Al-Kindi – The Transmission of Greek Metaphysics to Islamic Theology

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A blog post on someone of the stature of al-Kindi can scarcely do him justice; but it can serve as an introduction to this extraordinary man as well as the transmission and absorption of Greek texts into Islamic theology. It is also my hope that al-Kindi will regain his former prominence among the many other Islamic contributors to human knowledge and to astrology in particular. His cosmology is essentially simple and I believe answers to many of the on-going discussion on the nature of fate and free-will.

To understand how al-Kindi’s mind works, his study of  The religion, philosophy, literature, geography, chronology of India is a good place to start. He’s is infinitely curious and readily absorbs the philosophy and weighs the values of other very different nations. I have placed the complete work in two volumes in the file section. Familiarity with al-Kindi breeds content. He stands as an essential figure of the Islamic Golden Age. It was tolerance, acceptance and inclusiveness that created the Age – not a rigid xenophobia.  It came about by a respect of other cultures and a willingness to work with them.

Abu Yusuf Ya‘qub ibn Ishaq Al-Kindi (ca. 800–870 CE) was the first self-identified philosopher in the Islamic and specifically Arabic tradition. His work with a group of scholars and translators, in what became known as the House of Wisdom in Baghdad, gave to the Arab world the works of Aristotle, the Neo-Platonists, and Greek mathematicians and scientists.  He did not appear to demonstrate the rigid distinctions between Platonic and Aristotelian philosophy that became the bugbear of later European philosophers. This in itself was no mean feat, but Al Kindi seemed to instinctively know what was of a similar nature and what was not.. al-Kindi’s own thought was suffused with Neo-Platonism, though his main authority in philosophical matters was Aristotle.

The Semitic or Abrahamic religions are less replete with metaphysical codes, but have what is more properly called cosmological ones, when compared for example, with the seemingly endless metaphysical systems of Hinduism. This is also true when those same texts are compared to the Platonic tradition, including the sophisticated and exquisite vision written down by Plotinus. It applied as well to the philosophy of Aristotle. It was to the latter than Al-Kindi first became transfixed. The distinction between Metaphysics, Cosmology and Ontology can at times become blurred of intermingled. To invite them into Islamic thought is not for the careless or faint of heart .

Al-Kindi is often referred to as the Arab’s philosopher. As has happened to so many great minds throughout history, the investigation of the most cherished ideas had lead to suspicions of heterodoxy. The word ‘heterodoxy’ is a convenient catch-all phrase that can be leveled at those who disagree, have some doubts or simply see the nature of reality through a different lens.In this respect, the story of Al-Kindi has contemporary relevance, with particular regard to the understanding of the nature of astrology. The contemporary Traditional astrologer will feel pretty much at home in Al-Kindi’s cosmology.

The new lens of Greek Philosophy provided Al Kindi with a means by which the Theology and Cosmology of the Quran, resulted in a highly significant shift in Astrological thought. By the time of Al-Ghazali, Islamic Philosophy and with it the Golden Age of was eclipsed by a literalist pessimism that has persisted to this day. What was at one time a naturally accepted element of Islam became heavily suspect. It is important to note, however, that Al-Kindi fell short of the view that the universe must be infinite.  It could have lead to his alienation at best and a death sentence at worst, as it did in a later period for Giordano Bruno.

The deep fear of infinity has historically put restrictions on the subject. Perhaps the fear of infinity is no more than the fear that our prescribed limits might prove to be no more than mind-forged manacles, as W. Blake so keenly understood. Limits are an important element in Islam: in general more so than either of the other Abrahamic religions. In the Islamic afterlife, it is made clear that there are no limits. Lastly, I believe infinity is ‘reserved’ for God on this side of the grave.  Philosophers throughout history have always needed to be adept at avoiding stepping on theological toes.

There are no precise parallels to the non-Islamic world on this matter, but the pseudo-prophetic Savonarola lead to a very similar shift, and in fact to a rapid decline in the creativity, tolerance, syncretism and ebullient optimism of Renaissance Florence.

Even Pico della Mirandola succumbed to the dogmatic position that what isn’t a particularly privileged form of Christianity, must be the work of the Devil. I’m certain that many great thinkers were frankly terrified at the speed in which the obscure monk, Savonarola, could turn Florence into a city full of mad people with proverbial pitchforks and literal torches.

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al-ghazali

The contempt and paranoia regarding the new learning was epitomized by the en mass burning of books and works o art, including works by Michelangelo. These were considered the vanities, in the biblical sense o the word and the burning of all these things was called the bonfire of the vanities, a term that survives to this day. This episode in Western history shall forever remain a reminder of how quickly great elements of civilizations can be destroyed by supernatural fears, that even otherwise rational people can fall prey.

In Islam, as in other Middle Eastern and Asian cultures there existed a very different sense of time. It was circular or spiral, but never linear. From the Greeks and developed to a fine science was the Prime Mover – one who is not acted upon – to the participation of the Prime Mover through secondary causes. This lends itself perfectly to Astrology. It means, among other things, that the Stars can easily become the agents of Providence, without diminishing the First Cause.

This was not to be the position of Al Ghazali. There was no room in his thinking for such niceties.  There was one cause and one cause only, no secondary powers could be entertained because they amounted to shirk – the attribution of partners to Allah.

Al-Kindi’s own treatises, many of them personal letters, were addressed to the family o the Caliph, who depended on his translations just as the Medic family would rely on Marsilo Ficino. Core texts included the Theology of Aristotle and Book of Causes along with Arabic versions of Plotinus and Proclus. This textual alchemy was fomented at the political and philosophical core of Islam.

Al-Kindi’s philosophical treatises also include On First Philosophy, in which he argues that the world is not eternal and that God is a simple One. This needs to be understood in the context of an Islamic thinker attempting reconciliation with Greek philosophy. The reality of Tawheed is the first principal in Muslim belief.  It is to believe that Allah alone is the ‘Rabb’ -Creator, Provider and Sustainer (note the identical attributes within Hinduism and elsewhere). He has no partner and needs no partner. To suggest that HE does is the greatest blasphemy in Islam.

Allah alone has the power to determine destiny, and He alone is truly Self-Sufficient (As-Samad) upon whom all the creation depends, as He says: “Allah created all things and He is the Wakeel (Trustee, Disposer of affairs, Guardian) of all things. “To Him belong the keys of the Heavens and the earth. He (Allah) enlarges and restricts provisions to whomever He Wills. Surely, He has Knowledge of everything. See Surah az-Zumar (39): 62. and Surah ash-Shoorah (42): 12. The guidance of the stars is a theme repeated many times in the Qu’ran, but often dismissed as something else.

The key difference from a modern point of view is not whether or not Aristotle was a monotheist.  For all intents and purposes he was . But it would be more accurate to call him a Deist, rather than a Theist. It may seem a fine point and it doesn’t seem to have deterred al Kindi, if in fact he truly appreciated the distinction. The Primum Mobile easily translates to Creator.

al-Kindi’s work in mathematics and other sciences was impressive and became known in both the later Arabic and Latin traditions for his positions on astrology, along with Averroes.

Arab scholar working diligently in the House of Wisdom. (Artist Unknown).

Arab scholar working diligently in the House of Wisdom. (Artist Unknown).

al-Kindi’s claims for astrology commit him to the idea that a wide range of specific events can be predicted on the basis of astral causation. His doctrine of providence goes further by “implying that all events in the lower world are caused by the stars, which are carrying out the benign “command” of God. This doctrine is set out in On the Prostration of the Outermost Sphere” ( Abu Rida 1950, 244–261, Rashed and Jolivet 1998, 177–99) and On the Proximate Agent Cause of Generation and Corruption (Abu Rida 1950, 214–237).

In al-Kindi’s system and, I would suggest, in the Qu’ran itselff, the heavens are possessed of souls who freely follow God’s command so as to move in such a way that the providentially intended sublunary things and events will come about.

This, according to al-Kindi, is what the Qu’ran refers to when it says that the stars “prostrate” themselves before God. In Proximate Agent Cause, meanwhile, al-Kindi gives a more detailed account of the means by which the heavens cause things in the lower world (here he invokes friction, not rays). The most obvious effect of the stars on our world is of course the seasons, because the sun (due to its size and proximity) is the heavenly body with the most powerful effect. If there were no such heavenly causation, according to al-Kindi, the elements would never have combined at all, and the lower realm would consist of four spheres of unmixed earth, water, air and fire.

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al-Kindi’s account of astral causation and providence is typical of his philosophical method. He combines and builds on ideas from Aristotle, later Greek philosophers, as well as so-called “scientific” figures such as Ptolemy. In his work “Prostration” he provides a rational explanation of central concepts in Islam. His explanation of the meaning o the stars prostrating themselves shows a keen interest in going beyond syncretism to a more enlightened reading of the Qu’ran. Al-Kindi appears to have been certain that once his more enlightened colleagues are exposed to his presentations of Greek wisdom, they will

agree that these non-Arabic and non-Muslim texts can be used —together with “Arabic” disciplines like grammar — in the service of a more profound understanding of Islam. These are heady claims and not ones ultimately shared by Al-Ghazali and his followers. Nevertheless, there existed what could be called an Al-Kindian tradition long ater his passing.  This current flourished in the tenth century, which is most obviously represented by the first and second generations of al-Kindi’s. followers.

Musicians_and_their_instruments Topkapi Palace Museum Library, H. 2164.

Musicians and instruments Topkapi Palace Museum Library H. 2164.

al Kindi ‘s advanced contributions to Musicology seem like a natural and intrinsic progression of his cosmology.Al-Kindi’s optimism on this score was not necessarily borne out in subsequent generations. But among thinkers influenced by al-Kindi, one can discern a continuing tendency to harmonize “foreign” philosophy with the “indigenous” developments of Muslim culture. This is one feature of what might be called the “Kindian tradition,” an intellectual current that runs up through the tenth century, which is most obviously represented by first and second generation students of al-Kindi’s.

In a world off ‘what ifs’ it is clear that the position of Al Kindi and like minded philosophers would have developed into a more universally tolerant Islam and one in which the reading of the stars was not confused with the worship of them. Today, we have weather forecasts that seem to be false more often than not, but I cannot imagine any sane person considering meteorology as shirk. Reading the sign of nature is something we do all the time, from the practice off horticulture to the study of the biological origins of life and indeed the universe itself.  https://youtu.be/cse4uDqj_w8

Isra and Mi’raj in the Zubdat-al Tawarikh

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Celestial map, signs of the Zodiac and lunar mansions in the Zubdat-al Tawarikh, dedicated to the Ottoman Sultan Murad III in 1583

First and foremost, I’m fascinated that a book on the natural world is prefaced with a painting of how that world is both sustained and came into being. The visual arts and astrology have long been inseparable.  The earliest star-lore was depicted visually in Sumer and far back into the Paleolithic period. The movements of the Heavens has always been of great importance and one picture really can be worth a thousand words when it comes to explaining Cosmologies.

Today, what we call history is not prefaced with a primary reference to the mystical creation. This makes these works most intriguing because they offer us a window into a mostly forgotten, but essential cosmologies. That is because we live in what we think is a linear, largely material reality. Other cultures, including the Turks, believed that time unfolded in spirals.

Most importantly, we no longer live with the concept of divine origin. Traditional Astrology is very much aware of this reality The image contains an enormous amount of information. Most fundamentally, we have circles within circles At the centre is the source. Next, the seven planets and luminaries are shown in their orbits following the Chaldean order. Beyond the orbit of Saturn have the realm of the Fixed Stars and it appears that the artist has chosen to place the zodiac beyond the black circle.

The theme and to some extent the style was probably inspired by an earlier work the Catalan Atlas by Cresques Abraham and his son Jehuda. It’s a fine work that predates Zubdat al Tawarikh by

Cosmographical diagram od Earth personified by an astronomer holding an astrolabe center of the Universe surrounded by concentric circles representing the four elements the seven planets the spheres and their personification - mid 14th C.

The Catalan Atlas. Cosmographical diagram od Earth personified by an astronomer holding an astrolabe at the center of the Universe surrounded by concentric circles representing the four elements the seven planets the spheres and their personification – mid 14th C.

two centuries. The Catalan Atlas is fairly accurate works of geography with astrological, cosmological plates such as the one below. There is a strikingly lovely page showing the signs and zodiacs as well  It will readily be seen that the Atlas lacks the lavish illustrations, the astrological detail and the strongly mystical representation of the natural world, including the heavens, working in harmony.

The seven planets and luminaries are shown in their orbits following the Chaldean order in a spiral. Beyond the orbit of Saturn, we have the realm of the Fixed Stars and it appears that the artist has chosen to place the zodiac beyond the black circle.

What makes this a particularly fine work, is that it includes the Decans in relation to Lunar Phases as well as the twenty-eight Lunar Mansions, with Angels guarding the Four Directions.

Miniature painting of a parade of two riding-gaz veterans from umelia in front of sultanmurat-iii-from-the-surname hmayun 16th century ce

Miniature painting of a parade of two riding-gaz veterans from umelia in front of sultanmurat-iii-from-the-surname hmayun 16th century ce

Miniature painting of a parade of two riding Gazi – Veterans from Rumelia – in front of Sultan Murat III from the Surname i hümayun 16th century CE

Although the style is very much Turkish and Islamic in style, it is entirely recognizable as what has become known as the Ptolemaic Universe, The relationship between this cosmology and the Night Journey of Muhammad will become clear.

Muhamad’s Night Journey is in Sura Al Nisra of the Quran and further embellished in the Hadiths It’s controversial these days. Many modern Muslims consider this to be a literal event that occurred at a particularly time and place.  – The Prophet rides on Buraq to Jerusalem where he ascends to meet the various Prophets from what is now known as the  Dome of the Rock.

Muhammad travels the seven heavens on Buraq

Muhammad travels the seven heavens on Buraq

The mystical version has is that the Prophet rose through levels of consciousness. In either case, there is an ascent of Seven spheres, an essential theme that has repeated over and over again. In Ayat 11 we have the following exhortation “And We have made the night and day two signs, and We erased the sign of the night and made the sign of the day visible that you may seek bounty from your Lord and may know the number of years and the account [of time]. And everything We have set out in detail.”

This and other passages in the Quran support astrology as a guide to the wise. The usual context is in ‘to show the way’ which clearly refers to the use of stars in navigation but also implies other uses, such as choosing the correct time for an event,, medical diagnosis military matters and affairs of State.  If this were not the case, Islam would have had no cause to compose the type of artwork that we see here, or produce some of the finest astrologers in the Middle Ages and beyond.

The exhortations against astrology are most specifically related to attempting to know such things as the time of the last day and the resurrection. This is the prerogative of the Creator. Common fortune telling won’t find any more support in the Quran as it does in the Bible. Indeed, many sects of Christianity regard astrology as forbidden. In much of my work I have tried to show the massive difference in intent, method and applications of divination compared to the disreputable and unwise world of fortune telling.

Portrait of Humayun, posthumously painted c. 1700 He was an avid astrologer.

Portrait of Humayun, posthumously painted c. 1700 He was an avid astrologer.

Imagine for a moment that you visit your physician and she tells you that you have a serious illness and may not have long to live. That physician has just made a prognostication based on medical knowledge. This could be construed as prediction and in fact it is. When a skilled astrologer reads a chart it for many of the same reason a medical professional might be consulted. Questions about physical, spiritual and mental health can and are addressed by competent astrologers.  Likewise, you might be concerned about making a choice between two or more things. The astrologer won’t make the choice for you, but they can offer very valuable information

Likewise, you might be concerned about making a choice between two or more things. The astrologer won’t make the choice for you, but they can offer very valuable information  There is time to seed and a time to reap. One of the greatest uses of astrology are, as far as I’m concerned, is in the medical field. Knowing your humour, the strengths and weakness you have are all sound applications of  the Celestial Science. If you read scripture carefully, you will not find thes4e applications of astrology to be forbidden.

Makhzan al-Asrār by Niẓāmīمخزن الاسرار Folio 3v The Prophet on Burāq

Makhzan al-Asrār by Niẓāmīمخزن الاسرار Folio 3v The Prophet on Burāq

Above, we what is essentially the sane theme found in the previous paintings, but with a a slight twist. This Persian Sufi painting describes the Night Journey of the Prophet. This work is far more complex than first meets the eye. The painting has deteriorated, but we can still see the planets, represented anthropomorphically. The Sun and Moon are represented as disks. occupying the first and fourth sphere, as per the Chaldea order. We can also see the constellations, but they are projected in such as a way that we have the illusion of looking through the spheres. Remember that this is illustrating Muhammad’s mystical Night Journey.

Returning to the Quranic position on astrology, let’s examine a few more quotations. There is a Sura in the Quran known as Buruj, an Arabic word meaning ‘Constellation’ or ‘Zodiac sign’. Surah Buruj is the 85th Surah in the Quran. The starting of the Surah is : “I swear by the sky where there are buruj…” (i.e Allah swears by th sky where are  zodiac signs.)

“I have created buruj  [Zodiac signs] in the sky and decorated them for viewers and I have also protected them from evils…” (Surah Hizr 16)

Prophet Muhammad-Miraj Isra

Prophet Muhammad-Miraj Isra

“How great he is, who has created buruj in the sky and placed the Sun and shining Moon over there…” (Surah Furkan 61 )

In Arabic Astrology, we find that the sign Leo is named ‘Asad Buruj’. ‘Asad’ means a lion thus the Arabic name of Leo, which is represented by a lion, is ‘Asad Buruj’. Similarly, Libra is named, ‘Meejan Buruj’. The Arabic word ‘Meejan’ means a balance.

The emphasis on the creation of constellations, given the context we have, does nothing to indicate that a study of the same is somehow haram.

Finally, we can take a brief survey of some of Islam’s most esteemed astrologer. Most are surprised to find that the poet Omar Khayyam of Khorasan was an accomplished astrologer(1019-1135)  He was so accurate in his predictions that he even understood about his own death. This isn’t exactly the same as knowing the time of his death but points to a deep understanding of the art.  Many will be familiar with Sahl Ibn Bishr, Al Kindi, Ibn Arabi, Al Biruni and others.

However, I think the crown should go to Ibn Sina (980-1037) He was brilliant Muslim scientist who developed Alchemy. He was also very much devoted to astronomy and astrology, but other than his prolific philosophical works his contributions to medicine are immeasurable. His massive pharmacopeia is still in use among medical astrologers and natural healers.

This may seem trivial to some, but we have a great deal at stake worldwide. Literalist Fundamentalism is not compatible with peace and has the effect of numbing the mind. The golden age of Islam did not flourish because of  a stricter adherence to Shariah, as is commonly thought by contemporary Muslims, but because it was a period of openness, serious study of Classical antiquity and a willingness to work with people of divergent faiths and ethnicities.

Constellations & The Primordial Zodiac I

 

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If you’ve ever been to a planetarium, the chances are the presenter took ten minutes or so to heap scorn on the ignorant ancients who must have been smoking and drinking powerful drugs in order to see things like goats or virgins in the night sky. This is usually intended as the first blow against the “completely unfounded” science of astrology. The intended knock out punch is the reference to the Precession of the Equinox which means those Sun Sign columns in the tabloids offer a contrived system that ignores precession.

The idea is very simple and easy to grasp.  The sign that was rising at the Vernal Equinox has moved back almost one whole sign since their alignment. This means that what are called Sun Sign Geminis are actually Taurus – except of course they are not. Our astrology is seasonal in its basis, just as it was for the ancients. The critics of the zodiac based on Precession are missing the point.  Nevertheless, this is lost on astronomers. For them, these things are conclusive proof that astrology and its adherents are delusional and primitive minded. The irony of being called “primitive minded” has not been missed; nevertheless who can blame them for their views in the absence of coherent apologetics?

Authentic astrologers would agree on pretty much all counts but come to a very different conclusion. I’m not aware of a true astrologer who isn’t well aware of the phenomenon of the Precession. I would be the first to agree that the appearance of constellations has precious little, if anything, to do with their names. This is where things become really interesting and is the reason I chose the word “primordial” as part of the title advisedly.This is the first in an intended series of articles on this theme. This first part can be little more than a sketch. It serves as an introduction.

It has become all but impossible for many to view a clear a night sky with little or no light pollution. It cannot be overstated that this has changed us to a very large extent. It is now common to find people who cannot identify a single constellation or star. Anyone in or close to large city see almost no stars or perhaps none at all. The best viewing experience I’ve had was in a desert area of British Columbia, on a small mountain away from any artificial light and no Moon.  At first, the brilliance of countless stars are such that it is difficult to find constellations amongst them until the eyes get used to it. The simple connecting of dots yields little or nothing, In the Middle East, particularly under very arid conditions, it is said that one feels that one may reach out and touch the stars. They seemed very close indeed and quite obviously significant.

I would like to take some stars and constellations as examples, questioning the asterisms and looking to alternate, more ancient ways of relating to the heavens.

Antares is a bright orange star, It is among the clearest stars and easy to find if the skies are clear and you know where to look. It is in the centre of the neighbourhood of Scorpio and, with our preconceived conception of the Scorpion, we join the dots.

That’s how its supposed to work, but the image below showing Scorpius, probably as clearly as it can be viewed almost anywhere, doesn’t particularly look like a Scorpion. It could just as easily be an angel, a rabbit, a buffalo or a river. Both photos are included here with the kind permission of David Malin.

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© 2008 Akira Fujii/David Malin Images

Here is the same section of the sky with constellation lines drawn in. Drawing the ecliptic further helps to provide orientation.

Sco_2_www_cImage and text ©2008 Akira Fujii David Malin

© 2008 Akira Fujii/David Malin Images

Even with the lines drawn, it still takes a great deal of imagination to see the constellation as a scorpion rather than anything else.  Unfortunately for the scathing astronomer at the planetarium, that is simply not how the constellations came to be, The situation is of course compounded by the simple fact that different cultures give different names to the same asterisms. Strictly speaking, there are no constellations until we decide that a given asterism has boundaries and significance and visa versa –  One might say a constellation is a projection of an archetype.

Enkienki walks out of the water to the land. The lion symbol of Zoroaster Age of-Leo

Enkienki walks out of the water to the land. The lion symbol of Zoroaster Age of-Leo

Gavin White has produced three illuminating works on ancient Babylonian star lore that challenge later interpretations. I have consulted Babylonian Star-Lore : an Illustrated Guide to the Star-Lore and Constellations of Ancient Babylonia (2008) and his The Queen of Heaven   I have also consulted The Heavenly Writing by Francesca Rochberg, The Epic of Gilgamesh (Gardner and Maier 1984 ed.)  Inanna: Queen of Heaven and Earth (Wolkstein & Kramer 1983  The Babylonians (HWH Saggs ] Cambridge UP) and The British Museum.

White tells us that: “In astrology the Scorpion’s armoured body segments and its array of weaponry predisposed it to become a creature symbolizing war and the martial prowess of the king. However a different meaning is attached to it in mythic texts such as the Gilgamesh Epic where Scorpion-men and women guard the sacred mountain through which the hero has traverse on his quest for immortality. The Scorpion-people are said to guard the sun at his rising and setting and because Gilgamesh is a favourite of the sun god they allow him to travel the subterranean path that the sun travels every night under the mountain.” (all references to Gavin White’s The Queen of Heaven  A New Interpretation of the Goddess in Ancient Near Eastern Art’ by Gavin White can be found on the publisher’s web site).

untitledThis detail is from a kudurru, or boundary stone, showing Gula with feathery crown attached to her conical headdress and a scorpion-man.

Gula with feathery crown attached to her conical headdress and a Scorpion-Man.

However, the form of the Scorpion People of the Sumerian and Babylonian constellation is utterly morphed. “The Scorpion People were powerful servants of the sun god Utu (Shamash). They had a human head, arms and torso but were bird-like below the waist (sometimes with human legs, sometimes bird) and a scorpion’s tail. The people of Mesopotamia invoked the Scorpion People as figures of powerful protection against evil and the forces of chaos. In The Epic of Gilgamesh the Scorpion couple, Scorpion Man and Scorpion Woman, guard the great Gate of the Mountain where the sun rises and are described as `terrifying.” (Gavin White – Queen of Heaven.)

There is a strong need  to understand the Babylonian view on its own terms, to the extent that that is possible. Williams writes: “In Babylonian mythology scorpion men were the children of Tiamat, the dragon mother of the universe.
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Tiamat, the dragon mother of the universe

They were giants whose heads touched the sky. They possessed the head, arms, and torso of a man; but below the waist they had the tails of scorpions. Deadly warriors, they could fight either with their scorpion tails or their bows and arrows which never missed their targets. They were the sacred guardians of the sun god Shamash. In the morning they opened the gates of the Mountain of the East and Shamash ascended into the sky. At night they shut the gates of the Mountain of the West as Shamash descended into the underworld. Gilgamesh, the great Babylonian hero, was aided by a scorpion man in his quest for immortality.”  (Michael Williams.  Encyclopaedia Mythica)

The most easily recognized constellations in the Northern Hemisphere are the Circumpolar Ursa Minor and Ursa Major followed by Orion, mostly because of the several brilliant stars, including Betelgeuse, Rigel and Bellatrix. However none of these are part of the zodiac. That doesn’t mean they haven’t been highly significant in different cultures throughout history,

untitledEnki and the fishes Fishes are often represented swimming up the flow of waters that descend from Enkis shoulders On the left the symbol of the sun

Enki and the fishes Fishes are swimming up the flow of waters that descend from Enkis shoulders On the left is the the symbol of the sun

The constellations have two primary points of reference. The first is particularly referring to the circumpolar stars. The second which has the most immediate importance is the temporal. This is a simple case of a season matching an asterism which is then circumscribed and named.  So for example, Aquarius the Water Bearer rose during the rainy season of late winter and early Spring. But Pisces is now in that temporal place, while Aquarius is rising in the cold but dry season. And how, we may well ask, does Pisces represent either late winter or early spring. What do fish have to do with the season? It takes an exceedingly vivid and guided imagination to translate the asterism to embody two fishes tied together and pulling in different directions for eternity. The same is true of most of the zodiacal asterisms.

Sumerian image, we see both mer-people and priests dressed in fish-skin capes at the sacred tree

Sumerian image, we see both mer-people and priests dressed in fish-skin capes at the sacred tree

However, when we look to Pisces as a temporal reference, the time of year of great floods, other significance can be found. Like Anunitum, the Fish symbolizes the season of flooding, which commences in the early spring. “Like other creatures of the Abyss, fish were thought to be symbols of wisdom and were accordingly held sacred to Enki, the god of creative intelligence, incantations and magic.” (QoH)  The cord is indicative of the two rivers flowing into the sea. This isn’t how Pisces is represented today and before the end of the epoch prior to 500 B.C. much, but by no means all, had already been lost.

 Seven Tablets of Creation.

The Kudurru – Seven Tablets of Creation. (left to right) Venus of the goddess Ishtar, lunar crescent of the moon-god Sin, and the solar disk of Shamash , the Sun god). The serpent is a Tiamat, ( Akkadian for “sea,”)

Of course some zodia are deceptively simple.
They make sense due to the Season in the Northern Hemisphere; Leo is probably as good an example as any.  The Lion has been seen by cultures everywhere as the “king of the beasts” courageous and Solar – why not reign in the hottest and driest part of the year.

White tells us: “Lion (Leo) The Lion has two main strands of symbolism. Firstly as a seasonal star it represents the ferocious heat of summer – its radiant mane stands for the overbearing radiance of the summer sun. Secondly, as the sacred beast of the war goddess Inanna-Ishtar, the Lion represents victory and war. The bright star at its breast (our Regulus) is known as the King Star – here representing the favourite of the goddess to whom she grants victory.” (QoN)

Our knowledge of Ancient History is poor, but great progress has been made even in the last two decades. It has become increasingly apparent that our classical Greek and Roman archetypes are in most cases pale shadows of their original significance. To get to the heart of the zodiac, we need to go back at least as far as Babylon.

Here we find a very different reality where the counterpart of Venus, for example, is the goddess of sexual love, fertility and warfare. The word “pretty” simply doesn’t apply to her. In fact, we have lost most of the archetypal origins of the zodiac and find ourselves trying to make sense of fragments of a powerful, elusive,  but clearly profound inheritance.

 

Winged gods - Sumer

After the Apple Incident

Lucas Cranach -  Der Garten Eden

Lucas Cranach – Der Garten Eden

There was a comment left by one of my readers remarking on the fact that phenomena such as eclipses and comets are invariably seen as negative events or even evil ones. There is a reason for this, and for good or bad, it is something with which every traditional astrologer needs to make their peace. The topic could easily fill many volumes (and does) but it can also be told quite simply for our immediate purposes. This article is likely to pose as many questions as it answers, but I have tried to show various avenues of inquiry for further research.

Since Eve ate apples, the stars have been far less friendly.  John Milton’s epic poem, Paradise Lost provides us with more than one passage about how the stars were turned, but the followed encapsulates it all very well. The post lapsarian cosmology comes into being immediately after the apple incident:

While the Creator, calling forth by name
His mighty Angels, gave them several charge,
As sorted best with present things. The Sun
Had first his precept so to move, so shine,
As might affect the Earth with cold and heat
Scarce tolerable, and from the north to call
Decrepit winter, from the south to bring
Solstitial summer’s heat. To the blanc Moon
Her office they prescribed; to the other five
Their planetary motions and aspects,
In sextile, square, and trine, and opposite,
Of noxious efficacy, and when to join
In synod unbenign; and taught the fixed
Their influence malignant when to shower—
Which of them, rising with the Sun or falling,
Should prove tempestuous. To the winds they set
Their corners, when with bluster to confound
Sea, air, and shore; the thunder when to roll
With terror through the dark aerial hall.

(From Paradise Lost  Book 10.).

Uriel with Sword of Fire by Walter Huacac Santa Cruz

Uriel with Sword of Fire by Walter Huacac Santa Cruz

The Fall changed all of creation, not just humanity After Adam and Eve were forced out of Paradise, an angel with a flaming sword guards the east and the Tree of Life with a flaming sword. This of course mirrors the new celestial restrictions. Adam and Eve. cannot return to the Garden – they must move forward into the world. The stars can still guide them in more ways than one, but they are now, as it were, the flaming swords protecting access to the Empireum.

After the Fall, humanity is in the Sub lunary Sphere and the seven spheres are bounded by the greater malefic. It is no coincidence that Saturn is associated with obstacles and limitations. Beyond Saturn are the Fixed Stars. He will not allow an easy passage. Existence in the the Sub – lunary sphere is subject to corruption, generation and delusions of all kinds The sphere is comprised of the four classical elements.

Buddhists would refer to this state of consciousness as Avidyā, symbolized by a person who is blind or wearing a blindfold.  It is ignore – ance in its true senseIn this state, we are  unaware of our true nature. Plato’s Allegory of the Cave where the cave dwellers believe the shadow play before them to be the real thing and in fact all there is. The one who unchains himself to turn toward the light of the Sun, outside of the cave. Essentially, you will remain in a state of illusion until you cast off the mind forged manacles.

There are many traditions that seek to win the Celestial Garden, such as Cabala, Hermeticism, Neo-Platonism and of course the Christian and Jewish faiths themselves, At the risk of over simplifying, these paths all strive for enlightenment and the Buddha tells us that the Enlightened don’t need astrology because they are no longer subject to cause and effect. All major religions and a good many philosophies subscribe to the belief, either stated or employed. Plato’s Doctrine of the Forms is very illuminating and will perhaps make a good starting point in understanding the traditional cosmology.

Ptolemaic cosmology diagram, showing stars as 8th sphere, and transcendent prime mover as 9th

Ptolemaic cosmology diagram, showing stars as 8th sphere, and transcendent prime mover as 9th

Islam rejects the notion of a Fall in the sense of original sin, but a Celestial Garden is the reward of the pious amd Adam and Eve lived in the Garden if Eden; the departure from the other Abrahamic religions in that Islam inteprets Adam as a prophet.

Stars play more than one role in Islam. Allah is referred to  as “He Who is the Lord of Sirius, “(Qur’an, 53: 49) while the Kaaba is oriented with Canopus and has a meteorite that is the stuff of pilgrimage. Modern Muslims tend to think that the reading of stars is shirk (attributing a partner to God,) by considering that the planets and luminaries compel us to act.  Essentially the same complaint was made by many Christians and for the same reason.

The history of Islam and its impact on traditional Western astrology is immense and the art is supported by the Qu’ran according to Muslims with whom I have spoken. There are two surahs that come to mind, but there are many more: “It is He Who maketh the stars (as beacons) for you, that ye may guide yourselves, with their help, through the dark spaces of land and sea: We detail Our signs for people who know. (Surah Al-An‘am, 97) ” This can be read to mean guidance of many types, including astrological.

Four_Angels guardian

Four Guardian Angels -Islamic

The second is this one : “He has made subject to you the Night and the Day; the sun and the moon; and the stars are in subjection by His Command: verily in this are Signs for men who are wise. (Surah An-Nahl, 12)” It is important to note that not only did Islamic scholars serve as conduits of Greek thought, including Hellenistic, but Middle Eastern traditions as well, such as Pre-Islamic Arabian and Persian, Almost all the star names we use are either Arabic or Persian. It is almost certain that Islamic astrologers were also exposed to Indian astrology. Our astrological roots are very deep, various and rich.

Furthermore, in all of these traditions there is a strong sense of having lost, or not yet attained, Paradise. Spiritual progress requires work ever since the Fall however one sees that and  to whatever metaphorical degree of understanding. The core trope is ubiquitous.

Finally the Yusuf Ali translation of 67:5 in the Qu’ran. we read: “And we have, (from of old), adorned the lowest heaven with Lamps, and We have made such (Lamps) (as) missiles to drive away the Evil Ones, and have prepared for them the Penalty of the Blazing Fire.” The evil ones are usually referred to as Jinn or “shaytans” in the plural. The former can be good or evil and are spirits of smokeless fire.  They are invisible unless they chose to be and live thousands of years. The “missiles” are commonly regarded as meteorites or comets, but also associated with the stars themselves who serve as guides and guardians.

Whether we look to Platonic myth of the Creation and Fall, the Mythos of the ‘people of the Book,’ and all major religions and most minor ones as well, there is the same theme: Creation in an ideal state which (ironically) cannot be sustained, a ‘fall from grace’ which includes all of creation and the promise of something far better than Eden. But it is conditional. Even the stars protect the inner sanctum, as it were, as well as the corresponding celestial realms – the microcosm and the macrocosm.

Islamic Eden

Islamic Eden

We could well argue that the mythos described is not literally true at all – perhaps even childish – but it has endured cross culturally for thousands of years. This may say something about the human mind or the nature of reality. Perhaps they are the same thing.  After all, cosmologies are a way to make things make sense and they remain more or less intact even before  our experiences reinforce them,

Of all the Fixed Stars used in astrology, only a handful promise good fortune. Among these are Spica, Canopus and others, but discernment is required to fully realize the benefits. It also makes a great deal of difference whether the star is ascending, culminating, setting and other considerations.

The Royal Stars of Persia, the guardians of the directions,  are all powerful, but their great benefits can only be realized by meeting certain conditions. If these are not met, they can become harbingers of very bad tidings indeed. If one is going to enjoy the blessings of Regulus, for example, one must avoid revenge or any of the lower impulses. One’s character must be equal to the task of nobility.

The Royal Stars each have an angel assigned to them as protectors of the directions . Regulus is associated with the healing Archangel Raphael, the watcher of the North. Fomalhaut, is identified with the Archangel Gabriel, the watcher of the South. Aldebaran is assigned the Archangel Michael, the watcher of the East.; to Antares, the Archangel Oriel, the watcher of the West.

This merely an expansion or extrapolation of the archetypal myth of creation, its fall and the goal of realization after traversing the spheres. Just like the conditional nature of the Royal Stars, the ascent causes the malefics to lose their power thus elevating us to a higher version of the Garden.

The simple point, easily missed, is that we cannot ignore the cosmology that lead to the astrology we practise. It is not crucial to understand it literally at all, but neither can we neglect such a powerful archetypal system.

The stars can be guides to us, but we must not lose sight of the ultimate goal. The Neo Pythagorean schema below provides a heightened knowledge of the spheres insofar as it offers ways in which we can actively participate in the harmonies of the spheres.

pythagsource-17the-music-of-the-spheres-shown-in-this-engraving-from-renaissance-italy-are-apollo-the-muses-the-planetary-spheres-and-musical-ratios

The Music of the Spheres. Shown in this engraving from Renaissance Italy are Apollo, the Muses, the planetary spheres and musical ratios.

Hanging in the Balance

small_horoscope_detailI think that by now the vision of an Aquarian Utopia populated by highly evolved, spiritualized beings devoted solely to the perfection of humanity has very little currency outside the lunatic fringe. At least I wish that were the case. The fact is, the idea has been marketed very successfully. If you can get a population to believe such things, they are very easy to control.

The illusion of progress makes real progress all but impossible to achieve. If you don’t realize there is a problem, there is no motivation to solve it. There are of course highly evolved and spiritualized beings here on Earth. There always has been. Humanity didn’t need to wait for Saturn.

This is likely to be the last article in a series regarding the nature of the Aquarian Age. The series of articles have been in large part a response to Robert Zoller whose views are notably dystopian.  I’m accepting Zoller on his own terms and methodology for this project. Although I’ve added many of my own thoughts, I find myself in general agreement with Zoller.

When we are talking about an Age, we paint with a very broad brush. This makes most astrologers understandably uneasy (or it ought to) but this is the right tool for the occasion. However, we do need to be careful of using the correct terms. For example, the word “fascist” has become so overworked that it’s oftentimes used in ways that are cliche, not helpful at all or simply spurious.

When the courtyard attendant asks someone not to smoke within nine meters of the door, he might be called a Nazis in an absurd attempt to link the enforcement of rules designed to protect asthmatics and non smokers to Nazi atrocities during the Third Reich.  This sort of trivial use or misuse of the term makes it a bit more difficult to recognize when we see the real thing.

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Chart showing the angles to which Zoller is referring

Zoller suggests that “In the Age of Aquarius, religion will be humanistic love of fairness and justice. While feeding the people with Libran platitudes, the Scorpionic rulers will work tirelessly toward the realization of their goal – absolute power over others, as Leo is seen in position on the 7th house.” (The Use of Archetypes in Prediction .)

In this we can find either hope or despair. Venus is nicely placed in the Ninth House which informs the Tenth. Libra, however, is the Fall of the Sun. Venus will tickle the ear, but lack authenticity that comes with a stronger sense of self.  But the placement itself is benign, even if misguided. Optimism is a wonderful thing but that doesn’t mean the pessimist has nothing to be concerned about.

There are no goose stepping soldiers in Montreal, London, Berlin or Manhattan, but the police forces in many Western countries have become increasingly militarized, to the point that someone from a previous era wouldn’t recognize them as police at all.  The right to even peaceful protest has been greatly diminished. The implications that what used to be called citizens are now the *enemy.* The term used most often to refer to the population is “consumers.” They are guilty if the powers that be say that they are.

Again, the implication is that this world is in the hands of a small, but inestimably rich plutocracy. According to Oxfam less than 1% of people in the world have more than half of the wealth (The Guardian).

Even these figures distort the reality because the Plutocracy is a tiny fraction of that 1%. It has become virtually common knowledge that this wealth contributes in no small way to foreign and domestic policies in all of the most powerful countries. It’s called lobbying but in many cases it’s rewarding what is demanded and implied threats of consequences if the donor fails to get what he or she want. .

The International Monetary Fund which we are lead to believe is a benevolent institution devoted to the development of the third countries sound very humanitarian. However the IMF loans amounts the country cannot afford to pay back as the interest compounds. The recipient then has to offer its resources in lieu of payment. This keeps the third world in thrall while making the *humanitarian* bankers richer than ever.  There is nothing new about greed and injustice; but packaging these things as benign acts of altruism and humanitarianism soars to a new level of cynicism, which is decidedly Saturnine.

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Somalia – Famine, war and corruption – only one case of a failing state only one case of a failing state resulting in massive refugee populations

I also concur with Zoller: “As the Aquarian dream of humanistic science and universal brotherhood is a vision of the world to come in Pisces, and realized in Aquarius, so too, the Aquarian avant-garde will look forward to an Aquarian Golden Age on the one hand, while the Aquarian technocrats will look for a world corporation to fossilize society into a rigid caste system run technologically.” The Use of Archetypes in Prediction

The key problem is that the proponents of an Aquarian Golden Age are blinded by unfounded optimism. Ironically perhaps, if they were more realistic they would see that the agenda of the Aquarian technocrats must be curbed, not just for a better world, but for our survival as a species.

The Aquarian technocrats require powerful militaries and endless wars which are justified as necessary for the security of the nation. For “our own good” we give up freedom and human rights,

With Mars on the MC the Scorpionic “overlords” will have no scruples about using whatever force they deem necessary to put down the perceived enemies of complete global domination. In the spirit of Aquarian egalitarianism, a one world government sounds like a good idea. Just as George Orwell wrote in 1948, the world is divided into larger and larger sections, such as East Asian (“we have always been at war with East Asia”). Those not complying with the agenda are called terrorists – Orwell showed how the masses can be convinced that lies are true and visa versa.

Aquarius -by al-Sufi - 'Book of Fixed Stars'

Aquarius -by al-Sufi – ‘Book of Fixed Stars’

Neither will their domestic critics be spared. This is all out fascism, largely concealed by the velvet glove. Wars are no longer fought for the nation state in the West, They are fought mostly to further the interests of corporations and to make the very wealthy even wealthier.

Some will argue that there have always been wars and tyrants to send good people to fight them. However, the level and scope of what have become endless wars since the Age began, with the dominance shifting from Naval Power to Air Power, is truly unprecedented. To a very real way we have the technology  to have wars that don’t end but become their own reason for being.

Predator drones are controlled from the other side of the world with impunity; but the target is people who are often unarmed ,with no chance of self defense They are destroyed without warning.. Arbitrary extrajudicial executions, carried out at the press of a button from CIA locations in California or Virginia, require no transparency or accountability. They operations are secret and above and beyond even international law.

The current President of the United States has insisted on his right to kill anyone, anywhere in the world, including the US, simply on the basis of alleged suspicion, This comes from a Democratic President with a Peace Prize. There is no trial required for this and often no specific charge at all, All youths 16 or older can be considered enemy combatants. Almost 200 children have been killed by drones in Pakistan and Yemen alone on his watch. This mechanical, high tech form of slaughtering people is particularly ghoulish. The victims are often innocent and remain anonymous in our media. The globalism so commonly espoused in the Western world is often blind to who it kills, except of course for those who ordered the strike.

Many scientists, political commentators, environmentalists and others now consider nuclear war the most likely existential threat to the human race and thousands of other species, even if the exchange were limited to India and Pakistan. A nuclear winter would ensue and it would be difficult to imagine a more Saturnine fate. Rapid climate change, accelerated by the burning of fossil fuel is a threat as well. An accidental or deliberate leak of biological agents having the affect of a rapidly spreading plague of pandemic proportions is often cited as close to the top of the list of doomsday scenarios. These are created, exacerbated or potentially ameliorated by human beings.

The astrological Saturn, by Hans Sebald Beham,d 1539

The astrological Saturn, by Hans Sebald Beham,d 1539

Optimists are becoming less numerous regarding outlooks for the future. As Zoller stated, the two malefics on the angles lacks the optimism and idealism of a Piscean Jupiter. Steven Hawking, one of our most brilliant and  best loved physicists, has said many times that the only chance of human survival is for us to leave this planet. We have the technology to do real harm to the environment on an epic scale. In the meantime, famine, so often a result of war is obscenely commonplace considering the tools we have at our disposal,

Just as Libra in the Ninth is good at whispering sweet nothings into the ears of the rich and powerful, so it is an opportunity for renewed moral balance of a spiritual nature. Libra is after all the Exaltation of Saturn and the higher impulse is for true justice. We live in very dangerous times, If we can invoke the positive collective qualifies, we have an opportunity to take back what is ours. The real enemy is stealthy and the fist looks so much nicer in a velvet glove. Certainly denying or trivializing our powers of destruction will yield nothing but more of the same.

Saturn is the Reaper and what we reap is what we sow.  Saturn is all about consequences and revealing limitations, often in very challenging ways. It’s said that the path of good intentions leads to Hell. When humanism becomes a rallying cry for the availability of every human whim, it becomes something very different. The most poignant irony is that humanism, always attributed to Aquarius, spells the end of truly human life.

Clearly, this is no longer seen in an entirely negative light. For some, it’s the only solution. Why not have a humanoid that’s “Forever Twenty One” to do all the work and be able to function in the most extreme conditions, should they occur. Japan would prefer robots to immigrants in a rapidly aging society. And of course, the humanoid has perfect manners and can teach Japanese in Viet Nam.

The Aquarius / Leo axis has brought a culture of conspicuous consumption, unparalleled technological innovation, the rewarding of selfishness and celebrity for its own sake (one can now be famous for being famous) as well as opportunities to defeat the most miserable illnesses, illiteracy and some forms of inequality. The scales offer us a choice and until we make that choice we will be ever hanging in the balance waiting for “Godot” the Aquarian messiah or the end of everything that matters.

 

Why Don’t Astrologers Listen to Scientists?

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By Martien Hermes

Why don’t astrologers listen to scientists? Or: Why it is rational for astrologers to ignore scientific and statistical research into astrology.

“We feel that even if all possible scientific questions are answered, we have not even touched upon the problems of life.”
Ludwig Wittgenstein; Tractatus

“If science is rational, why is it so rare in human history? If faith is irrational, why have the great majority of people always preferred traditional beliefs to new ones obtained by independent, critical investigation?”
Theodore J. Everett

In 2000/2001 the publication of the book Astrology in the Year Zero again put a great emphasis on the – supposedly – scientific research and repudiation of astrology and astrological claims of being able to actually judge a horoscope. In the Netherlands this was soon followed by a small collection of lectures titled: “Astrology and science”. It contains a collection of four transcripts of lectures, published earlier in the astrological periodical (Astrofocus) of the Dutch Astrological Association. In both publications the scientists attack astrology and astrologers and – as usual – we get raked over the coals. In his award-winning book The Real Astrology, John Frawley merrily returns the favour and makes fun of the scientist’s claims and refutes them, under the header ‘some modern fallacies’ – of sceptics as well as astrologers. “’We tested 500 astrologers…’” he writes: “Competent astrologers are few and far between; but somehow the scientists who run the supposed tests on astrology seem to have no trouble in finding them. ‘We tested 50/500/5000 astrologers,’ they proclaim, ‘and found that only two of them knew what day of the week it was’. Exactly where they find these competent astrologers, unless they breed them like mice in their laboratories, is a mystery. There may – possibly – be 500 competent astrologers in the world; but it is most certain that scientists lack either the inclination or the necessary criteria to determine who they are. Even more certain is that most astrologers of any competence will have better things with which to occupy themselves than running through mazes for the edification of men in white coats.”

The debate between these two parties is an old one, and time and time again it is ignited by publications such as these. Both parties present their points of view as the ultimate proof of the validity of each of them, but very often the scientists seem to checkmate us astrologers by the sheer weight of the statistical methods that ‘seem to be on their side’. Any response an astrologer could ever hope to have, every argument that could be levelled against the apparently overwhelming evidence against the case of astrology seems to get swept away by this ultimate scientific weapon: statistical evidence. The wielding of this weapon is enough to silence every opposition, or so it seems. This article is intended to give astrologers some arguments in this debate with scientists. Often astrologers simply have nothing or very little to say to defend astrology against the claims of these scientists and the (predominantly) negative results of statistical and scientific research into astrology, which is so contrary to their everyday experience with it. In the eyes of the scientists (and even some astrologers) this might seem to be some sort of an acknowledgement of a possible ‘victory based upon solid statistical and scientific methods of proof- and truth-finding’, however, this silence on the astrologer’s part is probably based on more rational grounds than scientists might want to believe or have an ability to see. I will explain the reasons of this shortly.

My point in this article is that these scientists wield their statistics the same way they reproach astrologers of using their horoscopes. I argue that probably no amount of good or valid examples and horoscopic evidence will ever satisfy or convince these scientists, just as no astrologer will probably ever give in to the abstract conclusions drawn from ‘alien’ sources such as the so revered statistics, which can be – and have been – just as easily manipulated – or ‘(re-)interpreted’ one way or the other – as scientists claim astrologers do with their faulty horoscopes.

According to the editor of the Dutch booklet “Astrology and science”, Hans de Groot, the articles were particularly intended to “…remove the bias of astrologers that research into the truth of astrology is merely meant to attack astrology and its practitioners”.  The remark “…the truth of astrology …”, which is also the opening sentence of the ‘Bible’ of these scientists: Recent Advances in Natal Astrology, begs reaction. What exactly is truth? How can one define the (or even: a) ‘level of truth’ in anything? How does one ‘measure’ such a thing? Are they saying that scientists have an exclusive claim on what’s true and what is not? Can statistics actually measure this and a horoscope not?

I will do this by presenting an interesting theory by Theodore J. Everett on subjective rationality.”

Everett’s theory of ‘rational belief’

is not a disclaimer, as many scientists would have it, but simply another version of rationality, not a less valid one. I think his arguments are valid for our discussion with scientists. ”I think this answer is false. I see the conflict between science and faith as resulting not from the struggle of rational thought against irrational forces of conformity, but from a systematic tension between two aspects of rationality itself, which I call simply subjective and objective.
I make two main controversial claims. I claim that most people rationally (in the more basic, subjective sense) ought to believe in their local traditions, because that is what all of the people around them believe, and few individuals are in a total epimistic situation from within which they can reasonably contradict their neighbours. I also claims that most scientists and other modern intellectuals ought rationally (in the same sense) not to believe in their own theories, though it is often good for others in the long run when they do”. Accentuation by Everett.

His point is, that people have access to several and different ‘pools of evidence’ and that they can, and actually do, arrive at different conclusions, and other systems of belief or convictions than what is scientifically current, or what one believes in other religions – and that they arrive at these conclusion in a rational way. All these beliefs Everett calls subjectively rational instead of irrational. It can simply be equally rational for people to come up with different beliefs.

Does this imply that when everybody in my neighbourhood believes that the Martians are coming tomorrow, that we’re allowed to call this a subjectively rational belief that is true? No, because that would imply that anything could be posited by an appeal to this subjective rationality. According to Everett these beliefs have to be correctly drawn/concluded from all the available evidence in a particular ‘pool of evidence’, even if this pool of evidence differs from another one. Everett: “Consider an ordinary child’s belief in the existence of Santa Claus. It may seem that such children must be making some kind of juvenile mistake in reasoning to come to such a poorly evidenced conclusion. But from the subjective rational point of view, there is usually nothing wrong with them at all. They are not making any mistakes, giving the evidence they actually have.”  So the point for now is, that for scientists researching astrology statistics is their first order pool of evidence, for astrologers it is the horoscope.

Everett also makes the following distinction, which I think is relevant to our discussion with scientists. “Religion and faith are not coextensive. There are plenty of traditional and other second-hand beliefs that have nothing to do with religion, and there are sources of belief that are not second order [we will come to this ‘second-order-proof’ shortly-MH]. For example, many people claim to have their own, auto-empirical religious experiences, anywhere from hearing vividly the voice of God, tot the vague “oceanic feeling” that Sigmund Freud talks about. There are also some science-like ingredients in religion, including philosophical discussions among theologians. But the thing that really makes religion or religious faith what it is, an institution as opposed to a mere set of doctrines, is its transmission through testimony from one generation to another.” Accentuation by me.  I think that last remark applies to astrology as well as it does to science, although scientists generally would have it that astrology is by no means an institution but merely a set of irrational doctrines past on from generations of astrologers to another.

This argument – different pools of evidence – Everett applies to the difference of opinion between scientists and representatives of religions. I think it can also be used in our discussion with scientists, because implicitly or explicitly astrologers are being accused of irrational beliefs, or even irrational behaviour. Everett: “I want to argue that the main source of disagreement in many such questions is that people on the different sides have different total evidence. The people on both sides are drawing the conclusions that as individuals they rationally ought to draw from their evidence”. (Accentuation by Everett)  to believe. to understand or accept the evidence from the other party. Therefore cientists cannot reproach an astrologer for not arriving at the same conclusions about astrology based on statistics, or agreeing with them. The reason is that statistics are neither an astrological, nor a necessary or relevant pool of evidence for astrologers, a necessary or a relevant pool of evidence for them.  In the case of scientists who know or understand next to nothing about astrology, this is a very pertinent argument that explains why they seem to be just as deaf to our astrological arguments as we astrologers (who have no experience or knowledge whatsoever of statistics) are deaf to their scientific/statistic arguments.  The problem is: what to do with scientists who are or have been trained in astrology? They did have access to the same ‘pool of evidence’ as practising astrologers. Recent Advances in Natal Astrology is a book written by some of those  Astrologically trained scientists

Where astrologers in the Seventies and Eighties could still wield the argument that the scientists who rallied against astrology had very little knowledge of astrology and actually didn’t quite know what they were talking about, this doesn’t hold anymore. Experienced and well trained and informed astrologers are now scientifically testing astrology. Astrology in the Year Zero points this out.  Rudolf Smit was the founder of the Dutch Professional Astrological Society and wrote a very positive book about astrology; that is, before his ‘conversion’. Mather was an autodidact and Geoffrey Dean founded the Federation of Australian Astrologers WA branch. Both Smit and Dean received astrological awards; the AMR (Astrological Monthly Review) Commemorative Bi-Centennial award for contributions to astrology, especially for their efforts in researching astrology. These awards are quite prestigious.

Again, Everett has a point that explains why these scientists, for all their astrological training and experience, have no bigger claim to ‘the’ truth, than the average astrologer. This has to do with what Everett calls first-order evidence and second-order evidence.  “First-order evidence is whatever is available to an individual without dependence on the words of others. Whatever comes directly to me through my senses, memory and faculties of inference is my first-order pool of evidence. Second-order evidence is whatever one can access only indirectly, through reliance on the word of others. So if I hear someone say to me that it is raining in Paris, then I have first-order evidence that such-and-such a person has made the sound, ‘It is raining in Paris’, and I have second-order evidence that it is raining in Paris.  One’s first-order beliefs are then those based on first-order evidence, and one’s second-order beliefs are those based to a significant extent on testimony.  First- and second-order rationality may then be defined as the correct reliance on first- and second-order evidence to form first- and second-order beliefs.”

This argument can explain – perhaps to the amazement of scientists – why astrologers care so little about the results of statistical and other scientific research into astrology. The reason is simply that their astrological training, and further experience with doing astrological consultations, and all the experience gathered by any astrologer, is his/her first-order pool of evidence for the ‘truth’ of astrology. The astrologer sees, hears and lives – first hand – the way that astrology actually works. Statistics, for an astrologer, is probably never quite able to replace these first-order pools of astrological evidence; hence statistics are an alien, second-order pool of evidence for astrologers. The only reason an astrologer would perhaps change his mind about the truth of astrology on account of scientific evidence would be – according to Everett – if he thinks that the person or status of the scientist(s) in question – or his particular scientific bent or speciality – is authoritative to such an extent, that he believes him on his word; which makes this a second-order belief. order pool of evidence for an astrologer, even if it is wielded by a (former) astrologer. order pool of evidence, but this authority cannot be claimed by these scientists because they were once astrologers.  Convincing is that pool of evidence you believe in; which you grant authority So, what happens if one starts to doubt astrology? For instance because of the much acclaimed ‘good consultation based on a wrong chart’, or the alleged unanimously negative results of statistical research into the claims of astrologers?  Everett says that in case of a convincing pile of first-order evidence (i.e. my own experience as an astrologer) and a lot of conflicting second-order evidence (i.e. what these scientists say about astrology) it is at long last the individual who makes the choice which pool of evidence he accepts or ‘believes’, or grants most authority.

Everett: “Ironically, widespread attacks [like those of these scientists on the truth of astrology] on the rationality of [the astrological] faith will tend to push some people out of this uncertain state by second-order means alone [the ‘word of mouth’ of these scientists, their statistical evidence], while pushing others into it.” Accentuation by me.  Rudolf Smit is, among others, an example of the first. Because of conflicting evidence he was pushed out of astrology. He started out as an amateur astronomer, who later became a zealous astrologer. Apparently some first-order pool of evidence (his own experience with astrology and consultations I gather) led him to strongly ‘believe’ in astrology; he wrote a jubilant book about it; founded the Dutch Professional Astrological Society, etc.. But certain experiences (‘a good consultation based upon a wrong chart’ perhaps?) and perhaps other doubts made him ‘choose’ the pool of evidence of the other belief – which where in the long run decisive for him – science and statistics. Perhaps Smit was conditioned by his (scientific) education and his hobby (astronomy) to ultimately give greater weight to this pool of evidence when faced with doubts about astrology (as we all have now and then I guess). Education might be an important factor in what one decides as being authoritative in the longer run.

Just as Smit is a good example of an astrologer who, because of widespread attacks, was driven out of astrology, I personally am an example of an astrologer who was driven further into it, by these widespread attacks. Confronted on the one hand with scientific and statistical criticism of the (modern) astrology I was practising at the time (as opposed to astrology as such), and on the other hand my own criticism of the (nearly) exclusive grounding of modern astrology on psychological (or rather psychoanalytical) theories alone, I became – according to many – a ‘fundamentalist’ astrologer. Calling myself a traditional or classical astrologer no less, founding my practice on what old astrological lore and doctrines the ‘churchfathers’ left to posterity (‘Saint’ Vettius Valens, ‘Saint’ Bonatus, ‘Saint’ William Lilly, ‘Saint’ Morinus et cetera). My ‘loss of faith’ in modern astrology as a philosophy, in modern astrological practice, modern astrological doctrines and latter day astrological authorities, at first made me doubt astrology in its entirety (just as seems to have been the case with Smit c.s.), but after that I gradually started reconsidering exactly what astrology is (and was) and began doing research on the history of astrology: I ended up granting authority to astrologers of old, and not to the scientists and their arguments. I was pushed further into astrology, not out of it.
According to Everett, this is just as rational a choice as Smit’s; we just took other pools of evidence as authoritative.

So what it comes down to is that in this kind of debate it’s the individual who ultimately makes a choice in what he or she considers to be logical, ‘rational’ or decisive which, in the case of first-order evidence, depends on direct personal experience (which is horoscopy for astrologers, statistics for scientists); and in case of second-order evidence (i.e. does the astrologer believe the conclusions and reasoning of the scientist, or vice versa?) this always depends on the authority one grants to the person or method and/or its status (‘science’; ‘statistics’; ‘astrology’; ‘horoscopy’). Once your mind is made up – perhaps anew – that is what you probably stick to. anew, whereby they tend to notice those facts and arguments which suit their case, and pass over inconvenient facts and arguments. As Elwell has shown, Dean c.s. are particularly apt, virulent and deceiving in this.  Good consultations with wrong charts; good statistics with wrong conclusions

Scientists in fact do make ‘choices’ in what they consider authoritative evidence against astrology, and these choices are based on assumptions beforehand, not concluded after scientific testing or methods have lifted them above the everyday level of this ‘irrational belief in astrology’. This can perhaps be illustrated by the following.  Smit/Dean c.s. often wield the argument that it is indeed strange that astrologers sometimes have excellent consultations based upon wrong charts: “How is it possible to make good delineations based upon wrong charts?” Smit askes himself.  What is interesting however is that this (seemingly) didn’t prompt Smit to ask questions about – for example – the tenets of the (modern) astrology he was practising, or the way he was doing consultations (because, I’ve said it before: modern astrology has become a very fluent method of psychoanalytical discourse about life and individuals, a narrative technique, a new ‘talking cure’ that during a consultation can completely break away from any foundation in accurate chartfactors or analysis.) No, it prompted Smit to doubt astrology and horoscopy wholesale. For Smit as well as Dean these were experiences that finally made them decide to break with astrology, and/or to research it more strictly/severely. But, we could justifiably ask them: since it is proven that scientists have made (many) false assumptions and arrived at wrong conclusion based upon valid statistics, and conversely, have based decisive conclusions or hypotheses upon wrong or misinterpreted statistics, why then didn’t they forsake science as method of research? Why has the experience of poorly interpreted statistics (just as is the case with these ‘wrong charts’) which led to scientifically satisfying conclusions, not put them off science?

The answer must be that these scientists beforehand chose to ‘believe’ statistics (in this case, ‘over horoscopic evidence’); they grant (exclusive) authority to it and no longer to astrology. So, for them it’s only natural to continue to renounce astrology because it has ceased to hold any authority for them (if it really ever had any, that is). They’ve granted authority to the pool of evidence which is called statistics (or other scientific methods of research or reasoning) and they constantly level these methods against whatever arguments or horoscopic evidence astrologers have. This is why Smit c.s can constantly repeat his scientific-magical incantation: that “There is no scientific proof for Astrology”. But this may be read as: “For scientists, based upon their means of measuring and evaluating things, astrology has never been proven”. To which the following disclaimer can be added: “But this doesn’t actually mean anything, except when you are a scientist, and, if one is neither an astrologer nor a scientist, one can take this statement at face value and do with it as one pleases. Better not take this as ultimate truth on astrology. Please see your local astrologer for a second opinion”. So, based upon this argument – a wrong chart yielding good results – scientists cannot maintain that astrologers should therefore forsake astrology, or that astrology is defective and not reliable in what it claims to be able to do, because the same can be argued regarding science and (one of) its instrument: statistics.

Real astrology has yet to be researched

My second position is that “Real astrology has yet to be researched; i.e., it hasn’t been researched at all.”

“If we want to prove that astrology really works, we will have to begin by studying astrology anew.” Robert Hand

“Modern Western astrology is the product of the late 19th century rescension of the art. The astrology re-introduced to the west at that time was a considerably watered down version of the art adapted to what was then believed to be the exigencies of the contemporary education and economics. The astrological practice in the 17th century (prior to the great hiatus) was a more demanding science.”-  Robert Zoller

The book, or rather the pamphlet and model for scientific research into astrology; Recent Advances, opens (literally on page zero) with the remark that: “In 1900 astrology was effectively medieval”. This remark of course is not correct at all, but the authors obviously consider this to be a self-evident disclaimer (as does many a modern astrologer), urging them to do definitive and final research on the supposed or acclaimed innovations and practices of modern astrologers from the period 1900 up until 1976. Their comments in “Astrology in the year Zero”, can be viewed as their latest update on the research broken of in 1976. And, as was to be expected in view of the partiality of this research group (the Dean-circus as Elwell calls it), there is little hope for astrology and astrologers, according to their (continued) findings. Now, a valid question to ask oneself is, what was it exactly that was researched by these scientists? The answer they themselves offer is: modern astrology, which is the ‘astrology after the deluge’ that Zoller refers to; the one that evolved ‘after the great hiatus’. So apparently, Recent Advances obviously limited its research of astrology to the 20th century reformulation and reinterpretation of its doctrine(s).

If one were to take this opening remark (“In 1900 astrology was effectively medieval”) as authoritative, or, if one were to grant authority to the scientific research it resulted in, this would actually underpin my second thesis, that real astrology has yet to be (scientifically) researched, which of course implies that I consider traditional astrology (pre 18th century) to be the real stuff.  This is not the place to recollect everything that happened to astrology during the 19th and 20th centuries, nor is the criticism I now raise meant to deny or refute the positive effects of using modern counselling in unison with astrology to meet the needs of modern clientele during a consultation (needs which are often formulated by the astrologers rather than their clients). But there is indeed a need for reclaiming our astrological heritage, as was – and still is – done by Zoller, Schmidt, Hand and many others. I think it is a (very) necessary stage in re-valuing the actual know-how of astrology as a science (sorry scientists).

The reason for this is the simple fact that methods of judgement and delineation between modern and traditional astrology differ strongly, and this difference cannot be whitewashed by claiming that they are reflecting a necessary, conscious or positive updating of a depreciated …medieval version… of astrology. If this difference in methods and opinions in our art plays an important role in the way astrological indications are interpreted and conceptualised, then we’re back to the authority question as posed by Everett: which astrologers and astrological texts do we grant authority?

Temperament

Traditional astrologers repeatedly point out the fact that modern astrology resembles her traditional roots and doctrines in almost nothing, especially regarding applied methods and techniques. There are some very fundamental and sometimes even disturbing differences in methods applied by ancients and moderns in locating specific significators for any given astrological subject. I always tell my students that the two things that differ mostly between modern and traditional astrology is, first, the methods of locating specific significators for any given subject; and second, the almost rigidly consistent way of judging, delineating and interpreting these significators once they’re found, to draw as realistic conclusions as are possible, as opposed to more symbolic speculation of all the things they might possibly mean. Which is of course saying that they differ completely.

An example of this is the way modern astrology tries to establish the distribution of the four elements and therefore what type the native is. This is, or should be, a very important procedure – especially for medical and Jungian astrologers – upon which, in case of the latter, rest some very basic assumptions regarding the ‘mode’ of interaction with, and contents of – the unconscious.. However, close examination of traditional texts on this procedure differ significantly from the way this is done nowadays.

The traditional method focuses on what could be called ‘the significators of character/personality or the individuals psyche’, which is always a limited number of planets, as opposed to most modern methods which use all the planets and the signs they are in, irrespective of their specific function in the fore lying horoscope. The most simplistic modern version of this procedure (there are others) is to simply count the number of planets in any given element and then grant the one which has the most ‘counters’ primacy over the other three. Now, granting modern planets Pluto, Uranus and Neptune an equally important role in this as the traditional planets, reflects perhaps the overbearing attention these new planets have gained, but remains a firm point of discussion.

As John Frawley has indicated, a comparison between modern and traditional methods reveals a telling difference in the case of Hitler; modern astrology would necessarily have to regard him, and interpret his character, as an ‘earth-type’; but traditional methods reveal he is strongly choleric. For Jung and his astrological descendants these two elements are literally opposites of each other. If fire is dominant, then earth needs must be the inferior i.e. the (more) unconscious function in his psychological make-up, all of which carries rather important implications regarding the contents of Hitler’s unconscious.

I do not know of any attempt to delineate Hitler’s temperament using this Astro-Jungian hypothesis, but I suspect such an analysis would succeed in convincingly ‘proving’ that Hitler was indeed a strong earth type, perhaps somewhere along the lines of: ‘by being so destructive (WW2, Blitzkrieg strategies), Hitler proved that he could not cope with his inferior fire-element (because of the many faster and therefore personal planets in earth signs, earth would strongly dominate as his superior function) and because he would by necessity need to repress all to overt expressions of this inferior function of fire (because, according to Jung, this is what we all do with the inferior function in order to prevent a difficult and disturbed adaptation to the world around us, which is the task of the superior function), it (the unconscious fire-element) could – and perhaps would – gain autonomy in his personal (or even his collective) unconscious, which might then result in destructive ‘outbursts’ of all this repressed fire into consciousness and reality’. No doubt Hitler’s health problems (body is matter = earth), his vegetarianism (meat is often seen as a typical food of the fire element in modern astrology, hence his aversion to it), the fact that the colour brown played such an interesting role in his life (born in Braunau, wearing a brown uniform all the time), would all be lined up as arguments signifying the strong domination of the earth element. Problem is however, that a lot of Hitler’s problems could just as easily be explained by earth being his inferior function.

Now I do not propose to challenge Jung’s theory here, but anyone can understand that for such important issues – someone’s psychological makeup – it is at least necessary to have (some sort of) a communis opinio, an agreement on how to correctly achieve a method of determining elementary type. If modern astrologers are capable of reformulating and interpreting Hitler’s biography so that it convincingly supports the idea that he was indeed an earth-type and not a choleric (as they are very well able to do), then there is something fundamentally wrong: either their method of determining the type is at fault; or they are not able to recognise these types in reality or in someone’s biography (and thus solely rely on Jung’s ideas and the astrological correlative thereof).  The third reason is of course that astrology today is a fluent method of psychoanalytical and New Age discourse about life and individuals that does not necessarily have to rely on accurate analysis and evaluation of chart factors.  And this difference – establishing the native’s type – is only one of the many differences that divide modern and traditional astrology. As shown, it is a very basic one. There are many, many more.

Conclusion

The question one has to ask – in view of Everett’s conclusion that in the case of conflicting evidence (Frawley’s case of Hitler, traditional astrological lore versus modern astrological lore) one chooses the persons and/or pools of evidence one regards as authoritative or convincing—is (and I state this in a rather black and white mode): given the differences in methods, tools and techniques, to what astrology and or astrologer(s) does one grant authority? To the ‘strongly watered down version’ of modern astrology, or to traditional astrologers who actually did live and work in the heydays of astrological science? Most modern astrologers have built their astrology on what has been proven to be an intensive, fragmented, and in some cases even wrong reconstruction of traditional astrology.

In view of the research in traditional astrology since the 1990’ies done by astrologers, the opening statement of Recent Advances that “In 1900 astrology was effectively medieval”, is not only demonstrably wrong, it also underpins the citations of Hand and Zoller. Because if astrology was indeed based on its medieval pedestal, perhaps then the research into the truth of astrology would have yielded other, and possibly more positive, results. But I do not expect scientists of the breed of Dean c.s. to acknowledge this. Their problems with astrology have to do with fundamental differences of opinion of what (a) ‘real’ science is. We should not let that be an obstacle in learning astrology.

FINIS

I  I thank Deborah Young for editing this article, if any mistakes are left, they are mine, not hers.

2 The rationality of science and the rationality of faith. The journal of PHILOSOPHY, volume XCVIII, number 1, January 2001; page 19-42.

3 Phillipson, Garry (2000).  Astrology in the Year Zero. Flare Publications, London.

4  Astrologie en Wetenschap, lezingenbundel. Een uitgave van de Nederlandse Vereniging tot Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek van de Astrologie.

5 Frawley, John (2000) The Real Astrology. Apprentice Books, London, pgs. 185/186.

6 For some excellent responses to the scientists’ claims, the reader is wholeheartedly referred to two articles to be found on the website of Garry Phillipson (http://http://www.astrozero.co.uk). “The researchers researched: A reply to the cynics” by Dennis Elwell; and: “Prejudice in Astrological Research”, by Mike Harding. researchers researched: A reply to the cynics” by Dennis Elwell. Therefore I say ‘these scientists’ as opposed to scientists in general. assumptions a robot has to make (as do human beings) before it can even move or react to any input it gets. A robot rationally checking every sort of input before it reacted to it (the scientific ‘ideal’) didn’t move or visually ‘do’ anything; it just sat there rationally checking and rechecking all his input, which of course didn’t look very rational or intelligent at all. So much for pure rationality as the ultimate guideline of reasonable mankind or rationally functioning individuals. backed-up, an astrological consultation would indeed be very short. Somewhere along the lines of: “according to the placement of Mars in the first sector of your horoscope, you might be a good and perhaps successful athlete”, end of consultation. in the book. Setting aside his few admitted lapses, a process is at work within both sceptics and believers whereby they tend to notice those facts and arguments which suit their case, and pass over inconvenient facts and arguments. This has been called the hermeneutic circle, a self-reinforcing process in which we are all to some extent trapped. Alfred Adler called it ‘teleological apperception’, meaning that when we have an end in view, a commitment to some purpose, we unconsciously select what suits that purpose. Truth and objectivity become a secondary consideration, and we may unwittingly mislead others, as well as ourselves.” way astrology is used as a means of “talking” about individuals and their psyche. In this sense, astrology has become a method of psychoanalytical discourse about life and individuals, a narrative technique, a new ‘talking cure’.

We see this in the, already mentioned, expanding psychological verbalisation of astrological symbols which needs none of the more sophisticated classical methods of evaluating planets, signs and houses, but immediately starts discoursing about what a planet in a sign has to say about this or that inner ‘drive’. appreciate this side of modern astrological practice. They acknowledge and sometimes even applaud positive effects of astrological consultations, but according to them, we should not fool ourselves in believing this is somehow a validation of astrology. This is a standard line for them, it’s always something else that’s working here, producing these positive results, it never is astrology. This is the equivalent of saying: “Sorry, your rabbit’s dead, but hey, you can still play with it!” act as functions of the psyche. They can be defined as separate functions because, again according to Jung, they ‘cannot be reduced to each other’. The four functions: the intuitive function (‘our’ fire), the sensory function (earth) and thinking (air) and feeling (water), can be divided into two groups; rational functions and irrational functions. Contrary to what one might suspect Jung calls thinking and feeling the ‘rational’ functions, and intuition and sensation ‘irrational’.

Rational meaning here that these elements/functions place a ‘barrier’ (or norm) between the impressions they receive from the outside world (which is why they are the rational functions, because this implies a more or less conscious act, although not necessarily perceived as one), as opposed to intuition and sensation, which rely on totally unrestrained and uninterrupted impression of input from the outside world, without a conscious ‘barrier’. The two functions/elements of each group are opposed to each other; the intuitive function (fire) is the exact opposite of the sensory function (earth), and the same for thinking (air) and feeling (water); they exclude each other. So the process or function of feeling interrupts the process of function of thinking, the same goes for intuition and sensation. Now, according to Jung, what happens to us as individuals when we are young is, that one of these functions gains supremacy over the other three.

The stronger function is the one the individual uses (mainly) to interpret, react to, and understand his environment. We adapt to our environment by means of this function and therefore it is an important part of our psychological make-up and inventory, our consciousness and our ego. This function becomes the most ‘socialized’, and therefore most civilized, function, because it is the function that is best ‘trained’ in our everyday social life, which, for the romantic and revolutionary Jung, was also equivalent to a somewhat boring bourgeois mentality. Jung calls it the superior function. Now, because of the incompatibility of the superior function with it’s opposite of the same category (i.e. his rational or irrational partner), this (other) function regresses into the unconscious.

What happens to this ‘inferior’ function is, that it not only is the gateway to the (personal) unconscious, but can also strongly disrupt the superior function because it is the less adapted function. Because of this ‘less socialized’ nature of this inferior function it can, on the one hand, play a very significant role in revitalizing the conscious part of our psyche (in the opinion of Jung-the-romantic) by interrupting an all to rigorous adaptation to the outside world (which appealed to Jung-the-Nietzschean-revolutionary). On the other hand, this can also be exactly the problem with the inferior function, because these interruptions can actually destroy our consciousness and put us in a deep crisis (which was the concern of Jung-the-psychologist) because it can destroy (parts) of our consciousness, self-image and our ego. Ultimately, with the passing of time, as we grow as individuals and mature, all four of these functions should (ideally) be put into some kind of balance, granting superiority to neither of them, although this can be quite a difficult task. – somewhat different – version of this can be reconstructed from a text from Avraham Ibn-Ezra as given by Zoller in his DMA course (which I did for my Magazine “Anima Astrologiæ” issue 3 july 2001); this is more or less the same method as Zoller uses I’m told. Frawley’s method and Ezra’s agreed in the case of Hilter.

Who will be elected President of Brasil in 2014?

by cleliaromano

A study on traditional mundane astrology Copyright © 2013 Clélia Romano revised 2014

cristo

The most renowned traditional authors such as Abu Mashar and Masha’allah dealt with mundane situations in which the country was ruled by a king. With the advent of democracy and elections, the role of the civilian population became much larger.  Therefore in astrological charts we must give  the same importance to the king or ruler and to the civilian population when trying to delineate the future ruler of the country.

Masha´allah says:” You will also look, for the rustics and their condition, from the Lord of the Year and its place, and from the aspect of the planets toward him. But for the king of the clime you will judge from the Lord of the Midheaven and from the Sun( namely from one os these) and from the conjunction and the separation of the planets from them. And of the Sun and the Lord of the Midheaven, you will choose the stronger one according to the strenght of yhe places and you will put down the conquering one as the significator of the the king”[i]

With the tradition in mind, referencing the charts of all potential candidates, whose charts are often unavailable, Instead, I’ll read the chart of Brazil’s founding, look at the Ingress and eclipse charts. This should provide us with an  accurate means of reading the political leanings of the people : will people lean towards  changes or remain conservative, continuing loyal to the the party that since 2002  has elected our presidents?

This former party has been involved in corruption´s scandals that horrified the society specially in the last 2 years, facts that contributed to devaluate and to weaken the presidential position, but as many things can change in a year, we, as astrologers, are called to give our judgement.

I remind of the opinion of my teacher Robert Zoller , respecting to the fact that  a president chart did not necessarily reflect the chart of the country, and I agree with him partially. The primary concern is with the country chart and not with the candidates´s chart. But, in another hand, people in a certain moment of the history and with the progression of the country´s chart, has more affinity with the chart of one candidate than with the other and  the fate of a nation can be predictable respecting the mundane scenary as the individual natal theme, even being more complex to design.

Assuming that our current president will apply to the same position, and all facts are indicative of this, we need to check her situation in 2014 using the Ingress Chart  of the Sun in Aries , in order to see if the “queen”, the president , will be strong enough to spare conjectures about a possible loss of  her ” throne ” in favor of another candidate.

If the charts casted above announce afflictions of the Sun or of the ruler of the MC the situation of the queen / president is declared weak , giving room to problems in the kingdom / country such as the usurpation of the throne or the illness and death of the current ruler.

Thus the mundane charts from Brazil in 2014 will point to the current president´s weakening or strengthening .

I will not take into account the testimonies of the Great Conjunctions of Jupiter / Saturn. They occur every 18/20 years as a combined results of the orbital period of 12 years of Jupiter around the Sun and the orbital period of 30 years of Saturn.Successively  the conjunctions occur at about 120 ° to each other and form a triangular pattern .

Doc2

Note the pattern of them above, according to Kepler’s book, De Stella Nova (1606 ).

Each combination of signs takes place in an element, as for example airy signs , followed by the next element, in order that the watery signs are visited about 250 years later.

A long cycle of about 800 years is divided into four periods of Saturn/Jupiter conjunctions in the order of the elements of the zodiac, namely , fire, earth , air and water.

Particular importance has been given to the occurrence of a great conjunction in a new triplicity which occurs every 200 years.

The greatest importance is given to the beginning of a new cycle , after all four trigons ( triplicities ) were ” visited “, something that happens in about 800 years.

Great conjunctions causing impact happen each 250 to 800 yaers  and are related to the fall of  empires and dynasties, creating new forms of government, such as the advent of democracy around the eighteenth century.

We will not cover this vast universe in order to understand small phenomena like elections in a country .

For our investigation we will use the Independence chart, the chart of the Ingress of the Sun in Aries and the chart  of the prior lunation which occurred before the Ingress ( Syzygy Ante Nativitatem or SAN ).

We have to observe  both the Lord of the Year in the Ingress´chart  and the predominant planets in the previous lunation chart. This means to look at:

1- The ruler of the lunation´s sign

2- The ruler of the Ascendent sign in the previous lunation

3- The best positioned ruler of the Ascendant in the ingress chart ( this one will receive the name of Lord of the Year)

The Ascendant and its ruler represents civilian people in general , but to find the  Lord of the Year exist some special rules. According to Masha´allah, the lord of the year must be a planet with dignities in the Ascendant, thus it will be a planet with rulership in the ASC by domicile, exaltation, triplicity or term. Instead of using the decanates Masha´allah accepts as having enough dignity a planet which rules the Ingress´ hour.  The more powerful ruler is the one possessing rulership or exaltation in the Ascendant specially if it is angular. Besides that  the choosen planet must be in aspect to the Ascendant. According to this rule  a planet to be elected LOY cannot be  in the 2nd, 6th, 8th and 12th houses.

Otherwise the president  of the country is represented by the MC´s ruler or by the Sun, the one which is in best conditions by sign and house.

In order to proceed with this study I have to clarify some points.

I´ll use whole signs and every chart will be calculated for São Paulo, instead of Brasilia, the present capital,since the Independence  chart was casted for São Paulo, where this important event occured.

Some astrologer use to relocate de chart to Brasilia, when doing the Ingress chart or the Revolution Chart. I do not. A natal chart do not change  simply because the physical phenomena have changed: it is an ilusion to think that people will have another personality, the ruler will change their mind, friends and enemies of the state will change or the soil of the country will be more receptive to certain kind of grain or even get a different composition to the point  of  producing ethanol instead of grains, only because the latitude and longitude have changed.

The natal chart is forever.  Any change is intrinsically linked to it due to promises embedded in itself that happen in consequences of directions, firdars, profections, Solar Revolutions, Ingresses, Eclipse, etc

Using the cited techniques we are able to judge the country´s situation in certain year, the population and the president´s conditions.

So we will begin presenting the Independence  chart.

Accordingly to Nicholas Campion[i]. quoting  Antonio Carlos Harres, the Brazil´s chart is the following:

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Data:

7/09/1822

4hs30′ PM

São Paulo -SP

Lat: 23º32′ long: 43º37

Now we will see the chart for the Ingress of the Sun in Aries for 2014:

Doc4

In this chart we see that the people is represented by the Moon, lord of the Ascendant, which applies to Saturn: the Moon is in fall, weak and afflicted, pointing out to a depreciated population, deprived of leasure and having difficulties to raise their children. We first note that Scorpio is the  Midhaeven Brazil´s chart.

We can say that the kind of things occuring to the Moon are caused by the the MC and its ruler, Mars, i.e. the government. The president and the rulers  have prepared a very poor space to common people, the “rustics” according to Masha´allah, represented by the sign of Scorpio having Saturn in it. This is in perfect agreement  with Brazil´s chart where we see that the place representing the government is in the sign of Scorpio , having Mars and the Part of Fortune in it.

Little remains to please the people. And according to this last chart, the Ingress chart,Mars, responsible for the government is the final dispositor of the common citizens.

Jupiter is strong in the Ascendant´s Ingress and is its exaltation ruler. Because of this angularity I choose Jupiter as the Lord of the Year.

This can show that people, even suffering, remain full of ideal and more because Jupiter rules the 9th House the one of the Justice and the Law. This is in accordance to the triumph of Justice in 2013 that for the first time in our history has put  in jail for corruption and appropriation of public moneys many important people related to the government. Perhaps this was due to the fact that in many brazilian cities people and students have gained the streets reaching inclusive the  presidential palace in Brasilia claiming for honesty and against corruption. On another hand, the president is represented by Mars, the MC´s  ruler, that I choose instead of the Sun because the Sun is cadent. Mars is in the angle of the Earth in the sign of Libra.

Since that Mars, as the MC´s ruler,  is in retrogradation and in bad celestial condition, its detriment, we can say that the president´s situation is underestimated and vulnerable, even having power to act in an angle.

This horrible Mars disposes over the Moon and Saturn, so is responsible for what happens to the Moon and consequently by the suffering people.

The South Node in conjunction to the MC in the Ingress chart is in accordance once more to the dangerous condition of the president, whose acts of power ( the MC is a local of doing things) can give room for her own destruction.

Aries, other sign ruled by Mars has power on the 3rd house of the Independence,  leading to the conclusion  that the media has enough interest in broadcasting the government acts.

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In the chart above, of the previous lunation, a full moon occurred in March the 16th at 3h08′  at 16°19′  of Pisces,   we can see the following:

The Ascendant happens in the same sign as the  Ingress chart and Jupiter is therefore in the same position, but the Moon is in Virgo conjunct  to Mercury of the radical Brazil´s chart . The Moon is cadent  in the 3rd house, but it has its joy in the 3rd house. This points out again to the media influence. As the Moon, in turn, is disposed by Mercury that is in Aquarius in the 8th house, a dark place,  squaring Saturn, we can expect anguish and financial loss for the people.

Moreover, the president is represented by Mars, the MC´s ruler, which in the Ingress chart will fall in the Nadir, in the sign of Libra, the same than now. As we can see we discarded the Sun as representing the president, because it is very weak.

Since that Mars is in retrogradation and in bad celestial condition in its detriment, we can see the vulnerability of the president and her underestimation.

Again Mars is the final dispositor of the Moon, Mercury and Saturn, being the  final dispositor of Mercury ( ruling the Moon), Jupiter( ruled by the Moon) and Saturn( ruled by Mars)

Masha’allah says in the book cited above, chapter 4, that if the Ingress´s Ascendent falls in a mouvable signs it is appropriate to cast a second chart for zero degrees of Libra, because the situation of the Ingress in Aries, will not prevail for all the year.

So, I casted a second Ingress chart: the Ingress of the Sun in Libra:

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Here we see the following :

The ruler of the MC is in a noble sign, but cadent and the Sun does not aspect the MC, so instead of using the Sun I preferred  to chose Venus, exaltation ruler of the MC as representing the ruler. The president, even not being of good “esse”,  has again the power to act.

In order to chose the LOY  I had two choises: Mercury, ruler of the ASC was in the 5th house, aspecting the Ascendent and Mercury has triplicity there. But Venus also aspects the ASC  and has dignity of term in it. Besides that  it is  Mercury´s dispositor. Due to its angularity I preferred to use Venus as LOY. In this case Venus will represent the people and the governor.

The Ascendent´s domicile ruler is Mercury, and Venus has rulership over Mercury: apparently a planet complements the other.  Mercury in the house of pleasure and fun can mean that Venus, the president, favors leisure. In my point of view Venus is making use of Mercury´s magic to turn into joy an old brazilian pain.

In fact it will be the year of the World Cup which will be played in Brazil: a big party costing millions.

The unworthy ruler provides fun and people are accepting the indirect kickback, blinds enough to see how much  the party will cost. Indeed Venus and Mercury do not aspect each other, being in inconjunct signs: the president is commited to amuse the people and  people leans to anything  allowing them to enjoy the party.

This kind of thing weakens the old concerns for Justice and put the people in agreement with the President, sharing with her the lack of dignity, because the ultimate result of a planet depends on its dispositor.  So, the future of Mercury depends on a depreciated Venus.

In this chart president and people speak  the same language: panis et circenses ludi .

This chart is much more promising for the present president´s intent: to be reelected.

Following, I will present the chart of the Sycygy Ante Nativitaten, which preceeded the Ingress of the Sun in Libra .

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The previous lunation occurred on September 8th at 23hs38 ‘ and Taurus is the Ascendant, a sign ruled by Venus. We have a fixed sign, whose ruler is the same Venus, appearing in the 5th house in Virgo. Again, Mercury and Venus are playing the same sort of games

Mars in the 10th house of the Independence chart  now occupies the 7th  house of the SAN´s chart. It is angular and in conjunction to the Part of Fortune. Good fortune for the Governor, even because Saturn in this chart rules the MC, but it mus be noted that Mars is related to things happening behind the public eye, since it rules the 12th.

Very interesting is the opposition of luminaries occurring in the  2nd/8th axix house of the Independence chart and now occupying the  11th/5th axis, the support that the the govern will receive for the campaign/ fun and games.

It is pretty known how  money a campaign can cost, as well as hosting the World Cup!

Notable also is that the lunation occurred when a conjunction  Mars / Saturn in Scorpio was happening in the MC of the Brazil´s chart.

The ruler here appears strong, angular, in the Midheaven of Brazil´s natal chart.

I will bring also the  total lunar Eclipse´s chart happening in  October 8th, at 10:53 Am, after the first turn of the elections.

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Here we can see that Saturn, ruler of the radical 4th house and of the natal Ascendent is in the Ascendant, Scorpio, which represents the MC of the Independence chart. I understand it as a marriage between ruler and citizens.

Saturn has much to do with the conservative thinking and even more in a solid sign. Turning back to the SAN´s chart, the last lunation, the MC´s ruler is Saturn, a conservative planet in solid sign which appears here in the Ascendent of the eclipse.

The angles are fixed, and there are a beautiful trine between Moon, Mars, the lord of the ASC and Jupiter in  Leo occupies the Midheaven. The Sun in Libra, again detrimental  is making sextile to Jupiter and the MC. Probably the present governor already won the first turn elections, which happened days ago: the Sun in a 12th receives Jupiter, as in the SAN´s last chart. Everything indicates that the queen will continue at her post.

The charts indicate a woman in power ( Venus appears many times as significator) and the battle between ethics and bribe, as well as the power that a ruler can have over poor citizens.

Probably, as Venus appears in some charts in a double sign ( the chart of the Libra´s Ingress having the Ascendent in a double sign) it indicates  the possibility of two turns. Even happening a second turn of elections, the present president will win the election in the first and in the second turn.

(i)Revolutions of the Years of the World, by Masha´allah Ibn Athari, page 331, translated by Benjamin Dyke, Ed Cazimi

(ii)“The Book of World Horoscopes”, Nicholas Campion, Ed.The Wessex Astrologer