by Hand Week 12
raised the possibility, in fact likelihood, that at least horary astrology
has a magical aspect. I want to say at this point that I am aware of the
dangers of this admission. Back in the 70s, 176 scientists signed a petition
condemning astrology that subsequently appeared in the magazine The
Humanist. There was an article associated with this petition
by one Lawrence Jerome. His thesis was that astrology was a form of magic.
He claimed that since we know magic is bogus, astrology must be
bogus also. If we accept his premise, his conclusion follows. I suggest that
we cannot accept his premise, but we are obliged to do something he did
not feel obliged to do.
We have to
come to some kind of definition of magic. I do not think that magic is
a term that allows only one definition. It is apparent that there are
many definitions that are possible, and each of them applies to certain
uses of the word. Magic is not an easy term to define, but in these articles
I do plan to present definitions that will be, first of all, intuitively
plausible, and second, will apply in varying ways to astrology. However,
all of them will have one thing in common: they will not be possible in
a universe that works the way that traditional science has claimed it
Astrology and Magic
something else that I need to do before I get into astrology and magic.
Thus far, I have only been talking about horary astrology. What about
natal astrology? Does it have this magical quality as well? I would say
yes, and it revolves around the whole idea of astrological polymorphism,
which I mentioned in previous weeks. Astrological polymorphism is the
fact that astrological indications can be expressed in many possible ways.
I am going to tell a story now about an actual client that illustrates
just how far polymorphism goes in natal astrology. This is a true story,
but I have to fuzz over some of the details a bit because this is a real
client. I trust that the details will not be sufficient to reveal the
identity of this person.
I was recently
giving consultations while on one of my trips abroad. I was informed that
I had a last-minute booking for a reading, and was asked if I could take
this person on. I agreed. It turned out that the client was a reasonably
well-known popular musician (except of course to yours truly, who is seriously
out of the popular music loop). In the course of the consultation, I noticed
configurations that could easily manifest as a drug or alcohol problem.
She acknowledged this, and indicated that it was in the past and well
Then I noticed
that in the year 1998 this combination in her natal chart was hit in such
a way as to indicate a possible resurgence of the problem along with depression
and a general sense of alienation and loneliness. I asked her about 1998.
She said that it had been a very successful year professionally, financially
and that she had been very happy during that year; not what I expected.
I asked her what she had been going through that year and this is what
she told me.
She had a
large part in a musical that did very well. Her character in that musical
was another female singer, who in real life had had a serious alcohol
and drug problem, as well as suffering from loneliness and alienation,
exactly as my client’s natal chart had described. So instead of being
the person suffering from these problems in real life, my client played
the role of someone who suffered from these problems in her real life.
She created space for the symbolism to work out in a benign manner and
enjoyed a very successful year. And she did not know that those difficult
aspects were going on in her natal chart.
that there is no way that my client could have known this about any of
this. She unconsciously came up with a successful way of dealing with
difficult planetary combinations. It worked brilliantly. Instead of being
a “victim” of planetary “effects,” she made her transits a statement of
the deepest intentions of her mind. This is clearly a “magic” similar
to what happens in horary.
In both natal
and horary astrology, it is clear that some kind of dialogue goes on between
the planets and the minds of individuals in order to reach a conclusion
about what is going to happen. As this last example makes clear, astrological
polymorphism is not just the result of indeterminacy in astrology. The
individual may play a very active role in determining the outcome of the
“effects.” But the word “dialogue” is interesting here. It comes from
a Greek word meaning “conversation” by implication between two people.
Exactly who is having this conversation?
week we begin to explore magic.