|Exegesis Volume 5 Issue #15
Exegesis Digest Wed, 22 Mar 2000
Date: Mon, 20 Mar 2000 19:13:15 -0800
From: "William D. Tallman"
We all seem to agree that time is a major part of astrology, and from a cursory inspection of historical documents, it appears that this has always been the case. I suggest, then, that time is an appropriate subject to consider here, so that we can attempt to determine whether our knowledge and understanding of time is adequate to the task of developing a theoretical base for astrology. As you have already guessed, I'm going to put forth some thoughts on the matter; the purpose is not to pontificate, but to inspire discussion.
I propose that time is a metric, a proper measure, of process. In order for that proposal to make sense, it's probably appropriate to consider the concept of process, and return to time when we've looked more closely at process. So we turn to the subject of process.
The word itself derives from 'proceed' which is from the Latin meaning 'to go forth'. Implied here is action (go) and direction (forth), which express the idea of change with purpose. Action expresses change, and direction demonstrates an intention arising from purpose. This may seem like dealing with matters that are irrelevant and/or immaterial, but that is an assumption that may not be well founded. What we've done is to identify the fundamental attributes of 'process'. This will make it easier to be clear about what we are discussing here.
Process, then, is a means to effect change with intent. Now, one thing that has been proposed about change is that no change takes place instantly, that all change must possess the dimension of time, if only as simply as duration. When we add intent to change, duration become too simple, I suggest, because it only describes a comparison to some chosen common standard, like a day or a year. It does not address the specific source of the intention, which seems of primary importance, and so the measure of that dimension must take into account not only a common standard, but some expression of the source's relationship to that standard as well. We can see that time is not a simple matter to define, although we are not yet saying what sorts of considerations must be involved.
In order to make these matters clearer, let us imagine what sort of action might warrant simple duration as a measure. We can conceive of a simple movement, where the purpose of that movement is irrelevant. When we look closely at this simple movement, we find that it's not so simple after all: the movement has a beginning and an end between which the motion takes place. Now, we've already suggested that no change takes place without a temporal dimension, and since a beginning (of anything, in fact) is a change, it cannot occur instantly; the same is true of the end, of course. This means that the simplest movement we can imagine entails at least three distinct periods, two of which connect the movement to what went before and what happens afterwords.
We can understand these as the mechanisms by which the movement acquires context, and creates significance within the environment in which it took place. Hence, at least potentially, there is *no* activity that can be said to be completely described temporally by a simple statement of duration. We can make that determination for our own convenience, treating that activity (the movement) as a "black box entity" that we don't need to investigate in the normal course of things. But, at least within a certain cosmic scope, we can change that determination and address the movement itself as a complex entity.
Therefore, all activities within that cosmic scope or human modular, must be assumed to warrant a more complex temporal description than that of simple duration. Further, because all such activities exist within some environment, they must be assigned intrinsic significance: they are the expression of some sort of intent and have some sort of purpose, and this is true whether or not they are a part of human activity!
So we must assign certain basic attributes to the notion of process, and one of these, as we've shown, is that no process can be a simple entity, that all process(es) are complexes of at least three parts, two of which involve change. Another of these is that all process(es) exist within (an implied) environment, from which they originate and into which they are resolved. There are probably more basic attributes that are intrinsic in the concept of process, but these two are sufficient for the purpose of laying out the basics for the temporal dimension thereof.
There are some insights here, and one of those is that the environment within which a process takes place must also be a process: the environment itself is changed by the existence of the process of interest, and so must at least to that extent have the attribute of action, which itself must be defined as process. So we see that, at least within the human modular, we are forced to consider the notion that any process exists within a larger process. Further, said process also must contain at least two subprocesses. This makes our subject here rather more complex than we might have first imagined, and it also implies that there exists the potential for having to consider some indeterminate number of super and sub processes as well!
Hmmmm..... well, if this is so, then we are best prepared to address these matters immediately when we begin to develop the nature of the temporal dimensions involved. Otherwise, we'll risk trying to build our understanding on an obviously incomplete basis, and that's a waste of time and energy we would do well to at least try to avoid, I think.
Back to time.
We can see that the simplest manifestation of that dimension, as measured by duration alone, is inherently inadequate for any rigorous use. We can use that by itself for our own convenience, but it seems evident that we are not well advised to forget that we have done so, lest we be unprepared and so unable to look more closely at any given process; for example, we never know when we might have to have a more detailed and precise understanding, such as might be required if we have to tinker with and modify the process of interest.
If simple duration is inherently inadequate, we must ask what sorts of other properties or attributes must time (as a metric) possess in order to be useful.
Let's think about what is implied by these attributes of process that time must describe. First of all, we have identified at least two types of subprocesses that we can understand are part of any given process. To that extent, at least, all processes have a similarity, and this gives rise to another insight. For any given process, we can conceive that on a very basic level it is comprised of a series of similar processes, some of which are connected serially, such that the end of one marks the beginning of another. Of course, it's probably wise to observe that not all subprocesses have to be serially connected, that indeed there may be some number of other process series also taking place. But we have identified (for our purposes here) the first attribute that time must have in order to be a useful measure of the temporal dimension of process.
Before we do that, let's stop and make sure we understand what these various things we are considering are, or have become in our discussion. 1) A process is a complex of activity that generates some sort of change, and we have shown that all activity can be defined as process according to the meaning of the word itself: the aggregate of considerations involved in "going forth". 2) On the assumption that no change takes place instantaneously we can say that process requires a temporal dimension, the measure of which is some sort of time. Here, we see that temporality and time are two distinct concepts, that the first is the context in which the second is said to exist; an analogy is the notion of spacial dimensions (length, breadth, and width), the metric of which is distance: this analogy is the source of the concept of 'metric', incidentally. 3) The concept of process itself implies the existence of an hierarchy of super and subprocesses, here organized vertically according to the definitions of cosmic size: macrocosm and microcosm being in general the vertical extensions of the concept of cosmos itself. Thus, any given process is embedded within a larger process, which can be said to be macrocosmic, and so must also be comprised of smaller embedded processes, which can be said to be microcosmic.
There may be other matters that should be listed here, but let's go on.
This first attribute of time is one we already understand fairly well, and we call it the attribute of cyclicity. We say that time, at least to be useful to us, is well considered to be cyclic in nature. We say that as astrologers, because astrology teaches us something of the nature of cyclicity, and so we have a special understanding that cannot be expected of all people. For most people, time is simple duration, it is a measure of progress from the past to the future; we call this linear time and we can suspect that linear time is an incomplete perception of cyclic time, in that linear time does not describe a process, which must have context, and which is complex in fundamental nature, possessing some number of subprocesses. Cyclic time does all these things.
When we say that we, as astrologers, have a special understanding of the cyclic attribute of time, we do not mean to imply that everyone else is unaware of that attribute, but that they may not have the depth of understanding thereof that astrology has taught us. Clearly, the concepts of the day, the month and the year are well known as being interconnect in some number of ways, and that the day, the month, and the year constitute some sort of vertical hierarchy of embedded processes. The concept of cyclicity is well known in the turning of the seasons throughout the year, the phases of the moon, and the morning, daytime, evening and nighttime hours of the day.
I suggest that some fundamental part of the sorts of wisdom acquired by people as they grow older is an appreciation of cyclicity as an expression of embedded processes, and a growing understanding of life in general that results from such an appreciation. Such wisdom is said to comprehend the larger scope of things, the bigger picture, if you will. It seems evident that such comprehension can result from the insights accessible from the cyclic view of time, and we might argue that such a view may well be necessary to that comprehension; we learn that patience becomes more appreciated by the older wisdom, and that's very likely the result of having seen some number of basic or fundamental aspects of life repeat themselves in various guises, leading to the expectation that all things will come to he who waits (in an intelligent and aware manner.... < grin > ).
But we can argue that the recognition of cyclicity doesn't await the attainment of years, that even the young achieve that recognition. And I think the argument is valid. The question is, then, what is it that does await the attainment of years and experience? I would answer: understanding of what is recognized, understanding of what cycles are all about and of the fundamental role they play in our life's experience. The next question is: what is it that is missing in that initial recognition? And the answer, I suggest, is a useful conceptual structure, such that makes possible the acquisition of real time useful wisdom as a result of ongoing experience. Without such a structure, it seems that that acquisition process must achieve some sort of critical mass in order to produce useful understanding, and that simply takes time to occur. Which is why we hear the lament that we grow too soon old, and too late smart (supply your own cultural context here... the original is German, as I recall..).
If we can agree with these ideas, then we can perhaps agree that the cyclic attribute of time is a valuable thing to understand in general, and that the fundamental assumption that time is cyclic and not linear might be very worthwhile in our lives. Here, astrology, as we currently understand it, has the potential to have a very great value for modern times, I suggest. So far, it seems that this potential has not been significantly realized by astrology (astrologers?), and it seems appropriate to place a real emphasis on the development of a more useable astrological technology in this regard, such that might have better success in making a general understanding of temporal cyclicity readily available to all.
I suppose that I should close this post at this point, as it's probably already longer than is convenient for most readers. So I'll do so, with the statement that there is more to say on the subject, and so there should be at least one more segment that follows this post. This is not so much of a commitment to make a follow-up post as it is a warning that there is more to come. < grin >
What I've done in this post is to lay out the basic nature of time as we experience it, and give some ideas about the hows and the whys involved. For those who would observe that I've only stated the obvious, I can say that I've learned that what is obvious to one person may not be so to another; what we're trying to achieve here is a common understanding of the issues, if not a consensus concerning their nature (too much to expect... ah, well...). So I've here taken the task of starting the endeavor to build such an understanding.
Date: Tue, 21 Mar 2000 10:21:53 +1200
From: Janice & Dennis
Subject: Re: Exegesis Digest V5 #10,11
Some comments on points made by RH to Fran..
> I received a message from Robert Hand a few days ago in which he clarifies a few points that have recently been made about him in this list. I asked if I could send part of the message to the list and he readily agreed. It follows here: < snip >
> I do not think any longer that Astrology can be treated as any kind of
> science insofar as Science is defined the way it is now. The definition of
> Science as well the nature of Astrology has to change. I am not quite sure
I am ambivalent about this proposition. The paradigm shift has already wrought massive transformation of science, but I doubt that the definition of science will change. My doubt is due to the fact that this definition is tacit. Oh, you may be able to find a few individuals who have assayed a definition in print, but I bet they all use different words.
> what you mean with "Drum beating eventually tires the ear until it is
> ignored: " but that has not been my intent. My intent is to awaken people to the implications of what they are doing.
People will ignore a message they don't like or understand, regardless of any extent of repetition. Rob is probably second only to Rudhyar in presenting traditional astrology in comprehensible modern terms via his books. His lectures have indeed tended to go further in alerting listeners to timely implications.
> As Project Hindsight, it was not exactly under the "umbrella" of ARHAT.
> ARHAT and the Golden Hind Press (the Schmidts) jointly sponsored it. I
> withdrew from my support of the Project when it became clear to me that the Schmidts and I had a different agenda, and when a series of attacks came in my direction of a pointless and purely personal nature < snip >
When Saturn is transiting ones 11th, in exact opposition to ones natal Moon, one could expect to feel sad about limiting circumstances in ones group affiliations. When this coincides with Pluto exactly conjunct ones natal Sun, also in the 5th, powerfully transformative forces are likely to be at play in ones life generally. Ones capacity for performance in group situations is probably going to be somewhat diminished. Few astrologer authors are brave enough to publish their own natal chart, so I tend to respect anyone who does. If you don't know, RH's can be found in the front of Planets in Transit.
> do. I am still publishing works and making information available about the
> astrological tradition. You might want to see my webpage www.robhand.com by way of demonstration of that fact.
Yeah, I did some time ago. The piece on the tropical zodiac is good. I don't recall learning anything new from it, but that's because I did my own research on it a decade earlier. My only real criticism would be, I guess, that I don't recall it integrating the key finding of the siderealists Powell & Treadgold. I refer to the one that is required to definitively date the start of the Age of Aquarius, the one that you need to know if you want to identify the (mathematical) origin of the sidereal zodiac.
> In addition to possible scientific research of a more traditional kind, it
> is clear that a considerable amount of philosophical spade work needs to be done as well. We need to define what we are doing as well be about doing it. In this I agreed with Schmidt completely.
Who's we??? And how long is this (hypothetical?) unidentified bunch of people going to have this need for, before someone actually does something about it?
Patrice wrote that "it's a
> pity that there is no more participation and reactions from others. I
> know, for instance, that the new vision of Houses I've posted here in
> Christmas seems terribly strange, and that astrologers take in
> consideration only that they have already read and recognized, even
> if you are giving good reasons.
Having helped out with proof-reading of the website edition, I had emailed Patrice that I would (eventually) produce a commentary. Patience being a virtue, I can only console him with the observation that his virtuosity must be considerable by now. While retaining the intention to deliver, perhaps I can foreshadow by mentioning my main philosophical concern; that focus on astrological space seems to be at the expense of time. Can the fabric of spacetime be thus separated, even for the purposes of analysis? Mathematically, yes. Physically, no, since Einstein. Experientially, no, it seems to me. I appreciate that this question is metaphysically inseparable to that of house division.
> About Kepler, some remarks:
> - His predictions were not as successful as Koestler's book suggests,
> and even they often failed to success. For instance, in the Horoscope de
> Wallenstein (1583-1634), published in 1608, Kepler wrote that
> Wallenstein would die at the age of 69 (in fact he was murdered at 51)
> and would marry in his 33rd year : he married twice in 1609 and 1623!
Obviously a track record comparable with William Lilly's.
> - A good small introduction (with texts) is that of Bruce Brackenridge
> at Kepler's On the more certain fundamentals of astrology (1601), in
> Proceedings of the Amer Phil Soc 123.2, Philadelphia, 1979. But the
> chief work of Kepler, about astrology, has not yet be translated, nor in
> English, nor in French, nor even in modern German. It's the Tertius
> interveniens (Frankfurt 1610), written in old German, despite of the
> latin title, in which title, you can read the famous words, so often
> quoted, that "you should not throw out the child (i.e. astrology) with
> the bathwater". Some chapters (64-69) have been recently translated
> by Ken Negus in the Journal Culture and Cosmos (1.1, 1997)
Is this available online?
> - For me, notwithstanding the interest of Kepler's vision of astrology,
> the chief problem about his astrology (and "meteo-astrology") is to
> understand why his reformation has failed to succeed. And it's the
> answer to this question that could help us to lighten our own
Good point. I would have assumed it was because of no English translation, but that just locates the problem in his homeland. We did get minor aspects from him, of course, so his reformation did have some downstream effect.
> - I think it's not so easy to conclude, and that the justification of
> the TWELVE (signs) remains problematic. There was a calendar of 12
> months before the existence of zodiac, and in Mesopotamia, some
> proto-zodiacs with 17, and after 14 constellations were existing before
> the 6th century B.C.
18, the main prototype. There seems to have been a haphazard evolution from the mansions of the Moon (27/28 lunar asterisms). The combination of the solar and lunar cycles into the solunar relationship cycle was eventually mathematically performed. Heaven being deemed perfect, the 12 complete lunations in any solar year became the mathematical substructure of the calendar and zodiac. The sporadic 13th was probably rationalised as primary evidence of sublunar imperfection. Constellations were culturally derived, by sight and from ceremony, thus local and regional variations were the norm in prehistoric and early historic times. For every audacious mathematician trying to launch a precise frame of reference for astronomical measurements, there were probably thousands of farmers and others who preferred local tradition (`from the gods'). Then the spread of civilisation via waves of empire tended later to unify belief systems.
> It could be that the ancien material and rules
> are invalid. Then, the work is to find the logic underlying this
> material, which could lead us to a vision of astrology, compatible with modern thought.
Indeed. However, I suspect that the familiar situation will continue to prevail, in which one or two people claim to have correctly decoded the ancients, but prove to be unable to persuade anyone else to believe them.
Andre wrote: "Essentially, my thinking was that the meanings of the 12 houses are a naturalistic representation of our activities (as diurnal creatures) according to the position of the sun throughout the day." Yes, I spent a while pondering this too. Actually, in one particular respect, I still do. That is the correlation between remembering the past after one awakens each morning, and the solar transit through the 12th house after each dawn.
I judge this on an experiential, not an intellectual, basis. It is complicated in that we don't awaken synchronously with sunrise, but the loose correlation can be accepted on the basis that much entrainment in nature is approximate, partial. Tidal correlation with lunar position, for instance. Evolutionary systems that once shared a common archetypal feature diverge in their respective trajectories, and the passage of long time periods loosens the temporal correlation while not necessarily diminishing the archetypal qualitative commonality.
"More seriously if it is true, as I am inclined to think, that the houses and the zodiac can be derived as close descriptions of our solar experience (of the day and the year respectively), then what we may have is a testament to the astuteness of our ancestors as psychological observers of the (then) human condition. But unless we are possessed of some kind of 'species memory', or unless perhaps there is some subtle communication of our socially constructed experience of the day and the year to the newborn child, it does not suggest that either of these constructs have any validity with astrological bodies other than, perhaps, the Sun."
If there is a zodiacal archetype that provides both a mathematical and a qualitative substructure within natural time cycles, it may be mapped into real time by any cosmic relationship cycle. Mapping is both a geographical and a mathematical term. I think they have a shared meaning in that a pattern is transferred from one domain to another. I suggest adding to this a functional consequence for temporal processes. So we can envisage the zodiacal archetype emerging from the implicate realm (of potential) into the explicate realm (of spacetime), in each cosmic cycle. Effects would be relative to the formative influence of the bodies concerned. This hypothesis merely erects a theoretical ambience of intermeshing cycles, it says nothing about morphogenetic fields or any other mediating system via which a child may receive information from collective memory and/or cosmic environmental patterns.
Date: Tue, 21 Mar 2000 17:14:50 +0100
From: Patrice Guinard
Subject: Re: Exegesis Digest V5 #11, 12, 13
Thanks for your intervention here, Andre. (#11) You're right: "the frenetic pace of most lists" as you say, makes me sick, especially in the end, when it remains nothing substantial.
> Essentially, my thinking was that the meanings of the 12 houses are a
> naturalistic representation of our activities (as diurnal creatures)
> according to the position of the sun throughout the day.
Certainly it could have been this representation of our daily activities, dependent of the hours of the day. For this reason the houses were 12. But it appeared to me that an other system, no linked to human activity, but to the properties of space, and to the spatial directions, in fact less practical and individual, appeared before, and was probably associated with collective prediction in Mesopotamia (meteorology, wars, ennemies...).
What I'm trying to do with C.U.R.A. is to investigate about the origins of the astrological models, of the so many different theories and practices of astrology (it's what I call an "epistemological research"), and to try to differenciate which models could have emerged from simple analogy and projection of cultural shapes inside astrological ones, and which models came directly from what I called "matricial reason" (in the same manner that some philosophical theories didn't really came from analysis and discussion, but from this same "matricial reason").
> The twelve Signs were a convenient way of representing the tropical
> seasons, which more closely aligned them with terrestrial phenomena and
> concerns. It seems to work very well, and needn't have continuous
> correspondence to the constellations intercepted by the plain of the
Of course, but why TWELVE signs? It seems to "work" as you said, and I'm inclined to think that they are "working" rather well, but the only thing which could be accepted without too much difficulty is the 4 quarters, on account of the points of intersection of equator and ecliptic (0 AR, 0 CN, 0 LI, 0 CP). After, why to divide by 3, and not by 2, 4, 5?... It's this question which has lead Kepler to remain very sceptical about the 12 zodiacal signs, as about the houses. Of course there is the synchronization between solar and lunar cycles in a year (12/13). There is also, and mainly, the existence of the 12 months of the calendar, before the invention of the zodiac, in the VIth century B.C., by Babylonian astronomers. Now, it seems to me, that in tropical astrology (I don't refer here to the supposed "sideralist astrology"), no astrologer has ever been able to justify this division by 3.
> With regard to astrology itself, we can take the insight into Ptolemy's
> methodology and apply it with value to his astrological works, of which
> only two appear to have survived. The first and best known is the
> so-called Tetrabiblos, which is a compilation of four books on the
> practice of astrology. The second is a collection of a hundred
> astrological aphorisms, called the Centiloquim. Although there has
> been some argument about whether these are actually by Ptolemy, we now
> know that they clearly are, because they are cited by his successors as
> such in astrological writings that are not generally well known by
> science or Greek scholars.
The Centiloquium (Greek : Karpos) is probably an arabic text of the Xth century. Richard Lemay has shown that the Kitab al-Thamara (i.e. the Book of the Fruit) has probably been written by a Ahmet Abu Ja'far (+ ~944) or Abugafarus, from Cairo (see "Origin & success of the Kitab Thamara of Abu Ja'far Ahmad ibn Yusuf" in Proceedings of the 1st International Symposium for the History of Arabic Science, University of Aleppo (1976), Aleppo 1978).
Now the aphorisms of the Centiloquium are very different minded, compared to the Tetrabiblos. And some astrologers and scholars, since the Renaissance have already suspected that it was not a text written by Ptolemy.
> Good evidence strongly suggests that Hipparchus summarily rejected
> astrology in its entirety.
On the contrary! Hipparchus was probably the first theorician of astrology, as Plinius suggests it. And the scholar Franz Cumont (anti-astrologer) wrote he was "the leader of Greek astronomers AND astrologers"!!
Many things to say, Bill, about your text on Ptolemy. I will address another mail later.
End of Exegesis Digest Volume 5 Issue 15
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