Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Ruling Principles

Why does planet Venus rule zodiac sign Taurus - and for that matter why does it rule Libra also? I asked myself this question, have asked similar ones many times before, worrying that the allocation of ancient gods to zodiac signs might have originally been a quite arbitrary exercise :-

Ancient astrologer to his apprentice: "Verily verily... The Sun must be ruler of the times when he's at his strongest, (Leo)...our other strong light, Moon must stay by his side(Cancer). So...what've we got left?
Apprentice: Erm...Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, sir.

Ancient astrologer: Oh, let's put 'em in order of their daily motion as we see it, two signs each, outward from Sun and Moon. Fastest mover Mercury must have governorship of signs nearest Sun's and Moon's, so he rules Gemini and Virgo. Next fastest mover, Venus must rule Taurus and Libra. Mars will govern Aries and Scorpio. Slowing down now....Jupiter will rule Sagittarius and Pisces. Now for the coldest and darkest months of the year, Saturn's slow motion leaves it to govern what remains: Aquarius and Capricorn. That'll all fit rather well!"

Ancient astrologers, who were also astronomers in those days, largely ignored an even more ancient allocation of certain gods to a zodiac circle of 12 moths, one month apiece.

There's more erudite and detailed information at Skyscript's article by Deborah Houlding, The Philosophy of Sign Rulership.

The best online article on this topic, best by far in my opinion, is from the late 1990s by Ken Gillman: Twelve Gods and Seven Planets. It's a long, but very good read.


THE ALLOCATION of the Signs to the planets appears to have been an exercise in planetary symmetry, without regard for the corresponding natures of the planets or the Signs.

Readers may respond by saying: "OK, so perhaps the initial allocation of planet to Sign did not reflect life experience, but astrologers have been using the scheme for 2,000-years or so, and in the process have made it work."

Have they? Does this rulership scheme really work? Sign rulerships are an essential part of Horary astrology, for instance. Is this branch of astrology as effective as its practitioners claim? We hear of their successes, many of which are often due to planets in the Horary chart being close to angles or to the Moon's next aspects and so not requiring use of the ring-a-rosy rulership system of querent, dispositor, etc. But what of the many failures?

Nearly fifty years ago, a Mr. Ionides, the author of "One Day Telleth Another" (I don't have the author's first name or the book's publisher), suggested the 12-fold division of the ecliptic "was not natural at all, but had been imposed upon Nature by man's belief in them and have so acquired a certain validity." Discussing this, Charles E. O. Carter, an astrologer for whom I continue to have the utmost respect, commented:
In other words, let man believe a thing long enough and strongly enough and Nature, so to speak, accepts it from him. Thought, being essentially and always positive, can work upon the passive anima mundi and mould this to its will.
 If this notion has any basis in fact, then its practical (as well as theoretical) importance would be considerable. We should certainly, in that case, do well to foster in ourselves the highest possible conceptions of the planets....
We should have to distinguish, in the case of such a planet as Neptune, a natural quality and an impressed quality. The former might cover such Neptunian tendencies as poetic inspiration, interest in the occult, and the propensity to states of confusion and involvement, confinement and retirement, none of which appears to have any connection with the mythological Neptune, while the latter would include all relationships with the sea, which would be invested with validity because astrologers, learning that the planet was to be called Neptune, immediately combined to think of it in terms of that god.

The proof would be, what did Neptune Signify in the horoscopes of those who lived before it was discovered? Did only the 'natural' meaning appear, or did what I call the 'impressed' Significance also manifest itself? Because, according to the hypothesis I have, very tentatively, put forward, the latter Significance could not be there.

I know that Neptune was in transit upon King James's ascendant at the time of the Gunpowder Plot, exhibiting the 'treachery aspect' of Neptune, which is not, I think, at all mythological.

Uranus does not convey any distinct mythological conception to the average man, and perhaps that has allowed us to preserve in more or less pure form its natural qualities. But Pluto does most certainly mean something even to those whose studies in mythology have been strictly limited and it is true that most of us are, so to speak, hard at work trying to make him into a planet of death and darkness.
If man's belief makes something so, then surely it will be the belief of the majority of humankind that does. Believers in astrology have been relatively few since the days when a much larger proportion of the world's population believed, and had done so for hundreds of years, in the existence and natures of the Twelve Gods.

The proposal mentioned in that snip, made by C.E.O. Carter, still comes up from time to time in articles attempting to explain why astrology works. I've never quite been able to accept the theory myself, but thinking on it now, I'm wondering if it is actually a form of two-way brainwashing. We are told something is so. We test it, find that sometimes it is so. We start to believe it. We tell others about it. As word spreads, sometimes picking up all kinds of moss and fluff in the process, are we in the process actually forcing certain outcomes through sheer belief? I'm still not convinced that's possible to do, not with regard to astrology's basic principles anyway - perhaps it would work in regard to some of the additional bells and whistles added to the astrological basics at different stages by various schools of thought.

Speaking of other schools of thought relating to zodiac signs and planetary rulership, some believe there are links to Kabballah/Jewish mysticism, and/or to Biblical stories such as that about the 12 sons of Jacob. Indian astrologers have different methods and definitions of signs and rulers, coinciding somewhat, only broadly, with Western astrology. So there are really no hard and fast rules. If it works for you, it works, I guess.

My own miniscule of thought proposes that astrology isn't really about planets themselves at all, they serve only as markers on various sized waves of time/space/atmospheric changes which roll around the universe at different rates. Our zodiac signs are like months on a circular calendar or figures on the face of a watch, helping us to keep track of our human time-lines which will interact with these universal, maybe even inter-universal, rolling waves. At the moment we are born and take our first breath of the atmospheric wave then in session, our personal blueprint begins to form, eventually taking in considerations of distance from, and/or angles to, the rest of the rolling universal waves. There ya go - all sorted!


mike said...

As we've discussed in previous posts, reasonable correlations can be made utilizing the tools of astrology, given the expertise of the astrologer. Some astrologers seem unusually talented at situational characterization (personality, world events, horary) and-or prediction. Are they psychic or did they study astrology to the extreme? Do they eat, breathe, and dream astrology? I'm very interested in astrology, but it has never been my passion...perhaps I get what I give.

I do think that there are individuals that have a unique sensitivity toward intuitive or psychic perception and have developed their own methods or tools to access their sensitivities. Dowsing for water (or anything) is an example and has been used for eons. Not all people can dowse, but those that do claim it is very easy for them. It's a form of prediction and can be assessed for accuracy immediately. Dowsers advertised their services as guaranteed to find water or no payment. Water dowsers found water in the most unexpected places and even sensed how much water would flow from these spots based on the rod's intensity of vibration.

I had a psychic reading performed by a lady using a standard deck of playing cards many years ago. She was outstanding in characterizing me, but even more so with her predictions, which seemed outlandish at the time of the reading, but were completely accurate. I previously described to you my experiences at a Lakota yuwipe ceremony, which went way beyond my earthly understanding. My mother had psychic tendencies that defied odds.

We live in a strange world, Twilight! I suspect that as humans become more synthetic or out-of-tune with nature, we lose our abilities to intuit and divine. There have been a number of experimental results indicating humans can and do influence outcomes.

"The Princeton Engineering Anomalies Research (PEAR) program, which flourished for nearly three decades under the aegis of Princeton University’s School of Engineering and Applied Science, has completed its experimental agenda of studying the interaction of human consciousness with sensitive physical devices, systems, and processes, and developing complementary theoretical models to enable better understanding of the role of consciousness in the establishment of physical reality."

mike (again) said...

P.S. - I believe that each individual has at least one unique ability passion, or gift in the mundane world. Most know what would make them happiest and in-tune with themselves, but many ignore the call. Astrology can assist the identification of these areas, whether generally or specifically, should the person have no clue. Virtually all possible "vocations" that would allow a person to align with their innate talent have some form of creativity involved and-or service to others...a natural-born astrologer utilizes both.

Twilight said...

mike ~ Some people do appear to have more intuitive, or psychic if you like, ability. Whether this helps in astrology I won't attempt to guess. Such people probably wouldn't need astrology to assist others if they were so gifted in that respect though.

If astrology works at all it must work for anybody - anyone at all, no psychic or intuitive abilities needed - anybody who cared to spend some time learning basic principles. As long as we remain within the basics it really can work at basic level in anyone's hands. That's the part of it that interests and fascinates me - the "why" or "how" of it all.

As to how and why such things as dowsing work - I'm not as keen to find out, for some reason, because there are no "principles" involved.
The person doing the dowsing is the key.

I've had similar experiences to the one you mention regarding predictions made for me by someone using either deck of cards or palmistry - one was given to my mother about me, which came true after more than 50 years! Again - it's all within the person doing the predicting, not due to a set of "principles".

I'll keep an open mind about what we can and cannot do with our minds.
There's lots there that's still mysterious, remains to be discovered. (Thanks for the link).
I believe I shall remain skeptical that human minds could have made astrology work even so.

Twilight said...

mike (again) ~ Yes - and so why can astrology do this? That is the big question, regarding astrology itself - not the astrologer.

Astrology exists as a doctrine of sorts, available for anyone to learn, to teach themselves in fact. Skilled and intuitive practitioners will be able to put findings into words which might resonate better with a client or reader - no argument on that - but the basics still rely on those ancient principles or planet placement, cycles, etc.

mike (again) said...

The many variables in astrology with the almost infinite combinations made from those variables is where things become fuzzy! This was a topic on another website recently and I stated that an individual's free will can add another layer of difficulty. However, astrology of the masses, nations, economies, etc., is easier, because the individual free will is muted or dampened.

I compared it to meteorology, which is a science, but not an exact science. Weather forecasting is becoming more accurate with super-computers able to model vast amounts of historic and current data. Same applies to economic forecasting. Video gaming modeling technology has found its way into many forecasting arenas, such as weather and finances. It uses historic and real-time data to constantly update an extant prediction that can change depending on the current inputs. I think this approach has tremendous potential for astrological applications. An individual's natal chart, with data about that individual's history to determine how transits-progressions affected that chart (person) historically, with current, real-time data input could be used to vastly increase correct outcomes.

Bruce Bueno de Mesquita was one of the first to utilize gaming technology for other purposes:

I think that I've become a better amateur astrologer over the years, because I have more experience and I've found "things" that work for me. I've added more to my repertoire and discounted other items amongst my astrological selections. I can perform the basics and provide a personality interpretation that would align itself reasonably to other astrologers' interpretations. So, I do think the fundamentals of astrology are uniform. Forecasting is another matter.

Twilight said...

mike ~ I came to the conclusion quite early on that astrology's greatest strength and consistency is not in accurate prediction, but in
determining personality traits. Even then it's fallible due to the factors other than astrology involved: general background, family heredity and situation, and education, for starters.

In predicting for an individual, along with those factors mentioned, as you pointed out there's also free will to consider.

Other than in the broadest possible sense (e.g. expecting a period of general change without exact specifications), I think anything further has potential to cause more trouble than it's worth. Putting ideas into a person's mind....don't like it. Self-fulfilling prophecies can happen, and not always in a beneficial way.

Forecasting though, for sport, financial matters etc. as against individual prediction....I wouldn't have great confidence in astrological forecasting as things stand now. Maybe with high level tech introduced along the lines you suggest....but somehow I feel uncomfortable about that suggestion. Can't quite put into words why.

Our own lengthening experience is valuable, and likely to improve our understanding of astrology as years progress, agreed, but computerised experiences forced into a program become synthetic, unnatural - out of place. It might work, but it might work to our detriment - down the line a ways.