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(XII) HISTORY - 21ST CENTURY ASTROLOGY

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« Reply #90 on: September 26, 2007, 08:23:25 pm »








The astronomer and astrologer Tycho Brahe, an admirer of Paracelsus, responded to Calvin's quibbling in a lecture given in September 1574 at Copenhagen University.

But better than anyone else, the philosopher of Einsiedeln had swept their arguments away in his Philosophia sagax [93] : "The stars are our natural masters (...) Each person must follow fixedly in what acts or should act in him (...) Man must do whatever the impressio urges and not what he himself wishes. This is not a constraint, and it is called praedestinatio. (...) Man is so lazy by nature that on his own account he would do nothing. But in order to deliver man from inaction, and the free will which urges him toward it, the impressio comes from the stars: 'do this.' (...) In this manner it is impossible to escape activity. Without the impressio everything would suffer from complete neglect." [94]

      Astrology must remove itself from the duality of determinism/free will into which its adversaries have never ceased to corner it. It is neither fatalistic, nor "libertarian," but rather stipulates an interior necessity in each person, a vector of specific possibilities. The astral impressio implies no kind of moral or political anarchy. On the contrary, it validates the individuality of each person by inciting each human being to act with full integrity and to find his place in the matrix of humankind, not by virtue of external constraint but rather because an internal imperative guides him.

The "inner sky" [95]  which communicates the psychic motion of the "impressional" [impressio ] [96] accords to each person his portion of natural wisdom and awareness, which he would do ill to hawk off cheaply for the sake of the "idols" and phantoms of consensus thought, as analyzed by Francis Bacon. What is more, it is the impressio that lies at the root of the sciences, the arts and indeed all human activity.[97]
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« Reply #91 on: September 26, 2007, 08:25:05 pm »








Few astrologers have become fully cognizant of this formidable rebuttal to the Judeo-Christian problematic, and few have understood how to put it forward. Paracelsus shows himself an exception to that rule by his putting astrology back into the "animist" framework from which it emerged, [98]  and by restoring the natural and immediate phenomenon of the numinous [99]  and of inner manna.

For astral operands communicate to the psyche the ineffable essence of the real, on which basis all creative life is possible. They transmit to it the energy which innervates the living, without which there could be no Being, no World, no Consciousness, nor indeed any social activity. The astral order and freedom cause fear.

In order to compensate for his lack of faith in himself, in the world and in other people, man has invented laws and religions, to the point of accepting lies, hypocrisy and cowardice put into a system fit for slaves or for "voluntary servitude" (Etienne de la Boétie). But even if astrology were completely eradicated from human culture, astral reality would continue no less to guide human consciousness.

      Anti-fatalistic, religious or scientistic arguments against astrology reveal certain ideological biases. The condemnation of 1975, signed by three scientists, which aims to "put public opinion on guard" against astrology, resembles in its authoritarianism, its morbidity and its lack of imagination the document signed in 1619 by three obscure theologians of the Sorbonne who judged the profession of astrologer to be "illicit and damnable, [and] not to be tolerated in a republic." [100]
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« Reply #92 on: September 26, 2007, 08:26:18 pm »








 The English astrological community was shocked at reading the inflammatory article of a neo-Darwinian Oxford biologist who happened also to be the vice-president of the British Humanist Association, a sort of Jean Rostand with an additional measure of arrogance. The text puts forward -- with plenty of insults and attempts at intimidation -- the old arguments about the distance of the planets and the precession of the equinoxes, all the while exhibiting glaring ignorance of contemporary astrology.[101] 

The author suggests the mobilization of repressive measures in order to "attack [astrology] seriously" and shows astonishment that astrologers are not "imprisoned for fraud" and "brought before justice for false representation"! Scientistic fundamentalism reproduces the invectives of Guillaume d'Auvergne (fl. 1249), the Bishop of Paris, who exhorted his peers to eradicate astrology -- which he called "this insanity" -- without due process: "One should not so much argue against this error as fight it with fire and the sword." [102]

      Scientific rationality, just like faith in the ambit of the Byzantine Church, imposes itself only through force. The Inquisition hunted down sorcerers for acts that contravened the dogmas of the Church.[103] 

The same mindset motivates modern inquisitors who attack astrology as a function of the refraction of scientistic ideology.[104]  Scientism "is also irrational and emotional in its motivations and intolerant in its daily practices, no matter which of the traditional religions it has replaced. What is more, it does not stop at believing only its own myths to be true; it is the only religion to have pushed arrogance to the point of believing itself to be based on no myths at all, but rather solely upon Reason, and of presenting as 'tolerance' this curious mixture of intolerance and amorality it promotes." [105]
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« Reply #93 on: September 26, 2007, 08:27:10 pm »








Scientistic ideology claims for itself a monopoly on truth and objectivity, takes possession of the academy and other institutions once under the power of the Church, and follows a three-fold program of action: rhetoric, intimidation, repression.

The veracity of scientific discourse becomes manifest only through the compliance of a community of intellectuals and specialists who have a vested interest in that discourse, and through imposing a large set of beliefs and practical applications: "Today science is predominant, not because of its comparative merits, but rather because the game was skewed in its favor. (...) The superiority of science is not the result of research, or of discussion, it is the product of political, institutional and even military pressures." [106]

      No branch of science today is required to prove its postulates as one requires of astrology -- which needs no "confirmation" according to the lights of scientific criteria. Astrology does not need to be put through the refining fire of physics or biology, both of which would be hard pressed to prove their own base assumptions (matter, force, attraction, particles, aliveness ...) If that model of astrology proves itself to be obsolete, or if such an interpretation is poorly adapted to reality, then it is a matter to be left to astrologers to decide, and not to the presumptuous incompetence of know-it-alls in lab coats.[107]
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« Reply #94 on: September 26, 2007, 08:28:45 pm »








Astrology is not institutionalized or subsidized. Would that it were, to the level of even a small fraction of the sums invested in medicine or astronautics! The astrologer has no huge library, no specialized laboratory paid for at public expense.

He is excluded from the academies, universities and research centers, whereas the psychoanalyst, for example, flourishes there, no doubt because he has understood how to manipulate the "three principles of method" mentioned above. Under these conditions, only a moral histrionic can allow himself to claim that the true astrologer obtains abusive monetary advantage from his activity, [108]  in contradistinction to the institutional parasite of science, who himself profits handsomely from his function, without any objection arising:

"Today many scientists and intellectuals are parasites, in the precise sense of the word." [109] 

The true astrologer often finds himself in the opposite position: he does something and gets nothing in return, other than the satisfaction of having accomplished his work.

      Colossal sums are budgeted each year with a view to reinforcing the pressure of scientistic imperatives on the general mentality, be it through inculcation in educational institutions or the beating of that drum one finds in the media -- efforts that have only moderate success, one might add, in light of public interest nowadays in knowledge which escapes the bounds of science. The idola theatri of Bacon have never been more alive and well than in this era of the colonization of private life through the media.
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« Reply #95 on: September 26, 2007, 08:30:05 pm »








Colossal sums are budgeted each year with a view to reinforcing the pressure of scientistic imperatives on the general mentality, be it through inculcation in educational institutions or the beating of that drum one finds in the media -- efforts that have only moderate success, one might add, in light of public interest nowadays in knowledge which escapes the bounds of science. The idola theatri of Bacon have never been more alive and well than in this era of the colonization of private life through the media.

      What obstructs the development of astrology is not the lack of receptivity in the modern mind, but rather its passivity vis-à-vis the institutionalized discourses and practices which condition consciousness. It is primarily a question of courage, and of interest.

If astrology retires any truth which puts into question our conception of the real, how then can astrologers -- or those who call themselves such -- tolerate mildly and weakly the excoriating, caricature-like pronouncements proffered by legitimized ideologues? If astrologers persist in this position of being "yes sir" people vis-à-vis scientific and intellectual authorities -- who reward their deference with scorn -- then astrology has far fewer "adepts" than one generally believes. And if the price to be paid is subordination to the avatars of modernity, it is doubtful that anything significantly astrological exists in this "free neo-astrology."
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« Reply #96 on: September 26, 2007, 08:31:05 pm »








 Paul Feyerabend puts forward the notion that an advanced society should be capable of liberating consciousness from its institutional constraints and of offering in its educational establishments the study of bodies of knowledge and traditions that do not proceed from the rationalist modern paradigm (magic, sorcery, alchemy, folk medicine, legends, ritual ceremonies, sacred dances, astrology ...), in order to rein in the expansion of the "frenzied barbarism of the techno-scientific age." [110]

      The vitality of astrology and its opponents' lack of success demonstrate that it contains something quite other than what they imagined -- even than what the majority of its sympathizers imagined. It embodies a specific and legitimate attitude of the human spirit toward consciousness and defines a possible alternative to the rendering uniform of awareness that results from an exclusive use of modern methods and techniques.

It announces a renewal of philosophy, resigned today to the hegemony of scientistic rationality mixed with the tattered finery of Christian morality, having renounced all metaphysical projects for the sake of historicism, formal logic and hermeneutics. Astrology is a counterweight to "the formidable enterprise of suggestion which has produced and maintains the current mentality." [111] 

It applies today more than ever a corrective to intemperate engagement in the present, because it strives to preserve from neglect and confusion the reality of psychic tonalities which innervate consciousness. And if it remains marginalized in current civil, business and scientific law, that is because it is intrinsically what its ideological critics cannot pardon: transcultural, a-productive, and anthropomorphic.
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« Reply #97 on: September 26, 2007, 08:34:54 pm »








                                              The Animosity of the Historian





"Peut-être découvrirons-nous un jour que la même logique
est à l'oeuvre dans la pensée mythique et dans la pensée scientifique,
et que l'homme a toujours pensé aussi bien."
(Claude Lévi-Strauss : Anthropologie structurale)




      Astrology and its history [1]  experienced a resurgence at the end of the 19th century under the conjunction of Pluto and Neptune in Gemini. Historians present the subject as an absurd superstition, idolatry and a mental illness: the unworthy parent of astronomy is supposed to have infected the various domains of culture for more than two thousand years.

There is no academic historian who treats it favorably: some writers merely temper their hostility. [2]  When dealing with astrologers, the historian feels justified in using reproaches and rebukes that even ethnologists have learned to suppress in their works about societies without the written word. There is no end to the doubtful allegations proffered by these ideologues of the memory of cultures, whose blindness is all the more offensive because they are by far the better informed detractors of astrology.

One can also find among the ranks of the most bitterly opposed certain ex-astrologers, disillusioned by their incapacity to make an original contribution to the field: [3]  "those who have tried to be astrologers but failed," the seventh of ten categories of the enemies of astrology according to Albumasar. [4]
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« Reply #98 on: September 26, 2007, 08:36:46 pm »








The disdain of Bouché-Leclercq is accompanied by an offhanded arrogance vis-à-vis pre-Hellenic civilizations in general, at a time when one underestimated the considerable advances made by Babylonian culture in algebra, astronomy and medicine. [5] 

Franz Cumont, editor of the famous anthology of Greek astrological texts, notes in his preface (in Latin): "The vanity of this false doctrine having been exposed to view, no one will dare to take interest [after the 17th c.] in the hoaxes of false prophets, and this art, just like the books by means of which it was taught, will fall completely away from memory." [6] 

According to Pierre Duhem, a victim of the "analogic thought" that he purports to dismiss, astrology supposedly served no purpose other than that of paving the way for the discovery of universal gravity. [7] 

For Jean-Charles Houzeau, an emulator of Auguste Comte and his evolutionist theory of the three successive stages of human reason, astrology is said to follow worship of the stars and to precede astronomy: "All the nations that have continued up to the age of systems have given up this false science. It was the second general stage, just as worship of the stars was the first." [8] 

There have been many conflicting views and precipitous affirmations, such as the one made by Johannes Stoeffler (1452-1531) in his Almanach (Ulm, 1499) about a devastating flood supposed to accompany the conjunction of 1524 -- or the notion that says science has demonstrated the futility of astrology. [9]

      This positivist attitude, already rendered passé at the end of the 19th century by the philosophies of Dilthey, Nietzsche, Peirce and Bergson, showed itself to be completely ridiculous a few decades later. Upheld by the likes of a Robert Eisler, author of the classic anti-astrology text of the 1940's, [10]  or by the historian of science George Sarton, who describes astrology as a "perverse synthesis" of the irrational and the rational, whose "unlikely design has seduced the natural stupidity of man." [11] 

Otto Neugebauer, who in 1951 in the journal Isis [12]  judiciously reproached Sarton for his lack of knowledge of the historical importance of astrology for understanding the evolution of astronomical thought, nonetheless counts Greek astrology among "the most absurd doctrines to arise from pseudo-rational superstition that have contributed a heavy load to the 'darkness' of subsequent ages." [13] 

The historian Ernst Zinner, director of the Bamberg Observatory, notes: "Not the slightest idea, no discernment, no understanding at all of modern astronomy: such were the characteristics of the astrologer. It is fortunate that the royal art of astrology degenerated." [14]
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« Reply #99 on: September 26, 2007, 08:37:49 pm »








 Their disciples took up the arguments of their masters, which became like a beacon emitted from the authorities of the scientific community, and the pupils seemed to give a wink of the eye to indicate that they accepted the consensus and took up the baton. At times their hostility reduced itself to mere insinuations against a chimerical body of knowledge, of which they nonetheless undertook historical study. [15] 

Their supposition is this: that Neolithic peoples and their cultures, the Babylonians, the Greeks, the Chinese, the Arabs and the people of the Middle Ages conceptualized reality under the constraint of various degrees of superstition and intellectual immaturity, which modern reason, emancipated from such foolish notions, prejudices and outmoded ideologies, has managed to eradicate.

      The emotional reaction of rejection evinced by the majority of historians of science, religion and philosophy (i.e., those not specializing specifically in the history of astrology, and who stumble dumbfoundedly upon the incongruous presence of astrology in their chosen field of study [16] ) becomes in the case of specialists a policy of active depreciation, for such is the danger of appearing ideologically suspect in the eyes of the scientific community.

In point of fact, their studies could indeed render service to astrologers -- these latter day adepts in the old superstitions -- and do something to rehabilitate in the eyes of the general public this "pseudo-science" definitively discredited by the community of scientists.
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« Reply #100 on: September 26, 2007, 08:39:33 pm »








But how could these negative preconceptions be turned to the benefit of sound reasoning, with a goal of interpretation without bias? The ditch dug by two centuries of narrow-minded rationalism and positivism decidedly moves the stream away from the knowledge base of astrology, [17]  but also away from historical truth and the understanding of cultural history in its broader outlines, not only ancient and medieval, but also classical, modern and "post-modern."

Thorndike warns historians against "the perils of writing a history of science without keeping constantly in mind the presence of astrology." [18]  He admonishes similarly in regard to epistemologists whose "history" consists only of those ideas that have been corroborated by current research.

The person beached on the shore of the data and consensus opinion of the scientific community, an ideologue of the history of science, spies out what he calls "epistemological ruptures," by which concept he means to relegate to insignificance and illegitimacy as "pseudo-knowledge" entire strata of cultures from the past, simply because those strata that do not agree with the present state of research in the dominant paradigm.

Charles Webster notes that there is not very much difference between the universe of Newton (in whose library numerous works on astrology with annotations were found) and that of Paracelsus: both men contributed equally to the process of cultural creation and transformation. [19]

      The most ingenious process for devaluing astrology is the one that consists of denying it all cognitive value by virtue of its genealogy: the master thinkers in the history of astrology (Franz Cumont, Franz Boll, Wilhelm Gundel, Otto Neugebauer, David Pingree ...) have successfully dispelled the idea of the autochthonous emergence of astrology within vastly different cultures by proving its sole origin (Akkadian) and by following its course of development through Alexandrine Egypt, the Persians and the Syrians, in Greece and Rome, in India, and finally the Arabs and medieval Europe.

Even if this diffusionist schema forgets to include some parts of Chinese and Indian astrology (in particular the question of the 28 lunar "houses"), it has been judged adequate to justify a minimalist interpretation and to reduce astrology to "astrolatry," i.e. to the the supposed mentality claimed to have obtained at the time of its birth in the worship of the stars.
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« Reply #101 on: September 26, 2007, 08:40:27 pm »








Now, astronomy itself followed the same course of development: but it was obviously more adept at hiding its origins than was astrology! Moreover, it goes unexplained why astrology has had the privilege of being universally accepted within the framework of the most diverse cultures, which is inconceivable for a simple belief, superstition or divinatory practice, just as it is for a religion, philosophy, or ideology. A number of other deprecatory practices are used, together or separately, by historians hostile to astrology:

1. Setting up the arguments of astrologers against those of their opponents. [20]

2. Conflating, more or less consciously, "popular" and "serious" astrology. [21]

3. Ignoring the effective content of astrological models and treatises and, at best, contenting oneself with the drawing up of catalogues, or the editing of texts without translating them; or, on the other hand, doing a work of very detailed exegesis on texts often of minor interest astrologically, all the while holding one's distance from a true comprehensive approach. [22]

4. Condemning or passing over in silence any new evidence that does not agree with the models of antiquity; or, on the other hand, dismissing the subject on the basis of differences between several models. [23]

5. Studying astrology with an external bias (e.g., religion, astronomy, politics, semiotics, sociology, psychoanalysis, ethnology, etc...), which is predisposed to the notion of the disappearance of astrology as an autonomous field of knowledge. [24]

6. Attempting to expose an "internal" point of view, all the while considering astrology a priori to be an extinct superstition rather than a living field of study. [25]
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« Reply #102 on: September 26, 2007, 08:41:44 pm »








It is the particular paradox of historians of astrology to ignore its recent advances. How can one evaluate the theories and models of the past without the light thrown on them by their modern formulation, and without knowledge of the state of current research? As long as historians continue to believe that a few popular handbooks suffice to give account of contemporary astrological reality despite its inquiries and investigations, it cannot possibly be a question of any enlightened study.

Moreover, it is not a question of astrology needing just one history (be it the one approached from a sociological point of view, as with Cumont, or an astronomical one as with Neugebauer and Pingree, or a political one as with Cramer ...), what is needed is an epistemology, i.e. a critical reflection on the birth, transformation and future of astrology's models, which presupposes a judicious understanding of its operative structures. The study of astrology requires its own space, one that does not falsify its perspective, does not alter its own point of view, and does not deny its very existence.

      Bouché-Leclercq [26]  makes the mistake of believing that his analyses dismiss texts without any inherent interest, to which he has devoted -- with distaste -- long years of difficult toil. But it is not through reading his work that one comes to understand Greek astrology, it is rather through studying the translations and commentaries that astrologers have begun to publish in this second period of the rebirth of astrology, which began under the Neptune-Uranus conjunction of 1993. [27] 

And even if the history of astrology in the second half of this century has moved beyond the positivist stage of narrow-minded rejection of its object of study, it still shows itself invariably in an attitude of analytical salvage, which fails to recognize or dismisses outright the original contributions of astrology's thinkers, contributions that are often formulated in a way foreign to the criteria of modern rationality, which means that the contributions are denigrated precisely because they are formulated in that manner.
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« Reply #103 on: September 26, 2007, 08:42:51 pm »








Despite the qualitative difference between astrological literature and the epi-astrological works of the academy, one learns more about astrology through reading the former, because it shows matrix-based reason in action, and, despite its bumblings and inadequacies, does manage to express something of that reality.

Astrology is by no means a rag-bag of obsolete superstitions as it is styled by the professional historian. It is rather a body of knowledge that functions beyond the confines of discursive reason and dualistic thought, beyond the borders of simple interpretation of the visible on the basis of mental solicitations, and arises from an appeal to a larger reason, an opening of the mind to the entirety of psychic potential.

The historian's animosity, his pronounced disdain and his lack of understanding of living astrology should be no cause for surprise: the position such retributive thinkers occupy or claim for themselves leaves them no alternative but to enter as a foreigner and survey the ravaged country of astrologer.
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« Reply #104 on: September 26, 2007, 08:49:09 pm »








                                                         Sociological Sophistry





"All our sociology knows
no other instinct than that of the herd,
that is to say, of zeroes added together."
(Nietzsche : Fragments Posthumes 1888-1889)





      The sociologist, contrary to the historian, is not familiar with astrology and wants to know nothing about it: it has interest for him only as a cultural syndrome and a resurgence within the environment of modern thought of an archaic, irrational, folk mentality. Hence he limits himself to interrogating the activity of the astrologer -- whom he considers to be a barbarian gone astray in the modern technopolis, not a truth-seeker or a man of learning, but simply a charlatan, an exploiter of the public's gullibility or the instigator of a return to popular superstition. Edgar Morin: "At the moment in which man made his first steps on the moon, somewhere on Earth the cult of Madame Sun expired." [28]
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