|Exegesis Volume 6 Issue #10
Exegesis Digest Mon, 02 Apr 2001
Date: Mon, 19 Feb 2001 00:37:06 -0800
From: "William D. Tallman"
Subject: Re: Exegesis Digest V6 #7
> Mr. Tallman,
> No BB, just a seeker. What about opening up to a subject that may not have
> been explored or tainted, or undercooked, or overeaten?
> Astrology as a philosophy, not a science. Yes, science *poses" facts; philos
Absolutely!!! The philosophy of astrology is, or should be, considered as peer to the science of astrology, the art of astrology, the craft of astrology, and the other major attributes thereof
I think it's probably not that productive to consider any one of them alone, or in opposition to any other, because the arts and sciences of any body of knowledge express essential parts otherwise not easily accessible. The philosophy of a body of knowledge (an '-ology', if you will) deals with both of these, just as each of them must address the philosophy. These are all just approaches from various points of view for various purposes, and I think they should be regarded as such.
Perhaps you'd like to do a reality check on your ideas about science and philosophy.. ie, see if you understand those ideas well enough communicate them and defend them against criticism. To the extent you can do both, you will find you have really increased the substance and usefulness of those ideas, or that's generally what one would like to happen.
> Astrological charts are a map. Transits and progressions move the map
> forward, backward and trigger the potential paths that exist.
> What do we interpret aspects as benefic and malefic if what is happening is
> distance and angle between one fixed body and another? And one fixed body
> and another body in motion?
Ummm.. are you asking ...why do we interpret...? Or how do we interpret...?
Excellent question and very much to the point of astrological philosophy. How do we determine what is benefic or malefic, and what do those terms actually mean?
You must know, of course, that this very question is one of the continuing undercurrents of astrological discussion in our time. The issue is (roughly) whether good or ill is only what we make of it, or is an objective attribute of reality. Medieval astrology, at least as practiced currently, appears to place emphasis on these judgments, such that we get the impression that good and evil are objective attributes of reality. Modern (Rudhyarian?) astrology would have it that no astrological condition is intrinsically either good or evil, that those judgments are reactions that we can modify and alter as we will. The (so-called) deeper issue here is popularly known as 'fate versus free will', which is yet another badly misunderstood issue, unfortunately. Or so I think.
Why don't you lay out your thinking on the subject of good and ill (or evil), with the question of astrological usage as benefic and malefic. In fact, do yourself a favor and burn some bandwidth here so that you can discover what you really think about these things. That's a lot of what goes on in writing, you know: you write and then discover what you know or think when you read what you've written! You probably know that already, but do it anyway and share what develops.
I bark a lot when I'm on the soapbox and for very good reason. Watch-dogs are supposed to do a lot of barking when things are wrong. But I'm fairly well mannered otherwise.... < grin >
So toss it out there and let the exchange of ideas begin!
> It was certainly a welcome surprise to receive positive feedback from Bill &
> Fran on my interpretation of the Exegesis chart! Thanks, guys.
It's extremely important to publish recognition and approval in this situation. We argue our positions altogether too much in the adversarial mode, so credit where it is due is a good reality check here, I think.
> accuracy was achieved via the total exclusion of rulerships.
Hmmm... this prompted me to look at the rulerships < grin > If I haven't mucked it up terribly, I get the Sun at 8AR19, 25CA15 Ascending with 8AR44 at the MC. Sun just past the midheaven at 12:26pm standard time...sounds reasonable to me < grin > (SwEph engine, Mosher ephemeris)
Four planets are their own lords: The Moon in the I - cusp in Cancer, Venus in the XI - cusp in Taurus, Jupiter in the VI - cusp in Sagittarius, and Pluto in the V - cusp in Scorpio. Jupiter turns out to be the final dispositor, disposing of the Sun, Mars and Saturn, where Mercury is disposed by Mars and both Uranus and Neptune by Saturn.
So what does that mean? Well, how about growth through service? Or growth through doing work? Good indicator of health, of course, but health maintained by being put to good use.. well exercised for productive purposes, etc.
The Moon, Venus and Pluto are not in the dispositor circle, which suggests that they might be considered as givens, or constants... maybe inate sensibility for 'spiritual' purposes, something on the order of a heightened focus on the discernment of transforming potential. Or perhaps that should be transformative potential.
Saturn and Neptune could be considered to be in mutual disposition, and Pluto could also be considered conditionally disposed by Mars, and thus by Jupiter, but that means having to parse dual rulerships, the logic of which becomes subject to debate, I suppose. But it also suggests that Uranus is less of a factor than Neptune, such that resolution is more relevant than change, perhaps
But now to the main sequences: The Sun, Mars and Saturn are in the natural House of Jupiter (IX) and directly disposed thereof. The use of the place of learning and growth (academia, religion, law, long journeys and all that jazz..) for that very purpose through work and service. One could hardly ask for more relevant planets here, for these are those that do work: intention expressed through the application of energy in a defined format... sounds suspiciously like a physics formula... < grin >
Mercury is disposed by Mars, directly defining the energy as intellectual, and so we know that the intellect is to be harnessed for the job at hand, rather than to be allowed to wander off in whatever direction seems interesting... this implies the inherent attribute of focus rather than that of ready dispersability. And Uranus and Neptune are disposed by Saturn, suggesting that recognizable form preempts the potential of the changeable and the mysterious: science wins out over metaphysics here, I think, at least according to the popular understanding of metaphysics Modifying this, of course, is the participation of the dual rulership of Jupiter and Neptune of the Sign of Pisces. This suggests that the unknown is resolved rather than allowed to remain a mystery.
The justification for rulerships is embedded in the nature of the seasons, presumably, with the inner planets in the spring and fall, the lights in summer, and the outer planets in late fall and winter. Sounds reasonable enough when you think of it, I suppose. In any case, dispositors can supply some surprising insights sometimes, justification or no! In this case, the insights conform to the rest of the chart attributes, and are confirmed by other techniques.
Good election job, Fran! Ahhh... that's all I'm ever going to do on this list in the way of specific interpretation... < he said, remembering never to say never..lol!! >
> What I am trying to point out here is that the functional potentials of the
> chart could be identified by any reasonably competent astrologer, as long as
> this simple approach is followed. It seems that archetypes that underlie [snip]
> disinformation generated by the delusional elements of traditional astrology
> (such as rulerships) to the insights generated by the archetypes that the
> sum total will be a mishmash of reliable and unreliable information.
Well... rulerships, eh? Never use 'em myself...harrummpphh! LOL!!!
Your exposition is well founded and well taken, Dennis, but why do you insist on inserting your own personal biases as a basis of judging any traditional technique? We've discussed this before, and I still maintain that this is a glaring flaw in an otherwise fairly sound approach to astrology. This is the very thing that is wrong with astrology: the use of unfounded approaches to support conclusions! We might as well suggest, and I can do so with some amount of rationale, that astrology can do very well with the technique of meditation on a horoscope as a mandala, without an ounce of knowledge of the astrological lore!
But you are very right on the rest of it, I think. The lore is the technical language of astrology, such that it is the media for such insights as astrology provides. It's up to the astrologer to take those insights and apply them according to whatever ethical and professional principles are held.
A whole long dissertation on astrologers as reverse compilers of astrological lore just occurred to me, but I'll spare everyone the particulars. In short, both are translaters between very different realities, and it's instructive to consider that no matter how complex computer software compilers might be, the reverse process is vastly more difficult... and that's what the astrologer does in a session.
Legendary programmers now occupy themselves with the development of compilers for the evergrowing computer industry, and it's generally considered that such things are roughly equivalent to 'black arts', almost diabolically perverse in their resistence to effective analysis (in some cases..) If this is the case for those guys, we can get a sense of just how difficult it is to even contemplate how to analyze the work of the astrologer in interpreting a chart!!
And we expect computers to do astrology????? I don't think so...... < grin >
The upshot of all this is that Dennis' point is very important. The astrologer has a task that probably cannot be subject to rigorous analysis.. ie reproduced according to a set of rules. Which means there is a great deal more to being a good astrologer than simply having a compendium knowledge of the lore itself.. a computer can do that!
I think that this is a very profitable subject for discussion, however, and I would expect it to be a necessary part of any workable means of doing reality tests of astrological work.
> Non-astrologers with critical faculties will always find your production of
> such a mix quite unconvincing. Astrologers pursuing this approach will
> never get astrology out of the lunatic fringe, and the most they can achieve
> is to impress friends and clients with a selective use of their
Then are you arguing for a full scale program to develop such testing technology? Or are you assuming that most astrologers can satisfy the general requirements in these regards. As I've suggested, it can be argued that you did not do so yourself, but of course that was not your intent. What would you have done differently had you intended to do a generally acceptable demonstration?
> In Ex 6/4 Bill Tallman wrote:
> we have to pay attention to how we 'hear' the other voices on this list,
> and we have to pay attention to how accessible to others we are in
> Well said. Combining empathy and an inclusive approach is likely to
> facilitate the collaboration that some of us are hoping for. However
> collaboration necessary to fulfil the potential of Exegesis requires use of
> the intellect, something our culture and education system has failed to
> cultivate. Television has had a crippling effect on those who grew up with
> it instead of books. It is in language skills and the comprehension of
> subtle concepts that the younger generations seem notable deficient, even
> more so perhaps in the inclination to penetrate into the depths of the
> issues. We ought to encourage newcomers to Exegesis to engage the issues
> from their own unique perspective, and then see to what extent we can share
> the insights generated.
Yep, reading trains the imagination, which requires the development of communication skills, language skills, in order to share with others (it's lonely in that universe if you have to live there always by yourself). And these same skills are what make it possible to communicate with oneself, such that one can come to understand one's self. Language skills are the foundation upon which intelligence is built, and without them, all the mental capacity in the world sets silent and dumb, unable to function at all.
For those on this list who simply read and never contribute, think about this: How sure are you that you understand what's going on here.. or more to the point, perhaps, is this: how sure are you that you *cannot* understand what's going on here? If you care enough to read, and presumably you do else you wouldn't be subscribed, maybe you should care enough to test your assumptions. So delurk and make a contribution!!! We're all monkeys in the same tree here, all typing like mad hoping to write the ..... whatever it is...lol!!!!
As I am one of the major contributers here, I'll say this: you are welcome here and you will be treated with respect and dignity, just as we expect to be treated in return. But your ideas will be subject to extensive criticism and examination, at least by me. You may be assured that there is no comfortable mutual support group that will gently protect you from any possibility for growth and development. The very best approach is to ask questions, and then respond when they are answered
Just don't jump out here and make a lot of assertions you are not prepared to back up. If you think that I am an example of how initial contributions should be made, I assure you that I am not. I came on this list several years ago and asked questions...lot's of questions. When they didn't get answers, *then* I started being provocative just to get a reponse.. and I'm still doing it now, but I started with a bunch of questions and so should everyone. Or so I think < grin >
> But therein lies the Problem of Astrology: we don't know how or why it
> works, and we don't know how to find out. I submit that this is the
> subject that must be addressed successfully if astrology is ever to have
> opportunity to regain its former status < snip >
> The process I outlined above explains to my satisfaction how the
> astrological archetypes generate the keywords that enable accurate
> interpretation. That is to say, this is the only suitable working
> hypothesis I am aware of. I've deliberately refrained from expanding the
> above description of the process for reasons of economy, so I realise it may
> not seem fully convincing!
The problem here is that you are creating the support within the confines of what needs support itself. It isn't your specific practice that is the issue here, it's the entire construct of astrology itself. Clearly, a working hypothesis is an asset *within* that construct, where the practicing astrologer plies his craft. You are using astrological material to validate your practice and that works, but you can't use astrological material to validate astrology itself. That's essentially circular reasoning: a horse is a horse because it's a horse....
> a large part of the tradition of astrology is that
> the why and how are a mystery, and so should not be investigated, lest
> investigation have some catastrophic consequences of indeterminate nature.
> Self-doubt. Leading rapidly to insecurity. Since astrology incorporates a
> paradigm, those who learn it act according. Robots tend not to question
> their operating program. Those of us who had previously acquired other
I think it's probably simpler than that. Conformity to authority is the most secure state, and as there is no acceptable material extant, authority says it doesn't exist. So don't go looking for it!! < grin >
> paradigms came into astrology with multi-dimensional personal belief
> systems. We therefore are classic products of post-modernity: we use and
> put aside each paradigm according to the need we feel is appropriate to
> examine a situation. We use each like a lens. Those with only one lens do
> not have the option of obtaining meaning from a different collective frame
> of reference by examining a situation through a different lens in this
> manner. And don't forget that paradigms are functional: they function to
> produce results, according to the designed formula or ritual. A user is
> accustomed to getting results. Traditional astrology suits people for this
> reason, and they become dependent on their acquired ability to produce
> results. Most astrologers will be reluctant to face the possibility that
> their results are inadequate. Old dogs rarely learn new tricks, so any
> alternative would have to be a readily-demonstrable improvement.
We are the masters of the tools we use, but only if we know how to use them. And their use is inherent in their nature. But that means having to take the time and effort to investigate the tool and discern something that nature, and it means taking up the tool with due care and not expecting to turn out masterpieces the first time out. It means expecting to make some lengthy series of mistakes, hopefully punctuated by successes, whilst using the mistakes as means of learning about the tools... and the use thereof... and the user.
> Dennis appears to assume that there exists adequate astrological theory. I [snip]
> Yes, it does rather seem as if Bill and I differ on this issue. The
> difference may hinge on what we see as a `test'. I test my personal
> understanding of astrological theory via application to case study
> situations and appraisal of the extent of match between theoretical
> prediction and reality. I call this the empirical approach to learning how
> astrology works. The Exegesis launch reading is a typical example. The
> method attains relative objectivity via a convergence of several parameters.
Again, this is working inside the astrology box. It's the box itself that is in question.
The difference here is, once again, between the specific and general cases. Or maybe it's global and local.. dunno. Anyway, what you have done serves your purpose. On what basis do you suppose that it will work in the general case, such that any given individual can follow what you've done and reach the same state you've reached? You can tailor your work to your own expectations, which are in large part determined by your own nature, your skills and abilities, your training, your bent of character.... but how can you translate that into a way of going that will satisfy the range of such human considerations and attributes?
If you want to take the astrology box walls down, you will find that there is the whole world out there that expects to have their concerns met and their questions answered, and that means that all the assumptions that support astrology go out the window with the very first move. Astrology, as we practice it, only works inside the astrology box. I want to do away with the box.
Does that make sense?
> As we have seen, the consensus of agreement of several informed interpreters
> extends and documents some partial objectivity. The meaning and description
> of the event are also relative, and objectivity is extended via the numbers
> of participants and the media reports that may be generated. As mentioned,
> the language of astrology also becomes more objective the greater the
> consensus of meaning of its components that its users adopt, particularly
> when keywords enter into the common usage of non-astrologers (mercurial,
> martial, jovial).
Okay, now you're getting at least to the window in the box, it think. (Does the box really have a window? If not, let's install one!!! Let in some natural light!)
So far, the participants and media reports in this case have all been inside the box. As far as non astrological usage of planetary names, remember they were the names of the gods before they were applied to the planets, and the nature of these gods was *very* well known... (pick up your local linear B clay biscuit down at the bazaar and read about the latest scandals of the gods.....)
> All that I would immediately suggest, Bill, is a firm approach toward
> identifying the best keywords for each component. When I started learning
> astrology I was puzzled that keywords listed were only partially correct.
> This implied that authors of astrology books couldn't tell the difference
> between the right ones and the wrong ones. Why then was it so intuitively
> obvious to me? Of course, to you and anyone else my personal intuitions are
> of marginal relevance at best. What really matters are those keywords we
> agree are correct. Any language communicates to the extent that users agree
> to the meanings the words have. Astrologers have erred on this issue too
> long, and the language as commonly used is awfully sloppy.
Well, it seems to me that the convention in astrology has been to base one's judgment of what does and does not work on one's intuition, and one man's elegant explanation is another man's unacceptably sloppy work.
I would suggest that the relevant question there was what you stated: Why was it so intuitively obvious to you, implying that it appeared not to be so to others? If we could effectively address that, maybe we could see how to get a handle on some of the rest of this stuff.
> As regards Bill's complaint about the lack of a `clinical data base', I feel
> unable to judge if clinical implies some necessary quality. The data base
> for me is the whole class of events. It is limited only by accurate
> identification. If you can locate an event in time and space you can do its
> chart (previously notified restriction to this planet's surface applies).
Yes indeed, there is a whole complex of necessary qualities, and amongst other things, they are intended to guarantee to the general satisfaction that accuracy has been maintained. But that's not the main purpose. The main purpose is to do the very best possible to keep from leaving out stuff that might be not only relevant but important. The reason for this is that any conclusion from data that has been selectively accrued is inherently suspect and practically worthless... or should be regarded so.
> If you know what the event is, you can judge the match between chart meaning
> and event meaning. Such an empirical test suffices for me, but I did always
> expect other astrologers to do this too, and looked forward to comparing my
> verdict with theirs. It always used to baffle me that they failed perform
> such a basic reality check.
That sort of empirical test is something that my generation of astrologers always assumed... if you can't do the work, the most embarassing time to find out is after you've said you could and then taken money to do it! So comparisons, peer review, was a central activity from get-go. This is probably more difficult for the lone practitioner, but then....
The critical factor here is to be able to determine what constitutes an empirical test. Where and how do you get the information that is expected to confirm or refute the reading? At this point, we are talking about the central problem of science: how do you know that the data is useful, much less reliable? The general case statement here is: how do you know what you think you know? If you can't convincingly show the supporting resources and marshall them to do the job to the satisfaction of the critics, how do you know you aren't deluding yourself?
> The `true believer' syndrome is not only a terrible affliction, it is vastly
> more widespread than I had suspected. The problem seems to be that the
> effective paradigm in astrology has never included a verification procedure.
> Driven by market forces, the supply of astrologers results from a general
> demand for knowledge of the future. It doesn't matter if the knowledge
> obtained is wrong. Error in the readings does not quench faith in the
Well, at the point at which this post is being read, my previous post (Astrology: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly...I think) will have been distributed, and I have already addressed this with some ascerbity < grin > The market forces do indeed appear to rule, which has created a rather overwhelming mess that needs to be cleaned up if astrology is ever to emerge from the fringes.
> John Kellden informed us that he is "moderately skilled in three languages, [snip]
> You mean allowing a right brain focus rather than left? Insights deriving
> from resonance & pattern recognition, instead of logic & reasoning? If so,
> I'd not argue. For me both tend to happen in tandem somehow these days, but
> I agree with the implication that society still provides a left-brain bias
> which may be limiting progress in the list in a collective sense. It could
> be that the culture of the group of contributors to this list is somewhat
> left-brain reliant, but, if so, that goes along with a ready acceptance of
> lateral thinking: our collective use of the intellect tends to be rather
> unconventional, not bound by tradition or ideology in any obvious form.
> However, a more contemplative and reflective approach may indeed be helpful.
Well, I'll jump in here with an observation: Left brain activity deals with objective reality and right brain with subjective reality, and the corpus callosum connects to the ...... < grin > If you are going to share anything of substance, you have to begin with the objective stuff just so that we know what page we're all supposed to be on. To the extent that's been done, then sharing right-brain stuff is as useful as it can be made to be. But if you want to allow everyone to find out where their own right brain is, best stick to left brain stuff at the beginning.
Look at it this way: Left brain stuff is said to be linear. If so this is suited to serial communication... ideas in a row, needing only two terminals, an input and an output. Most of us can manage to establish those reliably, but not without some work, and even then they're problematic if ever put to the test. On the other hand right brain stuff is said to be at least multilinear.. the simplest version of which is parallel, I suppose. If you intend to communicate from right brain directly to right brain, then you have to have multiple terminals as there is going to be lots of information being transmitted on a number of channels... we talk about listening to what is said, and listening to how it is said, and listening to the tone of voice, and observing the body language and on and on. That's multiple streams of information at the same time.
Now, the problem is not that most people can't manage that, because they can. The truth appears to be that we all do this all the time in any case. But there was never any intent that the system work for any other application that the self alone. The problem is getting the signals coordinated so that what is made of the incoming data is anywhere close to how it was intended. Think about: "Oh, you meant *this*, not *that*, well I was thinking about this other thing that was going on and I missed that entirely... sorry..." And this happens a long way down the line such that everything that happened afterwords is anybody's guess. The problems of insuring data transmission on a serial line is enough to handle... parallel stuff requires computer brains to keep straight.. and that ain't me, I can tell you.
So I'd suggest we not emphasize right brain communication before we are reasonably sure of the left brain communication. The history of humanity is littered with the failures of right-brain communication, where the intent was that the right brains be linked for nefarious purposes of mass control, etc. Think religion, think political propaganda, and lots of other stuff...
> Aw, shucks! Naturally I enjoyed such appreciation, but it's a shame that my
> effort causes such diffidence. We all have different insights and any
> consensual picture of a subject constellates from the individual views of
> observers. Just because one has become an effective reporter of his view is
> no good reason for another to refrain from issuing a description. However I
> do empathise, having been there myself (I have a classic natal configuration
> that was ever a major handicap). One needs to feel satisfied with one's
> artistry, and I can only give advice that worked for me. Practice makes
> perfect, they say. But Virgo says you have to get the right procedure
> otherwise ritualised performance will get you used to producing wrong
> answers. One only need attend an astrologers' conference or scan astrology
> books on the market to see this. Oops, back on the old hobby horse again,
Good hobby horse for this list, I think. It goes on rocking in reality, as opposed to Astrologia, where the sky is ever blue and the clouds fluffy white..... argghh..
Now you've said what needs saying, Dennis. You've done what works for you and from what we see here, it was a good job. How about we try to figure out what will work in the general case, work for any given person?
> I believe there are two essential components to effective interpretation:
> accuracy of data & analysis, and artistry in weaving the synthesis of all
> the relevant factors. The former involves disciplines that can be taught
> and are honed through frequent application to real life situations. The
> latter involves a necessary coordination of right-brain functions (insights
> into the various ways particular configurations may manifest, intuiting how
> component patterns are likely to interact, seeing the overview, etc) with
> left-brain articulation into language accessible to others. This personal
> coordination cannot be taught, but it can be learnt in normal paradigmatic
> fashion by observing how others seem to do it and copying their style. At
> least, that's the route I took.
Well, my comments in the last post address this in terms of how astrology is
taught via the mass market. Whoever finds a real astrologer to copy is fortunate, I think. Most good astrologers can only teach what they think works, and probably because they expended the effort to discover at least that much. But some of them aren't too much for teaching and so they won't ladel out what they think, allowing the observer to learn for him/herself. That's how, in part, the Eastern guru operates, although they've got a real handle on what's going on with the chela (apprentice). Too bad it mostly doesn't work here.
> credibility needs to flow from a
> variety of directions, not just reliability.
> Could you expand on this?
Yes. please do.
> we should talk about how to construct tests of
> techniques such that astrologers can use those results, rather
> than constructing tests to answer our critics.
> Yes, proactive rather than reactive. The tests of astrology have always
> been based on the paradigm of old science. Statistics, invariably. If
> anything in astrology can be counted in such a way as to show us how
> astrology works, how come nobody has been able to do it? Seems to me the
> premise must be wrong. If your doctor heals you, do you need to prove it by
> trying to find something to count?
Oh dear.... Dennis... this sort of woolyheadedness is simply unacceptable.. sorry, but you really blundered here.
There is no such thing as 'old science'. There are many paradigms (standard models?) that have been used and transcended as new information becomes available. Science, as we know it, is one unbroken stream of efforts on the part of the best and brightest of us down through the ages to figure out what is going on. The methodology got better as time went on... Baconian philosophy? and ways of working were tried and discarded when they were shown not to work, but there is definitely no such thing as 'old science'.
I'm not going to get into that whole discussion again, but suffice it to say that the tools of science are as they have ever been: the best that can be offered. It remains for them to be properly used, and that is the essence of concern here.
You should know as well as anyone who is as literate as you are, that Science (the modern establishment practice thereof) is rife with workers who do well enough at their jobs, but who are fanatic about their views of reality for strictly personal reasons. Of this lot comes the people of SICOPS(?), and guys like Jerome and Bok (Objections to Astrology). We even have them in the ranks of astrology itself, although I understand Geofferey Dean no longer affiliates himself with astrology.
Because these guys have the most ready access to the necessary tools, they get to do the work and the results are already determined: astrology is bunk!!! We simply do not know how much work has been repressed or destroyed because it somehow managed to show something else, but we do know from personal testimony that enough has been to warrant rejection of any blanket claim of total lack of positive results.
If it were the case that statistics is commonly used to prove whatever is wanted, and that happens often enough I suspect, we would probably still be at the technological level of several centuries ago. Statistics is a powerful tool when used appropriately, but can also be abused with equal effect.
What we need to do, and the next subject I intend to address, is how to proceed with this kind of project. How do we develop means to determine *for ourselves as astrologers* what is really going on? What can we do that will allow us to discover whether what we're doing is really what we think it is, or something else that we don't see. You asked for a reality check, but what will satisfy your question at any given point almost certainly will not satisfy the range of questions that all of us might have.
Fran asked how we can satisfy our own questions. I ask whether we know what questions those might be. In short, I'm asking whether the questions that need asking even exist.
And as far as the doctor example is concerned, how do you think that doctor got that knowledge? What's important is that he has it, not whether you think it works. The proof of the cure is in the healing. Can you demonstrate that sort of work... other than by simple claim? Do you have the sort of track record that shows how and why things were done, and how you got to learn of them? In short, do you have a record of those questions asked and how they were answered, or whether they indeed ever were?
The doctor does, and statistics is one of the tools that got him there.
> I often reflect on Alan Leo's suggestion that the natal horoscope shows
> character & destiny. This insight a century ago somehow seems to
> encapsulate the mystique of astrology. If it really were a font of
> self-discovery in the way that Dane Rudhyar's evangelism proclaimed, what a
> boon to the human race it would be! Our society tries to conform us, but we
> want to be ourselves. We sense our unique nature but dimly. A method that
> revealed it in more detail and clarity would be a great help, particularly
> to young people being swayed by inappropriate suggestions into making wrong
> choices, threatening their subsequent happiness and future.
Yep. You've got the right of it here, I think. So what are we going to do about it?
> Market forces exalt choice while devaluing guidance, creating modern society
> as lottery. For those of us who learn to make it work reliably, astrology
> provides a rationale for the trends of the times, and helps us make better
> choices. Yet both character and destiny are not fixed, and the map we use
> just shows potentials and qualities. So how do we know we can rely on it?
Those with power ever shape the world and all in it to their own liking. That's a given, and all too well understood. Unfortunately, the individual is required to put forth some amount of effort at least equal to that debilitating influence if he/she is ever to break free. Part of that process involves learning how to do this, and specifically, learning how to determine what works and what doesn't.
> I guess the easy answer to this question is the time-honoured one - trial
> and error - that applies to any tool. Remembering that favourite
> description of archaeologists & anthropologists `man, the tool-maker',
> perhaps we ought to focus on the horoscope as a cerebral tool. Perhaps that
> is the key explanation to the revival of astrology in the 20th century. It
> is not merely a consequence of reaction to the dehumanising effects of
> science; it provides a tool, a catalyst for self-discovery. After a couple
> of years in Exegesis focusing on astrophilosophy, maybe a switch to
> practical considerations would be helpful.
You got the tool part right, Dennis, but I cannot imagine that you have entirely missed the point about what we've been doing here for the last couple of years. This has most definitely not been about astrophilosophy. It's been about trying to figure out how to move astrology out of the backwaters and the fringes, so that it can be made more useful to more people.
We've been discussing all the things that are keeping that from happening, and how to address those things. As Fran has said, we need new ideas because none of the old ones seem to work. An appeal to authority as the support of any idea simply denotes the idea as bankrupt of any perceived relevancy. That doesn't mean there necessarily is none, but that it's not observed (recognized?). If it were, there would be no need to resort to authority, I think.
This post is long enough. I'm going to do the second part of Ast: GBU next.
Date: Wed, 21 Feb 2001 22:20:02 +1300
From: JG or DF
Subject: Re: Exegesis Digest V6 #9
> When I first started learning
> astrology I assumed that my elders knew what they were
> talking about but at some point I got lost in the muddle of
> competing ideas. Later I began to question what I was taught and
> to make my own tests, but I never bothered to think about how I
> might make tests that other astrologers might find useful or
> that could be used as arguments when debating techniques.
Similar to my learning curve, except I may have been more sceptical from the start. I expected follow-up discussion to test a published explanation for why a chart indicated any particular outcome. The astromedia always has very little. On those few occasions when a response is published, it normally goes off on an entirely different tangent, rather than address the published reasoning. For instance, the famous 20 or 30 different rectifications of Reagan's birth-time. If collated, the assembly would look like entries in a creative writing competition rather than a discussion of the pros & cons of rectification theory & technique of application.
> I think that some sort of human-initiated mundane
> events might prove interesting areas of study. When a bill is
> introduced to a parliamentary body there might be some method to
> assert that the bill will pass or not, but I'm not deep enough
> to claim if that specific technique exists or what it might be,
> only that the tests have to have a very small scope. Yes/No,
> True/False, Did/Did Not.
Rather than a focus on prediction, why not go for the easier focus on why something was successful, or why it failed? Sure, a range of interpretive techniques would become evident, but common patterns of underlying logic may emerge nonetheless. So we can have 20/20 hindsight, but the logic, if valid, presumably would succeed in application to other similar cases. However, we do run into the holistic objection: that similar cases do not necessarily succeed (or fail) for the same reason. Different combinations of factors may also succeed (or fail). This approach is simply prospecting for characteristic patterns, amongst cases categorised as similar in type.
> My intuition on the whole matter of good reasoning is that the
> we need to be making arguments that a "reasonable" astrologer
> could digest. One can always find an extremist who will resist
> all attempts at convincing, but these are not the folks we
> should be worried about.
Which suggests that the astrological logic being tested needs to be familiar or comprehensible to all involved, even if they do not necessarily accept it as valid.
> Perhaps a method for proceeding down this road would be to come
> up with a list of items we believe can be tested, and then
> discussing theory and technique. I believe we should steer away
> from nativities and any psychological waters in order to avoid
> getting bogged down and should look around for "simpler" areas
> to explore.
I agree that birth-charts & the psychological approach tend to enhance the subjective aspect of astrology, at the expense of any credibility in test design. However I have long felt that the biographical approach to celebrities is inherently productive as an arena for testing astrological interpretation. It can be made relatively objective if certain disciplines are incorporated.
> I remain sceptic, if not skeptic, Dennis, about whatever meaning of a
> Mercury retrogradation (or not).
Yes, I can relate to that. I was a practising astrologer for about 7 years before I started to evaluate the match between experience and the supposed effect of Mercury retrograde. I had not been able to accept that astrologers could be right about it. It seemed too unlikely. So, my bias toward scepticism made me assume it was merely superstition. For some years I tested it in quite a gung ho manner - I believed the exercise of free-will could prevail over fate, depending on how hard one tried. I would initiate things during Mercury retrograde, and assumed that sufficient enterprise and careful implementation would get the expected results. I eventually figured that too many unexpected failures, or things having to be fixed up later due to unforeseen circumstances, meant my premise was apparently invalid.
> As I've already suggested, interpreting charts is not necessarily doing
> astrology. I mean that it's an application, between others, of
> astrology. I know that here, it could be useful to do (& the same on
> CURA), but it appears to me being nothing else that an "exercise of
> style". Doing astrology is for me "using matricial thought", that is
> reasoning, at each moment, away from the current dualistic way of
Yes, indeed, interpretation portrays the style of the interpreter. Also, however, it reveals the theory that the interpreter is using. I think we can agree that we are using different theory, regardless that we have a similar astrophilosophy of what underlies the theory.
> I would like also to know why some elements or operators, as Chiron
> (with an orbital excentricity of 0.38) or the Dragon's head (not a
> physical body)... are used, and not others. I suggest that using just
> the planets (which ones?), or using all you can eventually get from
> astronomy, is certainly not driving to the same model, or the same
> "explanation" of astrology itself.
Not sure what you really mean by that last sentence, but the question of which interpretive factors are basic to horoscope interpretation is certainly difficult to answer from a theoretical basis. I prefer to avoid it! That is to say, I take refuge in pragmatism. I have a bias toward traditional astrology to that extent only. Same with any pattern recognition: you mainly rely on identifying the most evident features.
As regards the lunar nodal axis, it is of traditional usage, plus it is a significant orientational factor. As a boundary marker for the solunar relationship cycle, it provides temporal as well as spatial orientation. Seems to me that it is a fundamental part of the local cosmos.
As regards Chiron, I found no empirical reason to take it seriously until recent years. It is of negligible significance in my natal chart, and other astrologers never impressed me with their advocacy of reasons to use it. In '85 Eve Jackson's articles in the AA journal were impressive, but insufficient. I picked up the Lantero book a decade ago, verdict likewise. Everything else I saw on the subject was largely fantasy & projection. For some reason the last 5 or more years increasingly I tend to see Chiron playing a significant part in overall configurations. Of course, I do acknowledge that this may just be a case of auto-suggestion, as Dale Huckeby would no doubt point out if he were to emerge from retirement!
The theory of morphic resonance explains why beliefs may consolidate in their effects as time passes, regardless of `truth'. I do not use other dead comets, asteroids, centaurs, whatever. Any objection to Chiron on physical grounds would also apply to Pluto.
> Other thing is to know why a chart of such a beginning association, i.e.
> Exegesis, would be significant. If Fran had cautiously chosen the moment
> (maybe he could tell us), this moment were significant for the reason
> that the signification he volontary would have put there, is the
> signification we could accept. Other thing to interpret the chart of any
> factory, which beginning isn't chosen by an astrologer. Does the meaning
> come after? And for who? For the only astrologers? If so: it's of none
> value -- I suggest.
This issue must be tested empirically. It is a matter of taste currently. I prefer to believe that time cycles modulate an archetypal qualitative matrix, which makes moments unique in time and place. Events partake of the qualities unique to the moment in which they occur, relative to the location. Development processes unfold according to inherent design, part of which is at the deep level of the archetypes (more superficial scheduling such as genetic, ecological, and social, also applies). Therefore, in my opinion, the meaning is inherent. It is partially available to anyone able to decode it.
End of Exegesis Digest Volume 6 Issue 10
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