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relativity of astrology, or belief systems and astrology
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james_m



Joined: 05 Dec 2011
Posts: 1782
Location: vancouver island

Posted: Wed May 23, 2012 8:49 pm    Post subject: relativity of astrology, or belief systems and astrology Reply with quote

i wrote a note to a friend who is into astrology and thought i would share some of the content here as it sums up some of my thinking on the nature of astrology. any feedback is most welcome.

what i have found being involved in astrology for a long time is that astrology tends to reinforce one's belief system in some sort of self confirming way whereby a person thinks they know the 'why' behind experience. saturn (as an example) did or didn't correspond to a time or event and thus saturn is given a role to play in strengthening one's belief system around 'why' something did or didn't happen.

the more i know of astrology the more i am capable of giving the 'why' to any number of other factors in a persons chart, much to the chagrin of fellow astrologers who are determined to 'believe' it is coming from the area they 'believe' it is coming from. and, this gives me an opportunity to examine my own 'beliefs' aggressively in a continually questioning manner, to the point where i can't be convinced i know the source of the 'why' astrologically.

as an example - was the time around your saturn return to do with the saturn return, or was it to do with directing your earth grand trine into the early part of the air signs where it would line up favourably to all your air planets? these are the kinds of questions i continually ask. therefore i find myself always going back to what a person believes they see as acting like a protective wall preventing them from actually seeing more clearly what they are experiencing. how much of it is saturn, and how much of it is accumulated baggage of beliefs we've accepted on the nature of saturn? this is just one example.

the more time you spend in astrology, you can note this taking place constantly. someone wants to conclude they know how to see sexual orientation - homosexuality in a chart - while someone else may or may not find an alternative way of thinking they see it.

i am presently reading a book someone spoke highly of, tha dave at astroamerica.com books refers to as a great book - "the house connection".. i can't tell you how whacked out this book is, as you would have to read it for yourself to get an idea.. why i mention it is that it forces me to go thru a thought exercise to try to get inside a particular belief system that karen hamaker-zondag holds on astrology.. she is one of astrology's shining lights and obviously a lot of folks like her work. i will say this. she opens her book immediately discussing morin only to do what he said not to do!! for morin moving away from the immediate house ruler, to the ruler of the house where the ruler was located was referred to as further refracting the light and not a good idea as you can only do that so much before the light has been refracted too much. this is in part of what this book covers.. another interesting or annoying feature is the use of placidus houses without so much as a peep to discuss the conflicts of using different house systems if you are going to rely so heavily on rulership.. i suppose that would be a real inconvenience to go into that so at page 78 into this book she hasn't bothered to yet..maybe she won't for the whole book! placidus houses are the only way to go, dontcha know? lol..

so, i find myself constantly being challenged by others belief systems around astrology which mostly seem to be so that i can be very clear on why i would hold to a particular belief different from others.

i suppose in our search for the 'why' using astrology, we have to be careful we don't impose our perspective on what is before us and instead are able to see what is before us. i find this difficult to do given the many options astrology has for explaining why something is the way it is..
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Atlantean



Joined: 14 Aug 2009
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Posted: Thu May 24, 2012 6:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hello james_m

Interesting...

Would you care to elaborate slightly about HOW she is saying to apply the ruler of the house that the initial house ruler is in?

In other words, she is taking a routing through the horoscope, I am just curious as to how she sees that ruler (of the house the original house ruler is in) qualifying the issues of the original house under question.

In forensic astrology, by looking at the ruler of the marker for a person, the motive is often discovered.

Re: Name astrologers making sweeping statements

Someone's (supposed) expertise doesn't preclude them from making incorrect statements. Stephen Forrest is a great astrologer (in ways) and yet in one of his books he basically states [I am paraphrasing] that Primary Directions are an antiquated system that doesn't really work well. Nothing could be further from the truth.

As to the original thrust of your post, belief systems in astrology, I can only say that (imo) there is at least as much fiction in this area as fact. Important to remember is that every single astrologer on Earth can believe something is true and it doesn't one whit affect what is actually True.

Someone (normally quite competent) once offered me their guess as to my prenatal Epoch date/time. The only problem was, the astrological performance (relevant aspects to events) was dismal. That seemed an important consideration. ie. that the astrology actually worked!

James
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james_m



Joined: 05 Dec 2011
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Posted: Fri May 25, 2012 5:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

hi james,

thanks for asking and sorry for the delay in responding.. i have had a busy time and today is full of stuff for me to do. i am not going to be able to do your question justice and while i try to paint a pic of what i get from the book, i am probably doing karen an injustice putting it in my own words. let me tell you this - for me, and this is in the philosophical category for a reason - for me i see the relativity in so much of astrology. i see certain approaches where something is weighed more heavily then something else and i ask myself the question - why? if i thought that astrology was able to answer everything definitively then i think i would be fooling myself and i am not going to do that.. however, i do see some folks that think exactly this way and i mean no disrespect to them, but my view on life is much too wide for me to be able to box it in, no matter that others tell me that i can..

give me a week to get back to you with a more direct manner.. i have a lot of gigs coming up this week starting tomorrow and i am truly sidetracked as a result. i am still plowing thru this book and would like to try to answer your question more directly.. i found a few minutes earlier today re-reading the front section but realized i wasn't going to be able to do it justice..

regards,
james
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Atlantean



Joined: 14 Aug 2009
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Posted: Fri May 25, 2012 6:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hello james_m

No problem... when you have time and have further "absorbed" the information, post away. Wink

James
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james_m



Joined: 05 Dec 2011
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Posted: Thu May 31, 2012 4:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

hi james and everyone else interested in my initial comments.

james, i am not going to be able to summarize her approach and after pondering it for some time realize that is not really what i want to focus on either.. i was using a picture she was painting to look at it from a philosophical point of view and question much of the basis for the many popular techniques that proliferate in astrology at present. that is part of what i want to talk about. the other part might come out over the course of time thru the involvement of others.

how can so many different approaches be all equally valid? i don't think they can. however i find attitudes like 'my way is the right way' and 'all those other ways are the wrong way' - offensive..

going back to my title for this thread - the relativity of astrology/belief systems in astrology. i think astrology is a lot like religion - different adherents to different schools of thought. one could say all paths in religion lead to god, and in astrology all paths lead to an ability to intuit the future - events on both an inner and outer level for a person.. the only reason a person doesn't see this is 1) they have taken the wrong path, 2) they are practicing without a full understanding, 3) they are using techniques - you name it - outer planets, asteroids, fixed stars - take yer pick) which will never give them what they are looking for...
or- the reason a person is able to intuit the future - events on both an inner and outer level for a person in astrology is 1) they have found the secret recipe to success 2) the proper house system, 3) the planets, asteroids, lots, -you name it - that give the recipe for success 4) they are very good at fooling themselves into thinking they know.

i tend to believe number 2 for the former and number 4 for the later.. i suppose this exposes a cynical attitude on my part.

i was talking about what has to happen for astrology to move forward on another astrologers site. i will quote myself here for the sake of further conversation on this if anyone wants to discuss this more. i think my comments are relevant to this thread so i am including these comments from earlier today which are a part of an ongoing conversation to which i apologize for not sharing the full content, which actually is very little.

astrology moving forward

perhaps i have shared my frustration without having an idea of how to move forward.. i feel it has much to do with the society we live in at present and while i know that i need to do all i can to move it forward - write a book perhaps - i also feel like i am living in the dark ages where the value in astrology is being ignored by the mainstream based on prearranged prejudices they've unconsciously adopted/accepted without question.. it would be like living in a time when slavery was just the way it was and some folks just accepted it as the way it was.. how long does it take to move to the next place where astrology is seen for the great value it could offer society and the world at large?

and yes, instead we witness the trivializing of it all, or the passing obsessions of such things as venus occultations and mercury retrogrades and the like.. everyone has to stumble thru their own darkness while getting a firm grounding in astrology and this is a natural part of it i suppose. there is much good work on astrology and i could cherish this, while the sun sign columns continue to work on another level to keep those who don't really wish to go any further with it - amused.. mind you, this is the same area where those hostile to astrology love to focus on - and for obvious reasons - it is a great place to laugh astrology off as a joke.. 12 people in the universe never made sense anyway, and while astrology never said this - these columns do tend to bring it down to that.

whether astrology is a beautiful coincidence, or something more then that - we need to find a way to verify or throw out the many methods that are being used at present.. their is a proliferation of techniques and while some of them may work on a consistent basis, we need to find some way of verifying their relevance.

for the past 1-2 years, i have absorbed myself in traditional astrology - this same branch coming out of project hindsight and all the related astro literature that has become available since around the early 90's.. valens, paulus and etc. etc. some hard core traditionalists don't bother with the planets beyond saturn, but immerse themselves in fixed stars.. b. brady i think falls into this category, although i am not 100% sure.. some of them are flexible enough to include the outers.. that becomes a separate topic in itself which i don't need to go over, but am mostly just using it as an example of how divided the astrology field is. i see a lot of confusion, and a lot of new folks to astrology coming onstream having to wander thru all of this trying to find their bearings.

i suppose one has to want to see patterns in order to be really drawn to astrology. there are simple ones and more complex ones, just like in any subject that gets studied.. it would be great if astrology was able to verify them beyond the subjective level they all appear to be identified by at present.. it hasn't happened. it will probably be another 200 years before it is.. living in 2012 and imagining what astrology will look like in 2200 is a silly activity, but what i find myself pondering at present.
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waybread



Joined: 05 Mar 2009
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Posted: Sat Jun 02, 2012 5:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, of course people's beliefs influence how they read charts! This can range from personal attitudes they have about themselves (whether self-defeating or self-promoting) to the beliefs of the society of which they are a part, to the underlying meta-narratives of astrology itself.

An example of the first kind would be be people who are unhappy with their lives, and who use astrology to substantiate their misery. An example of a societal belief would be attitudes about women. Highly restrictive until about 1970! Some older 20th century astrology texts focused on the sun in a woman's chart as indicating the kind of man she hoped to marry, not her own sense of identity (which presumably was "house wife.") The 6th house doesn't have much to do with slaves today. Then astrology itself carries some sense of "astral determinism" with it, whether one takes a highly fatalistic view of heavently influences on human behaviour, or a more flexible choice-centred view.

I really liked Hamaker-Zondag's book, The House Connection. She wrote, "The house over which a planet rules serves the purposes of the house in which that planet stands." You don't need to agree with her cook-book to appreciate her introduction of accidental house cusp rulers into modern astrology.

Of course, we have to look at the whole chart to see what is going on. Planets seldom work in isolation. A Saturn return is not invalidated by or doesn't invalidate other transits that may be at work.
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james_m



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Posted: Sun Jun 03, 2012 4:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

hi waybread,

i recall you recommending this book and it was one reason i was motivated to see what she had to say.. david at astroamerica is another one who recommended it.. obviously some people like her book!

it isn't so much about her book that i want to talk about, but about the beliefs that are automatically accepted that others might not accept so readily. you've highlighted a few of them. another one would be the idea that one particular house system will tell us all we need to know which seems to be a built in assumption to her book that she never discusses too! another one would be the idea of multiple rulers for houses if for example the a house has a late degree of a sign rising and much of another sign in the house under consideration.. this is something she may also have gotten from morin who seems to approach rulership of houses in this same manner.. one has late sag rising for example, so saturn has some bearing on your first house given the amount of cap in the first house.. these are concepts that get baked into an astrologers view on a chart and don't necessarily get discussed, or are automatically accepted often.. that is how i read her book.. she and morin are entitled to take this position as am i to question it!

this is why i opt to focus on the relativity of astrology and how so much of it hinges on a persons belief system which will often go unnoticed if one shares the same belief system whether it be on the nature of houses, and on and on and on in astrology..
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waybread



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Posted: Sun Jun 03, 2012 6:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

James, of course you are right about the relativity (subjectivity) of astrology.

Although astrology might in itself tell us something about the individual astrologers' leanings. For example, I sometimes think that some modern astrologers' descriptions of sun-sign Aquarians as cold and aloof were probably written by smothering Cancerians or domineering Scorpios who wanted more emotional closeness than the Aquarian was prepared to give. On Planet Aquarius, Aquarians are the normal people.

Hamker-Zondag's The House Connection is by no means a perfect book. I flipped through the book to find where she identifies her house system. It's not there. However, it was the first book I read that got me to think beyond the basic planets-in-signs, -houses, and -aspects. A lot of professional modern astrologers still don't work with accidental house cusp rulers, so far as I can tell.

For sure, if I wanted to spend time with a chart and a house cusp were in the last or first degrees of a sign, I might try both the given house cusp ruler as well as the one for its adjacent sign. For those astrologers who swear by whole signs houses, using the "natural ruler" of the sign would probably yield further information.

This gets us into the whole debate about the "best" house system, as well as the meaning of house cusps in general.

Very subjective territory!
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james_m



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Posted: Sun Jun 03, 2012 8:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

waybread - indeed!

it isn't just house systems though as one realizes a sidereal system will result in something very different as well. and, i am not saying their is anything wrong with a sidereal system either, although i don't use it. i am just pointing out these large areas of astrology that seem to be based on the subjective leanings of those practicing it.

another area that is very large is the fixed stars verses outer planets for example... of course when fixed stars were being followed more closely, outer planets weren't on the radar.. i don't discount any of it, but recognize how so much of astrology is based on a persons subjective orientation.

you articulate an interesting idea on the description of the sign aquarius based on the musings of a cancer, lol.. i have always thought that the elements air and water are very different and have difficultly understanding one another really well. whether the cancerian or the aquarian writes the sun sign description might alter the description.. just working with the trad planets connected to these 2 signs, the moon and saturn are rather different energies.. how to understand all these differences and make sense of it on others charts is a big challenge.

i find mostly understanding my own chart enough work. this is due accepting certain ideas in astrology long enough to see the merit in them, but also being open to tossing them out and replacing them with other ideas.. astrology to me is a very subjective study in spite of attempts to make it objective.. i really notice it when i read viewpoints that are quite different from my own.. it does help me to not be locked into a particular view on astrology though and for that i am grateful.

i think there are large areas unexplored in the astrological field and while it is great to study a particular path, i feel most at home finding my own path in it all which will probably remain quite tentative for the indefinite future!
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james_m



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Posted: Wed Jun 06, 2012 3:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

i often make parallels between astrology and music since i am involved in both. there are certain rules or systems/structures to music that are very helpful to understand, however when one looks out on the musical landscape they will note how the countless approaches to music. not all of them conform in an obvious manner to these rules or systems for being involved in music. it is why i think astrology is more like art then science. i also think there is a strong element of faith or belief involved in astrology too, or else the astrologers concluding what they do off a chart wouldn't have so many different ways of seeing it.
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Lakewind



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Posted: Mon Jun 25, 2012 4:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

James, you know my knowledge is elemental, but I see astrology as a symbolic language for our observation of the quantuum physics and quantuum mechanics of the universe as it affects humans.it is non-technical but observational. It is such a vast observation deck, people can look with true vision and only see a small part in an unimaginably huge landscape. It can be very accurate, but not the whole picture, and therefore not the true picture....

Btw, I think people need to accept Uranus as Aquarian ruler. Their fanaticism on whatever their interest and belief is focussed , has such a very different feel than Saturn. Aquarians are found more often as bankers than Taureans, they get into a lot of sadomasochistic sex games, they are just as rigid as Saturn, but really love electronic gadgets of all oir is this what you're puzzling over....a belief system lol
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james_m



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Posted: Tue Jun 26, 2012 6:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

hi lakewind,

"disclosure is not merely an action; it is a way of life." this is the opening statement chapter 14 in 'julian assange the unauthorized biography' which i just finished reading. great book.
your post on the other thread where you have shared much reminds me of this in the most positive sense.

i love what you say here : "It(astrology) is such a vast observation deck, people can look with true vision and only see a small part in an unimaginably huge landscape. " another way i have heard astrology described is something to the effect different people putting hands on the body of an elephant and getting different impressions. ones vantage point will say as much about what one is observing or more, then what it is they are observing.

this will be a generalization but it seems some are looking to astrology to nail everything down, whether it be thru the use of some specific system or approach that lays everything out so that one can state something factually, verses those who continue to see the universe or astrology as some ongoing mystery to be explored but to not held rigidly.

i have a tendency to question everything. "who said this and why did they say it?" is just a small part of it.

i think those that are most attracted to solid answers in astrology are those most easily fooled. i am not sure there are that many to be had. i am reminded of a cat chasing it's tail when i watch the answers many astrologers offer to explain why some such thing is happening, or a part of a persons nature and etc. etc. it's not that i don't believe there is a lot of value and connectivity between the time of a persons birth and the changing platter of transits and etc that impact that moment, i just get uncomfortable with others offering viewpoints that seem like a bag of ready mix cement that is permanent and unchangeable.. i just don't see astrology that way! thus my title of the relativity of astrology.. aquarius and saturn verses uranus is another small part of it! thanks for your comments.
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R.J. Smith



Joined: 01 Jul 2012
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Posted: Tue Jul 03, 2012 12:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

james_m wrote:
hi lakewind,

i just get uncomfortable with others offering viewpoints that seem like a bag of ready mix cement that is permanent and unchangeable..



Hello James (M), Waybread, and Lakewind...

Interesting discussion, we have here !

First of all, I have not read the book, The House Connection, by Karen Hammaker-Zontag, so I cannot comment, here, except that intercepted houses are a very common and frequent occurance, esp. when using Placidus houses for latitudes 50 degrees or higher, and therefore, there is nothing wrong at all about using dual rulerships to describe the natal houses, nor is it a ground-breaking idea ?

To my good friend, James M, my response is this: The very reason that we have "bags of ready mix cement" (as you describe?) is that it panders to the overall western (and North American) consumer craving for "McDonald's hamburger-like" astrology products and services...and the consumer demand for such services, as soon as possible ?

That would explain why Sun-Sign astrology, as superficial and meaningless as it is, is still highly popular, today, and is still followed by millions of consumers, world-wide...

Meanwhile, much of today's modern psychological-need astrology is packaged and marketed... much like a Big Mac or Filet of Fish sandwich...

Like at McDonald's, astrologer counsellors put in just the right amount of salt, sugar, and fat, into their products and services... to push human buttons and to maximize and whet the human appetite...and therefore, also, maximizing personal sales...?

The MAIN difference is that (unlike at McDonald's) many professional astrologers (such as this writer?) also engage in extensive pro bono work to help out the working poor and all those who could not ordinarily afford to hire a professional astrologer... ?

Whenever you go to McDonald's, you still must pay and pay for your hamburger and fries...

Fortunately, corporations like McDonald's also have charity, much to its credit, also does extensive corporate sponsorships, such as sporting events (like the 2012 London Olympics) and also lesser known community events, so there are always two sides to every story...

Hello Waybread:

Astrology is, indeed, a subjective medium, since most modern astrology is essentially an art-science and therefore, most artistic performances (and we could argueably call the interpretation of the natal chart, a performance?) tend to be subjective in nature...

However, subjectivity is not limited to astrology. Psychology, the brother of psychological need astrology, is also highly subjective and like astrology, employs the usage to trait words to help describe individuals and situations.

Trait words are essentially adjectives... used to describe people, such as "all Aquarians are cold and aloof" or "all Aquarians are sado-machochists."

Especially if they've got Venus retrograde, natally ! LOL

The main danger with trait words, is that professional counsellors and astrologers tend to over-rely on them, leading to very negative and even harmful stereotyping...

For example, Sun in Aquarians are "cold and aloof"...

" Asian people tend to speak poor English. "

" Blacks are good at running and most sports. "

So, yes, I have now kind of figured out what James M. is suggesting, here, and I do agree that there IS an inherent HERD mentality and thinking (in the astrological community?) which is also a TRAP of sorts and is very easy to fall into...and, with all of the pitfalls that James M. suggests, such as overly rigid thinking and basically, the inability to step outside of the box...or evolve...

However, James, the herd mentality (or joining the bandwagon?) is not limited to astrology, but can also be found in the music business, in sports, broadcasting and in virtually every walk of life !


best regards,


R.J. Smith
_________________
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'cos you said goodbye
Fool if you think it's over
It's just begun !
(Fool) by Chris Rea, 1978
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Paul
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Posted: Tue Jul 03, 2012 10:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

James_m

I've not read the book either but my understanding of your posts is that this book is just an example and not that important.

I think the entire discussion can be summed up by accepting the following premises:
There are no objectively right answers (at least not yet discovered).
You cannot separate the astrology from the astrologer.
There are as many forms of astrology as there are astrologers.

If we accept this then we'll stop attaching to the idea that there is a 'correct' or 'true' astrology, which suggests that there is only one form of astrology which has validity - whether that suggestion is that a particular house system is the only correct one, or whether there is only one approach to house rulerships. Instead what we can know is that there is one approach that is right...for us.

Until such time that we approach the art of astrology from the paradigm of a post-newtonian cause and effect mentality then all such questions are inherently flawed within their premise - instead it would be better to see astrological approaches more like a philosophy. Different people will attach to particular philosophies and it is no surprise that their astrology will be a direct extension of their thinking - so the astrology cannot be separated from the astrologer. Until such time that astrology is proven or subject to the empirical 'cause and effect' scientific method then all we have are paradigms and philosphies that we feel are appropriate to us - things that we've seen work ourselves.



Now I say this, but we can also examine historical truths - we can show that perhaps only one house system was used in a given context and infer from this that perhaps mistakes were made later down the road. And so give more weight to the argument that that particular house system is better for that approach, however these are arguments by historical authority rather than by empirical evidence. If we attach to needing scientific style proof for our astrology we should probably just give up now. In the meantime it is acceptable, and perhaps the only approach we have available to us, that we just use what we ourselves see work and accept that other people have their own paradigms, listen to why they use what they use and see if we can learn anything from them.
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james_m



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Posted: Thu Jul 05, 2012 2:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

hi rj and paul,

thanks for taking the time to read this post and share your thoughts on astrology and some of the things i and others have said. it helps to hear others views on how they process all of this.. obviously you folks are like me - into astrology.

paul - i especially like your posts and attitude here at skyscript and really enjoy reading what you have to say. i think for me i sometimes feel like i fall through some crack in it all and don't have the degree of objectivity or detachment necessary to keep a healthy perspective on what i am doing. the fact i can consciously say this might imply i have a degree of ability to detach from my own view, but it is tricky and i watch how others of different degrees of knowledge or fluidity with astrology rationalize why something means something. i call it a rationalization cause that is what it sometimes looks like to me.. i dunno. maybe someone sees something special from a particular angle that i haven't been exposed to from and it becomes a motive for me to look deeper into something.

astrology is very much like art in that everyone has their own way of doing it, or is in the process of finding their own way to do it. one can latch onto a strong voice or leader in the community and go with the approach they take, but i think ultimately just like in music - you have to find your own voice.

thanks 2 you both for the conversation and perspective.
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