Exegesis Volume 4 Issue #52

From: "William D. Tallman"
Subject: Re: Exegesis Digest V4 #49

From: Candy Hillenbrand
Subject: More on the Problem of Astrology

From: Candy Hillenbrand
Subject: "If I were a carpenter..."

Exegesis Digest Mon, 21 Jun 1999

Date: Thu, 17 Jun 1999 00:21:21 -0700
From: "William D. Tallman"
To: Exegesis
Subject: Re: Exegesis Digest V4 #49

Cynthia said:

 > >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 about)

Umm... well, I sorta feel at least partially to blame for that hiatus. How about bring in relevant terms one or so at a time and explaining them and their relevance to astrology. Could you do that? This is a very real problem, folks. The people who may well have the most to contribute are constrained by their own language from communicating effectively with the lay (yeah, that's us) community.

I would really like some contribution on this problem from one of the lurkers in the woodwork out there. Surely there is someone in the audience that can join in here. If so, will the *real* contributors please stand up?!

 > >so that I can more fully participate in the discussion on this list, and
 > >synchronously enough (Thank God for small favors), 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 the
 > >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 practice
 > >merely because there are astrologers who promote, and pander to, the more
 > >deterministic slants of astro practice. If you were a carpenter, would you
 > >retire just because there are allegedly incompetent or unscrupulous
 > >carpenters also working in your neighborhood? Dennis said it, in part,

Boy, let's hope not!!!! Candy has a great deal to offer, both as a practicing astrologer and a contributor to this group.

 > >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 with
 > >starry-eyed expectations of results from incantations. (V4 #46)

I think perhaps this new group is the next generation down from the other group. They just didn't comprehend what their parents were up to, or maybe their parents were perceived as having sold out for some reason, leaving them deeply cynical. This is what happens when modalities become institutionalized: Hollywood glitz, Newage abilitism, whatever the latest craze is... It should make us aware that we have to continually remember that we are all just people. We're out there doing business on a personal basis with other such people; hopefully, we don't end up being confused with those other (institutionalized) people. Yes, I know that means something else, but think about it...

 > >Yes, indeed. If you want to see the *culture of narcissism* in action, work
 > >a few psychic fairs as I once did! Scary stuff, kids! As for how the public
 > >in general views us, we must make allowances for the restricted and biased
 > >exposure the populist media has contrived (which is not to blame the chicken
 > >for the egg, by the way--or is that a tautology spawned by our culture?).

Been there, done that, got the tee shirt for free. This is more prevalent in the large metropolitan areas, but there are always the mall crawlers out for another "fun thing!" to do, if nothing else. We used to think that perhaps any exposure was better than no exposure at all, but sometimes I wonder if that's true. As far as a tautology is concerned, I think it definitely is.

 > >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 respect
 > >and attention at this crucial time of transitional change, a renewal, I
 > >should say, of our (renewed) respect and attention.

Are you saying that the argument of fate versus free will comes from the same source as institutionalized religion? I'd very probably agree. The observation that most people will take the line of least resistance supports the notion of fate and our assumption that we can survive regardless of the situation implies free will, and we all recognize that both of these notions are problematic to say the least. It doesn't take rocket science to figure out that these issues make good "tack" with which to lead compliant h. sap around by his/her whatevers, and that in large part, so says the history of the matter, is what organized religion is all about, at least as it is practiced in the west.

We are, however, as I understand you, recognizing that we are becoming more and more free of these institutional forces, and so we need to look at them more clearly (look'em in the *eye*) and figure out what's going on if we can.

 > >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...or
 > >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 is
 > >>>above is as that which is below', and also according to the principle of
 > >>>synchronicity, man symbolically reflects the heavenly bodies in our solar
 > >>>system."
 > >>>
 > >>>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.

 > >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

Depends on how much you think we can see, perhaps. A lot of times one suspects we give "divine attribution" to what is essentially human wisdom. A part of all this "as above, so below" business is the understanding that we stand precisely at the apex of both where they touch, and so we have a foot in both worlds whether we realize it or not. The question is, do we consider that part of ourselves "divine"? Or is it basically an extension or an evolution of what we once were, perhaps?

 > >semiotics (great guy, that Jacques Derrida), the specularization of the
 > >Cartesian subject would, if extended to astrology, create temporal
 > >assonance, thus embracing prediction through differance (i.e.,
 > >differer/difference), 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 alleged
 > >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 not
 > >originary but rather a transecting bi-modal? Please answer this particular
 > >question, Dennis, because if I can understand holomovement, I will not only
 > >be able to follow your future posts, but I may also be able to use my right
 > >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)

I guess we'll all be waiting for Dennis' answer on this. At least I will.

And then Dennis said:

 > >The gentleman who originated the metaphysical basis of the contemporary

[snip Smut's bio]
 > >he had in the interim served as Prime Minister for two separate periods of
 > >that country's history.

Yep, the old boy was said to have also been a rabid apartheidist. Dunno.... how he got to the idea of holism while also being an aparteidist... well, times were different and they saw themselves as protecting their land and homes.... but did he not see the logical inconsistency there? Africa is said to be a land that homogenizes without destroying diversity, sorta like serving as the old mother land for life itself. Apparently that did not have that effect on Smuts

 > >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 [snip]

We had a regularly circulating debate about whether we would ask Rudhyar about Smuts, and the answer was always.. " nahhhh, let's leave well enough alone."

In my last post, I made the comment that Rudhyar didn't do all that well by astrology in some respects. The only strand that had to do with astrology itself was by Leo through a school of thought founded on a lot of green ink, or was it purple ink. Whatever color Madame wrote in, this formed the foundation for a lot of Rudhyar's thought. When he was much older, he and his disciple Michael Meyer had in common most importantly that they were both Theosophists. I recall reading somewhere that they would commiserate that after all that work, people still didn't "get it", and the reference was specific to the expectations and prophecies of Theosophy, not astrology.

Yes, Rudhyar was a visionary and a quite brilliant man, but it was his vision that was dominant, and not astrology. So, as much as I revere Rudhyar and follow some of the principles he laid down, it's probably not useful for our purposes here to accept that he was the founder of modern astrology. I know that he is widely regarded in that way, but I would argue that what he in fact did was to send astrology down the road to become regarded as a subset of modern psychology, whether he intended to or not.

 > >latest edition of Encyclopaedia Britannica under the name "Holism", also [snip Smut's definitions]
 > >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.""

In my view there is a profound underlying fallacy here that forms the substance of certain assumptions that are unsound. The result is a continuity of misjudgment and misunderstanding in these matters. I've spoken of these things before, and I shall continue to point them out as examples arise:

It is not in the purview of science to make these determinations. In expecting it to do so, we require that it fulfill functions for which it was never designed or intended. The questions are the proper subjects of philosophy. To the extent that science recognizes of observed evidence (data) that this or that condition exists, etc. it's mandate is to see how to discern a deep knowledge thereof.

In this quote we see this great fallacy of modern thinking, probably as it was being really developed. The assumption that the "orthodox scientific scheme" had robust applicability *outside its purview* has had really tragic consequences for modern man. The proper point of view, as I said, is that of philosophy. Why? Because science deals with and produces knowledge.


Philosophy is the love of ....Wisdom. Knowledge and Wisdom are two distinctly different qualities/attributes. Works something like this: Knowledge is what happens when you have organized and made applicable data that is gathered, such that there is understanding relevant to classes of data, making it possible to apply that understanding in varied ways and circumstances. Wisdom is what happens, hopefully, when one has applied knowledge enough to understand the effect of its use. It changes how one views knowledge, for one thing, but staying on subject, the proper purview of philosophy is wisdom.


It isn't a good idea to have science and philosophy considered as either interchangable or qualified as reasonable substitutes for one another. Yes, we've done this and we still do it and we pay the price for having done so, and we will continue to pay the price for assuming that knowledge is the same as wisdom.

Sorry, Dennis, for seeming to offer irrelevant comments here, but I want to register them now because I'm gonna stand on them as we get into this.

 > >""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...""

Was this Rudhyar or Smuts?

I suspect that this is not entirely true, however. It certainly appears to be the case, and to the nineteenth century observer, it's pretty clear that this was a reasonable conclusion. It seems to turn out that what is successful survives and continues to adapt somehow... and I think I'd plunk for some part of Lamarkian evolution as far as the mechanism is concerned, incidentally. In fact, I think I would assert that holism is no longer considered a basic attribute of the evolutionary process, but that's probably fairly recent. Paleontologists discover that species are more and more difficult to differentiate, and the evolutionary tree keeps getting pruned of its upper branches and made more complex in its lower branches as presumed evolutionary lineages are discovered to have been differentiated much earlier in many cases.

 > >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.

You state that "Autonomy does indeed seem to be a consequence of increasing complexity in natural systems;". Are you equating autonomy with our current conception of "free will"? More increasingly complex mechanisms may be seen as having a broader range of activity, one supposes, and this may seem identical to autonomy. Autonomy probably most literally now means self government, and that seems to be presumed to equate with "free will". I don't know that I would underwrite that equation; too many exceptions for that to be meaningfully true, I think. It may be that this is something for us to think about. For practicing astrologers, how autonomy is considered relative to "free will" informs a significant aspect of their philosophy of practice.

 > >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.

Again, a tragic equation of science and philosophy. Science produces knowledge, and it's a "fur piece up the road" from there to understanding; the road probably leads through wisdom as a rule, however. That the whole is more than the sum of its parts is a folk wisdom (not knowledge) that has been around a very long time. The mistake that was made then and continues to be made is to assume that the Scientists, speaking for Science, have any special insight into these matters, *except as evidence provides them with a place to start*

Your question: "What synchronizes?" is exactly to the point. Rephrased, could it be stated, "what defines synchronicity?" Is it strictly a matter of perception, as I believe Jung had it, (haven't read Jung in tooo long!), or is there some other factor that determines when things are meaningfully. I would suggest that this serves to support the trinary view, although one aspect may be implicit, leaving the appearance to be binary. Dunno.

 > >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,

Yes!!!! Astute observation. These are only methodologies! Tools! Koestler is insightful!

 > >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.

Well, sure! This is the relativity of microcosm and macrocosm. Something is always a microcosm in comparison to us, and we are always a microcosm in comparison to something else. This is, as you say, self evident in society.

The apparent fact that there is such a big furor over the necessity for 'free will" probably makes a meaningful statement about the nature of our times. You don't have to look very far back into history to discover that this argument basically didn't exist, except as one had an opportunity for relatively free choice. Then one had responsibility (the ability, presumably, to respond to the choice in a meaningful and useful way). Philosophy dealt to a great extent with these problems right from get go. But free will, as we now understand it, is something rather different indeed. What it implies is that ability to act independently of the environment and the conditions and situations therein. It's not just a matter of choice, it's a matter of ability to act as well.

The point is this: will is a *force* and so contains energy both potential and kinetic form. The result is a disposal to action. It is action which commits, and which seals the reality of the will. Choice can always be rescinded, even at the last moment, and so except for an inaccurate perception of when the last moment actually is (one can obviously rescind a choice too late), choice is not a commitment.

 > >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.

Does Koestler go much farther than just establishing this structure? I should probably read Koestler, having had him handed to me before.. but there are *all those books* already in the queue!!

 > >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)

Okay...... perhaps we can continue and say that this emergence is the manifestation of focused awareness. Dunno how far it is appropriate to go here, but one of the basic assertions of things metaphysical/spiritual is that it is focused awareness that creates the sort of power that is the source of what we probably perceive as "free will".

 > >The next step is to focus on the relation between the centre and the [snip important material which will be closely considered]
 > >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.

Holism should have been the means of defining a state rather than a process?

Substantial post, Dennis. Good one!!

and then Dennis said:

 > >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.

I certainly hope that Virgo remains in the heavens. If it left, I would have nothing rising in my chart < grin >

 > >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.

Umm... we all speak a common language and are able to explain ourselves, why do you think Cynthia took exception to astringent behavior in the first place?

 > >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.

We would certain like the astrology community to be cohesive, but like all communities the dynamics do not ultimately depend on the identity of the gathering. Could you elaborate on why you think that to collude in an attempt to establish ideals of peaceful co-existence may not be an effective path to social rehabilitation?

I'm not certain I understand how pollution results from misinformation. Who or what defines misinformation? How is it determined to be pollution? Who or what defines the nature of pollution when one man's meat can be another man's poison. If in fact there is no way of determining these matters, perhaps they are best ignored, do you suppose, rather than raise a ruckus unnecessarily when nothing will come of it.

 > >Well, that's one way to manifest Virgo, the corrective archetype. I happen

This is an interesting description of the Virgo archetype. How do you determine this. Traditionally, the description of Virgo was best thought to be that of Refinement, or so I recall. How is corrective more accurate and how is it more useful?

 > >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.

These steps seem useful, but don't you think that there may as well exist other steps here that connect these with the vicissitudes of human endeavor. They sound pretty much like a computer algorithm, and us poor human animals aren't nearly as dependable as those machines, you know < grin >

 > >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 this is interesting!! How do we all know this? Where does this knowledge come from. It seems to me that this is a really important subject. Obviously you have a sound foundation for asserting this, and I'd be really pleased if you would share it with us. Specifically, why are Virgoan drives more unlikely censurable than those of other Signs, presuming that this is the difference. And secondly, I'm not at all clear on how we all know that self-repression is unhealthy. What is the psychological community's stand on this? Could you present the case here? You must see that these are very important concerns to the astrological community, and are probably as relevant as anything we might discuss here.

 > >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!"

More questions, sorry Dennis, but I may be a little slow here. How is it determined that collective concerns require a clean-up? Is there any universally agreed upon standards in these regards? If so, what are they, and what is the source of their authority; optionally, what is the support for their power or meaningfulness or usefulness? Yeah, I understand the Virgoan fix-it point of view, but I guess I've never gotten beyond doing it for myself.. just too much self fixing ... well, I call it self refinement, actually... that needs doing for me to ever seem to have anything left over for these other activities.

Pollution in the universal mind.... I'm really curious as to what this is. How does one determine what is or is not pollution here, or I suppose I already asked this question, but pollution in the universal mind.. is this one or more levels above the collective consciousness, or super consciousness? What is the source of this terminology.. yep, more books to read.

Now, you say that Virgo acts as a psychic vacuum cleaner... does that mean that a Virgoan sucks up all sorts of psychic "dirt"? Hmmm... not clear here. What sort of Virgo configs do this? Could you be a lot more detailed here, as you are getting beyond my own experiences and my own reading.

 > >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.

And Fran is right!!! A constructive Virgo function that seems reasonable, but I wonder how these determinations are made. Who decides what needs doing, who decides who is best to do it, under what conditions, when, etc. Your assertions here, while reasonable sounding, leave me uncomfortable as to the particulars, and I must confess it is the particulars here that would make me more comfortable in my understanding here.

 > >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...

I would guess so!!! With all the things in your resume, you've been very busy. How well received has your work been, by the way. As for the horse and water, the horse general will drink the water the horse wants to drink and when the horse wants to drink it... most often, though, one has to watch that the horse doesn't drink too much too soon. Don't know how that applies to the horse that won't drink though.

 > >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.

Oh dear no!! All Cynthia was on about was your academic style, which she obviously thought was not appropriate here. Some of us are well aware of the sort of exchanges that take place between "colleagues" in academia, and the near knockdown, dragout, warfare that goes on there. She probably detected that in your style here. Doesn't bother me, of course, but it evidently bothers her. I guess it would leave me wondering if it bothers anyone else; I would assume that you could adjust your style if it seemed appropriate....

Obviously, the content of your offerings and the style in which you present them are two entirely different concerns, so I would say change up the style if it gets the message better received, don't you think?

 > >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.

This is a rather puzzling statement, Dennis. Exactly what are you saying here? Are you expressing support for astrological determinism? It certainly seems to me that you are. Could you elaborate rather greatly on this, as it strikes to the heart of the discussions here. A very great deal of material would seem appropriate to any position, and I think that it would express due diligence on your part if you provided at least the outline and essential arguments, along with citations where to get the flesh to hang on the bones. Course if that's not what you are saying here, perhaps you could explain a bit more clearly?

 > >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.

One presumes that Virgo will remain where it is < grin > and I suppose that Virgo will continue to drive people to self-refinement. One must certainly hope that the Virgos don't grow up to feel they can dictate to others, to set the standards for others, to enforce these standards. Such things lead to tyranny and ethnic cleansing and none of us would tolerate that, I'm sure.

Well, a puzzling but thought provoking post. Sorry that I'm apparently dense in a lot of this, but if I'm dense... well, I dunno < grin > Anyway, this has created a lot of room for you to expand on your views in some amount of detail... I guess I would appreciate it if you addressed these views here first, though, and not leave us hanging. Thanks!

I think an expansion on your delineation of the Virgo archetype is probably the most immediate concern here, because there will be a lot of astrologers out there that will be interested in that; that's the sort of thing they deal with all the time.

The next subject could be probably explained rather briefly, and that would be the pollution of the universal mind. As I've indicated, I've got some models of my own that address that, and I'd be quite interested to hear/see yours, especially with reference to the pollution idea.

And finally, the statement of astrological determinism, if that's how you intended it. Of course if that wasn't what you were saying, it would probably be very easy to clear that up.

I'm looking forward to a lot of material from you, Dennis; you've got me setting on the edge of my chair!!!!

Well, I guess I'm having fun too!!



Date: Fri, 18 Jun 1999 13:55:40 +0900
From: Candy Hillenbrand
To: Exegesis
Subject: More on the Problem of Astrology

Thank you for your warm welcomes, Bill and Cynthia.

Bill wrote:

 > >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.

I have difficulty seeing "mechanism" in a philosophical sense. To me it implies something concrete, tangible, physical, measurable, causal, and so forth.

 > >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!!!

Particularly within some psychological astrology circles, this kind of recognition has been almost taboo. We are used to saying things like: "the planets don't *do* anything to us: they are mirrors, reflectors, symbols...". Much of the reluctance to accept the notion of a 'mechanism', I believe, has to do with a desire to *reduce* the determinism inherent in the astrological paradigm.

To accept the notion of a mechanism means that some of us will have to re-embrace the very determinism we are seeking to transcend. It also means we have to admit that we really don't know what we are doing when we practise astrology.

 > >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.

I use the term 'fatalistic' interchangeably with 'deterministic'. I know they are not the same, but a deterministic world-view, particularly when applied to astrology, lends itself to a fatalistic approach. When applied to astrological interpretation, this amounts to definitive statements like: "you *are* like this; your parents *were* like this; this *will* happen", "this planet/aspect *means* this", "this is a significator for that", and so on.

 > >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!

Care to elaborate on some of the unfounded assumptions surrounding this issue? Interesting to see you have defined freewill as the "human option". Perhaps fate can be defined as the "god-dess/mystery/divine option"?

 > >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.

Good point. If we had some sense of the nature of fate, then perhaps we would be more inclined to exercise our freewill. I do think the two - fate and freewill - go hand in hand; that it is not so much an either/or dilemma, but a question of the *relationship* between fate and freewill.

 > >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.

Yes, yes, yes. I have been going on about this for a long time. Religion is a paramount issue in the matter of astrology. If we leave it out of the equation, we are missing out on an important factor. Imo, astrology *is* a religion. It has all the hallmarks of a religion -- beliefs [in fate, a cosmic order, etc], myths, symbols, rituals, superstitions, dogma and doctrine.

Religious people believe we are fated, and so do astrologers. Even astrologers who use a therapeutic or choice centred approach to transits are invoking the age-old practice of sympathetic magic in their suggestions to, for example, clean out the closets during a Pluto transit in order to offset the nasties! Liz Greene, in her Jungian-mythological approach, speaks of invoking the gods (planets). Other mythological-psychological astrologers speak of making symbolic sacrifices to the gods.

It is likely, I think, that some form of astrology was the very *first* religion.

This doesn't even begin to touch on the sense of awe, wonder and reverence which every astrologer feels when looking at the starry night sky. Speaking from personal experience, astrology was a *conversion* experience for me. It catapulted me from an agnostic/atheistic world view to a belief in a sense of order, meaning and purpose in life. I think all astrologers hold this belief at root. If we think about it, and take it to its logical extreme, this must necessarily imply a belief in something greater..... numinous...... divine....... god-dess.

I propose that a discussion of religion is essential in all this. Ditto magic.

 > >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.

Well, I think astrologers *are* deterministic, not simply in fear of being thought so. I think the astrological paradigm *is* deterministic. Even well-meaning attempts to soften this determinism, through introducing notions like Jung's Synchronicity principle or Chaos theory, Complexity theory, Fractals, the Uncertainty Principle, theories of Holism, and the like, don't really alter this fundamental determinism, in my view. Although I still think we should persevere in these endeavours. Perhaps what we need more than anything is a shift in *consciousness*, and then maybe our astrology might change to reflect our changing world-view?

I take your point about most individuals following the path of least resistance. This is why I believe a prediction can sometimes be successful, simply because the astrologer is making the prediction on the basis that the client *will* follow the path of least resistance, ie. will *not* exercise his/her freewill. In this regard, I see predictive astrologers as complicit in the abrogation of a client's freewill. I believe it is our task to *foster* the exercise of what freewill the client does have. But few astrologers will do that, because deep down many like to be seen as clever [by making accurate predictions].

 > >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.

I am actually also "on about" the theoretical and philosophical base of astrology, because I feel that it is our philosophical underpinnings [whether we are aware of them or not] which *inform* and *qualify* how we practise. We do not practise in a vacuum. What we say to a client is very much an outgrowth of our personal philosophies and belief systems, our values and assumptions, and our culture [and much more], as well as the current state, generally speaking, of the "philosophy of astrology" . Our astrological approach, and our interpretations, are therefore subjective, relative and context-dependent. This is one of the pearls which postmodern thought has to offer astrology.

There are also subtle ways of passing on the philosophy of fatedness to a client. This is a very thorny issue. I don't see all astrologers deliberately setting out to scare the hell out of people with doomsaying prophecies, although some do. There are many who earnestly *want* to empower the client, but how to do that when we are working within such a deterministic fate-riddled paradigm?

I think that embracing the notion of fate *does* necessarily presuppose a belief in a beneficient divine guidance. Since the astrological paradigm, I believe, also embraces the notion of fate, then ipso facto, astrologers too believe in a beneficient divine guidance. Again, astrology as religion!

And what is the nature of this sensed "beneficient divine guidance"? This will depend on who is perceiving it. In the western Judeo-Christian tradition, since deity/divinity is mixed up with notions of heaven and hell, good and evil, the notion of fate too, is likely to become tangled with such. Imagine how one might see 'fate' who also believes in a vengeful punishing God? Imagine this person as an astrologer? Or as a client?

 > >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?

I don't agree that the ability to predict *does* exist in any uniform manner. The interesting thing about predictions is that they are notoriously wrong, and when they are right, there is no way of knowing *why* they are right.

 > >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.

I think what is relevant is also the *subjectivity* of what the clairvoyant 'sees'. What a clairvoyant sees, even if it is seen *clearly*, must necessarily be filtered through the clairvoyant's own belief system and then stated or interpreted in the clairvoyant's own language. Lots of room for distortion there. The predictions of clairvoyants are also often wrong, or partial, or totally meaningless.

 > >When one forsees something that is a clear and present danger and can
 > >communicate it meaningfully, does one do so?

I certainly don't believe that danger can be 'foreseen' in the birth chart.

I believe that the type of foreseeing you are talking about here [foreseeing death] is a very rare thing, and happens maybe but once or so in a person's life, unless of course one is endowed with unusual psychic/clairvoyant gifts. I think when it does happen one knows what to do with that knowledge.

 > >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.

The power of fear -- a very potent force, and one with which astrologers traffic every day. I believe astrologers, as a collective, are at root fear-ridden -- the ultimate fear of chaos perhaps -- and so much of what we pass on similarly engenders fear in our clients and in the general public.

 > >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.

The first important point, I think, is that the client, the observer, whatever, must always keep in mind that the clairvoyant may not be right. I am questioning the assumption here that what is 'seen' even has value, quite before any consideration about whether it should be told or not.

 > >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.

I could go more into what I think about clairvoyance. I have visited clairvoyants and have heard and read so many stories. I would say that the vision often *is* invalid, totally up the creek in fact. A load of codswallop.

I am not discounting the existence of fine and genuine seers who help and heal humanity with their gift. But the ethical issues around power are even greater, in some respects, for a clairvoyant than for an astrologer, but that's another thread.

 > >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).

No, no, no. Imo, this is exactly what an astrologer *can't* see. Certainly, an astrologer cannot predict an accident with any accuracy. As for predicting or seeing a difficult time ahead, there are similarly no guarantees. Yes, a Saturn/Moon transit may suggest an emotionally difficult time, but all of us probably have examples when such a transit did *not* manifest in the usual isolation, depression, and so forth. This tells me that the widely accepted assumption [stock answer] about Saturn/Moon transits is not 100% reliable, does not apply to everyone, is not an absolute truth, so then how on earth can I predict this for a client, when I know it may not be true?

As soon as one finds an exception to an astrological 'rule', how can one continue to apply that rule? And I don't think one needs to do ten thousand charts to find exceptions to any rule. Astrologers are renowned for making anything fit, for seeking an answer to every miniscule event, but anomalies are easy to find when one looks.

 > >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?

I could go on and on here, but this is already long. I am really opposed to this warning-the-client-of-potential-danger approach. There is no way of knowing. And one person's danger is another's fancy. Your negative can be my positive. And all that.

 > >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.

No, it's not just this that concerns me. I am concerned that astrologers should make that assumption in the first place, not just what we do with that assumption [once it is made] in the consultation process. And yeah, I'm passionate. Hope I'm not offending you Bill!

 > >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:

Yep, but also noting that the *philosophy* of astrology underlies the nature of the practice.

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

Well, they think they can, and they may be successful some of the time, for all sorts of reasons, but what about the misses? I actually think that astrologers who think they can predict are deluding themselves!

 > >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!!!!!*

I couldn't agree with you more.

 > >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.

Oh, that's a relief. Have I been arguing with a generic perspective then, and not with you Bill? < g >

 > >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.

Where does predicting positive stuff come in? Is there a difference? It's still prediction. It still carries the same occupational hazards.

 > >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.

Does this mean you are opposed to any form of prediction? How do we determine what is negative, and what value do we place on the word 'negative'? One person's pain is another's gain, and all that.

 > >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.

Very good point about the determination of positivity and negativity. I think many of us have probably experienced how a so-called negative event can have very positive benefits. And if we could predict that seemingly 'negative' event and somehow prevent it from happening, would we be missing out on something very important on our life's journey? Could we be interfering with the karma and dharma of ourselves and others when we try and work everything out in advance and then make plans to offset that which we think might happen? Actually, it astounds me that so many astrologers think like this. Be prepared, you never know what might happen! Give me spontaneity any day, living in the now and all that!

You said: >>>In principle, it seems evident that if one cannot demonstrate the basis
 > >for >>>the validity of a practice, one ought not use that practice.
 > >>

and I replied: You've just deconstructed astrology. I love it!

and you replied: >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.

It struck me that yours was a very radical statement. We can't demonstrate why astrology works, if in fact it even does, and yet we do continue to practise. Imagine if we admitted that we don't know what we're doing and really started to collectively question how we can operate in the face of such ignorance, of such partiality of knowledge -- astrology would deconstruct -- maybe even destruct!

I don't know if it's reductionistic or holistic, and I'm not quite sure what is meant when different people use these terms. Thanks to Dennis btw for directing me to some further reading on holism. As an aside, I find it interesting and ironic in the extreme that Jan Smuts, the father of Holism, was also apparently one of the architects of South Africa's apartheid policy! I think I have my own definition of holism, and rather than excluding or being the opposite of reductionism, I think it may actually embrace reductionism. I think reductionism has its place, for it can help us to access the core or essential meaning of something. Similarly, and I think this relates to parts of Dennis' post, I tend to disagree with the popular idea that the right brain is holistic and the left-brain the antithesis of holism. To me, holistic thinking is a *synthesis* of right and left-brained approaches. Holistic thinking is whole-brained, not right-brained.

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

Generally speaking perhaps, when we consider the virtue in subjectivity and relativity, but there is surely a scale of value.

 > >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.

Yes, they are different. Thanks for pointing that out. My purpose in lumping them together was to point out what I see to be their association. A causal mechanism does not seem to make allowances for unpredictability, uncertainty, chaos, randomness. An acausal mechanism does.

 > >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.

Similarly, I see chaos as capable of embracing freewill.

 > >>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...

Oh yes, try it and see...

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

But the return chart is precisely *how* we place a long transit into a small time frame. And really, we are not confining that transit to that moment of time; we are simply using that moment in time to define the nature of the entire cycle. The return is the conjunction, the symbolic new moon, where the seed is sown for the entire cycle. The symbolic meaning of the entire cycle is contained within that seed [return chart]. That is how the moment is important, not so much in circumscribing a time frame, but in circumscribing *meaning*. This is another divinatory use of astrology I think -- meaning in moments.

 > >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.

Well, I've never heard this argument before, but there is certainly truth in what you say.

 > >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.

Wonderfully perceptive comments on Rudhyar....

 > >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.

I'm not so sure about all this. Having read many of Rudhyar's books, and also a good deal of the theosophical material [Bailey, not Blavatsky], I think the philosophical/cosmological foundations can be simplified somewhat. Basically, Rudhyar saw the essential purpose of hs [homosaps] was to serve humanity. I believe he was a healer at heart [Chiron conjunct MC opp. Sun] and saw astrology as basically a healing way -- on a humanistic person-centred level this meant healing one's self [self-actualization and integration]. On a collective, transpersonal level he saw this as healing humanity or healing the planet, the consecration of the self in some way to the good of the greater whole.

I don't think it is necessary at all to get into a meditative state to make his ideas work. I actually think they are very simple, at core, and accessible to everyone. They just need to be expressed in simpler terms. I think Rudhyar's work needs to be 'stepped down', demystified, and a good place to start would be a glossary of terms.

 > >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.

I love hearing anecdotes about Rudhyar but I wonder whether buying a $4 suit has anything to do with purity of soul. I buy clothes from Goodwill all the time, and I aint got a pure soul!

 > >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.

Thanks for a great story about the man who had free will.

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

A very important point. Yes, freewill *is* within the reach of everyone, and it is this that astrologers should be passing onto their clients, as opposed to notions of how bound they are by their fate.

 > >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 >

I think it is in the making of a decision, any decision, that we are exercising our freewill, regardless of whether we can follow it through. Freewill lies in the simple act of *trying*. Just exercising our freewill doesn't mean we can guarantee a certain outcome. Perhaps that's the part we surrender to God-Goddess/Mystery/dare I say Fate.

 > >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.

Yep, and perhaps the devotees and worshippers at the temples of Astrologism might best be called astrologists!! If astrology does not qualify for religion status, I think it may just make the cult grade!

 > >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.

Point taken. Yes, I was ignoring history for a moment.

 > >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.

Well, if you make the connection, as I do, between astrology and religion, then the ultimate supplier is God. I think that, perhaps even unconsciously, many astrologers may believe that the 'word of God' is written in the horoscope, and what's more, that they can read the 'word of God' and convey to the client the nature of that word or destiny or fate. This is astrologer as priest or hierophant -- mediator between God and man/woman.

 > >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..)

I'm uncomfortable with these sorts of generalisations about men and women. Certainly, with a child, a mother will try to heal first and understand later. But I think a father will do the same. In other cases, understanding can be a *form* of healing, especially if one sees healing as a process rather than an end state. I know women who aren't in touch with their feelings or problems, and men who are, especially in this post-feminist world.

 > >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.

This depends on whether the astrologer is solely business-driven. There are astrologers who practise in the 'old' way, as a service, for the odd person who comes their way. Of course, then the bread and butter has to come from some other avenue.

 > >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.

Yes, astrology as religion! You're right about shrinks -- I didn't mean to denigrate the psychiatric profession when I made that comment. My point was more about the *expectation* on the part of the client, when it comes to visiting a psychiatrist, a priest or an astrologer. I think people are far more likely to expect something 'earth-shattering' from an astrologer, if not for any other reason than the astrologer's craft is shrouded in mystery, magic, myth, fortune, fate and all manner of star-spangled and cosmic stuff! We are dealing with the heavens after all!! Can you see the power that has in the layperson's mind??


I really wanted to reply to Cynthia and also respond to some of Dennis' post on holism, but that's enough for now.



Date: Sat, 19 Jun 1999 12:01:25 +0900
From: Candy Hillenbrand
To: Exegesis
Subject: "If I were a carpenter..."

Hi Cynthia,

You said:

"Surely not, Candy! Please say that you would not give up a 17-year practice merely because there are astrologers who promote, and pander to, the more deterministic slants of astro practice. If you were a carpenter, would you retire just because there are allegedly incompetent or unscrupulous carpenters also working in your neighbourhood?"

That statement, I guess, was an expression of a deeply-felt sense of frustration and disillusionment/disenchantment which I carry around with me about astrology. I am not in love with astrology as I once was. I think many people in the beginning of their astro studies experience this sense of enchantment with it. It can change your worldview, as it did mine. Now all that has passed and I have spent many years immersed in it and what I see now are the holes, faults, flaws and problems.

It's not so much that I have divided astrologers into them and us, the negative determinists and the enlightened whatevers. Although I admit I have seen far too many examples of shoddy and unintentionally unethical practise which do concern me. As an aside, I do believe that astrology needs to be regulated if it is ever going to be accepted as a true profession, along the lines of a medicine or law, with training at tertiary institutions, internships for practise, codes of practise and strict ethics etc..... But that is another thread.

It is the *determinism* of the astro worldview which I see as the 'problem', but I also see *all* of us as affected by this 'problem', not just a few. I think I touched on some of this in my reply to Bill. The reason why I talk about the way astrology is practised, is not so much to point the finger at a few who are providing the examples, but because it is in the *practice* that I see how the deterministic philosophy is manifested. I cannot see any way around this determinism however, and that is what lies at the heart of my own personal dilemmas about being an astrologer. I don't know if that's any clearer.

And you said:

"Yes, indeed. If you want to see the *culture of narcissism* in action, work a few psychic fairs as I once did! Scary stuff, kids! As for how the public in general views us, we must make allowances for the restricted and biased exposure the populist media has contrived (which is not to blame the chicken for the egg, by the way--or is that a tautology spawned by our culture?)."

Given that it is quite clear that we don't really know what we are doing [ie. we don't know how or why astrology works -- we just say "it works"] I am not in the least bit surprised that the general public is either suspicious or incredulous about what we do.

You also said:

"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 respect and attention at this crucial time of transitional change, a renewal, I should say, of our (renewed) respect and attention."

Hmm, that's an interesting way to look at fate and freewill -- as constructions. Well, taking that notion on board would put paid to a lot of religious tenets and much of astrology as well!

The second half of your sentence likewise fascinates me and I confess I am grappling to understand it. Can you define "meta-subjective" for me? And can you also elaborate on what you see as "this crucial time of transitional change"?

And you said:

"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...or the phone rings, or the dog barks, or something.)"

Actually I'd like it if you *did* mention semiotics and deconstruction because this is an area that fascinates me and about which I'd like to know more. Like Bill, your posts send me to the dictionary [not a criticism btw -- I like being stretched to look up and learn more words -- I love words after all!] but sometimes I am none the wiser even after visiting the dic. Like "SEMIOTICS" --"the theory and study of signs and symbols, especially those with social relevance". I have no conceptualization of what the academic study of Semiotics may entail, but from that definition, it certainly sounds like it could be applied to astrology in some way. So tell me more, as long as you don't mind more questions like -- what does *that* mean? < g >

Sleep well too, Cynthia.

 > >From the other side of the world where it's still morning,



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