in that exact
 > >moment. And isn't that what astrology is all about? Seeking meaning in
 > >moments? Of course, Rudhyar showed us that the meaning of any particular
 > >moment can only be really understood with reference to the cycle of which
 > >it is a part. All of which takes us back to divination. Hmmm.

But other than the return chart, I cannot *imagine* placing such a long transit within a time frame that small!

 > >>This is all a matter of degree of "influence" if you will.
 > >
 > >Dunno that I believe in "influence". I have yet to be convinced.

Generically speaking, something of the sort is going on, else why are we creating maps of the sky for purposes of gaining insight into earthly matters. It's perfectly okay to regard influence as a probable reality... what we don't do is try to define the *nature* of that influence, because we can't and everyone knows it.

 > >Do you believe that it *will* be discovered?

Hope so!

 > >I agree with your first sentence, although I also think it is more than
 > >that. If freewill is simply freedom from compulsion, or freedom from
 > >bondage to the past, when put like this, it sounds like an impossible task
 > >to exercise it. This suggests to me that we need to do constant battle
 > >against inertial forces in order to be free from the strictures of 'fate'.
 > >I think this may be true so far as it goes, but it provides us with no clue
 > >as to *how* to go about exerting whatever freewill we do have.

I think that if one reflects on it, that is the common experience. We *have* free will, of *course* < lotsa chest beating!! > , it's just damn hard to use it some times, don'tcha know < grin >

 > >I have an instant reaction to the idea that freewill is "synonymous with
 > >spiritual mastery". Rudhyar too defines freewill in similar terms to what
 > >you have said above, as "the will not to confrom to the past". But he also
 > >said that freewill was available to *everyone* and he made it sound simple
 > >and accessible when he wrote that "no man is absolutely free...but every
 > >man can, at crucial times of decision, transform to some extent his natural
 > >conditions by some creative response which was non-determined and
 > >essentially unpredictable until it was made". [The Lunation Cycle pp 124-5]

This is one of the more unfortunate parts about Rudhyar's career as an astrologer. This is where he probably did astrology no good service: he used astrology as a means to the end of his own vision, and as far as he was concerned what he said was true. The problem is, it wasn't a truth that is indigenous to the astrological tradition, or indeed to the experience of most astrologers.

Rudhyar was first and foremost a visionary. He was a thinker, painter, musician, and most of all, a purveyor of the nature of what he thought is possible for human kind. Notice that I say *possible*. Not probable, not readily attainable, not in some cases even within the realm of western mankind's comprehension. Rudhyar found a good deal of confirmation of his vision in Theosophy, and he tried to fit some of that into the developing canonical literature (of which his was and is a large part) of a modern astrology.

Essentially, one has to have several things going on to make his ideas work, I think. One has to have a level of selfawareness that most people find very uncomfortable, and one has to have the ability to cut loose into a contemplative (meditative) state at the point where things come to a head. It's not anywhere as easy as one might think just reading Rudhyar's book.

A word on Rudhyar: I really liked the man!! He had an almost translucent passion about him when he dealt with matters concerning his vision. He had a literary groundwork fit for a postdoc. He sacrificed almost everything to further the dissemination of that vision... when he could have easily had money and artistic standing and still have a powerful effect, he chose not to. I watched him buy a suit for $4.00 at the local Goodwill store. It was perfectly good enough for him to wear, so he said, and that's all he needed.

If anyone could be called a pure soul in our time, I suspect that Rudhyar would be a strong candidate.

 > >This is so simple yet so profound. He doesn't deny the existence of 'fate';
 > >but he opens the door for all to have access to freewill. I like that
 > >inclusivity. Why should freewill only belong in the laps of the gods or the
 > >spiritually mastered? It makes sense that it would be something simple and
 > >available to everyone. We mere mortals just have to know what it is we have
 > >to do. And how amazing that the key should lie in the capacity for
 > >*choice* which we exercise through the power of *decision*. So simple.

Okay, here's another story. Jeez, sorry about the length of this post, but this stuff is important so I'm just going to forge ahead.

There was a fellow who attended Standford University sometime in the sixties, don't remember when. His name was Franklin Jones and he was an English major. Now, this guy, by all reports, was as human as they come.

I don't now recall how it all started, (it could have been Aldous Huxley's "Island") but he got on this idea that if one watched and was really aware of everything that went on, one could discover an amazing amount about one's universe and oneself. So he put the idea into use, and he was as conscientious as one can possibly imagine, even to the point of making himself appear really weird. Slowly, bit by bit, things started to happen for him. By paying attention, he became aware of things that one ordinarily cannot detect, and that awareness began to change him in return.

Eventually, he got to the point where he had to make some choices, and Stanford lost, of course. He did retain his wife, although I don't think they stayed married. Some interest began to develop around him because those who were knowledgable recognized that what he was doing was engaging rather effectively in spiritual practices fairly well described by certain yogic forms. Once they got a handle on what he was doing, his progress was monitored with increasing interest and he got a following. He wound up going to India and when he came back he was a full fledged yogi.

Later on, a fellow who subsequently was a friend of mine spent some time with he and his followers. By this time he was no longer Franklin Jones, but he was either Bubba Free John or he was Da Free John. He'd shaved his head and wore a loin cloth... all he needed.

There was a period of time when the group was trying to discover how they could get to where he was without doing the time. So there were lots of drug parties and orgies and stuff at his place. And he would sit there and laugh his head off at these people, drinking and smoking and doing most of the things they did, except that he was not affected in any way. At the end of the night when everyone had passed out, he would get up and go outside and do spiritual practices and when the sun rose he was as fresh as if he'd gotten a great night's sleep. And this went on for months!

Things changed after that and he wound up elsewhere later on spending most of his time, as he put it, with a large hole in his chest where the universe blew in and out, and with his head on fire (aflame). I suppose he's passed on now, dunno.

But there was a man who had free will. He was also a spiritual master, I suspect, by anyone's reasonable definition. And he was most *definitely* a very human person. The ability to do what he did all those nights was a matter of will on his part, with no doubt at all.

Whoever is willing to pay the price gets the reward, but it is definitely with the reach of a human individual.

 > >>>In fact, free will
 > >>>is emphasized in this perspective, because the hard-angle transits
 > >>>correspond to the periods when we're most likely to want to make
 > >>>changes, the times we're most likely to use our free will to decide
 > >>>what to do. In between transits we feel less of a need to change
 > >>>(in terms of that part of the psyche) and simply continue along
 > >>>the line laid down during the last hard-angle transit.
 > >>
 > >>This has given me some pause. It seems to me that there is a discrepancy
 > >>between our definitions of free will, although I'm not sure how that could
 > >>be at first glance. < sits thinking >
 > >>Well, yeah, I guess there could be after all. Hmmmm......
 > >
 > >It's really interesting to watch you thinking here!! ......

Thank you, ma'am. I think he's looking at the same sort of thing that Rudhyar was talking about. The question is this: even though one might feel motivated to make changes at these times, can one actually do so? Recognition of the need to change and the ability to create the change are two different things.

I don't think free will is necessary to decide what to do. I think free will is what it takes to actually adopt the change. If this were not so, then all those New Years resolutions.... < grin >

 > >>Again, Dale, about as concise a statement of that part of the Problem of
 > >>Astrology as could be made. What people expect from their astrologer is
 > >>fully dependent on what the astrologer advertises is available. This is
 > >>pretty much a truism, but deeply important nevertheless.
 > >
 > >I think 'people' have all sorts of expectations, and many of those can have
 > >nothing whatsoever to do with what or how the astrologer advertises. There

Of course, but most of those expectations have nothing to do with astrology, either.

 > >is a collective mindset about astrology on the part of the general public;
 > >and astrologers themselves have their own worldview and seem to adhere,
 > >broadly speaking, to what I would call Astrologism [the religion of
 > >astrology]. All of this influences what a client seeks from the astrologer.

And the priest of that religion call themselves Astrologians, right? But you make my point: it is the astrologers who have defined the nature of their expectations.

 > >Astrology, for many reasons, is imbued with mystery, fortune-telling,
 > >magic, divination, and all sorts of associated things. Whether we like it
 > >or not, the fact is that this is very much the case. I have to say that for
 > >this very reason I am often ashamed to call myself an astrologer. But this
 > >situation, I believe, is not the fault of the public, it is our doing and
 > >our responsibility.

Well, I don't think it's entirely our doing, to this extent at least. The Church has culpability here, far more so than do we. There was a time when those sorts of things were deemed quite helpful and there was the local wise woman who could do all these things.. and she was taken care of quite well. She got her share from the fields, her house was kept in repair and her herb garden was often tended by the youngster who was her apprentice. The Church didn't like all this, obviously, and went stomping through the countryside obliterating everything that it found a potential threat. That we take their definitions in these matters at this late date in history is a telling example of our historical ignorance and essential cupidity, or so I think.

 > >>One can ask the question: How do people think they can understand these
 > >>things? Obviously they want to do so. Do they really think that an
 > >>objective fully satisfying explanation is dependably available at their
 > >>friendly local Astrologer, who stocks a wide variety of answers and
 > >>guarantees a person custom fit for everyone?
 > >
 > >Not quite sure I've got the question. What are "these things"? I think
 > >some certainly think the latter.

Stock answers that fully elucidate all things. Especially those things where answers are well known to exist nowhere else.

 > >>Does anyone on this list know
 > >>of any astrologer who has this sort of practice?
 > >
 > >Yep lots. At least if I've understood your question...

Where the hell do they get their answers? Who *is* their supplier? Do they get a good discount for quantity? Arggghhhh..... oh well.. I know, if you can't lick'em, get them to join you... nahhh just a thought.

 > >>Where do they get the idea
 > >>that this is even available? Or is this sort of thing even a consideration,
 > >>a concern?
 > >
 > >Bill, can you explain these questions more fully?

Yep. Stock answers come from a slavish devotion to one or another "school of astrology" as put forth by one or another author (astrology teacher). They're memorized like canned speeches, I must suppose, unless these people actually think they understand what they are talking about.

One has to realize that all these explanations about astrology are purely descriptive and their significance can vary so widely from person to person as to be almost unrecognizable. I'm referring to spiritual/metaphysical terminology, or to psychic/NewAge terminology, or airheaded itsalloneandwecandancewithjoyforever terminology. This last is a lovely personal way of being, but as an answer to someone else's questions, it has nothing to say. This is where "revealed wisdom" and "divine wisdom" come from. All that one has to do is come up with something that seems to make some sort of sense and sounds inspirational and one can market it as "(whatever) wisdom".

***Note bene*** The only exception to all of this probably lies outside the proper context of astrology, even though it occurs often in conjunction with it. One person can be a powerful force for healing another person and these sorts of comments/explanations are not intended to speak to the rational (cerebral) mind, they are intended to speak to the emotional (limbic) mind, and when they make connection the result can be arguably miraculous. I want to go on record making this statement, because a) it's true, and b) it will come around again and next time I want to look a little more closely at it.

 > >>The conventional wisdom is that one goes to their priest or pastor, or one
 > >>goes to their shrink, or to their local neighborhood bar where the font of [snip]
 > >>Women share a mutual support relationship in these things, because for them,
 > >>it is the current state of their emotional mechanism that is important, and
 > >>the answers can await another better time. The question is this: is
 > >>astrology a part of this kind of relationship? Can any of the ladies out
 > >>there on this list answer this?
 > >
 > >Again, I don't quite get what you are saying or asking. I don't think all
 > >women automatically suspend thinking [seeking answers] in favour of feeling
 > >first, or is that not what you were suggesting?

I was just going on about how people come to inform their expectations about knowing something useful about things considered unknowable. I am suggesting that women are smart enough to address things in a more practical order. Get the healing done first and tend to the understanding after the healing has either taken place or gone forth adequately. Women are pretty smart in these regards.. while men stand around and bs each other while ignoring their problems, lest they come up short in the eyes of their fellows (mates, Candy..)

 > >Is astrology part of what kind of relationship? "Mutual support
 > >relationship"?? Oh, do you mean women supporting each other? And how does
 > >that relate to astrology and the earlier stuff to do with client
 > >expectations and astrologers' advertising? Sorry to be so thick here Bill.

Let me refer back to the notion that the best astrology may well take place by an amateur reading for a friend at the kitchen table, because they are friends and care for one another as people, not as astrologer-client with the potential power relationship inherent there. What astrologers advertise is pretty much an individual matter, I would guess, but there are probably some number of types of practices, just like in other consulting service fields, and any given astrologer will fall into one or another of those types, which produce services of a sort that can be defined by the client's expectations.. after all, the establishment of these types of service is client driven, because any astrologer who didn't fulfull someone's expectations is likely to go out of business rather quickly.

 > >>For the moment, though, let's assume we've covered the bases here. It
 > >>doesn't look to me that there is *any* source of this sort of knowledge out
 > >>there. Why, then, do they expect it from an astrologer?
 > >
 > >Because it is associated with the stars, the heavens, the planets, the
 > >wondrous cosmos "out there", in short, with the gods. Because astrology, I
 > >believe, is akin to a *religion*. When people go to see an astrologer I
 > >think they are often expecting big things, revelations, predictions, the
 > >word of God -- quite unlike the expectations of visiting the local shrink
 > >or priest. There is not much potential for anything earth-shattering to be
 > >revealed in an exchange with the latter two.

Astrology as religion? God forbid! (pun intended) I dunno about nothing being of earthshattering potential at the shrinks... that's where a lot of people are deconstructed and reconstructed in a better fashion. But you're right, and I agree.

 > >A very interesting point you have brought up Bill. But there's no way
 > >around it, I believe. We are doomed to be stuck in this 'psychic' space [no
 > >pun intended] while we continue with this old-age astrology that is so
 > >prevalent. There is no way we can cast out the dreaded psychic until we
 > >free ourselves from the constraining paradigms of the past [are you puking
 > >yet?]. Astrology needs a revolution and until that time, the psychic

And there's this: until we can rule out the psychic factor in all this, we are well advised not to reject it out of hand. We can look askance at "astrologers" who cast charts and then do psychic readings because they actually know little or nothing about astrology, but I think we need to hold our fire on the issue of the psychic factor.


 > >These are such interesting discussions, and I look forward to hearing more.

That we can guarantee, short of Metalog going down or Fran pulling the plug, neither of which I see happening < grin >

Are we having fun yet?



Date: Fri, 11 Jun 1999 00:16:29 -0400
From: Cynthia
To: Exegesis
Subject: Re: Exegesis Digest V4 #47

Hi Candy, Welcome to Exegesis! I also joined only a month ago and felt as you = do, a little overwhelmed, certainly excited, and needing to find my *sea legs= * as it were, among these great and inquiring minds. I have for now taken = a hiatus from my semiotic/linguistic parallels (which I was so excited abou= t) so that I can more fully participate in the discussion on this list, and synchronously enough (Thank God for small favours), here you appear, re-stating basic astro-practice premises that propel me back to the beginning. How great! (I was *in medias res*, after all!) Referring to t= he fatalistic mindset of cyber astrologers, you said:
 > >What I see truly *alarms* me, so much so
 > >>that I frequently consider abandoning astrology altogether. Surely not, Candy! Please say that you would not give up a 17-year pract= ice merely because there are astrologers who promote, and pander to, the more deterministic slants of astro practice. If you were a carpenter, would yo= u retire just because there are allegedly incompetent or unscrupulous carpenters also working in your neighbourhood? Dennis said it, in part, extremely well:
 > >>>Humanistic astrology meets market forces, two decades downstream. The= former presumed users with a will to self-improvement, the latter presumes users with a will to self-gratification, but they share the strategy of users w= ith starry-eyed expectations of results from incantations. (V4 #46) Yes, indeed. If you want to see the *culture of narcissism* in action, w= ork a few psychic fairs as I once did! Scary stuff, kids! As for how the pub= lic in general views us, we must make allowances for the restricted and biase= d exposure the populist media has contrived (which is not to blame the chic= ken for the egg, by the way--or is that a tautology spawned by our culture?). Fate and free will may well be constructions manufactured in the same way and for the same purpose as institutionalized religion, but as I've said = in a previous post, they persist as meta-subjective components within the register of the symbolic and the imaginal which perforce require our resp= ect and attention at this crucial time of transitional change, a renewal, I should say, of our (renewed) respect and attention. I have much more to say about your interesting post, (and I can't wait to read Bill's answers), but I will continue next time (and I promise I won'= t mention semiotics/deconstruction when I do...you know, unless I am compelled...or unless someone writes something that is really apropos...o= r the phone rings, or the dog barks, or something.) Dennis wrote:
 > >>Likewise I recycled this quote from Karen Hamaker-Zondag's
 > >>"Astropsychology": "According to the ancient principle, `that which i= s
 > >>above is as that which is below', and also according to the principle = of
 > >>synchronicity, man symbolically reflects the heavenly bodies in our so= lar
 > >>system."
 > >>
 > >>The point of these quotes was to document the extent of consensus. If
 > >>astrologers in different cultures and different periods of history sub= scribe
 > >>to the same metaphysical premise, we ought to be able to assume that t= he
 > >>premise encapsulates a profound intuition of cosmic wisdom. Odd, in horary (and Karen is a well-known modern horarist), I often refer= to the cosmic will, yet truly, will and wisdom seem human attributes, or perhaps judeo-christian constructs, don't they, here perhaps merely projected and writ large? *Reflection*, you say...and in Derridean semiotics (great guy, that Jacques Derrida), the specularization of the Cartesian subject would, if extended to astrology, create temporal assonance, thus embracing prediction through diff=E9rance (i.e., diff=E9rer/diff=E9rence), ahem...but I digress. From these impressive quotations, I see true consensus which appeals so strongly to my sense of harmony and uncoerced symmetry, and furthermore, re-calibrates the allege= d relationship between planetary energies and human (expense of) energy. So if the holomovement ("one, universe, etc.") produces synchronicity= , is the holomovement an originary force that governs effect? Or perhaps n= ot originary but rather a transecting bi-modal? Please answer this particula= r question, Dennis, because if I can understand holomovement, I will not on= ly be able to follow your future posts, but I may also be able to use my rig= ht brain for a change. Good Night, Everyone,...Sleep well, Candy Cynthia -- "Don't fall for me, baby...I'm bad news!" (Alan Ladd, in just about every movie he ever made, usually with Veronica Lake)


Date: Sat, 12 Jun 1999 20:12:13 +1200
From: Janice & Dennis
To: Exegesis
Subject: holism

The gentleman who originated the metaphysical basis of the contemporary theory of holism was a lawyer in the time of Queen Victoria, who took on the might of the British empire when he became a guerrilla warrior in the Boer War. Rising to the rank of General, he must have demonstrated some notable command of Mars and Saturn. When he published his philosophical work "Holism and Evolution" in 1927, he achieved the unlikely result of being catapulted into the presidency of the British Association for the Advancement of Science. When Winston Churchill appointed him to his war cabinet with the rank of Field Marshal during WWII, the unlikely transition to pillar of establishment in the empire he was once the combatant of was confirmed.

He went on to write the preamble to the United Nations charter. If you fly into South Africa, apparently you land at Jan Christian Smuts airport, for he had in the interim served as Prime Minister for two separate periods of that country's history.

When he created modern astrology in 1936, Rudhyar wove together several essential strands; Smuts' theory of holism, Jung's theory of the collective unconscious, Assagioli's theory of psychosynthesis, and Alan Leo's theosophised version of traditional astrology. Writing that year in "The Astrology of Personality" (3rd ed., 1970, p52/3/4), he refers to Smuts' work as "a remarkable book.. by a still more remarkable man". "An article in the latest edition of Encyclopaedia Britannica under the name "Holism", also written by General Smuts, gives a general summary of the ideas developed in the book. We shall quote somewhat extensively from this article: "Holism is the theory which makes the existence of `wholes' a fundamental feature of the world. It regards natural objects, both animate and inanimate, as wholes and not merely as assemblages of elements or parts. It looks upon nature as consisting of discrete, concrete bodies and things, and not as a diffuse homogeneous continuum. And these bodies and things are not entirely resolvable into parts; in one degree or another they are wholes which are more than the sum of their parts, and the mechanical putting together of their parts will not produce them or account for their character or behaviour.""

An early ideological broadside against reductionism, but I wondered if it was any more than that. ""What is involved in the concept of a whole? In the first place, insofar as a whole is consisting of parts or elements, they cannot be fixed, constant or unalterable... Whole and parts mutually and reciprocally influence and modify each other... The parts are moulded and adjusted by the whole, just as the whole in turn depends on the co-operation of the parts... The concept of the whole as applied to natural objects thus implies two great departures from the orthodox scientific scheme. In the first place, matter, life and mind do not consist of fixed, constant and unalterable elements. And in the second place, besides the parts or the elements in things, there is another active factor (the whole) which science does not recognize at all.""

""Evolution is the progressive complexifying of parts or co-operating elements, with a simultaneous increase in unity of pattern with which they are blended. It is thus a rising series of wholes, from the simplest material patterns to the most advanced... Wholeness, or holism, characterizes the entire process of evolution in an ever-increasing measure. And the process is continuous in the sense that the older types of wholes or patterns are not discarded, but become the starting point and the elements of the newer, more advanced patterns. Thus the material chemical patterns are incorporated into the biological patterns, and both of them into the subsequent psychical patterns or wholes..."" Meaning species-specific group dynamics, and, for us, human society. Rudhyar goes on to comment "In the holistic universe freedom is recognized as inherent in nature. The organic unity which constitutes a whole is the ultimate basis of individuality." Autonomy does indeed seem to be a consequence of increasing complexity in natural systems; in organisms it is most evident. However the extent to which any individual forges a destiny out of bounds of community restraint is pretty relative. Ants are most evidently subservient to the colony, and all their travels far and wide merely a consequence of robotic performance of group tasks.

However, Smuts was correct to finger the whole-making agency in nature as an active principle so vast and fundamental in its operation that scientists, prone to tunnel-vision, had completely failed to see it. This agency both brings a new whole into being, and coordinates the parts in synchronous development. My choice of the word synchronous is deliberate here, to indicate that synchronicity is a phenomenon derivative of this process. What synchronizes? Depends on your view. Normally people spot the coincidence of two factors. They correlate the two in their minds. Thus coincidence is normally interpreted in a binary fashion. As I have pointed out, the application of synchronicity to astrology nowadays may correlate a trinity of factors; event, planetary configuration, and psychological state. However common usage remains the binary focus.

The Hungarian philosopher Arthur Koestler elaborated Smuts' vision somewhat in "Janus" (1978). In chapter 1, "The Holarchy", he wrote: "Holism may be defined by the statement that the whole is more than the sum of its parts. The term was coined by Jan Smuts in the 1920s in a remarkable book which for a while enjoyed great popularity. But holism never got a grip on academic science (except indirectly through Gestalt psychology) - partly because it went against the Zeitgeist, partly perhaps because it represented more of a philosophical than an empirical approach and did not lend itself to laboratory tests. In fact, both reductionism and holism, if taken as sole guides, lead into a cul-de-sac... For our inquiry we need a third approach, beyond reductionism and holism, which incorporates the valid aspects of both. It must start with the seemingly abstract yet fundamental problem of the relations between the whole and its parts - any `whole', whether the universe or human society, and any `part', whether an atom or a human being."

Koestler goes on to coin the word holarchy to convey the holistic qualities any hierarchy consisting of "autonomous, self-governing holons endowed with varying degrees of flexibility and freedom." In his 1967 book "The Ghost in the Machine", Koestler introduced the concept "`holon', from the Greek holos = whole", "to designate those Janus-faced entities on the intermediate levels of any hierarchy, which can be described as either wholes or parts" depending whether you view them "from `below' or from `above'." Thus "the Janus principle. In social hierarchies it is self-evident: every social holon, individual, family, clan, tribe, nation, etc. - is a coherent whole relative to its constituent parts, yet at the same time part of a larger social entity." Hopefully the intuitive reader will see that his theory provides a rationale for a relative view of free-will: just as holons are relatively autonomous, people are relatively free to choose and `determine' their destiny.

Janus, progenitor of January, was the Roman god who began the year; one of his two faces faced the past, the other faced the future. Holons have a subordinate holistic relation to their enclosing wholes of which they serve as parts, and they have a superordinate relation to their component parts. These two holistic relationships are what Koestler called the Janus faces.

In my book (The Astrologer and the Paradigm Shift) I further developed the theory of holism, building on the prior work of Rudhyar, Smuts, Koestler and Sheldrake, in order to provide a credible contemporary basis for astrology. But it is impractical to condense in an intellectual manner all that material, and it seems that astrologers don't tend to get new insights via their left brain anyway. So try the following exercise. Contemplate the symbols of the circle and sphere with your right brain for a moment: imagine the centre of each as a dot. This has been done in various cultures since ancient times, and used as a symbol. "The circle is said to symbolize eternity, the never-ending; hence spirit or primal power. When a dot is put inside the circle it signifies the beginning of the emergence of that power." (Margaret Hone, in "The Modern Textbook of Astrology", 1951, revised 1978)

The next step is to focus on the relation between the centre and the boundary in each case. This relation symbolises an holistic relationship. Following Koestler, we can utilise this symbol in a generic description of the holarchies of nature. Draw a line from the centre of a circle or sphere to the circumference, and let this represent the holistic relation of the part to the whole. Now imagine this as a conduit for informational coordination. No abstract fancy this, but a powerful way to schematise what happens in the real world. Use your imagination to conceive this symbol of the coordinating interplay between part and whole.

With our right brain we conceive wholes, with our left we relate parts to each other. Simplistic reduction: right brains focus on wholes, left brains focus on parts. Cognition occurs via the right brain, likewise recognition, relating individual factors to a context, seeing things in a wider picture. So the picture in the mosaic is seen by relating each part simultaneously to each other and to the whole context. The left brain tells you if one jigsaw piece fits to each adjacent one, the right brain tells you where in the picture these parts belong. Finally, with this keyword `belong', we get to the astrology of my wee dissertation. In the horoscope, the lower meridian puts things where they belong. The upper meridian connects things to the holarchy. Thus the meaning of the vertical axis of the horoscope, derived from the theory of holism. The two Janus faces of the meridian connect the part (earth) to the whole (heaven). Rudhyar wrote that "the horizon refers essentially to consciousness, the meridian, to power." Holistic relations are indeed power relations, but nowadays I feel this keyword is too misleading when used in this sense.

It is worth emphasising that Smuts identified holism as "a fundamental principle operative in the universe... the fundamental synthetic, ordering, organising, regulating activity in the universe". All parts of natural systems and organisms are coordinated both in their location, and in the part they play in the collective, by this agency, which I have called the `law of the whole'. In life forms this agency tends to appear to be located in the brain. The coordination can be seen as control, and the effect can be seen as hierarchic, but both terms are sufficiently old-fashioned and emotive as to be unhelpful in the communication process these days. The coordination is largely performed by enclosing wholes on their parts, which are usually smaller wholes in a nested holarchy, but there is to some extent an upward influence as well, when parts are independently active, partially autonomous. The Midheaven in the horoscope represents our personal connection to the natural and cosmic holarchy, but viewing it from a traditional hierarchic perspective is unproductive. That has led to a focus on dominance and control over others and nature, rather than on inclusive co-evolution as parts of nature.

"Holism is a process of creative synthesis", said Smuts. "Holism is the term here coined for this fundamental factor operative toward the creation of wholes in the universe." He was committing a terminological category error by thus designating the agency/principle/process `holism', which posterity has recognised by transferring the name to the philosophy. Nonetheless his book seemed like a marvel of clarity when I read it around '87, and it is too bad that by the '70s the downstream impact had become so tenuous that holism merely implied inclusion of all relevant factors.

To close by relating this material to my earlier theoretical contribution to this list: the law of the whole seems to be the primary consequence of the operation in nature of the number one archetype, and the Janus-faces of the holistic relation the primary consequence of the operation of the number two archetype.

And here's an appropriate quote from cycles researcher Theodore Landscheidt ("Sun, Earth, Man", 1988, p6)... "To look at the solar system and its constituent parts as a whole that embraces a complex web of holistic interrelations, is a premise of traditional astrology, which seemed antiquated but turns out to be trend-setting."

Dennis Frank


Date: Sat, 12 Jun 1999 20:19:50 +0900
From: Candy Hillenbrand
To: Exegesis
Subject: Re: Whale Blubber

Cynthia wrote:

 > >As an astrologer of nearly three decades (sometimes practising,
 > >sometimes not), and a horary specialist to boot (of eight years), I have
 > >experienced nothing but an incredible sense of epistemological deja vu when
 > >I practise Astrology, hence my slouching towards the "ludic enterprise"
 > >(which I sense that none of you are familiar with, nor perhaps particularly
 > >wish to be since you cannot yet see its use to Astrology) as a parallel to
 > >astrological philosophy. I will nevetheless for the purposes of this list
 > >which I enjoy so much, make an earnest attempt to avoid translating many
 > >of you into the semiotic language I am so used to, and, for the time being,
 > >couch my posts as much as I can according to the discourse that appears
 > >to dominate it, this list.

Hi Cynthia,

There is another woman here, and can I say
-----e----- no, no, no -- *please* don't couch your posts according to the discourse of others on this list. I find your posts fascinating, intriguing, challenging, exciting, and I want to know *more*. I think you have a most unique and valuable perspective to offer in all this.

Just because I [and others] don't understand semiotics doesn't mean you should ditch it. Why pander to the belief systems of others?

I'd like to understand more about what you mean when you say you experience "an incredible sense of epistemological deja vu" when you practise astrology. And please, tell me more about the "ludic enterprise" as a parallel to astrological philosophy -- I am not familiar with it, but do wish to be. I wonder if you could also define semiotics for me, in simple terms, and explain how it can be applied to astrology, or anything else for that matter.

Eager to understand more from your perspective,



Date: Sat, 12 Jun 1999 14:02:25 +1200
From: Janice & Dennis
To: Exegesis
Subject: Virgo, the corrective

The proposition that the world would be a better place if Virgo were somehow deleted from the sky seems pretty dubious. I gather my more Virgoan descriptions of common astrological practices and the behaviour of other astrologers pushed Virgoan buttons in Cynthia's psyche, presumably reflecting Virgo's actual configuration in her birth-chart. This is to be expected. We all reference the astrological archetypes subjectively, and react on that basis.

Informal communications in this list may therefore not proceed productively between strangers, even though I do prefer to communicate personally where possible. If our cultural backgrounds are too dis-similar, misunderstandings will accumulate. I note that Cynthia takes exception to my comments re astrologers, but does not in regard to my equally astringent assessment of common errors of scientists.

It would be nice to assume the astrocommunity is one big happy family, in which negative feedback was frowned upon as an uncool lapse from positive thinking. Many astrologers indeed attempt to collude in projecting this ideal, perhaps believing it is an effective path to social rehabilitation. Misconduct, in this view, will disappear if you turn a blind eye to it. Pollution resulting from disinformation is best dealt with by pretending that it doesn't happen, and if some family member does a dirty deed, sweep the deposit under the carpet.

Well, that's one way to manifest Virgo, the corrective archetype. I happen to believe that a problem will only be solved if those inclined to solve it do actually go so far as to focus on it in order to see it clearly first. Actually the real first step is to spot that the problem exists and the second step is to signal that existence to potential collaborators in the solution. The third step is to discuss aspects of the problem and the fourth step is to agree on the description of the problem.

Obviously those of us with planets in Virgo are unlikely to censor the operation of the corresponding psychological drives, since we all know now that self-repression is unhealthy.

Now when collective concerns require a clean-up, the fix-it capabilities of Virgo get called upon. Pollution in the universal mind seems to require Virgo to operate like some kind of psychic vacuum-cleaner. To some extent this involves initial recognition of error; alarm-bells ringing "Wrong!" But as Francis, our moderator, has said `better to light a candle than complain about the dark'. A more constructive Virgo function is to posit a better option, provide the solution to the problem, right the wrong, clean the dirty bit, improve the process, correct the error, etc.

I do hope I have been doing enough of this. I have certainly put a fair bit of work into developing positive alternatives to traditional astrology over the years. However, you can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink...

Anyway, as far as bad news is concerned, the traditional way to handle it is to shoot the messenger. I assume that is why Cynthia has personalised things, to make it seem that the issues are somehow my personal problem and not those of the astrocommunity. I doubt if this ruse will succeed. I'm not the only one endeavouring to perform a quality-control function.

We must all act in accordance with the motivations endowed by our birth configuration; it is presumably what we incarnated to do in this lifetime. Virgo will remain in the sky, duplicating itself in the births of people who will grow up motivated to do things properly. However it appears that ethical issues lie outside the terms of reference of this list, so I will not debate the matter any further.

[From the Exegesis home page:

Subject: Theory, history, philosophy and culture of astrology. Limits: No personal attacks or evangelism. Hopes: Please be as thoughtful and forgiving as you are able. Dreams: Let us form a unique focal point for astrological topics on the internet. When the history of astrology in cyberspace is written, let this place be seen as the seed for a thousand important flowerings. Reasons: You have all of these amazing thoughts and experiences, share them. Nobody else will do it, it is up to you.]


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