Exegesis Volume 4 Issue #83

From: Janice & Dennis
Subject: rulerships & tradition

Exegesis Digest Thu, 11 Nov 1999

Date: Wed, 10 Nov 1999 23:16:56 +1300
From: Janice & Dennis
To: Exegesis
Subject: rulerships & tradition

Martin Howe wrote from Orkney in Ex4/79: "A propos the fact that the classical rulerships as we consider them today aren't really the ones originally derived from experience/observation but ones subsequently proposed from theoretical ordering into applepie neatness, I remember reading that that the four elements were subverted at the same time < snip > so as to give each equal preponderance in the zodiac . We work with the material as presently ordered for the sake of convenience or otherwise we are mere Chaos Magicians surely ? Rediscovery can fill in the blanks though".

Subverted? Rationalised seems more accurate. Of course Martin is right that we use tradition for convenience, and those who invent planets or believe that asteroids endow them with interior goddesses may fancy themselves as chaos magicians, although they would be more likely to promote their systems as a higher form of order, and prefer that others considered them real rather than imaginary. Rediscovery, in theory, can indeed fill in the blanks. A shame it never seems to do so.

The basic flaw in the doctrine of rulerships is the initial presumption that some planets belong to some signs. Anciently, these were domiciles, with the signs then being called houses (before houses as we currently use them were invented). The traditional assumption that a similarity of meaning underlies each correlation seems not to have been the original rationale. That was culture-specific astral religion derived, varying between cultures.

The robotic recitation of tradition makes most modern astrologers unwitting recyclers of nonsense, in my opinion. Better to learn the nature of the archetype that underlies each symbol, and then the essential differences between each unique archetype will become clear. Clarifying one's perception of the archetypes facilitates the generation of a more refined language of interpretation. Assuming similarities between planets and signs prevents one from tuning into the archetypes as they are, and instead the astrologer drifts into error due to projecting a contrived equivalence onto the two sets of symbols. Better to learn from the reality of nature than the fantasy of a garbled tradition.

In 4/80 Bill Tallman wrote: "The correspondence between the Elements and the states of matter is evident, with the exception that Fire probably is equivalent to the plasma state, I would think."

Interesting technical point. I was unconsciously reciting my programming in general science from age 13/14. Describing energy as the 4th state of matter was once routine, and one could always quote Einstein (E=MC2) to verify it. However I recently noted some physicist author including plasma as the 4th state as Bill suggests, so perhaps there has been a change in convention that I never picked up on. Consulting the dictionary, I find plasma defined as hot, ionised gas. Obviously this does not (necessarily) equate to energy, thus supporting the earlier convention. Interstellar space is awash with cosmic radiation, a portion of which passes through us constantly. This energy provides a universal experiential common factor, it would seem.

Bill goes on: "In general, I think, one might suggest that the elements represent matter (Earth), energy (Fire), form (Air), and substance (Water). Inspection of the arrangement of these assignments yields some interesting ideas: for instance, reading around the cycle from the vernal equinox (northern hemisphere) we get the notion that energy manifests as substance and is formed into matter, which sounds reasonable: reading the crosses, we see that energy and form bisect substance and matter, etc. Lots of other possibilities there as well. The Elements are archetypes, of course, and their value lies in the fact that they express the common essence of fundamental states of being experienced by a vast array of disparate entities (beings, situations, processes, etc). < snip > this is kindergarten astrology, known to all of us, so I've not said anything here that isn't a part of the basic astrological tradition."

I'm inclined to question that notion of yours, Bill. Northern hemisphere chauvinism may be habitual, but progress will only come from a global perspective. Can you spell that notion out as logic that applies in any hemisphere?

Bill suggests that "for each Equinox/Solstice, there is a process that is signified by the Cardinal Sign, but is bounded by beginning in the Mutable Sign and ending in the Fixed Sign. Likewise, for each House Angle, there is a process of development where the Angle is signatory, and which is bounded by the Cadent House in the beginning and the Succedant House in the end."

I'm even more sceptical of this reasoning, which seems to have no basis in nature. The `process' refers to exactly what? I appreciate that our theorising must form concepts abstracted from reality, but we need to see an evident pattern correspondence between model and phenomenon.

Your point about mystery schools is crucial Bill, and we tend to overlook it. The in-crowd psychodynamic has been a critical boundary issue throughout history, even into this century. We inherited whatever leaked out! Of course the other critical formative influence on our tradition was the two great fires of Alexandria. Modern astrologers spew forth the dregs of tradition, thinking it is cosmic wisdom.

Bill rightly warns against presuming equivalences between different symbol systems. Much drivel has been published in astrological journals by astrologers deluded by the mystique of metaphysics promoting contrived correspondences. As Bill says "these insights are individual and are certain to be different for each seeker." Such writers may have genuine personal insights, or mere fancies. However it remains, as Bill suggests, an endeavour worth pursuing. It is an exercise in pattern recognition, presuming there is a subtle pattern within the dregs of our tattered tradition. It seems reasonable to assume that the extensive trans-cultural and trans-temporal appeal of astrology is due to a pattern-generated resonance in a multitude of minds.

Dennis Frank


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