Sunday, August 25, 2019

Astronomy documentary on PBS



It is not often that you find something astrological on PBS, but as part of their "Summer of Space" promotion this season I came across this gem which is available still for streaming. While it doesn't handle the subject of astrology in depth, it doesn't shy away from showing how our modern view of the cosmos is based on much older perceptions and understandings, and how that has changed over time. Produced in the UK, stylistically it does feel a bit like those "Ancient Aliens" shows you see on the History Channel, with a combination of stock footage, interviews with scholars, historians and scientists and generous illustrated sections rendering concepts and ideas in digital 3D animations. Someone had fun generating those sequences even though every time they appear, they contrast distinctly as being overly dramatic with the other footage.

PBS Ancient Skies streaming page 

Friday, June 7, 2019

Catching up with astrology



Article - The New Age of Astrology - The Atlantic, magazine

Last year I meant to post about the above article link; but as my blogging habit has been less than consistent lately, it has sat in my drafts without any action. It is a thoughtful article, the sort of reporting The Atlantic does well. Unfortunately it doesn't really say anything that moves me to comment. And BTW, the voice reading they offer on the page makes the whole article sound a little snarky when the article itself is somewhat neutral, so I don't recommend listening to it unless you want to encounter the general snark, which might be due to the editors.

What I can report is that my exploration into astrology continues. I've been encountering the Hellenistic Tradition more and while it is criticized as was curiously fatalistic and for the most part lacking a definite argument in favor of "free will", it remains compelling to me because in fact neither of those things are true when you delve deeper into it.

So much has changed in all this time since I began this blog and while I thought initially I would be contributing to it regularly, my inability to make friends and find mentors to interact with about astrology has dampened my enthusiasm. I primarily listen to podcasts these days, track my own transits and worry I've let down the few friends who did offer support to me on the outset of my education.

This worry is because I've moved away from Natal delineation in my study as my confidence for doing such work is shaken by learning this power I wield. There is responsibility in giving advice and the consequences for doing so, lightly, are profound; but we are all free agents. Since beginning my education nearly twenty years ago with promises to friends who shared their birth data with me, I've sorely produced little more than charts (which is easy in this digital world) and no real delineation, a lot of verbal words with little substance.

Some of that is due to attempting to figure out what I believe is most effective with astrology. There are so many differing approaches that picking one is perhaps the most difficult aspect. In laying out my education, I realize I have a real connection to Jungian psychology, but not finding psychology compelling enough to satisfy my thirst for knowledge.  Events too have shown me how pathetically shallow is my understanding of the symbology of the planets.

I could mention the passage of Pluto through my personal houses, but then you'd have to be talking to me very intimately to really understand or be a practitioner of the art as well. Strangely, even that and Saturn's passage through the same houses haven't always been vile or brought doom usually reserved for traditional malefics. I've since purchased a home and married my life partner in that time, which could be observed as symbolic of these planets, Pluto representing authority and Saturn representing structure.

These two events both came at a time in my life when benefic planets were also prominent in my personal chart. Still, because Pluto and Saturn are slower moving "outer" planets, I think most people would agree with me the past two decades have been more challenging and difficult than the previous ones. And in turn, I've primarily found myself taking my own counsel and not always being very free and easy with my outlook, which is a change from how I operated in my twenties and thirties. The few times I have not taken this self-counsel, have more often than not ended with misunderstanding, confusion and procrastination: things for which I am not proud, but sometimes cannot be avoided.

Perhaps another mistake is limiting access to this blog. I have on occasion had strangers and acquaintances comment on previous posts. Usually ones that have easy to grasp concepts, and one or two essays that have approached a particular chord found in the collective consciousness. These have not satisfied my eleventh house Scorpio Moon which wants close friends, but mostly to share secrets with, so my finding it challenging to make friends of strangers and casual acquaintances.

I've even mellowed my attitude about prediction although my opinion still remains that it is a tool best left to people versed in such things, which again is not to say that I have given up my ambitions to learn astrology to the point where I can help others. In fact, one technique which has captured my imagination over recent years is "Zodiacal Releasing". Chris Brennen has been promoting this technique as he understands it through his book, "Hellenistic Astrology: The Study of Fate and Fortune", published in 2017 and an article published in "The Mountain Astrologer" magazine.

Astro.com has been reprinting articles from "The Mountain Astrologer" on their website, because it has been some time since the articles were first published and the information, while quite ancient is still quite applicable today. Additionally the website has begun to incorporate Hellenistic techniques into their reports, so you can easily access your own data and extrapolate the technique without much trouble. It has opened a whole new branch to my study and while the amount of information is daunting and a bit overwhelming, I hope it can bring me back to my initial promise to my friends.

Please forgive me if this all seems too much of a confession. I remain excited about the increasing interest with astrology and those few people I've interacted with successfully have given me hope that I could find my place within this discipline. "ZR" suggests my peak career time is still ahead of me and my life up to this point is just preparation for that moment.

In the meantime, I go back to my notes and re-attempt to formulate personal delineation. What can I say that is helpful and not harmful? Am I doing this to help as I believe or is this just a projection of my egoic mind? Perhaps my perspective is permanently warped and I will always be limited by my fundamental lack of understanding.

Then again, I am only human and perception of my own flaws will always be with me, while friends see me with their own unique viewpoints. I can only hold faith that they will only seek the best of me and forgive me my flaws. Astrology reminds me what those are, so in most cases I could get out of my own way, if I only apply my mind and ethics to the issues at hand.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Drawing two sides together: apophenia and "Masquerade"


The following link leads to an essay on apophenia or the power of the mind to find meaning in randomness. It may seem to be off the subject of astrology, but I believe the author was saying something much more profound. See if you agree with me.

‘This Goes All the Way to the Queen’: The Puzzle Book that Drove England to Madness

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Yes, dear Virginia, even "the Enlightenment" will be disproved.


The following link connects to more of an editorial than a news article, but as I've noticed similar behaviors and attitudes before on the Internets this is a salient read and worthy of noting. What scientists, who defend their closed-mindedness against the symbolism and the recognized action-at-a-distance force that Astrology attempts to describe, do not realize is they are a vanguard against physical reality, which eventually sweeps their attitudes away in time. Already, even people who have supported Bok and others, have changed their minds and recanted.

astrologynewsservice.com: Astrology's critics a dedicated bunch

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.