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theorists verses practitioners
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james_m



Joined: 05 Dec 2011
Posts: 2866
Location: vancouver island

Posted: Thu Jun 07, 2018 4:06 pm    Post subject: theorists verses practitioners Reply with quote

i have been fascinated by the distinction i witness regularly in astrology circles over those who are more interested in defining the terms - nonagesimal - for example, as opposed to those who would actually make a comment on an astrology chart...

i see the long threads on just what some element or part of astrology is supposed to mean, but for whatever reason the same people commenting on the 'theories' or 'technical s' of astrology seem completely absent when a conversation on a chart is offered, or the mystery charts are presented whereby they could demonstrate their theoretical knowledge as applied directly in a specific instance..

its an odd situation that casts a strange light on those who are keen on the one hand, but always absent on the other.. there are long time posters on skyscript that i've never had the good fortune of reading an astrological interpretation on a chart from... they pontificate on just what some house system does or doesn't mean and etc. etc. - but never engage in discussing an astrology chart of a person, country, or horary question for example...

isn't it fascinating? i find it fascinating..
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Arvind



Joined: 07 Nov 2016
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Posted: Thu Jun 07, 2018 5:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

james: Hmm... interesting point, and yes, "fascinating" to me as well now that you mention it. Armchair astrologers. Ha ha ha.
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Paul
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Posted: Thu Jun 07, 2018 5:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi James

Your post here is obviously a not too subtle dig at me, or at least people like me, and references the very discussion I'm having with others at the moment.

Nevertheless, let me take your post at face value and provide my own personal responses to it - speaking for nobody but myself.

Quote:
for whatever reason the same people commenting on the 'theories' or 'technical s' of astrology seem completely absent when a conversation on a chart is offered, or the mystery charts are presented whereby they could demonstrate their theoretical knowledge as applied directly in a specific instance..


One of the reasons I joined this forum in the very first place, long before I was more closely involved with the site, was for the technical, 'academic' and historical discussions that this site (I would argue uniquely) provides. For me, this site is a rare little gem precisely because there is really no other outlet in my life where I can have these kinds of discussions freely and with people who may completely oppose my views.

I really value that.

So when I comment on these more historical or technical discussions it's precisely because it's those discussions that drew me to this forum in the very first place, and skyscript was and remains one of the only places on the internet where such discussion can freely happen.

Back when I first joined, I was a member of many other websites such as Tribe.net (which I was subsequently asked to moderate), and astro.com. Tribe.net died and was killed by facebook more or less, and I've left astro.com for a plethora of reasons. But on those forums I commented much more freely on charts - it's just that it's not what drew me to this one. As it stands I'm on Facebook and a member of several astrology groups there, and I discuss, in frequently, some charts there.

At this point in my life though, I am drawn more and more to researching and understanding the technical and historical parts of astrology and skyscript is a unique opportunity for me to discuss, often complex stuff, with people who may agree or as likely disagree with me. Until very recently there was nobody local to me in my life where I could regularly have those kinds of discussions.

But the last part of this sentence I've quoted is very interesting to me. You say "demonstrate their theoretical knowledge" - but that's kind of the point, I'm not interested in putting on a demonstration - I have no horse in the matter, I don't feel I have anything to prove or not prove. I comment occasionally on certain charts, but often only those which jump out at me or I think I have some nugget or insight or point that somebody else hasn't already made, and only when I feel there's some real challenge or problem or difficulty in the person's life who is requesting help with their understanding of the chart.

With that in mind, mystery charts do not interest me whatsoever. I have nothing against them and I can see how they can be really fun for many people, and a great way to test theories or learn from others, but I just don't feel invested in it and I really don't mind if people think it's because I'm a crap astrologer with only untested technical information that practically useless or if it's because I don't want to be proven wrong - I can totally understand that kind of thinking. But ultimately I just don't personally get anything from them, and when I do it's often just to read what other people think and follow their logic and learn from it.

I don't feel as motivated to actually 'read' a mystery chart, perhaps because part of the astrology I do, in real life as it were, is very much a problem solving kind. Usually someone has a life crisis or some anxiety or some issue or problem, and with a combination of natal and horary I usually try to help the person get better context for the issues they face and confidence in their ability to handle those issues without feeling overwhelmed. Mystery charts are, for me, just kind of boring compared to that because they have no real goal to them for me except to pull out certain crises or repeated issues the person may face which may not at all be obvious to the outside world. Predicting their job or their injuries or whatever just isn't the kind of astrology I do normally so it feels alien to read them. But people will think what they want about that and that's ok.

If you like maybe I'll read some mystery chart and you'll see how unsuited my actual astrology (rather than my quest to better understand the history and theory) is to such kinds of charts which for me have no real goal/outcome.

When I used to comment on charts more it was often with some specific problem or challenge being faced that they needed perspective on. I am completely uninterested in proving anything about any form of astrology or making any claims or such and such a technique being better than some other one and sometimes I feel some of the posters who address mystery charts only do so to prove something about their astrology to some invisible person who they imagine will be impressed or is judging them. Also, often people just cheat on mystery charts, I am sure I could look at a mystery chart, reverse engineer the time and use google and wikipedia to find the person and then wow the forum with my spookily accurate predictions, but really that doesn't interest me either.

Quote:
isn't it fascinating? i find it fascinating..


I hope this makes sense now for why different people are motivated by different things. Astrology is not just for me a practical art, but also a stepping stone to all kinds of studies of ontology, history, mathematics and the so on and I engage differently to different parts depending on where I am.
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Michael Sternbach



Joined: 01 Mar 2014
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Posted: Thu Jun 07, 2018 11:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi James

I am not sure if you would include me with the theorists, as I have commented on charts presented on this forum (mystery and other) many times, but I feel inclined to reply to your interesting topic anyway, as this touches on questions I happened to be thinking about lately.

My way to Astrology was via my own chart and those of the clients I was dealing with as an alternative therapist at that time. So I was pursuing a very practical approach, and I remember my growing dissatisfaction not being able to find books that seemed directly applicable to my initial attempts at chart interpretation. However, once I had gotten a handle on chart reading, I wished to learn all I could about the underlying theory as well.

I actually introduced myself as an astrological researcher to some on this forum, and I think this still defines me best. I know that a few here won't agree, but astrology is a science to me as much as it is an art, and that kind of understanding is much in line with the view of the ancients, whose metaphysical world model was always astrological, in essence, as the great historian of Hermeticism Frances A. Yates emphasized.

This perspective lost popularity only with the demise of the Ptolemaic/Aristotelian/neo-Platonic model of the Universe as a consequence of the discoveries of the modern era.

Astrology nonetheless kept (or, at any rate, regained) its popularity due to its empirical aptness, but it had lost its theoretical foundations. Lacking it, it easily comes under attack by the contemporary reductionist and materialistic kind of scientists (not saying that ALL scientists are like that today, but it's still the general trend to be sure). There are ways to reconcile those different perspectives, and while this is indeed an area of special interest to me, this is not the place to go into it here.

To summarize, as much as I value the insights Astrology offers when used as a practically applied art, beyond that, it is also a superb system of metaphysics to me. In this regard, I think it's great that some people still show interest in its more abstract/theoretical side... Nobody needs to stick their head into the CERN in order to have an interest in quantum physics. Very Happy

I think mystery exercises can be a great way to practise for some, and I am sure I will join one again occasionally even if just for the fun of it (provided you keep them coming), but I just don't always feel like it everytime. Smile
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james_m



Joined: 05 Dec 2011
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Location: vancouver island

Posted: Fri Jun 08, 2018 6:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

paul and michael,

i am sorry if bringing this polarizing topic up offended anyone... maybe that was part of my rationale for posting it, but i wasn't looking to alienate anyone.. it was coming out of a place of curiousity as well..

obviously we can be both - theorists and practitioners.. i am and have been and i do comment on the theoretical threads too... i was more curious as to why some focus on one to the exclusion of the other...

paul - i agree with you about mystery charts and not wanting to comment... everything you say - i relate to... i do it anyway! but i appreciate how you might not want to bother and how you would prefer to help in a real situation..

michael - i think you and i are a lot alike, based on what you say... astrology is a type of metaphysics and i am into that and thinking of astrology that way... and i think it is an art and science too, although it is harder to define it as a science in the present world of today..

thanks for the feedback and sorry if i unintentionally ruffled some of the wrong feathers here... it is always the more sensitive ones that chime in, while others who are much more hard core with what they think they know - skip my bait, lol..
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Tanit3333



Joined: 12 Jul 2017
Posts: 354

Posted: Fri Jun 08, 2018 7:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Personally, I don't like to read random charts from non historical people. That is why the forum leaders and other longtime members who are astrologers typically post charts. Determining things like time of death when you have the date and time seems fine but otherwise I think it is better to stick with charts of historical people, even if they are not popular.

Also, it makes sense that astrologers will have areas of interest or are busy. Astrologically, some people are also more interested in theories than practice. I am not an astrologer and don't give readings for one primary reason - people rarely listen to me. Dheerpat is an example in another thread where I specifically told him something and he made no recollection of what I said. I feel like Cassandra most of the time, so practice is not worth the effort for me and I can understand lack of interest by others.
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Michael Sternbach



Joined: 01 Mar 2014
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Location: Switzerland

Posted: Fri Jun 08, 2018 8:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

james_m wrote:
paul and michael,

i am sorry if bringing this polarizing topic up offended anyone... maybe that was part of my rationale for posting it, but i wasn't looking to alienate anyone.. it was coming out of a place of curiousity as well..

obviously we can be both - theorists and practitioners.. i am and have been and i do comment on the theoretical threads too... i was more curious as to why some focus on one to the exclusion of the other...

paul - i agree with you about mystery charts and not wanting to comment... everything you say - i relate to... i do it anyway! but i appreciate how you might not want to bother and how you would prefer to help in a real situation..

michael - i think you and i are a lot alike, based on what you say... astrology is a type of metaphysics and i am into that and thinking of astrology that way... and i think it is an art and science too, although it is harder to define it as a science in the present world of today..

thanks for the feedback and sorry if i unintentionally ruffled some of the wrong feathers here... it is always the more sensitive ones that chime in, while others who are much more hard core with what they think they know - skip my bait, lol..


Well James, fortunately, I have learned to control all that fire in my chart over the years...



Laughing

But seriously, the reason I replied was because you have raised a topic I find both intriguing and important, so it's all good. As I already mentioned, I am of the opinion that Astrology today is lacking a coherent theoretical framework. And figuring out what such a framework could look like probably keeps me interested in Astrology more than anything else.

Not least because here lies the key, in my view, to a deeper understanding also of the other occult sciences (Magic, Alchemy, etc.). Astrology used to be called 'the queen of sciences', and all of Hermetism was employing her symbolism, much like contemporary natural sciences are using mathematics as their common language.

And I agree with you on the importance of keeping an open mind... Smile
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Ruud66



Joined: 05 Apr 2009
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Location: Amsterdam, Netherlands

Posted: Sat Jun 09, 2018 10:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

james_m,

As one of the people who exclusively posts in theoretical and technical discussions, I feel addressed by your post aswell.
I have a somewhat similar history as Paul, as I used to post more chart interpretation and counseling material on astro.com.
And I'm very happy that here on skyscript I found a group of people that is very knowledgeable and professional, also with the more techical stuff.

I don't feel too comfortable offering interpretations, because I think other people are better at that than I am. I have a full-time job that takes up much of my time and energy and I don't dream of becoming a professional astrologer, because that doesn't go well with my personal skill set.
So I haven't done charts for people too often and I'm not well practiced in the art, so to speak.

Like Michael, I feel very poignantly that there is a lack of theoretical foundation in astrology. And then I'm not looking so much at the ancient arts, such as alchemy and magic and the old esoteric knowledge, but I follow much more the contemporary spiritual renaissance and the newest developments in science.
So the whole art of reading and chart interpretation has taken more of a back seat for me, lately.

On a more general note: it is my experience that many astrologers, including professional astrologers of international fame, shy away, or refuse to discuss, thorny technical issues, because that is the field that they feel insecure about.
I would say: very understandable and for each their own, but I do think there is a lack of dialogue or cross fertilisation of ideas.
Therefore, I see it as my task or goal to present my technical research in a way that practising astrologers can relate to. And that is turning out to be a hell of a job!
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Paul
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Joined: 23 Nov 2009
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Posted: Sat Jun 09, 2018 1:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

james_m wrote:
paul and michael,

i am sorry if bringing this polarizing topic up offended anyone... maybe that was part of my rationale for posting it, but i wasn't looking to alienate anyone.. it was coming out of a place of curiousity as well..


That's okay, personally I'm not offended. I answered because, regardless of how it was put or the intent, you raise a point that's very interesting and worthy of discussion and which ignited in me a question that I felt I wanted to articulate for myself, even if I never posted it.

It's good to have these kinds of discussions.

One other thing I've been thinking about since you posted this is that when you read a person's chart, there's an argument that really you're putting your efforts into helping one person solve an immediate problem. But something about the technical discussions makes me feel like we may be able to help a variety of people with a variety of issues - it's a bit like the "give a man a fish and he'll eat for the day; teach him to fish and he'll never starve" kind of analogy.
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astrojin



Joined: 15 Nov 2005
Posts: 463

Posted: Sat Jun 09, 2018 1:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hello James,

Long time no write! ha ha,

Well, interesting question yes...

Theory vs. Practice. As the cliche goes: "Theoretically speaking, there is no difference between theory and practice but in practice there is!"

If you were to ask me.. I think I should say that I am more of a theorist than a practitioner. I started delving into this dark arts when I was in the 20s then became a seriously self studied astrologer in 1994 but I did not see clients until years later...I guess it's because of my academic background that I must understand the art "completely" before even starting to look into charts.. only to realize later that most of my correct readings were a mixture of both art and science! In addition, I taught astrology to a number of students here in my country and you really need to master the theory when you're a teacher...

It is certainly interesting that I started as a theorist, then a theorist and a practitioner (in fact, hired by a business man to be his personal astrologer - a job I was in for three years plus) and now no more as I have decided not to do or teach astrology any more for personal reasons (and this is why you don't see me much on the forum).

I am not unfamiliar with mystery charts because when I was hired as the personal astrologer, my ex-boss would give me birth time, date & place of people that I don't know about and expected to tell him about their lives... not a job to be envied by anyone! Sometimes you get it right and sometimes totally off, maybe because I am not good enough, or the details of the birth info are incorrect, or astrology simply does not work!...and yes, there are "Considerations before Judgment" for natal charts just like a horary chart!

Having said these, I feel the right theory is necessary for getting the right reading but it is not sufficient. A wrong theory will never give you the right outcomes or consistently gives you the right outcomes. However, the correct outcomes depend not only on the right theory. This is why I feel it is wrong to look into our correct (or wrong) reading and then make conclusions on the validity of the theory that give the right (or wrong) results. I remember that a client came to me and when I looked at his chart, I didn't think that the chart looks "like him" and suggested to him that he was probably born earlier (as that would give an ascendant that corresponds to his mannerism). It was confirmed when I told him that if the time he gave was correct then, he would not have married and if he were born earlier, then he is already in second marriage (which he confirmed). Then, I was more at ease on doing predictions for him after making the correct retrodictions.

When doing a chart blindly (exactly what I did when I was a personal astrologer), you have ONLY your theories that you developed from learning and your own experience but they are theories nonetheless and you are devoid from the opportunities to confirm your readings from making retrodictions prior to making predictions with confidence...

Anyways, I bid all the success to all here and may the truth finds us and may we recognize it when it comes knocking on our doors!
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Michael Sternbach



Joined: 01 Mar 2014
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Posted: Sat Jun 09, 2018 5:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ruud66 wrote:

Ruud66 wrote:
james_m,

As one of the people who exclusively posts in theoretical and technical discussions, I feel addressed by your post aswell.
I have a somewhat similar history as Paul, as I used to post more chart interpretation and counseling material on astro.com.
And I'm very happy that here on skyscript I found a group of people that is very knowledgeable and professional, also with the more techical stuff.

I don't feel too comfortable offering interpretations, because I think other people are better at that than I am. I have a full-time job that takes up much of my time and energy and I don't dream of becoming a professional astrologer, because that doesn't go well with my personal skill set.
So I haven't done charts for people too often and I'm not well practiced in the art, so to speak.

Like Michael, I feel very poignantly that there is a lack of theoretical foundation in astrology. And then I'm not looking so much at the ancient arts, such as alchemy and magic and the old esoteric knowledge, but I follow much more the contemporary spiritual renaissance and the newest developments in science.


Here's the issue: How do we create a theoretical model for Astrology in the context of modern science? This was not much of a problem within the framework of the ancient Platonic/Aristotelian cosmology, but it is today.

When the pioneers of the scientific revolution toppled the ancient world view (which, notwithstanding its limitations, was of admirable internal consistence and coherence), Astrology (along with all other occult sciences, as I explained) lost the theoretical foundations in natural philosophy that it firmly stood on previously. That's why it generally seems so inacceptable to scientifically trained people today.

But that "fall from grace" happened in days long past, and we can't go back in time (well, some try their best to ignore the scientific the scientific insights of the last 400 years or so - I feel sorry for them). No, we need to look ahead and plunge right into the new and newest scientific knowledge in many areas in order to reestablish rational foundations for what we know to be true based just on our intuition and experience. And we will do so eventually on a higher winding of the spiral of humanity's intellectual and spiritual evolution. Transcendental psychology, neuro-biology, quantum physics, vibrational medicine, Hermetism, Astrology - all that and more will fall into place eventually.

So I believe we are on the same page, Ruud66, essentially.

Quote:
So the whole art of reading and chart interpretation has taken more of a back seat for me, lately.

On a more general note: it is my experience that many astrologers, including professional astrologers of international fame, shy away, or refuse to discuss, thorny technical issues, because that is the field that they feel insecure about.


Very interesting observation! I too have witnessed Astrologers of renown being at a loss or, even worse, talking hogwash when it came to questions of a technical or scientific nature.

Quote:
I would say: very understandable and for each their own, but I do think there is a lack of dialogue or cross fertilisation of ideas.
Therefore, I see it as my task or goal to present my technical research in a way that practising astrologers can relate to. And that is turning out to be a hell of a job!


Fair enough. Actually, in many fields, it is more often the brooding thinker than the busy craftsman who comes up with new ideas and concepts.
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waybread



Joined: 05 Mar 2009
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Posted: Sat Jun 09, 2018 7:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi James,

I can attest that Paul is an excellent chart reader, from back in the day when he belonged to two other astrology forums. I'd be surprised if he didn't get a lot of PMs back then asking for personal readings. We have also had some horrible arguments in the past, one about the ethics of death prediction and another about high-latitude horoscopes (no doubt others less memorable.) Paul couldn't have been more generous with his time and knowledge when I PMed him with questions when I decided to learn horary astrology. We haven't communicated for a while, but last I recall, there were no hard feelings mutually.

So I would view teaching as another modality, in addition to research/theory and chart-reading.

Ruud and I have also had some debates about his work on high-latitude charts, but I really respect his research. I couldn't do it. I don't have the math skills.

My situation suggests that people cannot be easily typecast as this-or-that. I have a lot of interest in the history of ancient astrology, but not in chart-reading as a Hellenistic astrologer. I do read a lot of charts for people on two other forums, though, as a more classically-minded modern astrologer.

I can think of another astrologer I really admire who occasionally posts here (Ed Falis) who loves and understands the mathematics of astrology. I haven't seen him read horoscopes for the "read my chart" crowd, but he nailed the 2016 US presidential election using primary directions.

Therese Hamilton just mentioned on another thread that sometimes academics handle debates less emotionally than non-academics. We're used to having to critique others' ideas and to defend our own.

I studied astrology as a "closet" astrologer for about 17 years until I found out about astrology forums. I cannot recommend hands-on chart reading too highly, for people who best learn by doing. But all contributions, if valid, are valid.

Different strokes for different folks.

I really dislike mystery chart guessing games.

So often a chart describes how a person goes about his/her life, vs. their profession or reason for celebrity status. I've looked up charts by profession (dancers, French painters, military generals, boxers, &c) on the Astro-DataBank, and mostly their charts are "all over the map." Statistically, horoscope signatures for given professions or traits are unreliable. It's easy to pick a birth date off an anonymous chart; and then if it's a celebrity, to look them up.

Mystery solved.
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petosiris



Joined: 08 Oct 2017
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Posted: Sat Jun 09, 2018 7:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
So often a chart describes how a person goes about his/her life, vs. their profession or reason for celebrity status. I've looked up charts by profession (dancers, French painters, military generals, boxers, &c) on the Astro-DataBank, and mostly their charts are "all over the map." Statistically, horoscope signatures for given professions or traits are unreliable. It's easy to pick a birth date off an anonymous chart; and then if it's a celebrity, to look them up.

Mystery solved.


Are you saying that astrology is incapable of finding professions or traits?
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Tanit3333



Joined: 12 Jul 2017
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Posted: Sat Jun 09, 2018 8:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am not really a natal chart reader but I agree that charts can be unreliable about predicting certain areas of life. Some charts are more clear than others, not unlike an individual. Some people have clear, one-pointed direction while others are all over the place. Considering careers - how many people do we all know that have had many careers, sometimes in unrelated fields? It would be hard to uncode that information. You might be able to say that they changed careers a lot, but would you be able to say in which fields?

I find horary much more clear but even horary charts asked by certain people are very wishy-washy and difficult to decipher, like a tarot reading that is just not giving you an answer. Such is the nature of divination.

I also agree that Paul is extremely skilled and generous with his time. Not only does he know natal charts and horary, but also tarot and palm reading. I have known him for about a decade and I rarely meet others as skilled and kind as him.
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waybread



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Posted: Sun Jun 10, 2018 3:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

petosiris wrote:
Quote:
So often a chart describes how a person goes about his/her life, vs. their profession or reason for celebrity status. I've looked up charts by profession (dancers, French painters, military generals, boxers, &c) on the Astro-DataBank, and mostly their charts are "all over the map." Statistically, horoscope signatures for given professions or traits are unreliable. It's easy to pick a birth date off an anonymous chart; and then if it's a celebrity, to look them up.

Mystery solved.


Are you saying that astrology is incapable of finding professions or traits?


If you find an astrological signature that works 100% of the time in a big sample of horoscopes, I salute you.

I don't know how you mean your question, Petosiris. Do you advise people on career choices? Here's my perspective, which may not be what you intended.

I've read a fair number of charts on astrology forums for people requesting career guidance, or counselling on what would be a good fit as a university major. Or sometimes they have a particular career in mind, but wonder if they'd be any good at it.

So sure. We're entirely capable of advising horoscope natives, based on what we discern in the chart, notably in a cookbook kind of way. But how good the astrologer's knowledge is of the range of professions out there and what skills the various professions require, probably varies widely.

There is often a kind of feedback from the chart natives, on the level of, "No, I don't like this," or "Hey, thanks. I'll pursue this option."

Sometimes I've tried to explain to the negative respondents that they misunderstood what a given career entails. No doubt sometimes I've totally misread the chart. Sometimes the positive respondent might be merely being polite. Sometimes we never get a response back on that thread. In any event, we seldom hear back, several years later, on where they're at career wise.

Sometimes people's career search problem is a chronic inability to focus, or a big lack of self-confidence. Sometimes they're substance abusers.

I could go on in this fashion..... so I dunno, Petosiris. How do you fare in astrological career advising?
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