|Exegesis Volume 5 Issue #65
Exegesis Digest Thu, 12 Oct 2000
Date: Sat, 07 Oct 2000 01:26:39 GMT
From: Bill Sheeran
Subject: Re: Exegesis Digest V5 #61
> In these discussions, I appear to have blundered by making some tacit
> assumptions: 1) That the appearance that astrology cannot adequately
> explain itself to the general public is a significant part of the = problem
> astrology has in gaining public acceptance. 2) That astrology would = benefit
> from addressing the issue of public acceptance. 3) That astrology would
> also benefit from discovering what in fact it was itself addressing,
> whatever that might be. The third point is a pre-requisite before the other two can be effectively addressed. One of the reasons we are having so much difficulty with this is because not only is astrology marginalised from the mainstream scientific view, but also the mainstream scientific view's bedrock (which it shares in common with astrology) is shaking. Thus there are debates to be carried out on at least two fronts, one of which is within astrology.=20
My own feeling is that the larger issue of the relationship between
astrology and contemporary concepts of order has to be addressed
urgently. There is no point in cobbling together a theory or model of
astrology which fits a retrogressive paradigm. I reckon that a
fundamental change has occurred in our relationship with order and
cosmos in the last century, one which brings into question root
assumptions and desires evident from the earliest urban civilisations,
which gave birth to an astrology based upon those assumptions. This
means challenging the cultural conditioning of modern astrologers
before we even start to model the damn thing. What's more, the
integration of these new perspectives is by no means finished within
the mainstream. I have found myself arguing with sceptics on these two
fronts simultaneously - one concerning the nature of astrology, and
the other defending new insights into complex system behaviour, and
their implications for modelling processes (a post-reductionist
perspective). It's no easy ride.=20
> It turns out that none of these three assumptions are generally regarded= has
> having any validity. Overstating the point somewhat!
> For many astrologers, it would appear entirely adequate
> to define astrology as what astrologers do, and in the absence of any
> questions of the sort that concern me, that seems fully appropriate. I think you are misreading the rationale of those (like myself) who draw attention to astrological practice as a starting point for theory modelling. It is clearly not entirely adequate to define astrology solely in terms of what astrologers do. =20
> It is interesting that you mention the I Ching as being pragmatic and
> therefore essentially based on a cause-effect dynamic ('The basis of
> pragmatism is that of cause and effect'). This differs from the
> Jungian perspective, which tends to use the I Ching of an example of a
> tool used to generate acausal connections, based on a principle that
> 'things happen together'. Maybe I'm misinterpreting what you are
> saying here. =3D20
> The assumption is that simultaneity and causality are mutually = exclusive. Are you alluding to JS Bell and Alain Aspect's work, etc. here? That on a quantum level everything is interconnected in an inconceivably intimate way, and cause and effect can seem to emerge simultaneously at this level? If so, I'm not sure how relevant this is, as I would guess there are some scale dependent limits involved here when it comes to extrapolating to the macroscopic level of worldly events.=20
> Causality can take more that one form. We are generally most cognizant = of
> the direct form, where the cause and the effect are subject to = contiguous
> viewing. It can also take an indirect form, where the linkage is not = serial
> but complex, and the mechanisms involved are much harder to discern. In would seem to me that complex systems are so inscrutable from a cause and effect point of view that the polarity becomes meaningless. In any complex system with feedback loops and various forms of coupling connecting different elements, energy events are both causes and effects.Not only that, some effects collaborate to produce a cause, which combines with other causes (which themselves may be effects, and which could include some of those effects which produce the original cause referred to, etc.) to promote changes which depend on what's happening in another part of the web. And so on into an infinite dark as regards mapping causal mechanism. Even if in theory there is always an actual web of interconnections at any given instant, the technical impossibilities means the concept has no explanatory power.=20
=46rom an astrological point of view, the polarity can be usefully supplanted with challenge and response, which subsumes the cause-effect web complex, and doesn't require explaining any causal mechanism. It shifts up to the behaviour level, mapping the macroscopic properties rather than delineating the microscopic interactions. In the heel of the hunt, the whole is usually more than the sum of the parts anyway.=20
> My own feeling is that groups such as this allow both passive and
> active communication at a stage when astrology is under pressure to
> evolve from its current unsatisfactory state - a pressure created by
> intelligent astrologers.
> As I said, it appears that the idea that astrology is in an = unsatisfactory
> state is itself an assumption that is less well accepted than we might = wish.
> So, such pressure as we might apply is summarily rejected as = intrinsically
> inappropriate, having no purpose. The pressure I mentioned isn't generated in the form of argument to be applied externally to all and sundry, but by the thought processes of some of us who have a practical experience of astrology, and which has triggered inner conflict within our rational aesthetics. There's no point spending too much time talking to people who think there is no problem. What is more important is that there are well sign posted meeting points for those who do.=20
> I do believe that all the discussion groups
> chats that go on are making a difference in an almost invisible
> The question here might be: In what direction and to what effect? It is having effect. I'm here talking to you.=20
> I am conscious of those who I have come across over the years, and
> whose perspectives seem to overlap to a substantial degree with my
> own. While leaving the question of the value of this perspective
> aside, I can tell you that five years ago I felt that I was alone in
> harbouring the thoughts on the topic which I do.
> How much is expanded connectivity responsible for this feeling? Everything to do with it.
> There are at least three quite distinct points
> of view out there in astrology-land:
> 1) Astrology is 'broke' and needs to be fixed. Two subsets of this are = that
> a) astrology doesn't really exist and we are doing something under that = name
> we find convenient to continue to call astrology, and b) if a successful
> reading can be done using an invalid chart, there is clearly something = wrong
> with what we're doing.=20 I would say that there is something wrong with our understanding of what we are doing. Astrology exists as a human activity, and while that is the case, it ain't broke.=20
> 2) Astrology isn't 'broke' but is in dire need of rehabilitation to = bring it
> into relevance to the modern times. All the effort to try to understand
> what astrology is from an inspection of what we inherited is = meaningless; This latter sentence is the Enlightenment perspective, though it is somewhat unenlightened to ignore what has gone before us.
> why it works is irrelevant because it does work, and the attention and
> energy should be focused on what astrology can, or will, become in the
> immediate future. I would argue that 'why it works' (causal mechanism) is of secondary significance to 'how it works' (geometric mechanism - see below).=20
> 3) Astrology is neither 'broke' nor in need of rehabilitation. = Astrology
> works just fine, thank you very much, and we are not well advised to go
> mucking around with what obviously needs more use than tinkering. All = the
> furor over the state of astrology makes it more difficult to actually = use or
> practice it, and we should drop all this and get busy doing the work at
> hand. This I would imagine is the most common perspective, mirroring the situation which holds in science.
> In short, perhaps it is
> important to determine if someone is actually from the same point of
> departure. To this extent, then, some form of agreement is probably = quite
> useful, and the lack thereof a burden that might not be necessary. Lack of agreement should not be a burden, especially if it comes from those who hold the third of your perspectives. The other two can be bridged, in my opinion, and also accomodate disagreement (a necessity in fact).=20
> Order emerges out of chaos, and at present
> what we have is a Brownian motion of individual perspectives, which,
> if left long enough and energised with enough discussion, will start
> to coagulate into varieties of consolidated bias.=3D20
> I don't think so, unless there is an overriding force of alignment. Creative dialogue (when it happens) is an alignment force. If there's no discussion, then the random walk scenario is maintained ad infinitum. Brainstorming has a lot to be said for it. I believe that there is an aesthetic dimension to reasoning, and that if there is sufficient discussion, consensus emerges due to this aesthetic aspect as much as any rationalising power of particular arguments (important though that is). Unless one is a contrary bugger, individuals quite like to agree on things, if only to feel part of a group.
> Exactly. So we have to define the situation. For example, are we
> talking about physical planetary positions or co-ordinates and
> symbols? I agree with Juan that we have to look at what astrologers do
> to answer that question.
> Fair enough. We do need to work out what those different views assume = and
> imply, because the assumptions and implications are necessary connective
> baggage that would otherwise remain untested unless they were = explicitely
> part of the equation. For instance, here, physical planetary positions
> might imply the existence of a physical mechanism of = celestial/terrestrial
> connection, and co-ordinates and symbols might imply an interpretive
> artifice essentially unconnected to objective reality. The attendent
> assumptions might be the simple opposition of the acceptance or = rejection of
> the existence of a physical phenomenon. OK - so here we have a potential bifurcation in perspectives right at the root of the issue. It makes sense to pause here and tease this out further, as any future hypotheses will sprout from the ground which gets cultivated through creative dialogue on this fundamental issue. How about inviting list members to send in a 1000 word max essay containing their thoughts in this regard? =20
In the past, this bifurcation has seemingly been characterised by distinguishing between natural and judicial astrology. Are we to attempt to find a model which can accomodate both? If not, then we are differentiating astrology into two forms (as has been traditional it seems), and need not necessarily bother with the conundrum of divination, for example, when modelling astro-meteorology, etc. We have to have a clear idea of what it is we are theorising about.=20
The early stages of biological science were concerned with classification and phylogeny (evolutionary pedigree) - plants are not the same as fishes, so we can forget photosynthesis as an issue for fishes, etc.. It was only later that biochemistry and molecular biology evolved. Perhaps our project should engage in some of this kind of work before jumping off the highest diving board. This has to be pretty basic. For example, do we believe there is such a thing as the horoscope for an idea? If so, do we expect to model its astrology the same way we would for the horoscopes of earthquakes, political revolutions, or nervous breakdowns? This kind of question is important, as it brings into consideration the Cartesian distinction between the material and immaterial aspects of reality. Astrology seems to imply that this separation is artificial. And if this is the case, then astrologers should state this loudly right at the start.=20
In the end up we are trying to elucidate phenomenal aspects (e.g. patterns) of our experience of change, and ideas have a life, change and evolve, etc. just like material processes.=20
Given the myriad contexts to which astrology can be applied, Ed's suggestion that we identify mathematical-like forms will probably result in establishing a common ground of sorts, because it will presumably focus on process and change, which is what these contexts have in common. There will then arise a relationship between the 'mathematical models' and another level of consideration which is analogous to science (which makes use of maths but is not maths). In this regard, I am reminded of a book called 'Dynamics - the Geometry of Behaviour' (by Abrahams and Shaw), which contains graphical elaborations of elements associated with system dynamics (with a lot to say about modelling non-linear processes). The concept of causal mechanism is irrelevant in this book, as it is concerned with what is essentially another form of mechanism, a geometric one. For example, a system's future behaviour potential is mapped out in a phase space diagram, where each co-ordinate point in the multi-dimensional phase space represents a particular state which the system can be in at a specific moment in time. The 'shape' of the phase space, a geometric construct, 'determines' behavioural possibilities. The focus is not on unravelling mechanisms in a traditional sense, but on understanding how a system will behave. The material nature of the system is of secondary importance - the geometry is relevant for turbulence, stock market fluctuations and the patterns associated with measles epidemics. Astrology too has a similar relationship with contexts.
> much for the establishment of a basis from which to launch a = reasonable
> I agree. I think many of the points Juan makes are very important, and
> fundamentally significant to the process of attempting to understand
> (and perhaps model) the nature of astrology. This is the kind of thing
> I am referring to above - the slow coagulation of individual
> perspectives. The potential beginnings of a small group consensus, and
> probably one which will necessarily engender its opposite for the
> purposes of creative dialogue.=3D20
> It sounds to me like this process is more valuable to the view that
> astrology is only in need of rehabilitation, and that astrologers need = to
> get their act together so a unified front can be presented to the world = at
> large. I wouldn't invest too much energy in creating a unified front. Astrology will be rehabilitated when it is perceived to be of value again. I can't imagine arguments making any difference to the non-astrology world. I am more interested in rehabilitating it within the community of astrologers. In other words, contributing to a viewpoint within the world of astrology which is a reflection of contemporary consciousness (which can't be separated from its ancestry, but which has evolved beyond it) - frankly and somewhat selfishly, coming up with a viewpoint which makes sense to me. I assume that if it makes sense to me, it will make sense to some others too. Without wishing to be immodest I would imagine that this, if it happens, will turn out to be a pioneering group out on the margins who have paid some attention to issues which most consider irrelevant. Hopefully, the consequences of such efforts will be a more realistic and effective attitude in relation to practice. If so, this will add to astrology's perceived value, and it will slowly find itself moving towards the centre as generations come and go.=20
> Maybe it would be worthwhile to discuss the three positions I enumerated
> here. The idea is that we might discover some hidden consensus, or = hidden
> misapprehensions, etc. There can't be too much discussion about these things. Maybe the list should become more proactive and invite contributions on specific issues to be submitted within a certain time frame, as well as having the usual chat here. They could be given web space, etc. and comments could be then made on the list. Maybe one 'essay' per list member on any given topic, should he or she choose to contribute. Some of the stuff that's discussed here should be tied down in some coherent form or other, rather than just being left to the archive jungle.=20
It may seem at times as if these discussions are going no where, but I believe things are moving. We are not blessed with university salaries, libraries, bars and common rooms, where things can be accelerated far more effectively. We don't even get real time dialogue in each other's company. A feature of this new form of dialogue is that there is a lot of waste, and a lot of noise. But that's the nature of the beast, and in my opinion, it is better than nothing at all (which is what I was used to until 1995).
All the best
Date: Sat, 07 Oct 2000 17:12:47 -0400
From: Ed Falis
Subject: Re: Exegesis Digest V5 #64 - Dennis and Juan
We don't disagree much so far as what you said. And I certainly don't see my personal insights into the nature of astrology as particularly original. I'm not surprised that the same or similar ideas have been expressed on this forum before. Actually, I'm rather pleased to find that it's close to a consensus. The only place I'll differ from you is that perhaps I'm not quite so cynical about astrologers in general, so far.
A bit of a longer reply, as you bring up some very fine shades of distinction here, as usual.
First, I think we have a bit of a terminology problem, which I'll take responsibility for. That's the use of the word "mathematics" in my previous posts. My meaning has been that there are deep formal and order qualities within astrology, based on the way the human mind (and perhaps everything else) works, that I liken to mathematics. I tend to see embedded in "real" astrology a mathematics of analogical consciousness, much as classical mathematics is primarily one of deductive, rational consciousness (though it too embeds the analogical). I believe the symbolic language of astrology to be capable of serving the same role with respect to analogical thinking as mathematics does in other areas. I also believe it has similar "laws of form" rooted in the nature of consciousness, and that this is the most essential aspect of astrology. I did not mean mathematics literally as what I'm chasing or using as a measure of astrological effort, but as a metaphor that seems to have a good deal of bearing on what we're talking about. I hope some of this became clearer in the response I made to Bill Sheeran.
On to bits of your post:
> < Astrology, from the practical point of view, is a set of tools or > techniques through which it is possible to establish and analyze the
> structure of practically everything that happens in time. Any calendar
> structures time based on a compartmentalization of astronomical cycles,
> which then become slices of space over which temporal distances are
> measured. Astrology, through a process of semantic intensification,
> presents us a qualitative structure of time that can be analyzed
> impartially and objectively by means of a specialized language. When
> applied to the life of a human being, astrology means the possibility of
> modelling or representing the underlying sense and structure of a biography
> in development... In other words, the astrological structures, applied to a
> human life, establish a calendar for the development of this life through
> the use of measurements and the mathematical mapping of the subjective and
> qualitative dimensions of experience.
> Are we are on the same track here?
> So, fundamentally, we're employing a mathematics of qualitative
> description, based on an assumption, an axiom, which may or may not be
> true, as in all mathematics - something we draw from some intuition within
> ourselves about the way things are, or perhaps that is grounded in the way
> our minds work. Given that this particular intuition has raged through
> history and cultures around the world, it's at least an axiom that has
> some collective blessing. So, let's say we use it as our starting point.
> Are you referring here to the "as above so below"?
Yes, expressed slightly differently. Our axiom for modelling.
> We use one thing that can be measured directly and with precision (the
> celestial apparatus), in order to furnish a model of something which cannot
> be measured directly (subjective experience, symbolical entities and
> "events"...). This is the fundamental assumption, and it seems to have some
> "mystery". But in reality, to me, it has not more mystery than a calendar.
> The "mystery", perhaps, is in understanding that astrology is not "about"
> celestial objects, but about "time". I feel that if we are able to
> understand the very intimate relationship between time --or rather the
> flow, the becoming-- and "consciousness", we will be able to grasp the
> reason why celestial mechanics can "measure" subjective reality.
I think we merely need to treat it as axiomatic, and go on from there, because it's not really open to any kind of proof. Its truth value lies deeper than that, in a subjective experience that's been widely shared. Now, if we can provide means for reproducing that experience .... ;-)
> But this is astrology only in part, related probably to its beginnings or
> its foundations, because we cannot assume that astrology, i.e.,
> astrological practice, works through a sky-to-earth "real time"
> correspondence. It does not. "The above" used in astrology is a construct
> made of dense symbolical layers and manipulations that belong more to
> culture than to nature. The laws of nature and of physics are therefore not
> the basis of astrology, but the nature of human consciousness and how
> consciousness organizes the world through the use of metaphor and analogy,
> and how consciousness uses the celestial apparatus to build the analogies
> because both (consciousness and the experience of astronomical cycles) are
> intimately related through the fundamental reality of the flow of time.
No argument. The layers are elaborations, much as calculus is within mathematics, and of similar potency. The difference is that we seem to have lost touch with out arithmetic to some extent, or haven't yet developed our abstract algebra that explains the formal structure of the most primitive aspects of our symbolic language, as abstract algebra does for integer arithmetic. Remember I'm speaking analogically. In bringing these primitive bones of the system to light, I think we'll learn even more about the nature of consciousness than we do, because we'll be trying to work primarily out of the corpus callosum rather than the left hemisphere (or the right for that matter).
> I see astrology not only as form but also as content, i.e., meaning and
> interpretation, and this is completely cultural. If I were not a practicing
> astrologer, I would be inclined to think of astrology merely in formal or
> structural terms, which *may* be universal, but in real life Astrology is
> USED, as is the case of any model or modelling tool, it does not exist by
> itself. The relationships it models have to be communicated and a meaning
> has to be given to them.
Form and content shape each other, so there's no argument there. There is a cultural context for manifestation. There is also a system based in deeper structures of consciousness.
> We have a structure such as, for example the solar system. We take it as
> model of something else. But how do we give meaning to the different parts?
> Specifically, the best illustration is probably the process through which a
> newly discovered planet (Neptune, Pluto, an asteroid...) acquires meaning
> as a result o a very complex mental/collective process. This process is
> strongly mediated by a particular culture, economics, and history.
Sure, and by rules of consciousness, regardless of what metaphysics we happen to attribute them to. How do we see that complex process of assigning meaning? Through what filters? We get back to assumptions of how things are in any such attempt. So we move back to the pragmatic, and stand in awe.
> There is meaning in form by itself. But it has to be communicated socially
> and made useful. In this Astrology is very much like Medicine. Medicine
> cannot be thought of without its application and practice, even from the
> merely theoretical standpoint.
But mathematics can. For instance, the development of quarternions was accomplished and lay unused for 75 years, at which time it became a fundamental piece of the formulation of quantum physics. It's certainly not the only case like this in the history of mathematics. Formal development and its application interact in very complex and often independent ways. My opinion is that astrology as conceived and practiced today is too weighted toward the craft end of things. And my argument is that characterizing astrology as analogous to medicine or psychology is wrong - it's a much more fundamental enterprise than its applications, which is why I continue to compare it to its closest cousin in the hierarchy of human endeavors. Really, I think this misclassification of where astrology sits is responsible for much of the difficulty in rehabilitating it into our culture. And I think my stance reflects its placement within in the classical quadrivium, though I'm no classics scholar.
> My point is that there is internal coherence at a number of levels that
> transcends the current paradigm / state of the practice. And I believe
> that that's what sound astrological "theory" ought to be going after. What
> most astrologers "do" is applied astrological mathematics at the level of
> craft. In my heart, I believe we can do more.
> It certainly transcends it. My point is simply that this doesn't mean that
> current practice is *not* astrology or is "pseudo" astrology.
There is good and bad mathematics - I think the same applies to astrology. How do we uncover the criteria? My orientation toward that issue is formal. There are others that are valid, but what will give us the most mileage? What conception of what astrology is about is most accurate or most useful?
> You said once
> that astrology can invent its own rules, make them anew. For example, one
> of the paradigms of natal astrology is the "dogma" of the birth chart.
> However, I can develop my practice not with natal charts but with death or
> any other significant charts, freeing myself from the constraints of
> "birth-chart astrology" when dealing with individual lives and with
> psychology. I would still be working with the same astrological principles,
> but applying them in a different way. The same goes for the use of the
> ecliptic, of hypothetical planets, and of asteroids. They are parts of the
> same "astrological" principles, very pure and fundamental astrology and
> mathematics, because astrology is not about celestial objects but about the
> logical and analogical structure of the human mind *plus* the "time
> measurement (or movement) paradigm".
Fair enough - and this is why a better developed sense of the formal structure of astrological principles is important, independent of what works for particular individuals. By the way, I don't see hypotheticals has having that particular quality of conforming to astrological principles, regardless of their usefulness in astrological divination. And I did say that we can invent, but need to invent coherently, or at least integrate the invention into an overall set of concepts and principles.
> It is here that a historical and fundamental distinction must be made
> between "Astrology" in general as an idea, with its multi-cultural forms
> (Aztec, Chinese, Babylonian, Megalithic, etc), and *the* Astrology that we
> know and practice, fundamentally distinctive and unique. One belongs to the
> origins of Astrology, the other to the historical beginnings of horoscopy.
> There are many fundamental differences between both, mainly, that horoscopy
> does not work ins situ and in real time, but works exclusively through
> cinematic and geometric models very densely manipulated in a symbolical way
> that is not related to physics but to mathematical analogies.
Agree, with my usual comments ;-)
> Of course, I do not believe that such and such practice "defines"
> Astrology. The properties of the astrological "modelling tool" can be
> studies by themselves in abstraction from the different practices. But it
> is the practice, the "act" of putting the multiple possible astrological
> models to use, what gives us the "evidence" we need for the theoretical
That's only part of it, and perhaps not the most fundamental part, which is why we argue. I recite my example of quarternions above.
> So, from these considerations (like the fact that there can be multiple
> astrological models for the same thing --the different schools and
> techniques), and your assertion elsewhere that Astrology "invents" its own
> rules, perhaps rather than "a model", it would be more appropriate to call
> Astrology a "modelling machine" or a "modelling tool".
Absolutely. This is what I've been saying all along, apparently not too effectively. And actually a set of modelling tools - like mathematics ;-)
> Right now, I think it's the mathematics-like aspects of astrology that are
> most in need of attention, because they provide consistency checks against
> various "techniques" and so-called theories. There are a lot of practices
> out there that simply lack a consistent basis. "Well, it works for me" is
> fine, I suppose, at the level of craft, but it doesn't move the
> astrological enterprise forward.
> I agree, although some examples of what "theories" or techniques are so
> inconsistent to you would help a lot. Aapparent mathematical inconsistency
> may not be used as criterion of validity, because that would be simply a
> prejudice, and in many cases it would be wrong. Often, what seems
> inconsistent or even "random" proves to be following very logical and
> consistent rules, only that they remain hidden or unconscious.
Lets say "principle-inconsistent" to get away from my overloaded use of the term mathematics. Why solar arcs (there's probably a historical reason)? Why primary directions without factoring ecliptic motion in (convenience as like as not)? Why progression of the angles the way they are done typically (probably just a dumb idea, lacking a deep understanding of the basis of symbolic times)? Why, when the whole interpretive infrastructure of horoscopic hemispheres is based on above and below the horizon, do we place pluto in the first when it's in the twelfth (confusion of astrological frames of reference)? Why the confusion with respect to signs in the southern hemisphere (attribution of sign meaning to the seasonal mnemonic used to pass astrological knowledge along in the northern hemisphere).
I haven't even started to get into the wierder stuff that sells astrology these days. Not to mention all the pointless arguments and reinvention of the wheel that's grounded in the absence of clearly formulated and consistent principles. Use of the analogical faculties _can_ be rigorous, and astrology has the best potential around as a vehicle. But not so long as we stay at the craft level of development.
> This is a very simple principle. The object of any inquiry should be to
> discover that apparently hidden order, not pre-judge and dismiss based on
> prejudices or in a priori mathematical concepts. That's why I think that
> the path to follow to understand Astrology is not mathematics but cognitive
> science, knowledge about the structure of the human mind, of how the mind
> works, how it classifies the world and deals with the experience of time,
> how it establishes order and meaning.
I agree completely. It's not mathematics, but it's _like_ mathematics.
> Over and over again you will see that (apparently) very inconsistent
> practices produce very consistent and meaningful results.
At the level of craft and mastery of an informally absorbed symbol system - I believe we need to move up a level from that.
> That is part of
> the nature of astrology, and there is nothing "inconsistent" in the fact
> that the mathematical coherence is frail or defective. That is not needed,
> even though it is desirable. "Dreams" can look very incoherent, but they
> are not, and I believe that many "satanized" astrological practices or
> incongruent techniques are very coherent when you take a look at them
> without the "mathematics" bias.
Again, my failing in communicating my meaning leads to this comment, I think. We're not in fundamental disagreement here.
> I agree that we cannot stay there, because Astrology would never progress
> that way. But this doesn't mean that the "there" is wrong or "pseudo" or
All depends on one's vision of what astrology is, don't you think?
Date: Tue, 10 Oct 2000 16:32:47 -0700
From: "William D. Tallman"
Subject: Re: Exegesis Digest V5 #(last several)
Ed Falis said:
> I have to think a bit more about Bill Tallman's comments, though I suspect he
> overestimates me. In speaking to the list, I only saw myself as starting to
It was a thought, Ed. I doubt that you lack the professional experience, but the astrological community is not an professional company; it clearly has nothing even resembling a common purpose. It would work only if the people I mentioned were really interested in making it work, yourself included. Maybe next millennium....
[snip rest of very substantive post]
I thoroughly enjoy this kind of discussion, and the exercising of the tools of analysis used. One thing keeps recurring to me, and that is the question of exactly what we're doing here. It seems pretty clear to me that a lot of energy and very sophisticated effort is being spent in the endeavor to understand (make sense of?) what we know, or think we know, about astrology. In view of the common experience of having things make sense only after all the data is available, I wonder if we're not still at the blind men and elephant stage, such that anything we do now serves only to sort what we already know for (hopefully) more effective future use.
Are we well served by assuming that we've got enough of a handle on the subject such that what we already have is sufficient for our purposes? I think not, but that's because there are questions that I can ask (have asked) that are generally suggested to have no answer: for instance, is the physics of this whole business relevant to an understanding of astrology? The reply is that a question of the physics of astrology is not relevant, and therefore has no meaningful answer.
The danger here, I think, is that we come to regard our current tools and knowledge as completely adequate for the job, and that we will wind up as the professor of physics who told a student that physics was about to become a barren field, for everything of real importance had already been discovered, such that only the details were lacking.
Just a thought.
> 1) Astrology is 'broke' and needs to be fixed. Two subsets of this are
> that a) astrology doesn't really exist and we are doing something under
> that name we find convenient to continue to call astrology, and b) if a
> successful reading can be done using an invalid chart, there is clearly
> something wrong with what we're doing. Here, incidentally, astrology
> is defined as what astrologers do.
> Not broke; malfunctioning and unreliable. 1a: never encountered this
> belief 1b: logical fallacy (not "we"; "them"). Success due to concord
> between astrologer & client. Reward for fantasy entertainment. Some
> astrologers spin a good yarn based on wrong data or invalid methodology.
> Placebo effect.
Malfunctioning and unreliable is equivalent to 'broke'. I've encountered both views, and regard them to a useful extent as a pessimism/optimism dual.
> 2) Astrology isn't 'broke' but is in dire need of rehabilitation to bring
> it into relevance to the modern times. All the effort to try to understand
> what astrology is from an inspection of what we inherited is meaningless;
> why it works is irrelevant because it does work, and the attention and
> energy should be focused on what astrology can, or will, become in the
> immediate future.
> Hopeless mix of different stances. Agree with 1st, not 2nd, nor 3rd, partly
> with 4th.
I must presume Dennis did not understand the meaning of the point, so let me try again. Essentially, what it is, is not important or even relevant: the only useful concern is what can be done with it in the future.
> 3) Astrology is neither 'broke' nor in need of rehabilitation. Astrology
> works just fine, thank you very much, and we are not well advised to go
> mucking around with what obviously needs more use than tinkering. All the
> furor over the state of astrology makes it more difficult to actually use
> or practice it, and we should drop all this and get busy doing the work at
> Cloud cuckoo land, where the astrosheep mill ...
I agree. I think all three of these stances are the result of a failure to put forth even a modicum of effort to comprehend the dilemma of astrology in modern times. Unfortunately, that's pretty much all I read, except for the few who post here.
> Who is Ruperti? Is he an astrologer? What competency supports the idea
> that his opinions have real substance? What work has he done that
> qualifies his judgment here? Are those questions too burdensome to ask?
> Rest assured that I do not find them so, as quite possibly others here
> In "The Royal Art of Astrology", published London 1946, author Robert Eisler
> PhD DSc DLitt, you will find facing page 17 a photo of "Alexander Ruperti
> explaining the horoscope of Jesus Christ", according to the caption. He [snip]
Thanks to Dennis for this material. Knew I'd heard the name, but had forgotten the particulars. Nevertheless, the questions about his contributions are relevant; that he was able to present Rudhyar's views more accessably doesn't inherently qualify him as a substantial thinker/philosopher of astrology.
> Lots of astrologers found Rudhyar too hard to read. [He was certainly prone
> to philosophical waffle and metaphysical digressions, which I tended to skim
> to get to the more substantial material.] They ended up learning from
> Stephen Arroyo instead, who was good at making Rudhyar's approach to
> astrology user-friendly. Ruperti's book fulfilled a similar function.
> Humanistic astrology was in those days the healthy alternative to
> traditional astrology, and these 3 authors provided exemplary explanations
> of how to do it. Use of the birth-chart as a road-map of one's future, from
> which guidance for developing one's potential could be ascertained, was the
> metaphysical stance.
I find this quite startling, I must say. I suppose I'm not in a position to judge these matters, as Rudhyar was one of my teachers. It seemed all pretty straightforward to me, although far from comprehensive. The point of applying astrology to the human life as a useful tool rather than as a judgment was pretty clearly substantial, even obvious, but then....
A general observation about the use of such concepts as subjective and objective might be that they are far too extensively applied in too many different directions to have the ability to provide the kind of precision I think we need in the terminology we use here. Such terms acquire technical meaning within the context of any given usage, and the danger is that these meanings may be radically different from another such usage. The point here is that we demonstrate the clarity of our understanding in the choice of terminology we use, and, in general, the ability to use concepts in their fundamental form is proportional to the clarity of the view supporting that ability.
It might be said that such observations are quibbles, but it's interesting to observe how much failure to gain understanding turns on such apparently minor issues. Otherwise, kudos to Ed, Bill, Dennis and Juan for some really substantive thinking!
On another issue, I did indeed misspeak, if not blunder, in declaring that cross posting was acceptable. It is, of course, generally regarded as a breach of network protocol, and for good reason. My intent was to suggest that posting the same material to different lists is quite acceptable as long as it is applicable and timely to the discussions at hand. Perhaps, when we all get websites, we can simply post a reference to the appropriate material on our sites, and interested parties can look at their leisure.
Date: Sun, 8 Oct 2000 18:32:55 +1300
From: JG or DF
Subject: archetypes (part 1)
Chambers 20th Century gives this dictionary definition: archetype: original pattern or model Greek roots: arche (beginning, government), typos (a model)
However I think it was in the Shorter Oxford dictionary that I found the Greek root arche defined as `first principle', which seems even more to the point. An archetype is an originating principle that has a formative influence. "An archetype is a pattern-forming principle which is continually reproduced in nature. Each has a constant essential nature which manifests frequently in life, becoming a key factor in the collective development of humanity." (1)
This identification of archetypes in the structure and reproduced similarity of natural forms may seem to be at variance with a common understanding derived from Jungian psychology, that the archetypes are to be found in the collective unconscious. This is due to an over-simplification by Jung's followers, as Jung's own writings verify that he identified some archetypes as manifesting in nature. I find it more helpful to recognise that archetypes fall into 3 categories: those that emerge from the collective unconscious and can be identified in individual behaviour and human types, those that shape natural forms, and those that emerge in nature but also emerge in the human psyche. The planetary archetypes, for instance, belong to the latter category.
You will observe that the original Greek meaning had a executive, ruling connotation (government) as well as the originating and modelling connotations. Archetypes not make things happen, they produce tangible results; the pattern or template reproduces the form. "Archetypes are abstract principles which seem to be informational, to lie in the realm of potential, but often manifest as qualitative components of the manifested forms of nature, and the most evident of these are the number archetypes." (2)
It is in the number archetypes that we find the interface between mathematics and metaphysics. Each one of these has a unique quality, yet it is an integral part of the intellectual system of mathematics. Mathematicians train themselves to ignore the qualitative dimension of a number, and merely use it for counting. Numerologists project qualities onto a number that are mere personal fantasies, because they think that finding out how numbers actually operate as archetypes is too hard. That's why the descriptions of any number vary according to which numerologist is describing them. It is in the structure of time cycles and in the structure of our orientation to the environment that the number archetypes are most relevant to contemporary astrological theory.
Johannes Kepler was employed as astrologer by the Holy Roman Emperor Rudolf II and discovered the laws of planetary motion. Previously everyone had always thought the planets moved in circles, but he proved their orbits were ellipses. Plato described the archetypes as `Ideas in the mind of God' (it his worth recalling that his god was neither Christian nor Jewish) and Kepler agreed. Wolfgang Pauli and Werner Heisenberg both won Nobel prizes in physics for their role in the development of quantum theory. Heisenberg wrote "archetypes are consequences or evidences of a general order of the cosmos, embracing matter and sprit alike." (3) He also published a commentary on what Pauli wrote on the subject, with respect to both Pauli's collaboration with Jung and Pauli's investigation of Kepler's references to the archetypes.
"The bridge leading from the initially unordered data of experience to the Ideas is seen by Pauli in certain primeval images pre-existing in the soul, the archetypes discussed by Kepler and also by modem psychology. These primeval images - here Pauli is largely in agreement with the views of Jung - should not be located in consciousness or related to specific rationally formulable ideas. It is a question, rather, of forms belonging to the unconscious region of the human soul... This view of natural knowledge is notoriously derived in its essentials from Plato, and it penetrated into Christian thought by way of neo-Platonism (Plotinus, Proclus). Pauli seeks to clarify it by pointing out that even Kepler's conversion to the Copernican theory, which marks the beginning of modern natural science, was decisively affected by certain primeval images or archetypes. He cites this passage from Kepler's Mysterium Cosmographicum: "The image of the triune God is in the sphere, namely of the Father in the center, of the Son in the outer surface and of the Holy Ghost in the uniformity of connection between point and intervening space or surroundings."" (4)
Heisenberg continues: "The motion directed from the center to the outer surface is, for Kepler, the emblem of creation. This symbol, most intimately associated with the Holy Trinity and described by Jung as a mandala, finds an imperfect realization, for Kepler, in the physical world: the sun in the center of the system of planets... Pauli believes that to Kepler the persuasiveness of the Copernican system is due primarily to its correspondence with the symbol described and only secondarily to the data of experience." (4)
Kepler was following in a relatively universal ancient tradition, as the following quotation demonstrates. "From Greece to Mesopotamia, and perhaps among the Vedic Hindus as well, an idea of circularity governed early conjectures about the universe. It agreed with what was seen, and extended itself to what was not. The starry heavens could be watched circling, the ring of the horizon met the eye on all sides. At an early period the earth came to be pictured as a disc." The ocean, sometimes personified as a giant serpent, surrounded "the circular land-mass on which humanity lives".' It was called the rebel in Hebrew, oecumene in Greek, orbis terrarum (circle of land) in Latin. Proverbs 8:27-31 describes how God 'drew a circle on the face of the deep', and a surviving Sth century Babylonian map shows the world as circular; a disc of land surrounded by the ring of the earthly ocean, and surrounding that the ring of heaven with its zodiacal gods. (5)
The sphere is traditionally represented by a circle, when symbolized in a diagram, just as the circular horizon is the earthly analogue of the heavenly sphere of the cosmos. The circle archetype clearly has had a profound influence on human consciousness. Even today the horizon is experienced as a circle, with the observer at its centre. Science cannot prove this, but it is nonetheless universally accepted as fact, and illustrates the point that some of the most fundamental aspects of nature that we experience are not accessible to scientific description.
The astrologer is concerned with the archetypal basis of nature because many of the archetypes appear to have a formative influence on consciousness. Some seem to manifest in particular structural components of the human psyche. They certainly account for most of the common qualitative variations in nature. To understand these essential primary informational components of nature, one must bypass the tattered clichs of the traditional scientific description. For instance, scientists generally claim astrology is invalid because it uses a geocentric frame of reference based on a belief that the universe revolves around a fixed flat horizon. This certainly was the generally held belief throughout most of history, until the Enlightenment. And for very good reason, as Heisenberg explains: "Immediate experience teaches that the earth at rest and that the sun goes around it. In the more precise terms of our own day, we might even say that the word 'rest' is defined by the statement that the earth is at rest, and that we call every body at rest that no longer moves relative to the earth. If the word 'rest' is understood in this fashion - and it generally is so understood - then Ptolemy was right and Copernicus wrong." (6)
There is an issue of relativity here, obviously. Are facts relative to common experience, or are they decrees handed down from on high by a scientific priesthood? It used to be the latter, but the winds of change are blowing. If we all see a flat earth bounded by a circular horizon, it may well be the case that our psyche has been structured according to this common perception. Our experience of cosmic cycles would then be relative to this constant generic frame of reference. If evolution has given us this view of the environment, the horoscope as model of the psyche seems a viable proposition.
The symbol of the circle with a dot in the centre has represented the Sun for astrologers for at least several centuries. To scientists it represents the hydrogen atom. To the Chinese it has since ancient times represented the cosmos - earth is the central dot and heaven is the surrounding circle. In the theory of holism this symbol is generalised to represent the holistic relation between part and whole. This points to the archetype underlying the symbol. Kepler retained the form of the archetype in agreeing with Copernicus that the Sun, not the Earth was at the centre of the planetary orbits. Our perception of self in relation to earth is from a centre to a surrounding circle of the horizon which bounds our arena of social interaction, so the same archetype is involved. Whether this be essentially 3-dimensional or 2-dimensional may not be an issue, because it may manifest in either way depending on context and perception. There may also be a reciprocal relativity involved in the way the archetype operates, in that sometimes the part is in the centre and sometimes the whole, but that may just be a consequence of usage of the symbol as model. Another feature is the triplicity of structure, which to Kepler meant Christian trinitarian divinity. His correlation of the link between part and whole with the holy spirit seems appropriate, inasmuch as something holistic and indefinable mediates a bond via which they connect and interact. Gravity is the physical term for what maintains the planetary orbits; it does not explain their relative proportions, nor their form.
(1) "The Astrologer and the Paradigm Shift", D Frank, 1992, p264. (2) ibid. p52. (3) "Quantum Questions", ed. K Wilber, 1984, p162. (4) ibid. p66. (5) This and the following 2 paragraphs are copied from my book p54, and the source of the quote is "The Ancient Wisdom" G Ashe, 1977, p74/5. (6) "Quantum Questions", ed. K Wilber, 1984, p40.
End of Exegesis Digest Volume 5 Issue 65
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