Exegesis Volume 4 Issue #76

From: Patrice Guinard
Subject: RE to Dennis (Exegesis Digest V4 #75)

From: Dale Huckeby
Subject: Empiricism vs Devination [V4 #68]

Exegesis Digest Fri, 08 Oct 1999

Date: Thu, 07 Oct 1999 11:36:08 +0200
From: Patrice Guinard
To: Exegesis
Subject: RE to Dennis (Exegesis Digest V4 #75)

I thank Dennis to have noticed something in my paper - What is really astrology : Astral matrix and matricial reason in astrology (Exegesis 4/71). I was wondering, since my first sending, if I would not write a -RE to nobody !- Well, Patrick (Curry) isn't accountable of the text's obscurity : I presume I'm on my own, first because this text is a small summary, perhaps badly cut up, of a larger one : Astrology : The Manifest (part 1 : What is astrology ; part 2 : Who's afraid of astrology)

Now, to Dennis : OJALA ! Patrice is tolerably able to write English (but perhaps some readers of the Exegesis list are able to READ French... and I suspect that the French of a lot of Exegesians is better than my English ...) So he will try, but only by short replies. (and don't worry about my aphoristic and somehow dogmatic manner of formulation : it's mine, in any language... Dogmatic manner is different from dogmatic thought)

It seems to me :

- that the philosophical approach was the favorite one for the past astrologers (Poseidonios, Ptolemy, Albumasar, Cardano, Paracelsus, Campanella, Kepler and others) ... before the transformation of astrology into psycho-astrology, horoscopic astrology, sun-sign astrology... Because TO HAVE an astrological VISION of the Real, of the world, of the human mind, of the culture, is OTHER THING that to interest oneself in some small private affairs. - hence, that mundane astrology is the essential part of astrology

- that the debate between star-sign and star-cause was an invention of the foes of astrology, probably at the time of Poseidonios.

- that the star is IN-SIGN, "IMPRESSIONAL", i.e. an interior sign, not cause, not even symbol ; psychic-astral, not mental nor physical (for the difference between psychic and mental, see Leibniz and Maine de Biran (the consciousness's data) : it's more or less the same between psychology and ... psychoanalysis !)

- that the Jungian approach is sterile for the understanding of astrology, like most of the concepts of other external theories in fashion in the astrological middle - hence, that if astrology was really alive, it would't need some exterior psychology, because it would be itself somewhat psychology, it would be anthropology ...

- that UTILITY isn't the last criterion of Truth (if it were, there would't be something that could be named Truth)

- that the "old" models have failed (from Ptolemy to Seymour) because they were prompted by physics, and physics alone does't account for what is happening in psyche (it does't mean that physics has no part in the understanding of the correlations)

- AND that it shouldn't be the problem for astrologers to prove astrology, but to do something with it, something, but not ANYTHING

- that there is probably no coherent model of astrology that could underlie ALL the SUPPOSED branches of astrology, because, perhaps, these branches are misunderstanding about astrology (see Al-Biruni about horary and electional) - hence, that the practice of the so adulated horary astrology is, perhaps, nothing else than PLACEBO ASTROLOGY

- that the study of the history of astrology is vital, FOR this study must lead to the understanding of what the astrologers of the past BELIEVED ASTROLOGY WAS and WHY they thought it was such, NOT to the understanding of what we think it is

- that the problem is NOT How astrology is possible for us, astrologers, but How it is possible for us, modern women and men. We have to think astrology for ourselves : ASTRAL IMPRINT or IMPRESS is the same through the centuries ; astrological MODELS change with cultural contexts.

- endly that I've written, in 500 pages, a REAL ASTROLOGICAL and universitary thesis, maybe the only one in this century (See my paper Astrology and Epi-Astrology in University : Hundred Years of Doctoral Thesis)

- "Official" Abstract : The solar system, as a field of magnetic and gravitational interactions between planets, impresses the nervous system and fashions it according to a matrix which corresponds to the very shape of astral structures (depending on the planets, the sectors, the cycles and the zodiac) and is the central paradigm or rule of astral imprint which the psyche differentiates according to four registers or analyses as four determining principles : energy, space, time, structure. The structural basis (Planetary, Dominion, Cyclade and Zodiac) merges into a new model on which understanding is based whether at an individual (or ethical) level, or at a collective (or anthropological) level.

- hence, that I couldn't display it wholly here, and that I need a - good - translator...

END - Patrice Guinard


Date: Thu, 7 Oct 1999 09:06:42 -0700 (PDT)
From: Dale Huckeby
To: Exegesis
Subject: Empiricism vs Devination [V4 #68]


Bill Sheeran noted that

 > >my wonderings lead me ever more towards the notion that at its heart
 > >astrology is divination, whatever about its outer clothing.

and _then_ . . .

 > >And yet the Saturn Return is the Saturn Return, and it doesn't require
 > >an astrologer to bring it into "effect". There do seem to be simple
 > >regular temporal patterns which coincide remarkably with qualitative
 > >shifts in experience. This would seem to indicate that astrology is
 > >not just divination. Maybe that is why it is such a successful
 > >divinatory system (in terms of its longevity) - because it resides at
 > >an interface between two reference frameworks for attempting to
 > >perceive and map order in the scheme of things. That is, for want of a
 > >better way of describing it, the left brain and right brain modes.

I think devination has dominated over the two plus millenia that horoscopic astrology has existed, and that devination in general is a way of being "right" when you don't know very much, but that it also allows for a gradual accumulation of empirical content if there's any to accumulate. The existence of the Saturn Return, in particular, suggests that there is. It involves not only the same thing happening to different people at the same age, and thus age transit, but to the same thing happening to a given person at regular intervals, at 7, 14-15, 21-22 and 28-29.

The Saturn Return is a useful example because it's so well-known and so clearly an alternative to an older way of doing astrology. This methodological contrast can clearly be seen in this passage from chapter 4 of Arroyo's _Relationships & Life Cycles_:

Say transiting Saturn right now is squaring your natal Venus. . . . If transiting Saturn is at 15 Libra now and you have your natal Venus in 15 Cancer, there is obviously a square between those two planets. Whatever is going to be happening then, you can probably *interpret* it quite accurately, in a traditional sense, just by knowing what Saturn means, what Venus means, what houses are involved, etc. . . . But "interpretation" is often different from *understanding*. So, with your own chart or for people . . . whose inner experiences are well known to you or for those few clients who *do* care about the deeper meanings of life, it may be worthwhile to look back 7 years and see what was happening when Saturn was conjunct the natal Venus. What was happening *then* is very often related to what is happening now, because both transits are part of one cycle that symbolizes the total interaction between Saturn and Venus. And if you look at transits that way . . . you'll then see those aspects as change or development periods within the context of an entire cycle, even if they don't coincide with striking "events". You'll just *understand* your current experiences more thoroughly.

"Understanding" is empirical, "interpretation" symbolistic. That's the difference, it seems to me, between traditional astrology and a modern astrology that has not yet fully emerged. I think this emerging astrology will be based on what actually, observably exists in nature that has astrological import, most obviously natural cycles whose intervals and timing correspond to planetary periods. I think it is equally necessary that we understand what astrology cannot do, but which it has seemed it can do due to reasoning processes that subvert empirical control. I don't think it can predict nonhuman events (earthquakes, explosions, sky-rocks falling through one's roof), nor do I think it can predict what happens _to_ people, as opposed to predicting, on the basis of psychological rhythms, where a person will be "coming from" during a given period. Neither do I think it can predict, on the basis of _my_ chart, the fortunes of those I care about. I think it can only predict, in principle at least, how I'm going to be motivated during a given period

< snip >

 > >What is striking is the way astrology/astronomy and mathematics
 > >co-evolved so intimately. Mathematics, being to do with number, is
 > >according to Jung, the consequence of the emergence of the most basic
 > >archetype of order (Number) into consciousness. Astrology in my
 > >opinion also is an expression of the same archetype, and originally
 > >was more to do with establishing and maintaining order in patriarchal
 > >society than facilitating self development.

I have nothing to say about archetypes or maintaining order in patriarchal society, but astrology/astronomy and mathematics do appear to be part of the same natural cluster. T.S. Kuhn talks about this in "Mathematical versus Experimental Traditions in the Development of Physical Science", from his _The Essential Tension_. He contrasts the Baconian sciences, chemistry, heat, thermometry, magnetism and electricity, which emerged during the mid-17th century Baconian movement (ie. during the Uranus/Neptune conjunction), with another cluster he calls the classical physical sciences, mathematics, astronomy, optics, statics and harmonics (music theory). The latter were highly developed in antiquity and were transformed during the 17th century, which the exception of harmonics, "whose status declined greatly from the late fifteenth to the early eighteenth century", and with the inclusion of local motion, which became part of the classical cluster during the 16th century.

From the emergence of the Baconian fields in the mid-17th century until the early 19th century these two clusters remained distinct. Individuals often moved consequentially from one field to another within each cluster, but not between clusters. The classical cluster was primarily mathematical. Mathematics (geometry) "was conceived as the science of real physical quantities, especially spatial, and it did much to determine the character of the four others clustered around it. Astronomy and harmonics dealt with positions and ratios, respectively, and thus were literally mathematical. Statics and geometric optics drew concepts, diagrams, and technical vocabulary from geometry, and they shared with it a generally logical deductive structure common to both presentation and research. . . . Indeed, even listing them as separate fields is somewhat anachronistic . . . from some significant points of view, they might better be described as a single field, mathematics."

It could be said that the subject matters that comprised Kuhn's classical sciences were precisely those that _could_ be mathematized: "Although the classical sciences (including, in important respects, mathematics) were empirical, the data their development required were of a sort which everyday observation, sometimes modestly refined and systematized, could provide. That is among the reasons why this cluster of fields could advance so rapidly under circumstances that did not significantly promote the evolution of a second natural group, the one to which my title refers to as the products of an experimental tradition."

People with a mathematical bent were thus apparently not drawn to those aspects of reality too complex to be susceptible to mathematical explication. Conversely, the sorts of people who, during the 17th century, were trying to understand the complex phenomena revealed by alchemy, metallurgy, dye-making and other nonmechanical trades, shared a mindset receptive to the kind of detailed observation and experiment that was a prerequisite for the emergence of the Baconian sciences, but didn't much care for math. Whereas the mathemtical sciences were concerned with making sense of facts that were practically given, the Baconian sciences spent much of their first Uranus/Neptune cycle discovering facts per se, separating the various strands of the complex phenomena with which craftsmen dealt.

By the last third of the 18th century the internal development of the Baconian sciences brought them to "a state very like that of the classical sciences in antiquity." Beginning in the 1780s powerful qualitative theories were developed, and these theories were rapidly mathematized during the early decades of the 19th century, during, that is, the Uranus/Neptune conjunction that followed the one during which they were born. This lowered the conceptual barriers between the two clusters and a new field, physics, composed of parts of each, then came into existence.

Kuhn notes, however, that the mathematical/experimental split didn't disappear but was displaced to the interior of physics. Experimental and theoretical physics are so different, he points out, that no one who succeeds in one does well in the other. This split between experiment and theory did not exist in the Baconian sciences before their theories became fully mathematized. The emergence of institutional structures that facilitate the coexistence and cooperation between these two kinds of minds is arguably what has made physics so powerfully effective as a discipline.

What's intriguing is that theoretical physicists tend to be strongly attracted to music and sometimes find it difficult to choose between the two. Recall that harmonics, the study of ratios and a precursor to music theory, was originally a part of the classical cluster. That's also true of astrology. It, too, was one of the mathematical sciences, and as we know both Ptolemy and Kepler contributed consequentially to it, in line with Kuhn's argument. It might be that it will figure (is figuring?) in one of the recombinations that have characterized Uranus/Neptune conjunctions, with psychology, biography and history (to cite my own predilections) playing a role in astrological theorizing and vice versa. Changes in communication patterns have played a role in previous realignments during Uranus/Neptune conjunctions, and I think the internet has been playing that role during the current one.



End of Exegesis Digest Volume 4 Issue 76

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