Management of Measurement Constructs

Notebook, February 27, 2009

Too Much Baggage?

In Seminar question periods, I often hear inquiries about things in astrologers’ dusty trunks. We all wonder what’s up with these wisps of teachings usually long gone in time but occasionally sneaking back under the door of modern learning. We seem to be carrying much extra baggage … maybe we don’t need it.

I don’t know the answers to these questions, but the questions themselves have a kind of alluring balance, symmetry and natural beauty which make us feel that “these measurements must be right!”, and we are bewildered about should we be using them or not, about how to use them in practical fashion, etc.

Often the baggage was packed by a famous name in astrology some 3-400 years ago … William Lilly, for example (1602-1681). He said it; it is surely truth!

For example, Lilly offered the idea of dexter and sinister aspects. The words mean “Right” and “Left”, respectively, and refer to aspects forming against the order of the signs (dexter, Pisces to Capricorn, for example, led by the intrinsically slower moving planet) or aspects forming in the order of signs (sinister; Aries to Cancer, for example). Lilly offered that the dexter aspect is “more forcible” than the sinister. –So what? How does that work in a modern consultation discussion???

What’s left of this dare-I-say ‘Lillian musing’ is misinterpretation by many into a theory of ‘applying and separating’ aspects. This is not totally correct; we have lost track of making sense out of the medieval lore upon which Lilly based his offering.

And I have to ask: is this thought important; is it really significant in our analytical technique? I have never ever seen it to be significant. If you have Mars square Mercury, you have Mars square Mercury; being dexter or sinister adds nothing. --The extra technical consideration weighs down our luggage. --I find that when I ask this doubting question in return, the astrologer is often uncomfortable! She or he thinks that there must be value there; so, what is it?

Another common question deals with the beautiful idea that a planet changing direction, so to speak, in Secondary Progressions, signals a change-about in character and behavioral development. –While this is a lovely, reasonable conjecture, I have never seen it to be so in practice! I’ve given up looking.

An additional consideration on this point, in my opinion, is that, before computers, when we relied on printed Ephemerides, the Stationary-Direct periodicity was indicated by the big, compelling black letters “SR” or SD”, and, in Secondary Progression symbolism, applied to a whole year! We must remember that the moment of being stationary or direct is mathematically an instant, an expanded instant, a moment in time, not an epoch of time development; expanding the symbolisms seems reckless. Our computers now make this computation of a flash in time [and that’s why S and D discussions have faded, gone back into the trunk], but our interpretations are still lagging in the heavy baggage we’ve inherited from practices past. –It just isn’t so, in my opinion.

Similarly, there is the beautiful idea of our lives changing in terms of the SP-Solar Arc Sun changing signs. I have never seen it to be so in practice! I’ve given up looking.

What about decanate rulerships to clarify a planet’s symbolism within a Sign, e.g., Mercury in 28 Capricorn has Virgo overtones because it is in the third decanate of the Sign, measured internally in groups of 10 degrees, Cardinal, Fixed, Mutable.

What about that marvelously symmetrical idea of Converse Progressions? What about Planetary Nodes? What about the alluringly named Part of Fortune? What about the beguiling idea of Mirror Points (position measurements equidistant from the Cancer-Capricorn 0-degree Solstice Points)? What about the ‘esoteric’ Arabic Parts? --These considerations leave us lost for answers --and the occasional “hit” of relevance is enough to start the anticipation up again. Our trunk gets heavier.

Even with the modern fascinating world of asteroids, how are these to be used before the fact of analysis? Over-the-shoulder tie-ins are what intrigue us, but how can asteroids become useful ahead of time?

Many of these considerations are packed into that trunk of so-called “Traditional Astrology.” Most definitely, I am not criticizing the body of our knowledge; I’m trying to lighten the burden of its practice. Everyone is trying to lose weight; astrology should too, and we astrologers should know that the “magic measurements” are born within, in the refinement of our art, not necessarily the adding to it.

Next Update: March 31, 2009


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