Thursday, December 6, 2012

Astrology's Image Problem

Imagine a foreign exchange student from France or Italy comes to America for a visit. For some reason the host family takes him to either Denny's or McDonald's for every meal. He'd be entirely justified in concluding that American food is bland and possibly not even really food. However, that conclusion would be incorrect.

The average person's exposure to astrology is similar to the exchange student's experience with American food. Instead of being fed with nourishing concepts like the planets, the houses, aspects, reception and the like, they are fed bland Sun sign stereotypes. What's worse, few of them ever find out that there's more to astrology than that. Since everyone knows people who don't conform to the Sun sign stereotypes, many of them draw the conclusion that astrology is bullshit. It's not, but they have no way of knowing that.

Good astrologers know that there's more to people than their Sun signs. Unfortunately, good astrology doesn't sell books and newspapers, at least not in the quantity desired by those who are footing the bill. What's worse, someone who wants to study astrology in detail is faced with laundry lists of "this planet in this sign means X" and the like. Astrology, let's face it, is complex, and modern culture likes to oversimplify.

So what's the answer? I'm not sure, but I do know what would help: A fundamental change in the way we teach astrology, specifically a return to basic principles, and more specifically presenting traditional astrology to beginners first. Why traditional astrology? Because it's a system built on basic concepts. Once the beginners have sound knowledge of the basic concepts, they'll be able to derive everything else herself, and they'll have a solid base on which to add modern innovations.

This doesn't solve the problem of newspaper horoscopes and Sun sign books, and we still have materialist "skeptics" to deal with. I'm not worried about either. There's an old saying that nothing can beat an idea whose time has come. My feeling is that the materialist paradigm has already started to collapse, along with the current economic paradigm and a bunch of others. Our time is almost at hand.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

An Infinity of Infinities

As a starting point, I'll present for you a grossly oversimplified model of the universe. First there was the Infinite. The Infinite was everywhere and everything. Even the word "was" is inaccurate as the Infinite was outside of time as we know it. Whatever the Infinite thought was real; after all, nothing else existed. Since the thoughts of the Infinite were still within the Infinite, they had the same properties and could create their own thoughts. So at this point we have an infinity of infinities. But things didn't stop there.

At this point, the Infinite and all of the thoughts for infinite generations were together within the Infinite. One of the thoughts had a thought of being separate from the rest. Since the thoughts of the Infinite were real and could create thoughts that were also real, that resulted in the experience of being separate from the rest. I'll leave out a few steps for the sake of brevity. Suffice it to say that, according to A Course in Miracles, that's why and how we are here in this place of pain, limit and lack.

This is the starting point, but what if the thought of being separate wasn't a mistake? Here's my theory: we're here to experience the underlying unity and limitlessness described above. Naturally, this won't happen overnight, but each of us has as many lifetimes as needed. But since we'll be doing this as people, each of us will have this experience from a different perspective. The effect will be that we will have multiplied infinity by itself, which in my opinion was the original plan.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Why You Should Learn Traditional Astrology

If you would like to learn astrology, I think that traditional astrology is the best place for you to start. This is because traditional astrology is a system built from basic concepts. It is therefore easier to learn because the ideas build upon each other.

The typical modern astrology book has lists of planet/sign and planet/house combinations. Few of these books give any indication of how the author derived the meanings of those combinations. Traditional astrology, on the other hand, gives you the tools to derive the meanings yourself.

Some of you may know that the Zodiac signs are based on the seasons, but how many of you knew that the sign rulerships are also based on the seasons? The two brightest objects in the sky, the Sun and the Moon, are given rulership of Leo and Cancer respectively, the parts of summer with the most daylight. Mercury, the closest planet to the Sun, is assigned the two surrounding signs, Gemini and Virgo. Venus, the next closest planet, is assigned the next two signs, Taurus and Libra, and so on, until Saturn, the furthest of the visible planets from the Sun, gets the two signs of winter, Capricorn and Aquarius, with the least daylight.

Traditional astrology does not use the outer planets: Uranus, Neptune and Pluto. Because of this you may think that something is missing. How can traditional astrology function without the dynamic force of Uranus, the dissolving mist of Neptune, or the death-like transformation of Pluto? Traditional astrology has its own drama, orchestrated by the fixed stars and antiscia.

The fixed stars are just stars; they are called fixed to distinguish them from planets, which were also called wandering stars. These stars have been given names that don't really mean anything by modern astronomers, but their old names are quite colorful. Regulus, for example, was formerly known as the Heart of the Lion. Antares was formerly called the Heart of the Scorpion. There's even a medusa's head (Algol)! Some of these stars can have a  dramatic impact on a chart when prominently placed. For example, Regulus being close to the Midheaven in a chart can indicate fame and fortune for the native, but the fame may be of the fifteen-minutes variety and the fortune similarly short-lived.

Now let's talk about antiscia. An antiscion (antiscia plural) is a shadow point of a planet. If an antiscion of a planet falls within a degree of another planet, it can indicate a secret connection between the two. For example, if the antiscion of the First House ruler (which represents the person) is close to the Seventh House ruler (which represents the person's partners), that could indicate a tendency to have secret affairs.

But what if someone doesn't know what time they were born? You can still answer questions for them by using horary astrology. Horary astrology answers questions based on a chart of the time and place of the question. What kinds of questions can it answer? Well, England's
most famous astrologer, William Lilly, had a famous question about his stolen fish. He ordered a shipment of fish from a local warehouse and found out later that it had been stolen. Based only on an astrology chart, he was able to work out a description and location of the
thief, and caught the thief with some of the stolen goods.

Traditional astrology can tell us about more than individuals and their stuff. Mundane astrology tells us about cities, states and countries, using the same princples as natal and horary, but there are more charts to work with. Conjunctions between Jupiter and Saturn
happen roughly every 20 years, and set the tone for the following 20 years. You can also cast a chart for the moment the Sun enters Aries each year, and charts for full moons, new moons and eclipses. Lilly used techniques like these to predict the Great Fire of London years before it happened.

If you'd like to learn more about traditional astrology, I'm working on a book about the subject. The book will be on, and I'll post a link later.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Traditional Astrology Course

I'm still working on my book on traditional astrology, but I'm taking a break to teach a four-week course on traditional astrology for beginners. The course will take place next month at a local New Age store in Michigan. I'll post after the course is done to let you know how it went.