by Hand Week 9
I am resuming the track that I interrupted for the last two weeks in order
to answer some issues raised in letters.
When we left
my discussion of horary three
weeks ago, I was describing how the doctrine of applying
and separating aspects in both horary and natal astrology puts a serious
strain on modern notions of causality. How can a separating aspect in
a chart indicate something that happened before the date of the chart
if the chart is a “cause” of the outcome of the question in any modern
another problem raised by this. Sometimes the separating aspects do not
describe the past circumstances of the question. What does it mean when
this is the case? That is, what does it mean for the question and its
outcome? It is one indication, among several other possible such indications,
that the chart is not going to answer the question! If the separating
aspects do not describe the question very well, then the applying ones
probably are not going to describe the future very well.
Moon is another indication that the chart may not answer the question.
And there are others.
Mind of the Questioner
Now why should
a chart not answer a question? The usual explanation is that the question
is not fully formed in the mind of the one asking the question, or that
the intention of the one asking the question is not sufficiently serious.
And there are other possible explanations. However, what they all boil
down to is that the mind of the person asking the question has a strong
effect on the chart’s ability to answer it. Notice that the mind affects
the chart in this case more than the chart affects the mind! The following
passage is from Guido Bonatti, a thirteenth century astrologer. In it,
he describes just how important it is that the person asking the question
be serious and have deep concern for the outcome of the question.
necessary that he [the one asking the question] observe this manner
of asking; namely, that he ought to pray earnestly to the Lord God from
whom every good draws a beginning, and that with all devotion and a
contrite spirit he entreats that the Lord God grant to him that he may
attain knowledge of the truth of those matters concerning which he intends
Chart as a Statement of Intention
is really a declaration of the state of mind, more often the unconscious
mind, of the person asking the question. The chart is a statement made
in a highly symbolic language (that of astrological symbols) of the intention
of the one asking the question, whether or not he or she is aware of the
state of that intention. The chart is descriptive, not causal!
So if we
have a statement of intention, in fact a declaration of the state of a
soul, what is actually happening here? Why is there is a close correlation
between the state of a soul, the ability of a chart to answer a question
and the actual outcome of the question?
explain it by taking refuge in extreme astral determinism. This is the
astrological equivalent of the determinism of classical physics mentioned
some weeks ago. In astral determinism, everything that happens, every
thought, every event, is the result of stellar influence. This involves
the notorious denial of free will that astrology is always accused of.
The problem is that very few astrologers have ever believed in it outside
of some stoic philosophers of the Hellenistic and Roman times (roughly
300 BC to 100 AD).
I don’t think
that we should believe in it, and I am not saying this out of some
philosophical version of political correctness. I say it for a much simpler
reason. It is not observably true! There is no astrological system that
has ever been able to predict perfectly or even close. I have heard claims
made for various systems of astrology, Hindu (also known as Vedic), Medieval,
Uranian, etc. But no one has been able to demonstrate the validity of
these claims either from modern or historical examples. (Yes, I know about
the nadi leaves
of India, etc., but these are still a rumor as far as I am concerned.
And besides, most of the Hindu astrologers I have spoken with, including
those from India, also do not believe in astral determinism.)
week I will give what I think is the main cause of error in astrology.
who are not familiar with the concept of the void-of-course
Moon here is a simple definition: When the Moon is traveling through a
sign and has made all of the aspects that it is going to make until it
enters the next sign, it is called void-of-course. The aspects that may
be “counted” when figuring a void are the conjunction, sextile, square,
trine and opposition. There is debate about parallels and contra-parallels
of declination. Otherwise, no other aspects may be used in considering
the void-ness of the Moon. In any case, a void Moon is an indication that
the chart is not going to answer the question.
are used by some Hindu astrologers to predict the life events of the client.
The pre-written leaves are selected without calculation of the birth chart
and are reputed to provide highly accurate forecasts.