April 22, 2024

Finding the Statue Within

Management of Measurement Constructs

[Repeated from Notebook, June 30, 2004. See the Archives immediately following the present essay below; in all three departments, see over ¼ million words of teaching!]Finding the Statue Within

There is a famous quote attributed to Michelangelo Buonarroti: “The statue is already inside the block of marble -all that is necessary is to work it out by chipping off everything unnecessary.”

In terms of our work in astrology, what about this thought comes to your mind right away? What are the things we need to chip away in our preparation of analysis in order to discover the human being living within the horoscope? How do we make those cuts?

I feel that there is so much clutter in the astrological process: unconnected, isolated analytical ideas used as magical probes into the density of the horoscope; we easily end up with jagged fragments, losing reference to reasonably contoured form.

On a good day, my work often attracts reactions of “how simple I make it seem, how clear the paths of deduction are.” This happens because of the approach to analysis that I have developed over the years, an artistic approach to synthesis that begins with a first impression of the horoscope “block” and then proceeds to inter-related analysis of various aspects that define the “statue” living within.

For example, please draw this horoscope: male, November 7, 1918 at 3:30 PM, EST in Charlotte NC.

This is your block of marble. What is the human form living within? Who will emerge when we take away that which is unnecessary?

With our first “cut” we see the dramatic western orientation: the giving of self to others. So much has immediately fallen away; we know where the figure is!
Our second cut into this early revelation is guided by a hypothesis about the Sun-Moon blend. Scorpio-Sagittarius: philosophy and idealism, honor and ethics, the need to have opinions respected, to have something to say about why things are as they are [The Sagittarius dimension lifts the Scorpionic cut.].

Our chisel leans strongly on the Sagittarian inroad to the block, through the Mars conjunction with the Moon we have discovered. This is a very strong feature of the person living within; and we have found it, felt it so soon!

Another cut suggests an idealism, an ethereal dimension that should be very prominent. Here we have followed the cut into the block mapped by Venus conjunct the Sun and Neptune squared them both. One of our chips emphasizes this strongly: exposed is Uranus quindecile Neptune and square Mercury, ruler of the 3rd sector that is beginning to emerge from the block: articulation intensity about the idealizations.

As the unnecessary potentially obfuscating debris starts to fall away, the 9th sector of the marble is exposed, tying together the idealization considerations that are so prominent everywhere. –We may be exposing a religious figure!
The Jupiter cut would be important, right into that 9th sector: and we see it pronouncedly related to both Sun and Venus –how graceful these trine lines!-and this is unavoidably linked to the ultimate purpose of the figure through Jupiter’s clear-cut quindecile with the Midheaven!

By this time, having removed so much that was blocking our view, we can truly see the figure emerging, and we can switch to finer tools, to smaller chisels and lighter hammers. Eventually, the whole figure of Billy Graham will emerge and we can polish it respectfully and skillfully.

Going further with this understanding of Michelangelo’s observation, I would have liked to ask him, what happens if we make a poor cut into the marble? What if our chisel-blow goes against some grain that shatters a section of the work?

This can so easily happen, when we indiscriminately apply obscure technique considerations willy-nilly to analysis. -For example, noting that the Solar eclipse preceding Graham’s birth occurred on June 8, 1918 at 17 Gemini and cutting into the marble bloc that way, in that direction, is simply not going to help in any way. Such a complicated, untested, awkward cut can easily splinter our work so far: the form could be altered no matter how much patch-up work we do.

What if we take a cut called the “Moon Void-of-Course” cut? Is that possibly going to reveal anything about the form living within? It isn’t; and again we are wasting our opportunity for artistic revelation, we are going away from the fundamentalsbecause perhaps we don’t know how to use them well!

Going further: you can just imagine the ‘fracturous’ risks we take smashing into the block with concepts of any number of disparate analytical thoughts like perhaps the Bi-quintile cut; the Novile hit! –Maybe some of these things come later? Remember: you can’t use any icing if there is no cake.

By adding planning debris we threaten the efficiency of beautiful whole-form revelation. There’s nothing wrong with the block of marble; it is our approach that must be understood, simplified for clean accuracy; and it is our aesthetic that has to be alert to putting the cuts together within the knowledge we have about life and our development within it.

And our plan for our final cut in the revelation stage can follow the pathway called “Jupiter in mutual reception with the Moon,” Jupiter ruling the 9th! How lovely! Everything holds together the way the marble intended.

As apprentices, sculptors work not only on their technique, but also on their aesthetic anticipation of what may be revealed. We learn to think with every cut. Astrology is art.