|Management of Measurement Constructs
Notebook, June 30, 2006The Power of Simplification
So many astrologers clutter and shade themselves with jargon, over-measurement, and technical detail; they lose sight of the target, the reality being experienced by their client. Some of the measurements are simply untenable, extraneous, archaic, inscrutable (like transits to Arced or Progressed positions!). All these measurements are supposed to prove the substance the astrologers think they are discovering ... by over-defining it. Measurement after measurement after measurement is forced into a descriptive maze, and the miracle of what Nature has to say is quickly lost; the human being is left behind. --The heart has a number-range of beats for optimum life function minute-to-minute; to force more than that into life experience threatens the life itself.
Astrologers do this measurement overkill because of their insecurity … insecurity with their knowledge of synthesis (how does it all work together?) and insecurity about having something to say that is significant, important, memorable. The measurements are used to prove that their deductions are right! --Ask yourself: how many measurements are actually needed to begin a meaningful discussion with the client?
This insecurity is also what’s behind astrologers constantly asking their client Yes/No questions like “Does that ring a bell? Do you identify with that? Would you like to talk about this situation?” --Remember: a “No” answer will stop the consultation dead. Think how you can rephrase every question you ask. But the example questions cited here, in my opinion, should never be asked in any way; they diminish in the client’s eyes our level of knowledge, our skill with process, and our authority. [See Tyl-The Creative Astrologer.]
Let me repeat this simply: making a lot of measurements and expressing them glibly are all too easily thought to confirm our skill and identity as astrologers.
How many lines does Picasso need to make a statement?
I think there is a strong case to be made when we liken our work as astrologers –at its best—to the creation of art. When we see our astrological measurements as the words of poems, if I may, we will take greater care with the words we choose, with the combinations of words we create.
A composer will all-too-easily create the thickest of harmonies and contrapuntal melody lines to over-express the ponderous, the deep, the emphatic, in order to say as strongly as possible how moving and colossal even the smallest wisp of thought is. BUT THEN, the skilled composer learns to edit, to replace pencil with eraser. The barest necessary structure then is revealed, and magic occurs. Communication is clear. [–Just listen to the sublimity of the Fauré Requiem. Know what is being said; see how astoundingly simply it is conveyed. Why is a solo voice of beauty and purity so effective?]
Look at the famous poetical statement by Carl Sandburg … we all know this one: “The fog comes // on little cat feet.” --Sandburg didn’t have to explain the fog: that it is a vapor condensed to fine particles of water suspended in the lower atmosphere, a cloud close to the ground. He simply chose to say that this state of fog arrives gently, silently! And we understand it; we feel it; we know what that fog means.
Just look at Newton’s simple formulae for the earth-moving Three Universal Laws of Motion!
Just look at Einstein’s simplest formula statement of the theory of Relativity. –All the proofs within formula derivation are absorbed, assumed, assimilated efficiently.
Here is a typical overstatement of astrological measurement: “This moon in Sag, r2 has mars, r11 in conjunction, making a trine with the AP Saturn in the 10th, r8, and this is in orb of a septile with Neptune, r10, and a septile with Jupiter, r7, and a tri-septile (which is close to an inconjunct), with Uranus, r9, the house of foreign countries.” –Horrid! What possibly does this say, except an ability to see measurements recorded on an aspect grid –unnecessary ones at that!?
Note how inconsistent capitalization clutters the presentation: all planets and Signs must have the dignity of an initial capital letter. Our mind expects that! To ignore it upsets order. [And the planets don’t like it either!]
To abbreviate the beautifully meaningful word “Sagittarius” (Latin: arrow; occult: one of wisdom) to the supposedly chic “Sag” is uncomfortable and off-putting. We lose dignity of reference and personal presentation. Why do so many astrologers do that? Change it to Sagittarius and, in your next conversational reference, you will feel your image ascend a few notches! It's simply a case of speaking well.
The constant descriptive reference to Houses ruled by the planets makes the process irrelevant; when we state such a reference, it must be relevant, not just descriptive. Too much seasoning in a sauce, too many colors on a palette turn sauce and palette black.
Read the essential synthesis of this paragraph this way: “The Moon-Mars conjunction in Sagittarius promises strong opinionation, and in its tie with AP Saturn, thrusts enormous ambition to the public.” ---Do we need more to gain entrance to this portion of Saddam Hussein’s astrology? [Most accepted data: April 28, 1937 at 8:10 AM BGT in Tikrit, Iraq; Asc 24Gemini45; Tyl rectification.]
And see how powerfully clear a further observation can be: “Saddam shows SA Neptune=Mercury, probable ruler of his Ascendant, exact in 11/2007, with tr Saturn crossing his fourth cusp at the same time. A threat to his health or worse?” --We need no more, unless there is another ‘big gun’ going off. Honest!
My students learn this simplification technique; they even cultivate an astrological shorthand! They learn to hear what we call the “big bells” and to trust that smaller bells will be ringing as well. They don’t need to hear them all. They become exquisitely clear in their astrology and they avoid measurement burn-out.
Another example of simplification is the elegance of the Midheaven Extension Process for Vocational Profiling. We’ve been able to dispense with so much accumulated measurement debris. Initially we may even feel bewildered by its absence, so accustomed are we to all the gingerbread. But then we see the light and feel the freedom.
~~The same can apply in your personal life: the next time your spouse is fishing for love affirmation and support, say it as simply as possible; try not to add all the customary qualifications just because you’re nervous about the emotional importance of your words!
When you know what’s important and you keep it simple, what you say becomes extremely important too.
Next Update: July 31, 2006