|Exegesis Volume 4 Issue #71
Exegesis Digest Fri, 17 Sep 1999
Date: Tue, 14 Sep 1999 09:46:08 +1200
From: Janice & Dennis
Subject: postmodernist response to Ex4/67
In Ex4/67 Bill Sheeran wrote the following:
Is there a difference between archetypes and archetypal forms? I think this is an important point when considering astrological symbols. Do they generate the natural forms and processes, or are these revealed by the symbols? Can astrological symbols be considered to represent archetypes? A wall is an archetypal Saturnian form. The archetype might perhaps be described as a non-manifest principle of limits, and is mapped onto Saturn, which is then mapped onto the wall. Is the wall generated and shaped by Saturn? Or are Mercury, Mars, Moon, Venus also included in the equations, symbolising the thought, imagination, action, aesthetic sensitivity, need for the wall, etc. And yet the wall is not an archetypical Mars or Mercury form. [Bill]
To the first question, I assume the answer is yes. There appear to be generative natural archetypes that emerge in the process of the holomovement, and in so emerging perform their inherent function, which is to give form to natural processes. Our perception of natural forms that result from the processes of nature is aided by the familiarity of recognition that results from similarity of patterns. This memory-facilitated perceptual correlation is, to me, explained by presuming that a common archetype underlies the similar phenomena.
I guess it is worth restating that this hypothesis is metaphysical; unprovable in terms of the fading paradigm of old science. To Bill's second question: I would not presume that astrological archetypes generate natural processes or forms. Why not? Well, no reason to do so. Sure, I do correlate the Jupiter archetype with the growth principle, for instance, and the lunar archetype with biological function, Mars with energy and Saturn with structure etc. The planetary archetypes do appear to operate in such a way as to produce development in nature as well as in culture and psyche, but it seems that they are merely parts of the holomovement. The number archetypes (one to four, six, eight, and perhaps the others up to twelve) appear to play a more primal part. As to the remaining part of the question, the astrological symbols indicate fundamental features of natural forms and processes. These features all seem to be active, which, since the universe is not static, is probably no surprise. However, since each feature we perceive (to which we apply a planetary symbol via subjective correlation) is only our perception of the manifestation of the archetype, the attribution of activity, or dynamism, or influence or motivation, is really to the hidden archetype that underlies the feature.
To Bill's third question above: of course. At least, this only seems obvious to me because that's how I learnt to understand the astrological belief system from Rudhyar's books during the last Jupiter/Saturn conjunction. I guess this question implies semiotics, and the essential separation between signifier and signified is not evident to some astrologers. Bill's illustration with walls is helpful, since most astrologers would just say walls are ruled by Saturn. I agree with Bill's implication that the Saturn archetype is merely the most influential in our perception of the symbol. I'd rate Mercury as next most apparent, as the informational component of the pattern. I'd be inclined to rate venusian and lunar features as aesthetic and functional respectively, but not to be assumed as present in the symbol. In fact, the same qualification must apply to Mercury. Such secondary archetypal influences must be context-generated, I suspect. Particular walls, I mean, when considered as symbols.
To conclude by extending Bill's logic; the imagination needed to conceive a wall, design it, and the energy to erect it, are consequent of the need for it, and all three considerations seem to be essentially context-dependent. Yet presumably each archetype emerges from the realm of potential, via the process of the holomovement, so it seems we must conceive them as existing prior to each manifestation. The answer to Bill's fourth question must address the components of the context, because we relate meaning to the whole when we imply or formulate our common understanding. People A need a wall, people B design it, people C erect it, and people D have their environment shaped by it. I have phrased this so that A/B/C/D may be singular or plural or identical in any particular manifestation. The various planetary archetypes we have mentioned, and perhaps others, emerge in the various people as required to achieve each result. Since a wall creates a binary spatial division, the number two archetype also plays its part, as obviously the number one also does in completing a whole wall. It seems to me that the answer to the fourth question (does Saturn generate/form the wall?) is largely yes. This answer is derived primarily from D, secondarily from A. The impact on culture derives mostly from the resultant experience of the wall by anyone who sees or uses it. The structure produced is, however, designed to meet a prior need. The need for a spatial separation or boundary can be generalised as cultural (rather than personal) in most instances, so it seems to me that the Saturn archetype normally manifests in the community context to produce a wall. Thus A. It certainly tends to be experienced as a limit or blockage by anyone trying to walk through it, thus D.
Bill later wrote: "I don't think paradigms are constructed. I think they emerge despite resistance from consciousness." Right. I guess I meant the intellectual formulation and description of a paradigm is the product of artistry. My mistake, confusing the form with the pattern that produced it.
Bill then wrote : "I'm more interested in the role of "paradigmatic guidelines" in facilitating the development of astrological theory and philosophy. It's not that they don't exist. They're simply not in focus, and are submerged beneath the dominant scientific paradigmatic consensus. Bringing them back into focus is what is required. They can only be tested within the context of the paradigm itself. We don't know how to test it if we haven't defined to ourselves what it is. In other words, what is astrology? ... The fact that astrology evolved away from divination towards an astrology of causes is an indication of how astrology's form is modulated by cultural evolution. Astrology's function is now different. In the past, it was a product of the need to establish and maintain order in the early days of patriarchy. Now it's all about self-development. In my thinking, astrology is intimately connected to humanity's pursuit of order in a world of change."
Well, okay. Perhaps the paradigmatic guidelines can be identified in the most evidently consensual interpretive practices of astrologers. Such doctrines of herd behaviour in the astrocommunity would be planets as psychological drives, internalised Graeco-Roman gods/goddesses, rulerships etc. What is astrology? Not unified enough for a single answer. Cynthia was right to suggest several months ago that (paraphrasing) it's a signification/decoding system. For interpreting (Gaian/terran) time, presumably. I'm not so sure about any perception of cosmic order in classical times. I agree that the patriarchy required it to be optimised, for more efficient management and exploitation, but the Olympic pantheon was a bunch of loose cannons and their anarchic behaviour a model of order only in comparison to, say, the Norse pantheon.
> >And what if astrology actually is potentially a relatively universal
> >language? Relatively universal is a contradiction in terms......
Yeah, but indulge me. The English language hasn't got the words yet for this extremely powerful and relevant concept! Let me illustrate: it is relatively universal for a human being to have but one head. Nonetheless, two-headed people do sometimes get born. One of them I saw featured on the television news 3 or 4 years ago, born in Iran. "Chalk one up for Nostradamus", I thought. So you can't say single-headed people are a universal feature of humanity. Almost. I chose my phrase deliberately to illustrate, via what might seem a paradox, a category of near-universality in polarity to a category of rare exceptions. If Rudhyar was right and astrology is a language of the psyche, and if the components of the psyche are universal to all humans, then the language of the psyche is potentially comprehensible to all humans. The supposition really hinges on the reality of the astrological archetypes. If valid, the communication of the concepts is then limited only by individual comprehension (of both the language and the concepts). So I guess I was trying to suggest that in future cultural cross-fertilisation may produce sufficient commonality for this to happen, (much as the equations Venus = love, Mars = war did) so that only the illiterate, traditional, or inadequate in each culture do not enter the global conversation that may result. Given that fads & fashions snowball globally real fast these days, the scenario is not as futuristic as it seems. The leading edge of it is already evident on the internet, and only residual totalitarianism in backward countries is preventing more rapid escalation.
> >I mean, if we agree on keywords that accurately convey the
> >essence of the archetypes with the same (or very similar) meanings in
> >different cultures. [me] It will still depend on what the keywords mean to the astrologer - i.e. on their interpretation of the meaning of the words. Science is not burdened with such problems. x = x . [Bill]
Sure, that certainly is currently a major problem. I must confess my bias here: I consider most astrologers to demonstrate gross incompetence in their failure to consolidate a consensual grasp of keywords. But, to recycle Bill's earlier point, perhaps the commonality will emerge despite self-indulgent idiosyncrasy. Emergent phenomena, qualitatively new, the law of large numbers...
> >So how do you see your scientific expertise applying to the subject matter
> >of this list, Bill? The most important aspect of my experience as a scientist was in helping to refine my ability to ask questions and to think. This eventually resulted in me abandoning science, as I realised that science is very restrictive in this regard. A side benefit has been the recognition that science is wearing a completely different set of clothes to those which it advertises. It has been valuable spending time on the inside of that particular "church", as it means that I am quite aware of the way scientists think and work, have had the opportunity to perceive first hand its limitations. In debate situations I am not intimidated by their dogmatism, which as an astrologer I find a real bonus. [Bill]
Good to hear all this. Although a mere graduate, I've long felt the residual benefit of instilled disciplines and learning skills, the short-comings and benefits of scientific scepticism. Ideology handicaps astrologers as much as scientists, it's just more obvious with the latter. The peer-review process seems to have had its credibility shredded by covert ideological warfare in recent decades, not to mention institutionalised fraud becoming so prevalent as to result in books being published by disgusted insiders to publicise the phenomenon. Scientists seem as flaky as astrologers. I've found having a foot in both camps is no picnic: building a bridge between them antagonises both.
> >Do you then come here as a
> >generalist, like me? The world sure needs lots more generalists (still). I'm not sure what you mean by generalist.
Opposite to specialist. A specialist is expert in a tiny arena of knowledge, but this focus produces tunnel-vision which warps their perception of reality. Authority figures, they then pontificate in a pseudo-authoritative manner on arenas they don't understand, presuming it is valid to extrapolate logic from one domain to another. A generalist has studied general principles and the extent to which these can be found applying in different fields of enquiry. It would appear that Newton was such, and perhaps Einstein. However, I anticipate a broader trans-disciplinary view, and a bit of web-cruising has shown me that I'm not alone by any means. Smuts was the archetypal generalist, for sure, and Rudhyar followed his approach in developing his own theories. Bateson another, and his concept of metapatterns has more recently been extensively illustrated very nicely by Tyler Volk. General systems theory has not really achieved much, but it is possible that general principles are actually limited to the arena of metaphysics. Just as an example of what I think a generalist ought to be advocating: documentation of negative feedback processes in nature and human society, to further reinforce a common understanding of how stability of dynamic process results from incorporating negative feedback into the design and operation of the process. Relevance to astrology? Science? Ethics (accountability to the public). Relevance to Gaia? Global population stabilisation plus saving rain forests and limiting pollution via true-cost accounting.
Bill wrote: "I would argue that post-modernity is not innately relativistic. It's not that old notions of excellence or reality definitions are not correct, but that they are not absolute. There is a middle ground between universal absolutes and out and out individualistic relativism."
To get better-informed, I have since bought and read the 1995 book "Introducing Postmodernism", a collaboration of 4 authors, surprisingly good. My objections now seem misplaced, and I appear to be more of an adherent of this philosophy than a critic. I gather I was complaining about the common misuse of the term (much as I have been that astrologers misuse astrology).
Bill: "Post modern is a contradiction in terms. It is a transitional phase in the evolution of modernity."
I admit I adopted this literalist position initially. Technically correct, but perhaps it is more suitable to recognise the common usage as indicating a style of art, literature and philosophy. The viability of this hinges on how substantive the meaning is: is there a unique quality common to all three arenas of manifestation? If so, can different commentators provide descriptions of it that are sufficiently similar that readers will normally agree on the meaning? I've yet to see evidence that this is so.
Bill: "The question is whether or not astrology "works" when no significance is assigned to the birth moment, and other criteria are used instead. What's weird is that the answer to this question would seem to be yes."
Well, it works for each practitioner. And if their spell-binding expertise is sufficient then it works for their client too, I guess. I don't see how it can be said to work for anyone else.
"Again, this tends to focus attention back onto the astrologer rather than some kind of objective astrological mechanism which the astrologer has to submit to in order to get a correct reading." [Bill] Yes, the astrologer is actually not constrained by any requirement to be correct. To recycle my complaint about the common practice of postmodernism: the perceived need to be correct is now regarded as quaintly old-fashioned in the rare instances when it is even considered. The buyer-beware paradigm of market-forces is now the only accountability constraining the hallucinations of astrologers.
Bill wrote: "The hexagrams cannot be seen as generative causes, but are clearly signs (which reveal). And of course interpretation is clearly subjective. Any development in the understanding of the reality of the I Ching will have relevance for understanding the phenomenon of astrology, and vice versa. Perhaps we need a General Theory of Divination. Different modes of astrological practice can then be considered as special cases within this general model, each influenced by a variety of cultural factors. For example, we are so culturally obsessed with precision, causality and time that it doesn't feel right mentioning an astrology which dances to a different tune. It is difficult to conceive of other possibilities."
Well, society is no longer "culturally obsessed with precision, causality and time", not compared to the '60s. Corporations haven't used the time and motion study man for ages, not even as consultants. Media routinely avoid giving the time of an event they are reporting, and Time magazine often features major events without even giving their date. Technical precision abounds, indeed, but even sophisticated modern technology routinely malfunctions and users, rather than being obsessed with operational precision of equipment, seem more usually resigned to imprecision. As regards causes, journalists and politicians normally collude in taking mutual refuge from any public desire for explanation of such difficult things!
I think modern astrology has evolved in the direction of imprecision via market forces as part of the flow of the times. People have no time for worrying over how to get things right, so whatever happens on the day will normally do. Astrologers don't mind getting the chart wrong because the client will not be able to tell, and any discord of interpretation can always be fudged or massaged. The post-modern attitude is that meaning is relative to those involved in the situation at the time, so astrologer and client mutually reframe the subject in dialogue to suit whatever seems their mutual understanding in each moment. My bias has always been the opposite of this: search to discover and articulate the transcendental meaning of the horoscope. By this I mean the archetypal nature of the moment, as decoded via archetypes and keywords.
My reading of postmodernism suggests one substantive commonality: meaning is relative to the interpreter, so you are at liberty to choose your interpretation. Modern astrologers will feel reassured by this, as it would appear that they made the transition to postmodernism instinctively. But by taking such refuge in self-indulgent idiosyncrasy, they abandon any collective consensual meaning. If astrology is to evolve from Rudhyar's language of the psyche, into a global language for interpreting experiential time in various cultural contexts, then we must transcend postmodernism.
The best way to do this is not to reject it, but to acknowledge and retain its kernel of truth - that meaning is essentially ours as individuals. But internally we can consider this personal subjective meaning in counterpoise to the relatively objective context of cultural meaning. This internal subjective/objective polarity in the psyche is a generic structural feature. We all have it, but like other polarities in the psyche it is repressed, disguised or latent in many people. Some, archetypal cogs in the social machine, believe what society tells them to accept, and thus never evolve personal beliefs different to the norm. Others, archetypal nonconformists, reject societal norms and evolve personal beliefs opposing them, producing minority groups and conspiracy theories. The normal evolutionary path (latter half 20th century) seems to lead from the former to the latter.
Choosing to transcend this polarity of self/other requires conscious integration of personal reality in differentiation to the context of social reality. The latter can be represented by the ruling paradigm, which is indeed its most influential agent. Rudhyar, following Jung, advised this approach. I have found that it works, and it helps to retain interior Chinese walls between your personal reality and the collective realties (paradigms) of any group you join. Identifying with the group belief system will only get you trapped there. The group will become your prison, as we have seen commonly happens in cults (and in scientific disciplines). What is required here is an attitude that polarises (in the psyche) the subjective belief to any collective belief on a particular issue; the personal reality to the communal reality.
This internal referencing of any personal meaning to a relative societal context is an holistic exercise: it works via inclusion of both ends of the polarity. Following Koestler, this could be viewed as activating Janus, god with two faces, one looking forward, the other back, the archetype of dichotomy. This concept of internalised gods/goddesses in the psyche is perhaps too much of a postmodernist fashion trend amongst astrologers, but it has the merit of extending consistently Jung's logic. Such archetypes seem indeed to manifest as psychological drives, and the classical symbolism is essentially beside the point. Using Janus to relativise subjective and objective meaning produces (in the mind) integration of what had previously seemed irreconcilable. `Am I right, or are they right?' Caught on the divide of truth, we can use postmodernist attitudes to say `I believe I am right, but I accept that they disagree, and then there are also those others who I partly agree with'. Creating frames of reference like this within allows your psychic wallpaper to reflect the pluralism that exists without. Perhaps the more dimensions of meaning that are created internally, the more accurately you model postmodern society, and the better you flow with changing times.
As Bill and I have been discussing, the downside of pluralism is a mishandled relativism in which meaning has become entirely relative for many, devoid of any anchoring context. This appears to be a prevalent affliction, producing widespread alienation, degeneration of mental health and social climate and a partial return to barbarism in civilised countries. Any return to traditional values is impossible, since these are defined in terms of a society now gone, but it looks like contemporary analogues are emerging in the postmodern pluralistic context of the globalising of culture.
The appropriate anchoring context is nature; it provides a natural basis for the metaphysical foundations of any viable theory of human nature and experience of life on Earth. Astrology was reformulated in modern terms by Rudhyar, to provide a tool for individuation. Now we need to refine it further, so that it becomes applicable in postmodern terms in a variety of cultural contexts. It may then evolve globally as a tool for decoding social relations.
Date: Mon, 13 Sep 1999 10:16:26 +0200
From: Patrice Guinard
Subject: What is really astrology : Astral matrix & matricial reason in astrology
ASTRAL MATRIX AND MATRICIAL REASON IN ASTROLOGY
By Patrice GUINARD, Ph.D. (France)
(Lecture held at the Kepler Day International Research Conference, London, November 22, 1997. Thanks to Patrick Curry for his translation' s revision)
Astrology did not come into existence only by observation of the stars, but also by the questioning of the ego faced with human diversity, and its feeling of otherness : Why am I made this way rather than that ? The astrological consciousness does not come from a double acknowledgement composed of external observation and introspection, but rather from a general exterior-interior experience : it is in a single movement that I understand my being, the other, the outside world and their shared astrological roots. One only attains astrology through a shock, quite close to a spiritual "flash of inspiration", and by an intellectual and intuitive assent to the participation of each human being in the cosmic order and the wholeness of the universe.
One does not learn astrology : One receives it suddenly, not only by discovering texts and practices which have been marginalised by institutionalised knowledge which leaves aspirations unsatisfied, but above all, because one has lived at a time when the consciousness is seeking to know itself, generally during the adolescent period : a metamorphosis of its understanding of the universe and oneself. On the other hand, one learns not to "believe in" astrology, but to consider that this human millennial knowledge cared about the totality of its existential experience, and to repudiate the supersitious talk and counterfeit techniques which claim it for themselves. To think astrology is thus to think the structuring relation of the geosolar environment to the psyche.
Consciousness is immersed in a multitude of ideas, images, memories, information - and disinformation - issuing from the outside world or created by its own worry. This thinking is a field of forces with diverging orientations, eruptions and constant agitation. How can this chaos, which reflects the surrounding hurly-burly, be organised ?
Philosophical systems look for an unification by putting forward a perspective or a particular direction of consciousness. This is the reason why they are so dissimilar and most of the time characterise, as Nietzsche emphasised, the temperament of their creators. The science which invaded the ground of the speculative metaphysics that is now dying presents not a real unified perspective of reality, but rather instruments to analyse the outside world through fragmentation, measurement and experimentation on phenomena. It has substituted its disorientated objectivity for philosophers" organised subjectivity.
Astrology admits logically of three things:
1. The world of facts, concrete, objects, "experiments" - like the world of words, laws, mental representations - only appears to the consciousness thanks to the presence of a first, psychic, internal world which receives and mould them. The ideas of the mind are only created because of the apprehension of the outside world by an qualified interiority. Psychic states come before objects and words.
2. This interior world is in perpetual movement, in continuous stimulation by the planetary cycles. This is the reason why I call it psychic-astral, just as I call impressional (or astral impression, Paracelsus"s impressio) the mark of this psychic impregnation by the astral operators.
3. The impressionals differ from each other across structures. This structuration of the psyche occurs across four conditional milieux : energetically by the planetary Forces, in space by the Houses, in time by the planetary Cycles, and structurally by the zodiacal Signs.
The organic integration of the planetary rhythms, at level of the nervous system or the genetic code, a basic hypothesis of the astral reality, requires a category of entities - i.e. the impressionals - which report the astral to the consciousness. These unverifiable, imponderable incidences, which are too subtle to be exploited by the mechanism of logical-experimental thinking, are organised in the heart of operative structures by matricial reasoning. To these impressionals, which have been directly and internally experienced by the consciousness, are assigned symbolic or mythical archetypical forms, which resolve the psycho-mental imbalance provoked by the impossibility of finally fixing their characteristics. All that can be said about an astral impression is that it leaves a faint trace in the consciousness, a vague psychic colouring. The symbol"s function is to describe these introductory entities which are resist any attempts at determination, and to make up for reason"s inability to report on reality as a whole.
The astronomical signal is perceived as impressional and is expressed as symbol. The astral (the impressionals) belongs to the psychic, the astrological (the symbols and the operative structures) to the mental. The astral defines what is felt, lived, recorded in the psyche, fleetingly perceived, almost unnoticed. The astrological defines what is structured, moulded, belonging to a concept. This distinction is at the heart of the debate related to nature and the practical consequences of the astrological knowledge.
Astrology is presumed irrational, imaginary or improbable because of its inaccessibility to instruments of observation and because it cannot be analysed by the law of causality. Astrology as a science of imponderable, evanescent and imperceivable knowledge does not belong to the body or mind, but stems from their common root which lies "behind our eyes" (Paracelsus), not from beyond but from within an intimate, real proximity to ourselves, no matter how unfamiliar it seems.
Astrology has the function of determining the structural laws of interiority. Through its practical application through horoscopes, it is a tool in order to understand life: It punctuates the experience of consciousness, just like I Ching does. It has no immediate forecasting or divinatory consequences : First of all, because the expert is not capable of evaluating with certainty the importance of extra-astrological factors (biological, social-cultural, family related, professional, climatic...), but above all because astral incidence does not operate at the level of facts, events, the existential concrete, but rather at the level of their internal advent. It acts upon the link between what is felt and what happens. This is the reason why psycho-mental interpretation and the physiological explanation do not suffice to describe its nature. The idea of impressional frees astrology from subservience to an external psychology whether it is psychoanalytical, behaviourist, phenomenological, gestaltic or existentialist. It is now time for astrology to forge its own concepts.
Astrology, which developed itself as a philosophical conception at the heart of the Stoical universe and perhaps already among the first Pythagoreans, was the heir of logos as well as muthos. Its purpose was never for particular significance, as given by operators and astrological symbols but, through these meanings, to search for their underlying structures and their archetypical psychic-astral forms which are directly and internally experienced by the consciousness. The specific contents of the former derive from the frame which creates, organises and directs them. These operative structures, written in the psyche and animated by the periodicity of the planetary cycles, make possible the creation of "transcendental" ideas and give life to conceptual, mythical and symbolical representations. The latter are generally rejected by a reason which only organises itself on the surface of the speech.
Astrological thought does not drift away from reason in the name of a nebulous irrationalism making the most of a favourable environment (the crisis of modern consciousness, a complaisant feeling of absurdity...), but instead advises one to go to the limits of reason, to get access to a more ample rationality, to move to the "assembly point" (Castaneda) of the spirit which determines what we perceive and what we are led to know and recognise in reality. The intention is this psychic disposition which connects directly the human spirit to reality in its totality. The "small reason", which interferes with the connection, is a defensive attitude of the human spirit, the furthest and most sterile position from the assembly point. It is only a crutch for thought.
Astrology should measured against neither experiments and current scientific models nor reasoned through (Heidegger) by scientific criteria : It generates another type of rationality which is related to psychic states, not to ideals or physical objects. It works in groups not in elements ; it apprehends reality in its totality and through psychic-astral operators, in a transversal, not horizontal, approach. It belongs to an organicist rather than mechanist paradigm. It possesses its own logic, requirements and methods which one would be mistaken to describe as intuitive before observing them more closely. It possesses its own language, a "proto-language", which reports phenomena, in their totality and under a variety of aspects, the way they appear to consciousness. It develops a mode of proper reasoning - matricial thought - which is classifiable neither as scientific experimental thought nor with the discursive reason of philosophers.
It is because it generates a mode of rationality which is more inclusive (Karl Jaspers) than the scientific mode that it is particularly denounced by the allegations of scientists. Science presents all phenomena under the same perspective. Astrology manages its diverse perspectives while preserving the specificity of each, and conjugates them from the archetypical disposition of the mind, which implies an interiorisation of apprehended phenomena. Ernst J=FCnger points out that science " lets itself be tidied up without any difficulties and without losing any of its dignity within the astrological system, but not the other way round ". Indeed, Saturn is the symbolic operator which refers to science as conceived by astrology.
Charles Peirce specified in his work the necessary and logical existence of an ability of abstract observation which insures the coherence of apprehended reality and which allows us to " discover what should be and not simply what is in the real world ". This mode of apprehending reality corresponds to reasoning through abduction, able to identify an unverifiable reality. Abduction distinguishes itself from deduction - the typical mode of reasoning for formal logic (Aristotle, Leibniz...) - and from induction - typical of the experimental method. Logicical rigour testifies to the importance some spiritual thinkers attach to preserving what they call "symbolical imagination" (Henry Corbin).
Astrology does not exist because one still encounters nowadays supporters of horoscopic practise, but because astral knowledge is a particular type of knowledge - the result of the tridimensionality of reality and of the untouchable diversity of the human mind"s cognitive dispositions.
Indeed, reality appears to consciousness according to three distinctive modalities: as a sign, as an object, and as a state, or in other words as a mental, physical or psychic entity. One can conclude that, related to this distinction, there exist three major areas of the development of knowledge and three types of "sciences" covering them : the science of signs, historic-hermeneutical (so-called "social" or "human" sciences), analysed from gathering testimonies and interpretating cultural activity ; the science of objects, empirical-analytical (bio-chemical-physics sciences), which observes, measures, experiments on and models material phenomena ; and the science of being, psycho-synthetical (astrology and related sciences), which apprehends the reality through the totality of the psychic being.
Astrological understanding differs from the hard sciences" explanation as well from the human sciences" interpretation. In the astrological sense, to understand means reasoning by "abduction" ; it is to respect matricial logic. It is not about proving, it is about showing. No philosophical method, no hermeneutics, no analytical or statistical technique can report it without demeaning it. Astrology can only be defined in its own space : the equalitarian space of the qualitative potential of the consciousness. It does not concentrate on unifying the multitude of mental representations familiar to us, but on preserving the organisation of the multiple which is situated beyond those representations.
Many contemporary astrologers, stirred up by statistics and scientific rationality, are mistaken about the nature of the astrological knowledge in hoping for a "justification" of their practice from scientists. Statistics only offer the subject uncertain interpretations of partial "results". The inappropriate extension to astrology of methods belonging to physical sciences shows a misconception of the astrology"s nature and a misunderstanding of psychic reality. One does not measure the lunarity (moon quality) as one measures atmospheric pression. Instrumental methods provide mostly collateral information without any particular consequences for the studied area. It goes the same for encephalogram measurement as far as the content of dreams are concerned, or for the organic transformations resulting from the practice of yoga.
It is illusory to look into implementing an assertion such as " Aries is impulsive and quick-tempered " because there is no such thing as "an Aries". The birth theme has extremely diverse tendencies ; a pure Aries is only an image, a metaphor that astrology uses as such. The assertion itself is a metaphor : It is only related to other suggestions of that type : " Taurus is persevering ", " Gemini is persuasive "... There is no astrological utterance not related to another similar utterance ; so the question is not whether Aries is indeed impulsive or not, but whether or not an Aries quality exists and consequently could be detached from a Taurus quality, from a Gemini one... and from a Pisces one. In other words, it is only defined as impulsive in relation to eleven other qualities.
Astro-statistics does not grasp the difference between a fact and a symbol ; it isolates arbitrarily the elements and dischotomises a conception of reality essentially plural and matricial. In astrology, there are only differentiating structures. Astrology, whose discourse remains tributary to the linearity of language, can only express itself with indicative propositions, relationships between symbols which illustrate the operative structures. Its descriptions are a documentation which allows one to recognise and to understand the astral reality. The astrologer cannot question the "verifiability" of his propositions, but he can however reflect on the reliability of the matricial structures and on the relevance of the model he uses.
To this day, no model of causal explanation exists for astrology, and mechanist theories have all failed : the elemental model of Ptolemy, issued from astro-meteorological conceptions, the theory of the stellar rays from Al-Kind=EE, the model of the harmonics by Kepler, the recent model of Percy Seymour... Even if it is likely, as a last resort, that science could discover a geo- or bio-magnetical explanation to the nervous, cellular or molecular integration in the planetary rhythms of living matter, this explanation would neither be able to explain the psychic-astral transformations which occur at another level of reality, nor, as a result, legitimate any decisive particular implementation in the understanding of a birth-chart and the collective cycles. Moreover, the autonomy of astrology relative to the scientific field does not imply that it should be "anti-scientific", despite what some scientists claim.
Astrology does neither come from a logic of cause nor from a logic of the sign, but a matricial logic, that is, a logic of the forms and categorisations arising from psychic-astral states for which symbolical operators are only tools of expression. Their interpretation as synchronicity - a concept created by Jung in order to describe the "significant coincidences" between the psychic state of the observer and the demonstration of outside events - is no more acceptable than the explanation by energetic causality. Plotinus, whom Firmicus Maternus considered a foe to astrology, develops this sign-star conception : " The movement of the stars announces future events, but does not produce them. " These notions of star-as-cause and star-as-sign presuppose the parting of two linked fields : the celestial and the terrestral-human. In the first case, there would be influence, in the second coincidence, the latter being besides hardly imaginable without a certain efficacy on the part of the former. But in both cases, the star (or planet) is defined as exterior to the organism ; in both cases it is the landmark of an event, of a fact. These notions allow a divinatory practice of astrology that discredits it as a whole, inasmuch as it remains true that for two thousand years, astrology by itself has strictly not predicted any major political or cultural event. Worse : these practices only report very superficially the reality of the star signs and astral houses.
Matricial astrology differs by nature from divinatory practices : It has not got the same cognitive purpose and does not use the same psycho-mental dispositions. Neither is it more conjectural - which many practicians assert - than divinatory, just as its adversaries including Pico maintain. It gives an opportunity to see a reality which is continually present and familiar to consciousness, not to predict a reality that would be exterior to it. It is not astromantic : It stays related to the matrix logos - not only etymologicaly - without including the experimental nomos of astronomy or the augur manteia of divinatory practices.
Jung insisted on the fact that the principle of synchronicity does not explain anything, and excluded the possibility that it might apply to astrological reality : " One will do well to consider the results issued from the astrological theory as phenomena not related to synchronicity but possibly to causality. " The idea of a causal connection between diverse elements finds its origin in Joseph Rhine"s experiments on telepathy and extra-sensorial perception. The results of Jung"s statistical experiment on married couples must be interpreted according to him as proceeding according to the unconscious intentions of the experimenter. The statistical result 'wanted' by the operator would then be an imaginary projection of his subconscious. This disqualifies the implementation of statistics to astrology. Jung writes in his Correspondence (1958) : " The statistical verification of astrological "truths" is arguable and even unlikely. Their superstitious use (whether it concerns future predictions or the establishment of certain facts through psychological possibilities) is fallacious. "
The uselessness of Jung"s synchronicity notion as far as astrology is concerned renders derisory contemporary astrologers" haste to present it as essential and a panacea that justifies astral reality. Some even almost believe that it could justify the consultation moment. The way Jung defines it, it accommodates itself more to the I Ching and to horary astrology than the astrology of nativities. However, Jung, maybe through ignorance, never mentions interrogations in his work.
Astrology arises from a very different paradigm than hermeneutics or physics : One cannot conceive it by notions of coincidence of meaningful events or of influence from physical forces, but rather by notion of formative incidence, that is, by the structural effects of the impregnation of the nervous system by planetary cycles. There is no "external influence", but internal incidence. The astral has no influence on the physical : it solicits and fashions the psyche. This invalidates Augustine"s assertion, later re-used by Pico della Mirandola, according to which the astrologer is not able to predict the sex of a person from his or her birth-chart. The psychic-astral impression is not the physical brand of "influences", but an internal fugitive state. There is no imprint of the map or theme at the moment of the birth, but a conditional and occasional (in Malebranche"s sense) integration of differentiated endopsychic shapes which become real by their repetition and frequency. Understanding the astral incidence requires a systematic and rhythmic approach.
What are the consequences for the nature of astrology ? It is not a science since it does not depend on the verification principle ; its models cannot be "falsified", although they are far more than the statements of Popper"s literature. It is not a revealed religion because it neither supports any dogma nor any particular belief; it does not recommend any ritualist behaviour in the face of life. It is not a philosophy because it relativises the value of a rationality whose ultimate criterion of certainty is evidence. But it is at the same time a certain type of science, of religion and of philosophy : in other words, a conception of reality which requires techniques of precise specification borrowed from astronomy ; a conviction of the resonance and repercussions of the geosolar environment"s rhythms on the psyche ; and a specific form of rationality admitting as a precondition the structural differentiation of an archetypal matrix. It answers neither to experimental reason, nor to faith, nor to discursive reasoning, but to matricial reason.
It seems that it would appear to be a religion, that it expresses itself through metaphysics, and that it is a critical science at its core. This is because of its triple nature, and it is because of this that it has been perceived at the level of knowledge, and as a rival to philosophy, and to Christianity and to science ; that it has been successively fought against by Greek skepticism, by the Church Fathers and by modern rationalism.
The matricial judgment differs from Kant"s "synthetic judgment" by its demand for distribution according to numbers and reckoned data, and by its objectivation of reality whose immanent order it reproduces (even if this order belongs first to the human psychic structuration). It is not rational but metarational, that is, it does not suppose adequacy between the concepts and the objects of the given experiment, but a formal coherence of internal-external experience of reality expressed in symbolical terms.
The equality of the matrix judgment, that is, the objectivity mode of the qualitative repartition, differs from scientific objectivation mode : experimental logic decomposes reality and gathers up the phenomena according to quantitive criteria ; the matricial logic divides them up according to qualitative criteria. This dividing issues neither from a philosophical type of reflection upon ideas, nor from scientifically experiments upon defined objects where one observes variations, but directly from the mind. The repartition appear to consciousness following the continual stimulation and psychic structuration by astral impressions.
Matricial reason is not a type of occult quality that only astrologers own. It operates at all levels in the thought, and in philosophy in particular : for example in Pythagoras, Democritus (criteria of differentiation in atoms), Hippocrates (moods" theory), Plato, Aristotle (theory of the causes of movement), Damascius (unity theory), Raymond Lull (theological combinatoire), Nicolas of Cusa (theory of the ten wisdom fields), Paracelsus, Campanella, Kepler, Descartes (method rules), Leibniz (universal characteristics), Kant (category theory), Hegel, Fourier... As soon as thought does not proceed only from discursive reasoning but also from its deepest resources, and as soon as significant distinctions appear, whose origin is not recognised by discursive logic, it functions within a matricial mode. Those distinctions come from an archetypical repartition, by threes, fours, eights, tens, twelves... of the psychic-astral nature which conditions the matricial judgment.
The astral matrix is first of all structured by fours, and it is structuring for the psyche and thus also for all psycho-mental and socio-cultural productions. In Mesopotamia, astrology had a more collective rather than individual function. Nowadays, it is reduced to a type of individual therapy based on birth-charts. The sciences called "human" should be concerned with planetary cycles and astrological approach : one can conceive the modality of an astral history, of an astral geography, of an astral psychology, of an astral sociology (See my doctoral thesis, L"astrologie : Fondements, Logique et Perspectives, Paris I - Sorbonne University, March 1993). The astral operators control and structure man"s world and are the garde-fous of anthropological knowledge. Matricial logic precisely requires a reorganisation of language and knowledge and a redistribution of mental, social and cultural representations, followed by a re-evaluation of the concepts usually used in a unilateral or dualistic sense.
Any investigating field, any conceptual problem or any activity of the mind should be related to a quaternary archetype from the moment that it relates to the human psyche. Astrology is the study of the consequences of the quaternary structuration of the psyche, i.e. of the quadripartition of reality by the mind. Four irreducible perspectives of the consciousness that the astral incidence distributes in everybody according to specific proportions, preexist all apprehension of reality. Paracelsus insisted on the quaternary archetypical structure of consciousness : the quaternary division of the "macanthrope" (of primordial man), of psychic-astral nature, is at the origin of any quadripartition of socio-cultural order. Since Parmenides and Anaxagorus, Euro-Greek thought has had a tendency to reason by exclusion : many misconceptions come from the hasty attempt to unify multiplicity by setting up artificial dualities. Against the problems of such dualism, matricial reasoning consists of questioning a priori the legitimacy, for the apprehended entities, of appearing in the same field of application.
The matricial logos is of a Pythagorean nature. It comes from a tetradic metaphysics and presupposes the coexistence of four archetypical shapes which build the world and orientate thought. The specificity and the strength of the astral philosophy is neutrality : to remain at equal distances from the four cardinal perspectives, from the twelve zodiacal perspectives... not to privilege a particular position of the mind. The four psychic tones - or interior voices - must convert themselves into four directions - or conceptual ways. And the centre remains veiled, invisible. At that particular point, the matricial discourse appears in its critical dimension as likely to emphasise not the mistakes, but the insufficiency and the univocite of such-and-such a discourse or cognitive system, and thus to judge (and in that respect it is above all "judicial"), not what is said or thought, but what is not being said or thought.
End of Exegesis Digest Volume 4 Issue 71
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