Exegesis Volume 4 Issue #82

From: Garcyn
Subject: Re: Exegesis Digest V4 #78

From: "William D. Tallman"
Subject: Re: Exegesis Digest V4 #81

From: Janice & Dennis
Subject: establishing consensual meaning

From: "William D. Tallman"
Subject: Southern Astrology

Exegesis Digest Wed, 10 Nov 1999

Date: Fri, 05 Nov 1999 09:56:25 -0500
From: Garcyn
To: Exegesis
Subject: Re: Exegesis Digest V4 #78

Dennis wrote:
 > >>Patrice may be going too far in dismissing horary with the placebo eff= ect -
 > >>I've seen some impressive case studies. However, like prediction, the= y
 > >>always seem successful in retrospect. Dennis Elwell, reliable source = of
 > >>quality writing on astrology, remarked some months ago that he looked = for
 > >>the limousines of the horary experts when attending astrological
 > >>conferences, but they never seemed to be there. Ah yes, here's a fine mundane barometer of success--a limousine. Why wou= ld anyone expect horarists to parade around in fine, expensive vehicles when they are, even among their fellows, regarded as syphlitic siblings? I haven't followed Patrice's arguments on Exegesis lately, so I may be speaking out of turn, but I've been to his site which states:

 > >>Nous ne privil=E9gions aucun type d'approche de l'astrologie, et souha= itons
 > >>que le C.U.R.A. soit ouvert =E0 toute d=E9marche et =E0 toute recherch= e
 > >>susceptibles d'am=E9liorer sa compr=E9hension. ..so I don't understand why he would dismiss horary, in particular, yet embrace "all research amenable to advancing the understanding of astrolog= y". The bee in everyone's bonnet seems to be a rank dissatisfaction with thei= r ability to "predict" from natal work, not horary. And then this sour gra= pe philosophy is projected onto the venue of horary. I will never understan= d how this sleight of hand, this specious logic, manages to persist and eve= n flourish among astrologers. Cynthia (syphlitic sibling aspiring to become the Donald Trump of horaris= ts who drives a Mazda but really should own a Jaguar)

--"When I slap ya, ya'll take it and like it!" (Bogie to Peter Lorre in, = The Maltese Falcon [or, Dennis Elwell to all horarists])


Date: Thu, 4 Nov 1999 22:48:59 -0800
From: "William D. Tallman"
To: Exegesis
Subject: Re: Exegesis Digest V4 #81

Patrice said:

 > >Dennis wrote : "The imprint hypothesis is a long-standing favourite
 > >amongst astrologers capable of comprehending such models of how the
 > >cosmos appears to endow people with a character and destiny indicated by
 > >their birth moment. I used to subscribe to it, but these days I'm
 > >inclined to see it as too simplistic."
 > >
 > >I've never subscribed to this idea. I know that the terms IMPRINT or
 > >even IMPRESS aren't the good ones. I say IMPRESS, thinking in
 > >IMPRESSION, "IMPRESSIONAL", the latin word IMPRESSIO in the sense of
 > >Paracelse. At birth there is no such imprint like a photographic one.
 > >You are Saturnian, you are Libra, because there are repetitions,
 > >RECURRENCES, of cyclical patterns, and because these cycles are
 > >synchronised with biological processes.

I think all this is a matter of juggling semantics, unfortunately. Whether the idea as given is simplistic or poorly expressed, it still conveys an important truth: at some point, we begin our lives within the context of the astrological cosmos (as long as we continue to be born on the surface of the Earth, that is...), and that we must express within that context something of the nature of that cosmos at the time of our beginning, seems incontrovertible. What we call this phenomenon awaits a better understanding of the process itself, perhaps.

The fact is, I think, that the cycles work *because* there is a starting point, as provided for analysis by the natal horoscope, and I think it's probably meaningful to say that this starting point made a strong enough impression to remain to resonate at the beginning of the next cycle. Without that impressed starting point, how could one identify a cycle?

The point is well made that the initial impression (natal horoscope) is clearly insufficient by itself; hence, directions, progressions, returns, transits, etc. These are the traditional techniques of reading the dynamics of the astrological reality. The practical problem for the astrologer is how to utilize all these appropriately for the client.

 > >There is a SYNCHRONISATION (not synchronicity !!) of planetary rythms
 > >with biological, organical, molecular rythms, AND from this
 > >synchronisation merge imperceptible transformations in organism, hence
 > >in human psyche.

Synchronization and synchronicity are two very different matters (concepts?). It appears that they may both be applicable in their own way. The point is that they are not mutually exclusive.

 > >But which processes ? : We don't know, and it's not in the capacity of
 > >astrologers to know that : it's properly a scientific affair. It's
 > >probable that the last investigations of the young Science (3-4
 > >centuries) will concern man himself. What an astrologer ought to know is
 > >: how his model of astrology (if he get one !!) is coherent in itself,
 > >AND compatible with scientific likehood.

Ummmm... well, the fact is, I think, that we don't know and (apparently) *don't care!!* Astrology has flown in the face of just about every philosophy or practice that is or would be deterministic, and that includes both science and religion. Both are deterministic by intent, regardless of the proper essence of these practices; it's the people who are wielding them that make them so, but that's another matter..... In any case, as these are the dominant forces in our culture, astrologers are forced to ignore the scientific (and, yes, religious) implications of their craft in order to survive, I suspect.

The idea that an astrologer should develop a coherent astrological model (construct?) is absolutely imperative, in my view. The world itself is a coherent whole, as is our universe and as are we ourselves, even though we lack the ability to see how this may be; without the integrity of coherence, any entity rather quickly dissolves in chaos, I think. Any astrologer who attempts to practice with an incoherent astrological model will soon find him/herself unable to provide the client with a useable product. Half-hearted fuzzy allusions to probabilities leave the client wondering why they've come to the session, or so I found.

Lest anyone misunderstand, I do not advocate and did not practice the idea that the astrologer is to dispense unalterable truth (from on high, etc.). I did advocate (teach) and practice that the astrologer must have a firm grasp of the craft and have the ability to make meaningful statements about the client to the client as appropriate. In a word, it gets the client's attention! It provides the client with the sense that the astrologer really does have something valuable to offer for the money paid.

In general, a session entails a provision to the client by the astrologer of a useful (client-friendly) astrological model of the client. The largest part of that process is working with the client to create an understanding of how the client *manifests* that model in his/her life, which is almost always most easily accomplished by making short meaningful astrological statements (of fact and of tradition) and allowing the client to talk his/her way into an appropriate (for the client, not the astrologer) understanding of that aspect of the astrological model, a process which is never the same for any given session, etc..

And that's all I have to say about the practical end. Except that competency is as much a requirement for the astrologer in the marketplace as anyone else doing any (other) sort of business, and that means having and knowing one's craft.

I don't think it is really relevant for the practicing astrologer of today to worry about how credible his/her model may be from the view of science. Science doesn't care, so why make the effort? A coherent astrological model is inherently acceptable to science, regardless of what it may be, as long as it can show usefulness in application.

On the other hand, I have stood alone in the spotlight of the Exegesis stage and raved about the typical astrologer's unwillingness to accept that science *has* any inherent relevance to the astrological practice. It seems obvious to me that anyone who declares valid insights or discoveries concerning one's craft to be irrelevant is guilty of gross professional negligence. So I (continue to) suggest we welcome any and all *real* scientific work on astrology and contribute as we may, with the recognition that most astrologers will find themselves without (sufficient) applicable scientific competency to make direct contributions thereto.

It boils down to: Lead, follow, or get out of the way. Each of these choices are honorable, but to sit in the middle of it all in a tizzy of futile objections, etc., is not honorable. The contributors to this list are essaying leadership, and the responders to these contributions may be said to essay to follow thereon....

Incidentally, I would be profoundly shocked to discover in some future life < grin > that it actually took three or four *centuries* to get any kind of scientific handle on the astrological mechanism/phenomenon/model/construct/supply-your-own-term. At the rate that things are developing now, we should see some insights in this coming century ( a little late now for the 20th century, but you never know...). This means that its probably appropriate for astrology and astrologers to start being on the look-out for relevant, but not recognizably so, work in other (science) fields. But that's part of what we're up to on this list, isn't it!!

And now I will exist stage right still muttering in my beard.... < grin >



Date: Fri, 5 Nov 1999 16:43:50 +1300
From: Janice & Dennis
To: Exegesis
Subject: establishing consensual meaning

In 4/76 Dale wrote the following... ""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."

An important point, which I agree with. However there are diverse implications here. Understanding is essentially subjective, and my dictionary says empirical refers to knowledge derived from experience. This means the personal experience of the subject, only. Empiricism is "the system which, rejecting all a priori knowledge, rests solely on experience and induction". Induction means "reasoning from particular cases to general conclusions". An empiricist, therefore, can learn only from personal experience, but an abundance of cases personally experienced can allow the empiricist to identify commonalities and draw general conclusions from these. The perceived commonalities may reflect only the subjective reality of the empiricist.

No man is an island, but the empiricist proceeds on the basis that he is. Delusion or controlled folly? I doubt any female philosopher would be that silly.

I find it difficult to understand how anyone pursuing an in-depth enquiry into the nature of reality would deliberately prevent themselves from being able to learn from history, or from human society. My understanding of the value of an empirical attitude to learning is that it allows one to use personal experience to assess the validity of the claims of others. One researcher performs their personal reality check, and a positive verdict allows them to agree with the general conclusions of another. Significant true commonalities provide the basis for people to agree on whatever seems universally fundamental in common experience. Empiricism alone is sterile, but it is fertile when combined with consensual experience.

Moving on to symbolism, we enter the arena of language and culture. Symbols are used to interpret experience in the context of common knowledge. To err is human, and people are often arbitrary, metaphorical, and inclined to the theatrical use of poetic license in their use of symbols. Nature can only perform the function of reservoir of natural wisdom for us to the extent to which we constrain our use of symbols to reflect fidelity to that which they are intended to represent. The correspondence between map and territory must be close for the map to be useful in finding our way.

Contemporary astrology must be reformulated to reflect the common experience of (space-)time, if it is to become reliable. The problem is that our culture inclines us to interpret our personal experience of time by reference to our cerebral context. That context consists of learnt culture plus prior experience. Since a language is a commonly-used vehicle for communicating meanings to others, we are limited in what we can collectively agree on. As astrologers we have two internal frames of reference, both of which function as handicaps to improving common knowledge of time. One is shared with everyone else: a cultural paradigm that allows time no complex qualitative pattern. The other is the archaic astrological paradigm that produces the arbitrary use of poorly-understood symbols and misleading interpretation.

Progress comes from transcending the inertial effect of common sense. Those capable of it can transcend the ruling paradigm via personal evolutionary development in the context of a social trend of like-minded enterprise that provides a new alternative context of common belief and experience. Such a sub-culture will remain peripheral unless it generates a collective understanding of the nature of reality that surpasses that of the mainstream. Any such new paradigm constellates by virtue of agreement amongst the key players. Those of us capable of improving astrological symbols, by refining our common description of the underlying archetypes, face the challenge of the creation of consensus. Astrology can evolve into a language and belief system closely modelled on nature and common experience, provided that those capable do actually do the work required.

Incredibly, you still get astrologers around who are stupid enough to believe that Uranus rules Aquarius and astrology. Next time you encounter one of these cretins, why not ask them how come most astrologers compete to be more eccentric primadonnas than each other, evolving more idiosyncratic interpretive techniques that have nothing in common with each other, so as to continually reinforce the public perception that astrology has no common ground to give it substance. Escapism and entertainment are clearly powerful motivations that oppose any collective endeavour to find out what is really going on. This seems to be because contemporary culture rewards such behaviour. Cosmic wisdom is as unlikely to be made available in the astrological community as in mainstream society. A positive alternative clearly requires a resolute collective enterprise deriving from different motivations.

So to 4/77, and these comments from Bill Tallman... "This is where we have got to. Astrology is a belief system. As such, it is not subject to rigorous examination because it has the sacrosanct immunity granted to religion, philosophy and other manifestations of the private reality. No one individual's private reality can be judged more or less valid than that of any other individual, which reduces this whole matter to the futility of persuasion without visible foundation."

"If this is true, then all that is happening in this list is the exercise of individual points of view, where any true debate on the merits thereof has only conditional value, to be scrapped at the end in order to make way for the next episode if such is required. At that point, we can wonder if this isn't just about intellectual ego and the exercise thereof (myself prominently included... < grin > ).. absent any sort of search for some solid objective foundation, any theoretical or philosophical discussion of astrology is just stirring the same old pot. It has yet to make soup, and I see no reason to expect that it ever will."

I empathise, but having worked through my angst on this point by 1985 I figured that Rudhyar's omission was the ideal entry to make progress. It was obvious that the conceptual advances in science needed to be integrated into modern astrology. So, having done lots of work on this over the years, I would just say that a more cohesive collective endeavour is required. Astrologers can either continue to shirk the challenge, or they can rise to it. We can assert our individual differences, or forge agreements.

So what is this "visible foundation", this "solid objective foundation"? Nature is the easy answer. The archetypes of nature are the not so easy answer. Progress will come from any agreement that emerges, and I suspect that it will condense more readily on any prior basis of tradition that seems relatively universal, a range of components of which we have canvassed here in recent months. The bottom line is that if it is indeed visible, we presumably can all see it, so we need only to agree that it is indeed the foundation. Sometimes one must state the obvious. Just to anticipate the objections, yes, I know the `mechanism' is occult, invisible. So perhaps progress requires us to produce a metaphysical consensus, huh?

"Deconstruction must also imply reconstruction", according to Bill. So it would seem. In '85 I produced an exposition of a general theory of time cycles, published as "The Zodiacal Archetype". In retrospect, I assume I must have mentally deconstructed the zodiac, houses, and aspects to lay bare the common pattern, and reconstructed this as a generic model of natural time cycles. My thesis was that the same archetypal structure underlay each particular time cycle that emerged in manifestation. Tradition had it that the 12 phases were qualitatively analogous in each type of mapping, as Rudhyar & Ruperti had pointed out. Unwarranted collective extrapolation, or empirically-driven consensus? Suit yourself. The exercise produced a contemporary reformulation of an ancient paradigm, providing a rationale for regular qualitative variation within time cycles. Some consistency with tradition was established on the basis of archetypes.

Bill later proceeded to elaborate on a point made by Bill Sheeran... "It's probably useful to regard the original meaning of divination. In general it was any process that promoted a discernment of what was divine, specifically that which was within the realm of the gods (who were divine by definition).. divination is often unusefully vague, and so it's easy to conclude that it is basically a cover for ineptness or ignorance. There are other reasons that divination does not produce the sort of conciseness we would like to require: it has traditionally had a special language, although it was based in the current common tongue. It can be considered as a semi-technical language, I think. In consequence, translation is necessary at the very least, and a more desirable solution is to gain some comprehension of it's linguistic requirements from an understanding of why they exist. A well known example of a divinatory form is the I Ching, and the language is that of ancient Taoism as interpreted by Confucianists. It's pretty specialized and if one doesn't understand the terms, syntax, etc., it also is easily considered unacceptably vague. Given some reasonable understanding, however, (in my experience, and I'm far from alone in this) the I Ching can be frighteningly specific in its insights, etc. The assumption here is that a system of divination has its own structure, and this is largely true, although there are some well understood exceptions. In general, a divinatory system is not a compilation of empirical knowledge, but a construct the architecture of which spans the visible (known) world and the hidden (unknown) realms, whatever they might actually be. In this regard, it is not useful to repudiate the possibility of "other" realms, because they are by definition not known (not unknowable, however...); it's better to accept that they must exist (because they are not specifically proscribed) and will probably wind up being quite different from any extant expectation, old or new. Indeed, I recommend that astrology be reviewed from this perspective: it might be that shadows routinely missed might suddenly acquire sharper definition and so be discovered as heretofore hidden doorways into the essence of astrology itself."

I must say that I have been using the term divination in a much narrower sense, to imply prediction. So I concede that the fuller meaning outlined above may remove my objection to the stance taken by Cornelius, made here some months back. Not sure if I was echoing common usage with the narrow meaning or not. Foretelling the future is indeed too narrow an expectation to be healthy or productive these days, anyway. The essential difference in the two senses of the word seems to be in the implied context. Predestined futures may be fated, likely, optional, or merely possible. Selection of them may be driven by choice, instinct, conditioning, or environment. Conscience may function as an internal link to the collective. The context that an oracle divines is essentially environmental. Cosmic dimensions are likely to be part of this collective environment, in my opinion, mediated by fields both natural and collectively psychic.

So the horoscope used as diagnostic tool may work regardless of moment. Meaning of microcosm is ascertained relative to the macrocosm that the spatio-temporal context provides. However the meaning is subjective to the user wielding the tool at the time. No meaning of that chart can be exported to others unless agreement can be established as a basis for common meaning. If the moment contained a real event, others will agree readily that it happened. If it launched a process, this can be described in terms sufficiently objective to obtain agreement. If it is merely an enquiry as to the whereabouts of a lost item, agreement can be obtained from the client if the item turns out to actually be where the diviner interpreted the horary as indicating it would be. Even if such instances remain hearsay to others, some measure of objective meaning can be exported to other astrologers if the reasoning used is described in such terms that it becomes replicable.

Dennis Frank


Date: Tue, 9 Nov 1999 16:38:17 -0800
From: "William D. Tallman"
To: Exegesis
Subject: Southern Astrology

Hello all,

It seems to me that this list has gotten far too serious and somewhat too rarified in its thinking. Therefore, I offer some insights into astrology as found on the popular and somewhat ethnic level in the southeastern United States. Perhaps we can all benefit by contemplating the following:

It has become obvious to us Southerners that our present astrological signs have served their purpose and that we should get rid of them. When I'm driving around town I'll see bulls, and once in a great while I'll see a ram. Up the street from me, there's some twins, but I don't see them much. The rest of these things are just too obscure. You only see crabs on vacation. There are no lions or scorpions, not many archers and no darn water bearers. We need things we can recognize up there in the night sky.

OKRA (Dec. 22- Jan. 20) Although you appear crude, you are actually very slick on the inside. Okra's have a tremendous influence. An older Okra can look back over his life and the seeds of his influence everywhere. Stay away from Moon Pies.

CHITLIN (Jan. 21-Feb. 19) Chitlins often come from humble backgrounds. Many times they're uncomfortable talking about just where they come from. A Chitlin, however, can make something of himself if he's motivated and has plenty of seasoning. When it comes to dealing with Chitlins, be very careful. Chitlins can burn and then erupt like Vesuvius, and this can make for a really terrible mess. Chitlins are best with Catfish and Okra.

BOLL WEEVIL (Feb. 20-Mar. 20) You have an overwhelming curiosity. You're unsatisfied with the surface of things, and you feel the need to bore deep into the interior of everything. Needless to say, you are very intense and driven as if you had some inner hunger. Nobody in their right mind is going to marry you, so don't worry about it.

MOON Pie (Mar. 21-Apr 20) You're the type that spends a lot of time on the front porch. It's a cinch to recognize the physical appearance of Moon Pies. "Big" and "round" are the key words here. You should marry anybody who you can get remotely interested in the idea. It's not going to be easy. This might be the year to think about aerobics. Maybe not.

POSSUM (Apr. 21-May 21) When confronted with life's difficulties, possums have a marked tendency to withdraw and develop a "don't-bother-me-about-it" attitude. Sometimes you become so withdrawn, people actually think you're dead. This strategy is probably not psychologically healthy, but seems to work for you. One day, however, it won't work, and you may find your problems actually running you over.

CRAWFISH (May 22-June 21) Crawfish is a water sign. If you work in an office, you're always hanging around the water cooler. Crawfish prefer the beach to the mountains, the pool to the golf course, the bathtub to the living room. You tend not to be particularly attractive physically, but you have very, very good heads.

COLLARDS (Jun 22-Jul 23) Collards have a genius for communication. They love to get in the "melting pot" of life and share their essence with essences of those around them. Collards make good social workers, psychologist, and baseball managers. As far as your personal life goes, it you are a Collard, stay away from Moon Pies. It just won't work. Save yourself a lot of heartache.

CATFISH (Jul 24-Aug 23) Catfish are traditionalists in matters of the heart, with one exception. Whiskers may cause problems for loved ones. You catfish are never easy people to understand. You prefer the muddy bottoms to the clear surface of life. Above all else, Catfish should stay away from Moon Pies.

GRITS (Aug 24-Sep 23) Your highest aim is to be with others like yourself. You like to huddle together with a big crowd of other grits. You love to travel, though, so maybe you should think about joining a club. Where do you like to go? Anywhere they have cheese or gravy or bacon or butter or eggs. If you can go somewhere they have all these things, that serves you well.

BOILED PEANUTS (Sep 24-Oct 23) You have a passionate desire to help your fellow man. Unfortunately, those who know you best--your friends and loved ones--may find that your personality is much too salty, and their criticism will probably affect you deeply because you are really much softer than you appear. You should go right ahead and marry anybody you want because in a certain way, yours is a charmed life. On the road of life, you can be sure that people will always pull over and stop for you.

BUTTER BEAN (Oct 24-Nov 22) Always invite a Butter Bean because Butter Beans get along well with everybody. You, as a Butter Bean, should be proud. You've grown on the vine of life and you feel at home no matter what the setting. You can sit next to anybody. However, you, too, shouldn't have anything to do with Moon Pies.

ARMADILLO (Nov 23-Dec 21) You have a tendency to develop a tough exterior, but you are actually quite gentle. A good evening for you? Old friends, a fire, some roots, fruit, worms, and insects. You are a throwback. You're not concerned with today's fashions and trends. You're not concerned with anything today. You're really almost prehistoric in your interests and behavior patterns. You probably want to marry another Armadillo, but Possum is another, somewhat kinky, mating possibility.

It seems apparent that some of the assignments are inappropriate, but this might be a useful subject of discussion.




End of Exegesis Digest Volume 4 Issue 82

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