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Whence astrology?
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Nixx



Joined: 10 Dec 2011
Posts: 295

Posted: Mon Nov 04, 2013 9:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

varuna2 wrote:


Fraud needs to be provable that it happened. How is any shyster (Schuster's lawyer) going to prove that (in the case of the persecuted in the article) that person did not communicate with the soul which passed this realm? This is unprovable, therefore the fraud charge is also unprovable, therefore the lawsuit is rubbish. Astrology has not been proven either. Astrology is a religion. We allegedly have the freedom of religion and the freedom of speech in the so-called free West...




You say this but let's not forget Campion's study which suggested only 7% approx of Astrologers viewed it as a Religion.
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varuna2



Joined: 20 Feb 2012
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Location: Lemuria

Posted: Mon Nov 04, 2013 9:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Paul wrote:
Varuna

Please be respectful to waybread and all other posters. It is not your place to dictate to Waybread what she believes in or does not believe in. Waybread is capable of doing this herself. It is also not the responsibility of Waybread or anyone else to defend or make apologies for the all the alleged crimes you have thrown at 'the west'.

Waybread has not accused you of science bashing. She has alleged, rightly, that some astrologers do bash science. Do not take this personally.

I am not sure what Garry's stance is with regards the posts here, he did ask that I keep aware of any posts here and moderate where necessary. I am not the type of moderator who likes to remove posts. Please remember to treat Waybread and everyone else with respect which includes not telling them what they believe or do not believe nor implying accusations at the entirety of western society and expecting any posters here to defend or even debate or acknowledge those allegations. That is not why we are here.

There is a topic being discussed and many of your anti-western posts and rhetoric deviate drastically away from that topic. A major forum rule is to show respect for all individuals here. I would also state that this includes not just individuals but entire sections of society, even those with which you are frustrated or disappointed by or even contemptuous of.

Please stop with your anti-western rhetoric and your posts toward Waybread which are so negative in tone. Otherwise the posts will be deleted - remember that this is an astrology board for astrologers to discuss astrology and issues pertaining to it. Not a soapbox for our gripes against cultures we do not like.


Paul,

Since you are trying to promote peace and understanding at this forum. Let me tell you what the world is like through my eyes on this matter.

I saw W post an article threatening astrologers that if they do not create institutions controlling who gets to be an astrologer and what the quality of their work can be, then the authorities will forcibly crush astrology. This is the only thing I saw in the article W posted, and so I wrote many arguments by analogy of what the suggestion by W looks like.

When I challenge untenuous and often untruthful beliefs at this forum, I get accused of being anti-Western or "bashing" or god know what. When we see contradictions and what would normally be considered wrong and we question those things we are accused of being evil. I have not told even one lie here. I do not hold any hatred in my heart for W or the West, and I reprimand when I see buffers and blindspots, but I will no longer take part of your forum and this will no doubt make many people happy who value not being shown the shadows of their beliefs.

When I wrote the truth of medicine, Waybread turned this into "bashing" on the authority of labeling it as such. It was in no way bashing, it was telling the truth about idols. I know how words are used to control things, and this is why I did not stop from challenging Waybread, since W was twisting accurate protrayals of a thing into "bashing." This is either a sinister tactic of using words to twist things or it is an unconscious tactic picked up by reading Western journalism.

The only reason my post appeared off topic is because I was using arguments by analogy to show what that article that Waybread posted was, to show its true colours from my outsider perspective of the Western cult.

I will refrain from taking part of your forum, since I cannot accept threats of censorship for challenging beliefs that I do not accept.

You will not have to deal with me anymore, and you can have sterile discussions where everyone comments on their agreements of how beautiful the butterflies were and no one argues...

Goodbye.


Last edited by varuna2 on Mon Nov 04, 2013 9:58 pm; edited 1 time in total
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varuna2



Joined: 20 Feb 2012
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Location: Lemuria

Posted: Mon Nov 04, 2013 9:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nixx wrote:
varuna2 wrote:


Fraud needs to be provable that it happened. How is any shyster (Schuster's lawyer) going to prove that (in the case of the persecuted in the article) that person did not communicate with the soul which passed this realm? This is unprovable, therefore the fraud charge is also unprovable, therefore the lawsuit is rubbish. Astrology has not been proven either. Astrology is a religion. We allegedly have the freedom of religion and the freedom of speech in the so-called free West...




You say this but let's not forget Campion's study which suggested only 7% approx of Astrologers viewed it as a Religion.


Right, Nixx, but I was giving astrologers an argument to use against tyranny from the perspective of the tyranny and therefore it is consistent and a valid argument. I would tend to encourage Spock or whoever, to investigate these things as a science, but those who do this would benefit immensely from jyotish yogas. Spock's claims about astrology are based on one possible interpretation of the study of modern so-called Western astrology and certainly not jyotish yogas...


Last edited by varuna2 on Mon Nov 04, 2013 10:07 pm; edited 2 times in total
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Paul
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Posted: Mon Nov 04, 2013 10:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

varuna2 wrote:

I saw W post an article threatening astrologers that if they do not create institutions controlling who gets to be an astrologer and what the quality of their work can be, then the authorities will forcibly crush astrology. This is the only thing I saw in the article W posted, and so I wrote many arguments by analogy of what the suggestion by W looks like.


I also worry that some of Waybread's sentiments might, if taken as an extreme, lead to some licensing of astrology which I am not a fan of. I think the only point I want to make is that we can express our differences in a respectful manner - respectful both of Waybread, other posters, and also an entire culture.

Quote:
I have not told even one lie here. I do not hold any hatred in my heart for W or the West, and I reprimand when I see buffers and blindspots, but I will no longer take part of your forum and this will no doubt make many people happy who value not being shown the shadows of their beliefs.


Varuna it's up to you if you wish to leave. This is not my site. I am only expressing my own view as well, but at the same time I do not think we should go so far off topic that this discussion becomes a polemic against western culture or society and many of your points veer strongly in that direction. The tone is very negative. Your wording, even in this reply with "western cult" is dismissive and derisive and to post those comments using rhetoric against waybread is just not fair and not what we're all about here.

If you do wish to take a breather, I hope you come back. It's not my site and you're certainly welcome here. I agree with a lot of your concerns against licensing and some of your counter arguments. My only request is in moderating the delivery of those points so that it's not so dismissive of western culture (which isn't under trial here) and not so insulting or dismissive of other posters.
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waybread



Joined: 05 Mar 2009
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Posted: Mon Nov 04, 2013 10:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Not to worry, friends. My power as an anonymous poster on an astrology Internet forum is negligible.

I don't think I came down definitively on the side of licensing for astrologers, though I can't see that ramping up the professionalism of astrology would hurt us. It might help us.

Astrology has been on and off the fringes of public credibility for the past 2000 years, and will probably stay that way.
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Nixx



Joined: 10 Dec 2011
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Posted: Mon Nov 04, 2013 11:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

varuna2 wrote:

Right, Nixx, but I was giving astrologers an argument to use against tyranny from the perspective of the tyranny and therefore it is consistent and a valid argument. I would tend to encourage Spock or whoever, to investigate these things as a science, but those who do this would benefit immensely from jyotish yogas. Spock's claims about astrology are based on one possible interpretation of the study of modern so-called Western astrology and certainly not jyotish yogas...


These discussions about whether or not some Astrologers conduct should be punished can be interesting, and ones which I've no doubt have occured here in the past. How relevant this is to the thrust of Spock's 'Naturalistic' thread which centres around how can astrological ideas be found to be true or false or congruent with the findings of Cognitive Developmental Psycholgists seems to be a bit of a tangent.

However if you can make a case for the relevance of Jyotish Yogas to Spock's and others notion that organisms count time therefore we may be able to find measurable and plausible correspondences to human beings biological and psychological development it may be most interesting.
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Paul
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Posted: Tue Nov 05, 2013 11:19 am    Post subject: Re: Whence astrology? Reply with quote

spock wrote:

I think many astrologers would like for astrology to be verified,


Well then this is in contradiction to your earlier post I quoted from:
"The "problem" is we astrologers apparently don't think our claims should be objectively verifiable"

Either astrologers do not think they should be verifiable, and this is a problem, or astrologers instead would like astrology to be verified. I'm starting to lose track what your view is on this.

Quote:
it's for our benefit, so we can be sure that we do have knowledge and aren't just fooling ourselves in the course of the process of "doing" astrology.


I am sure we can fine tune our methods and our astrology. I am not so convinced that the scientific paradigm is the right vehicle for it though. Let's take a simple form of astrology, and use horary as an example. Someone asks where their missing wallet is. Either you find the wallet or you do not. There is no 'almost finding it' to paraphrase Frawley. And when we don't find it, and we later see with hindsight where it is, we can take this into consideration and fine tune our processes. When we do find the wallet we can still learn from feedback from the querent. But let's take this through a scientific paradigm of not only double blind trials but also of course repeated experiment - can this actually be done!? Because I do not think it can. I do not think the mechanisms behind horary, whatever they may be, work that way.

We might also face similar problems with natal forecasting. If you predict a breakup, you cannot then repeat the experiment on the same data. THe moment has passed. Astrologers are in the business of examining the inherent qualities of time and those things which are borne from those individual moments. Unfortunately moments change and cannot be replicated. We cannot go back and rinse and repeat a transit - once it happens that's it. Sure the planet may make another transit at another time, but then time as changed and other planets may be in other places. I know you have stated that a transit should mean X and do so 100% of the time, the problem is that whilst you may think so, this is really not an astrological claim, though it may be your own claim. Traditionally inclined astrologers for example would need to take into context what varying time lords are indicating, what other planets are doing, because whilst you might like to isolate and test one planet at a time, there are no control subjects for which only one planet is in effect. THey all are. All the time.

So I don't mind us refining our technique and growing from there - this is something from which astrologers might benefit. I just don't think the scientific method is a suitable vehicle for that refinement.

The next issue is one of statistics. This is something we might gain some insight from. I have no problem with statistical evaluation of astrologer's claims. If people find that useful they shoudl go for it, and it may show some unusual patterns or unexpected patterns - like for example Gauqelin's research apparently favouring places immediately cadent from an angle.

But this doesn't mean we throw away the entire corpus of astrology until such time that statistics verify each individual thing, because so much of it is more abstract and philosophical and not easily rendered by statistical enquiry.

Quote:
No, not the individual astrologer, but the methods themselves. That's the point of my Tyl and Rudhyar examples, not that the astrologers are deficient but that the methods they learned were and are.


Right, but who determines what is deficient? This is what I was asking? Deficient for who? You say this is so because astrologers "cannot describe how we come to our conclusions". But why is this true? If I observe that an apple falls, and continues to fall and all the other apples also fall, is it not enough for me to say "apples fall" - without having to discover the intricacies of gravitational effects and perhaps perturbations and fluctations through the globe etc.? You later cite using statistics to verify things, but statistics tells us absolutely zilch as to why a phenomenon happens. Similarly astrological claims are, often explicitly, agnostic about why a phenomenon happens, they simply observe that it does, and invite you to do the same.

The question is, does not having an explanation for 'why' a phenomenon happens suddenly prevent that phenomenon happening? Or does it remain observable without a theory as to how or why it is true?

Quote:
As for who they're deficient for, they're deficient for us. If they weren't six competent astrologers rectifying the same person's unknown (to them) birth time would get the same answer.


Presumably 6 psychologists would arrive at the same conclusions using the same methods too. And 6 financial analysts would also arrive at the same conclusions regarding the market.

I wonder why this doesn't happen - or do we accept that when it comes to measuring a complexity of variables there is a degree of 'weighing up' of factors and individual discernment involved which amounts to difference of opinion? Of course in all cases one or none may be correct, but accuracy is surely another matter from methodology employed and questions of illegitimacy.

Quote:
Whether it's a hard sell because it's wrong or because astrologers just have a hard time seeing it is another matter.


Right, I think it's a hard sell because it's not always a persuasive argument and seems, to me, to be at times riddled with problems and flaws in its approach and assumptions of its paradigms.

Quote:
I've already argued that "it works for me" is misleading, and have given reasons why I think it's misleading, so simply reiterating "because they've witnessed that it works for them" without critiquing my argument about "the verbal games we unwittingly play that make it seem to us that 'astrology works for me'" is unresponsive.


Actually I did address this obliquely. I disagree with your notion that "it works for me" is be extension misleading, it may be misleading, but that is not to say that it therefore is misleading. You have not, however, come up with a methodology that removes the possibility of misleading statements. This is my point. In my last reply to you I wanted to highlight how you yourself make ungrounded assumptions but then use these assumptions as the starting points for your investigations. Sure, it works for me might be misleading. But then so might the idea that the signs and houses are bogus but aspects are not, or that rulership is "clearly wrong" and base these clear objections on nothing other than the constraints of the philosophical paradigm you have about astrology. By all means critique that it works for me may be misleading, but until we have some better test for astrology other than our own empiricism I don't think your arguments advance anything.
There is a reason you think that signs and planets are bogus and that rulerships are "clearly wrong" and so on - your personal philosophies and inherent assumptions based on them, and by proxy biases that are inherent in all of us. In the end then when you go to do astrology clearly you are only using what works for you, or, more specifically, what makes sense to you - ie, what best conforms to your own philosophical paradigm on how astrology can work and what it is useful for.

In addition, I don't think many of astrology's claims are ripe for scientific testing. I happen to think that for at least some branches of astrology, the astrologer is a part of the equation - I have horary in particular in mind here. I do not think it's important that astrologers use Regiomontanus or Placidus or whatever, and using one or the other can give different results. I just think it's important that they use one and stick with it. I think these idiosynchracies where the observer or participant is a part of the equation has yet to be properly accounted for with the current scientific paradigm. Perhaps in the future it will be better addressed and we can have these conversations again. Until then I think the implication from your posts, that we live in a mechanical universe where X gives rise to Y and will do so 100% of the time, it just not an accurate reflection of the cosmos that we exist within. And it's assumptions such as these, which are foundational to so many of your arguments, that I disagree with.

It is not that I haven't addressed your argument about "what works for me is misleading" it's just that you haven't come up with anything which I think is better. And until there is something incontrovertible, then I think it's an incredible hubris to ask someone to not believe their own eyes, their own experience because, bless them, they're only fooling themselves.

Quote:
And the addition of "in the face of obvious adversity by weight of the fact that on the face of it astrology sounds ludicrous" only shows how much people will go against what seems reasonable if they want to believe in something strongly enough, albeit not without some discomfort or defensiveness.


Well that's certainly a non-sequitor conclusion. It may also be that the personal empirical evidence of astrology is so great that even though our rational minds cannot comprehend how such a thing can happen, we cannot deny that it does.

Certainly I came to astrology the hard way, by being incredibly skeptical of its claims. It is not that I desperately wanted astrology to work, in fact it was despite my desperately thinking it should fail. It's just that, if I was honest with myself, it did seem to have something to it. I couldn't dismiss it. I had the same experience with horary. I used to cringe inwardly when people with real problems turned to horary - if they asked "where is my dog" they'd get the same answer as "where is my cat" I used to think, so what, their cat is with their dog?! It was ludicrous right? Right until I saw someone do it with uncanny accuracy did I think it. I am a doubting Thomas to the core, I need to put my finger in those holes before I'll believe in a miracle, but I'm open minded enough to know that I don't know everything about the universe and nor does the rest of humanity. So if I observe something to be true then I have to at least take it seriously enough to warrant further investigation.

I don't think people desperately want to believe in astrology so throw away their common sense. I think it's just the opposite.

Quote:
I'm the one who's bothered by the lack of clearcut evidence that most of the meanings and methods I originally learned are actually valid.


Oh you're certainly not unique in this. I think the only place we would differ, for example, is the implication that astrologers need to prove their methods (presumably to someone else?), whether we can extract that clear cut evidence, and how we might do it. I applaud that you think clearcut evidence can be taken for so many of astrology's claims, I just think it's almost naive to think so. Let's try our issue or rulership that you are so eager to state is "clearly false" - rather than state it, how would you go about finding clear cut evidence, presumably using a scientific method. Can you isolate other chart factors such that we can only examine a given planet, say Mars, and measure its qualitative influences through a natal chart, and repeat this in a double blind trial for hundreds of cases such that the evidence would be clear cut? If you can, more power to you, I cannot. We might get something which is statistically significant, but is this clear cut evidence?

Quote:
I'm the one who's acutely aware of the ways in which we fool ourselves, who's analyzed the process by which astrology seemingly "works for me", which is a bell that can't be unrung.


You might be, but you're not the only one. I think most of us are well aware, perhaps even jaded, by ideas of the forer effect and so on.

Quote:
In asking who cares you seem to have forgotten the context in which I made that statement, which was in opposition to astrologers who assume that someday science will have a revolution in the wake of which they will then see how it is that astrology can work the way we say it does, an understanding that we ourselves don't possess at the moment and likely never will.


Actually no, the context I read you as operating under was prefixed at the beginning of this paragraph: "The "problem" is we astrologers apparently don't think our claims should be objectively verifiable via procedures"

And presumably you do think we should. My point boils down to - why should we?
You concluded that: "But to the extent that we create a more viable astrology we'll be fulfilling our own imperative of maximizing our understanding, which is more important than what others think. "

So why mention science at all, and why highlight its 'present form' even thought you conclude that it's for our benefit, from the earlier statement acknowledging what science would or wouldn't accept, it seems that you at least have one eye on science's acceptance of astrology, not in its present form as you state, but perhaps in a more 'viable' form.
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waybread



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Posted: Tue Nov 05, 2013 7:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Paul, the idea that a moment in time will never be replicated is true on one level but not on another.

I just opened Hand's Planets in Youth cookbook. It tells me that Venus opposite Saturn means, "you feel extremely lonely....you may feel unworthy of love..." So even though the moment of time that gives birth to someone with Venus opposite Saturn is unique, enough people are born with Venus opposite Saturn, presumably showing this personal quality, that the author felt he could generalize for millions of people on the planet with this placement.

The entire basis of astrology is that certain placements can be generalized, despite the uniqueness of each human being. Otherwise it would be hard to do any sort of astrology.

Uniqueness for the common person is also an early modern concept so far as concepts of humanity go. 600 years ago, boys and girls grew up to do what their parents did for a living. If the parents had no human rights to speak of, they didn't either. In fact, precisely fitting in with the clan or ethnic group had huge survival value in the past (as it does in totalitarian societies today.) To stick out in some way might have jeopardized the entire group's survival.

So maybe we can't go back and replicate someone's break-up of 2011. But ideally we could trace what was going on in the native's and the partner's charts at that time. We could get 50 or 100 sets of charts relating to partner break-ups, and look for commonalities. But I don't think this would be a tunnel-vision study, because the normal human break-up reasons might be different: recognition of obvious incompatibility, "somebody else," or a strong desire to be unfettered would vary between ex-couples. The astrological correlations should be different. Maybe Toby Taurus got hit by a hard Uranus transit, but Ariel Aries got stressed by a progressed Mars placement. This is why I think some kind of multivariate technique able to handle huge data sets would be best.

Then you would have to input all kinds of controls into the method, so you are comparing roughly the same thing.

The fundamental question to me is, how good a job do the run of astrologers do in chart interpretation (and our basic understanding of human nature.) Is there a way to improve upon it? If so, how would we go about it?

I have argued that a top-down run of statistical tests of data (like the Gauquelin tests) may not be the way to go about it. Without taking anything away from their work, we could agree that there are so many other methodologies to choose from!

Based on your missing wallet example, I think it would be useful to model your behaviour (and that of other knowledgeable astrologers,) focusing on feedback loops.

For example, you ask, "Where is the missing wallet?" Horoscope answer: in a high place in your apartment, by a window. You look, and it's not in places that fit this definition. Two days later you find the wallet. Either you misread or missed something in the chart, or else you didn't search a particular spot that the chart did indicate, because you thought the wallet couldn't be there.

So not only have you learned more about astrology and how it interfaces with your physical environment out of your "miss"; but you now have a feedback loop that will refine your future search processes, hopefully leading to greater accuracy. As you continue to refine your personal "model" for locating missing objects through "hits" and "misses", ideally you get to a point where errors are infrequent or close to the mark.

This is why I think any study, in the first instance, would benefit from qualitative interviews with experienced astrologers, in order to model their decision-making process.

What is the first thing you look for in reading a horary chart? Second? Third? Fourth? Last? How do you make a decision if these determinations seem to give contradictory or unclear information? Does one placement trump another? If so, on what basis do you rank-order the horoscope placements? We could map these out, and then conduct some type of test consistent with the model of how you and your astro-peers actually read a horoscope.

I wouldn't want us to get straight-jacketed into thinking there is only one way to proceed, because so few Old School statistical studies have produced positive results for astrology. Either astrology is bogus, or meaningful tests have to follow very different procedures.
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spock



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Posted: Wed Nov 06, 2013 1:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

In my November 1 response to waybread I suggested that if astrology is not analyzable into constituent elements, with the validity and meaning of each element separately determinable, if it can only be approached as a whole, it could not in principle have been discovered and developed via observation (nor is research now or in the future possible). That's because, if the whole is the only unit of observation and analysis, it must be conceded that no whole ever repeats. Every birth chart, every combination of factors and configurations, is absolutely unique. As a whole it will never have been observed before, therefore we cannot know anything about it based on observation alone. Myriam seizes on one sentence in that argument, "If we insist that the elements of the whole can't be individually evaluated we're simultaneously admitting that astrology couldn't have been discovered based on observation," and exclaims, "Exactly! I agree that astrology could not have been discovered based on observation!" Which of course is what I said only if one ignores the "if" in my argument. If we insist that the elements of the whole can't be individually evaluated we're simultaneously admitting that astrology couldn't have been discovered based on observation.

But I argued in that post that they can be individually evaluated. Since Myriam doesn't agree with that her position, if one posits that astrology isn't simply an erroneous belief, is entirely logical. But if we disagree with Myriam about astrology's origins, or with Paul's contention that it works just fine, we can't at the same time logically insist that its constituent elements can't be individually ascertained and evaluated. We can't have it both ways. If astrology is real it's either subject to discovery and development by analyzing its constituent elements, or it's the result of some sort of direct revelation.

In David Hollinger's "T.S. Kuhn's Theory of Science and Its Implications for History" (in Paradigms & Revolutions, edited by Gary Gutting) I found the following insightful observation. With regards to a given disciplinary community "Kuhn assumes that these practitioners themselves are sufficiently loyal to their callings to look for answers that will neither abandon their basic questions nor repudiate what counts as 'rationality' in the larger culture for whose benefit the inquiry is being conducted." Although that statement resonates on several levels the phrase i want to emphasize here is "for whose benefit the inquiry is being conducted." It suggests that knowledge benefits society as a whole, and that knowledge seeking is one of the ways in which we contribute to society. But knowledges that at one time seemed improbable are now widely accepted, and vice versa. It serves society's interests best if all possibilities are pursued, even fringe knowledge that seems unlikely to ever be valid. In that case people who pursue such knowledge, whether or not it works out in their lifetime or ever, are fulfilling an important function..

In essence a person who believes in astrology, or phrenology, or handwriting analysis, or personality theory, is laying a bet. It might not be experienced as a bet because too much doubt cripples resolve and therefore our ability to proceed, but in the larger scheme of things that's what it amounts to. Some bets will pay off, others won't, but as long as there are people willing and even eager to pursue disparate possibilities society covers its bets and benefits. As indicated above belief is a factor, because only someone who believes there's something "there" will make the effort to find it, often in the face of almost insuperable difficulties. But what sort of conviction best lends itself to discovery. If we believe in nothing at all we won't be motivated to look, but if the belief to which we're commited is too detailed that, too might preclude the motivation to look further. What we already know is one of the most common blocks to progress, because if we know that the sun and planets circle a central earth it's difficult even to imagine alternatves.

It seems to me the best way to approach astrology as a researcher is to be committed to the idea that there are correspondences between earth and the heavens, but not as committed to any detailed manifestation of that belief. It might be that some of the correspondences widely accepted by astrologers are real. It might be that some of them are rough approximations or anticipations of what is real. It might be that some of them are simply wrong ideas. The point of research is to determine what things correspond with each other, how they correspond, and how it is that they can correspond, that is, a theory of causation.

My working hypothesis is that life over evolutionary time has used the planets as temporal templates around which to organize its constituent processes. As for the nature of the relevant processes and what they correspond to, the available evidence, my view of the biological nature of astrological effects, Occam's razor, and my minimalist leanings incline me to believe that on the one side we have transits and aspects of the Sun, Moon, planets and birthplace to themselves and to one another and on the other side motives or motivational patterns. Since an astrology of motives doesn't specify a particular external outcome, or any external event at all for a given transit, it doesn't conflict with free will and is consistent with a wide variety of external events that can be plausibly related to the same underlying urge or need. If I'm hungry I might eat steak or a cupcake, or I might refrain from eating at all because I want to lose weight and am willing to endure hunger pangs. Or if I'm restless and dissatisfied with my daily routine during a transit of Mars to its natal place, I might not be restless and dissatisfied enough to do something about it. Hence an astrology of motives is also not inconsistent with the observation that not every configuration coincides with an (external) event.

(to be continued)
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waybread



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Posted: Wed Nov 06, 2013 4:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

spock wrote:
In my November 1 response to waybread I suggested that if astrology is not analyzable into constituent elements, with the validity and meaning of each element separately determinable, if it can only be approached as a whole, it could not in principle have been discovered and developed via observation (nor is research now or in the future possible). That's because, if the whole is the only unit of observation and analysis, it must be conceded that no whole ever repeats. Every birth chart, every combination of factors and configurations, is absolutely unique. As a whole it will never have been observed before, therefore we cannot know anything about it based on observation alone.....


Spock, some science/social science phenomena can be analysed via single variables, but I lot of it can't be-- and so it isn't. To fall back on ecology, ecologists work with complex systems. Autecology is the study of the organism or species in relation to its biotic and physical environment, but synecology looks at interactions within assemblages of species and their physical environments. No one organism or ecosystem over time or space ever replicates itself exactly, but this is a big "so what?" to ecologists. In modeling plant and animal communities, they further try to address feedback loops and change over time.

Similarly, sociology look at units of society. No two people are identical, so the way that (for example) school kids form friendships will never be replicated exactly yet enough behaviours are consistent and persistent that they form a resonable object of study as a collective or aggregate.

I think you are arguing (from a philosophy of science perspective) for the ideographic (unique phenomena) vs. the nomothetic (uniqe phenomena as instances of larger principles.) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nomothetic_and_idiographic

To me, a horoscope can be understood as either a complex system or as a unique moment in time; just as a human body on one scale is unique and individual; but on another scale a body is comprised of different organs, tissues, cells, &c and thus is a highly complex interactive system, indeed. However, from the nomothetic perspective the unique phenomenon can be interpreted as an example or instance of a larger principle.

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But I argued in that post that they can be individually evaluated.... We can't have it both ways. If astrology is real it's either subject to discovery and development by analyzing its constituent elements, or it's the result of some sort of direct revelation.


Well, I don't think most ecologists, sociologists, or medical doctors would claim direct revelation! Sure, we could examine elephants, social cliques, or bodies in terms of individual variables, if you wish; but science and social science are sufficiently sophisticated to take on complex systems in more holistic ways. I am really sorry that my weak knowledge of statistics is even weaker with the passage of time, but I seem to recall my more quantitatively-abled colleagues using methods like cluster analysis, factor analysis, and and principal components analysis.

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In David Hollinger's "T.S. Kuhn's Theory of Science and Its Implications for History" (in Paradigms & Revolutions, edited by Gary Gutting) I found the following insightful observation. With regards to a given disciplinary community "Kuhn assumes that these practitioners themselves are sufficiently loyal to their callings to look for answers that will neither abandon their basic questions nor repudiate what counts as 'rationality' in the larger culture for whose benefit the inquiry is being conducted." Although that statement resonates on several levels the phrase i want to emphasize here is "for whose benefit the inquiry is being conducted." It suggests that knowledge benefits society as a whole, and that knowledge seeking is one of the ways in which we contribute to society. But knowledges that at one time seemed improbable are now widely accepted, and vice versa. It serves society's interests best if all possibilities are pursued, even fringe knowledge that seems unlikely to ever be valid. In that case people who pursue such knowledge, whether or not it works out in their lifetime or ever, are fulfilling an important function.


No problem here, though the question to me, again, is how one goes about some type of rational analysis.

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In essence a person who believes in astrology, or phrenology, or handwriting analysis, or personality theory, is laying a bet. It might not be experienced as a bet because too much doubt cripples resolve and therefore our ability to proceed, but in the larger scheme of things that's what it amounts to. Some bets will pay off, others won't, but as long as there are people willing and even eager to pursue disparate possibilities society covers its bets and benefits. As indicated above belief is a factor, because only someone who believes there's something "there" will make the effort to find it, often in the face of almost insuperable difficulties. But what sort of conviction best lends itself to discovery. If we believe in nothing at all we won't be motivated to look, but if the belief to which we're commited is too detailed that, too might preclude the motivation to look further. What we already know is one of the most common blocks to progress, because if we know that the sun and planets circle a central earth it's difficult even to imagine alternatves.


Well, yes and no. A big beefy computer and program able to handle large sets of complex data probably could tell you if heliocentric (or Mars-o-centric) astrology works better than geocentric. On the other hand, modeling what good professional astrologers do now, as a research departure point, might be more productive.

But it depends what you want to test.

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It seems to me the best way to approach astrology as a researcher is to be committed to the idea that there are correspondences between earth and the heavens, but not as committed to any detailed manifestation of that belief. It might be that some of the correspondences widely accepted by astrologers are real. It might be that some of them are rough approximations or anticipations of what is real. It might be that some of them are simply wrong ideas. The point of research is to determine what things correspond with each other, how they correspond, and how it is that they can correspond, that is, a theory of causation.


This would be one way to do it. Would it be astrology as we know it, though, or something else?

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My working hypothesis is that life over evolutionary time has used the planets as temporal templates around which to organize its constituent processes. As for the nature of the relevant processes and what they correspond to, the available evidence, my view of the biological nature of astrological effects, Occam's razor, and my minimalist leanings incline me to believe that on the one side we have transits and aspects of the Sun, Moon, planets and birthplace to themselves and to one another and on the other side motives or motivational patterns. Since an astrology of motives doesn't specify a particular external outcome, or any external event at all for a given transit, it doesn't conflict with free will and is consistent with a wide variety of external events that can be plausibly related to the same underlying urge or need. If I'm hungry I might eat steak or a cupcake, or I might refrain from eating at all because I want to lose weight and am willing to endure hunger pangs. Or if I'm restless and dissatisfied with my daily routine during a transit of Mars to natal place, I might not be restless and dissatisfied enough to do something about it. Hence an astrology of motives is also not inconsistent with the observation that not every configuration coincides with an (external) event.

(to be continued)


OK, but I don't see how your single-variable tests could affirm or invalidate these hypothese. "Life over time" sounds like natural selection over a huge time span, and natural selection is still a theory because the wherewithall to prove it hasn't been found. Confirm it, yes; repeatedly. But this hypothesis suite seems too speculative to come out of the methods you seem to favour. Cause-and-effect models work neither for horary astrology nor for the level of detail at which astrology cookbooks specify human behaviour.

"Free will" is a giant can of worms, BTW.
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Paul
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Posted: Wed Nov 06, 2013 2:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

waybread wrote:
Paul, the idea that a moment in time will never be replicated is true on one level but not on another.

I just opened Hand's Planets in Youth cookbook. It tells me that Venus opposite Saturn means, "you feel extremely lonely....you may feel unworthy of love..." So even though the moment of time that gives birth to someone with Venus opposite Saturn is unique, enough people are born with Venus opposite Saturn, presumably showing this personal quality, that the author felt he could generalize for millions of people on the planet with this placement.


Right, I guess we could test astrology by way of just cookbook interpretations and see if there's a statistically significant trend, though it is perhaps difficult to ascertain the truth claim of "you may fell unworthy of love". I can imagine such a thing would be an exhaustive study.
However my point was that these studies would have to be statistically related - and not employing the scientific method of double blind trials, controls and repeated experiment. The 'data in' would not be the same. We instead have to use statistics. I don't think I made this point clearly enough in my last post, so the confusion is mine.

I ask "We might get something which is statistically significant, but is this clear cut evidence? ", we will have evidence of something statistically significant of course, but my question to Spock was to ask, is this enough?

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So not only have you learned more about astrology and how it interfaces with your physical environment out of your "miss"; but you now have a feedback loop that will refine your future search processes, hopefully leading to greater accuracy. As you continue to refine your personal "model" for locating missing objects through "hits" and "misses", ideally you get to a point where errors are infrequent or close to the mark.


Right, this is the point I was making myself - we can improve upon our techniques etc. my point of contradiction is in how we improve upon our techniques. I have given my reasons why I don't think a true scientific method will work. We're left with just our own 'trial and error' as it were - which is not just individual but becomes cumulative also (referencing back to Spock's point). I have no problem with this. There is an argument to be made that this already happens in astrological circles. I do think it will be much more difficult to start using statistics on such charts though, seeing how often Significator X being in such a sign and such a house and making such an aspect with Lord 1 or the Moon correlates with a given outcome or number of given outcomes. I am not saying such a thing is impossible, just that it is so exhaustive I cannot imagine where anyone would start with it. I'm not sure it's a reasonable approach. I think the 'trial and error' kind that you described is much better. Also with horary I do strongly believe that the astrologer is part of the equation - there are some horary astrologers who simply say "if there's a square the answer is no" and others who use a richer array of methods or more subtle nuances. Some use one house system, another will use something else. The astrologer is so important to testing horary, which is another reason it starts to become so difficult.

But here's the rub, it won't be 'scientifically' verified. So improvement is fine provided the only people we want to impress is ourselves.
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Paul
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Posted: Wed Nov 06, 2013 2:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

spock wrote:
In my November 1 response to waybread I suggested that if astrology is not analyzable into constituent elements, with the validity and meaning of each element separately determinable, if it can only be approached as a whole, it could not in principle have been discovered and developed via observation (nor is research now or in the future possible).


Right, and my point, to reiterate it, is that there's no reason for us to think that everything in astrology was determined by way of observation. I have already given why so many of our fundamentals may well be philosophical in nature rather than observational. But we mustn't forget we have a culture of astrology emerging from nearly a millennium of recorded observational history in Babylon. They noted certain observations, had certain myths/philosophies which helped them make sense of the world and applied an internalised logic to them. Much as we do today with astrology. Not everything which is 'real' is necessarily observable - it is true that if we wish to limit astrology to only that which has been empirically observed that we have a problem. Perhaps this is the focus for you?

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or with Paul's contention that it works just fine,


Actually I don't think I said that anywhere Spock. To clarify, in case the confusion is on my lack of clarity, I just disagree that we should make the studies of astrology that say we should do, and I disagree with some of your premises regarding how we might improve our astrological techniques. I also reject some of your ungrounded assumptions regarding astrology.

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Although that statement resonates on several levels the phrase i want to emphasize here is "for whose benefit the inquiry is being conducted." It suggests that knowledge benefits society as a whole, and that knowledge seeking is one of the ways in which we contribute to society.


Well i don't reach the same conclusion. It suggests instead that those who are loyal to their calling and seek answers for a community won't abandon the logic that community employs or forget the fundamental questions. Nothing about "society as a whole" in fact he's clear he's not referring to society as a whole when he says "the larger culture for whose benefit the inquiry is being conducted" - whilst in some instances that may be society as a whole, we have no reason for thinking it will always be society as a whole, and when it comes to astrology, I don't think it is society as a whole who is benefitting, but rather either an astrological community (which I thought was where your focus was right?) or the wider scientific community. Of course benefitting any individual part of a society, abstractly, benefits the whole, but I think we can set that aside and focus on what he is actually saying instead.

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My working hypothesis is that life over evolutionary time has used the planets as temporal templates around which to organize its constituent processes. As for the nature of the relevant processes and what they correspond to, the available evidence, my view of the biological nature of astrological effects, Occam's razor, and my minimalist leanings incline me to believe that on the one side we have transits and aspects of the Sun, Moon, planets and birthplace to themselves and to one another and on the other side motives or motivational patterns.


All of which is nothing other than an article of faith however. The problem is if you start your research based on these ungrounded assumptions. Really you're just substituting "what you believe" for the more palatable "what I believe".

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Since an astrology of motives doesn't specify a particular external outcome, or any external event at all for a given transit, it doesn't conflict with free will and is consistent with a wide variety of external events that can be plausibly related to the same underlying urge or need.


Actually that seems exceptionally naive. Putting aside that I disagree with the point, I also disagree with the logic employed. You seem to be implying that provided a thing isn't manifested (has an external outcome) it doesn't conflict with free will - why not? This is entirely non-sequitor. If a given transit etc. causes me to feel particularly depressed or down, it has influenced me in such a way that I myself will have my free will compromised as a result of this influence. Keeping in mind that we cannot always truly separate the mind from the body (ie. feeling depressed weakens our immune system and creates chemical changes in a body all of which are external outcomes incidentally). To affect/influence/reduce the free will of the mind of the native is no less a corruption of free will than to cause something to happen to them, you're just shifting the focus of where the free will is compromised.

In any event, you're making yet another ungrounded assumption here of course, namely that free will exists.

This is the kind of problem I have with your approach to testing astrology - it is built one assumption/philosophy on another. Constraints and 'impossibilities' are determined based on these assumptions as we can see here. Theories are adapted or altered so as to not affect or compromise those ungrounded assumptions.

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Hence an astrology of motives is also not inconsistent with the observation that not every configuration coincides with an (external) event.


I'll ask again: Who ever said that every configuration coincides with an external event? Please name some authors or cite some references in astrological literature. Otherwise all we have here is a strawman, built up to be teared down.
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spock



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Posted: Sat Nov 09, 2013 1:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

(continued from Nov. 5)

Continuing from my previous post, based on the premise that we can create a better astrology than we've had in the past, I'd like to offer some suggestions as to how we can contribute to that end. I'll start with my contention that "if astrology is not analyzable into constituent elements, with the validity and meaning of each element separately determinable, if it can only be approached as a whole, it could not in principle have been discovered and developed via observation (nor is research now or in the future possible)." Waybread, in your response directly below mine you say:

waybread wrote:
Spock, some science/social science phenomena can be analysed via single variables, but I lot of it can't be-- and so it isn't. To fall back on ecology, ecologists work with complex systems. Autecology is the study of the organism or species in relation to its biotic and physical environment, but synecology looks at interactions within assemblages of species and their physical environments. No one organism or ecosystem over time or space ever replicates itself exactly, but this is a big "so what?" to ecologists. In modeling plant and animal communities, they further try to address feedback loops and change over time.

And so on. Let's not overthink this. I think in some ways you're comparing apples to oranges and in other ways treating my statement as a denial or potential denial of the points you make in this post, which I don't disagree with but which don't necessarily engage with the point I was making, which is if astrology can be seen only as an undifferentiated whole observation can have nothing to say. Perhaps the problem is the way I put it, because in an earlier response to Paul you made what looks to me like the same point:

waybread wrote:
Paul, the idea that a moment in time will never be replicated is true on one level but not on another.

I just opened Hand's Planets in Youth cookbook. It tells me that Venus opposite Saturn means, "you feel extremely lonely....you may feel unworthy of love..." So even though the moment of time that gives birth to someone with Venus opposite Saturn is unique, enough people are born with Venus opposite Saturn, presumably showing this personal quality, that the author felt he could generalize for millions of people on the planet with this placement.

The entire basis of astrology is that certain placements can be generalized, despite the uniqueness of each human being. Otherwise it would be hard to do any sort of astrology.

Which is what I meant. Venus opposite Saturn is not the whole of any person's chart, and if we can only deal with charts as a whole, if we can't in principle ascertain what a given element (in this instance Venus opposite Saturn) contributes to the whole, "it would be hard to do any kind of astrology." The question is, how do we generalize? It seems to me we should collect instances in which a given placement or transit is the only common factor and ask, what's the common denominator in those instances that can potentially be attributed to that factor? The best of the so-called cookbooks, Grant Lewi's Heaven Knows What (aspects) and Astrology for the Millions (transits), Robert Pelletier's Planets in Aspect, and Robert Hand's Planets in Transit (maybe also his Planets in Youth, but I can't say because my copy is missing), appear to have followed this method. Certainly Lewi did. More usually astrologers reason out, on the basis of the symbolism of the two planets, what the aspect or transit ought to mean. Thus in Noel Tyl's Integrated Transits the entry for Saturn-Mars begins, "Saturn represents cold, Mars represents heat. Extremes come together: patience and impulse, caution and aggression, seriousness and recklessness." If we reason out interpretations in this way, rather than simply observing what the people who share the configuration have in common, the principle of GIGO comes into play. Our prior beliefs, the handed down ideas about what each planet "means", are the input, and the output is those same prior beliefs. We haven't learned anything new and have perpetuated whatever mistakes those prior beliefs may have encompassed.

With transits we cannot only compare different people's experiences, we can also compare the same person's experiences at different times, as the transiting body squares, opposes, squares and conjoins its own place or that of another body or the birthplace (i.e., our own body). For instance the turning points in Sigmund Freud's theoretical views coincided regularly with Saturn transiting hard-angle natal Mercury. (See article below for details.) In studying those periods it seemed to me that what was common about them was doubt, a lack of certainty in his views. This makes sense, because when we're not sure we're more open to alternatives, maybe even to the point of looking for them. What was especially striking, because it suggested I wasn't just imagining this rhythm, was that Freud himself mentioned it. Ernest Jones in The Life and Work of Sigmund Freud states, "The year 1905 was one of the peaks of Freud's productivity, which, as he once half-jocularly remarked, occurred every seven years."

For each life history we should approach the material with the attitude that we don't know what a given transit is supposed to mean. We should simply be open to the experience of rhythmicity. If we're sufficiently steeped in the details of that life history to see a rhythm or rhythms running through it, we can then ask ourselves, what is "it" that's recurring regularly? Do this for enough life histories, so that we can get multiple instances of the same rhythm, and we can gain a more general sense of what effect to expect in any given life. A website at which different astrologers could deposit observed patterns, along with their source(s) (preferably published biographies), so that the conclusions of different researchers could be both critiqued and combined, would be a great resource.

(still continued)
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waybread



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Posted: Sat Nov 09, 2013 6:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Spock, I have a lot of interest in complex systems. I wonder if you are constructing science more narrowly than many scientists do.

The thing is, with complex systems, sometimes taking out one variable for analysis might just throw the rest of the system out of kilter. Sorry to fall back on ecology, but physics that simplifies the messiness of real life in the laboratory doesn't seem to be such an apt comparison. Let me give you an analogy.

Consider how plant and animal species co-evolved with their predators, prey, parasites, and competitors. Species have symbiotic relationships via commensalism and mutualism. And then depending on your time scale the members of these assemblages are changing over time and even evolving differently. They may be changing spatially, with the invasion of new species. Maybe human impact of one sort or another is a major variable. The physical environment and biotic habitat is important. So scientists who work with complex systems develop ways to look at them more holistically.

If your job is to monitor and promote the well-being of a wildlife population, for example, you can't somehow take it out of context, because its status will depend upon many other relationships. How is its food supply doing? What is the status of any human impacts? And so on and so forth.

Imagine a horoscope like an assemblage of species that interact in various ways.

I think a horoscope works holistically; and it does so in the context of the native's culture, gender, ethnicity, religion or lack of one, &c. and these are all variables that we cannot read off a horoscope.

This is very different than calling an ecosystem or a horoscope an "undifferentiated whole." They are differentiated, and in obvious ways. But I don't think you will get what you are after if you isolate variables from their contexts; because this isn't the way they function in reality.

This isn't to say that horoscopes cannot be analysed, along with the non-horoscopic variables that affect our lives; but it is to suggest broadening our perception of what types of research might best model how astrological interpretation actually works.

I've got a shelf full of astrology cookbooks, and for the most part, they are extremely helpful..... until you start finding pairs or trios of interpretations that are diametrically opposed to one another. Stuff like, "With the moon in Taurus you love stability." "With the sun in Gemini you thrive on diversity and novelty." So what is a person with these placements actually like, notably if there's a stellium in Cancer over in the next house?

Just as with my ecosystem example, these placements modify one another in some fashion. Moon in Taurus will express itself differently if the sun is in Gemini or Capricorn, for example. Their effects are synergistic.

And this is where the "art" of synthesis comes in. Somehow an astrologer has to manage seemingly contradictory data bytes and see how they make a life for the native. I think a computer program could replicate a lot of this synthesis, but I don't think it is going to come from looking at simple variables in isolation. I think it is going to come from modeling what it is that astrologers actually do in a successful horoscope reading.

Please don't get us started on Sigmund Freud. He deliberately misinterpreted a lot of his data because he couldn't handle the possibility of incest in polite Viennese society, and his work was not scientific. Was the study you cite based upon a complete fishing-expedition of astrology in of Freud's life and work? Or did the researcher start from a clear sense of what he expected to find?

I think that we could take a sample of people who knew no astrology, and give them some dates, and ask them what happened then, independently of them having any knowledge of astrology. You might get into difficulties with the ethics of research with human subjects, however; because you would sort of have to tell them what you were up to. Then you have to deal with the problems of selective memories, poor memories, and the fact that most people don't keep day journals.

Celebrity biographies are even more problematic. They tend to be highly selective and skewed.

I scanned the article you linked, but didn't see how the anecdotal transits it tracked varied significantly from what symbolically-oriented astrologers do.

I dunno, Spock. The proof of the pudding is in the eating. Have you got the capacity to actually conduct a study the way you want to do it? If you can produce significant results, I will applaud you.
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OculusTauri



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Posted: Fri Dec 06, 2013 7:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

By practicing astrology, we are trying to read what is written in the sky - a Mercurial activity. Hence astrologers and the art of astrology are traditionally signified by Mercury.

Symbolically speaking, Mercury never departs from the Sun more than 27 degrees in ecliptical longitude: Hence the Sun signifies the lord, while Mercury represents his servant. Now us astrologers (Mercury) are simply servants to the Creator (Sun). In earlier times, astrologers mostly worked for kings and nobility (also Sun). But even if we work for a mortal king - in the end it is still God giving us orders, since it is his stars that lead us to judgement.

The Lord himself is symbolized by the Sun, supreme ruler amongst the stars, obviously the brightest and biggest of them all. Anything in the cosmos we live in seems to be dominated by the Sun. The Sun is the ruling day-light: While he's over the horizon, we can barely see any of the other stars, all of them being outshined. It is as if he occupied the heaven all for himself. Even the night is defined by the Sun's absence (regardless of the Moon's position). The Sun is the indicator of the seasons, responsible for spring, summer, autumn and winter. He is the only object in the sky to move steadily on its path, the ecliptic - with constant speed (no station, no retrogradation) and no deviation in latitude. Hence the Sun's path can be regarded as the universal guideline of cosmos: Aurea mediocritas! (gold=Sun). If the Sun represents God, then the ecliptic can be seen as God's path - the other planets try to follow in the Sun's footsteps, but can't keep on the straight line, due to deviations in latitude and speed.

Astrology can't be an end in itself. To put it frankly, our desire is to recognize the universal truth, or in other terms, the divine will which is symbolized by the Sun. It is not us, but the Creator who set the stars and the planets in the sky. By interpreting astronomical phenomenons we hope to understand what the Lord has planned for us. Finally we come to realize that mankind (Mercury) is servant to its Creator (Sun). In a nutshell, this is what astrology is about.

"In the first place, consider and admire thy Creator, and be thankful unto him [...] How many pre-eminences, privileges, advantages, hath God bestowed on thee? thou rangest above the heavens by contemplation, conceivest the motion and magnitude of the stars: thou talkest with angels, yea, with God himself"

(William Lilly, Christian Astrology, To the Student in Astrology)

We can upset our Creator by not following his guideline, or acting against his orders - but then we must take the consequences, too. Of course, we can also be wrong in our judgement. If we are wrong, this is due to our own human frailty: Errare humanum est. Hence Mercury, the significator of mankind, also rules error and lies. Just as J. B. Morin said: For the angels it is very easy to judge a chart correctly, but not so for us.
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