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The purpose of astrology?
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Frank



Joined: 26 Feb 2006
Posts: 52
Location: Philadelphia, PA, USA

Posted: Sat Jun 13, 2009 12:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think there are different perspectives here, because at least two different basic questions are being answered by different people when the the purpose of astrology is discussed:

- What is astrology for?

- Why does astrology exist?

There is real difference here. Since I'm not a philosoper, but a working astrologer, I choose to stick to "what" rather than "why" - other opinions may differ.
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Cornelia



Joined: 18 May 2009
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Posted: Sat Jun 13, 2009 1:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have no idea why Astrology works. I have an engineering background and logically, it doesn't seem like it ought to. Except that it has proven itself to me over and over again over the last four decades to the point where I have given up worrying about the "why"s.

Astrology has given me the key to unlock important buried family secrets for myself and others, all validated later by confrontation with people involved who had been keeping those secrets.

It has given me very helpful medical advice in a situation where doctors were trying to push me into surgery, thanks to the readings of a brilliant Australian-trained Cosmobiologist whose prediction accuracy is the best of any astrologer I have ever known, and I have known quite a few.

It has helped me negotiate the early stages of an important relationship that would have failed completely had I not had a chart in front of me that explained what was going on. That allowed me to speak to the heart of my soon-to-be partner's fears and connect with what was hidden inside his heart, not what was on the surface.

Horary has come through for me--I encountered a very well known practitioner online many years ago and his reading on an important career question, complete with timing stretching over a few years, was 100% accurate.

I even asked a well known astrologer who does elections to tell me when to set out on a long journey in a fraught situation, just to see if that would work, and though the trip was unpleasant (in exactly the way the astrologer said it would be), it could have been a lot worse, and indeed it was for my companion who did not time her departure and spent 24 hours in an airport on her way home.

So I no more feel like debating or defending astrology's worth than I do debating the existence of gravity--which I don't understand any better.

Personally, I mostly use astrology to understand the character and motivations of people I have to interact with, to understand the nature of the energy surrounding a time period and hence get a better feeling for what kinds of actions and activities are likely to be most effective.

When something important is at stake, I pay a professional to read for me. I know my hopes and wishes can blind me to reality if I read for myself, though reading for myself is very helpful in understanding other people's personalities and motivations.

It's been my fate this lifetime to encounter quite a few extremely talented astrologers so I have learned that a truly gifted astrologer can do extremely accurate prediction. But by now I am old enough to wish NOT to know of some of what lies ahead. Especially since prediction does not, in many cases, give any tools to avert what is coming.
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Ficina
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Posted: Sat Jun 13, 2009 2:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

To answer the original question, I would say the purpose of astrology is to provide us with insights and/or answers. Obviously this can't be done without the agency of an astrologer, so the effectiveness (or not) of astrology is dependent on the skill of the astrologer.

Bringing it down to a personal level (as others have already done) for me astrology is for predicting the outcomes of sporting events, especially football since this is my particular interest nowadays.

As to how or why astrology works, does this really matter? As long as it appears to work most of the time, that's good enough for me Cool
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Olivia



Joined: 15 Oct 2008
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Posted: Sat Jun 13, 2009 6:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Same for me, Ficina, but I don't have religious law I need to adhere to prohibiting the use of astrology if it's not a science. And the original poster does. That can make it rather hugely important - at least if you like practising astrology.

All I can go back to is that Islam certainly considered (and most outside the noisy radical fringe) still do consider astrology a science and an important one or astrology texts wouldn't have been amongst the first they translated when they were saving as much of Greek science as possible.

Judaism doesn't consider astrology objectionable except some modern factions have come out to say it's superstitious and not to indulge in it, but that's opinion, it holds no more weight than my opinion, and certainly doesn't refute the use of astrology or the interpretation of the bible astrologically. We'd have to knock out at least a third of our literature to do that, and nobody's willing to press it that far - interestingly, or tellingly as the case may be.

Christianity, being so focussed on free will, has a different view of the matter. As does existentialism, weirdly enough, since both posit free will as an underlying essential.

But Christians used astrology for centuries without being banned for heretics, so it may be safe to assume that not all Christianity sees astrology as A Bad Thing. At one time, at least, the Orthodox were among the most lenient on this issue. How they are now, I don't know.
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Olivia



Joined: 15 Oct 2008
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Posted: Sat Jun 13, 2009 8:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Papretis wrote:

Indeed. Astrology itself tells us that it’s religion, not science. Science belongs to the opposite house, the 3rd, where the Moon (=body, mundane things, past --> studying the past --> observing what has happened --> science) has its joy. The Sun has its joy in the 9th house, the house of God, where people study what will be, what is the will of God.


If you need to martial history on this:

Per Gadbury, astrology is ruled by Mercury in 9, not by 9 exclusively.

Per Al Biruni, Gadbury, Lilly, Ptolemy, and Ramsay, astrolgers are ruled by Mercury. Lilly and Ptolemy sometimes give astrologers to Virgo, and Lilly sometimes gives them to Gemini.

All of the classical rulerships that I can track down, in other words, give astrologers to Mercury or a Mercury ruled sign, whilst clerics fall under Jupiter.
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###



Joined: 08 Jul 2004
Posts: 1381

Posted: Sat Jun 13, 2009 9:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, Mercury is the planetary significator for astrology. Here's a little more concerning the 9th house:

Paulus Alexandrinus (trans. Greenbaum): “The ninth from the Horoskopos signifies the reckoning of gods, dreams, and living abroad; it pertains to astronomy [the astronomy/astrology connection is well-known]. . .”
“When the Sun has dealings with the star Hermes there, they bring about diviners and dream-interpreters, astrologers, and those who make omens from birds, and absolutely those who participate in mysteries.”

Al Biruni (trans R. Ramesey Wright), Table 461, “Special Indications of the Houses Peculiar to Nativities” (I'll list only the pertinent significations): religion, piety, fate, attainment of knowledge from the stars and divination, interpretation of dreams and visions.

More recently – Deborah Houlding assigns astrology to the 9th in her book The Houses (p. 82): “Where we reach out into the unknown in search of widening our knowledge and understanding. Dreams, visions, inspired thoughts, divination, astrology, mysticism, philosophy, beliefs; the desire to unite with something greater than oneself.”

(Deb, I'm sorry for dragging you out and propping you up in my shop window, but it was just too good to leave unmentioned.)


But we've been looking specifically for 'astrology'. Once upon a time the old guys would have understood astrology to be included in any mention of philosophy.
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Olivia



Joined: 15 Oct 2008
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Posted: Sat Jun 13, 2009 9:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Still, clergy goes to 9, Jupiter, and once in a while Sag by most reckonings, and astrologers go to Mercury or a sign related to Mercury.

Astrologers do not equal priests in this scheme, so if the canonical objection is that they do, well, there's no changing canon law, but astrologers have not historically classified themselves as such. Which may or may not help - just pointing it out in case it does.
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Posted: Sat Jun 13, 2009 10:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The quote from Deb in my previous post states well the impression I've received from looking through various sources concerning the 9th house and astrology. It seems pretty well established that astrology is located in the 9th house, and I now have an even stronger feel for the rising and lifting movement from the ASC to the 9th house. The movement from the ASC is past and away from the 10th house struggles of actions and worldly achievements – with its square aspect to the ASC ('imperfect enmity') – and on to the 9th house trine ('perfect friendship') with its deity, religion and philosophy. I do think there is important symbolism in the 'crossover', moving beyond the Midheaven into another quadrant.

It looks like the ancient creators of astrology knew exactly what they were doing when they placed it in the house variously called Theos, Deus, God, Pietas, and Religion [Or did it already exist in the Universal Mind?]. This is why talk of astrology as simply a tool made by and for humans and referring to oneself as only a working astrologer rather than a philosopher gives me cold shivers. I truly do think that such a widespread and common belief regarding astrology is at the heart of many problems concerning the understanding, practice and development of astrology today. And before the traditional names of the 9th house I listed above provoke accusations of religious coercion let's keep in mind the close connection of religion and philosophy. But, truth be told, these days we are supposed to be strictly secular in an environment or gathering that isn't specifically of a stated religious nature. Right there is a huge difference between our times and the earlier eras of astrology that we so eagerly consult for help in our studies.
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Olivia



Joined: 15 Oct 2008
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Posted: Sun Jun 14, 2009 1:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm neither western nor Christian, Kirk, and the point is that Papretis' practise of astrology is being impeded by church law, and if I followed his post correctly, he does not wish to leave the church or to be put under a ban of excommunication. My personal interest in this is that I dislike religious law telling people that they cannot pursue enquiries into areas of philosophies or sciences on pain of persecution or discrimination.

One of those points of church law is that astrologers see themselves as priests of God. I don't pretend to know the whole of it because I'm far from expert in canon law, but it may be a point for consideration that ASTROLOGERS do not classify themselves as priests, or at least historically have not done so. Astrology - 9. Astrologers - MERCURY. Important difference.

Which is, perhaps, of some help. Or perhaps not. Again, Christian law is not my strong field.

But Kirk, if you insist that astrologers and astrology are one in the same thing - I think you're reverting to the tool analogy that you were opposing a few posts back.
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###



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Posted: Sun Jun 14, 2009 2:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Olivia,

When I make a connection between astrology and religion I see absolutely no reason to claim that there always is or must be a connection with religious organizations. Religion is not synonymous with religious organizations.

Quote:
My personal interest in this is that I dislike religious law telling people that they cannot pursue enquiries into areas of philosophies or sciences on pain of persecution or discrimination.


That's the sort of reply I had in mind after having made the connection with religion. We rightly protest against such doings, but these days we have an automatic negative reaction to 'Religion' and too easily summon up all sorts of threatening visions!

Quote:
But Kirk, if you insist that astrologers and astrology are one in the same thing - I think you're reverting to the tool analogy that you were opposing a few posts back.


But I'm not saying they are the same thing! Shocked I think you're somewhat mistaken about “Astrology - 9. Astrologers – MERCURY”. Mercury serves as the universal planetary significator for astrology, and therefore could also be used to signify an astrologer. However, astrology is located in the 9th house when it comes to placing the areas of human life in a chart. Similarly, Venus is the universal significator of marriage and the 7th house is the house of marriage.
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Olivia



Joined: 15 Oct 2008
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Posted: Sun Jun 14, 2009 3:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I can see astrologers as Mercury quite easily actually - we have to learn all kinds of things, and mess around with maths or computers or both to do calculations - all of which is Mercurial. It's not like we understand astrology of a piece, we don't (despite your dislike for 'trying out new techniques' instead of more reflection).

But my point is fairly simple: If you want to approach astrology as a science, there's no reason I can think of not to. If you want to approach it as a philosophy, I can think of no reason not to.

In either case, the study of astrology should not lead to kareit . I'm not sure of the English equivalent - cutting off, banishment, rather like excommunication or moreso, if you wish to be a member of an organised religion.

Nobody's forcing you to take up organised religion, but it is a personal decision, and many people find it meaningful, often central, to their lives. There's no reason you ought to have to give it up on account of finding meaning of some sort in the stars.

The meaning in the stars - that's astrology under Jupiter, or in 9, perhaps. But most of us are - Mercury. How studying those meanings could be considered not to be in service of the divine utterly perplexes me, whether one does it from a philosophical or a scientific point of view, or like many of us - a bit of both.
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Deb
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Posted: Sun Jun 14, 2009 5:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Maybe we get entangled over the notion of astrology as a spiritual, divinatory, and therefore religious subject. I don’t feel that astrology is religious. Certain aspects of it require trust and suspension of critical reasoning, but then so does the appreciation of symbolism in art and history. It’s a very complex subject. I have a faith in astrology being able to guide people, which I relate to the idea that everything is united, but I don’t stop to question whether the idea of being guided comes from within or from without. And how do we draw the line that makes the distinction between philosophy and religion? Difficult.

I do think that elements of science remain embedded in astrology, and always have done/will do. I know I have made this point before but I think we have to remember that, historically, there has always been a distinction drawn between ‘natural astrology’ and ‘judicial astrology’. Historically Christianity only seems to have a real problem with judicial astrology and has been happy enough with natural astrology. That’s why William Ramesey, a staunch Catholic, felt fine about filling his 17th century ‘Astrology Restored’ with details of electional astrology, but abhorred the idea of horary astrology and rages against the practitioners of that.

To best define what astrology is, I just stick to the traditional notion of astrology being ‘both a science and an art’. What’s ‘an art?’ I just looked the word up on dictionary.com and got:
    “the quality, production, expression, or realm, according to aesthetic principles, of what is beautiful, appealing, or of more than ordinary significance.”

That’ll do for me. Astrology is one of the very few places where the mind allows rational knowledge and subjective understanding to come together to create something indefinable by normal standards. If we try to rationalise that, then we’ve already destroyed the thing we are trying to define.

Anyway, Papretis, I hope you can resolve your dilemma because I will certainly miss you if you feel you have to let astrology go for the sake of balance in your life. Even without the religious dilemma, we sometimes have to put this subject aside; and if the motivation wanes, it is not possible to try to manufacture the interest. If you have to try to find a reason to continue your study, then there is no reason, because the beautiful, appealing aspect of it must have stopped seeming beautiful and appealing, and for some reason, there is a need to withdraw and make a change.

(If it were possible to manufacture the interest, I’d advise you to be like Ramesey, purging yourself every now and again with a rant on this site against the trashy horary astrologers like me Smile )

Deb
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Eddy



Joined: 04 Feb 2009
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Posted: Sun Jun 14, 2009 8:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yesterday I had a look in the Tetrabiblos to see what Ptolemy had in mind. In I.1 and I.2 and especially I.3 he tells what astrology is about.

Tetrabiblos wrote:
The remaining part of our project would be to inquire briefly as to its usefulness, first distinguishing how and with what end in view we shall take the meaning of the word usefulness. For if we look to the goods of the soul, what could be more conducive to well-being, pleasure, and in general satisfaction than this kind of forecast, by which we gain full view of things human and divine? And if we look to bodily goods, such knowledge, better than anything else, would perceive what is fitting and expedient for the capabilities of each temperament.


Tetrabiblos wrote:
To a general examination it would appear that those who find fault with the uselessness of prognostication have no regard for the most important matters, but only for this-that foreknowledge of events that will happen in any case is superfluous; this, too, quite unreservedly and without due discrimination. For, in the first place. we should consider that even with events that will necessarily take place their unexpectedness is very apt to cause excessive panic and delirious joy. while foreknowledge accustoms and calms the soul by experience of distant events as though they were present, and prepares it to greet with calms and steadiness whatever comes. A second reason is that we should not believe that separate events attend mankind as the result of the heavenly cause as if they had been originally ordained for each person by some irrevocable divine command and destined - to take place by necessity without the possibility of any other cause whatever interfering.


It is easy to look down upon astrology used for prediction, but one has to keep in mind that in Ptolemy's days almost everything about a global future was unknown whilst now we have some certainty about our future through the welfare state and health care, an issue unknown in those days.
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mattG



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Posted: Sun Jun 14, 2009 9:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

To go back to the houses for a moment Abu Ali Al Khayyat says that for law and religion one should look at the third and ninth houses.You can check the passage and the footnote yourselves (chap 29) but he seems to be distinguishing obeying the commandments of your religion(3rd) from the more mystic (9th)

I was taught that there are various ways of looking at the world. There was religious thinking,scientific thinking and magical thinking. Can't remember the fourth. It may not be some great truth but at least you can choose which one you want and realise that others have made that choice too.
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Posted: Sun Jun 14, 2009 10:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

From Olivia:

Quote:
But my point is fairly simple: If you want to approach astrology as a science, there's no reason I can think of not to. If you want to approach it as a philosophy, I can think of no reason not to.


And there is the choice – the choice now forced upon us – that earlier astrologers didn't have to make: Science (as we now know it) or philosophy (and let's include religion with that). Some folks came along in the late 17th and 18th centuries and rewrote it all for us. They created severe distinctions where there were none before. And we now dutifully follow along: Choice A or choice B.


And from Deb:

Quote:
I don’t feel that astrology is religious. Certain aspects of it require trust and suspension of critical reasoning, but then so does the appreciation of symbolism in art and history.


It may not be specifically religious, but we should still explore the common ground between astrology and religion, seeing that they are both astrologically located in the 9th house. Our subject gave us the connection. It's up to us to discern what it's telling us.

You use the word 'trust', but isn't 'faith' also a very close fit? 'Faith' has powerful entrenched religious connotations and many of us avoid using it. It makes us uneasy and we take the long way around in order to avoid it. 'Trust' is an easier substitute. Most of us who study astrology now, especially traditional astrology, have a fair amount of education, and talk of faith really doesn't go over well with the university crowd.


Quote:
To best define what astrology is, I just stick to the traditional notion of astrology being ‘both a science and an art’. What’s ‘an art?’ I just looked the word up on dictionary.com and got:
“the quality, production, expression, or realm, according to aesthetic principles, of what is beautiful, appealing, or of more than ordinary significance.”


You've left the uncomfortable terrain of religion and taken us to aesthetics, a branch of philosophy – so we're back to the 9th house and the philosophy/religion/astrology connection.
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