Wednesday, February 21, 2007

ASTROLOGY, SCIENCE, RATIONALITY AND EVOLUTION

One of the things I like about astrology is that while it demands a lot of use of the rational faculty, there is no rational explanation (as far as I can see) for why astrology should work. The furthest I can get in explaining how astrology works is to say that somehow there is a connection between symbolic reality and experiential reality.

Enduring symbols emerge from the depths of the mind, a level of consciousness where we are no longer separate from the rest of the cosmos. In this way symbols, and hence astrology, connect our everyday experiences to the deeper purposes of the cosmos.

Well, that makes sense to me, anyhow, but I’ve switched over into a non-rational explanation. On a purely rational level, I don’t think astrology can be explained. But because astrologers need to have a developed rational faculty, I think the practice of astrology gives us a gradually deepening insight into the limitations of rationality. Rationality, at any rate, as understood in our culture, which tends to be scientific and ‘objective’. So I think that the practice of astrology is a very good antidote to the mindset that says that knowledge has to be rational and scientific to be real. It is an informed antidote, not a blind one, because astrologers need a good rational faculty.

Even on a non-rational level, I don’t think astrology can be adequately explained. Rather, it gives us a sense of wonder at how mysterious and incomprehensible yet connected and purposeful the universe is.

So scientists see themselves as ‘objective’. In a sense they can be right. They do this by excluding personal emotional response as a valid source of knowledge, as well as by having a rigorous methodology and theoretical framework which can yield some stunning results. It is well-known, however, that scientists can be irrationally resistant to theories that challenge the accepted canon of knowledge. Their capacity for ‘objectivity’ goes out of the window. Or if something happens for which there seems to be no possibility of a scientific explanation. Such as Lynn’s example of putting a bar of soap under your bedsheets to relieve pain. Or the evolutionary theory of “the inheritance of acquired characteristics”, for which there is increasing evidence, but which has been a no-no for 100 years, because no scientific mechanism can be thought of.

What this closed-mindedness demonstrates is a strong attachment to a particular way of seeing the world. This is a strongly emotional characteristic, there is nothing rational or reasonable about it. I refuse to accept that scientists are any more rational than the rest of us. You could argue that because they do not take emotion seriously in their methodology as a way of knowing, they are more likely to be victims of unconscious emotion. I personally do not see rationality as an exclusively logical function. I think that a rational person also has a sense of whether or not their feelings are appropriate to the situation, and whether or not to be guided by them. There is rational and irrational emotion. And I think that scientists are being highly unreasonable human beings when they dismiss outright astrology, homeopathy, bars of soap, or unconventional scientific theories because they don’t ‘understand’ them. It’s like the natives who couldn’t see the sailing ships because they’d never seen anything like it before. But worse, because it’s more wilful.

At the other end of the scale, and I may be wrong, but I think the whole ‘dark matter’ theory is a desperate attempt to hang on to an outdated way of seeing the universe. Apparently, gravity as it is understood is not strong enough by a long way to hold galaxies together. Therefore, it is said, there must be another source of gravity, so called ‘dark matter’, which constitutes 90% of the universe, which we cannot see or detect and have no evidence for. They may be right, but I suspect it is more akin to the ‘ether’ that matter was supposed to reside in, but for which there was no evidence, until Einstein came along and said no, what you can see is all that is there, it’s just that you need to look at it differently.

I was very pleased to see a programme on Lamarckian inheritance about a year ago. This is the theory that, for example, if a giraffe has to stretch its neck to get leaves off trees, its offspring will tend to be born with longer necks than they would otherwise. This is the “inheritance of acquired characteristics” that I mentioned earlier. Without something like this, evolution seems to me to be not only incredibly slow, but random: it is purely a matter of chance if you have advantageous characteristics. Whereas I think there is some sort of direction going on, some sort of participation by consciousness.

I can’t remember too much about the programme now, but one finding was that a people who had gone through famine 100 or so years ago were more likely, several generations later, to have certain physical characteristics associated with famine. A crucial time for the passing on of acquired characteristics was if the famine – or whatever else – occurred at the time the individual’s reproductive capacity was forming. For women, this is at a certain point when they are in the womb, when all the eggs are formed. For men, this is at puberty. So now they are doing an experiment with a number of women who were pregnant in the vicinity of 9/11, and seeing if that anxiety is in any way passed on to their children, and presumably to their daughter’s children, if their eggs were being formed at that time in the womb. (They kind of have a mechanism for all this, in terms of genes being switched on and off).

Something else I was pleased to read a couple of months ago was an experiment that had recently been done with lizards. Some were introduced to a neighbouring island, where there was a larger, predatory lizard. Within 6 months, the descendants of the new lizards had generally longer legs, so that they could outrun the predatory lizard. Within another 6 months, their legs had shortened again, and they had become climbing lizards, another way of avoiding the predatory lizards.

This suggests that evolution can happen incredibly quickly, which I’ve thought might be the case for some time. Given that evolution has produced incredible structures like the brain, I don’t think it’s asking too much for there to be some sort of feedback system between the demands placed on the body and the reproductive organs.


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Monday, February 19, 2007

WAS 9/11 A CONSPIRACY?

Am I the only person left who still believes that 9/11 was caused by a small group of Arabs who hijacked some airliners? And that their efforts were facilitated by government incompetence in the run-up to the events, of the sort you’d find anywhere? The BBC is doing a series on conspiracy theories at the moment, beginning last night with 9/11. Some people think it ridiculous that I should take the BBC seriously on this sort of thing. But it needs pointing out that while the BBC can be craven in its dealings with the British government, it can also be independent and outspoken.

The most recent major example was its contention in 2004 that Tony Blair had “sexed up” the intelligence about Saddam’s WMD programme. In a time of war you just don’t do this, but the BBC did, and as everyone knows (except Tony Blair), they were right. The government responded with fury and set up an inquiry that was a whitewash and which pointed the finger at the BBC. The governors of the BBC rolled over and axed their 2 top people. So the BBC can be both courageous and cowardly.

What struck me watching this documentary was the tone of the people they interviewed. The people who accepted the airliner explanation of 9/11 were kind of bemusedly shrugging their shoulders: “I went to the Pentagon to help in the rescue work, and there were bits of airliner lying about.” It wasn’t a big deal, just ordinary people describing what they had seen. The conspiracy theorists, on the other hand, had a fervour about them, we were dealing here in CERTAINTIES, there was no room for doubt, and they didn’t attempt to engage seriously with evidence that cast doubt on their theories. I know which group I’d rather hang out with. Which doesn’t make them right. Just more reliable.

Belief in conspiracy theories on a wide scale seems to be more American than British, and maybe I’m just betraying my cultural limitations in my belief that a small group of Arabs brought about 9/11. But fervent believers aside, it still seems to me that a lot of intelligent Americans will treat as straightforward fact unproven theories that cast doubt on the truthfulness of authorities. Whether it’s Liz Greene’s allegedly faked PhD, or the Bush administration’s alleged conspiracy to bring about 9/11. These are not facts, they are opinions. My belief is an opinion, too.

As the guy who co-wrote The FBI Files was saying, Americans have had the experiences of Vietnam and Watergate, and this has gone deep, these events are always lurking large in the background. And Bush himself has clearly lied big-time. If you’ve been lied to and betrayed enough, it will rightly make you distrustful. But I think it’s important to come out the other side of these experiences, with a loss of naivety, yes, but with common sense intact.

Let’s look at the chart for 9/11, based on the impact of the first jet into the World Trade Centre at 8.46 am, 11th Sept 2001, New York.

If there were a secret conspiracy behind it, I would expect to see a strong 12th House, Neptune or Scorpio emphasis. What we find is an exact Mercury Rising, 4 minutes into the 12th and ruling the 12th, and Sun in the 11th, in Mercury-ruled Virgo, 46 Minutes off the 12th House Cusp. So a conspiracy is arguable.

On the other hand, Eris, the Goddess of Mischief, who uses one event to set off something much bigger – in this case, 9/11 leading to the War on Terror – Eris is at 20 Aries, square the Midheaven, and in the 7th conjunct the DESC. The 7th House is the House of Open Enemies, which Al Qaeda certainly is. Using astrocartography, the Pluto-MC line for 9/11 runs through western India and Pakistan and through eastern Afghanistan. All Bin Laden territory. The Saturn-IC line runs through here as well. And the Saturn-Pluto opposition of the time was the biggest astrological factor of all.

So the single biggest factor – Saturn-Pluto – points to Al Qaeda. Does Sun conjunct 12th House cusp suggest the US authorities were also secretly involved? Or does it suggest their powers of analysis (Sun in Virgo) had gone to sleep (12th House)? Because there was plenty of evidence in advance, if they’d put it all together. And you don't need a conspiracy for them not to do so - all you need is argy-bargy between the CIA and FBI, just like you get between the different branches of the British Armed Services.

The people who carried out the attack, the Moon, is in the 9th House of foreigners, and appropriately opposite Mars, and in late Gemini: in Arabic astrology, a favourable time to start a war. I’m thinking from the astrology that Al Qaeda was definitely involved. I don’t think US government involvement can be ruled out, though that’s not my personal belief.

The Composite Chart between George Bush and 9/11 has a 12th House stellium of Sun-Venus-Moon-Jupiter in Leo. This strongly suggests a Presidential cover-up - but we don't know whether before or after the event. Similarly, the Composite between the Defence Dept and 9/11 has 12th House Pluto, in a t-square with Saturn and Eris. Again, something murky going on, but we don't know if it was before 9/11 or after or both.

Neither the Sibly nor the 2nd July US charts have much that indicates a cover-up when composited with the 9/11 chart, suggesting that any cover-up/conspiracy mainly concerned George Bush and the Defence Dept. And Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld, both of whose composite charts with 9/11 are significantly Neptunian.

So I think I'd definitely go for a neo-con conspiracy after 9/11, in order to use the events to their advantage, and to cover-up a lot of what went on. But I think 9/11 itself caught them napping.

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Friday, February 16, 2007

ASTROCARTOGRAPHY AND THE US CHART

In previous posts I have argued a case for both the Gemini Rising and the 2nd July Scorpio Rising charts for the USA. What would I get, I thought, if I tried some astrocartography?

I put up the Sibly Chart – the one most commonly used for the USA – and there was Pluto on the MC going right through Baghdad! And then down past Mogadishu, scene of the 'Black Hawk Down' episode.

As far as I understand it, astrocartography works by plotting where on the earth all the planets were on the Angles, and therefore most active, at the moment you were born. For example, though you might not have Venus overhead (on the MC) in your chart, there would be a whole line of places on the earth where Venus would have been overhead at the moment you were born. These might be good places for you to get married!

Similarly, the places where you have Pluto on the MC are where you are likely to very publicly meet your nemesis, as is happening to the US in Baghdad.

With Pluto on the MC running not just close to Baghdad but virtually through it, I think that the Sibly Chart has to be included as one of America’s charts, at least one that describes its foreign policy. The Sibly chart is for the moment America declared its independence to the world, so this fits.

That said, the 2 July Scorpio Rising chart has Chiron on the ASC, Saturn on the DESC and Sun on the IC all crossing each other within 40-50 miles of Baghdad, which is another very good hit. So we have to include this chart as well. Chiron and Saturn describe what is happening now, but what about Sun on the IC? I was reading only the other day that the US has involved itself in the Middle East since the start of the 19th century, beginning with missionaries and later building schools and hospitals, well before all the oil stuff started. So there is a sense in which it has been making a home for itself in the Middle East (Sun-IC) for a long time now.

What about the Gemini Rising Chart (also for the Declaration of Independence)? That has Mars on the MC crossing Neptune on the DESC passing halfway between Baghdad and Tehran. So this chart works as well!

If we look at Ho Chi Minh City, formerly Saigon, the 2 July Chart has Mars passing fairly close by, which fits. But the other 2 charts don’t seem to work very well. The Sibly has Venus and Jupiter, and the Gemini Rising Chart has the Moon on the IC – all perhaps describing different aspects of US involvement in Vietnam?

As probably with all countries, I think there is more than one chart for the USA. It doesn’t mean that all the charts are valid, but that those that are valid are coming at the USA from different angles, and need to be used as such. For America’s ideals and how it likes to see itself, for example, the Sibly or the Gemini Rising Charts would seem to be the best ones to use. For its government, the 2nd July chart, when Congress voted itself independent of Britain, might be the best one to use.

For my other 3 blogs on the US Chart, see my postings USA: Gemini or Sag Rising?, Born on the 2nd of July? and Scorpio Nation .

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Thursday, February 15, 2007

CONSPIRACY THEORIES

Next Sunday BBC2 is showing a programme about conspiracy theories. This morning they interviewed a psychologist involved in making it. His observation was that people who tend to believe in conspiracy theories often have trust issues on an interpersonal level, and this easily gets extrapolated to mistrust of governments and big institutions. Another angle raised was that when an event happens that has a huge impact – such as 9/11, or the death of Princess Diana – people often want a reason for the event of comparable magnitude. It’s not enough, despite the evidence, that Diana’s death was an accident, or that 9/11 was caused by a small group of Arabs: there have to be bigger causes, so that, for example, the British government ordered the death of Princess Diana. There are, of course, such things as real conspiracies, as they were quick to point out, examples being Watergate and the Iran-Contra affair.

All good Saturn-Neptune stuff. These 2 planets make an exact opposition in 2 weeks, so the programme is timely. Conventional, grounded reality (Saturn) versus deception, illusion, trust/mistrust (Neptune). What we don’t always know is which end of the opposition is the real one! Are we being deceived (Neptune) by the Government (Saturn), or do we need a reality-check (Saturn) on our paranoid illusions (Neptune)? Maybe we can never be 100% sure.

What I have noticed with people who tend to believe in conspiracy theories is that they really want the conspiracy to be true, and there’s no arguing with them. They think you’re just na├»ve because you haven’t woken up to what’s ‘really’ going on. It often has the flavour of religious conversion.

I like to be open-minded about these things. I’d be really fascinated if some of them were true, but I don’t NEED them to be true. I find it’s a bit of a balancing act in remaining open to these possibilities without involving myself in the crazy, paranoid minds of the David Ickes of this world.

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Friday, February 02, 2007

ASTROLOGY AND ENVIRONMENTALISM

There could hardly be a more important subject than that of climate change and the environment, and yet I haven’t been able to find an astrological take on it via the internet or anywhere else. I’d been occasionally pondering this one for a couple of years, and I finally came upon a way in last December through my blog on The Uranus-Pluto Generation. I was talking about David Cameron, the leader of the UK Conservative party, who has been attempting to make the environment for the first time a major issue in British politics, and I realised that this guy has the 1960s Uranus-Pluto conjunction in his chart, probably conjunct his ASC, and despite him being a Tory, his environmentalism is therefore probably for real.

And the conjunction is in VIRGO. Virgo is concerned with the cycles of nature (through her presiding goddess Astrea) and with technology (Virgo is Mercury-Mind ruled, an earth sign, analytical and perfectionist). And what technology has done is to disrupt the cycles of nature, leading to our environmental issues. So it is a very Virgoan issue. Eureka! It’s obvious when you think about it.

During the 1960s, when David Cameron was born, Pluto was in Virgo (1956-1972). For most of the 1960s, depending on what orb you use, Uranus was in conjunction with Pluto. During that period we saw the beginning of environmentalism as a radical protest movement (Uranus-Pluto).

In Sept 1962, for example, Silent Spring was published, a book that “claimed detrimental effects of pesticides on the environment, particularly on birds” and which “is widely credited with launching the environmentalism movement in the West.” (Wiki). Uranus was at 1-2 Virgo, Pluto was at 9-10 Virgo and both were opposite Chiron! The Sun may well have been in Virgo as well.

The two international environmental protest movements that we have probably all heard of, Friends of the Earth and Greenpeace, were founded in 1969 and 1971 respectively, though Greenpeace arose out of protest movements that were around a year or two earlier. So these two are also offspring of the Uranus-Pluto conjunction as it came to an end, with Pluto in late Virgo and Uranus in early Libra. The World Wildlife Fund was founded on 11 Sept 1961, with Sun and Pluto in Virgo, and Uranus 11 degrees off in late Leo. (I have heard it said that outer planet conjunctions are so far reaching on a mundane level that we need to consider them as operative up to 15 degrees apart).

The common factor in all of this is Pluto in Virgo: this was the period when humanity’s protest against environmental destruction (Virgo) first became empowered (Pluto). And Uranus was the protest, sometimes out of sign.

30 years later, from 1995 onwards, Pluto moved into Sagittarius, squaring its position in the 1960s, and so re-empowering the environmentalism that began in those times. And that re-empowerment consisted in the fact the environmentalism moved from being a protest issue to a mainstream political issue.

Probably the most significant move in this direction was the Kyoto treaty, which assigned mandatory targets for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions to signatory nations. The treaty was negotiated in Kyoto, Japan in December 1997, opened for signature on March 16, 1998, and closed on March 15, 1999. The agreement came into force on February 16, 2005. (Wiki) It originally came out of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, established in 1992. So Kyoto and what led up to it takes us through virtually the whole of Pluto in Sagittarius.

Even though George Bush notoriously opted out of Kyoto, environmentalism as a real political issue has still progressed in the USA, through eg. the Gubernator’s initiatives in California and even in GWB’s recent State of the Union Address. So with Pluto at the very end of Sag, the issue is still being empowered politically.

As Pluto finishes squaring its 1960s Virgo journey, so is Uranus in Pisces now working its way through an opposition to Virgo, but some years behind. So out of this Pluto re-empowerment we can expect to see all sorts of interesting and radical and unexpected developments, both political and technological. There may well be a major leap forward as soon as the end of next year, as Saturn moves into opposition with Uranus, a combination which is well-known as a signature of technological breakthrough. As well as, politically, the bringing of radicalism (Uranus) into the status quo (Saturn).

And ironically, it may well be the USA, the worst polluter of all, and the last to come on board, which will come up with many of the breakthroughs. The USA has historically proved very inventive and able to rise to a challenge, and its natal Saturn-Uranus Trine can only help.

Incidentally, Barack Obama, the rising star of the Democrats and a contender for President, has Uranus in late Leo and Pluto in early Virgo, so I think we can see him as a member of the 1960s Uranus-Pluto generation who may be central to addressing the environmental crisis. When there is a pressing collective need like this, leaders will tend to get elected who are instinctively in tune with it. This is a point in favour of him winning the next US election. The Saturn-Uranus opposition, at 19 Virgo Pisces, will be hitting his Mars at 22 Virgo, and all at election time in Nov 2008. This is again a favourable pointer, not just to him winning, but to him having the dynamism to bring something new into politics that breaks the mould and which also addresses the environmental issue.

The Uranus-Pluto Cardinal square of 2010 onwards is the opening square of the cycle that began with the Virgo conjunction of the 1960s, so we should see the issues that began to be raised in those days receive new impetus from 2010 onwards - and probably even now.

Back to Pluto. Its square since 1995 from Sag to its 1960s Virgo journey is also relevant by sign, because Sag, for all its questing and enthusiasm, is well known for its lack of interest in mere earthly, ordinary matters. (In the system of esoteric rulerships, the earth is the ruler of Sag, suggesting what this sign needs to do to function at its best). And in this case it has been disastrous. We have our ever expanding quest for knowledge and know-how (Sag) based on a dismissive and exploitative attitude (Square) towards the cycles of nature (Virgo). This current transit is on the one hand a square in the worst sense, in that our destruction of the environment is accelerating; and it is also a square in the best sense, in that we are slowly beginning - in some countries - to rise to the challenge of addressing the issues it raises.

In my December blog on Pluto and the Galactic Centre, I made a connection with the Pluto-GC cycle and the environmental issue. Pluto last conjoined the GC in about 1760, as the steam engine which was crucial to the Industrial Revolution, which powered (Pluto) it, was being invented. Now, as Pluto conjoins the GC again last year and this, we are unavoidably faced with the environmental consequences of that Revolution. The GC’s involvement suggests that this issue is an important part of humanity’s evolution. It is not just a technological problem we have to solve. It has all sorts of deeper ramifications to do with our attitude to the planet.

Incidentally, the 1760 Pluto-GC conjunction also had Eris involved a few degrees away. Little Miss Mischief. Yes, here’s this wonderful opportunity to live as you have never lived before and generate untold wealth. There’s going to be this little problem 240 years from now, but I’m not telling you about that. What we have done to the environment is an externalisation of what’s in our own psyches, and Eris set us up for that. It’s horrible, but it’s been necessary, that’s how transformation sometimes works, and it points to part of Eris’ function in the transformational process. She sets us up for a necessary fall. 240 years later, with Pluto again conjunct the GC, Eris has turned up trine to the conjunction, ensuring we know that she has also been part of the picture – and maybe even to help us sort the mischief, while she creates some more for the next Pluto-GC conjunction.

So far we have Virgo and Pluto-GC-Eris as the main players in the environmental crisis. I think that Ceres also needs to be brought in. Ceres was promoted to the status of dwarf planet last year, so she obviously wants us to look at her. The promotion took place on 24 Aug, with the Sun in Virgo. As the goddess of growing plants she has a strong connection to Virgo. And through her daughter Persephone, who was a virgin (until Pluto got his hands on her) there is another strong connection to Virgo.

Ceres goes through all the signs every 5 years, so is bound to have aspected Uranus-Pluto during the 1960s. There were still some interesting ones, though. On 9 Nov 1965, Pluto and Uranus were between 18 and 19 Virgo, and Ceres was opposite at 18.32 Pisces. There were other occasions as well where Uranus and Pluto were very closely conjoined while Ceres was making a very tight aspect to them. So I think we can draw her in to the environmental issue as well.

Ceres and Astrea are both goddesses who love nature, which I think all humans also do, when they think about it. In looking at Ceres we also need to look at the main myth surrounding her, which is the abduction of her daughter by Pluto, her grief and her eventually finding Persephone, but only having her back for 6 months of the year – which became summer – while the other 6 months her daughter spent in the underworld with Pluto, and this became winter, Ceres’ time of sorrow.

So Ceres becoming prominent now suggests to me that we are entering the initial winter where Ceres has lost her daughter and doesn’t know where she is. We have lost our innocent, and unknowing, attitude to nature, as we collectively realise we are destroying her. But we can never go back to how we were – our technological advancement cannot be undone: Persephone has lost her virginity. To solve the problem, some sort of arrangement has to be made between the Ceres of Nature and the Pluto of destructive technology, just as Ceres and Pluto in the myth have to come to an arrangement. Ceres is resigned to it, but as a mother she is never happy with it. In the same way, Nature will probably never be as wild and bounteous as before humanity became technological. But at least an arrangement can be made to the benefit of both.


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