|Management of Measurement Constructs
Objectives Define Techniques
The techniques of astrology -and indeed, the astrologer using them as well- grow, develop, and change in concert with the objectives served by the techniques, how those objectives grow and change.
If the objective is to describe a person, to capture a person in a fatalistically pre-spun web of adjectives, our astrological techniques will be descriptive techniques, ironclad rigid "gotchya" quips, as they were for a long, long time in history. --As I have presented so many times before in my works, this way of doing astrology relates the human being to a chart, confining the human being to what we know about astrology.
If the objective is to appreciate the process of becoming, the flow of development, our techniques become holistic in their orientation, dynamic in their application, and ever so much more individualized and valuable. We are relating the horoscope to the reality being lived by the person.
We learn, for example, from the highly esteemed work of Erik Erikson [German psychoanalyst, contemporary of Freud, who immigrated to the United States] the strong suggestion that, in the first year of life, the child either learns to trust the world or, if it doesn't, it acquires a basic sense of the world as untrustworthy depending on whether or not its needs are met. And that learning experience, in turn, affects the type of relationships the individual makes in later life … our position must be not whether or not we agree(!) but how can our astrological techniques assimilate the hypothesis.
Then, when we learn that "all" personality theorists and analysts have tested this hypothesis and do concur with the important life-changing impact of our early years, our position changes: our astrological techniques MUST assimilate these considerations -Our techniques must change, must keep pace with the times, with knowledge of the human condition.
The symbolism of our astrology has meaning only when we give it meaning. We define what Mercury "means"; we define the considerations of Saturn -not some codebook written in stone from somewhere unknown. And our definitions come from our knowledge of the human condition, the knowledge of the times in which we live. Our objectives and our means to appreciate life development are constantly re-clarified by our knowledge, and the symbolism content of our techniques must follow suite.
Astrologers can grow in the use of their craft only by appreciating the focus of their objectives. What do you want to do with your astrology? How will doing your astrology affect you? Will you be enriched, empowered, set apart, related helpfully to others?
In relation to your objectives, how does your symbolism fare? What have you done to learn more about the human condition, the psychodynamic research that crowned the last century? How is your astrology changing in relation to what you're learning? --Or have you stopped learning? Are you content with astrology as a parlor game or hobby? Are socialization anxieties of your own repressing you into the sterile protectionism of pure measurement?
An example: recently, I checked in with a client, a wise man near 70. He has been strangely ill/discomfited for several years, has had several operations, and is faced with doctors who still don't know what to do. My client decided to take matters into his own hands, deploying a lifetime of learning in the parapsychological world, etc. He worked on himself daily, using self-hypnosis and more.
The Astrology: my client faces SA Saturn conjunct his Ascendant (the health center) this summer … Now. --That is dire symbolism, of course. My client has been debilitated, the aging process is involved, there is weakness and vulnerability, but there is ALSO a tremendous gain evidenced from working upon his condition through his mind. He is getting better, conspicuously -and the doctors do not understand it!
With knowledge of the human condition, I know the following: this man knows much and uses his knowledge well; objectively, there is conspicuous progress; the progress and mental activity need/deserve encouragement; by imaging continued progress, progress should/could continue. -How can I present this out of the Saturn-Ascendant symbolism? [Read this paragraph a second time, please.]
I explained the symbolism to my client, who knows much about it already. I explained that the Saturn symbol is the symbol of Jupiter inverted (the reciprocal) … purposefully, to tell us something [think about it!]. I discussed this neatly.
I then reiterated the link between Saturn and time. I mentioned that wisdom develops over time, out of difficulties contained within time; that time teaches. We laughed about the prognosis he could have had a hundred years ago, twenty years ago, or from a medieval astrologer born in the 1960s or 70s!
At the end of our short talk, I said several simple sentences: "I'm thrilled with all this improvement! Congratulations on what you've been able to accomplish! Together, with regard to this Ascendant focus, let us know deeply that Wisdom and Fate are indeed thesame symbol."
My mission as an astrologer was accomplished. -I'm proud of that exchange with my client. We both felt special after our talk. Of course, there could be a drastic change; of course, the condition could worsen; of course, there could be complications, but my client's wisdom contains those possibilities, works beyond them, ahead of them. That is what we should hope for by understanding the Saturn symbolism. When we heed warning, prevention becomes cure. He was already working on it!
***Isn't it extraordinary how much growth is possible within each of us, within our use of astrology? Isn't it extraordinary how much we can help others grow as well?
Our job -and this is a decided focus of any 'cognitive therapy'- is to identify and change maladaptive thinking in our clients and in our selves. Emotional upsets and eventual body breakdowns come in great part from the way individuals think about themselves, others, and the world. Our horoscopes show the avenues and detours within the necessary minefields of that development. We make links throughout development times past and present, and then project what we understand into future time, working always to support our clients in well-integrated patterns of thought and experience.
Our sense of self develops constantly. Our objectives for individualized fulfillment must be captured in our symbolisms and how we relate them to our clients' reality. Our techniques must be brought to life that way. Otherwise, our work is primitive, and, along with our astrology, so are we.
Next Update: July 30, 2001