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Astrology by Hand - Renowned Astrologer Robert Hand

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Author Topic: Astrology by Hand - Renowned Astrologer Robert Hand  (Read 231 times)
Bianca
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« Reply #45 on: May 08, 2008, 09:38:36 am »











Last week, I said that I was going to try to define consciousness. Let me say at the outset of this that such an attempt could be considered pretentious in the extreme. The nature and essence of consciousness has been a debating point for philosophers for centuries, and I cannot reasonably claim that I am going to end the debate here with a final word. What I want to do is a bit humbler than that (quite a bit!). What we really want to know is what does consciousness have to be in order to play the role that we see it playing in magic and, I would contend, astrology.

Our word “consciousness” comes from Latin roots meaning “knowing together.” This emphasizes a social aspect of consciousness that is interesting, but does not completely help us to understand the idea. However, it does raise a point that we will come back to shortly.

The German word for consciousness is “Bewusstsein,” which means literally “knowledge of being,” that is, either knowledge that oneself exists or that something exists. Simply put, when I am unconscious, I do not know either that I exist, or that anything else exists. This basic idea is that consciousness involves being aware of something. Of course, then we might have to ask what “aware” means. But I would argue something like the old line about jazz. If you have to ask what jazz is, you’ll never know. Same with awareness!
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Bianca
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« Reply #46 on: May 08, 2008, 09:40:00 am »









                                                 I Think, Therefore I Am





Probably just about everyone has heard the line from Descartes,

                                                  “I think, therefore I am.”

Obviously he thought of thinking as a key component of consciousness. I prefer another line that is admittedly my own formulation: “I know that I know, and I experience that I experience.” In this case, the phrase “I know” could easily be replaced with “I am aware.” But what I am aware of when I am thinking about these things? I am aware that “I” am a center of experience, and that I refer to myself as a central point of observation even when, like all of us, I get so caught up in my experience that I forget that I am there being aware. Thus, at the center of my being is an awareness of a subject, myself, experiencing an object, everything else.
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Bianca
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« Reply #47 on: May 08, 2008, 09:41:07 am »









                                                     The Problem with Objects





Each of us knows that we exist. I may not know what I am, or what is my true nature, but I know
that I am and that I possess awareness. Objects are more doubtful. We know that objects exist,
but we are even more insecure as to their true nature than we are about our own.

Even more important, when we encounter an object that we identify as living—a dog, cat or other creature, or even a human being—do we know that it is aware? And if we do know, how do we know?
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« Reply #48 on: May 08, 2008, 09:42:15 am »









                              Language as the Key to Seeing Consciousness in Others





Well, one way that we know for sure is when we can talk with other beings. Once we establish communication with another person, we have little doubt that that person is aware. When we cannot communicate, we are not so sure, even when the entity involved appears human. History is full of examples of clashes between cultures (especially where there is a major technological or cultural gap) that arose because of the inability to communicate fully.

So consciousness as we know it has two elements: 1) Awareness of being. 2) An awareness that can be shared through language. This second is at the basis of our word consciousness from the Latin for “knowing together.” When we know something together with someone, we experience each other as fully alive and aware. When we do not, we do not fully accept each other as conscious, or, ultimately, as human. We accomplish shared awareness by means of language. Shared languages enable us fully to experience someone else as aware. So while it is debatable that language is necessary for us to experience our own awareness, language is necessary for us to experience each other and to share awareness.
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Bianca
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« Reply #49 on: May 08, 2008, 09:43:18 am »









                                         Free Will as an Element of Consciousness





But there is another element in consciousness also. We are aware of things being true or false. Based on this, we can make judgments and plan actions based on those judgments. This is free will. While every living thing seems to have the capacity for directed movement, movement that has an intended object (plants reach for the Sun, animals hunt for food), only conscious beings have free will. This is true of human beings, even though we clearly exhibit the primitive, almost machine-like drives that we see present in animals and plants. When we operate from free will, there is something between our awareness and our actions, something that is not determined, something that is not predictable. So we have these three elements in consciousness.

Next week, we will begin to develop the consequences of this for an understanding of the world that leads to astrology and magic.
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Bianca
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« Reply #50 on: May 08, 2008, 09:45:36 am »









Last week we did a really quick definition, or possibly more accurately, a characterization of consciousness and ended up with the notion that higher consciousness requires a genuine kind
of freedom such as we refer to when speaking of  “free will.” I just want to tie up one loose end
before we go on.


Dion Fortune added “consciousness” to Aleister Crowley’s definition of magic, making it “Magic is the art of bringing about change in consciousness in conformity with the will.” We do not know whether the word “will” means this higher, freer will, or the basic instinctual drive that often passes as will.
The inability to distinguish between these “wills” is one of the things that can make magic dangerous for those who are not developed in wisdom. But I believe that what Dion Fortune had in mind was truly free will.

So we have the following elements that characterize consciousness from last week: 1) We are aware and we are aware of ourselves as aware, and we have the awareness of subject and object. 2) There is something about higher consciousness that enables us to share a view of reality with others. We are not aware in a vacuum. We establish this connection with other beings who are presumably conscious by means of language. 3) Higher consciousness enables us to see things so that we can make choices freely, driven to a minimal degree by instincts, emotions or other forces that might cause us to make choices that we know not to be in our best interests or in accord with our real intentions. Or, to put it simply, are we being conscious when we cannot keep to a diet?
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« Reply #51 on: May 08, 2008, 09:46:39 am »









                                  Do We Experience the Universe as Conscious?





Do we see any of the above elements of consciousness present in the universe? I mentioned last
week that one of the difficulties in history has been the failure of peoples to recognize each other
as fully human because of an inability to communicate. And while I didn’t mention it, it is also apparent that when one or the other side in a conflict chose not to see the other side as human, they were very good at justifying their failure of perception. Have we done this to the universe as a whole, to the Earth, to any thing in this world?

Well, whether or not this is merely a failure of perception, it is clear that the prevailing scientific view is that the universe is not conscious, as I have pointed out several times.

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« Reply #52 on: May 08, 2008, 09:47:37 am »









                                               Language, Magic and Astrology





The first element of consciousness, that we are aware and that we are aware that we are aware, is very difficult to establish in another person. In fact this is the whole problem. As I have already mentioned, we do this through communication, which in turn requires language, at least at a primitive level. So, are there languages involved in magic and astrology?

I think that there are very few who would doubt that there is at least something like language in astrology. It may not be quite so clear in magic, but those who have studied it at all realize it is clear that any old thing will just not do in ceremonial or “high” magic. There are rules and proper procedures that may exist in many forms, and they are not arbitrary. It is generally known that in many ceremonial magic procedures there are things that must be done just so, and things that must be said just so or nothing works correctly. I have even said that such procedures are like computer languages in that any error will create a “bug” in the proceedings.
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« Reply #53 on: May 08, 2008, 09:48:39 am »









                                                         Devil’s Advocate Time





What I have just said about language and procedures in magic raises a problem. We have clear instances of language in which there is no obvious evidence of consciousness being involved. The computer is exhibit A. The very fact that we have to be so precise in computer languages is because we are dealing with a machine. It does not “get” approximate instructions. Does this mean that when magic requires such precision, we are dealing with a machine? We’ll come back to that later.

Then we have mathematics, which is a kind of language. We approach nature with it, but we believe that we have created it, and that its power in explaining nature is no indication that it is a “language of nature.” Well, actually this brings us back to the central problem of the nature of the universe, alive or otherwise. The first great scientists of the scientific revolution, Galileo, Kepler and Newton, as well as the ancients who inspired them, believed that mathematics was a language of nature, and that our ability to understand nature in terms of mathematics was because nature was speaking to us using it.

Next week we will continue with language and nature and begin to come to conclusions that are very much in conflict with mainstream science.
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