Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Astrological Philosophy for the Natal Individual —Part Three

Unfortunately this relatively new reticence to apply astrology's finding onto the physical world goes back to a rationale introduced over two hundred years ago, ironically called “The Enlightenment”, giving astrology an opaque quality that many materialistic thinkers find aggravating and irrelevant. And they would be partly right, emphasizing adjective qualities is ephemeral and vague; but that is exactly the level of information the Zodiac provides, which is only one facet of all astrology. What many people investigating astrology, including many astrologers, do not realize, is there is more to astrology than simple" keywords"; although some never explore it beyond those partial interpretations.

So often scientifically and materialistic thinkers do not see the value in following through the various patterns, correlations and concepts of symbology even though these interpretations really do reflect real world ideas and situations which are affected, even remotely, by physical effects. This, I think is a fundamental mistake that can only be overcome by individual practice and study of the most empirical readings of astrology. This is not an easy study to embark on by a single student because it does require academic evaluation of information, much which is contradictory and lacking clarity, often because it is taken out of its original context. For the individual student, though, this often begins by requesting a personal reading of a natal chart, but often is because the individual has larger questions they do not know to ask.

Unfortunately astrology will not automatically point one in the right direction nor necessarily provide the wanted answers an individual is seeking. At the heart of astrology is a wealth of consideration of the human condition, but often what is there is disregarded and ignored by the individual because at first it seems too limited in its scope to be a true answer. Often one must meditate on the answer given before anything meaningful is deduced. This is where the spiritual or philosophical development of the individual can help, although it is not a requirement for personal insight.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Astrological Philosophy for the Natal Individual —Part Two

This is a continuation of my introduction to Astrological Philosophy. These ideas have been percolating around my brain for many years as I've taught myself how to read astrological charts. Please comment if this speaks to you or raises any questions in your mind.

The rational astrologer has no place or real ability to see what has occurred within a life outside of the specific movements of the planets and lights and their accepted symbology. An individual’s history is only observable from their own unique perspective and only they can offer the insight they've gathered from an astrologers knowledge of the observed symbols. To place the astrologer in the position of social worker or psychologist is a dangerous mistake unless they already have studied these subjects deeply. For the individual seeker, additional charts and methods of displaying transits against personal history can be helpful in seeing how the elusive elements, patterns and cycles of a natal chart play out in real time. With balanced contemplation and applied wisdom, the individual can, with the help of expert interpretation, arrive at a place of wholeness and enlightenment.

The enlightened individual will then recognize astrology from the standpoint of classical philosophy, a spiritualized system for thinking about man's place in his environment, rather than a replacement for modern thought and reason. While it can be seductive to imagine a sentient universe which places meaningful messages in the stars for us to divine and in extension a way to predict outcomes, as science successfully does through an established and rigorous process of theorizing, experimentation and peer review, this is not the goal of a humanistic philosophy.

Removing individual responsibility from astrology exposes the self to a host of human faults and false assumptions that have plagued humanity since the development of self-awareness. Astrology's use can only be effective from a top-down examination and evaluation of each insight offered against reality and consideration of one's past; otherwise we move right past reality into the superstitious and judgmental observations which give astrology a bad name among many otherwise rational and objective thinkers.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Astrological Philosophy for the Natal Individual —Part One

I've neglected this blog partly because the focus of my studies were co-opted by more practical life concerns over the past few years. But all the same, I have continued with my studies and worked more towards refining my ideas about Astrology into a philosophy. What follows here and in a few more posts is an introduction to Astrology of sorts, like what you find in most initial books written by astrologers. Please comment if these ideas resonate with you.

Astrological Natal interpretation is a provocative and challenging exercise because in modern times the depth of meaning in the world’s commonwealth of symbols has both expanded and diluted since classical Greek and Indian eras when the understanding of techniques used even today were first used. The fatalistic prognostication used before the idea of "free will" was put forth by the ancient Greeks is now dispensed with in favor of an investigation into the psychological aspects of the symbology. Today the emphasis on psychology over scientific observation has left astrologers with fewer assumptions but far less ground to work within. Still this new focus on minimized influences has not robbed astrology of its power to cause reflection and insight for the human mind.

The purpose of Natal astrology is simple and direct, to orient and compose the individual within a structured mirror of wholeness and completion. Within that wholeness though are divisions that make up the whole being and can easily be categorized into the various parts of astrological philosophy. This includes but is not limited to the dichotomies of active and passive modes, the triplicity of qualities, the four elementals, and so on through to the many planets which represent the ideals of selfhood and the twelve zodiacal signs which are the reflections of those ideals.

All these various parts make up a structure through which the interpretation and reading of the individual chart is built upon and are reflected in one way or another by individual psychology. Once the various parts are identified, it is the individual's role to evaluate and compare what is interpreted against their own history. The naive and unethical practice of projecting a rational or reality onto an individual rather than allowing them to manifest the ideal aspect of a symbol is something to warn against.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Do Not Associate Astrology With 2012 » The Horoscopic Astrology Blog

Chris Brennen writes a thought provoking blog about astrology. His most recent post this weekend had me offering my own two cents worth, then finding myself at the culmination of a comment firestorm against and for his assertion. It is amusing to find my point seems to have been overlooked by many of the commentators, who demonstrated it quite well.

Do Not Associate Astrology With 2012 » The Horoscopic Astrology Blog

I would also like to add links to the researchers I mention later in the comments of that post, namely Steffan Vanel, Anthony Aveni and Kenneth Johnson. They each have unique skills and knowledge to offer. See for yourself if I was right to include them in the debate.

Spiritual Company: Steffan Vanel

Dr. Anthony F. Aveni: Mesoamerican Archaeoastronomy Astronomy Anthropology Physics

Jaguar Wisdom: Kenneth Johnson

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Thursday, September 2, 2010

“Peace comes from within. Do not seek it without.” -Buddha

I think the "western mind" bears issue with the pure simplicity of the Buddha's statement (which is a paraphrase, since there is no written record of his specific words).  We reject it because our world is filled with distractions and we are rarely taught as children or as adults to consider what is going on in our own minds. But when someone understands the nature of reality in the way the Buddha understood, the seeming dominance of the outer experience becomes moot because, like any duality there is a primary interaction between our outer environment and our inner selves.

While it seems that we can only modify our outward environment, the impetus and direction for change really begins and proceeds from our inner state. Think about these solutions to a mind in turmoil: meditation, simplicity, silence and encountering nature are seemingly cosmetic solutions; but they work because they require our attention to our environment. Within that attention is the desire for implementation of our wisdom and subsequently a desire for peace and balance, which is not caused by outer influences but by our own personal suffering.

The Buddha was very careful not to demonize desire, although you will find many stories where he wrestled with temptation before achieving enlightenment. Instead he recognized a recursive truth, that within desire was an equal reality of suffering. Understanding that within your own mind is the solution, allows you to recognize the remedy to suffering as being quite simple in itself: bring your attention to your inner state, breath, simplify, relax and enjoy the beauty of the world around you... and do that every day.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Hesse on Humor

I was struck a while ago when on The Daily Show, John Stewart spontaneously began quoting a pivotal discourse from Herman Hesse's "Steppenwolf". Naturally it focused on the power of humor and was a brilliant bit of theatrical intellectualism. John Stewart clearly knows his audience. But I was so moved by what he quoted that I realized it was time for me to investigate Hesse's writings further.

Years ago I'd read "Siddhartha" because it was a retelling of the life of the Buddha and because at the time it was the only piece of literature I could get my hands on without going to the library. I was impressed that the story was worth reading and compelling enough to keep my attention throughout. It also became a sinker in my mind for all the trivial bits and disconnected impressions I had of Buddhism: the figurines my father had collected and displayed at home through my youth, the knowledge that a great uncle had been a devotee, the tidbits of zen I learned from my mother that she'd picked up while my family was living in Japan and learning about that culture, four years before I was born.

Hesse seems a controversial figure for some people. Laurie Anderson tells a story about visiting his grave and being put off by his wife's gravestone which was outside the family plot and carried her maiden name, Auslander. There are those who praise his writing and many who cannot be bothered. So I was quite surprised to find on reading "Steppenwolf" for myself that he placed within its pages many notions and ideas I could personally relate to. I have yet to finish the book as I am a slow reader and often need to contemplate what I've read before I can focus again on the title, but it seems to me that Hesse was inspired by the modern Germanic philosophers, going back to Goethe.

Anyway, as promised here is the quote:

"Humor alone, that magnificent discovery of those who are cut short in their calling to highest endeavor, those who falling short of tragedy are yet as rich in gifts as in affliction, humor alone (perhaps the most inborn and brilliant achievement of the spirit) attains to the impossible and brings every aspect of human existence within the rays of its prism. To live in the world as though it were not the world, to respect the law and yet stand above it, to have possessions as though "one possessed nothing," to renounce as though it were no renunciation, all these favorite and often formulated propositions of an exalted worldly wisdom, it is in the power of humor alone to make efficacious."

--Herman Hesse, "Steppenwolf"