Exegesis Volume 4 Issue #57

From: "William D. Tallman"
Subject: Second pass through V4 #52, #53, #54 and #55

Exegesis Digest Mon, 12 Jul 1999

Date: Thu, 1 Jul 1999 23:40:20 -0700
From: "William D. Tallman"
To: Exegesis
Subject: Second pass through V4 #52, #53, #54 and #55

Well, I guess I can't resist detailed commentary, regardless of the consumed bandwidth, so here we go a second time.

In V4 #52 Candy said:

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

I'm not surprised, as this is the response I seem to be getting from everyone. Perhaps it will turn out to be so, I don't know. I'm using the term in a deliberately abstract sense here: a mechanism is a complex of functions that are connected by some process by which an effect is produced. Nothing is implied about the functions themselves, about the nature of the connections, or about the effect produced. All I'm saying here is that *if* astrology is valid, i.e., it does address some measurable and definable effect, then we can assume, for the sake of some initial guidelines, that the effect must have a mechanism of some sort that produces it.

The reason I'm doggedly pushing this piece of heavy luggage is that it is nearly always the discovery of a mechanism of some sort that provides the answers to the questions that require them. The mechanism can be mathematical, like the Maxwell Equations that describe the phenomenon of the electromagnetic field, or they can be observed and tested, like some of the new findings in neuroscience that answer quite definitively some of the insights provided by psychology that were suspected, but never demonstrated. In either (or any other such) case, it is the ability to manipulate the mechanism directly and test our understanding by observing results that provides a very much more robust understanding that can ever be gained by the use of statistics, clinical evidence, philosophical logic, etc.

If those latter are all we ever wind up achieving, then it will not be because we didn't try to get it all; it will be because we didn't have the tools to do so, or to see how to use the ones we had.

Does this make sense? I hope so, because this has been a source of discomfort for a lot of astrologers, I suspect. If I have made myself clear enough here that the use of the term "mechanism" starts being rightly understood, then at least we will have made *some* headway here!

< recognize the need to find the "mechanism"... >

 > >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.

Determinism is the doctrine that holds that the motives for action are regarded as objective forces acting on the individual, or more generally, that there is a causative process at the root of all activity. I don't understand how this doctrine can be refuted, at least in the main. An implicit alternative, that motives are *not* objective forces acting on the individual, is solipsism; all that exists does so within the (interior) reality of the individual, and so motives are subjective, rather than objective. Solipsism has had a somewhat pejorative taint, or so it seems to me. I don't know whether they generate a dual that is useful to us, but perhaps it's worth a thought or two.

I must say it seems to me that neither of these views are particularly useful as they are customarily presented; i.e., they are definitive instead of descriptive, and so are mutually exclusive. In my view, there are motivations that are objectively generated, and there are motivations that arise from within the individual. There are some number of different types of relationships between these two motivation sources, as far as I can tell.

Astrology, both as it is practiced now and quite likely as it has always been (responsibly) practiced, is a construct that allows these two types to interact in a rational manner. There are always external forces at work, which we interpret directly as motivations; there are likewise always internal forces at work, which also take the form of motivation; much of these, it would seem, are intended to work around or gain some freedom from those external forces.

Having said this, I also acknowledge that there are forces both internal and external that are not viewed or interpreted as motivational in nature. It's up to the individual to perceive and decide these things. As far as I can see, this is yet another aspect of the fate/free-will debate.

 > >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
 > >practice astrology.

Yep, I think you are right. And I think it's really time that we all admitted that we really *don't* know what we are doing, because it's only then that we will accept the option of endeavoring to find out what we're up to. The reason we practice astrology is because it works, and it's just that simple. For those people for whom astrology doesn't work, there is no question of such practice, they have no reason to do so. I would also suggest that there are some people (none of *us* of course... < grin > ) who practice something that is recognized or advertised as astrology, but that is not. What that might be is beyond the scope of my remarks at the moment.

 > >>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.

I suspect that the problem here is exactly as you state it. Determinism is used interchangeably with fatalism, and that's clearly a bad practice. I've already held forth on this subject, but here it seems necessary to consign this problem to the philosophy of astrology *as it is practiced*. Perhaps we should include this in the curriculum of astrology!

[snip my remarks]
 > >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"?

Here's one:

 > >>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.

Yes!! It is the view that we must assume intrinsic positions, where one view contains nothing of the opposing view, that creates all the fuss and furor.

There is a custom of sorts here that I believe is responsible for a lot of this problem: Someone, or some collective effort, generates a procedure, a point of view, etc., that is useful and powerful enough to warrant a label in reference to the likelihood of reuse. Then, whatever is so labeled, is taken beyond the initial context, where it may or may not have some power or appropriateness. At that point, the label itself becomes the tool by which this usage attains an independent status.

To the extent that this usage is elaborated upon and explained in more general or universal terms, it becomes a candidate for a philosophical point of view, and inevitably acquires adherents that view the universe, their environment, and themselves (to some extent) through the lens of that philosophy. There are consequences of this: the view through this lens becomes restricted and the ability to recognize the reality of the universe and the environment is debilitated, and so the view holder becomes defensive or aggressive the his/her adherency. It doesn't take too long before the view becomes the only valid one in the eyes of the adherents thereof.

This is why I customarily do not put forth my views with the use of labels, and why I go to some pains to clearly state those views without reference to an established vocabulary. And that probably goes beyond the proper area of response to Candy's insight, but I'm often disposed to take advantage of any convenient platform from which to preach.... < grin >

 > >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.

The point of my argument, actually, was that those who subscribe to one of the more common western religions have been told in no uncertain terms that their fate rests in the hand of the deity of interest, and the only influence they might have is in (somehow) pleasing that deity. In more recent times, it is (it seems) generally thought that the deity holding one's fate is beneficent in nature, which would seem to tend to relieve the concern about one's fate, at least to some extent. Nevertheless, there is no real discussion of free will as a viable option, as the exercise of free will is rather markedly equated with the path to perdition, as it were.

The assumption that astrology is at the foundation of a religion has a very deep and abiding basis, and the course by which it has done so is generally through Wicca (Goddess philosophy) and/or through western metaphysics. The problem is that it is not really clear what this says about astrology; it may be that, through these lineages, astrology might be considered a bit more deterministic than one might currently accept in comfort.

 > >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.

Okay. Lead off!! The source material is generally available and follows the two lineages I mentioned. In general, one is female oriented and the other is male oriented. In the last analysis, however, I believe they come out at a rather complementary place, where there is a deep recognition of the absolute need for the co-existence of male and female together.

"The lucky maiden who's virginity is taken by the stag-headed god, and who then becomes pregnant thereby, is thought blessed beyond all measure, for she will give birth to an extraordinary being, 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?

As I said: the nature of the astrological paradigm is in fact deterministic, and I for one don't see why that needs changing. All that is needed is for astrologers to get busy learning how to offer options and choices for effective responses to the objective forces. This is not a matter of philosophy as much as it is a matter of the reason for the practice in the first place.

I get the vision of astrologers who delight in passing out prophecies of doom, while cackling dementedly that there is *no* escape, *no* means of successful response!!!! I guess I really have to ask, Candy, is *this* the sort of astrologers you see working in Australia?

As far as a shift in consciousness is concerned, it is boggling to contemplate.

Ever read "Childhood's End" by Arthur C. Clark? Science fiction, of course, but an incredible exposition on one possible strand of human evolution. It becomes very clear that we will not remain as we are now, nor are we likely to be able to recognize what we will probably become, as it will be novel/uncomfortable/painful for us to see ourselves as we are now after we achieve that evolved state.

There is an enormous amount of development needed to really transcend our current views, and I'm almost certain that it will require some rather radical physical development as well, so I dunno...

 > >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].

Ahh, yes, and now we reach the heart of the matter. In fact, we can almost always do quite well with traditional astrology because it shows the path of least resistance, the most effortless way, etc. Whether or not this is a matter of refusing to exercise free will is a separate question, though; it would require a very careful definition of the nature of free will. More about this in a moment. As far as astrologers doing this *just because they can*, I have spoken of the avenging angel in rather passionate terms, and I mean them just as much now as I did then or ever will. It constitutes taking advantage of others for matters relevant only to the self, and that cannot be interpreted in any manner as a fair exchange. That's a rip-off. It's a power trip at the expense of others, and it puts us all at risk, for we never know when such things will accost us. As far as I'm concerned, these sorts of people need either treatment, or banishment from society. Argghhhh!!!!!

Concerning free will: I think we all know that this topic has concerned more philosophers than just about any subject that concerns the human animal. There have been lots of observations about free will and a fair amount of separation into philosophical schools of thought, each having, in the last analysis, a value roughly equivalent to the fit of a suit of clothes. Those who engage in the use of such schools appear to wear the philosophy that makes him/her the most presentable and comfortable. The result, I suspect, is that this is why there has been no resolution, and that is obviously relevant to our discussion here. I think we need to continue this matter.

 > >>Now, what Candy is on about is not the technology, or the theoretical
 > >>base,[snip]

 > >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.

As I said, I blundered in misrepresenting Candy, my apologies.

That our mindset influences our clients is always evident, although probably not to the extent that Candy points out. Nevertheless, she is very right here. I suspect, however, that I might vary from her approach to a response to all this.

This is why astrological philosophy in theory and practice needs to be a fundamental and integral part of any astrological curriculum, and I think there needs to be world wide acknowledgment that to deliberately perform to the detriment of the client should be grounds for excommunication from the astrological profession. This must, however, follow a thorough-going effort to establish the relevant curriculum. This sounds ridiculous at this point and rather arrogant besides, but one does observe that professional organizations do just this sort of thing in order to keep the profession itself of dependable value.

In addition, I would be all for identifying any school of astrology or astrological practice that does *not* actively include such a curriculum and making it known world wide that this school does not conform to and therefore is not recommended by the world wide astrological community. Again this really sounds arrogant, but does it nevertheless make sense, Candy?

 > >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?

Hence, schooling in astrological ethics of practice, etc.

 > >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!

I think we're getting a little far from the issues here. How do we, as astrologers, regard the whole of everyone's life experiences as the result of beneficent guidance? I don't think we can do that.

I recognize the connection of Goddess worship to astrology, even though I'm probably of the wrong gender to fully appreciate it; to some extent it is practiced to the detriment of the male gender, and that makes me understandably uncomfortable. I know that there is a very well meaning movement to make a religion of astrology, but I don't understand it well enough to comment, I suppose.

 > >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?

Heh!!! I can only imagine a "recovering devotee of a vengeful God" as an astrologer, I'm afraid. I don't have to imagine one as a client, though. Had altogether too many in my practice to have to imagine it.

For a large percentage of our practice, the Judeo-Christian tradition is operative; it does, of course, support religious fatalism. One has to do what one can on one's behalf before the deity, but ultimately the deity decides one's fate.

 > >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.

I'm not at all convinced that this is actually the case. I think there are two factors at work here. 1) We hear very loudly about all the unsupported predictions, and wrong charts, while there is never any mention about those that are right, so we come to the conclusion that none exist. That's an unsound assumption. 2) We do not put forth the effort to learn the skills of prediction, do the work of establishing a private test record and all that, and then when we cannot predict all unprepared and untrained, using techniques that were developed deliberately to make prediction impossible, we say that prediction itself is not possible, even in principle. This is also an unfounded assumption.

We want prediction to be impossible because we don't want the responsibility of making them, in short. We bolster this with all the reasons we can assemble that can be construed to support the idea that refusal to predict at all protects the client somehow; we do this while ignoring the demonstrable fact that there are many other professions that offer, essentially, predictions about all sorts of things, some of which are profoundly important. My question is: why are we so special?

 > >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.

Well, I have to disagree here. Most real clairvoyants don't have a belief system in these regards, except that if the experiences persevere it's usually because they've discovered there actually is a tradition, most often in the family itself.

There are professional charlatans who claim clairvoyance, and I do not include them in my remarks. I'm talking about the people who would rather not have to deal with this, except that it happens, and who are usually scrupulously ethical in their lives and so are really concerned about these matters. Very often, they are "church ladies" who do not advertise their gift at all, but about whom some few friends are aware. In these regards, there is no question about what is going on, in general, because it has to be really vivid and detailed (and usually recurring several times) before they get mentioned at all.

In these case, it turns out that the number of misses is rather less than those of hits, unfortunately.

[snipped and inserted out of order]
 > >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.

These are the people I'm talking about, Candy. Indeed the ethical issues are greater for these people, and so it is perhaps relevant to investigate how they handle these things. See, that's not another thread, actually; it's the one I've put forth all along! < grin >

[back to astrology...]
 > >>When one foresees 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.

Well, I certainly hope that a death prediction happens that rarely!!!

 > >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.

I imagine that you're right, but I'd also assert that much of what our culture is all about has to do with fear in one guise or another. I don't see astrology as special at all in this regard. Governments exist as a result of the fear of anarchy and tyranny. The military exists as a result of a fear of military domination by others. Insurance exists as.... and on and on!

In fact, fear is now generally regarded as the most powerful signal of a threat to survival, and so probably intrinsically pervasive all by itself.

 > >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.

Yes, caveat emptor. But the issue here is what is appropriate for the astrologer, or clairvoyant? I suggest that this question has already been answered by the time it has been decided that the client might do well to be informed.

 > >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.

Yup. The ones that advertise usually are bogus, so I've discovered.

 > >>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?

Certainly an astrologer can see such things, Candy, it's a strong part of the astrological tradition. The question is: what does one do with it? Again, the astrologer who makes hard and detailed predictions, at least using the usual techniques, is only going to make a fool of him/herself. There are detailed traditions that appear to have a rather strong probability, or so I've discovered. The problem is that they never work out exactly as one might see them, and so we get told..."Nope, didn't happen". What we *don't* get told is what *did* happen, perhaps the client never connected with the prediction. So the thing to do is to get the client to understand what *sort* of thing to expect, and it becomes like any other warning, like "don't drink and drive!". No one knows exactly what is going to happen because lot's of people get away with it all their lives, but some unlucky few do not, but we caution against it, legislate against it, etc.

What is the difference? We can understand the *mechanism* by which the drunk gets in an accident, but we cannot understand the mechanism by which the astrological function works its effect.

Now we are back at the original question: what does one say and when does one say it?

 > >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.

I am suspicious of rules that have more exceptions than observances. Astrologers may be renowned for making just anything fit, but that doesn't represent me. In the classes I taught, one of the subjects was rectification, and I presented some of the basic techniques, told of my experiences and then told them to be active in doing rectification. Reading from the wrong chart does no one any good, least of all the profession itself.

 > >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.

I guess I would suggest that this is an area of astrology that you don't believe works, and so you don't use it. I think, however, that you are probably indulging in unfounded advocacy to assert that it works for no one. None of us have any means to make any such judgment, except as we can rely on our own experience. This is why we shouldn't judge what others can or cannot do unless we have sound data in that regard, and why we shouldn't make sweeping claims about what is or is not possible as well.

 > >>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!

As I said, I blundered here.

No offense, my dear, none at all. That you are passionate is understandable and more than acceptable. Better that than some sort of vapid dithering about what might or might not be, etc.

[snip some of the post that extends these themes] Now, all this started with my reply in V4#45 to something Dale spoke of in V4#44. Dale used the example of a Saturn Return (note spelling here carefully), to which I replied:

 > >A Saturn Return has some definable orb of influence and so is going to be in
 > >perceivable effect for some space of time. The focus on time of exact
 > >transit is obviously not relevant in the case of a Saturn Return. I don't
 > >know, and have actually never met, any astrologers who would put a precise
 > >time on a Saturn Return!!! The very thought of that is laughable, sorry...
 > >Are there really astrologers out there who would do something like that?

Like an automaton, I duplicated Dale's spelling, totally unaware of what that meant. So Candy replies:

 > >>>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.

Second blunder!!

My comments in my last post are sufficient here, I think. < grin >

 > >>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.

This is pretty much how he expressed his vision through astrology. There were other concerns expressed elsewhere. I bow to your views here because they are better informed than my own, and do not conflict therewith.

 > >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.

Here, I think I would caution that there are other aspects of all this that need to be taken into consideration regarding Rudhyar. He had a vision as a young man, and though he never really spoke of it in detail to me, certain aspects of it became rather clear, especially in his art work.

It was Theosophy that provided him the contexts for his ongoing work, and he had to come to California to get it. Now, Theosophy is the result of the work of Blavatsky, as I've said, and it's probably appropriate to speak somewhat of it.

Blavatsky, during an excursion in northern India, was supposedly taken by some guides to a place where she met some people who introduced her to other people who were in the habit of leaving their bodies around in caves whilst they did their business. These guys were called the Ascended Masters, and they had a (number of) brainloads of information for Blavatsky to transmit to h. sap. Blavatsky spent the rest of her life dealing with all this, as one can imagine, and her circle of "co-workers" were instrumental in founding the Theosophical Society on her death (approximately, as I recall). Literally, "theosophical" means the wisdom of the deities (gods?). The Theosophical Society still exists, of course, and I have no idea of its current state, but what is important here is that Rudhyar found confirmation of his vision in Theosophy. That very probably meant that his vision fit rather well with Blavatsky's description of the Ascended Masters. One might wonder if Rudhyar was ever able to identify his vision as having involved one or more of these A.M.s.

Incidentally, Alice Bailey was a temporary secretary to Blavatsky one summer when she was young. Later on in her life, one of the A.M.s came calling (the Master D.K.) and told her that it was her turn in the barrel, as it were. Bailey put out some pretty good stuff, in that it is somewhat more systematic than Blavatsky's work, I think.

Rudhyar's paintings were *very* much like Indian (India, not Native American) holy art work. There were descriptions of chakrahs and energy flows and mudras and on and on. One had to recognize what one was looking at, but there it was. There was no doubt at all that Rudhyar not only knew about these things, but that they were a reality to him. Unfortunately, I was not privy to his art at the same time I was acquainted with him, so I had no reason to ask in these regards. I do remember his music, though (heard him play the piano): very purple and deep, and evocative of these flows of energy.

That's not relevant to the discussion, of course, but I thought I'd share something of Rudhyar as I knew him.

[snip more stuff about Rudhyar]

 > >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.

The problem is that they then turn around and expect it handed to them on a platter! When they fail, as they must when they put forth no effort, what do they do then. What do we do for them, assuming we ever see them again?

 > >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.

Yes! Trying is exerting an action in an attempt to manifest a decision. Whether the effort succeeds or fails is beside the point, it establishes a claim to the possession of personal will.

I also suggest that *personal* will may not be the same thing as *free* will; that'll start a new discussion, but perhaps that will be a part of the work to closely define what we mean by "free will".

 > >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.

Yep, you're quite right, and I should know, having seen this sort of thing. And the result is that we are right back to fate as determined by a (presumably benevolent) deity. This is more insidious than older forms of this practice because it pretends not to be what it actually is. There is no question of free will here.

 > >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.

Well, the exceptions define the rule, I suppose. Nevertheless, I express my experience for what it's worth.

 > >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.

Well, I would suggest that the ethical businessman has an edge over those that aren't. The ethics tend to promote repeat business, which reduces the need for advertising etc, etc.. Astrology as a business is not exempt from these considerations. The only problem is that there are probably a number of astrologers out there that wouldn't know what to do with repeat business!! R/returns, progs, directions..... well, transits are another matter and then there are some number of other techniques that are appropriate. It used to be that this required a *lot* of hand calc.. still have my math tables!!! Now, computers spit it out in seconds. I'd really be curious to know how many professionals on this list have repeat clientele for whom they perform these services.

 > >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 *know*!!! But that's exactly what I'm trying to get away from, Candy. I don't *want* to dazzle them with mystery and magic and stuff. I just want to give them decent value for their coin! I can do all that other stuff in different venues quite easily, but it just confuses the issue during a session. I know you are probably right, but can you see why I really don't want astrology seen as a religion? It just adds stuff that makes it all so much harder!!!!

Thanks, Candy, your posts are so worthwhile! I suppose you and I will argue some of this stuff for a long time, but in the process, we expand each other's views. What I would *really* like to see is someone who is lurking out there step forward and contribute here as well. Anyone out there who would like to do this?

I think I did as well as I could with V4 #53, except for Dale's post.

Dale said:

 > >>When you're on a tear (relatively speaking) no sense in slowing down.
 > >I argued in my response to Dennis that symbolism doesn't work. Being
 > >defensive about being so out of step with what "everybody knows", I was
 > >more contentious than I realized. Sorry, Dennis. I might end up
 > >apologizing to you, too, Bill, because I intend to carry my seemingly
 > >nihilistic project a step further by citing and commenting on some
 > >intriguing remarks you made [4/19] in early March in addition to your
 > >comments addressed to me in [4/45].

Nahhh... even when you are contentious, you are never arrogant, and that makes all the difference in the world. You never have to apologize for passionate argument of the matters under discussion.

 > >In the earlier post you commented that "there is, so we are told,
 > >*always* one or more configurations in power", and you mentioned also
 > >"the common experience of astrologers of having given a very sound
 > >'reading', that is, demonstrably applicable, from a horoscope that is
 > >wrongly erected, or erected for a time/place other than of given
 > >interest..." Some might disagree with these observations but I won't,
 > >because I've long held them to be true. (Candy has said something
 > >similar a couple of times, too.)
 > >
 > >But in making these observations you raise a problem, how do we
 > >know which of the many right answers astrology offers is really the
 > >right one, that isn't in my opinion successfully resolved by asserting
 > >that some astrologers, due to their supposed innate sensitivity to
 > >the astrological mechanism, have "a knack for choosing the valid or
 > >meaningful thread(s) to follow". Your assumption that some astrologers
 > >have this knack follows from your assumption that successful prediction
 > >has occurred and needs to be explained. I think a better explanation
 > >of apparent predictive success is hindsight, which as Mark Melton's
 > >sig pointed out during his brief stay, is an exact science.

Umm... I didn't intend to resolve that issue with that assertion, actually. It was a suggestion for further discussion and a speculative link between intuitive and technical astrological practice. This could explain how some *individual* astrologers have unusual successes, but it doesn't speak to wrong charts.

I've said that I do not agree with the practice of stuffing a wrong chart into a reading by meaningless generalities or claiming origin of what the client has revealed. I've said that I have more than once ended a session when it became evident that the map didn't describe the territory. This is what rectification is all about, and it seems that is not largely practiced now.

That successful prediction has occurred has been well documented, although more so in mundane astrology than in genethliacal. I have had occasion, as I've said, to have made successful predictions, although I did not declare them to the client. At that time, and to some extent still do so, I held that to predict was to rob the client of the strength gained by dealing with life directly. It was a position I held rather passionately, but that was a long time ago.

So, for me, successful prediction is not an issue, hence I assert it as a matter of fact, not assumption. That others cannot verify that (claimed) fact is a source of a great deal of trouble, obviously.... < grin > I willingly accept that (probably) most astrologers, especially those with intelligent critical facility, will not accept my assertion and claim that it is instead an assumption. For those, it would be so, of course.

 > >It's striking how little genuine prediction astrologers actually
 > >do. We mostly deal with known events. When considering an event
 > >we appear to assume that if a significant configuration was in effect
 > >at that time, and if the symbolism fits the event, that's "the" time
 > >period and event astrology indicates and would have predicted if we'd
 > >applied it before the fact. So we tend to see it as a prediction,
 > >sort of, because we see it as what _astrology_ predicted, whether or
 > >not the individual astrologer saw it or got it right.

Oh yes, certainly! This is the "astrology is a valid (whatever) because it did/showed (whatever)" procedure. As you rightly point out, it is meaningless. The question is, how *do* some (very few, actually) astrologers actually get it right? To assert that none ever do begs the question.

 > >When we do make an actual prediction it often takes the form of, The
 > >president will be in the news this month. Since the president is in
 > >the news every month the only meaningful part of such a prediction, the
 > >personal, national or global crisis he has to deal with _this_ month,
 > >is unfortunately the part we don't know until after the prediction has
 > >"come true", at which time those "details" become in the astrologer's
 > >mind something akin to "what I meant".

Astrology as entertainment!!! Well, it sells, and that's what counts to those people. It's another variation on stuffing the chart into the reading. I doesn't do astrology any good at all, as many have argued. It's an extension of the Sun Sign astrology argument; Sun Sign astrology can deliver some very general information but not enough to warrant the detailed sorts of "predictions" we see in the newspapers. The actual case is, I'm almost certain, is that what they are doing is using Solar charts and reading transit configurations as well, which yields a little more information, but still not enough to be really meaningful.

On the other hand, I have seen times when the readings for one or another Sun Sign clicked with a person for a period of time, often being off by one or two days in either direction. Reading for one's Moon Sign can be interesting as can reading for one's Ascendant... coincidence? Don't think so, although I can't back my hunch here.

 > >Predictions in other contexts are similar in that the prediction
 > >is capable of being "confirmed" by a wide variety of possible events.
 > >Usually it's vague and open-ended, but even specific but apparently
 > >wrong predictions can be salvaged. The predicted death didn't occur?
 > >Of course it did. It was the "death" of a dream, a way of life, a
 > >relationship, etc. Thus, death is invoked _metaphorically_ in a way
 > >that obscures the fact that we really had no idea what was going to
 > >happen.

Yep. This is so true.

There is, however, a rationale to this that I think is quite valid, Unfortunately, all too often it is not made clear to the client up front. The reasons for this may be that the astrologer actually doesn't understand the function of metaphor (which is quite understandable), or it may be that the astrologer has some other agenda. In any case, your observation points out something that should be discussed.

Jeez, Dale, you have this habit of raising real issues of substance, and then there is yet *another* thread to address......LOLOL!!!!!.... < sigh >

Okay, I'll take this one on, as it has a lot to do with the mind/brain aspect.

 > >Finally, consider the astrologer/client interaction: "She told me
 > >things about me that _nobody_ knows!" But the _client_ knows, and
 > >neither realizes how much the astrologer picks up from body language,
 > >by reading between the lines, and more or less directly via client
 > >"feedback". The astrologer throws out vague generalities that sound
 > >specific and the client, knowing his or her own past and self and
 > >seeing it in those generalities, excitedly confirms, offering details
 > >that the astrologer then comments on more fully, in a back and forth
 > >process in which neither realizes how much is coming from the client
 > >rather than the astrologer.

Yep. This is how the "psychic Hotlines" work. The idea is to dazzle the client with mysterious abilities and skills, etc. It obviously has a lot of hype. On the other hand, I've known people who worked those lines ($15.00/hr and one does not have the time to eat or take a bathroom break without signing off and then back on... if there is a slot open, that is...). Some of them were pretty intuitive (psychic?) already, and they said that a concentration heightened it. Some were card readers, and I'm here to tell you that not all card readers are bogus... although some obviously are < grin > Again, this is a matter of misapplied "scientific skepticism": if we don't know how it works, it doesn't work, or: we don't know how it works, therefore it can't work and so it doesn't work.

How do we as astrologers who have had dependable successes feel about that sort of logic aimed at us?

As for myself, I always told the client, the more I know about you, the better I can translate what knowledge I have into a form meaningful for you. So the back and forth process does go on, and that works very well, in my experience. What is unethical as hell is for the astrologer to let the client think he's getting something he's not getting. And besides, that sort of thing gets in the way of the process itself. The client has to know that this is what is going on and why it is going on. What the astrologer does is point out features in the territory that is the client's life, that are neither immediately obvious or easily accessible in understanding to the client. In the modern practice of genethliacal astrology, this is what we get paid to do, I submit.

 > >These are of course caricatures of actual practices, which are
 > >often more sophisticated and subtle than such a crude account might
 > >suggest, but I think astrologers overwhelmingly follow the pattern
 > >they illustrate, in which the astrologer unwittingly covers all bases
 > >in advance without being aware of that fact or its implications.

The signal response that told me I had a matter nailed was when the client would say.. "Well, doesn't everybody do that?" and I could answer, "Nope, you are the only person who does it exactly like that, although a few others may do it similarly. And they would get this silly grin on their faces as if they'd really discovered for the first time they were unique and not the result of a bunch of other people's fantasies. Great response. That's how explicit I was. I would typically describe by exclusion: you see/do it this way, and not that way, do you see that? OH YEAH, you're right!!!

 > >The implications are that we can make anything fit and that astrology
 > >(in its present form) essentially predicts all things at all times
 > >and therefore nothing at all. From my perspective symbolism is
 > >merely the most important of a set of practices - a multiplicity of
 > >factors and techniques and an ideology that invites us to "use what
 > >works for you" are others - that are collectively the _means_ by

You are describing the worst practices of astrology, Dale. No wonder you've got real problems in those regards!!!

 > >which we can make anything fit. Which brings me to your more recent
 > >post, in which you quote part of my post to Dennis:
 > >
 > >>>All this is relevant to William's quest for a mechanism because
 > >>>symbolism enables us to "verify" things that aren't true, thus
 > >>>creating a spurious range of applications that astrologers assume
 > >>>a metatheory of astrology must account for. The bottom line is,
 > >>>if we can't demonstrate the existence of _regular_ correspondences
 > >>>between celestial and terrestrial factors we have no basis for
 > >>>prediction, and thus no way to differentiate sense from nonsense.
 > >
 > >to which you reply:
 > >
 > >>In principle, it seems evident that if one cannot demonstrate the
 > >>basis for the validity of a practice, one ought not use that principle.
 > >
 > >My point is that if we can't show that B _regularly_ coincides with
 > >A we can't argue that it _predictably_ coincides and, more to the
 > >point, we have nothing _to_ predict.

By the way, I meant to say: one ought not use that *practice*.

I do understand your point. But even though it seems to stubbornly make sense no matter what you do to it, I have come to suspect that the reality is quite a bit more complex than that. But first, we have to acknowledge that we haven't a clue as to what is going on when we practice astrology, and so we've got no idea what parameters are relevant to testing such assumptions.

What we need is a reasonably sound looking theoretical structure to begin testing. Andre said this, and I agree.

 > >>I agree about the dangers of the use of symbolism. Symbols as a study
 > >>is a profoundly important discipline, but the use of the 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.
 > >
 > >I think many astrologers besides Dennis would deny that his usage
 > >was "outside the closely defined parameters of its validity", but
 > >at any rate my point was not that Dennis or any other astrologer is
 > >misusing symbolism but rather that symbolism itself, in anybody's
 > >hands including yours, is the problem you allude to above. It's the
 > >main reason we can make anything fit. And if we can make anything
 > >fit chances are we're trying to explain facts that don't exist:

Well, I dunno. I suspect Cynthia would have a lot to say here, and I'll leave that to her. But I would once again state that there are, or were for me, rather well defined limits for the assumption of a valid reading. And rather than force a fit, as I've said, I'd regard the chart with suspicion. I suppose my symbolism was fairly pedestrian, but it worked. When it did not work, I figured I had the wrong data and that meant the wrong chart. The technical aspect of astrological interpretation, once one gets the hang of the structure, is really simple. I could and did hammer out a tutorial in nearly one sitting... It's on my website, and although a lot of folks think it's dry, there are others that have discovered that applying the archetypes simply meant that one has to do the work of discovering how they manifest. The work of doing that is what goes on in a session: I supply and explain the archetypes as they are configured in the client's chart, and we talk about (client tells me) the client's life, and in the process the client comes to understand him/herself in a deeper and more orderly fashion, comes to recognize the basis of uniqueness (the validity of the self in its own terms) and some number of other feel-goods, for which I got paid, a request for a return session and very often a big hug to boot! (...occasionally from guys too... California, don'tcha know.... < grin > )

That's how my practice went, and I did it by refusing to compromise in these several matters.

Sorry, Dale, I don't mean to imply that aspersions have been cast on my practice, because I brought it up myself. What I was trying to get across is that it simply is *not* that hard to practice astrology. What one has to do is be completely forthright and honest with the client, and then lead with the heart, if you know what I mean, just as you would do with a friend. If you do that, people will open themselves up like a book, and all you have to do is write your commentary in the appropriate places for them to read. No bullshit, just folks.

 > >>>Trying to explain facts that don't exist means looking for a
 > >>>mechanism that doesn't exist. Not only is it a futile endeavor,
 > >>>it obscures the possible existence of a real mechanism capable
 > >>>of explaining facts that actually do exist. (If you want to
 > >>>know what kinds of facts I think _do_ exist, see my response
 > >>>to Rog.
 > >>
 > >>By 'facts', do you mean the assertion of undemonstrated
 > >>correspondences? I would caution that a failure to demonstrate is
 > >>meaningless; it only speaks to the protocols and methodology. What
 > >>is needed is a positive demonstration of an exclusive finding,
 > >>and that can serve, if properly used, as the basis for determining
 > >>falsification. One cannot prove a negative.
 > >
 > >Yes, I mean the assertion of undemonstrated correspondences, but
 > >how is a failure to demonstrate meaningless? If you can't show what
 > >_regularly_ coincides with A, what is there to predict? Shouldn't
 > >we determine what is predictable before we predict it? How, in the
 > >absence of demonstrated correspondences, would you do it?

A failure to demonstrate is simply that, a failure to demonstrate. It can mean just about anything, that is, until the source of the failure is identified. Sometimes it isn't, and the exercise is filed under (we hope we eventually learn something from this!?!?)

What you are asking about here is the source of all this activity, and that is the establishment of a theoretical base, from which hypotheses can be developed and made testable. The criteria here is that hypotheses be falsifiable, and that they yield meaningful information. This is just plain ordinary science, no capital letters, just good sensible investigatory work.

It's the theoretical base that will yield this information about what should be predictable and how it should be predicted, etc. Andre made the statement that we *must* establish a theoretical basis for astrology before we can proceed at all, much less any further. I agree wholeheartedly.

If a fairly thorough investigation of the theoretical base doesn't yield usable results, then it should be put on the shelf (not discarded, because it may only be flawed) and a new one constructed on the basis of what has been learned. So much for the testing of correspondences.

What we *really* need is some work done in the area of the physics of astrology, or so I would think. If that could yield something, we'd stand a better chance of developing a stronger theoretical base.

 > >Indeed, one cannot prove a negative, and if we take that as a
 > >criterion of validity, that something can be considered true unless
 > >disproved, it basically licenses us to believe anything we want
 > >to, regardless of evidence (since absolute disproof is impossible).
 > >
 > >I know what falsification is, but it's not clear to me what would
 > >count as a "positive demonstration of an exclusive finding" that
 > >would serve as the basis for "determining falsification". It's not
 > >a finding but a prediction derived from the theory that's usually
 > >considered the basis for falsification, or testability. If "B
 > >coincides with A" is derivable from the theory, then we test that
 > >by seeing if they coincide _predictably_, and one instance of B
 > >and A isn't enough to tell.

Oh good lord, no! That criterion of validity is exactly what has caused us so much trouble: "Nyeah, nyeah, nyeah!! You can't prove it ain't so, so I can do whatever I *wanna* do!! So there!!!" Sound like a kid? Yup, and that's basically been the attitude of the "you can't teach me anything I don't wanna learn!!" type of astrologer... well, "astrologer". In this matter, a thing can be said to be neither true or false, except as supporting evidence of some kind exists in either regard. This inevitably leads us to look at the record of practice, except that with very few exceptions, there isn't any!!!! No theory, no clinical data, and we've got not a thing to confront that sort of stupidity. < getting stiffly off that horse before I ride off and get lost somewhere >

Yes, finding is the generic term. If the finding is consistent with a prediction, then to that extent the hypothesis is confirmed. One test is one confirmation, which serves to suggest that further tests are warranted. Testing to the extent of satisfying statistical requirements is another step. Testing to the extent of yielding hard information in the details of the findings is yet another step, because that leads to further hypothetical work, etc. You, of course, know all this, but I include my remarks for the record. < grin >

 > >In my response to Rog I tried to show what kinds of facts I do
 > >think exist:
 > >
 > >>>Imagine, then, that while no specific event or outcome regularly
 > >>>coincides with, say, the Saturn Return, there nonetheless appears
 > >>>to be a similarity of experience from person to person. I think
 > >>>this is more likely . . . for those astrologers who don't visualize
 > >>>their return as having happened last Wednesday or last week, but
 > >>>as a year or two period. A few astrologers have suggested that
 > >>>what is predictable about the Saturn Return is our agenda. I
 > >>>think they're perceptive but submit that "motivational state" is
 > >>>better, as our agenda is to a considerable extent a reflection
 > >>>of our motivational state. It's what we _want_ to do or have
 > >>>happen.
 > >
 > >to which you replied:
 > >
 > >>. . . I don't know, and have actually never met, any astrologers
 > >>who would put a precise time on the Saturn Return!!! The very
 > >>thought of that is laughable, sorry...Are there really astrologers
 > >>out there who would do something like that?
 > >
 > >I see your question has already been answered. Hi, Candy.

Will blunders never cease!!! LOLOL!!!!!

[snip technical discussion]
 > >I see this nesting of episodes within events, with each episode
 > >in turn being an event containing its own briefer episodes, as being
 > >equivalent to the way a battle is an episode in a larger event, the
 > >war, while containing briefer episodes, skirmishes, which contain
 > >still briefer episodes, the acts of individual soldiers. The briefer
 > >events, in turn, manifest the larger events of which they're a part.
 > >Individual soldiers fighting is what _manifests_ the skirmish as
 > >an event, without skirmishes there is no battle, and without battles
 > >(in some sense) there is no war. Likewise an astrologer might,
 > >during his Saturn Return or (more likely) during Saturn hard-angle
 > >the Asc, begin to see himself playing the role of professional
 > >astrologer, and during a Mars/Mars transit make a decision to put
 > >an ad in the yellow pages and start taking clients. That Mars-timed
 > >decision would make sense against the background of the shift in
 > >self-image timed by Saturn, and it would at the same time be a more
 > >immediate manifestation of it. As a result the astrologer's new
 > >daily routine will involve taking phone calls from clients, setting
 > >up consultations, referring clients, etc., all of which will be
 > >a concrete embodiment of his new self-image.

Ummm... Dale, is this autobiographical? Good stuff, though. And the nesting/embedding idea is interesting.. will have to think about it. I had a different model, though similar, but lets go on...

 > >I'm afraid I don't find parans particularly plausible, although
 > >I can't completely dismiss the possibility. Basically, I'm reluctant
 > >to proliferate factors and techniques.

I differ, but that's an individual matter.

 > >Let's talk about mechanism, then. I think we should start with the
 > >question, what correspondences _are_ there and how do we know? Rather
 > >than taking the symbolistic fit as a _de facto_ indication that a
 > >correspondence exists, we should consider that two factors go together
 > >only if they regularly and predictably _go together_, that is, coincide
 > >again and again. You've suggested [3/54] that "if we accept astrology
 > >as the proper study of the relevance of the heavens, we might be
 > >well-grounded in an assumption that already-known celestial/terrestrial
 > >links are also a matter of astrology," and have also argued [4/3] that
 > >life is not "a prerequisite for the manifestation of the astrological
 > >phenomenon."

The first assertion was that all that now exists of astrology was far from what was, most of that is now a part of astronomy, astrophysics, celestial mechanics, etc. That there has long been an apparently robust practice of genethliacal astrology does not mean that's all there has ever been to astrology, or that it was until recently the most important application of astrology.

The second item was a question: is, or is not, life a prerequisite for the manifestation of the astrological phenomenon? I dunno!!! I think the question has the potential for revealing some important information if it can be answered.

 > >However, those inorganic correspondences that are well-understand
 > >are predictable on the basis of material causes rather than symbolism.
 > >Consider tides and seasons. When we want to predict the next high
 > >tide we don't set up a chart and interpret the symbolism. We simply
 > >note that the tide will come in when the Moon is overhead and go out
 > >when it passes on. What the Moon _means_ is irrelevant. Likewise for
 > >the seasons. We don't have to ask what the Sun means. We need only
 > >know that we get more solar radiation in summer than in winter.

Okay, Dale, but we have to remember that our main means of checking on all this is our own experience, which has been in the tradition of genethliacal practice, and that means that we have to take into account *at some point* the significances of all these matters. But at this beginning point, you are quite right. And the consequence of that is that we have to put the entire astrological tradition on the shelf for the nonce. It only applies to the various practices and not to the theoretical essence itself.

 > >With organic correspondences, in contrast, material effects don't
 > >determine the specific nature of the regularity. As the Moon passes
 > >overhead the tide comes in and the oyster's shell opens, but gravity
 > >doesn't physically open the oyster's shell the way it raises the
 > >waters. Instead, the oyster _uses_ the Moon's pull as a signal to
 > >tell it when to open itself. That's the implication of Frank A.
 > >Brown, Jr.'s Evanston, Illinois experiment, in which oysters opened
 > >at what would have been high tide if there'd been a seashore there.
 > >Life has been able to use the planets as templates for the evolution
 > >of functional systems whose timing corresponds to planetary periods
 > >but whose content, the recurrent function or behavior, is determined
 > >by evolution, not by the planets' symbolic meanings _or_ material
 > >effects.

Yup, Gauquelin referred to Brown of course, and his works was high profile some time back. The problem has been that there is no leading insights, or so I understand it.

Now, I read with interest your description of evolutionary templates, and it sounds quite reasonable. My question is: does the actual position of the planet of interest form a handle on the template? Or is my question clear? If not, I'll restate it until I can make it make sense?

 > >The oyster's program directly causes it to do appropriate things
 > >at appropriate times, whereas ours accomplishes more subtle ends with
 > >motivations rather than automatic responses. Motivation is the
 > >psychological equivalent of force in physics. It's what gets things
 > >done. Both motivation and automatic behavior get things done that
 > >need to get done for the organism to exist and move through life, but
 > >the former allows for a vastly more complex repertoire of behaviors
 > >and the necessity of choice. It doesn't determine a specific outcome
 > >but requires that the organism create a response to satisfy a felt
 > >need, with the need, not the response, being predetermined (although
 > >we can of course note which responses are common and/or apparently
 > >positive or negative).

Okay, good job. Here, motivation is a good usage because it doesn't carry a bunch of psychological baggage. Your account supports the data as I understand it.

 > >If you want to consider inorganic correspondences "astrological",
 > >then, so is the material causation that accounts for them. Since you
 > >already know about material causation and haven't offered it as the
 > >answer to your question, I assume you're looking for something in
 > >addition to it, which leaves whatever mechanism(s) we use to explain
 > >organic correspondences. If the question is, what causes them to come
 > >into being in the first place, the mechanism is biological evolution.
 > >If the question is, why do the events or motives comprising a given
 > >correspondence pattern keep occurring on schedule, the mechanism is
 > >the inherited genetic program and associated neurobiological processes
 > >that trigger activities or needs. If the question is, by what means
 > >does the organismic clock use a planet to reset itself or otherwise
 > >stay "on time", the mechanism is the material interaction between the
 > >two, including the biochemical means by which the organism is able
 > >to use that interaction for its own "purposes".

Okay, material causation: the Nile rises yearly, astrological? the crops are best planted at a certain time: do we need a calendar? Etc. Yes, but I've sidestepped this because it's already been coopted by conventional science, and I don't want to confuse the issue.

I'm not certain that leaves us at the doorstep of organics only, especially given all this new stuff about life in the volcanic vents at the bottom of the oceans! Not to mention the stuff they're finding at the bottom of gold mines in bedrock so deep it's at the level of a gold flow!!! Way too much stuff coming up now to say anything about this... and this probably affects my original question itself by making the dividing line between organic and inorganic very much less clear.

"Oh all ye carbon units!!! Know that thou art *not* alone on this planet, for life based on other elements doth exist contemporaneously!!!" I'm just waiting for that to happen < grin >

And as far as evolution is concerned, I suspect that Lamarck will get his day in court once again. The fact appears to be more and more clear that we are quite capable of rather facilely adapting our very genetic structure to external stimuli. I was privy to a rather amazing demonstration of cellular adaptation, where the nucleus was described as less of a brain than a memory storage, and the enzymatic structures in the cell walls actually did the controlling in response to external conditions... all demonstrated to the molecular level and shown to be, not analogues thereof, but actual semiconductor devices!!! It was fascinating.

 > >Bill, I wasn't what talking about what clients expect but what
 > >_astrologers_ expect from astrology. When I say, "They want to know
 > >why the taxi they were riding in crashed," I don't mean they want
 > >or expect ultimate answers. I mean that they want to know which
 > >astrological configuration explains/predicts/accounts for the crash.

Well, okay, I can understand that. This is professional interest, I must assume. In my experience, the current astrological formulas will not give that sort of information. There are some that will, but they must really be well understood, and that's damn difficult if one doesn't actually have the material available. I was very fortunate to have a mentor who had access to material that, so far as I know, as never been on the market, never been published in full. My experience was that I really didn't know enough to trust the systems, and although they seemed to work as I used them, I never did enough work with them to have confidence in them. The more important point was that those systems didn't give me the sort of information I was looking for. I think that's the important point here. What is driving this curiosity? Is it professional or is it something else?

 > >My point is that the things I listed and a lot more that I could
 > >have have nothing to do with astrology and that trying to conceive
 > >of a mechanism to make sense of them is like trying to explain
 > >how it is that cows can jump over the Moon. If we limit ourselves
 > >to mechanisms that show how _natural_ rhythms whose existence can
 > >be demonstrated correspond to planetary periods, material causation
 > >and biological evolution are it. Since the former is apparently
 > >not what you've been looking for (even though it's by your own
 > >definition an "astrological" mechanism), that leaves the evolved
 > >systems by which organisms use planets to regulate the internal
 > >clocks that time their processes. Hope I've added more light than
 > >heat to these discussions.
 > >
 > >Dale

Thanks, Dale, and you *have* added light here. I suspect that the templates get close, but that there's a lot more that we need to know about how they work. Clearly we can't assert simple gravity, as there is much too much noise in that regard, unless we can discern how a signal can be pulled from the mud. Common schemes include timing signal correspondences and amplification of expected input etc., allowing for the signal to be revealed in the differences, etc., or something like that, perhaps... in any case, maybe this does suggest a direction.

And then, there is Andre's latest post to consider. It does address the basics of a lot of these issues, and we'll have to look again at the techniques appropriate to investigating astrology.

I do enjoy debating with you, sir!!

Then, in V4 #54

Andre opened up with another classic post that I called "The Sleeper Awakes"

I said I had no comments at all, and then I went ahead and made a couple. Well, I've some more, inevitably. < grin >

Andre is talking about his thread with Dale, and he sums with these points:

 > >a) astrology is *not* 'fatalistic' in the way that most astrological
 > >discourse presents it to be, which is as if the planets apply some kind
 > >of "force" which 'compels', or even for that matter, 'inclines' us to do
 > >something related to the nature of the planet(s) involved. The usual
 > >notion seems quite physics-like - planet *acts* on human/other
 > >organism/volcano etc. which is then caused to do such and such, or
 > >planet acts on *environment* to make such and such happen to person.

Concise observation of both the lay and the Science communities' assumption of what astrology claims to be true.

 > >b) rather, I think both Dale and I are suggesting that (one aspect of) our
 > >*perception* is being altered. Specifically, the way we structure
 > >private time. Whilst there appears to be an *obvious* relationship
 > >between astrology and time, I believe that locating planetary cycles as
 > >'clocks' within the cognition/perception of the person (and any other
 > >organism with a lifetime or life cycles that meaningfully approximate
 > >planetary cycles) actually has profound and radical implications about
 > >how we structure reality itself, into "chunks" of time. I don't think
 > >this is causal as we *usually* think of it (the discrete event that
 > >sticks out in the foreground, as "The bump on his head was ample
 > >evidence of the power with which she had thrown the ball to him"); it
 > >*is* causal in terms of *background* factors - the structure or schema
 > >we wrap around reality and the events we perceive or pay attention to.

I suspect that our perception as causal here is neither necessary or sufficient. Obviously we lack the necessary tools to address all this, or else we don't see how to use the tools we do have, and we assume that our observation of the astrological phenomenon is the only tool we have. This may or may not be true, but I think it does not follow that this tool is a fundamental part of the astrological mechanism itself.

To place causality on a "background schema" (my quotes) rings quite true, though. I've suggested elsewhere that the mechanism is almost certainly contained within a common embedment situation. Our perception of this may well be a critical factor in our response to the astrological phenomenon, however.

 > >In my case, I think of transits as literally opening the mind or
 > >'consciousness' (and body) to things of *corresponding* natural periods,
 > >and closing it to other (non-corresponding) things. In effect, we are
 > >restructured. So the 'influence' may be *profound*, yet not *compulsive*.

Well, to me this is about as close to saying that transits are an actual influence without saying so as one can get. < grin > The description of the process, however, is insightful. < he intuits without quite knowing why...yet >You guys are getting awfully close to something here.... < intuiting again, grin >

 > >c) I think events and astrological influences are completely unrelated.
 > >[Obviously, the two may be *indirectly* related, simply because
 > >many/most events that we experience are *social* - products of social
 > >action. For this, statistical models may be quite fruitful]. Of course
 > >given (b),
 > >and as Dale has explained many times, under given transits we will tend
 > >to *notice* certain types of events. As Dale has said, that doesn't
 > >mean those events aren't present at other times! It's just that when we
 > >notice them, *then* we often say they have "happened" to us. The
 > >relationship between events and consciousness may be subtle and often
 > >indirect: suppose Saturn transits Mars, and I start spending a lot of
 > >time climbing ladders, and on one of these occasions (still during the
 > >transit) I fall off the ladder. Was the "significant event" that I fell
 > >off the ladder (perhaps even breaking a bone - classic Saturn/Mars
 > >imagery)? This is certainly what we tend to remember, and report! Or
 > >was the significant event simply that I began a lot of new activity (which
 > >happened to carry an element of risk and hence the fall)? This, we tend
 > >to *not* report - it is a "background" factor. This is a biasing
 > >influence in astrological observation!!! It shows we need to have a
 > >clearer idea of what we mean by an "event" anyway...

This is not necessary, and I expect it's not sufficient as well.

Arghhh... I can't remember where I said what any more... but I'm sure I just got through saying somewhere that I've long had a hunch that the holographic phenomenon was a function of fractional dimensionality (fractals). I have never taken the time or made the effort to pursue this, but now seems the time to do so.

The valuable attribute of the hologram is that the whole is contained in any given part, although the detail seems to degrade as the part gets smaller. In fractional dimensions, for certain values this is also the case, except that the detail does not degrade.

What happens if the value is a variable within some range, and is affected by some sort of iterative process... or some other process.

Andre, am I anywhere near the parking lot, much less the ball park here? If so, we might have some notion of what actually constitutes the astrological mechanism, although we'll not (yet) have the tools to understand what we see.

Just a thought.

And then Cynthia asks Dale about his post, and I'm probably out of turn jumping in here, but... < grin >

 > >>If the question is, what causes them to come
 > >>into being in the first place, the mechanism is biological evolution.
 > >>If the question is, why do the events or motives comprising a given
 > >>correspondence pattern keep occurring on schedule, the mechanism is
 > >>the inherited genetic program and associated neurobiological processes
 > >>that trigger activities or needs. If the question is, by what means
 > >>does the organismic clock use a planet to reset itself or otherwise
 > >>stay "on time", the mechanism is the material interaction between the
 > >>two, including the biochemical means by which the organism is able
 > >>to use that interaction for its own "purposes"
 > >
 > >If the point of italicising purposes here is to imply its cognate, needs,
 > >then could I also supply "question" in its place, questions being part of
 > >the neurobiological process of complex homo sapiens, or perhaps one of the
 > >results of that process, and if I am permitted to do that, could I then
 > >generate a plausible argument for horary astrology? One must assume, of
 > >course, that horary is related to astrology. I've met many astrologers who
 > >adamantly exclude it from good ol' genethliacal practice. Whether you
 > >personally agree with this or not, Dale, objectively speaking, could horary
 > >predicate its existence with your commentary as a starting-point?

I would suspect that you've put your finger on something here, Cynthia. The problem is that it's almost certain that these two mechanisms are widely divergent in principal cause. The oyster responds to gravitational pull, or so we think, and we all argue that the human response to the astrological effect is or must be something different. That may not be the whole of the matter in either case, however.

First of all, horary is most definitely an astrological practice; about this there is no question. The tradition of excluding it from genethliacal practice is well established, although some recent practitioners link them in various ways. I agree with the tradition.

Gauquelin speculated that the mechanism, in genethliacal application, involved somehow the body's ability to vary it's genetic configuration, and this seems more and more plausable. Essentially, we are talking about adapting to the celestial sphere. This makes as much sense as any other idea, I think.

The tradition of horary seems to state that the question expresses the "nature of the moment" as defined astrologically, and would suggest that these matters also somehow conform to celestial configurations. What is not at all understood is how that might be.

I think the key here is that horary *always* involves the querant and the astrologer, and has to do with matters relevant to human beings. The question cannot come from a non-human source, according to tradition, that is. What else is involved (Where are my car keys? Does my boyfriend have another lover and is it my best friend's sister?) may or may not be people, but the first two are required. A machine cannot (so far as I know) perform horary, especially for another machine!!! LOL!!!

If we are inherently sensitive to the celestial sphere, then so should our activities be, and therefore what questions we might ask. And that's the traditional explanation.

I have just put forth a notion that may or may not have merit, but at least involves concepts generally thought to be relevant to the astrological effect. If there exists such an explanation that we can understand, and I guess we're assuming we can, then whatever supports genethliacal can be assumed to support horary as well.

As an introduction to a subject about which I intend to post soon, let me also point out that astrology itself is application independent. It can be applied to just about any terrestrial phenomenon that is in any way a function of human endeavor, probably including anything that is a function of life in general, although beyond that is .... Thar be Dragons!!!!

Did this make any sense, or did I just waste bandwidth here?

And I hope jumping in there was okay.... < grin >

And then, in V4 #55 Dennis said:

[snip post]

Well, I'm not sure what to say, Dennis. You had made what I thought were some rather radical statements about important issues, and so (I thought) I invited you to bring forth the relevant cites and quotes in support of them so we could generate a substantial dialogue.

For whatever reason, I seem to have upset you. Sorry!

Anyway, comments anyone?



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