Tag Archives: astrology

Tying It All Together?

I am sometimes asked why I pay attention to astrology. Actually, I don’t pay much attention to it, but, for some, any attention paid to astrology begs the question of why a so-called pseudoscience could attract someone’s, or my own, attention.

If I sense that this question is hiding the questioner’s desire to hold me to some rational account, I have a tried-and-true response.

You do understand that as matter of a priori development with respect to Baconian science and its successors that astrology is demonstrably necessary to the later development of astronomy and cosmology?

The history of the development of stuff presents a chain of primitive precedents, and, over the span of a future, our current knwoledge might well be someday viewed as being itself primitive. This goes along with what I call my favorite bias, you know the one that captures the brute fact that as one figuratively steps backward in time, all precedents of any sort disappear.

(The epistemic value or utility of astrology in any of its useful forms is determined as a matter of a psychology of practical heuristics. As I have previously written, the astrological chart captures a projection of psyche inasmuch as dealing with its information invokes learning about the Self.)

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Liberating the Stars From Space & Time

©Photo. R.M.N. / R.-G. Oj?da

[The] principle the map is not the territory and name is not the thing named made famous by Alfred Korzybski, strikes at many levels. It reminds us in a general way that when we think of coconuts or pigs, there are no coconuts or pigs in the brain. But in a more abstract way, Korzybski’s statement asserts that in all thought or perception or communication about perception, there is a transformation, a coding, between the report and the thing reported, the Ding an sich. Above all, the relation between the report and that mysterious thing reported tends to have the nature of a classification, an assignment of the thing to a class. Naming is always classifying, and mapping is essentially the same as naming.

Korzybski was, on the whole, speaking as a philosopher, attempting to persuade people to discipline their manner of thinking. But he could not win. When we come to apply his dictum to the natural history of human mental process, the matter is not quite so simple. The distinction between the name and the thing named or the map and the territory is perhaps really made only by the dominant hemisphere of the brain. The symbolic and affective hemisphere, normally on the right-hand side, is probably unable to distinguish name from thing named. It is certainly not concerned with this sort of distinction. It therefore happens that certain nonrational types of behavior are necessarily present in human life. We do, in fact, have two hemispheres; and we cannot operate somewhat differently from the other, and we cannot get away from the tangles that that difference proposes. (Every Schoolboy Knows – Gregory Bateson, from Mind and Nature)

Part Two of Two

Part One: Imaginal Cybernetics, the Demonic Daemon, Deep Play

1. “I can’t explain it, really.”

In my life I’ve observed, even been thoroughly entangled, in very hard-to-explain, and, dare I say, magical, stuff. In the catalog of life experiences, there would need to be a chapter devoted to spectacular instances of truly strange occurrences.

However, apparently by my innate disposition, the grandest insight I’ve gained into any of the specific events was not an insight at all. It was a ‘grand meta,’ and so only it remains one of the several anchors to what I call my flatland.

Grand Meta One: Everything that is experienced earns at least one account.

Actually, every experience earns a first person account plus any number–stretching to an endless amount–of secondary accounts. Accounts are stretched between those of an uninhibited type or, at the other extreme, of the severely limited–qualified–kind. Accounts utilize any useful means. Such means are not required to meet any standard of commensurability. It is critical to recognize that the subject may not be able to access an account.

This brings us to Grand Meta Two: Any single account is always related to multiple possible ramifications.

However, I have in mind a synthetic definition of ramification. Ramification is a consequence that grows out of an account.

Out of our certainties, ramifications grow.


astrological chart

It was in sometime in the mid 1980’s, maybe around 1985, that my first wife, thought it would be interesting to have a good friend of hers, an anthroposophical astrologer trained in the introspective tradition of Rudolph Steiner, do my birth chart. I was in my early thirties, a hippy, not really committed to anything much besides the stuff of our carefree life.

I read the fourteen pages of the astrologer’s decidedly psychological reading. It all rang true. I was unconcerned about any account for the reasons the accurate reading followed from a technique, the astro-geometric system of astrology. I asked Benson, the astrologer, why the reading seemed so well matched, he made a point to emphasize that this is the result of his contemplation on the chart more than it was the result of the content of the chart.

This chart and interpretation has always struck me as cogent and valuable. I’ve returned to it many times over thirty years. It is a canny statement of seeming astro-psychoanalysis. There’s a secondary account possible, itself a ramification grown from the stuff of my chart’s inception, that supposes the reading is a very keen parlor trick, along the lines of stringing common diagnostic abductions together after one learns something about the subject’s narrative.

That secondary account does not prevent the reading today from evoking my personal response. I tell you, it’s a good reading. It’s apt. Is it more apt than an arbitrary interpretation might be? Who knows? I can’t explain it.

3. Architectural Jello



People have over millennia experienced that there is, to give it one over-arching heading, a world-behind-the-world. Obviously, then, there are countless primary accounts of: there being a world hidden beyond the world we can easily grasp. There are the differential meta accounts for how the grasp that is effective in one world is incapable in this other world-behind-the-world.

For the sake of keeping this very down-and-dirty meditation brisk, call the naturally material world the front world and this other world the back world. Clearly, one class of consequences that grows out of primary accounts of the back world, questions the existence of the back world. (In noting this, nevertheless, I understand that there are positive primary accounts. These, in referring to any object of experience, earns an account.) Still, we know nowadays the accountings for the back world are numerous and multivarious. Most such accounts are not compatible with each other.

For example, there are the secondary accounts ramified as a consequence of the experience of the back worlds given by the primary accounts of the Abrahamic religions. These secondary accounts constitute the various theisms made explicit in both the formal philosophizing and the folk philosophizing, and in the historical social-constructive norming, norming discoverable as consequential ramifications of social experience and its accountings. Narrow paths and deviations arise out of the prolix socialized accounts.

There are private accounts too.

When the Pope speaks of Angels, an account is earned. Possible ramifications tumble outward too. The Pope of course means real angelic beings existing where angels exist.

  • Angels are creatures made by God. They are pure spirits and personal beings. (Each angel is a person.) They are both powerful and intelligent. Note: Some people are inclined to think that the word “person” applies only to human beings. On the contrary, “person” applies to each of the three divine Persons of the Holy Trinity, to angels and to humans. (Catholic Teaching On Angels)


No single theology or cosmology characterizes the New Age. Rather, the New Age is united in rejecting the dominant theology of western monotheism, most explicitly Christianity and Judaism, though implicitly Islam as well, through an emphasis on the individual rather than religious authority embodied in institutions. This attitude, a key trait of American metaphysical religion, stands in contrast to the cardinal tenets of the traditional Christian and Jewish theology: a single transcendent, omniscient, omnipotent deity as described in the Bible, alongside a view of the cosmos as created and sustained by such a deity.

The most common theologies within the New Age envision God as within each individual. Though New Agers tend to avoid categorizing themselves along traditional theological categories, scholars label such New Age beliefs monism, pantheism, and panentheism. Monism declares that the summation of the entire universe is the divine, and that each individual within the cosmos represents a small sliver of god. Pantheism upholds a similar position, that god is within all things. Panentheism postulates that all things are in god, but that god transcends the sum of all these things. All three philosophies lead their New Age adherents to envision the self as the seat of the divine. New Agers tend to envision god as impersonal and diffuse, part of all living things. Such a theology enables New Age practitioners to see the divine in humans, nature, the earth, and inanimate objects, though some New Agers limit god to living beings. Such a holistic approach to the divine helps explain the environmental ethos that also characterizes so much of the New Age movement.

This cosmology also explains why New Agers seek self-development and self-evolution. New Age practitioners generally agree that all individuals must focus on an ultimate goal of developing the god-aspect within themselves. The various practices of the movement, what some scholars have called spiritual technologies, aim to develop the self and bring it into awareness of its nature as divine. Such spiritual technologies-for example yoga, channeling, aura-reading, and crystal work-aim to assist the practitioner in self-development. *

A less popular theology within the New Age movement envisions a universe filled with multiple divinities. Scholars call such a position polytheism, though few New Agers would themselves use this characterization. Polytheism appears most frequently amongst New Age practitioners who also identify with Paganism, since the latter religious tradition assumes polytheism as a foundation. Some New Agers envision the world as filled with two deities, the cosmic ideals of male and female, whereas others believe in entire pantheons of divinities. However, like their coreligionists who accept pantheism or monism, New Agers who adopt a polytheistic theology reject the dominant western religious paradigm. Ultimate Reality and Divine Beings – Benjamin E. Zeller – Patheos

* [plus: astrology]

The New Age Cults

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As Below, So Above


My essay, Liberating the Stars From Space & Timewhen completed. will complete the narrative concerned with how I came to necessarily etch a limit to my philosophical ability, and, in doing so, squish thousands of years of astrology into tools able to exist in my flatland.

These tools do not either make predictions or anchor person and possibility to a priori requisites. On the other hand, in future experimental philosophical research, I will attempt to show to some greater degree how these flatlander’s astro-psychological tools connect up with other over-arching concerns of mine, serendipity in adult development, the praxis of polarity and paradox, and the ‘action’ pragmatics given in the third order human/social cybernetics.

Until this essay is ready-to-roll, there’s a new page here that skates over the surface of my promethean poke, Cybernetic Liberation of Astrology.


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New squareONE Tool: Cube-O-Probe


Intention: What are clues to the positive and negative aspects of using the Cube-O-Probe?



[Above: random Cube-O-Probe “roll” nailed to the Heaven & Hell Mandala. In this form for interpretation, the Heavenly opportunities are betwixt the cubes in the upper right quadrant, and the Hellish obstacles are between the cubes in the lower left quadrant. These two conventions are explicit conceptual anchors given to the heuristic means of the tool. Less explicit would be what Ken and I call the flickering aspects in the other two quadrants.]

I invented, with assistance from Kenneth Warren, two new squareONE tools over the last several months. Both have applications in discovery-based self-knowledge. Additionally, the Cube-O-Probe has already been given a trial run as a method for adducing insight about organizational development. As it turns out, the Cube-O-Probe is organically integrated with the earlier tool, Calhoun/Warren Heaven & Hell Archetypal Assessment Mandala because the form of the Mandala provides a very sharp interpretive format for the roll of the cubes.

The ‘Archetypal Assessment Mandala,’ as this is being written, is being beta tested  by intrepid volunteers. It was rolled out to participants at Ken and my program Repairing the Opposites, Doubling Stars, Turning Swine Into Pears, that we presented at the Analytical Psychology Society of Western New York December 12th.

I am working on a post to explain how I came to liberate astrology from the confines of space and time, and also free astrology from its deterministic meta-theories. In doing so, I could add on additional cubes to the new tool the Cube-O-Probe. Those add-on cubes increase the original set of cubes based in masculine, feminine, mythological archetypes, and psychodynamic polarities (or dichotomies,) and, the explicit so-called oppositions of the typological constructs taken from Dr. Jung and variously identified by John Beebe and John Giannini.

These new cubes, based in a matrix devised from the basic developmental psychological positions given by the twelve houses and twelve signs–think of the signs as a Y axis, and the houses as a X axis–implicate those positions and also the polarities given in the astro-psychology to be food for reflection/exploration/self-discovery.

The Cube-O-Probe is anchored to my theoretical wondering about the role of generative inducements for praxis using polarities in personal meaning-making. In turn, this has to do with freeing practical means for self-knowledge from linear and stage-based regimens of self-seeking. Both these ‘second orders’ of experiential learning aim at providing spontaneous ‘third order’ methods for self-recognition and self-development, or, alternately, for synchronic (insight-based,) individuation.



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Intersubjective Stars

Finally, the issue of causal mechanism, or why astrology works: It seems unlikely to me that the planets send out some kind of physical emanations that causally influence events in human life in a mechanistic way. The range of coincidences between planetary positions and human existence is just too vast, too experientially complex, too aesthetically subtle and endlessly creative to be explained by physical factors alone. I believe that a more plausible and comprehensive explanation is that the universe is informed and pervaded by a fundamental holistic patterning which extends through every level, so that a constant synchronicity or meaningful correlation exists between astronomical events and human events. This is represented in the basic esoteric axiom, “as above, so below,” which reflects a universe all of whose parts are integrated into an intelligible whole. – Richard Tarnas

Alternately, the ‘just so’ of a symbolic ecology and information organized by astrology’s focused generalizations are enough evocative so as to penetrate to the level of the so-called personal religious problem, or whatever is the psycho dynamic situational attractor. In this conjunction comes about the constructive animation of meaningfulness. This gets around the obvious problem of astrological correspondence.

(The presumption of correspondence is falsifiable and once falsified it cannot serve any longer as a causal predicate. Correspondence–meaningful correlation between astronomical events and human events–is falsified in cases for which identical subjects’s identical astrological natal data aren’t strongly paired, correlated, and given to highly correlated predictions. The falsification is apparent even through a thought experiment. Obviously, it happens all the times that completely identical natal charts are instantiated by simultaneous births in the same hospital. Both identical and fraternal twin studies would prove this same point.)

From the perspective of astrology, there is no absolute separation between the consciousness of the individual and the consciousness of the Universe in which the individual is embedded. Higher levels of consciousness interpenetrate the lower; attraction-at-a-distance assumes an interdependence between the whole and its parts. Each person is part of the greater whole, just as a wave is part of the ocean from which it arises. In this view, the planets don’t cause events on earth, anymore than a clock causes time. Rather, planetary configurations are symbolic reflections or analogues of cyclic phenomena at the terrestrial level.

The New Paradigm And Postmodern Astrology (Glenn Perry, Ph.D)

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