My Worldview

Introduction

I think it is important, when practicing astrology, to examine and make explicit the worldview that your astrology assumes, and what kinds of values it implies.  Since I am attempting to build a framework, I want to lay out the worldview I use, and the kind of values I think it expresses.

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Timing the Shooting

This is the kind of stuff that keeps astrologers awake nights.

Whenever there is any sort of major event, one of my very first instincts as an astrologer, is to ask – do we have an exact time? Can we get a timed chart of that?

One of the main rules of astrology timing, is that any major event should show multiple significant correlations pointing at the event, and the more major the event, the more correlations there should be.

Another main rule is that the angles – the Ascendant and Descendant, Midheaven and IC – are the places of action, so that an event timing should show significant planetary triggers at angles.

These correlations should not be subtle – they should be significant, redundant, and tight. In your face.

With the mass shooting that took place in Las Vegas last Sunday, we have a very exact time – news sources say that the call to the police dispatcher was at 10:08 pm, so the shooting must have started a few minutes before that. I am using 10:05 pm.

Yesterday, word came out that we have a reliable timed birth chart for the shooter, Stephen Paddock. The astrodienst site gives his birth time as April 9, 1953, at 11:05 am in Clinton, Iowa, and cites reference to a birth certificate, which is considered the highest level of reliability.

What I want to share here is just a couple of the most striking of the correlations that I found, analyzing this data in the light of the traditional timing techniques that I use. In the last couple of charts that I will present here, they are tight enough to be kind of spooky, and I felt shivers down my spine when I saw them.

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Astrology, Geometry and Politics

One of the most useful things I have learned from studying astrology is contained in the following simple but powerful insight.

Thinking has shape.

Our entire reality, both the physical world around us, and the mental world of our consciousness, shares a single basic structure, a structure that can be expressed in terms of mathematics and geometry.

Traditional astrology is all structured on the basis of the symbolism of the first four numbers – 1,2,3,4 – their corresponding geometric shapes – point or circle, line, triangle, square – and the energy dynamics they represent. The elements, the planets, the signs, the houses, the aspects – the basics are all there, contained in the meaning of those four numbers, and everything else in astrology builds on their foundation. (More on that in future posts – much, much more.)

The structure of astrology, including the geometry, is a way of mapping the structure and dynamics of human experience, including our thinking. Once you really understand those basic numbers and structures, you can use it to make sense of the different dimensions of human life – including politics.

What is the shape of our thinking? And, how is that shape playing out in the politics of the current situation here in America? That is the question I want to explore here.

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Eclipse! Go Inside!

Traditional wisdom says that an eclipse is a good time to go inside. This was thought to be especially important for pregnant women. The eclipse is a time to avoid any activity, and just get quiet, get still.

I think there is a great deal of wisdom hidden in that saying, and I’d like to take some time to meditate on it here and draw it out.

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American God

This is being written in August 2017, on the eve of the Great American Eclipse. In this post I want to talk about what this event means, and how we can learn from it.

Whatever else an eclipse is, it is a point of intense focus. The zodiac degree of the eclipse itself is highly charged, energized. Eclipses also connote covering and uncovering, hidden things being brought to light, facades being pierced and shaken up. It is as if the Gods are using a big flaming pointer and saying, Pay Attention at this point!

The part of the world where the eclipse reaches its greatest totality is considered to be the focus of its action, where it is most intensely felt. The United States is the central focus of the track of this eclipse, since it passes pretty much through the heartland of the county.

The United States is a focus of the eclipse in another way – the zodiac location of the eclipse is at around 28 Leo, which is pretty much dead on the ascendant of Donald Trump, our current President. So Trump, and America, are what the Gods are pointing to here.

This is very apt, since it reflects the media’s total obsessive focus on the man – all conversations lead back to Donald Trump, and you can’t have the radio on for more than 5 minutes before he becomes the focus of attention. Trump is Galactic Center, and the entire rest of the known universe revolves around him.

It is common practice in mundane astrology to have the king or leader of a country be the symbolic representative of the country itself – so, for instance, Pope Francis effectively is a symbol of the Roman Catholic Church as a whole, and his natal chart, and the chart of his election as Pope, are a very good mirror of the state of the church today. Francis IS the church today.

In this eclipse, Donald Trump IS the United States.

By Dhruvnv (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Trump is a symbol for everything our country stands for today. The more I consider this, the more I think Donald Trump is a damned near perfect symbol for the acting values that drive the United States – not the values we pay lip service to, but the values that actually drive our government and our economy, the powers that be. The state of our country now is the logical result of the values embodied by Trump.

Donald Trump is a very wealthy business man – money, and the power and attention that money buys, is his highest value.

In this post I want to examine just what it means to make money your highest god, and look at the ways America reflects that. I think this is what the Gods want us to consider and learn from here.

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Return to the Source

This is my first blog post since back in March, when I decided to take a couple of months off from writing about astrology. My birthday is in early March; in astrology terms, this year I have transiting Pluto conjunct my natal Ascendant in my Solar Return chart, and that will continue for the next couple of years.

Pluto, the Cosmic Roto-Rooter – major change, major cleanout, major transformation – it kind of feels like the psychic equivalent of having one of those drain cleaner thingies shoved up my butt. I think of myself as being Closed for Renovations this year. Along with some major shifts in diet and lifestyle, this includes my needing to re-think my attitude towards astrology, how it works, and how it fits in the world today, in this period of global instability and national decline.

Putting in bluntly – why bother studying and practicing astrology in the first place? How do I make sense of astrology in a 21st century world, and what good does it do?

I have don’t the answers down yet, but I do have a sense of direction and where to look, and I have a sense that I am being guided in my search.

In this post I want to start to define the questions, and give you an idea of where I am looking for the answers.

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Astrology (Not) A Science

“Not only is the Universe stranger than we think, it is stranger than we can think.”
– Werner Heisenberg

Is astrology a science? The short and simple answer is, No. (Sounds of people rushing for the door.)

Is anybody still here? Okay, let’s chat.

The slightly longer, slightly more inclusive answer, goes something like this:

Science is able to map part of the order of the Universe. It is not sufficient to map all of it. There are other forms of valid order besides the scientific. Another way of stating that – the current scientific model is too small to contain all of the Universe, which includes ALL of human experience. The scientific model has its limitations and its problems, and a model that makes sense of astrology can address some of those problems.

Let me underscore that point – the current scientific model does not include all of human experience, and some of the most important dimensions are left out.

Astrology works, it is valid, and I think it is demonstrable to anyone with a reasonably open mind. Astrology works, but it does not work the same way that Science does. It is pointing at a different kind of order that is bigger, weirder, stranger.

I’m going to paraphrase the quote by the scientist Werner Heisenberg that I used to start this piece.

Not only is Astrology stranger than we think, it is stranger than we can think.

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Time

This post is being published in March 2017, and early this month I turn 65. I want to take time here to do a Saturn style meditation on the passing of time, as I pass this symbolic milestone into what our culture now calls the Senior Years – which is actually a euphemism for what used to be called, Old Age.

I am now officially old, and Saturn is the patron God of the years of old age. Saturn is also the ruler of my Capricorn ascendant, so S/He is the Lord of my chart. In traditional astrology terms, I am Saturn, so this should be the time of my life that I am really coming into my own.

Those of you who have been following my posts have probably noticed that Saturn is a pet theme of mine, a topic in astrology that I keep coming back to.

I think that each of us have our own distinctive spiritual paths, and you can get a feel for a person’s chart by looking at what planets dominate. The dominant planets will tend to define the person’s path to the Divine, how they conceive of the Universe and their place in it.

My path to the Divine is defined by Saturn.

Saturn is all about time – the figure of old Father Time, holding aloft either a lamp to light the way into the darkness, or a harvesting scythe that points to the cutting off point of death.

Saturn rules birth, time, death, and the process that weaves our lives together.

There is a sense of perspective that comes with time, and as I get older I am both fascinated by, and aware of, how time affects our lives, in a whole new way. I am particularly aware of how time intertwines with our sense of self.

So, these are my thoughts about Time – this will wander a bit, and take some different paths, but hey, that is part of how the process of time works. Thought, like Time, is not a straight line process; it has branches, it has dead ends, and sometimes it loops and curves back on itself. Thought takes time to unfold, as do the words that express the thought – and the thought process throughout my life that gives birth to these reflections.

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Velveteen Rabbit Revisited

I am writing this while Mercury is Retrograde, and I am going to use the opportunity to re-publish a piece I wrote a couple of years ago, and add some comments on how it relates to the ongoing theme of Saturn as feminine and Old Crone.

The name of the original post was,

Second Saturn Return and the Velveteen Rabbit.

I just had my Solar Return last month; I turned 63. I am just starting to seriously move into the part of my life where I increasingly deal with the reality of aging, decline, and eventual death.

This is a post-second-Saturn-Return kind of process.

Our youth-oriented culture has very few or no good role models for navigating this part of life well. Too often aging is a dirty secret that is denied, kept hidden or unspoken for as long as possible. Old people become increasingly invisible – I can see and feel that already. And death… people don’t die anymore, they make their transition, or go home, reunite with God or the Soul – anything to avoid admitting the stark reality of the cold, dead body lying there in the bed.

I think I found a useful metaphor for a graceful aging and death. It is from a children’s book called, The Velveteen Rabbit.

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Hall of Mirrors

Astrology and Reality

This post is going to be about astrology, and about reality, and about how the human mind works. I am going to be using astrology to question the validity of astrology.

Hopefully, by the time I am done with this meditation, reality will seem just a bit weirder, a bit less absolute, a bit more tentative.

You are about to enter a Hall of Mirrors – or rather, you about to realize that you are always living in a Hall of Mirrors whether you notice it or not.

Are you ready for a strange ride? Hang on to your hats and let us proceed.

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Jeffrey Dahmer – Dignity Gone Bad

The idea for this post was triggered by a very fine essay from the Seven Stars  Astrology blog – it is titled, The Curious Case of Jeffrey Dahmer and Ted Turner.

That essay begins with this sentence and opening paragraph.

‘The truth is that essential dignity tells you quite little about the “essential dignity” of a planet.

In a subsequent post (available here), I will explore in greater depth the obsession with dignity pointing, almutens, and sign-based indications of fortune/misfortune, which has done more to harm today’s practice of traditional astrology than anything else.’

To make his point, he uses two charts – that of the serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer, which has four planets with major dignity, and the billionaire media tycoon Ted Turner, that has no major dignity but several planets in debility.

I teach a class at Kepler College on using the traditional system of planetary dignities to evaluate the condition and action of the planets in a chart, and I spend a lot of time and emphasis on the essential dignities. I use every one of the indications he mentions – dignity pointing, almutens and so on – and I find them very useful.  However, as he points out, if I am going to use those indicators, I need to be able to make sense of those charts.

My position is this – essential dignity is useful, but it was never intended to be used in isolation. It is part of a larger system of conditions for weighing up a chart that include what are called essential and accidental dignities, and all of them together are very useful for weighing up the condition and action of planets.

I use a weighted point system for evaluating planets, based on William Lilly’s system of dignities and debilities – in my class I nickname it, William Lilly’s Cheate Sheete. I am convinced that is largely useful as a training tool, a set of training wheels, teaching an astrologer the important indicators to scan for in the chart.

If you are going to work with the system of dignities, you need to be able to make sense of Jeffrey Dahmer’s chart.  That is what we will do here.

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