Monday, March 28, 2011

How Astrology Works

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?

I think the key idea here is the Imagination, the Mundus. According to William Blake, Imagination is Reality. The original idea of finding meaning in the heavens, of relating celestial and earthly events, would have been awe-inspiring. Astrology therefore has its roots in the Imagination, and to that extent is real. When that sense of wonder is lost, when your interpretation is not fresh and you are merely reciting standardised meanings, then you could say it has become a delusion, in the same way that formalised religion is often a delusion. And that doesn’t mean people won’t continue to pay you good money and think you’re a great astrologer!

And I would apply the same to Science. Think of the awe Copernicus must have felt when he discovered that God had created this elegant sun-centred solar system, and how divine Reason, that made this discovery, must have seemed.
You take the awe out of it, and put rats through mazes in a lab, and what you have instead is a coherent, but disenchanted, universe; it has a certain logic, but is also a case of the shadows passing Plato’s Cave, that the inhabitants mistake for Reality.

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.

If you want to make an argument for Astrology, then you need somehow to communicate that sense of awe if you want to get anywhere. 17 days ago, on the last day of Uranus' (sudden disruptive events) 7 year stay in Pisces, a tsunami (the ocean/Pisces) hit Japan. The next day, Uranus' 1st day in fiery Aries, a nuclear plant exploded in Japan as a result of the tsunami.

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.


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6 comments:

Kate Sholly said...

Thank you so much for your "imaginative" blogs — almost everyone one has inspired me on my current journey. And I especially like this one, as I'm in the thick of being aware of, and wanting to open my consciousness beyond, the limits of consensus reality. This has involved rediscovering my imagination and trusting it above and beyond what everyone else is saying and doing, especially the scientific world view. It's like a breath of fresh hour in a very close and hot room.

And the Full Moon images are exquisite. Please consider writing for us at The Mountain Astrologer some time.

best
Kate Sholly

GypsyRose said...

Beautiful. Your words open up my mind and heart to an existing light I didn't know was there.

Anonymous said...

Loved the interview on the John Barleycorn blog. You guys really seem to mesh quite well in collaboration and having fun to boot.

Science forgets that creativity and imagination are among the distinctions that sets us apart from other creatures. Without those traits, we would not have risen to the level of achievement that we have today. How much farther could we go if we open our minds to more "magical" possibilities?

aKuna Kumara said...

"the Universe has a mysterious way of becoming what we think it to be."
So very well put...Thank You...now we must get all of humanity to recognize there is no thing created outside ourselves (all is a projection from within according to the vibrational frequency we are)

Clymela/Singing Sparrow said...

Just today a very young genius,12 years, explaining via his math that there was no Big Bang but rather a gentle rolling out. Fits beautifully with your imagination as it unrolled this story. So..... "we" just popped as we rolled along and life is eternal and we could never grasp God in all out eternities and yes god arises from within us.
Thank you wonderful story teller.

Clymela/Singing Sparrow said...

please read our for out