Exegesis Volume 4 Issue #87

From: Janice & Dennis
Subject: astral matrix commentary

From: Patrice Guinard
Subject: Re: Exegesis Digest V4 #82, 84

From: Andr=?ISO-8859-1?Q?=e9_Donnell_?=
Subject: Re: Exegesis Digest V4 #86

Exegesis Digest Tue, 23 Nov 1999

Date: Sat, 20 Nov 1999 09:43:28 +1300
From: Janice & Dennis
To: Exegesis
Subject: astral matrix commentary

My commentary following is based on


(Lecture held at the Kepler Day International Research Conference, London, November 22, 1997 Thanks to Patrick Curry for his translations revision)

Mercury retro, I hope I quote in suitable order...

"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 m[y]thos. 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."

I'm inclined to agree to the general drift, but retrogressive projections of current purposes upon ancient cultures seem conjectural. I'll leave it to any contributor with Virgo rising to take a more critical look at this.

"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 ?"

Instinctively, I presume. We evolved internal pattern-recognition and attunement mechanisms. Stochastic resonance seems to be the relevant class of phenomena. Then, as Patrice is in the process of suggesting, an internal structural context is required to relate parts to the whole.

"Astrological thought ...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."

Ah, Carlos, `tis a rare trickster who plays the fool in the original sense of the word (a la tarot, I mean). Sorry, I digress! It is true that perception and recognition occur in relation to an interior context, where we may connect with the archetypes.

"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 minds 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."

Can't find anything to disagree with here. My own equivalent descriptions have used the concept of `archetypes of nature'. Such general descriptions then raise the question of the viability of astrology as a language. Science, used above in the original Greek sense (knowledge), presumes common understanding. We know that language facilitates this, but astrologers tend not to produce common agreement, nor common knowledge.

"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."

It cetainly requires a category error to personify an archetype in the manner illustrated. That astrologers are prone to such errors is evident in any perusal of the astromedia, but we can assume that at least the brighter minority are aware that they are using metaphors. Such poetic license is conventional, however much it sows the seeds of confusion in the minds of readers.

"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."

Ah, but how to establish or measure this reliability and relevance?

"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."

True, which is why I have stressed that Seymour's theory is essentially beside the point, even if it is helpful in explaining how development is cued in organic process.

"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."

That quote does not appear to support Patrice's contention, so I remain sceptical of this. Results "issued from astrological theory" are produced by astrologers when they apply the theory. But I doubt that Jung believed such verdicts are due to causality, however marginally "related". Perhaps his muddled language in this quote is due to poor translation.

"The idea of a causal connection between diverse elements finds its origin in Joseph Rhines experiments on telepathy and extra-sensorial perception. The results of Jungs 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 tendency of scientists to engineer desired results is well-documented, evidence that they are only human, but convention imposes a collective reality check via the requirement of replicability. Findings that get replicated tend to become `facts'. Astrological `truths' cannot thus become `facts', due to either the collective incompetence of astrologers or the inherent fictional nature of such `truths', or both. Nevertheless I agree with Jung's opinion, since the statistical examinations of astrological beliefs and verdicts that I have come across tend to range from banal to irrelevant. Those few that seemed plausible and noteworthy lacked replication, apart from Gauquelin's.

"The uselessness of Jungs 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."

Well, once more unto the breach... The relevance of synchronicity to astrology is illustrated by the hermetic phrase `as above, so below". The archetypal pattern of the whole is manifest synchronously in all parts. The apparent coincidence, or simultaneous perception, of 2 or more phenomena that demonstrate a particular archetypal feature of the moment, is a wake up call to the psyche. It is indeed essential for the astrologer to integrate awareness of this fundamental experience of our reality. Not sure why Patrice seems not to accept this point, but I can see how poor published descriptions by Jung and astrologers may be responsible.

Interesting, if Jung indeed never wrote of interrogations. That would explain why I was obliged, a few digests back, to suggest that he must have been an inadequate astrologer because he never examined an event chart for the moment the scarab beetle knocked and then flew in the window.

Well, so much for the preliminary philosophical skirmishing; next time we will engage the intellectual thickets of the dissertation.

To be continued...

Dennis Frank


Date: Sun, 21 Nov 1999 02:07:56 +0100
From: Patrice Guinard
To: Exegesis
Subject: Re: Exegesis Digest V4 #82, 84

Bill wrote (4-82) :
> 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.

What is synchronicity ? For Jung : a meaning coincidence in time between two (or some) independent events. Fine.
This is a real, pure, absolute, "moment" of synchronicity. There is no causality inside (at the very least I hope so). Imagine that I become conscious of the coincidence, and that I remark that every time I take off my socks, my dear cat is "really" scratching its ears, then it's not more synchronicity but a matter of SUPERSITION like some one existing in some religions' practices. Imagine now that the cat is scratching its ears because it has got some pain inside and that I know that. It becomes more interesting because, effectively, I COULD project some SIGNIFICANT RELATION between the two events.

For Jung, synchronicity is this projection of significant meaning into exterior events. But this is NOT astrology. It lacks many things to do astrology with that. Please remember that Jung has insisted on the fact that the synchronicity's principle doesn't EXPLAIN anything, but only ACCOUNTS FOR the manifestation of meaning coincidences for the consciousness. He wrote that "Astrology could possibly be the concern of causality, but certainly not of synchronicity" [The French sentence : "On fera bien de considerer les resultats issus de la theorie astrologique comme des phenomenes relevant non pas de la synchronicite mais eventuellement de la causalite."]. I guess that many astrologers that are refering to Jung did not understand him.
But the others ? For instance, Jung thought that his statistical results upon married couples were only a projection of his mind.

But ANY projection is possible. (Then why are we going on projecting the same, multimillenary, old-fashioned astrological projections here, in Exegesis mailing list, between educated people ?)
And what relation with astrology ? No cycles ! No synchronization ! The rhythms of the planets, their periods, and their possible integration at some level (which one ?) of the organism (molecular, cellular ...?) that induce certain modifications in the PERCEPTION : this is the astrological challenge.
And moreover, synchronicity is related to the world of facts, EVENTS, and so on, i.e. with a part of the reality which is not concerned, in first place, with astrology.

Now if astrologers want to use synchronicity for justifying the moment of the CONSULTATION, it's their affair (and their business !).
And here we are nearer of the horary practices, of the "moment of astrology" of Geoffrey Cornelius (otherwise an excellent book, exciting and philosophical-minded book, so rare in astrological literature). But I should comment this book another time (I've already made this promise to Geoff).

Bill again (4-82) :
> 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.

Well. I've written on my web site : "Astrology is born with history / It is alive in human consciousness / Its heyday is still to come"
But sorry, I think it's not for tomorrow. For 2300 AD maybe !! Why ? Because the cultural-intellectual mind is not ready to accept the "astrological consciousness", which is somewhere the end of history, the end of competition, and also something like the last "point of reason" (as Hegel dreamed to be it).
Astrologers in history never were perfectly inside their own cultures (not in the Renaissance, not even in Mesopotamian civilisation), and today we haven't at all the same intellectual "curiosity" for astrology that the contemporaries of Paracelsus and Cardano had.

Dennis in 4-84 :
> Well I was tempted to assume we were onto the same matrix, but now I'm not
> so sure. The one I have been describing certainly could not include
> planets. The concept of the 12-letter alphabet has been used to lead many
> novice astrologers astray, particularly in the USA. It seems to be favoured
> by those unable to differentiate between archetypes, and, presumably unable
> to discover that there are not 12 planets in the solar system. As for the
> proposal of "a real rulerships' theory" at "the heart of astrological
> knowledge", heaven forbid. Hard to imagine anything less likely.

I'm able to explain quite well, I hope, my idea of "Matricial Reason". But for the idea of "Matrix" it's not so clear in my mind, because it is THE astrological idea, and if I had it, there were nearly nothing else to investigate. I would like that Dennis to be kind to explain to me and us what he is meaning by "Matrix".
Of course there are not 12 "planets" (I've never said that) : for me definitely 10 (including Sun and Moon). And even there are 8 houses for me, like the first Greek theory shows it. (But see the second edition of C.U.R.A. : Dec. the 10th).

But the rulerships' problem is that it can't exist so many "archetypes-symbols-operators..." (as you like) without connections, without relations. It can't exist Aries, Libra, Pisces ... AND Mars, Sun, Moon, Pluto ... AND Houses 1, 3, 5, 6, 7 ... without any kind of relations between them. My idea is that A SAME MATRIX - but the Matrix is also another thing in my mind - UNDERLIES the four astrological STRUCTURES that I've named "Planetaire" (10 planets), Zodiac (this is not my invention), "Dominion" (8 houses, as the 8 spatial directions) and "Cyclade" (the cycles, ages...). But Aries is not Mars, as Saturn is not Capricorn : but they are a equivalent archetype according to 2 views of the consciousness.

But the Structures themselves are variable. (The Greeks knew only 7 planets for instance). And the MODEL that an astrologer get (if he has got one, I repeat that) is always an interpretation of the Structures. I've made this distinction between Model - Structures - Matrix. The model is known, the structures are unknown, the matrix is somehow unknowable.

It's all I can answer now, constricted with my poor English, which I request the patient Exegesians to excuse.

Patrice Guinard


Date: Sun, 21 Nov 1999 17:57:25 +1300
From: Andr=?ISO-8859-1?Q?=e9_Donnell_?=
To: Exegesis
Subject: Re: Exegesis Digest V4 #86

On Sat, 20 Nov 1999 18:57:58 EST "Metalog" wrote:

Hi Dennis and all. =20

A brief appearance, perhaps not to be repeated.

One or two comments. I have a large stack of unread Exegesis posts, so I hope I'm not violating the course of discussion too much by not having kept up in the last few months.

 > >>Rational discourse, in my mind, is discourse that is founded on that w= hich
 > >>has been demonstrated to be (apparently) factual: rational is a word t= hat
 > >>defines the condition of a ratio, which is a statement of how a thing = is
 > >>related to another thing, and although this is a mathematical usage, I
 > >>suggest that it is appropriate in general.
 > >=20
 > >The problem here is the increasingly redundant word factual. Policemen= and
 > >reporters have so consistently and for so long complained that eyewitne= sses
 > >to traffic accidents or crime scenes give different accounts of what
 > >happened, that it has become an accepted truism that the facts of an ev= ent
 > >can often not be established even by consensus. =20

Indeed, and a good deal of research under the umbrella of cognitive psychology has demonstrated how this works. It seems quite simple: the human memory system is unable to distinguish between the original memories and any changes made to these memories during subsequent re-activation. One example: subject is shown video of two cars colliding at an uncontrolled intersection. Subsequently the 'eyewitness' is questioned, including: "how fast was the red car speeding through the stop sign?". Voila! Thereafter, most subjects' clearly remember a stop-sign, and they will swear it was so. And if neither car was red, it _is_ now.

 > >Early in the 20th century
 > >physicists found that apparent facts were not necessarily so, phenomena
 > >changing according to viewpoint, and science writers and philosophers s= ince
 > >have increasingly warned that acceptance of data as facts may be delusi= ve.

I remember how fond my father was of quoting "Einstein showed that everyt= hing is relative", and this seemed to be a common interpretation of _that_ piece of early 20th C physics. What really happened was that Einstein showed the invariants ('facts' if you like) weren't quite where we supposed them to be. But they were still invariants, and he showed precisely how to adjust the 'frame of reference' so that the 'facts' of one observer could be rendered into the frame of reference of any other observer. In so doing he altered the status of space, time, and other humanly manufactured quantities. But I fancy the universe continued to turn much the same way as always.

The point is that the findings of cognitive memory research are tantamount to developing the transformations between observers (although, if one doesn't know the exact history of interactions the person has had since the event then no transformation can be applied.=20 So yes, memory is unreliable).

The point of both these things is that our changing knowledge and understanding alters what we perceive facts to be. This is as it should be. But they have not - so far - altered that there _are_ facts.

Post-structuralist positions, and the contentions of my own field of discursive psychology, do indeed question the status of facts, but I submit that such epistemological positions are more true of - to put it rather crudely - "human" reality. It is true of course that the only reality we can know is the reality we construct. If we are fundamentally uncertain, subjective, and able to argue; then what we "know" and "see" cannot be any less uncertain! But our ability to argue the meaning and the factuality of everything, and the proposition that we do so, does not mean that whatever lies beyond our constructions is itself similarly embarassed. =20
 > >>Archetypes are probably more relevant in the realm of the collective, = it
 > >>could be argued, I think. One person's understanding is almost certai= n to
 > >vary from another person's understanding, and so an archetype is more l= ikely
 > >>to convey what is understood in common, which any individual is likely= to
 > >>find personally incomplete and probably thus unsatisfactory. This
 > >>addresses a matter taken up later in this post.
 > >=20
 > >One could apply your logic here, Bill, to any other language. People t= end
 > >not to find that such idiosyncratic differences of interpretation loom
 > >sufficiently large as to form impediments to communication. The common
 > >understanding of the symbol system, combined with the motivation to
 > >communicate, overwhelm or diminish the relevance of subjective meanings= in
 > >the dialogue.

Hmm! This is such a deep area, I cannot let it pass, yet I doubt I have the space to treat it sufficiently either. Perhaps better I stay silent, but here (necessarily cryptically) I go anyway.

I'm afraid I completely agree with Bill, and disagree with Dennis here.=20 It seems to me that the possible 'reality' or 'truth' of what one person or another subjectively experiences is completely unknowable. These are "idiosyncratic" as Dennis rightly points out. What makes communication and language possible however is that we regulate our _behaviour_ according to the behaviour of others, and where those others are a community, a 'consensus' is what results. That is, behaviour is public and as such language is meaningful and consensual to the extent that we interact through our behaviours. These, if you like, are the 'facts' through which communities reinforce common patterns of behaviour, and this is no different for a 'verbal' (human etc.) community than any other.

When two people declare they "love" each other it is entirely impossible, in my submission, for either to convey to the other what sensations they are experiencing that have led them to use the word.=20 Nor is it possible for each to know whether the other is experiencing anything at all (i.e., "means" it). It is through the subsequent patterns of behaviour, and how these correspond to patterns of behaviour sanctioned by the community, that the "truth" of each person's use of the word is assessed ("if you really loved me you wouldn't have done that"). But again, _what_ either is experiencing remains unknown. Were it possible to know, they _might_ turn out to be entirely different, even alien sensations. (And if behaviours really are a guide, then I think there is evidence that indeed humans are strange and alien to each other: I mean the unthinkable things we sometimes do, as well as the unbelievably sublime).

As long as we use language to stick to the mundane, common, actual _business_ of living, we are on perfectly safe ground. Strangers though we may all be to each other, we can nevertheless co-exist effectively, sometimes even harmoniously. It is when we try to go _beyond_ this domain that we strike trouble (Wittgenstein anyone?). The problem is that the effectiveness of language to "communicate" in the practical domain misleads us to think (a) that we _can_ communicate our inmost thoughts to each other (accurately) and (b) that we can meaningfully carry out the kinds of inquiries into truth upon which the existence of groups like Exegesis are premised.

It is in this latter area that "subjective meanings" (if there are any?=20 I suppose there are) loom major, and I think this is why it is so difficult to understand each other. (Incidentally, if language cannot represent our individual reality to others, it also cannot do so to ourselves - and any attempt to do so can only _socialise_ it, not express it). That continued discussion will shape a consensus, and weld us into a community is beyond dispute, simply because of the encouragements ("yes, that's what I meant") and discouragements ("no you're completely wrong") we give each other. That it achieves anything beyond that is rather less clear; or, so it is we imprison ourselves.

Cognitive psychology (and it's stablemate cognitive science, cybernetics etc) have taken proposition (a) above rather at face value, and hence have designed a world of 'mental representations', which language is able to efficently convey from mind to mind. This contrasts to the position of discursive psychology, which is the (somewhat post-structuralist/postmodernist) position that talk is just another form of behaviour and that the mentalisms it utilises (beliefs etc) are devices of persuasion rather than actual entities of some kind.

Actually, as a critique of the kind of position I have just spelt out, I like your archetypes far more Dennis. At least they would offer hope that some kind of real "communication" can actually occur, because there might then be some truly common foundation all humans share to make it possible. However, I take the general melee of intercultural, intergroup and interpersonal misunderstanding that prevails among our kind as somewhat defeating the notion of archetypes, or at least the notion that we are mentally or psychically linked to them in any direct sense, or at least that language is the tool for the job.

Dennis, you have of course talked about the 'right brain' and it's synthesising ability. In this, you are getting very close to Art, about which Roger Satterslee used to wax eloquently in these pages. This, non-verbal expression, might I ponder actually get us closer to something essential about ourselves. But it was here of course that the post-structuralist critique partly arose.

Incidentally, I note that doubt over the status of facts rather dents the idea of consensus too. Of what do we develop consensus over, exactly?

Incidentally, I hasten to add Dennis that I did not mean my first response in some months to be disagreement. I still owe you at least two responses from some time back. I must be getting grumpy. Related to which, more in a moment.

Quite a lot here about the elements etc, which I found incomprehensible. Actually I read a short and pithy post a while back alluding to "apple pie neatness", the spirit of which I rather enjoyed.

Apropos of my comments above, perhaps I think we should think practically before we wax philosophical?

At any rate, when I became acquainted with sociological ideas of resources and how they drive human behaviour, I began to reinterpret the signs quite differently. This is to be the subject of an article some day, but here is the gist in the meantime.

Adopting a northern hemisphere perspective, it seems to me we can understand the cardinal points quite easily in terms of the challenges and opportunities attending each season. The pioneering spirit associated with Aries and apparently Fire is easy to understand when all is blooming and life is teeming. With an abundance of resource, It is possible, still risky perhaps, but possible to leave the shelter of the community and strike out on one's own, or form a breakaway group. It is also more likely that such splintering in the group will happen after a Winter of close confinement (and thus "The Winter of our discontent", King Richard?).=20

In summer it is possible to expand and enjoy life somewhat more, build a sense of community, and be somewhat more generous. I know water is described as 'deep' and 'spiritual' but I tend to associate it with fellowship and abundance. Incidentally, societies with more abundant resource (or during more properous times and seasons) develop richer reportoires of behaviour, largely through their exchange relationships.=20 At such times a favour can be done and the repayment deferred, and it need not be of the same kind. It can be some other time, some other way, or through some other person.

Autumn is most interesting because this is absolutely _critical_ if we were to survive the Winter. We had to know that we had _enough_ of everything, and the use of the merchant's scales for Libra strikes me as revelatory. Far from Libra being the sign of those who need to keep harmony, I wonder if it was essentially an echo of the need to weigh, measure, and account for everything, hence the importance of the scribe and all the mental skills associated with it. Thus I think we can neatly explain the obsessive fuss and thought supposed to be characteristic of Air.

Finally Winter - well, having got the food and the fuel and the shelter stored, we still couldn't survive if any bit of it got wasted, or anyone acted thoughtlessly. That seems to be sufficient explanation for the concern with government and regulation that _everyone_ must obey, supposed to characterise Capricorn.

So I think it is quite simple to explain the meanings of the four cardinal signs and their associated elements. As to their distribution among the other signs in the form of triplicities, this is where I start to suspect that human "apple pie neatness" has got in the way.

Moreover, I think I can understand that a child burn in mid-Winter _might_ indirectly pick up the severe respect for rules and obedience that the time demanded of the community, in terms of early nurturing experiences (I say "might", as I am no expert in child psychology or even child rearing, as my own two will I'm sure confirm). But I can't fathom how any other planet than the Sun being in Capricorn could have this kind of effect. I gave up using the signs after a few years in practice, and these speculations only encourage the view.

So why do we still honour them and in particular, as Dennis says, why should we honour them in the southern hemisphere? Well, you don't need to know an awful lot about social science to know that both individually and collectively we often believe things for long periods, without apparent foundation. See, it gets back (last section) to our basic ability to construe reality as we like. Alternatively I suppose, it might be that millions of years of surviving with these patterns of behaviour might have bred these responses into our genetic makeup - I suppose it could answer the question about other planets too _and_ why southerners might follow a northern clock, if it's in the north we all evolved. But this is just more speculation.

Incidentally, it is possible to make quite a convincing case (to me at least!) for deriving the meanings of the houses too from the fact that we are diurnal creatures, and hence the different kinds of behaviours that are most possible or most advantageous to us at the different times of the day.

That astrological lore might have a firm foundation in the practical problems of human survival (as we once experienced them, "we" referring to those of us that are privileged enough to be internet denizens and hence of stupendously wealthy means, by the standards of most of our long history and of most of our brothers and sisters on this planet) is both reassuring and disconcerting. Reassuring because it shows real (and shrewd) human observation got built into our lore; disconcerting because it's a bit like discovering the tooth fairy isn't "real" after all, not in the way we thought it was.
-----e----- Some time back Bill wrote

 > >I guess I would recommend some thought along these lines as applied to t= he
 > >business of astrology: What observation tools do we have, and what are
 > >needed? What descriptive tools do we have and what are needed?

and I had this short extract sitting in my draft box ever since.

It has gnawed at me much as the problem of astrology has always gnawed at me. Let me set it out step by step.

I know that Bill makes the distinction between astrology per se, and astrology in it's current fashionable garb of psychology. I agree, and have always agreed wholeheartedly, with the need to at least _consider_ some such distinction. At the very least, even if astrology _does_ refer mostly to something about the human reality, the notion that the fumblings of just over a century of psychology would happen to be addressing exactly the same portion as astrology seems absurd. Astrology and psychology may not be talking about the same thing at all. =20

Yet, having said that, let me address myself to the notion that astrology _is_ fundamentally about human subjective reality in some form: personality or behaviour if you like. (Actually, the "fundamentally" isn't necessary; "includes" will do).

My frustration is that psychology and numerous other social sciences confront _exactly_ the same problems as astrology if we are looking at the _human_ domain in some sense. Moreover, quite a large (not that large, but significant) set of fine minds have set to solving those problems and have built tools and principles of observation from which _we_ can benefit.

Certainly there is little point co-operating with research scientists who perhaps cannot be the best to use those tools in our interests.=20 They are _people_ just like us, subject to social pressures and shaping by their communities and the wish for a peaceful life _just like us_.=20 They are too much prisoners of their paradigms, as we are of ours.=20

Instead, _we_ have to learn and use these tools.

The tools are obvious it seems to me. Research. Data (I avoid saying 'facts', ok? Actually, any self-respecting scientist avoids saying 'facts' too). The tools of qualitative research: open-ended questionnaires, in-depth interview, participant and non-participant observation, focus groups (as one of our number mentioned a few months ago), biographical methods (as Dale practices), discourse analytic methods. The stuff for building new theories.

Tools of quantitative research: closed questionnaires, hundreds of validated scales and the know-all to develop and validate new scales, content analysis techniques, and so on. Numerous research designs. And statistical methods which, properly understood, are just about the only way to distil significance from the complicated, inter-related, multi-faceted data that emerges from human behaviour. The stuff for testing theories.

Having just completed research into an aspect of group behaviour, with a voluminous research literature stretching back nearly 40 years, and yet h= aving discovered something new, my irritation is increased. It only took me a few months.

Because in the nearly 25 years I've been practicing astrology, and the 3-4 years I've been participating in lists such as this, I don't believe = I have learned _anything_ new, sufficient to justify that time. (There are exceptions of course, such as the work Dale has performed). I can only conclude our approach is wrong. My fear, going back to the start of this post, is that perhaps we are mostly talking past each other, and don't even know it. We may be talking about how many angels can dance on the head of a pin (in the modern formulations of that question), rather than getting down to the _practical_ things that we can _meaningfully_ make progress in,



End of Exegesis Digest Volume 4 Issue 87

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