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Is There Room for 'innovation' In a 'Trad' Only Approach?
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james_m



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Posted: Mon Jun 23, 2014 5:23 pm    Post subject: Is There Room for 'innovation' In a 'Trad' Only Approach? Reply with quote

I asked a question similar to this of mark in another thread.

I have stated repeatedly that i'm not a fan of dividing astrology into traditional verses modern. this hasn't changed! however, i am curious about those who adhere to only a 'traditional' approach if they are receptive to innovation, and if so, how?

I think many of the arabic astrologers were innovating on the hellenistic astrologers, and they perhaps innovated on the babylonians work. perhaps the same thing could be said of medieval astrologers to those previous.. it seems to me astrologers are always coming up with innovative ways to approach astrology and that innovation is an essential part of astrology's ongoing development. thoughts?
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Michael Sternbach



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Posted: Tue Jun 24, 2014 9:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi James,

It's quite obvious that astrology is, and has always been, in a state of evolution. Otherwise all we would still have at our disposal is the Mesopotamian state of the art! What some now refer to as traditional astrology, in my view, is a summary of what has been painstakingly gathered from Hellenistic, Arabic, Medieval, and/or Renaissance sources. There is a variety of notions among the ancient authors to choose from! Moreover, there is a need for a lot more translations, and – just as importantly - for interpretation of available sources, as i.e. the recent discussions on Skyscript about the house systems used by the Hellenistic astrologers demonstrates. Such explorations may indeed alter what is seen as the traditional approach, over time.

That being said, some may be quite satisfied with a closed system as a handy reference for their practical work, let's say, based on some Hellenistic authors as understood by Project Hindsight. Some may feel a particular attraction to a certain time and place in astrology's history. Not every traditional astrologer is a pioneering researcher, and I think that's o.k. It holds true for many a modernist, as well, to be sure. The very word "traditional" may suggest something “cut and dried” – but overall, I would say that the question depends a lot more on the individual astrologer than on the type of astrology they are employing.

I do think that it is up to astrologers like you and me – basically modernists but with a keen interest in the earlier expressions of our art – to think and to experiment in order to see what of the ancient teachings can be integrated into our own application of astrology, technically and philosophically. Sometimes adaptation will be necessary.

“Absorb what is useful. Discard what is useless. Add what is uniquely your own.” - Bruce Lee

This is probably not an attitude that many traditionalists would subscribe to, but what we are really responsible for is our personal outlook only. Each of us has their own path to tread toward their fulfilment and enlightenment, after all.

Michael
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jventura



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Posted: Tue Jun 24, 2014 11:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi James,

I have posted a response to a similar question in another thread. In my view, most of the so-called "modern innovations" are pure garbage, without any strong base. This happens because there isn't any good method for analyzing results in astrology, and so people invent things and propose them without any validation (as for instance, peer-reviewed or based on statistics, etc..).

So, in my astrology work, I've decided not to use anything that was "invented" since the declining times of traditional astrology, around 18th century.. And from there, I try to throw away the things that seems not to work. For instance, I've done a statistical study about the Animodar which indicated that the Animodar method for the rectification of births was a kind of "statistical illusion". So, I've removed the Animodar from my "wallet" of techniques..

In other words, I'm trying to head to simplicity and to things that can be proved (to me) that works. But it will take much time.. Smile

I'm not closed to experimentation though, as I've been fairly active in the FIFA Word Cup thread. I believe that we must start to quantify (with percentage numbers) the workings of astrology. Astrology is deeply related to statistics, as sentences like "most people with Mars on the Asc. tend to be assertive" prove. There is a statistical inference behind such sentences, although no one as still cared to quantify how many people with Mars in the Asc. are indeed assertive. Is it 75%, 60%, 10%?

So, my opinion is that the innovations on astrology should be based in rational experimentation and quantification, so we can use what is worth of being used and throw away the garbage..


João Ventura
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Larxene



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Posted: Tue Jun 24, 2014 1:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Err...yes?

There are no problems with innovation or even invention, but I would implore a person who practises traditional techniques to be able to differentiate between the way the ancients applied these techniques and his own version of the technique, and to inform people when he is differing from the traditional way of applying a technique.

In my view, if the technique is useful, then it should be used, regardless of whether it has been used by the ancients before or otherwise. I have a specific definition of useful here. If a technique can predict an observable behaviour or event consistently, then it is useful. I prefer not to deal with unobservable things when it comes to astrology. This is the main reason I study traditional astrology, and not modern astrology.
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james_m



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Posted: Tue Jun 24, 2014 10:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

michael, joao and larxene,

thanks very much for sharing your perspectives!

Michael Sternbach wrote:
....the question depends a lot more on the individual astrologer than on the type of astrology they are employing.


Michael Sternbach wrote:

....what we are really responsible for is our personal outlook only. Each of us has their own path to tread toward their fulfillment and enlightenment, after all.

Michael


michael,

i really like and agree with what you said here.

jventura wrote:
...I'm trying to head to simplicity and to things that can be proved (to me) that works. But it will take much time.. Smile


jventura wrote:

...I believe that we must start to quantify (with percentage numbers) the workings of astrology.
João Ventura


joao, i agree very much with your idea of moving towards simplicity.. regarding statistical analysis - there appears to be an ongoing debate in the astro community over just how much can be gotten from statistics.. i think the astro community need (some) astrologers to move in this direction to further astrology along these lines.. the french couple from the 70's (michel and francois gauaguelin) certainly did help by raising this issue too. we need more people like yourself seeking to validate techniques. thanks for all of that and for sharing your perspective on the place for innovation in astrology.

Larxene wrote:
... I would implore a person who practices traditional techniques to be able to differentiate between the way the ancients applied these techniques and his own version of the technique, and to inform people when he is differing from the traditional way of applying a technique.


Larxene wrote:
... In my view, if the technique is useful, then it should be used, regardless of whether it has been used by the ancients before or otherwise.


Larxene wrote:
... I prefer not to deal with unobservable things when it comes to astrology. This is the main reason I study traditional astrology, and not modern astrology.


thanks larxene. i am curious how a person is able to know whether they are practicing the same way the ancients applied these techniques. i am not sure this is so easy to know, mostly as we are unable to step back into the world of the past to understand the cultural context that these techniques were placed within, or how an astrologer would have perceived their role. that is how i see it. i am reminded of the heraclitus quote - one can't step into the same river twice, as the water has moved on' or something to that effect..

do you think an astrological aspect is observable? when does it cease to be observable ( what is the orb, might be one astrologers way of thinking about this, but it opens up the whole idea of the relevance of ptolemaic, verses non ptolemaic aspects too - are some observed, but others not?..) "what is one observing in the mathematics of it?", might be another way of asking this question..
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Larxene



Joined: 22 Sep 2012
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Posted: Wed Jun 25, 2014 3:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

james_m wrote:
...i am curious how a person is able to know whether they are practicing the same way the ancients applied these techniques. i am not sure this is so easy to know, mostly as we are unable to step back into the world of the past to understand the cultural context that these techniques were placed within, or how an astrologer would have perceived their role...

...do you think an astrological aspect is observable? when does it cease to be observable...



Certainly it is not easy. That is precisely the reason we need to first restore the ancient astrologies, as Project Hindsight purportedly attempted to do, so that we can understand how the techniques were applied within their respective contexts. When one obtains knowledge, it is important to understand that knowledge before one applies it. Hence the hierarchy in Bloom's Taxonomy.

At the same time, we also have practical problems to solve within our current world. Many of the questions relevant in the ancient world also applies in the modern world, such as career, marriage, children, fame, wealth, etc. The ancient astrologies will likely take a long time to be restored. In the meantime we have our own problems to solve. Hence, the best route to take is to study the existing astrological corpus and make our own inferences about how the techniques were used and how it should be used in the current context, to the best of our abilities. Then we should bring our understanding to the test, by putting it into practice.


It appears I have not made myself clear enough. When I say observable behaviours and events, I mean the behaviours and events that we are forecasting, not the astronomical or astrological events that serve as indicators. For instance, Mars in trine relationship with Jupiter, where both are well-placed, supposedly gives brave generals and powerful leaders. Can we observe this in people with this configuration? What is the percentage of people who have this configuration that are indeed brave and powerful leaders?

I do not mind using non-physical and unobservable symbols and concepts as tools for forecasting. They are more mysterious and occult-like, which is what compelled me to study astrology in the first place.

But the results of the forecast should be observable, because then they will be useful for our daily lives, and not merely an avenue for mental masturbation.
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james_m



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Posted: Wed Jun 25, 2014 5:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Larxene wrote:
When I say observable behaviours and events, I mean the behaviours and events that we are forecasting, not the astronomical or astrological events that serve as indicators. For instance, Mars in trine relationship with Jupiter, where both are well-placed, supposedly gives brave generals and powerful leaders. Can we observe this in people with this configuration? What is the percentage of people who have this configuration that are indeed brave and powerful leaders?


this is the quote i was working off of yours -
Larxene wrote:
I prefer not to deal with unobservable things when it comes to astrology. This is the main reason I study traditional astrology, and not modern astrology.


now it sounds as though you are making a pitch for more statistical type of analysis to back up the astro theories that are so pervasive, as joao was asking for earlier.

do you think you can see mental illness in a chart? how about depression? how are you able to tell? are these the types of unobservable things when it comes to astrology that you refer to?

(the branch of horary has restrictions against judgment which seem to operate in a similar manner in discouraging an astrologer from providing an answer, if the set up isn't right according to these rules..) all other areas of astrology seem to be willing to provide astrological input though without necessarily noting the impracticality of doing so, depending on these other 'unobservable' or less 'observable' possibilities i am suggesting in the paragraph immediately before this one.

i would argue that one's intuition is an important part of the process which needs to be utilized.. it is in different states of development in astrologers too as i see it. but i think this is moving further away from my question on whether there is room for innovation in a trad only approach to astrology.

project hindsight was a type of 'innovation' in that a group of individuals felt a strong desire to explore previous astro literature not available before the 1990's which is very recent in terms of history! although the focus is on becoming more aware of the astrological approach taken in the past, it was people in the present who wanted to realize this. i tend to see it that no one today is practicing traditional astrology as it is impossible to step back into the past to re-live all that would be implied in this. instead, we are given the opportunity to explore different ideas of an astrological nature - some that seem to resonate more quickly to us then others. i think it is very difficult to comment on something that one doesn't study or know much or anything about, and yet i see this happening all the time!
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Larxene



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Posted: Thu Jun 26, 2014 1:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Statistical proof is one way. The problem is that every chart is like a rare phenomenon; the same combination rarely occurs twice. So it is impossible to remove all extraneous variables. If a person has Mars trine Jupiter and both are well-placed, and yet is not brave nor powerful, it may have to do with other planetary configurations such as a square from a debilitated Saturn.

However, it is important that such combination works in the absence of hindering factors. If we can find charts where there are no such hindering factors, then a large percentage of those charts should belong to brave and powerful persons.

Unfortunately, the sample will probably be limited after the elimination of debilitated charts, and Mars trine Jupiter can mean more than one thing. The result is there will be not enough samples.

So in practice, statistical proof is difficult to obtain in astrological charts. A more complex and individualised procedure is necessary.



Mental illnesses and depression are kind of unobservable. It requires a doctor to diagnose such problems. In normal situations, I would avoid delineating them, because the main problem is you only have the client's testimony to verify whether such mental dispositions exist.

However, sometimes it may be practical to delineate depression. If you have a client in front of you testifying that he has chronic depression, and you can see ways to alleviate that, then certainly it would help the client to tell him what is causing his depression and what he can do to lessen his condition.

For research purposes though, unless there is a way to tell whether a person is really depressed or not, I prefer not to delineate such things. It requires an expert to observe mental illnesses, and I am no expert.



Of course, because our social contexts are different, we cannot practise the traditional techniques 100% in the same way as the ancients. But we can still use the same procedures they used. We just have to modify our delineations to suit our current context.

For example, in Maternus, there is a delineation that when Saturn or Jupiter is placed on the Ascendant by day, the native will be first born or be the first among brothers. This delineation occurs within a specific context, and that is, where the oldest male in the family will inherit the father's estate and money.

These days in first world countries at least, this system is mostly deprecated. So instead of saying the same thing the ancients would say, you may tell your client that "you will inherit more of your parents' financial possessions than your siblings" instead. The differences are significant, yet the essence remains the same: it is about obtaining inheritances.
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james_m



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Posted: Tue Jul 01, 2014 10:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

hi larxene,

thanks for articulating your ideas here more fully. i apologize for not responding sooner.

i was mostly focused on the idea of what is or isn't observable and whether this ought to be an obstacle. it is an interesting idea as many in the non astrological world might argue that astrology is all unobservable, or else it would have been proven by science already. obviously we don't see it that way.

i was sent a paper yesterday that was submitted to the ncgr on the science behind the idea of planets sending out waves or invisible types of atoms that mix with all the other particles within our solar system. i wasn't given the privilege of sharing this 8/9 page paper here at skyscript, but it was wanting to find a means of scientifically verifying what has been generally thought to be unobservable.. it might be a case of willful blindness instead, which interestingly enough is the title of a book that was mentioned to me just yesterday as well, and which happened to be available at a 2nd hand hand book store here in town for 5$!!!

so is it something not observable, or is it willful blindness? i suppose it may or may not matter, but i continue to think our willingness to keep an open mind is all that prevents us for incorporating new ideas, especially in regards to astrology. those who want to prove the validity of any of it, will typically be much after the fact the ideas will be in use for any possible length of time.

going back to my question of whether you can see certain types of psychology in a chart, you might not be given this information beforehand. i think this is where astrology is only as valuable as the participants willingness to share what it is they see as necessary to help facilitate the astrologers work.. one might not find out or be given valuable info that could help shed more light on what is at work in an astro chart!
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Larxene



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Posted: Wed Jul 02, 2014 2:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

james_m wrote:
so is it something not observable, or is it willful blindness? i suppose it may or may not matter, but i continue to think our willingness to keep an open mind is all that prevents us for incorporating new ideas, especially in regards to astrology. those who want to prove the validity of any of it, will typically be much after the fact the ideas will be in use for any possible length of time.

going back to my question of whether you can see certain types of psychology in a chart, you might not be given this information beforehand. i think this is where astrology is only as valuable as the participants willingness to share what it is they see as necessary to help facilitate the astrologers work.. one might not find out or be given valuable info that could help shed more light on what is at work in an astro chart!



Well in the case of depression, we may be able to observe the symptoms of depression, but again, this requires psychiatric knowledge and expertise. Unless you are a practitioner in those fields, and can in fact do the diagnosis, it is advisable to avoid making such delineations. There is a reason we ask people to go to a doctor or psychiatrist when they feel sick. Self-diagnosis is less effective than a diagnosis by an expert.

Note that I am not claiming that EVERYONE should not delineate mental illnesses. I am saying that it is preferable that one studies mental illnesses in depth before they delineate them in a chart. I do not have such knowledge, so I prefer to not delineate them.


Indeed, that is one of the weaknesses of obtaining information from ordinary clients. That is one good reason to study people whose lives are made public. Celebrities, usually. Of course, there are drawbacks to studying celebrities as well.
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james_m



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Posted: Wed Jul 02, 2014 6:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Larxene wrote:


Well in the case of depression, we may be able to observe the symptoms of depression, but again, this requires psychiatric knowledge and expertise. Unless you are a practitioner in those fields, and can in fact do the diagnosis, it is advisable to avoid making such delineations. There is a reason we ask people to go to a doctor or psychiatrist when they feel sick. Self-diagnosis is less effective than a diagnosis by an expert.

Note that I am not claiming that EVERYONE should not delineate mental illnesses. I am saying that it is preferable that one studies mental illnesses in depth before they delineate them in a chart. I do not have such knowledge, so I prefer to not delineate them.

Indeed, that is one of the weaknesses of obtaining information from ordinary clients. That is one good reason to study people whose lives are made public. Celebrities, usually. Of course, there are drawbacks to studying celebrities as well.


i agree with much of your commentary.. i think the idea of offering a diagnosis on mental health issues is best left to a professional with knowledge in that field. however, that would have been an astrologer of the past perhaps who might have been asked to address issues coming directly out of that persons mental outlook. knowledge of the present has been incorporated in order for us to adopt this position.

my understanding is that saturn has always had an association with depression. saturn in focus, or in aspect to planets, especially the moon perhaps, might point to the possibility of depression. i certainly wouldn't feel qualified to address this, other then i might think i could see the possibility of it when looking at a chart.. interestingly fire seems to be an obvious tonic for depression which strikes me as having a very 'earth' like quality to it..

i tend to think the outer planets in hard aspect to the inner planets may be a minor tip off of the possibility of a peculiar disposition to unresolved psychological issues too, but unless a person was to want to talk about this, i wouldn't be! i don't believe an astrologer can see sexual issues like whether someone is homosexual, lesbian, or transgender in a chart..

speaking of all that, i note marjorie orr had a chart for rolf harris who was in the news recently. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rolf_Harris
apparently he was charged with events that took place back in the 80's - and handed a guilty verdict on june 30th this year - approx 30 odd years later.. below is his chart.


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one of the obvious benefits of approaching a chart interpretation via a traditional approach that excludes the outer planets and etc, is how it helps to narrow the focus and cuts down on an extra number of considerations. would a traditional astrologer be able to see a tendency towards sexual impropriety in this chart, or would they need to resort to use of more modern techniques? i suspect they would be able to point to some obvious features of the chart..

this would be an example where one might answer my thread question a certain way in the affirmative or not!!! anyone is welcome to comment on this chart if they feel so inclined.. the guilty verdict is out and our discussion will be using an example of hindsight astrology in action!
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TC



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Posted: Wed Jul 02, 2014 9:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

A very dear and close friend of mine (astrologer) used to say: if I want relationship advice, why would I ask an astrologer with f* up relationships?; if I want financial advice,why would I ask someone who has terrible investment patterns? Much to be said for this logic...
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Mark
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Posted: Wed Jul 02, 2014 9:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I personally find it hard to follow what the flow of recent posts has got to do with the original question James framed.

Larxene wrote:
Quote:
Certainly it is not easy. That is precisely the reason we need to first restore the ancient astrologies, as Project Hindsight purportedly attempted to do, so that we can understand how the techniques were applied within their respective contexts. When one obtains knowledge, it is important to understand that knowledge before one applies it. Hence the hierarchy in Bloom's Taxonomy.

At the same time, we also have practical problems to solve within our current world. Many of the questions relevant in the ancient world also applies in the modern world, such as career, marriage, children, fame, wealth, etc. The ancient astrologies will likely take a long time to be restored. In the meantime we have our own problems to solve. Hence, the best route to take is to study the existing astrological corpus and make our own inferences about how the techniques were used and how it should be used in the current context, to the best of our abilities. Then we should bring our understanding to the test, by putting it into practice.


Very well put. I whole heatedly agree with all the above. I have spent much of the last 9 years learning about traditional astrology. I still feel I have so much to learn! The amount of neglected techniques I haven't even tried is legion.

In the majority of instances I just feel its premature to innovate in dramatic ways when I am still trying to understand traditional techniques. It feels like putting the cart before the horse.

In the case of some more modern ideas its simply a pragmatic consideration of what you can practically fit in to a delineation.

Regarding minor aspects though there are several considerations such as practicality, and a more fundamental philosophical outlook over what aspects are.

My view is that most people traditional or modern dont genuinely ''innovate''. They copy someone elses ideas and test them out. True innovators like say Ptolemy, or Kepler or Witte are quite rare I think. There is a spark of genius in them. I dont necessarily think all new ideas are equally inspired although I accept that is necessarily a subjective view.

But certainly, once you have worked with something for a good while in praxis you either see it working or not. I think most people do this. For example I haven't found the Firdaria that powerful as a time lord technique. I also dont use the dignity of face/decans. From mundane work I have found lunations (all lunations) are very useful predictors of short term trends in natal work. I also find aspects working out of sign. I have seen that working in horary and natal so its not a theory for me its an experiental reality. I am not sure that is what I would call ''innovation''. I prefer to call it customization of astrological technique derived from praxis. I think all astrologers do this to some extent regardless of what label we give them.

Mark
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Larxene



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Posted: Thu Jul 03, 2014 4:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

James,

As Mark mentioned, we are getting off-topic so I will try not to make too many offtopic comments. Indeed, in the past where psychology as a field of study was non-existent, there were no "qualifications" for determining mental illnesses. But we have psychology now.

Yes, Saturn is associated with depression. As someone with a prominent Saturn, I can personally testify to that (currently I am undergoing a period of depression as well).

Sometimes I will mention possible mental problems to clients, but only on a case-to-case basis. Ideally, I want to have an empirical basis for making such claims, but I don't right now.

I don't know about other non-outer traditional astrologers. For me I see it in Mercury/Venus in Aries, in the 3rd and Jupiter in 5th in detriment. The 3rd is an ambivalent house. Sometimes it is favourable, sometimes not. (Interestingly, Vedic astrology considers it to be a bad house.) I can't explain my reasoning at the moment. It's just intuition, from reading Maternus's text.



Mark,

Yeah, sorry for the diversions. From what I have observed, James has a spectacular ability of derailing discussions. Very Happy

Indeed, I also feel uncomfortable about creating new techniques when there are old techniques I have not tried yet. Besides, I don't want to re-invent the wheel. One helpful thing to think about is to ask what modern scholars would do before they carry out some research on their hypotheses. They usually go through a process of reviewing past literature. Sometimes, they will even try to replicate the results. It is prudent for us to follow their footsteps.


In my opinion, it is important to differentiate between "invention" and "innovation". Invention is where one creates a totally new product or concept, whereas innovation is the use of existing products in new ways, or the integration of products that were, before this, separate products.

I prefer not to "invent" new techniques, but I do not mind "innovating" on a technique, as long as the older technique has a precedent, i.e. its use has been recorded and described in the older astrological corpus. However, even so, I prefer to understand the old process and purpose of the technique first, before innovating on it. Again, refer to my statement on Bloom's taxonomy.


Interesting. As for myself, currently I do not use trigon/decan rulership as "dignities", because I do not quite grasp what their meanings are qualitatively.


Larxene
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Posted: Thu Jul 03, 2014 7:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

TC - thanks for sharing your friends insight. it is a bit simplistic, but there is some truth in it too..

Larxene wrote:
From what I have observed, James has a spectacular ability of derailing discussions. Very Happy


lol.. either that, or my conversation style doesn't work in the pragmatic linear manner you 2 appear to crave!!!

life and conversation always holds a mystery. we attempt to find out what another persons thought process is and how they arrive at a position they do.. we also note previous conversations of the same few posters on this site and how what they might say in one place is contradicted in another.. welcome to the nature of reality, or the way i perceive a small part of it.. i don't really care about diversions especially when i feel they are necessary to get deeper into a persons thought process. without giving the reasons, i am telling you that this is exactly my line of thinking with regard to my response to larxene's first post on this thread which i wanted him to elaborate on.. i have taken this detour knowingly!! the rolf harris chart might have been an extra diversion that i knew i could use as an example to further a particular line of thinking, if i needed it.

larxene and mark - thanks for engaging in this conversation, offering your views while trying to understand mine. i like the distinction, as i understand it, that larxene has made in relation to the idea of innovation, verses the idea of invention. was the discovery of the planet uranus an innovation? no. was an astrologers attempt at incorporating this planet as innovation? i think it was/is.. do we close the door to new discoveries because they don't fit in with the previous approach that was in use, or do we make room for new discoveries? the way we do this is where some element of innovation is at work.. perhaps a pragmatist would emphasize the basis is grounded on observation.. how does one observe something when they are unwilling to even consider it?

sure.. one has many choices thanks to the new texts which are coming online from the deep past. why would one need to consider more recent ideas/discoveries, when there is more then enough to consider in just getting deeper into traditional astrology? everyone has to answer this in their own way.

for me, innovation might be connected to our willingness to incorporate different unrelated techniques which might lead to an eclectic approach, as opposed to one with a strictly defined date stamp on it.. is that innovative? i think it is, but perhaps it is the wrong word and synthesis regardless of the genre (astrology as art), is a better word to describe what i was curious to explore with others here.
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