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The Re-emergence of Divinatory Astrology
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GarryP
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Posted: Fri Apr 07, 2006 7:11 pm    Post subject: The Re-emergence of Divinatory Astrology Reply with quote

The starting-point for this thread is a paper by Kirk Little, Defining the Moment – Geoffrey Cornelius and the Development of the Divinatory Perspective. This can be downloaded from: http://www.astrozero.co.uk/articles/Defining.htm After the original announcement that it had been posted, Deb expressed reservations about Kirk’s paper, saying that she feels it doesn’t make sufficient acknowledgement of Olivia Barclay’s influence.

In order to be fair to Kirk, let me reiterate now that (as he puts it in his intro) the paper is intended as a guide to “understanding the emerging (or perhaps more accurately, re-emerging) perspective of divinatory astrology, especially as articulated in the work of the English astrologer Geoffrey Cornelius… (which approach) invites us to understand our astrology as essentially another form of divination, much like the I Ching or Tarot.” So Kirk wasn’t attempting to write a complete history of how horary astrology was recovered and restored in the 20th century. That said, the re-emergence of horary is inevitably going to be closely intertwined with his theme. So with that background, here are a couple of possible themes for comment:

1) I know Kirk is keen to make his paper as accurate as possible, so if anyone feels there are inaccuracies or omissions in his account, do please let us hear about them. These can then be incorporated into a future 'upgrade' of the paper.

2) The nature of the relationship between horary astrology and divination is complex. My impression is that once someone starts doing horary, the nature of the thing makes it much more difficult to think of astrology working in an objective, scientifically-quantifiable, 'machine of destiny' type way. The horary chart depends on the astrologer recognising the question, so the subjectivity of the astrologer is much more in play from the off.

I don’t think, however, that practising horary necessarily means that an astrologer will think of themselves as practising divination. In Horary Astrology Rediscovered, Olivia Barclay wrote, “I see no reason for saying any branch of astrology is divination, whether it is the analysis of the moment of birth of a human being or of a question. I read that my viewpoint has been expressed before in a book called the Speculum Astronomiae by Roger Bacon or Albert Magnus. ‘If births are natural things then interrogations [horaries] are natural things.’” (p.23-4)

What exactly did she have in mind when she wrote that? Would she, for example, have sympathised with Dennis Elwell when (in 1987) he wrote, “Astrology is not a close relative of hand reading, the Tarot, witchcraft, the I Ching, and the rest of the gipsy band”? (Cosmic Loom p.3) What issues were astrologers at large grappling with as horary started to rekindle and, in so doing, to singe the edges of astrology-as-science? Was it inevitable that many astrologers would start to see what they were doing as having an element of divination, whether or not Geoffrey Cornelius had ever said anything on the subject?

These strike me as interesting questions, and there are many more that are raised by Kirk’s paper. Please share your thoughts with us.
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Sue



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Posted: Sat Apr 08, 2006 5:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
After the original announcement that it had been posted, Deb expressed reservations about Kirk’s paper, saying that she feels it doesn’t make sufficient acknowledgement of Olivia Barclay’s influence.


I had exactly the same reaction when I read the first release of this paper some time back. But it isn’t just Olivia Barclay who is ignored. And to frequently use such statements as ‘Geoffrey Cornelius and his followers’ is to suggest an almost unquestioning adherence to his way of thinking. I realise that this isn’t necessarily what Kirk is saying but, to me, it comes across that way.

Quote:
In order to be fair to Kirk, let me reiterate now that (as he puts it in his intro) the paper is intended as a guide to “understanding the emerging (or perhaps more accurately, re-emerging) perspective of divinatory astrology, especially as articulated in the work of the English astrologer Geoffrey Cornelius… (which approach) invites us to understand our astrology as essentially another form of divination, much like the I Ching or Tarot.” So Kirk wasn’t attempting to write a complete history of how horary astrology was recovered and restored in the 20th century.

If this is a paper primarily about Geoffrey Cornelius then it is fair enough. In that sense, it is a well written paper. However, suggesting that it is an account of the development of the divinatory perspective rather than an account of the views of Geoffrey Cornelius is a bit misleading. He may have contributed to the development in a significant way and deserves to be recognised but I do not believe he was responsible for it. If the paper is primarily about the re-emergence of divinatory astrology then there should be far more acknowledgement of others and also perhaps more analysis from the author rather than a narrative about what Geoffrey Cornelius thinks.

Quote:
1) I know Kirk is keen to make his paper as accurate as possible, so if anyone feels there are inaccuracies or omissions in his account, do please let us hear about them. These can then be incorporated into a future 'upgrade' of the paper.

Again, this depends on the purpose of the paper. Obviously, he cannot include everything. Whatever we write generally has to be selective but I would have appreciated more balance.

Quote:
2) The nature of the relationship between horary astrology and divination is complex. My impression is that once someone starts doing horary, the nature of the thing makes it much more difficult to think of astrology working in an objective, scientifically-quantifiable, 'machine of destiny' type way. The horary chart depends on the astrologer recognising the question, so the subjectivity of the astrologer is much more in play from the off.

I don’t think, however, that practising horary necessarily means that an astrologer will think of themselves as practising divination.


Yes, I agree with this but, from my perspective, I find it difficult to see how astrologers would not see it as divinatory in some way.

Quote:
In Horary Astrology Rediscovered, Olivia Barclay wrote, “I see no reason for saying any branch of astrology is divination, whether it is the analysis of the moment of birth of a human being or of a question. I read that my viewpoint has been expressed before in a book called the Speculum Astronomiae by Roger Bacon or Albert Magnus. ‘If births are natural things then interrogations [horaries] are natural things.’” (p.23-4)

What exactly did she have in mind when she wrote that? Would she, for example, have sympathised with Dennis Elwell when (in 1987) he wrote, “Astrology is not a close relative of hand reading, the Tarot, witchcraft, the I Ching, and the rest of the gipsy band”? (Cosmic Loom p.3)

I think Olivia misrepresents, or rather misunderstands, Albertus here. (It has been fairly well established that it was Albertus Magnus who wrote Speculum Astronomiae). Albertus strongly believed that ‘interrogations’ as he called them were very much divinatory in that they were messages from God. But what I found really interesting about his discussion was his explanation of why free will and interrogations go together.

From Speculum Astronomiae Albertus says
Quote:
…God knew from eternity which of these he (the man) would choose. For which reason, in the book of the universe, which is the vellum of heaven. He was able to configure, if He wished, what He knew; [but] if He did this, then the compatibility of free will with divine providence or with the indication of an interrogation is the same. Therefore, if it cannot be denied that divine providence co-exists with free will, it cannot be denied that the profession of interrogations co-exists with it as well.


I think this is an extremely important passage for anyone who believes that horary and free will can not coexist. Albertus believes that questions about advice, i.e. those questions that ask ‘Should I…’, for example do not destroy the freedom of the will. On the contrary, according to Albertus, they rectify and direct it. To destroy such things would be more against free will than for it. Divination does not interfere with free will.

Quote:
What issues were astrologers at large grappling with as horary started to rekindle and, in so doing, to singe the edges of astrology-as-science? Was it inevitable that many astrologers would start to see what they were doing as having an element of divination, whether or not Geoffrey Cornelius had ever said anything on the subject?


There has never been a time in the last 25 years or so that I have not believed that there is a divinatory element to all astrology, not just horary.

I do have difficulty reconciling some of the practises and attitudes of Geoffrey Cornelius. He warns against too mechanical an approach of looking at technical considerations. I agree with this. However, he seems to sometimes advocate this approach himself. He says that the astrologer assigns radicality to a horoscope because it is symbolically fitting or appropriate. Fair enough. But symbolically fitting for whom? And by what criteria? The difficulty I have is the rejection of event charts. For example, members of the Company of Astrologers believe that an event chart needs to meet the requirements of radicality (is there such a word?). If the criteria is not met then the chart is rejected. Surely if we believe in the divinatory nature of ‘the moment’ then we have to accept that an event chart is representative of a specific moment in time that has already occurred. For whatever reason, the event occurred at a specific time that was in sympathy with the cosmos for good or bad. I agree with Denis Elwell who said that sometimes the failure to read a chart correctly is that we are seeking human explanations to a cosmic question. Some might argue that event charts are not divinatory in their nature. However, if divination means interpreting the will of the gods, which is how I loosely see it, then looking at an event chart is simply interpreting the will of the gods after the fact.


Going back to Albertus for a minute, he differentiated between two main types of interrogations, those concerning the past and those which are not yet determined. These are not event charts, as such, but they are of things that have already occurred. Speaking of those interrogations asking about the past, Albertus believed that the chart drawn up will have its imprint from what has already happened. That is, the stars have already imprinted their influence onto the earthly plane and the events are able to be determined by astrological investigation. These events are a characteristic of the nature of things that are signified by the heavens. It does not involve predicting the future but rather determining what has already happened. I can understand the need for considerations in a horary chart where there often a reason that the chart does not meet the criteria. I do not believe that an event chart can be rejected on these grounds. A horary chart requires that the question correlate with the sympathy of the cosmos in a two way exchange between the querent and the cosmos. Most event charts do not require the same exchange except that the interpretation of these charts requires an exchange on some level
.
One thing we appear to have lost is the ritual involved in divination. Obviously, we cannot sacrifice a bull each time we ask a horary in the hope that the gods will look favourably upon our question. However, Bonatti does recommend some preparation, at least in the form of contemplation, beforehand. I think it has become too easy with the advent of computer programmes to ask a question without any real contemplation.
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GarryP
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Posted: Sun Apr 09, 2006 9:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks, Sue, for some very interesting comments.

Maybe I could explain a little bit about where I'm coming from with all this. In 1983 I saw Geoffrey Cornelius speak about his ideas. I didn't like his talk at all. I was into harmonics, and though I didn't know a lot about the Gauquelin work I shared what seemed to be the general assumption that it was the thin end of a wedge of scientific proof for astrology. Talk of astrology as divination seemed anachronistic and even embarrassing.

Then from 1986-93 I had no contact at all with the astrological scene since I was in a monastery. On returning, I expected to find that harmonics had established a rational basis for chart interpretation, and that the Gauquelin work had prospered and proliferated. It was the dawning realisation that this was not the case at all, and that in fact people seemed to want to change the subject when either harmonics or Gauquelin were mentioned, that really started me questioning what on earth this astrology business was all about.

When I saw 'Moment of Astrology' in a bookshop, probably in '95, I picked it up for a cursory browse, not expecting much, but found that it was addressing exactly the kinds of questions which (albeit much less clearly formulated) had been nagging away at me. I devoured it in a few days, and it was only then that I saw the point of the divinatory approach.

So, my experience was of there being a certain stigma attached to the divinatory approach in the 80's. I wonder if this was a common experience? And if so, how did astrologers think about these issues, how did they decide which approach was best? Who were the early advocates of a divinatory approach, and was it actually called 'divinatory' in the early stages? What are the first articles/books which explicitly point towards a divinatory perspective?

For instance, I was surprised to see, recently, that in 1984 Liz Greene wrote:

Quote:
Astrology, in company with the Tarot, palmistry, scrying, and perhaps also the I Ching... are the modern carriers of the ancient and honourable role of seership. This has been, from time immemorial, the art of interpreting the clouded and ambiguous intentions of the gods... (The Astrology of Fate, p.7)


So should Liz Greene be acknowledged as an early advocate of divinatory astrology?

There's a lot more to talk about, but this is probably enough for one post!
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Deb
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Posted: Mon Apr 10, 2006 9:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Kirk wasn’t attempting to write a complete history of how horary astrology was recovered and restored in the 20th century. That said, the re-emergence of horary is inevitably going to be closely intertwined with his theme.


I felt a couple of passages were particularly capable of leaving a wrong impression by not including due acknowledgement to Olivia. In particular, the one that where it was stated that Geoffrey Cornelius and Derek Appleby were “were largely responsible for the revival of horary in the UK and a return to the traditional practices as a reaction to the softer astrology of the time”. Although the theme of the paper was wider, it was narrowed down here to specifically relate to ‘horary’ and ‘traditional astrology’.

Anyway, whilst searching the web yesterday for something else, I came across this article by Nick Campion, which I thought was interesting in relation to this and would be worth pointing out to Kirk:

“The Traditional Revival in Modern Astrology: A Preliminary History”

Quote:
“The origins of the traditional revival proper, as an influential movement in late twentieth-century astrology, lie in the UK, chiefly with Olivia Barclay.”


http://www.astrolodge.co.uk/astro/quarterly/traditionalrevival.html

Now in case other people feel attribution ought to go elsewhere, the point about Nick’s article is that it explores the roots of the revival in the USA, and it doesn’t give the impression that it was ‘all down to Olivia’ - which would be equally wrong! But it does illustrate how she was an active driving force in bringing attention to the collaborated efforts of others.

On your other theme:

Quote:
I was surprised to see, recently, that in 1984 Liz Greene wrote:
Quote:
Astrology, in company with the Tarot, palmistry, scrying, and perhaps also the I Ching... are the modern carriers of the ancient and honourable role of seership. This has been, from time immemorial, the art of interpreting the clouded and ambiguous intentions of the gods... (The Astrology of Fate, p.7)

So should Liz Greene be acknowledged as an early advocate of divinatory astrology?


It very much sounds like it. When I came into astrology it was only a few years before I turned in the direction of horary, but I never felt that there was a time when this kind of thinking became a ‘revelation’ for those who were exploring the history and traditional application of astrology. It was always there. But at the same time I do remember subscribing to the journals and being turned off by how ‘dry’ and 'statistical' most of the articles were, with very little sense of mystery and wonder. There was also this prevailing notion that divination was a dirty word, and it was a word that had to be re-introduced gradually, because of the disrespectful association attached to “foretune-tellers”. I vaguely remember one letter from Sean Lovett in the AA journal complaining about the disrespectful allusion to astrologers who act like ‘palmists’. He was a palmist and pointed out how much skill and study went into that craft – it sticks in my mind because it was the first time I saw someone publicly object to that way of thinking in the journals of the time.

There was also the article I wrote in the Traditional Astrologer, where I included two photographs of astrologers from a popular astrology book: one was of a natal astrologer at work – John Addey, who looked very professional and erudite, surrounded by his books; the other was some sinister looking street urchin type who was supposed to represent the horary astrologer at work.

So it’s probably fair to say that there were two things happening, one was the broadening knowledge of traditional techniques, the other was the re-introduction of respect for ‘divination’ that had been lost since Alan Leo's court-case. The latter was probably in early stages when Olivia wrote that comment you referred to above (remember her book was based on articles she’d written much earlier), and she probably was being careful about the stigma of fortune telling. But she was still leading people towards the divinatory perspective, as you see in her other introductory comments, such as "For me, the moment of the question is a moment of contact with a greater intelligence. To that extent it is divine", and her reminders of the need for sincerity and that horary astrology is “not a parlour game” (even though Lilly did play at ‘guessing where the mole is’ at parties Smile )
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Kim Farnell



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Posted: Wed Apr 12, 2006 4:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

No time at present to be more than terse I'm afraid.

However, apart from Olivia, not mentioning Clive Kavan is a little surreal. Have we really forgotten already how we actually managed to read Christian Astrology? I'm surprised Maurice McCann hasn't popped in to mention himself so I will. Maurice.

Oh, and I believe there was a little magazine known as the Traditional Astrologer at the time...

Quote:
So, my experience was of there being a certain stigma attached to the divinatory approach in the 80's.


To even be interested in horary made you less popular than a leper at conferences at the time. It's taken me nearly twenty years to be able to refuse to use Pluto.

My astrological life started immediately prior to the horary "revival." And I remember clearly that while it was ok to talk about horary on the local circuit, it was very different at a national level.

I know that Kirk isn't trying to write the history of absolutely everything, at least not here. But without some context and acknowledgment of the other people involved, then the paper inhabits a world of its own.

And on a more nosy tack - if Kirk wants feedback and to discuss his paper then how come he hasn't said anything himself? Hello Kirk???

Kim
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GarryP
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Posted: Thu Apr 13, 2006 10:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm sure Kirk will be along in a bit. In the meantime, here are a couple of thoughts:

- I wonder if the word 'divination' is causing problems by being too general. E.g. in the Foreword to Olivia Barclay's book, Robert Hand says:
Quote:
Divination... means knowing what the divine is doing, what the state of the spiritual underpinning of reality is. (p.17)

Which is fair enough, but it leaves open the question of how one knows what the divine is doing. After all, one idea about God is that he (& it does tend to be 'he') sets up a bunch of immutable laws by which the universe will run, and then puts his feet up and leaves the cosmos to its own devices. So if that's your model of God, then your idea of divination would be that you discover, and work with, these objective, reliable, cosmic laws.

But this is precisely what 'divination' does not mean in the way Geoffrey Cornelius uses it. In 'Moment' the idea is of God (or gods, or some cosmic whatever) as involved in the workings of the universe at a nitty-gritty moment-to-moment level, responding to chart readings with accurate information, or silence, or deliberate misdirection, or information that might make you look at another issue altogether... in other words, responding more like a person than a speak-your-weight machine. So one consequence of this approach is that the attitude of astrologer and client is an important factor.

The 'wrong chart issue' seems like a good way to find out which side of this divide people put themselves on. If you think that the wrong chart (e.g. one drawn for the wrong time) sometimes gives the right answer, and that this is part of how astrology works, then you're probably a divinatory astrologer in the Cornelian sense.

And it seems to me that this is the most useful way to define and use 'divinatory', because otherwise, the only astrologers who aren't divinatory are those who think that astrology works through material laws in a godless cosmos, and you don't meet too many of those.

So that was my first point. Maybe Kirk needs to make it more explicit at the opening of his paper, exactly what the import of 'divination' is. Or is there a case for using another word altogether?

Now here comes my second point:
Quote:
As the great scholar of Jewish mysticism Gershom G Scholem has pointed out, mysticism depends on people feeling very separated from God: if there is naive belief that sees God in nature, and then a period of rationalism that sees God outside nature, the period of mysticism follows only then, as an attempt to get back to this distant God. [p.246 Jennifer Michael Hecht, 'Doubt: A History']

Do we think there might be a parallel here with astrology - that the interest in horary and traditional materials generally, and the divinatory perspective [Cornelian definition] in particular arose in part as a reaction against the 'astrology-as-science' model which was rampant in the 1970's (though of course it goes much further back than that, e.g. Gadbury had leanings in that direction).

Last point: the piece on the traditional revival by the good Doctor Campion that Deb refs above is indeed well worth a look, and Kirk obviously agrees since it's referenced in his paper. I guess a decision he'll have to make is whether he wants to expand the paper to incorporate more details like this on the traditional revival, or whether to define it more tightly as being focussed on Geoffrey's ideas.
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Deb
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Posted: Thu Apr 13, 2006 11:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
After all, one idea about God is that he (& it does tend to be 'he') sets up a bunch of immutable laws by which the universe will run, and then puts his feet up and leaves the cosmos to its own devices. So if that's your model of God, then your idea of divination would be that you discover, and work with, these objective, reliable, cosmic laws.

...the only astrologers who aren't divinatory are those who think that astrology works through material laws in a godless cosmos, and you don't meet too many of those.


Having immutable laws does not mean that they are godless or that there cannot be creative workings within them. Nor does it mean that God is a bloke sitting somewhere with his feet up! Cornelius often refers to the Ptolemaic model as if it is a cold, mechanical machine but I think he does an injustice to the philosophy underpinning Ptolemaic principles. I would presume that most astrologers accept that there are elements of life that are beyond our control but also other areas where we have room to navigate, giving an acknowledgment both to an immutable fate and a freedom of will. I accept that most of the judicial branches of astrology have a strong divinational basis, but there are also natural principles that shouldn’t be ignored and I would hate to see astrology written off as ‘purely divinational’. It cannot be defined as such. It is built upon the ability to have foreknowledge of meteorological effects and the assumption that we are responsive to those both physically and emotionally. Much of this is proven knowledge and there is no doubt much more that has yet to be proved.

In the past the view of astrology as an objective science became dangerously out of proportion. It would be just as dangerous today to assume that there are no objective elements that operate without our personal manipulation. We are part of the cosmos, so we each affect it and are affected by it, but the sum is greater than its parts. A ‘wrong chart’ might perform in judicial astrology where the onus is heavily dependent upon the astrologers ability to orchestrate meaning, but it wouldn’t work if you were trying to establish moments of critical tension in the mundane environment, or if, as ancient astrologers often did, you were electing a good time to set sail and seeking to avoid high tides by studying the solar-lunar relationships.
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aquirata



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Posted: Fri May 05, 2006 5:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi everybody! Smile

I have just received the 2003 edition of this book (The Moment of Astrology), and am reading through it now. It is without doubt a significant piece of work, one that needed to be written and published for a long time. While Cornelius comes down on the side of 'divinatory' astrology heavily, as far as I'm concerned it is by no means the only possible scenario (which he seems to infer).

In chapter 3 (Science and Symbol 1: Humpty-Dumpty) Cornelius falls into the same trap numerous 'scientists' (skeptics) have fallen into over the decades while trying to invalidate astrology with the help of statistics. Specifically, he draws the following conclusion from the findings of the New York suicide study:

Quote:
"The [...] study [...] demonstrated beyond reasonable doubt that [...] there is no causal [or] a-causal correlation [between astrological factors and suicide]." (p.54)

Please excuse the choppy quote and paraphrasing, but this I believe is the essence of what he is saying. It is my opinion that this statement simply cannot be deduced from the results of the New York suicide study or any other similar study for that matter. In view of the many negative statistical results, all we can say is that the likelihood of some simplistic form of astrology at work in our world (apart from Solar and Lunar effects, and perhaps the Gauquelins' findings of house position as a factor) is practically nil. All studies to my knowledge have been very limited in terms of attempting to test astrology as a whole. But even this conclusion cannot be stated any stronger since the failure to find some 'thing' doesn't prove the non-existence of the 'thing'.

On the next page, Cornelius goes on to say that:

Quote:
"If there is anything to astrology at all, we are bound to conclude that there is some other element involved."


I think he is right in highlighting the irrational/subjective/intuitive/female side of astrology (which he calls 'divinatory'). I beg to differ, however, that this is the only possibility. If anything, I think the studies have provided more support for the validity of his second option:

Quote:
"Astrological perception involves greater subtlety of factor-combination than that revealed by the study"


In other words, astrology's workings are much more complex than could be demonstrated by simple studies. So in my opinion there is room both for natural and judicial astrology: a natural astrology that is rational and objective, and (by extension) can be validated by applying proper scientific methodology; and a judicial astrology that is irrational and subjective, and requires the participation of the astrologer. So all in all I tend to agree with Deb's comments on this issue.

With respect to scientific validation of natural astrology, I am convinced that it can and will eventually be done. There are many reasons why no significant astrological effect has been demonstrated so far: 1) the researcher was biased, untrained or lacked skills, 2) the methodology was flawed, 3) the complexity wasn't addressed, 4) the subject matter was wrong, 5) the data was unreliable or tempered with, etc. And with practically no funding for this type of work, the task is daunting (but by no means impossible). The sky will tell when the time is ripe - we need only to listen.

Now back to chapter 6...
...Peter
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aquirata



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Posted: Mon May 08, 2006 3:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Chapter 6 (The Question of Horary) is another intriguing part of the book. This I see as the crux of the matter in the debate of natural vs. judicial (or scientific vs. divinatory) astrology. Cornelius makes a good point about how most astrologers not practicing horary feel uncomfortable about it and the implication it carries. Horary rules certainly look foreign to the rest of - even traditional - astrology.

He cites the case when the great Charles Carter asks the 'question of questions': "Is there anything to horary?" This reminded me of a seemingly insignificant but still unforgettable event in my life. Many years ago, I was browsing in a bookshop in the 'new age' section where astrology books are usually kept. Something caught my eye on the shelves titled 'The Book of Answers' or something similar. This book contained pages after pages full of answers to all your questions. There was just one answer per page, and wherever you opened the book after posing a question, there was your answer. OK, fair enough, I thought. Now let's see whether I need this book. So I asked: "Should I buy this book?". And the book answered: "No". The bulk of the answers were much more detailed than that, and I don't think there was another page in the book with simply a straight 'no' written on it. So I heeded the advice and put the book back on the shelf.

Carter received a strong 'yes' in reply from the horary he cast. I wonder though what would have happened in case of a 'no'? This is much more problematical than in my case, where the question was not self-referential, just close to it. Could a chart ever answer 'no' to such a question? I believe so since the opposite case would be equivalent to 100% prediction (i.e. a rhetorical question with always a 'yes' or 'won't tell' answer). Assuming then that a 'no' answer is a distinct possibility, what is one to make of such an answer? Should we simply shrug it off as an unresolvable paradox? Should we take it as a 'won't tell' answer? Is the question incorrect?

Why should we bother with pondering this problem? Because it is intrinsic to horary or any other kind of oracle. This paradox doesn't surface in the rest of astrology. Which is another reason why horary is so different. And if horary has nothing in common with the rest of astrology other than the sky, should they be under the same umbrella? Cornelius rightly points out that the horary approach is divinatory as it has frequently nothing to do with the actual time and place of the birth of a question, but then uses that as evidence for putting astrology as a whole on divinatory bases. Is that a valid carry-over of an argument? Did we not cross a boundary where rules profoundly change?

Perhaps I'll find out a couple of chapters down the road...
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Deb
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Posted: Thu May 11, 2006 11:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi aquirata,

It’s an interesting story about the book but I don’t see it as a suitable comparison to what we are doing with horary. Firstly, if we assume that horary is properly defined as a kind of oracle, I would argue that each kind of oracle has its own system which has to be respected. The system of the book was

1) think of a question,
2) open the book.

Anybody can do that, they can do it about any question, and they can do it at any time.

But horary has never been defined as something that anybody can do at any time for any question. The first principle of horary is that the question has to be of genuine significance, because the planets don’t randomly move around to answer our questions. Their interconnected relationships and positions can only ‘draw out’ (or bring a heightened sense of focus to) problems that have been developing and have now reached a point of revelation or expression. So in raising the emphasis on matters of corresponding concern, they can trigger the impulse to ask, but that impulse will only fall where it is appropriate and valid.

The stronger this impulse, the more likely that the question is genuinely being stirred by the astrological movements in play. If people are asking trivial questions or trying to ‘tap in’ to astrological influences instead of responding to an inner compulsion, they might still find their answer from what’s happening astrologically, but these questions don’t generate the clear and dynamic horaries where the experience of the consultation is deep, meaningful and impressive. Some of these questions are more of the nature of electional astrology where the question being asked is really “is this a good time to ….?”

Another important thing that a horary astrologer has to do which the ‘book system’ doesn’t require, is to check that the description offered by the significators and their present and past movements describes the situation leading up to the expression of the problem as it should. So horary does not claim or aim to answer any thought or point of curiosity. Its legitimate questions are those that show a spiritual correspondence with the astrological environment. It’s of no surprise to horary astrologers that when the ‘signs of heaven’ are showing separation for example, there is a surge of questions such as “will my husband return?” or “will my lover ever propose?” or “am I wasting my time with her?” – questions of insecurity being prompted by an astrological stirring of their awareness that a relationship they had thought of as promising is actually breaking down.

This may be why the Mesopotamians encouraged all forms of divination, but kept astrological divination in reserve, for the attention of the priests and only for matters of significance. If they had been asked the question “shall I buy this book?”, they may well have said “ask the book”.

So was Carter’s question “is there anything in horary” appropriate as a horary question? Definitely not I’d say. It’s an illogical question because it artificially constrains horary to give only one answer, which can only be received by an astrologer who already knows what the answer is. You can’t compare this to your book situation where you were bound to get a response with no prior knowledge to what the response might be. This can only be compared to shouting into a room “are you there?” and knowing that any kind of response at all, even a “no” is going to have to be translated to “yes”.

What significance did it really hold for Carter? It can’t have been much since all he says of it amounts to no more than a daily paper would publish for one star sign. The Moon conjunct Saturn and the square between Mercury and asc-ruler could just as easily be used to highlight what a stupid question this is as horary enquiry, ranking right up there with such precious classics as the horary query: “what time is it?”.
I’m more inclined to throw Carter’s own words back at him when he says

Quote:
I cannot help thinking that the ‘bloomer’s that are, I fear, being made by horary astrologers arise because they fear to discard. They feel that the map is a puzzle and as such a challenge, and they worry at it to get a straight answer, like a doctor who cannot make head or tail of the patient’s symptoms but forces himself to pronounce a verdict.


The problem is that many astrologers don’t see the divine significance of horary in the answering but in the asking – they assume that just because they have asked a question, all they have to do is sit back and ‘receive’. But if the question is inappropriate, all attempts to derive a valuable answer are useless. It’s not even enough that someone ‘really wants to know’; the ‘diviner’ has to respect and work within the framework of the system they are utilising.

I’m open to, but not convinced, of the argument that someone could get a right answer from an incorrect chart. As you say in your first post, we would have a hard task proving how a chart is more or less correct than another, and in horary the part played by the interpreter can never be ignored. But it’s also a fallacy that the horary emphasis is necessarily destroyed by small time differences. The larger astrological picture remains in force for considerable time, so for me this point hasn’t been proved. It is less persuasive for me than my observance that requests for horary consultations ebb and flow in correspondence to the emergence of significant planetary alignments and the nature of those requests show a correspondence in theme even though the particulars of the theme can vary tremendously.

That to me keeps horary firmly tied to the umbrella of ‘natural astrology’, even though I would never deny that it is correctly defined as divinatory.
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aquirata



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Posted: Tue May 16, 2006 6:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Deb,

Thank you for posting such a detailed reply.

Quote:
The system of the book was
1) think of a question,
2) open the book.
Anybody can do that, they can do it about any question, and they can do it at any time.
But horary has never been defined as something that anybody can do at any time for any question.

Even though my post was not trying to draw a parallel between the 'book system' and the 'horary approach', your reasoning against this idea made me think. And I have to tell you that I don't see such a huge difference between the two in principle. Just like in horary, where you need the ability to cast a chart for a given moment (which today means owning and using a piece of software), you will also need to own and use the book to get answers from the book. Just like you need to learn the alphabet of horary before you can use it, you will need to learn how to read before you can use the book. Just like horary will throw you back the question if it is inappropriate or asked at the wrong time, the book will do the same, will it not?

Your objections can just as well be made against divination using tarot cards or anything else, can they not? In my view, however, the difference is only in complexity of methods but not in principles applied.

Quote:
So was Carter’s question “is there anything in horary” appropriate as a horary question? Definitely not I’d say.

Perhaps not, but perhaps more so than it would first appear. The secret to resolving this paradox lies in seeing this question as personal. Which means that the reply will be personal, too. Any "yes" or "no" he would get out of the question must be put in personal context: "yes" = "yes for you", "no" = "not for you". That doesn't preclude the possibility of horary 'working' for anybody else.

Quote:
This can only be compared to shouting into a room “are you there?” and knowing that any kind of response at all, even a “no” is going to have to be translated to “yes”.

Alternatively, a "no" can be translated to "not for you" or "yes, but I don't want to talk to you", etc., similarly to the above.

Quote:
It is less persuasive for me than my observance that requests for horary consultations ebb and flow in correspondence to the emergence of significant planetary alignments and the nature of those requests show a correspondence in theme even though the particulars of the theme can vary tremendously.

This and similar observations are made every day by many astrologers. To a large extent, this must be why practitioners keep believing in astrology despite all the attacks, ridicule and negative evidence. Why is it then that these observations cannot be proved when put to the (scientific) test? I believe the answer is not that 'astrology cannot be tested scientifically' (although this may be true for certain parts of it).

Quote:
That to me keeps horary firmly tied to the umbrella of ‘natural astrology’, even though I would never deny that it is correctly defined as divinatory.

Perhaps we are not using the same definitions here. To me, 'natural astrology' is the branch of astrology that can be tested using scientific methods. It is independent of the 'observer', repeatable, and is reducible to a set of strict rules. 'Divinatory' is quite the opposite in my mind: subjective, unique to the set of circumstances and requires intuition beyond certain basic rules. Are we not speaking the same language?

Without prejudice: I would like close my post with saying that the above only constitute differences of opinion, and in no way take away from the tremendous respect I have for your work. Last summer I had to move across the Atlantic, and Temples of the Sky was one of very few books I carried in my luggage. There were many astrology books I had to leave behind, such as, Kepler's Harmonices Mundi and de Vore’s Encyclopedia of Astrology, among others.

Disclaimer: Assuming of course that 'Deb' and the author are one and the same... Smile

...Peter
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Deb
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Posted: Wed May 17, 2006 10:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

That is a compliment and I feel very flattered. I shall cling to those words even though I realise it probably boiled down to a matter of weight in your luggage and my book, being light, got away with it Smile

Of course we are only discussing opinion and sometimes my opinions are very unreliable or likely to change. Still, my immediate response:

Quote:
Your objections can just as well be made against divination using tarot cards or anything else, can they not? In my view, however, the difference is only in complexity of methods but not in principles applied.


They can be applied to tarot cards yes, and the casting or runes (or bones), the dropping of oil on water, and numerous other systems. But I wasn’t making an objection against these systems or suggesting that they don’t deserve respect in their own right, I was pointing to the differences and suggesting that when you work within a divinatory system you have to understand and acknowledge the particular framework of that system and how it is best applied.

I don’t actually see the differences as being of complexity but of principle. Because these ‘chance driven’ systems all allow for the random presentation of the signs, so the onus is very heavily on the intuitive input of the caster/reader. So is horary of course, I’m not denying that; but we can’t shuffle planets about or let them fall where they will; we know that their cycles and patterns are governed by something other than ourselves and we expect that when we crystallise moments of enquiry it is because the query in some way relates to cosmic themes already in existence. We are interpreting signs but we are not personally responsible for the manifestation of the signs.

The ‘natural’ element of astrological divination, for me, lies in this fact that its omens are never entirely self-created. So if there is merit in the system (which I don’t doubt) it points to the existence of some overriding creative intelligence or sense of logic in the cycles that can be understood just as much through the principles of horary as any other ‘natural’ branch of astrology. That was the point I was making, because in your earlier post you had asked

Quote:
“if horary has nothing in common with the rest of astrology other than the sky, should they be under the same umbrella?”


We probably are using the terminology differently. I have a problem with your definition because I see all branches of astrology as being both natural and divinational. Always natural because we are using cycles that depict natural rhythms, and always divinational because – apart from the fact that we might term what we do the seeking of guidance from ‘super’ natural powers or laws – the complexity of the signs and signals that we use requires us to use intuitive processing. So ultimately each chart, and every individual reading of each chart will differ according to subjective impulses, and it’s hard to see how any objective analysis of chart work, whether its horary or any other type, will lead to scientific approval.

It would be better to think that some of the components of astrological reasoning would undergo further objective analysis. But then what happened to the Gauquelin sectors or the Mars effect? How quickly were the potential of those fields of enquiry ignored by a scientific community that doesn’t seem to be genuinely interested or willing to invest in further research?

I’ll let you resolve the paradox of the Carter chart. It may be just my own ‘subjective’ feeling that if you don’t know how to ask a sensible question you won’t be able to read a sensible answer. And try as I might I can’t see that question as a sensible one. I can just imagine the conversation:

“I have finally been able to prove that astrology really works”

“And how did you do that?”

“I asked a question, drew up a chart, and interpreted it to say ‘yes’”.

Being silly with horary just doesn’t do it for me.
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Posted: Thu May 18, 2006 8:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Let me carry on where aquirata left off.
Quote:
I see all branches of astrology as being both natural and divinational. ... requires us to use intuitive processing. So ultimately each chart, and every individual reading of each chart will differ according to subjective impulses,

Apart from seeming to be wanting to have the cake and eating it, the position that astrology is both natural and divinational is not consistent with the program that I see Cornelius and Gary P. espose of locating astrology firmly and fully in the divinational side of the alleged "chasm" - or should I say disjunction. I take it that the program characterises this divide as a disjunction, and would like to drive the philosophical wedge in, for the purpose of saving (some part of) astrology from the "scientific" sceptics.

I don't think that, as you've stated it Deb, your objection is successful. For if we say that in every erection of a chart (nowadays on a computer, so let us add: with a human attendant and pressing the buttons) and its interpretation that some subjective impulse is involved, then we are in the position of multiple different "readings" of some narrative, and the allegation that there cannot be any objective treatment of any text. I make the comparison with literary criticism because I think it is specious. The more apposite comparison would be to a scientific experiment which involves people looking at a measuring instrument and determining what the gauge is indicating. There may be any number of reasons why the numbers that people report would differ, e.g. 50, 50.4, 51, etc. And some of those may be subjective, e.g. one person does not feel well, another is in a hurry to be somewhere else, another is thinking about someone they just met, etc. But a well-conceived experiment considers (or rather - should) the status of the empirical observations and employ the appropriate methodology of dealing with them (i.e. statistical sampling). This is not really a "scientific" issue at all. For centuries textile buyers have appraised fabrics in the light of north-facing windows, and they have done that without the scientific concept or measurement of "colour temperature" but simply from noting that the colours of things change depending on the quality of the light, and attempting to eliminate such variances (the sun never shining from the north). The further point being that in doing so textile buyers are not attempting a scientific appraisal of fabrics, but an aesthetic one (and probably economic also).

I also think aquirata's point about divinatory systems in general correct. Why should a querant prefer astrology to some other system? Because their marketing is better than say the Gideons? Because they've paid for their advice rather than derived it themselves from the Bible in their hotel bedroom? If astrologers are intent on heading down this route to escape the scientists and rational sceptics they had better prepare for the action from established religions.
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aquirata



Joined: 31 Mar 2006
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Posted: Mon May 29, 2006 6:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Apologize for the lack of contact lately. I am going through a complete vocational make-over, trying to hold the fort over at Wikipedia, and my wife as a school teacher is doing a job and a half (meaning I am carrying more weight at home). So that's a lot of load, which means pleasant discussions such as this one here must take a back seat. Oh, I am also working on a scientific proof of astrology (well, only a part of it, not including divinatory aspects), and that also demands some of my attention.

All in all, I am interested in taking this further, and will be back shortly to do just that.
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aquirata



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Posted: Wed Jun 14, 2006 6:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

OK, I'm finished reading this book. Although well written and intriguing, reading it has been a mixed experience for me. Cornelius makes a good case for divinatory astrology, but still I cannot believe there is no objective part in a complex symbolic system that uses rigid rules in addition to judgment, intuition or divination, or whatever the correct term is. In Phillipson's equally wonderful Astrology in the Year Zero, astrology is not only divided up as natural (scientific) and judicial (divinatory), but also as objective and subjective. These two modes of categorization are not the same according to him and Dean et al. The definition of subjective astrology in the book is astrology providing spiritual (subjective) value, and the opposite giving hard facts. The natural/judicial divide is along the way astrology works, and the objective/subjective definition is about the information or value provided by astrology.

It seems to me that Cornelius doesn't make this distinction. To him (and, I suppose, to many other people), subjective = judicial/divinatory, objective = natural/scientific. So I find it interesting that, by defining astrology as divinatory, one doesn't escape the prying eyes of scientists if the definition above is valid.

More to follow...
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