10 days ago I did an interview which was published at another blog, John Barleycorn Must Die. I was asked at one point how Astrology works, and my answer was that it works because the Universe has a mysterious way of becoming what we think it to be. The Scientific Universe is not ‘objective’; it is that people have thought of the Universe as a Scientific Reality, and it has become that. And the same with Astrology. That is why Astrology works. Matter and Consciousness are intimately connected.
But then you are left with the problem that sometimes what you think is Reality, is clearly not so. It is delusional. When do your thoughts shape reality, and when are you merely caught up in a fantasy?
So Reality doesn't reside in a system of knowledge that can be argued about. It is instead something to be perceived when the Imagination is awake. And it has a force that carries people with it, because somewhere we know it to be true, it speaks to us. Astrology as a system can seem barking mad, it seems ridiculous from a certain perspective. So I'm not surprised when people try to dismiss it. But when you see heavenly and earthly events line up, it can touch something primordial and awe-inspiring; the chattering mind is swept aside because you know something real has happened.
And it's the same with the Tarot. On the face of it, it seems ridiculous. But the symbols in it speak to us, and that makes the Tarot real. If the symbols speak to the reader, then what he/she says will be true. It's not something that can be proved; it has to be experienced.
It is interesting how what seems like common sense and what is actually real can be so at odds with one another. Scientific reality, with its string of practical successes, has come to seem like the standard by which all other forms of knowledge need to be judged. Astrology, from this point of view, seems like nonsense. And that is what the intelligent man-on-the-Clapham-Omnibus is likely to think. And yet, if your Imagination is awake, it likely to seem the other way round. It's probably always been like this, in one way or another. 700 years ago it was common sense that the God of the Old Testament existed and the Bible was true. People genuinely thought there was something wrong with you if you didn't think like this. In the West we are used to thinking in Absolute Truths.
Consensus reality is easy, because it is based on someone else telling you how things are, you have the security of everyone else thinking the same, and you don't have to work at it. And you are quite unconscious that this is what you are doing. And it is always the minority who question this reality, and who probably provided its imaginative basis in the first place, before it became literalised and prescriptive.
I once suggested to a Chippewa-Cree friend, who is a story teller, that surely his people are the same with their Creation Myths, they get absolutised. And he said no, they have a number of conflicting Creation Myths in their tradition, and that stops this happening. That is why I think there is something to be said for teaching Intelligent Design, as well as Evolution, in American schools. Not because I think Intelligent Design is true - I don't - but because it gives the children more than one story about how people came about. You have 2 opposing stories that have become fundamentalised here, but paradoxically you could create questioning and open-mindedness out of their conflict.