Astrology – A General Organizing Principle

When Jupiter entered Sagittarius on November 24th 2006, I thought it would be a good idea to keep eyes and ears open. Perhaps there would be a sign from heaven. Arriving at the train station on a journey to Copenhagen I struggled to get the ticket machine to work, and was joined by another man, and we ended up battling the machine together. This person happened to be perhaps the most famous rock musician in Denmark. So there: I met the Big Cultural Figure as befitted the astrological specification. There is a young American who I teach astrology (Note 1) who had to cancel this very day, because he was making a sudden visit back to the US to give his mother a birthday surprise. This was the exile making the long journey home (Jupiter returns to its own sign). So in both cases there was ample “evidence” that astrology was alive and well.

For me. Because these things did not happen for everybody else, but then not everybody else is interested in astrology. What would be the point of organizing such events for someone for whom they had no significance? As an astrologer these things happen all the time, and they are personal. Indeed for the practicing astrologer each moment is imbued with significance, and this is strongly reflected in the consultation chart – the moment when clients come. One client with Moon in Scorpio in the third house (the hole) came late because she had driven her car into a ditch just down the road. Another arrived at the same time as the postman came with a beautiful cake – now there’s a nice omen – which was only fair because she had Venus in Taurus sextile Moon in Cancer.

I have often thought that atoms may have been just invented by scientists. There is no way they can actually prove the existence of atoms to me. They could nuke me I suppose. I would have to study mathematics and physics for years before I could get myself to agree with them. Likewise I cannot prove astrology works to scientists – unless they cared to immerse themselves into a world of symbols and subtle correlations for a year or four. The point is that belief requires very powerful experiences or long sustained study often under the guidance of a mentor. Initially – unless there has been a revelatory experience – we just don’t know what is true, but as time goes by we build on sets of principles and eventually learn to apply them, and finally we can see that our body of learning is effective in its specific field.

The problem is that we think that we now have the Truth. When in fact all that has happened is that we have associated ourselves with a body of learning and become a part of a group, which has shared beliefs and a system to prove them. If there is only one member of that group, we are deranged or at least a crank. If there are 100 million members of the group, like Christians, then we represent a powerful force. There are medium sized groups, like people who follow the beliefs of David Icke who believes that reptilian bloodlines rule the earth – lizards who have taken the guise of men. Apparently Prince Philip and George Bush are such beings. There are 1,300,000 results in Google for Icke, so it is fair to say that it is quite a large group united in a belief they are convinced is true.

What we believe says a lot about who we are, but very little about what the truth is. In psychology there are many different directions and methods, which stem from different founding fathers. Freud, with Moon in Gemini in the 8th house, believed in the revelatory power of dreams, and his first results were harvested from hysterical women. Jung with his Neptune/Moon/Pluto conjunction in the 3rd house wrote about the collective unconscious. R. D Laing, who had Uranus conjunction a Pisces Ascendant believed that psychosis could be a liberating experience and created institutions where psychologists and patients lived on equal footing.

It’s the elephant in the dark. We all stumble into it and describe what we think it is as we explore it with our hands, but what we describe is just a small part of the whole picture. And it is our horoscope that dictates what part of the picture we will see. What would be good is if we could get around the hard wiring of the horoscope and experience things in a state unaltered by the filters of our consciousness. Meditation practices try to do this by quieting the mind and allowing the senses to rest on a focus of consciousness, and if this can be done successfully, then some kind of true experience of the outer world can be had – if at that point there is such a thing as inner and outer.

However, when consciousness merges with the object of consciousness, duality ceases to exist. The paradox arises that the closer the individual comes to the nature of reality, the further he or she comes from a way to explain it rationally. The rational mind creates objective separation; it is only subjective merging and the fusion of subject and object, matter and energy, mind and body that brings enlightened understanding.

This process can be successfully harnessed in working with clients. The more the astrologer rationally explains things, engaging the mind of the client in a teacher/client relationship, the less likely change will happen. The client may learn a lot, but no significant catharsis will take place. However the more the astrologer is able to set aside the constraints of his own psychology and tune in to the world experience of the client, the less resistance will be met. Catharsis and change will take place because the client feels met and understood.

There are methods for doing this. Firstly it is important to put yourself in the client’s position, both physically and metaphorically. Secondly it helps to mirror the client’s actions, language and imagery, because this is a clear reflection of their world view. As an astrologer it is easy to recognize such things. A recent visitor to my consultation room swept in, sat down on my chair and immediately took control of the space he was in. But as he had a Sun/Pluto/Uranus conjunction in the 4th – and had fled from an East European country that itself had been occupied, losing the connection with his family – it was clear that his moves were pre-emptive, and based on a deep-seated anxiety. He was fascinated by David Icke. Lizards and men. With the horoscope as a road map to the client’s psyche, the whole process of understanding and merging is much easier.

The meeting of astrologer and client on a basic sensory level, with mental rationalizations and defense mechanisms shorn away, is a powerful, intimate and rather disconcerting experience. The astrologer himself, or herself, must feel comfortable and have inner confidence. Yet it is at this interface of consciousness that creative change happens. For the client must feel understood to allow this to take place. And this is no small matter, because difficult aspects in a client’s horoscope reflect behavior which is often secret and often embarrassing. A recent client with the Sun in Scorpio in the 12th square Uranus lamented the fact that men tended to go suddenly and leave her alone. But she discovered that she set up the situation herself by being impossible as a test to see if they would stay the course – because her father did not. Men did not pass this test, and it is hard to recognize that the responsibility lies with oneself. It is not the explanation that counts when creating transformation, it is the experience. In this case the sudden gleam of realization of vengeful behavior was the opening to a healing change.

It goes without saying that this form of astrology does not lend itself to scientific proof. This sort of proof does not work, indeed cannot work, when what is being measured is consciousness and behavior. Measuring works with material objects of a certain coarseness. As soon as the object of measurement has a degree of refinement that mirrors consciousness, then measuring becomes impossible. This is the conundrum connected with the quantum world today, where it is impossible to say whether what is being studied is a particle or a wave, but it is possible to show that the actual act of measuring affects the result. In other words consciousness in itself is a force and factor in the equation. (Note 2.)

There are therefore no scientists or skeptics who are going to change their views because I met a famous rock musician when Jupiter entered Sagittarius. The nature of belief is that whatever a person chooses to focus on through time becomes the preferred system for interpretation of events. And astrology is no exception. In the world of astrology – not so small with 40 million results in Google – there are many disparate beliefs. And with the plethora of mini-experts on the world wide web these beliefs are increasing exponentially. But the secret of influence is orthodoxy. That is why the Catholic Church (84 million results) uses so much energy establishing accepted dogma. When people are united behind a belief, then there is power and influence.

In astrology today, anything works. With the Hamburg School (they created an orthodoxy) non-existent hypothetical planets are used in a midpoint system which is reputed to be very accurate. The Huber School (another orthodoxy) emphasizes a specific house system and a complex subdivision of each house which is traversed by the Age Point. Some use the stars and black holes. Others see the asteroids as the long-forgotten ambassadors for the feminine. Basically it is possible to focus on anything, and it will work. The trick is to get other people to use the same system – then you have a movement. For astrology to have more influence in the world, solidarity is important – in particular solidarity connected with universally accepted astrological principles. With the Sun and Moon and eight planets, twelve signs, twelve houses and five major aspects there are tens of thousands of important combinations to become familiar with. Solidarity and mutual respect in the community will give astrology the momentum that it needs.

To sum up, astrology like any other belief system is an organizing principle that helps explain reality. It is a healthier belief system than David Ickes. Perhaps healthier than reductive science, which is used to exploit the world’s ecosystem. Astrology has the advantage of having several thousand years of tradition behind it, and is actually based on the observable universe. But it will always be a personal belief system.

Or will it? There is a flaw in this argumentation that I cannot resolve. What about collective events that happen to many people, quite independent of whether they believe in astrology or not? In the Spring of 1998, when Jupiter was square Pluto, the last tin mine in Cornwall was closed. As Jupiter is traditionally associated with tin, and Pluto with death, it seemed odd indeed. That is the fascinating thing about prediction – because a prediction is related to events that take place far outside of the narrow sphere of the astrologer. Correct predictions show astrology working objectively, not just subjectively. Consistently correct prediction would really make a difference to the status of astrology. But who can do it? Michael Baigent, who clearly and unequivocally predicted the dissolution of the Soviet Union from 1989-91 (Note 3), obviously failed to predict that he would lose his case against Dan Brown (The Da Vinci Code) for allegedly stealing his idea from the book: Holy Blood, Holy Grail. We humans are so fallible.

Adrian Ross Duncan 14th December 2006.

1. You can listen to these teachings

2. A wonderful little animation explains this well:

3. Mundane Astrology – Baigent, Campion and Harvey. (Page 444)

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