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Modern Science & Astrology
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GarryP
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Posted: Sat Jan 20, 2007 10:10 pm    Post subject: Modern Science & Astrology Reply with quote

I just posted a paper which looks at the relationship between modern science (quantum physics and so on) and astrology, with a particular emphasis on astrology seen as divination. It was originally in Correlation earlier in the year.

The link is: http://www.astrozero.co.uk/articles/modern_science.htm

That's three enormous papers I've posted in January. Don't worry, I'm going to lie low for a long time after this... Laughing


Last edited by GarryP on Sun Jan 21, 2007 8:01 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Sue



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Posted: Sat Jan 20, 2007 10:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Garry,

Are you trying to get me into trouble with my supervisor? I have a chapter due tomorrow and if you keep posting things that I want to read I will never get it done. Smile Just wanted to say that I am not ignoring your request for feedback and will get to it as soon as I can. I have read the updated version of your article and also Judy's article (although I did read the original). As for this one, I've printed it out and look forward to reading it.

Cheers
Sue
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Philip Graves



Joined: 07 Jan 2005
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Posted: Mon Jan 22, 2007 8:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dear Garry (if I may address you on first name terms - since we have never previously directly interacted in these forums or elsewhere, yet I felt that a more formal appelation might appear unduly impersonal, so please forgive me if I presumed wrongly here!),

I just wanted to add my voice to Sue's that this looks a fascinating article at first quick glance, and I look forward to having a little more time to read through it thoroughly and respond at some point in the not-too-distant future.

If I might say one thing before having read your article thoroughly though, it's that you seem from everything I've read of yours so far to do a very commendable job in all your work in throwing into visible relief the different theoretical and philosophical perspectives on astrology held both by its different practitioners and by its different phenomenological students, while retaining a rigorous neutrality as narrator yourself.

If I might say one other thing in relation more particularly to some of the themes you've addressed in this particular article, to judge from the first few pages, it's that I've noticed elsewhere that if I propose a scientific, rational model for astrological influence, or indeed if I even so much as mention the name of Geoffrey Dean or his work within and since Recent Advances in Natal Astrology, a lot of contemporary astrologers become very defensive and scathing - understandably, in some senses, but also perhaps to the detriment of their achieving a fully considered and balanced intellectual perspective on astrology, which I think is worth aspiring to even for the truest believers among practising astrologers!

(I should perhaps add for the sake of transparency that I consider myself very much a believer in astrology, but also a believer in science as objectively demonstrable knowledge, and thus find myself in a position with regard to astrology of being a believer in astrology first and foremost as a substantially empirical science whose both certain and scientifically unproven but theoretically possible scientific underpinnings and workings have regrettably been increasingly glossed over and disregarded by many self-professed astrologers of the later 20th century, to the detriment of their full understanding of the subject. This is not to discount the 'astrology as divination model' as immaterial, irrelevant or without foundation, but I do disagree with the more fundamental points of view taken by some astrologers that astrology in all its observed and recorded workings can be explained entirely and solely as a form of divination, without any underlying scientific objectivity!)

So anyhow, in short, I think you do a fine job in bridging the divides of understanding and outlook, and you're certainly a great asset to the astrological community and the cause of astrological understanding.

Best of luck with your PhD,

Philip
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GarryP
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Posted: Tue Jan 23, 2007 5:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hello Philip,

So long as you heap this much praise on me and my works you can call me whatever you like!

Seriously, thanks and I hope you find the paper(s) hold up to continued scrutiny. I've met more than enough astrologers who want to tell me off for ever talking to Geoffrey Dean et al, so your comments on this front are particularly heartening. It's not that I think his arguments are right, but they are not at all trivial or silly, as astrologers sometimes portray them. And it seems important that we should be able to say *why* his arguments are wrong.

Oh, and Sue, I hope you didn't get into trouble with your supervisors! It's entirely understood that papers like this have to wait for the right time - and lots of it - to be read.

Garry
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Philip Graves



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Posted: Sat Jan 27, 2007 11:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dear Garry,

Thanks for your friendly reply, and you're more than welcome with regard to my comments.

I suppose that there are different points of view among astrologers when it comes to how to deal with critics of astrology.

1. Some will no doubt take the attitude that they and countless others know astrology works from experience and therefore whatever arguments against it someone puts forward are unworthy of their time and attention, which could be better spent refining techniques and helping clients! This point of view has its practical value of course for practising astrologers who don't want to be bothered with the debates on whether or not astrology has any proven objective foundation as understood by conventional scientific methodology and logic. These astrologers we could call the experiential pragmatists - they are not overly concerned with how astrology works provided that they know from experience in their own minds that it does and is helpful to people.

2. Then there are those who will pay a limited amount of attention to the arguments against astrology's objectivity, but will seek to sidestep or circumvent them by postulating that the scientific model is itself flawed and inadequate as an explanation of reality. These would include believers in Jungian synchronicity and similar philosophical schools of divination, who hold that astrological placements are symbols that serve as omens of human reality but do not cause it; believers in the doctrine of acausal correspondences between the microcosm and macrocosm, often seen to explain away astrological influence with the expression 'As above, so below', yet who deny any causal connection between the above and the below; and believers in karmic astrology, who often are heard to contend that astrological placements are divinely selected representations of divinely or spiritually chosen personal karmic and spiritual missions of learning and development to accomplish. All three categories of belief broadly represented in my previous sentence have in common a divinatory mechanism as a complete explanation for astrology and a denial of a causal physical mechanism underpinning astrological correspondences. Astrologers in these categories have perhaps been in the majority ever since the mid-20th century, although I haven't done any surveys to verify this.

3. Finally there are those who will accept the scientific model of reality in its broadest sense but tackle the scientific arguments levelled against astrology head-on, exposing their logical and scientific flaws, without denying altogether that astrological influence may include a physical causal component. This is the toughest ground for astrologers to tread, and unpalatable for many, but nonetheless theoretically valuable ground to tread, with the ultimate potential if successful of reconciling astrology with the scientific models of reality to which most non-astrologers in the developed world subscribe. These astrologers may acknowledge that there is a divinatory element to many astrological practices, such as horary astrology, but still wholeheartedly embrace statistical research and scientific, physical theories of astrological causation. They are more likely than not to approach hypothetical celestial bodies with a sceptical eye, to be scientifically suspicious of immediate attributions of astrological influence based on mythological associations pre-existingly held by the names of newly discovered minor celestial bodies, arguing that until the influence of the bodies has been studied over many years all such assumptions are premature, and to lend much more credulity to the major planets as astrological agents than to small and distant bodies such as Chiron, Kuiper Belt Objects and personal name asteroids. They are likely to study the astronomical foundations of astrology very closely. And they are also likely to be ridiculed for their scientific scrutiny by many astrologers in group 2 above, who argue that the physical attributes of celestial bodies are immaterial since in their view astrology is an entirely divinatory system. But they are by far the most likely of the groups to engage with astrology's scientific critics such as Geoffrey Dean in serious debates and to respond to their points on mutually understandable terms of reference. In the 19th and early to mid 20th centuries, before Jungian models became the norm, influential astrologers qualifying for this group in my opinion were numerous, including British astrologers such as James Wilson, Alfred Pearce, Charles Carter, Duncan MacNaughton, W. J. Tucker, the various western siderealist astrologers who thrived in the mid-20th century (whether their astrological beliefs were valid or not, their mindset was certainly scientific), and French-speaking astrologers such as Paul Choisnard, Karl-Ernst Krafft and André Volguine, although they coexisted with strong occult, theosophical and otherwise esoteric and mystical movements. This scientific intellectual tradition within astrology has survived in both France and the English-speaking world in the later 20th century and to this day, as exemplified in the Gauquelin studies, the late John Addey's statistical studies into harmonic theory, the success of the late Lois Rodden's 'Astro Data Bank', the various research journals still thriving, and the more recent published statistical studies by astrologers such as Mark Urban-Lurain and Judith Hill, but is no longer the mainstream of astrological thinking and practice.

This is of course a somewhat crude attempt to categorise astrologers' points of view, and open to critical amendments, which would be welcome in the interest of truth!

Best wishes,

Philip
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GarryP
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Posted: Thu Feb 01, 2007 9:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Philip,

I’m back to the board after a few days of travel.

I think – and see what you think – that your three categories overlap quite closely with three categories I’m planning to work with in my thesis.

It’s based on the three major theories of truth – that is, theories as to how ‘truth’ should be defined – that are found in western philosophy. I’ll list them in the order which – I think – fits best with your schema.

1. Pragmatic theory: “…‘true’ means useful.” (The quotes after each definition are from one standard philosophy text or another.)

Under this theory, no evidence might be needed for astrology’s truth beyond the fact that people find it useful. Given this definition of truth, Geoffrey Dean – who has said that astrology can be useful - might well have to conclude that it is ipso facto true. This is an issue that is explored a bit in my ‘Modern Science’ paper.

There could be people who would be most comfortable with a pragmatic theory of astrology (I think of myself as one) who would very much like to know how astrology works etc, were such a thing possible, but have come to the conclusion that it is just not capable of being pinned down in the way that the other two theories demand.

2. Coherence Theory: “…a statement is true if it ‘coheres’ or ‘fits in’ with other statements thereby forming a complete system.”

I think astrologers are often attracted to Jung’s thought because it seems to offer a system within which astrology might fit; it would form part of a coherent whole.

And incidentally - you also see ‘coherence theory’ in the driving seat when e.g. Richard Dawkins grumbles that the gravitational effect on a new-born would be greater from the doctor’s paunch than from Jupiter. This is a criticism of astrology which is (implicitly) based on a coherence theory of truth: astrology doesn’t cohere with the laws of physics and therefore it must be wrong. So these theories can be used in attempts to attack as well as support astrology.

3. Correspondence theory: “…if a belief is to be true it must correspond to a fact of some kind which ‘exists’ in the world.”

This is, I’d argue, the model of truth which is implicit in a lot of attempts to prove astrology through scientific methods: the idea is that it should be possible to demonstrate links between astrological work and facts - which often gets rendered as statistics.

Of course there are problems with all three theories – but that’s another story. What do you think, do you see this as relevant to your model, or as pushing it off in a different direction altogether?
Cheers,
Garry
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Philip Graves



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Posted: Fri Feb 02, 2007 3:46 pm    Post subject: Brief holding reply to Garry Reply with quote

All very interesting, Garry!

I think this is on a slightly different tack to my post in that you are expounding theories relating to people's different reasons for believing that something (anything at all in particular) is 'true', which might shed very interesting light upon the underlying personal logic behind some astrologers' preference for one theory of astrological influence and some for another, whereas I was merely presenting a potted exposition of what those different theories of astrological influence depend on in their logic - in other words, I was classifying the theories themselves (and linking each category of theory to the expected responses to scientific criticisms of astrology from the astrologers who subscribe to the type of theory concerned), whereas you were thinking more deeply to classify the underlying personal thinking and logic that may cause people to be attracted to one or another type of theory of how astrology works, or indeed not so much a theory as an acceptance in the pragmatists' case!

I'll get back to you about correspondence theory, coherence theory etc. later, but they are novel concepts to me so I need a little time to reflect before attempting a critical analysis and relevant linkage to the subject matter at hand (ie the theories of astrological influence)!

Until soon, thanks for your very interesting reply,

Philip
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Dave of Maryland



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Posted: Tue Feb 27, 2007 2:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I apologize in advance to Gary Phillipson, whose book I much admire.

I think I'll have a stab at this.

Quote:

1. Pragmatic theory: “…‘true’ means useful.” (The quotes after each definition are from one standard philosophy text or another.)

Under this theory, no evidence might be needed for astrology’s truth beyond the fact that people find it useful.


Explains electricity. Big deal. Next:

Quote:
2. Coherence Theory: “…a statement is true if it ‘coheres’ or ‘fits in’ with other statements thereby forming a complete system.”

I think astrologers are often attracted to Jung’s thought because it seems to offer a system within which astrology might fit; it would form part of a coherent whole.


A good definition of a voice in a fuge. Or any astrological cookbook, taken by itself.


Quote:
3. Correspondence theory: “…if a belief is to be true it must correspond to a fact of some kind which ‘exists’ in the world.”


Utter rubbish. Truth exists regardless if we know why or not.

The problem is that we do not have the right theory. We have not thought hard enough, or perhaps the necessary genius has decided to take this Manvantara off, or maybe somebody figured it out & we forgot, or maybe we just need some luck. Personally, I believe that we CAN KNOW, that nothing is denied us. It's been my personal experience.

I would quote from Gary's article, except that it cannot be quoted from. So I will summarize.

On pg. 6, Dean & the skeptics remark that after their initial enthusiasm for astrology, further study showed those results to be faulty. I would say they were not qualified to analyze their own previous work. It is one thing to think a thing into existence. It is another to analyze how that thinking was done & to comment upon that process. Nowhere do the skeptics show an awareness of this problem. So far as I am aware, the inevitable result of such analysis is always to reject the initial premise. Quantum rules apply here as much as anywhere else. In theosophy - not that anyone wants to hear about that - we would say the lower concrete mind destroyed the results of the higher mind. More crudely, the brain killed the intuition. Even more crudely, an undeveloped Virgo.

What we want to see is the lower mind send a question to the higher mind, the higher mind to respond (in its own good time) and the lower mind make good use of that. That's how it's supposed to work, though it is rare. A bit more common is the following:

Edward Elgar once heard, in his head, a strangely beautiful melody. It was in his head for weeks. Could not get it out of it. He did not try to write variations on it, he did not try to transpose it into an unplayable key, he did not set it for kazoo. That it appeared in his head, rather than mine, was fortunate, since his head had concrete musical training & could interpret those strange sounds as distinct musical notes. As A flat, G sharp, B natural, etc. So by combination of higher & lower mind, intuition & musical training, Elgar gave us Pomp & Circumstance. Dean would probably be a fine astrologer if he would quiet his brain & study the subject.

Point 9 on pg. 7 ("for astrology to change present beliefs...") presumes rationality. Aside from engineers & bridge builders, there is no such thing in the world. All "facts" are filtered through an emotional censor. Throughout the world, throughout time, astrology has failed the emotional censor test. There is no point in hopes of any other outcome. The reasons for this require close analysis of how the astrologer processes astrological information, and how he delivers it to the rest of the world. I believe this can be done, but it is beyond what modern science can do. Placing astrology in a religious context (Islam takes over the world) merely removes it from the oppressive thumb of scientific dogma. It changes nothing. Well.... Astrology prospered more under Islam than under Christianity. They really are wonderful people.

Descartes (pg. 7-8 ) takes us back to Quantum. There is nothing hard nor mysterious about Quantum. It is merely the magical world writ large. People look at Quantum & presume passivity, but why? If the world changes because we look at it, then we must cast the world to our image. Can a man influence a planet? Can a mere man be bigger than a planet? Of course! History is full of such men. Men who dominated this planet. It can only be lack of imagination, lack of interest, lack of hard facts, perhaps, that keeps man from dominating other planets.

The two models of astrology which are proposed can be reduced to Head vs: Heart. Many people are centered strongly on one or the other. Astrology, in fact, does very well with both, but it will do no good to confuse the two. Most head astrologers are weakly trained & when stronger non-astrological heads intervene, their work evaporates. Heart astrology is far too messy for most head analyists to get close to. So they write it off. Pushed to their ultimates, head & heart approaches eventually fuse. The result is dazzling.

On pg. 16, The Bigger Picture. The use of the word, "divine" is not supported by the story that precedes it. The clairvoyant (which I define as a trained psychic) talks to the dead mother, who is following her son around for reasons of her own. Donna Cunningham picks that up in her Consulting Astrologer's Guidebook & cautions us to be aware of it. Talking to discarnates is Not a Big Deal. It does not indicate spiritual advancement, it does not prove the reality of "God", it is hardly even a talent worthy of note. Such an ability connects us only to the discarnate, who, by definition, is in a bad place itself & needs help. It does not tell us how lost keys may be found, it does not answer the riddle of the universe. This needs to be hammered into heads.

Point 17 is confused. It conflates two distinct things. It confuses ideas already in the client's aura (which is why tarot works, by the way), ideas which may or may not be entirely the client's, with impersonal astrological energies generally.

Frawley's comment in the top of pg. 18 is magical, not religious. A religous formulation invokes something. A magical one declares it. Frawley declares. Each has their advantages & disadvantages. Phillipson's analysis of it reveals his own heart, aka mystical, orientation.

Varieties of Truth, pg. 19, may be compared to life in a stream. If you accept you are in a stream & are content to flow with it, you will see many interesting, perhaps amazing things. You will be able to do many things in harmony with the stream, things which may be of use or interest. If, instead, you wish to thrash about, then the stream is of no importance, or is an actual nuisance.

I am not able to comment on the heart of the article itself as it seems confused to me. So I can only offer criticisms. My apologies if I offend.

****************************

There are better theories out there. The Greek theory has been misinterpreted. Go back to that famous illustration of the spheres above the earth, the Sphere of the Sun, the Sphere of the Moon, the Sphere of Saturn, etc. and take another look at it.

The spheres DO NOT represent planetary orbits. Aside from the Sun & Moon, planets, as seen from the Earth, do not orbit in such simple spheres.

Take the horizon & bend it down & make a sphere of it, too. What is this sphere? The Earth. What is around this sphere? The spheres of Sun, Moon & Planets. Are these spheres, in fact, the Sun, Moon & Planerts? No. They are spheres which envelop the earth. The actual Sun, Moon & Planets are outside these spheres.

So what do we have? We have the Earth encased in coincentric spheres. We have the Earth inside a bell.

Planetary energies strike the bell, and resonate to us. Mars energy strikes the Mars sphere. Jupiter energy strikes the Jupiter sphere, etc.

Can there be as many spheres as there are objects in the solar system? Why not? How many different species of life can be found on just this one planet? Millions? I have dubed this the Resonance Theory, but it is clearly Greek & not mine. Rob Hand tells me there are variations of this circulating, but I am not aware of them myself.

Resonance escapes the inverse square law, which, by itself, dooms all radiation theories. Resonance explains aspects. Resonance explains why some people are sensitive to asteroids & some not. Resonance explains midpoints. If you add the Earth's diurnal movement, resonance explains houses. Resonance explains why planets above the horizon are equal in power to planets below the horizon. Resonance explains dispositors. Resonance explains a lot. Get out a hand bell & make your own discoveries. Take a pin & touch the bell. Does it resonate? Do fixed stars?

Since "zodiac" is defined as the relationship of a primary body to a secondary body that orbits it (my own observation), we can see that the Sun's relationship to the Earth provides not only a zodiacal framework for the Earth spheres as a whole, but also provides similar support to the spheres which encase Jupiter, Saturn, etc. The Earth / Moon relationship is, by this definition, a zodiac unto itself, which is why there are Mansions, aka Nakshatras.

The spheres that encase Saturn are of interest because they are visible. Since Saturn is uniquely a concretizing planet, this would be expected. Presently scientists are trying to explain disturbances in the rings from the gravity of nearby moons, so far, without complete success. Resonance theory says that Saturn's rings respond to planetary influences, eg, aspects between planets. For One Million Dollars (Randi will be surprised), this can be tested. John Nelson's methods should suffice. At $50,000 a year, a million bucks will buy 20 years of translators. Whoopee!

This is enough for the moment. Do I have any hope my idea may become accepted? Of course not. There is the emotional censor to deal with. Quantum says I can make my world. It says nothing about my ability to make yours.
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Tumbling Sphinx



Joined: 02 Jan 2005
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Posted: Sun Mar 04, 2007 1:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Dave,

Very interesting.

Quote:
"Take the horizon & bend it down & make a sphere of it, too ... We have the Earth encased in coincentric spheres. We have the Earth inside a bell.
Planetary energies strike the bell, and resonate to us. Mars energy strikes the Mars sphere. Jupiter energy strikes the Jupiter sphere, etc. "


This also seems reminiscent of Earth's 7 circles of latitude either side of the equator, ie. the old 'climes', that when projected form a sphere around Earth, each bandwidth of Earth's latitude starting from the Equator being attributed a corresponding planet ... the climes and chimes of various ascensions.

The Persians using the old planetary order from Saturn to Moon; Saturn corresponding to the span from equator to first line of latitude and so forth through to Moon; whereas the Greeks used a different planetary order.

Quote:
"If the world changes because we look at it, then we must cast the world to our image. Can a man influence a planet? Can a mere man be bigger than a planet? Of course! History is full of such men. Men who dominated this planet. It can only be lack of imagination, lack of interest, lack of hard facts, perhaps, that keeps man from dominating other planets."


Universal domination? Very Happy It occurs to me that while mankind has succeeded in dominating certain civilizations, it's far from dominating this planet ... especially while mankind still grapples with the nature of Nature, the nature of things, and in particular the nature of desire. At some point the feeding frenzy will come to a close.

Casting images of the world reminds me of the very ancient civilization of Australian Aboriginals and their "Dreamtime" ... Robert Lawlor wrote an interesting book on this called "Voices of the First Day, Awakening in the Aboriginal Dreamtime".
Vision once was something that was long-term & far-reaching, today much is short-term & instant-gratification ... yes, I'd agree a re-visioning is on order, in fact I think the seeds have already been planted.

Kind regards,

TS.
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Dave of Maryland



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Posted: Sun Mar 04, 2007 4:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hello TS

Quote:
This also seems reminiscent of Earth's 7 circles of latitude either side of the equator, ie. the old 'climes', that when projected form a sphere around Earth, each bandwidth of Earth's latitude starting from the Equator being attributed a corresponding planet ... the climes and chimes of various ascensions.


I can't say I've read the ancients closely. I've heard of the climes, but do not understand them. Do you know?

Did they divide the earth from equator to pole into seven bands? If so, were they equal in degrees, as we understand degrees? Did they have an concept of equator, did they have a concept of poles?

Dave
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Tumbling Sphinx



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Posted: Mon Mar 05, 2007 5:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hello Dave,

Quote:
"Did they divide the earth from equator to pole into seven bands?"


Yes.

Quote:
"If so, were they equal in degrees, as we understand degrees?"


No, not equal divisions between latitudes, at least not according to Al-biruni's table ... degrees as we understand degrees, yes.

Quote:
"Did they have an concept of equator, did they have a concept of poles?"


Yes. Smile

To expand, Al-Biruni in "The Book of Instruction in the Elements of the Art of Astrology" mentions:

"With regard to the seven climates the first from the equator to its boundary is given to Saturn, the first and highest planet and the one with the widest orbit, because the first climate is the longest of all, the most generous in yielding the necessities of life ... The second belongs to Jupiter and so on to the 7th which is allotted to the moon. Abu Ma'shar regards this as the Persian view, and says that the Greeks give the first climate to Saturn, the second to the sun, the third to Mercury, the fourth to Jupiter, the fifth to Venus, the sixth to Mars and the seventh to the Moon."

Please ref. page 238, para 392.

He mentions more beginning on pge 138, para 236 where he also lists a table of the climates .... he also mentions various books contain contradictory statements as to the latitudes of the climates, dependent on differences of opinion as to the obliquity of the ecliptic etc.

"Members of this profession divide the habitable land into seven long strips from east to west parallel to the equator called 'climates' ..."

He also references Ptolemy:

" Ptolemy considered that the limit of habitable land was the Island of Thule (situated in the country of the Slavonians in the Varangian Sea ... [the Verangians were Scandinavians?]).

"Its latitude is nearly the same as the complement of the obliquity of the ecliptic, viz. 66 degrees.

"As for the people who live in the last part of the seventh climate as for north as the Island of Thule [Greenland/Iceland?]... "


I seem to recall in ancient Egyptian times the North Pole aligned with Thuban in Draco ... wonder whether this has a connection with the then naming of Thule?

Re: "did they have a concept of poles?"

cont. pges 139 - 141, eg:

"Beyond 66 degrees ... other parallels become visible, and, as long as the sun is there, day persists, and the longest day instead of being one of 24 hours, lasts for several days, and increases in length until it becomes a month or months ...

"The highest lattitude is when the pole is overhead and the equinoctial on the horizon ... and the movement of the heavens overhead is like that of a millstone."


Ptolemy in Tetrabiblos also references climates, as does the Hermetica (briefly) ... I'm still researching some other things and am looking at some comparisons between Al-Biruni's lattitudes and the 7 latitudes depicted on present day globe of earth. Smile



Kind regards,

TS
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Tumbling Sphinx



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Posted: Mon Mar 05, 2007 9:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sorry, re degrees was thinking in terms of hours.
Ptolemy (ca. 90-168 AD) measured distance in stadia, with his referencing general acceptance being 1 degree (or every degree) = 500 stadia. In time of Ptolemy, earth was considered a sphere/globe, with the greater distance being longitude, the shorter distance being from the north pole to the south (today's "oblate sphere"), and he refers to Hipparchus (190-120 BC) as giving elevation of the north pole.

Ptolemy's 'The Geography" offers additional insight.

Kind regards,
TS
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GarryP
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Posted: Mon Mar 05, 2007 1:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Dave,

Sorry about the unquotability of the pdf, I agree that’s annoying & have now changed the security settings to enable quoting.

I’m probably not going to cover many of your points but here are a few thoughts.

The three theories of truth I mentioned a few posts back are just part of western philosophy – it would be a very long post indeed if I started getting into them any further here.

Now there’s the whole thing about page 16 and discarnate beings. Your point here interests me, because I grew up in a spiritualist household and assumed for a while (until I was 19) that to be discarnate was to be wise. I don’t think that any more, although I don’t think either that to be discarnate is necessarily to be in a bad state. I don’t know where that idea comes from? If you really want to know what I think about discarnate beings, then I’d have to recommend the paper on Theravada Buddhism, Theurgy and Divination which is also on my site. That includes some material on Buddhist cosmology. I think the Buddhist model is pretty good (though I incline to the view that any model will be partial and limited). There’s some material in there which may also link in with your ideas about resonance.

You say re. p.16 that “The use of the word, "divine" is not supported by the story that precedes it.” but that’s OK because I don’t claim it is. The point of the medium story there is only to draw an *analogy* with one possible account of how astrology works. Also it allows me to slip in a pun at the top of p.17, and puns are important.

So far as I can see, when you say, ‘Point 17 is confused. It conflates two distinct things’ what you mean is that I am looking at things in a different way to you. You don’t explain why your way is right though.
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Dave of Maryland



Joined: 24 Feb 2007
Posts: 154
Location: Bel Air, MD

Posted: Mon Mar 05, 2007 6:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Gary,

Thanks for your thoughts.

Quote:
The three theories of truth I mentioned a few posts back are just part of western philosophy – it would be a very long post indeed if I started getting into them any further here.


I'm a brite kid, but I confess this stuff goes past me. Or maybe it's my admittedly merchant caste: Pile 'em high, sell 'em cheap, don't worry where they came from or where they're going to.

Quote:
Now there’s the whole thing about page 16 and discarnate beings. Your point here interests me, because I grew up in a spiritualist household and assumed for a while (until I was 19) that to be discarnate was to be wise. I don’t think that any more, although I don’t think either that to be discarnate is necessarily to be in a bad state.


When people die they don't get smarter - or dumber, their tastes stay the same, as do their opinions. They loose their ability to deal with the physical world in a physical way. That's about it. It's as if they lived in a trailer house (I think you call them caravans) & one fine day moved to an entirely new town. Some things - the inside of the trailer - stay the same, but other things have changed & the individual must adapt in order to satisfy his new needs.

A healthy discarnate moves easily onto those areas which are appropriate to his new state. In the process he naturally moves away from the land of the living, since he is no longer one of them. A wise & loving one first establishes ongoing links to the living whom he has left behind. This group includes, but is probably not limited to his blood relations & those with whom he has had sex. I have heard of such links, but I have never actually found one, so I presume this is rare.

All other discarnates are, by definition, like five-year-old children wandering the streets. They are, by definition, in need of help, or could use some advice. Discarnates are defined as those who are dead, but are still "earth-bound". So long as they are, they are easily observed by those who are sensitive. Far too many of them are content to simply hang about, like half-awake sheep, which they rather resemble. Those who have the misfortune to be embalmed often hang around their gravesite. My meditation group once spent an evening at an old cemetary in Ventura, CA (last burial early 1940's, burials had largely been discontinued a decade before), where I personally observed hundreds of people still hanging out, every single one of them more than fifty years dead. Other members of the group confirmed this observation.

The other common place to while away the afterlife is in one's last abode. Ruth was like that. We found her as we cleaned up a house for sale. The house had been in my friend's family for some 30 years, Ruth had been gone at least that long. In Santa Fe I lived in an adobe on Baca Street, built in 1951. There was someone there. In the house I live in now, built in 1953, there were two. They were both upstairs, which was built in the mid-1980's, so they are as recent as that. The adult was easily dealt with. The other is a 3-ish year old child. We hear it cry from time to time. She wants her mother (any of her mothers, from any of her many lives will do), but I do not know if she will hear my direction, or, for that matter, has not already refused the support of the various mothers that may have already visited. This is tragic. It could well go on for the better part of a century.

Discarnates who have settled in to some sort of routine, for good or ill, do not need my help, though in the past I have offered it anyway, and it's usually been accepted. The vast majority of them do not know what to do next. They do not know where to go, they do not know who to talk to, since the living, by definition, ignore them. Many of the Christian ones are terrified they will be damned to hell & so will have nothing to do with anyone.

As such, these people of indeterminate state can & often do fall into bad situations. Situations which are not only harmful to them, but can be harmful - even deadly - to the living. To cite a recent case, the late Anna Nicole Smith (well-known over here, at any rate) was most likely killed by her late son. You won't think such a thing is possible, I will merely cite the well-established phenomenon of serial suicide. It is quite possible that others of her household may die prematurely over the next several years. At particular risk is her recent newborn. I feel personally responsible for this, as I know how to stop these things. It is not a hard thing to do, it is easily learned, the process itself takes less than five minutes. I would be glad to volunteer, but it seems the society I live in is too coarse to make use of talents like mine. I don't claim any special talents, I am not a clairvoyant in any sense.

Is this enough about discarnates? In many ways they are similar to the boys trapped in Lord of the Flies.

Quote:
That includes some material on Buddhist cosmology. I think the Buddhist model is pretty good (though I incline to the view that any model will be partial and limited).


What they put in books is a sketch. You have to figure out how to use the sketch. Back 20 years ago Snow Lion, of New York, published a small book entitled Death, Intermediate State, Rebirth, by one of the Rinpoche gang ("Rinpoche" seems to be the "Smith" of Tibet). The book was mostly incomprehensible, so, perhaps to help himself out, he persuaded the Dali Lama to write the introduction. The Dali Lama, no fool he, wrote a precis of the book in plain English. Which I greatly enjoyed. The section on how one determines his future sex has been a source of ongoing enlightenment & one of the few hints I have seen of critical moments in the "intermediate stage".


Quote:
So far as I can see, when you say, ‘Point 17 is confused. It conflates two distinct things’ what you mean is that I am looking at things in a different way to you. You don’t explain why your way is right though.


The relevant portion of 17 is here:

Quote:
Instead, the signs of astrology are like advisory road
signs which depict – e.g. – deer running across the road. The point is not
to tell the driver that deer actually will be running across the road, but
that it will be best if s/he acts as if some kind of wild animal might be
about to do so.24 This, as I understand it, is very similar to the point
which was made by Heraclitus, and repeated by Iamblichus: the obscurity
of oracles is a design feature, the gods “neither talking nor
concealing…(but) giving indication by signs”.


I am being picky, but there are two things conflated here. Predictions made from numbers & diagrams are different from predictions made by oracles. Oracles are short-term & usually accurate if so, while numbers are best in the long term & can be difficult to interpret accurately.

Tarot cards are an oracle, I presume entrails are as well. In the Pranic Healing classes I took a decade ago, we learned how to sensitize our hands & scan the health aura. One of the class experiments was to register the changes in a person's aura after someone had thought good, and then, bad, things about them. Our hands "saw" the aura expand from good thoughts & contract from bad thoughts. (This cannot be made a double-blind test, by the way.) Which merely confirms the Theosphical claim that thoughts about a particular person go to that person & lodge there, perhaps, but perhaps not, to eventually become conscious to him. Therefore if your boss is thinking about firing you but has not yet come to actually make himself do that, his thoughts have already become part of your aura. Thinking about your life while shuffling a deck of Tarot & then spreading the cards, will immediately unearth the state of your aura, and all the good & bad things therein. Both your own, as well as that of everyone who knows you. The matter then hinges on your ability to read those cards. Few can do so completely.

In the astrological vein, Nadi readers, in India, claim to use very old leaves to predict the future. The jin who actually do the work (jin = genie) employ a sophisticated blend of techniques. On the one hand, they access one's own personal memories to fool us into believing they are truthful, on the other, they make silly, foppish & unrealistic long-term predictions. The late Rick Houck was a victim of such a nadi reader. He was told he would lead a long & healthy life. K.N. Rao, in some book I can no longer find, solved this puzzle. There might be such a thing as an honest & true nadi reader, but I do not know how this would be possible.

So far as the deer in the headlights, Martha Lang-Wescott has had some success with detailed analysis (not prediction) of that sort. In The Architects of Time, she walks with Gary Gilmore in the last moments of his life, noting the minute details & their astrological connotations. In addition to various dials & directions, Martha also uses the Transneptunians as well as upwards of 50 asteroids. It's not for everyone.

The study of metaphysics opens up a new world, different in many ways from the one we think we know.

Dave
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GarryP
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Posted: Wed Mar 07, 2007 12:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Dave,

You said:

Quote:
Predictions made from numbers & diagrams are different from predictions made by oracles.


This is a potentially interesting point, and I'm certainly up for considering that there may be different types of phenomena to be considered here, and that - further - both may sometimes occur under the name of astrology.

The difficulty I have is that you present this as if all sensible people in the world had a meeting at some point and decided once and for all that things are this way. I'm sorry, but I wasn't notified of the meeting. So what I'd find interesting is if you could say something about why you think things are as you say. What tradition, what texts, what experiences do you have in mind?

Cheers,
Garry
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