Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Astrology ? Elemental My Dear Watson!

A recent article at Huffington Post written by Sara Calabro: Are You a Fire Type begins like this:
Summer is officially upon us. You may be noticing yourself having more energy, feeling more social, or experiencing all-around better moods. This is normal for this time of year, when, from an acupuncture perspective, the yang -- extroverted, lively, enthusiastic, active -- aspects of a person are at their peak.

In acupuncture theory, humans are viewed as microcosms of the natural world that surrounds them. Weather and climate, particularly during the transition from one season to another, factor significantly into diagnoses and treatment plans. Each season is linked with a natural element, organ and emotion.

The element, organ and emotion of summer are, respectively, Fire, heart and joy. So, how does this influence the way we feel in summertime?

Do You Like to Play With Fire?

How we feel during summer is largely determined by our constitutional expression of the Fire element.
That theory, if considering the astrological element of Fire, doesn't work for me though. I have more personal (as against generational) planets in Fire signs (3) than in the other elements (Air 1) (Earth 1) Water (2).... I do not enjoy hot summer weather. Perhaps a Fire sign rising could be the key to what Ms Calabro suggests? My natal rising sign is Cancer, re-located to my current home it's Aquarius - Water and Air - no Fire involved. Or perhaps the elemental Fire of which she writes is something different from astrological Fire.

Astrological elements are astrology's building blocks. A re-run of an archived post from 2008 on this very topic coming up:........................

Building blocks of astrology, the elements: Earth, Water, Fire, Air; and the modes or qualities: Cardinal, Fixed and Mutable, were bequeathed to Western astrology by the Greeks via their illustrious philosophers. The elements equate to what modern physics has identified as the four states of matter - building blocks of the Universe: solid, liquid, gas and plasma.
(Illustration, above, from The Particle Adventure)

Modern-day wits have other ideas, tongue-in-cheek. Author Terry Pratchett has a character in one of his books stipulating that the universe depends for its operation on the balance of four forces which can be identified as "charm, persuasion, uncertainty and bloody-mindedness.” While comedian Dave Barry has it on good authority that "the four building blocks of the universe are fire, water, gravel and vinyl."

Jokes aside, without a basic understanding of how the elements relate to each other, it'd be impossible to "get" astrology. The four elements, each modified by one of the three modes/qualities are at the the root of all interpretations.

The circle we use to depict the sky in astrology is split into 12 equal segments, each allocated to an element, modified by a mode (eg. Aries = Cardinal Fire, Taurus = Fixed Earth...) It's possible, with an understanding of each element and mode, to produce a basic interpretation of a chart using only these concepts, ignoring labels placed on signs by ancient astrologers.

The elements and modes progress around the zodiac circle, alternating in regular succession, forming wave-like patterns. If spread out in line the patterns looks like this ~ please excuse the awful diagram! F=Fire. E=Earth. W=Water. A=Air.....C=Cardinal. Fx=Fixed. M=Mutable. Wave above line =Elements. Wave below = Modes. To avoid more confusion I've ignored a third quality - Polarity (positive/negative or masculine/feminine), which would form another wave, alternating between signs, starting at Positive = Aries.

Why? Did those Greeks, long ago, grasp, intuit, or have access to some lost knowledge which led to this particular way of laying out the zodiac? More questions than answers - as usual!

The elements and modes are factors amid a plethora of astrological principles and methods, which remain completely reliable and consistent. They never let you down. As I see it, something somehow connected to these will, one day, explain (partially) why astrology works.

In The Night Sky by Richard Grossinger, I found a paragraph which may or may not have any relevance in this context, it caught my eye as I searched for information.
In 1869, the Russian chemist Dmitri Mendeleev discovered that the chemical properties of the elements (My note: this refers to the non-astrological elements)are periodic functions of their atomic weights, i.e. of the number of protons in their nuclei. When he arranged the then-known elements in a series, he found that there were familial resemblances among elements at regular numerical intervals. For instance, carbon, silicon and tin lie in a series for which the member between silicon and tin was then apparently missing. This was later found to be germanium. Fluourine, chlorine, bromine and iodine constitute another family. Then there's a group of lithium, sodium and potassium; another of nitrogen phosphorus, arsenic and antimony; and so on. Nature contains a hidden periodic function which is basic to form and order in the world. (My note: There are "families" in astrological elements too, at regular numerical intervals - the Fire family Aries, Leo, Sagittarius, the Air family Gemini, Libra, Aquarius etc.) All the other elements are based on the simplest one, hydrogen with its single proton, which is also - we were to find out - the fuel of the stars.

Mendeleev's periodic table, and the reality that lay behind it gave a new basis for understanding the history and evolution of matter. Mathematical relationships determined the seemingly limitless display of forms in nature, from plants and animals to stars and galaxies. It was hauntingly Pythagorean, as Heisenberg would remind us.
The echo of astrological elements and modes and the way they were arranged by ancient astrologers is discernible. They had no knowledge of periodic tables and suchlike, as far as we know.

I have confidence that astrology is more than mere superstition. It's something rooted in the very nature of the universe. Oh - it's rough and ready, imperfect and encumbered with a plethora of unnecessary accessories, but beneath it all there is a gem. I can't say it better than the wonderful Carl Sagan said it..."Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known."

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