Sunday, August 19, 2007


It seems to me that astrology and science pull in opposite directions, they describe very different types of truth. So that any attempt to ‘prove’ the truth of astrology by statistical means is misguided.

Scientific truth is always generalised, it goes from the particular to the universal: it sees the universe as a machine in which certain sets of conditions always give rise to certain results. A particular event is of significance only inasmuch as it is an example of a general law.

But a human being cannot be reduced to a mere instance of a general law, a human being is particular and individual and ultimately unknowable. To the extent that science tries to reduce people to generalities, it is a de-humanising influence. This occurs particularly when science is in the hands of people who have the irrational, unprovable superstition that reality is ultimately scientific and ‘rational’, and that everything must be seen in scientific terms.

For science, the Eureka! moment is when you realise a general law like E=mc2. For an astrologer, the Eureka! moment is generally when you make an individual’s chart work for them, when you are able to put into words that person’s unique and particular way of living out the symbols in their chart.

Of course astrology also deals in general ‘laws’, like the nature of the 12 signs. It also moves from the particular to the universal, but in a very different way. Astrology doesn’t try to ‘reduce’ people to the signs. It is more the nature of artistic truth. A novelist will create characters, based to some extent on his/her observations of real people. If this is done well, the characters will seem real to us, and we will feel something is being said about people in general. But that general truth is arrived at through the depth with which the individual has been observed. The individual is central, yet also mysteriously connects us to a wider truth – but not one that can be proved statistically. This would be absurd, because the novelist deals as much in felt/intuited/experienced truth, that gives us a sense of human nature, as he/she does in truth that can be put into words: and even then, how do you couch those words in scientific terms?

It is the same with the signs of the zodiac. Some artistic genius saw the underlying patterning of human nature that the signs describe. But the essence of the signs is more about having a feeling for the type of character being described than about words. It’s like can you reduce your mother to the things you might say to describe her?

Astrology is also divinatory truth. It is about making connections between apparently unconnected events – i.e. the planets and ourselves – and realising what one has to say about the other. How can that possibly be scientific?

It is the same sort of truth as when an unusual event in nature occurs, and you feel there is a particular message in it for you. Like when you see, for example, a bird of prey doing something it doesn’t usually do, and you go away and think about it, and eventually the meaning dawns on you. In the same way, the universe at the moment you were born has a particular message for you about your soul, and the astrologer’s art is to help you read that message. Scientifically, this makes no sense at all.

Astrology is a higher form of knowledge than Science, because Astrology can understand and accept scientific truth, it can be incorporated within its body of knowledge. But Science has no way of understanding Astrology, the truth of which does not lie within its narrow method.

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Anonymous said...

Yet a fundamentalist atheist such as Richard Dawkins - 26th March 1941, Nairobi Kenya - no time, either cannot or will not see this simple truth that you have described so eloquently. He continually beats himself up trying to rubbish anything even faintly spiritual. Check his latest offering - "The God Delusion" and weep for him!

Barry Goddard said...

See Lynn's recent post on the man. He has Pisces Rising and Moon. Makes you think about the sign - he's a bit of a Gordon Brown, keeping it all at bay?

Barry Goddard said...

Anyway, I did say that fundamentalists should be turned into burgers.

Anonymous said...

hi ,this is an interesting post .

astrology does seem to have a scientific aspect though, at least internally. in the sense that that the chart can be tracked over time in a mechanistic a clock or calendar.

also its arguable that astrology is not about humans at all as you believe but about the momemt of birth only . whether of a human,the titanic or your favourite petlabrador.

astrology as 'divinatory truth' seems plausible , but seeing it as just a piece of technology or an 'i pod' style device designed by some technologically advanced species is just as valid.


Barry Goddard said...

Naim writes: "astrology as 'divinatory truth' seems plausible, but seeing it as just a piece of technology or an 'i pod' style device designed by some technologically advanced species is just as valid."

What I'd say is that we have a propensity to have a symbolic relationship with the universe, and we'd do that whatever universe we lived in.

This symbolic relationship, though, isn't just a projection on our part - the universe seems to respond. So astrology takes place at that mysterious interface between subject and object, between consciousness 'in here' and matter 'out there'.

So I'd say astrology can't be just a piece of technology designed by some alien species, because that would put it one-sidedly on the 'out there' pole, which isn't how it works.

And however the aliens planned it, I don't think you can second guess what human consciousness will come up with, how humans will relate symbolically, where they will find meaning, in their universe.

Unless, of course, you take the view that human consciousness itself is the creation of an advanced technology, and that we are some kind of robot, but that's a whole other debate.

Diane L said...

What I'd say is that we have a propensity to have a symbolic relationship with the universe, and we'd do that whatever universe we lived in.

This has certainly been my experience and Mars/Mercury in Scorpio & Virgo MC, I tend to see patterns & relationships rather than linear facts. Made it extremely difficult for me in basic algebra - couldn't remember those niggily fricking formulas longer than 24 hours!! :-)

Anonymous said...

I tried to explain why astrology worked to my son who is now in univesrity and thinks he knows everything, and he wasn't buying any of it! And he's a Bull besides.

Moni from New York

Anonymous said...

I think the reason so many people in English-based culture have a problem with Astrology is that the English language forces you always to think in cause and effect. It is very difficult to express correlations in English without implying that something is causing something else. This fact is exploited by those who use science as marketing propaganda!

There are other languages wherein cause and effect play a far less prominent role. For example, i have read that in Japanese you don't say, "I see the cat," but rather, "I, the cat, seeing." If you grew up thinking this way, i think you would have the mental space to handle correlations better.

Astrology is really just a series of correlations. No serious astrologer i've talked to actually believes that the physical orb out in space that we call Saturn CAUSES duties, lack, and lessons in your life. It's simply a limitation of the language that we find ourselves saying it that way.

One astrologer explained it this lovely way to me: The apparent positions of the planets are a model for how particular energies shift over time. The natal horoscope is like a photograph of where these energies were inside YOU at your birth, and so the planetary transits show us how these energies are likely to be shifting within YOU over time.

As i understand it, those who study the behavior of electrons have had to start using "unscientific" words for types of electrons. For example, there is a type of electron called a "cute" electron. Why aren't the astrology debunkers also attacking quantum physicists for being so foolish? I mean, how can a baby and an electron both be cute? Surely the physicists have no idea what they're talking about, if they could be found saying something so preposterous.