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Astrology by Hand Week 10

Astrological Polymorphism

Last week, I argued that astral determinism cannot be an explanation for the correlations seen in horary astrology. There are just too many errors made by astrologers. And I don’t think that the errors of astrologers are the result of the failure of the basic astrological idea, that is, the idea that there is a constant and reliable correlation between the motions of the heavens and events on Earth. If anyone who is open-minded looks at predictions that have failed, or even at statements about the natal chart that seem to be wrong, he or she will see that these errors are due to what I am going to call astrological polymorphism (very big words here).

Polymorphic simply means that something has many shapes or forms. Astrological symbolism has that quality. For example, the Fifth House in modern astrology can signify children, gambling, gaming, amusements in general, speculation, love affairs, creativity and self-expression. Several of these are ways of having fun. But there are still many different areas of life signified by the Fifth House.

Now suppose we have Saturn in the Fifth House. Does this mean having difficulty with children, having difficulty having children in the first place, having difficulty having fun or expressing oneself; or does it mean that all of these are done in a very disciplined and regulated manner? The answer is that it could be any or all of these things and more. How do we know which one it is, if it is going to be just one of these?

Well, to some extent we do this by cross-referencing every combination of symbols with other combinations that pertain to the same or similar issues. We look at a wide variety of factors and we attempt to deduce a possible combination of events or manifestations that express the symbolism of the chart more or less completely. But the fact remains, no matter how many factors we take into consideration, it is seldom that the components of a chart eliminate all but one possible manifestation. The single most common cause of astrological error, assuming that the astrologer is well-trained and competent, is that some combination of events and manifestations that we did not expect, but which fit the symbolism equally well with the ones that astrologer has proposed, happened instead of the one that was expected.

Environment a Factor

Now it is assumed by a small number of astrologers that such errors are due entirely to overlooking something. The chart, properly read, they claim, could have told us exactly which manifestation to expect. I deny this. I have seen no evidence that it is always possible to determine which of a set of equally probable outcomes is going to occur. I believe that the level of awareness of the person whose chart it is can affect the type of outcome, and also there are environmental factors to take into consideration.

Take the following example: In Hindu astrology, there are planetary combinations that indicate whether a person goes about on foot, on a horse, in a sedan chair (seen many of these lately?) or on an elephant. Well most of us live in places where there are no elephants. And most of us also do not travel on foot, or horseback. Now of course I realize that these combinations are really more about determining social class from the chart than they are about the mode of transportation. To bring this into accord with our culture we might want to substitute “large limousine” for “elephant” for example. But all kidding aside, astrological manifestations are seldom literal, and different environments will cause different manifestations.

But to get back to the central point, when a dispassionate observer who is trained in astrology looks at events that come together with various astrological combinations, he or she will see that something almost always occurs that fits the symbolism very well, even when it was not exactly the first thing that might come to mind. Astrological “influences,” whatever they may be, seldom fail to manifest completely.

Now it could be charged that this only seems to be true. It could be argued that our “reasoning” is so flexible that we can always find something that fits the symbolism in the events. And I have to admit that I have seen a lot of that kind of looseness in reasoning among astrologers. But I maintain that a good astrologer uses sufficiently tight reasoning so that he or she can tell whether events are, or are not, proper manifestations of an astrological pattern. So given that events almost always do manifest astrological patterns in an appropriate way, and that there is always more than one mode of manifestation that fits the symbolism equally well, I have to say that instead of astral determinism, what we really have is a high degree of astral indeterminacy.

There is only one thing that is fated, and that is that on a certain date you will have certain transits, progressions, directions etc. in effect. This is not negotiable! But what the manifestation will be is not determined. It is affected by the level of awareness, environment and possibly even chance as well as by whatever lies behind astrological symbolism.

Next week, I will talk more about the strength of the mind’s intention and how that relates to the chart.



Rob Hand, author of Planets in Transit and other works, is now involved in the translation and publication of texts regarding ancient and medieval astrology through ARHAT Media Inc.
View the entire Astrology by Hand Library.

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For more information about Rob Hand, click here.

Other StarIQ articles by Rob Hand:

  • Astrology by Hand 13   7/3/2003
  • Astrology by Hand 1   4/10/2003
  • Astrology by Hand 14   8/11/2001
  • Astrology by Hand 13   8/4/2001
  • Astrology by Hand 11   7/21/2001
  • Astrology by Hand 46   5/5/2001

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