Science or Faith?

Checking around different blogs, such as 4chan and youtube, I've noticed that the 'scientific' people denounce Astrology as being unscientific and therefore without value. I've also noticed that the 'religious' types deny Astrology as it has the potential to weaken faith with fact.

I've never noticed either type of posting cite research or study, and none of them ever note personal experience using Astrology either. I wonder how they have managed to develop their opinions...

So, I thought it was time I divulge mine, even though my opinion of Astrology is still developing (twenty years after I started using it).

After a particular conversation with Sibling 5, it occurred to me that my attitude toward Astrology isn't necessarily contemporary. Let's face it, I'm not exactly a trend follower, so let's get to it.

After twenty-odd years of using Astrology, I consider the following points elementary:

1. People perceive relative to their own perceptions.
Circular argument? I think not. The way I perceive myself changes by the mood, and also changes according to my environment and the people with whom I'm talking. It also changes according to others' responses.

The key point here is this: If Astrology changes my perceptions about myself, resulting in personally insightful and fulfilling experiences that ultimately raise my awareness, then altering my self-perception with this system has value. Right? You decide for yourself.

When in a psychological/scientific context, I often feel sorely lacking in so many ways and seldom find any solution to any issue I currently have. I've had more constructive numerology and palmistry sessions than any counseling session.

When in a religious context, I feel it important to either change religions RIGHT NOW or to simply commit suicide, as extending my life only results in more torment at the final end of it. Regardless of my personal views of religions and their fundamental obsolescence in the face of the Bill of Human Rights, the result for me with religions is that I do not and never will belong.

2. We all have a place.
Numerology tries to find a place for each of us, that is, a way in which we live that validates not only us but also those around us, but its breadth is fairly similar to psychology, as far as I can tell. The fundamental mechanics of both systems are simply not sophisticated enough to help identify the underlying factors in any given situation to a fine enough detail.

At no point am I saying that either system or their various styles of application are without worth. I am saying, however, that both have particular limitations that I believe have to do with a lack of development and experience.

I expect that once psychology has been around for several thousand years it will begin to blossom and allow the people who become involved with it to do the same with much greater efficiency. This blossoming, I believe, begins with validation, and any system that cannot reflect every element within a personality must needs grow.

3. Use the right tool for the job.
There is no point in using faith to understand the world: the two are mutually incompatible, and I strongly believe that the two can safely and happily remain separate. Sadly, there are many with the over-zealous concept that faith is there to deny reality or realistic endeavors. I'm still not sure why such people are so insecure in their faith, but that insecurity is a natural part of human psychology, I guess.

The above premise is basically the same as the one that tries to separate church from state, the accepting of bribes, the separation of business and government and capitalism from public welfare. It's also the same premise that ultimately resulted in the Bill of Human Rights.

The right tool for the job of global peace is the Bill; the right tool for the job of understanding the measurable universe is science; the right tool for maintaining faith, in whatever form, is religion; but this is where I diverge from current thought a little.

Astrology is the right tool for the job of acquiring answers when they are needed, which most often is right now. It can take weeks of therapy (many less with a skilled practitioner) to identify key turning points with a taciturn patient/client, but with Astrology I can identify the same points within a few moments of scanning the natal chart. I can't help but notice the efficiency of the process.

4. Cause or effect, the result's the same.
Astrology isn't scientific, I've read and heard. I've never thought it was. Yet, I'm forced to notice the internal logic and just how functionally valid that logic is.

With the Symbolic Modeling branch of Neuro-Linguistic Programming, a key point is to not change the language of the client, but to help the client continue developing it themselves. The fundamental theory goes like this: Every person has their own perception of the world, and we each have an internal method of detailing this reality. And, each of these internalised methods are valid, else it wouldn't function for that person.

When I check other systems, such as cognitive-behavioural theory, or evolution, or string theory, I'm checking how the internal logic of these abstract systems work. I wonder about how well the different components each connect with the other components, and I also wonder how well the logic of one system works with the logic of a completely different system.

I don't pretend to be any master of any system, just an interested observer. And what I notice about Astrology is there are no conflicts with the internal logic of this system with the existence of any religion, scientifically-based approach, economic, social or political system. Considering the amount of conflict in this world, I consider this remarkable.

How is it so? I'm not sure. Astrology was confronted with a huge array of new data over the past few hundred years: societal changes, perceptual changes, new sciences and new religions, and not least of all, new planets! But each and every one of them somehow found a place inside the basic, yet not simple, pre-existing framework.

The consequence is that the Astrology available today is a masterpiece compared with the simplistic applications of the seventeenth century, or even the fifth century BC. This system just seems to keep developing and growing, and the result is that we have a wealth of pseudo-psychological information at our fingertips for insight and raising self-awareness.

So, at last, the end-piece.
In terms of modern psychology, in Astrology there are placebo effects, projection points and triggers, and in terms of magic, voodoo and hocus-pocus. Historically, there are Greek, Roman, Christian and Scientific influences, not to forget the Arabic, Egyptian and Babylonian influences.

For me, Astrology is a system with internal functional logic that provides a way for each and every person to begin understanding themselves and their existence, their problems, health issues, faults and ways to deal more constructively with those things, if not heal them all together.

Astrology is a tool for reflecting back our own perceptions, and it works because the system is a combination of centuries of feedback and development through empirical research, and it also incorporates a basic human component: imagination. Imagination is an integrated part of the Astrological approach. This is also an intrinsic part of being human, and one the most successful psychological systems are developing and integrating into their approaches, just as Astrology has. It's just that Astrology has been doing it a lot longer.

Ultimately, I believe Astrology is more of a philosophy, an approach to existing, and is not for everyone. I only recommend, that before you begin to either apply or deride the system, that you study it first in your own terms.

In all of my experiences of Astrology, incorrect information for a chart has lead to question marks, and the correct information has lead to a sudden glow of self-confidence, self-realisation and self-actualisation that is completely unmistakable. These are the causes, and Astrology is the effect.

Further reading:
Anything! Read as widely as you can!

My favorites:
Dane Rudhyar
Martin Schulman
Tracy Marks
Margaret E. Hone
A.T. Mann
Nicholas Culpepper
Dr Marc E. Jones
etc etc etc

Bon Voyage!


Intro Class: Apr 10th 2010

Integrating Information for a Chart Reading

Today's lesson we went through the steps of what information to use when doing a chart reading.

The three necessary charts are the transit, the natal, and the progressed charts.

I use the day-for-a-year method for the progressed chart: each day after birth in the ephemeris equals a year after birth. With this method, the outer planets barely move over the course of a month (about thirty years), and so rarely factor in a chart reading. Most important are the progressed Sun and Moon, and their mutual aspect. Important to note any changes in the other planets: changing sign, house or direction.

With the transit chart, the inner planets move so quickly that their energies' seldom leave a lasting impression. They are very important for indicating a trigger for an event, but to discover what kind of event, the outer planets indicate with their aspects and positions. Uranus, Neptune and Pluto will transit the same area of a chart for between two to three years. Usually the date of the first exact aspect indicates a strong event, but not always.

The natal chart is the personality and the potential for all experiences; the progressed chart is the background changes of the personality and its potentials; and the transit chart indicates what is taking place.

Brief Example

Progressed Moon separating semi-sextile Progressed Sun
A new way of living began about two years ago. This provides the background for the rest of the reading. If the aspect was the Moon applying to the Sun (getting closer), the current way of living would be ending. Not a time to begin new projects! The Moon separating from the Sun indicates this as the time to study new skills and develop constructive approaches.

Natal chart indicates a necessity to include healing, but the native's current job (Sun and North Node in 10th - the job is very important to self-identity!) involves no healing. Today, Transit Sun was conjunct Natal Chiron - a nice indicator that healing would be enlightened in the class today, right?

The basic question of today was about the native's place in society and what the native needs to do. There were many more factors involved, but just from the above, it seemed that study that helps work was indicated. Right at the end of the chart reading time, the native actually mentioned being interested in studying massage.

Chart readings usually provide an objective analysis of needs, desires, complications and blockages. From my perspective as the reader, the value for the client comes through the experience of having each point verified. The awareness of the key point for the client comes in different ways at different times, and this is what astrology facilitates so well.


Introduction Class

Usually in the middle of the month, I conduct an Introduction Class at Esperanto Kaikan in Kyoto:

The class consists of a one-hour lecture about the basics of Astrology. Afterwards, time is allocated for personal readings. Classes are student-centred so feel free to ask questions!

The lecture is 3000yen, and half an hour chart readings are 3000yen. A discount of 1000yen is given for both the lecture and a chart reading. If only a chart reading is desired, that's acceptable too.

Please make all bookings through kitadran@gmail.com

This class is best for people who have not studied astrology before, but are interested in finding out more.

Beginners' Class

Usually at the end of the month, I conduct a continuing Beginners Class at Esperanto Kaikan in Kyoto:

The class consists of a two-hour lecture including time for a group reading, applying the contents of the lesson. Classes are student-centred.

The lecture is 4000yen, and for continuing students I offer a 500yen discount.

This course is best for people with an interest in developing their understanding of astrology, and who want to apply it their everyday lives.

Chart Signatures

I love the balance inherent in Astrology, and the intricacy of this balance that weaves its way through all levels.

Recently I've been studying up on medical astrology, and was delighted to find just how deeply on a practical level this balance goes.

This morning I received an elemental question from a prize student.

Once the chart has been erected, the signature of the chart is calculated by splitting each planet into its element and mode.

For example, and Aries Moon is one for cardinal and one for fire; a Capricorn Sun is one for cardinal and one for earth.

Once all planets have been tallied up, the maximum for each element and for each mode then indicates the signature: four air, six earth and one water with four cardinal, five fixed and two mutable gives a signature of Fixed Earth. This is the sign of Taurus. Often the signature does not correspond to the Sun sign.

The question today was about balancing energy. For example, with a lack of earth in the chart, practical and hands-on activities can provide grounding. Having seven air planets, I find gardening, building, repairing and organising all very grounding. This is balancing with antipathy.

The balancing with sympathy is to use all that air energy for a purpose: study, talk, calculating, analysing and planning are all examples of balancing with sympathy.

So, what elements do you have in abundance?

And what about the modes?

All my seven air planets are not all in one mode, but the three that aren't are made up by three that are! Mutable energy must disseminate information on or through the element that presides: in my case air. I do spend a lot of energy communicating with people, as any teacher would confirm, and this is what I do. This is through sympathy. Balancing mutable through the modes is starting and maintaining an avenue for that communication with others.

Quiz time!
What is the signature of my chart?
Send your answer to kitadran@gmail.com!


Intro Lecture and Class: 16 Jan 10

Basics and Beginnings

Today, two new people came to have a lecture and a chart reading. With not much knowledge or understanding of Astrology, we began at the beginning!

We went through the houses, signs and their related planets. The students seemed a little overwhelmed by these three lists, but it is much easier than remembering the two kana syllibaries, I think!

The houses: parts of life
The signs: types of energy
The planets: how the energy types are manifested

One aspect of astrology that is not often focussed on are the elements and the modes, and these form the basis of the signs, houses and their related planets.

Elements each have a related essential energy:
Fire relates to identity, motivation and drive
Earth relates to material and physical reality
Air relates to cognition
Water relates to emotion

Dividing perception of the experience of reality into these four elements is artificial: these divisions are in place to facilitate a locus of objectivity for people to develop their perceptions. If using such a division achieves objectivity, then this system is valid.

Next are the modes, equally as artificial:
Cardinal relates to instigating and developing
Fixed relates to maintaining and protecting
Mutable relates to disseminating and connecting

By combining the four elements and three modes, the fundamental energies of the twelve signs can be understood clearly and objectively. Continuing around a circle from the western point in a counter-clockwise progression, the order of the elements and modes are always identical.

Cardinal Fire is Aries: Developing Identity through action
Fixed Earth is Taurus: Maintaining Identity with possessions
Mutable Air is Gemini: Disseminating Identity through communication

Cardinal Water is Cancer: Beginning Self understanding through emotional experience
Fixed Fire is Leo: Maintaining and strengthening Self with individual identity
Mutable Earth is Virgo: Disseminating Self by communicating attitudes

Cardinal Air is Libra: Establishing connections with Others through interactions
Fixed Water is Scorpio: Maintaining relationships with Others with a purpose
Mutable Fire is Sagittarius: Connecting with Others through similar beliefs

Cardinal Earth is Capricorn: Discovering the structure that connects all of Us
Fixed Air is Aquarius: Knowing the principles that connect Us
Mutable Water: Experiencing the emotional connection between all of Us

Working with charts over the past couple of years, I've come to think that each angle - the cusp of the first, fourth, seventh and tenth - are actually each a quadrant related to each element. The Cardinal Elements that begin each quadrant indicate a basic part of each of us, and in the definitions above, I've labelled them as Identity, Self, Others and Us.

In the class, the students seemed to grasp these basics and then attempted to apply these key words to their charts afterwards.

However, memorising the basics does take either time or effort, but once this is done, the chart really does open up much more easily.


What is psychological astrology?

Well, it may be a good idea to first identify what astrology is, and then further define 'psychological astrology' with clarifications of how I use psychological principles with astrology.

In this context, I am focusing on the interaction taking place between the people. When someone comes to have their astrology read for them, they are always seeking answers, often to some very difficult questions. Of course, the person asking questions wants answers, and very importantly, the person reading astrology wants to be able to give answers.

The tool of astrology allows people to locate and identify answers and questions that work on different levels, and perhaps this is the main reason why astrology has continued to exist throughout the millennia essentially unchanged. Discovery of new technologies leading to the discovery of new planets, new comets and moons of other planets has not weakened astrology, but rather given this particular tool extra material with which to work.

Astrology is a tool for providing answers that come from a non-human source - the planets have no opinion and no judgement, but only an objective point of view. With an objective point of view, astrology demonstrates its true power in reflecting back to us our selves.

Now, people being who they are, it is important that when learning and teaching astrology, that we maintain this objectivity and strengthen it. As soon as a person starts to study astrology, they suddenly take on a new identity that has something attached to it, whether this is realistic or not. Tell anyone you're an astrologer, and you will notice a particular selection of responses that contain elements of awe or derision.

Either way, you will no longer be considered 'normal' (whatever 'normal' may be).

So astrology elicits an inequality in relationships, between the 'knower' and the 'not-knower'.

I have studied some part of two main schools of psychology: cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) and neuro-linguistic programming (NLP). They are not the same thing, but neither are they dissimilar: Both use particular kinds of language to elicit responses from the client.

I have noticed that interactions between people in an astrological situation often become extremely one-sided, with the astrologer providing a lecture based on astrological information, and the silent client taking care to assimilate as much information as possible.

The most valuable thing that I gained from NLP was to stop being the 'knower', and to start being the 'listener'. Only by closing my mouth and opening my ears could I hope to begin to understand where the client was coming from, is, and is going to. There is always a process involved in all we experience.

Astrology is a great tool: comparisons between natal, progressed and transit charts provide a full lifetime of information and squeezing all that information into a brief time to answer a poignant question is a challenge. But the time taken to orient the question within astrology, and elicit clarifying and validating information from the client is time well spent.

For example: 'I want to start a new life, but twice before I tried and couldn't do it.'

There are two themes here that need to be confirmed with the astrological information available, and then a psychological approach to take as the response. New life: Pluto and Uranus transits; progressed Sun conjunct progressed Moon; progressed Sun changing house or sign. Twice before: Most important is 'When?' Check the main transit and progression changes for those times, noting what planets were involved.

All that must be done before the astrologer says even one syllable.

Psychological approach: ask 'What stopped you?'

Asking this open-ended question allows the client to actually identify for themselves what took place. Of course, as the astrologer, you can see the answers in the chart (for example natal Saturn square to natal Sun), but the purpose of psychology is to have people provide their own answers.

And as the client tells you what took place for them, listen to their key words and link them to the astrological information. Encouraging this experience with clients helps them understand on a sub-conscious level that their lives are their responsibility.