Date: Wed, 07 Nov 2001 08:59:46 -0600
Subject: [Centaurs] Astrology and politics

The following are some of my thoughts and opinions on the matter of astrology and politics.

Some people think that, when making an analysis, the astrologer must remain "objective" and detached.

Objectivity is essential with respect to the technical aspect of analysis. An old medieval statement I read many years ago expressed it well saying that "love and hate" are the worst advisors in astrology, because they tend to make big what is small, and small what is big. But the indicators found by analysis must be interpreted, and this is another matter, where pretensions of objectivity are by definition fallacious.

Often we hear statements like "planets are neutral", meaning either that they are a sort of uncorrupted celestial entities or archetypes beyond human error and imperfection, or that astrology is some sort of exact or of natural science. This medieval or classical doctrine is still believed by many astrologers unaware of how the meaning they give to the newer planets, Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto, contradicts this belief.

The meaning of these new planets was not "given", but has come as a result of social and culturally relative historical processes. When Neptune is interpreted in the usual way as deception, dreams, mysticism, otherworldly, etc., utterly ignoring the abstract thinking and the socio-political and economic dimensions of reality that it charts so well, astrologers put in evidence their cultural background, the fact that whenever one deals with "meaning", projection of one's own view of the world is inevitable.

Like the calendar and the clock, astrology is a cultural construct, a technology, a tool. The way in which each astrologer uses it is a reflection of his values towards life, and also of his personal psychological dynamics, including defense mechanisms and childhood fixations and fears. For this reason, the personality of the astrologer is ultimately his most important and powerful tool, with which he must always work by necessity. His practice is always a reflection of his personality.

My work has always been centered around personal sessions with my clients, sessions where we reciprocally share many things, where the two of us participate by our own free will and responsibility. And in my not-so-solitary research, too, as shown in my writings, a similar thing happens in that I freely choose the subject of my study (such as mundane astrology or someone's biography), and the subject --for a while-- lives with me. The subject impregnates me, as I am impregnated by the feelings and the atmosphere or "aura" of the person who I am seeing in a session. I identify with this "other" completely while the session (or repeated sessions, or the private study) lasts, be it seconds, minutes, days, or months. The impregnation is mutual, I reciprocate with my words, with my writing, with my feelings. We are both changed as a result.

In this process, i.e., the astrological interpretational act as opposed to the theory, pretensions of "objectivity" or "detachment" are not desirable, they are obstacles, and do not have much value.

Astrologers who pretend to be "neutral", "apolitical", "detached", etc. in their interpretations --as if those things were something good or valuable-- are giving expression to their own personal subjective attitude to life. And when the say --for example-- that someone's "Mercury conjunct Neptune" means that he or she cannot think clearly or realistically, or is prone to fantasy or to lies, they are manipulating reality according to their own prejudices. Likewise, refusing to deal with the socio-economic dimension of people's lives, dismissing economics, differences of class, and cultural relativity and diversity from their interpretations, is making a clear political statement, however unconscious they may be of it, using astrology to justify their own limited view of life.

But some people jump when one says: "Neptune in the national chart represents the exploitation and alienation of the poor, the self-justifying manipulative and deceptive ideology of imperialism...",  as if this were something new and not an evident aspect of reality.

In other words, in my opinion, interpretations are always subjective, and pretending that politics is not or be not part of these interpretations is a fallacy that comes as a result of a very poor understanding of the nature and history of astrological tools.

Not complying with the majority or "the authority" in the astrological tools one uses and the interpretations one makes is reason for dismissing a study. Denouncing the extreme and violent hypocrisy of the present "War against Terrorism" is considered "unprofessional" for an astrologer. Repudiating and criticizing American policy in the Middle East during the Gulf War or in the present bombing and destruction of Afghanistan and seeing things from the Arab or the extremists' point of view is considered having something personal against the American people, either that or manipulatively singling out one country in order to demonize it. Saying the truth, or just saying what one thinks of the present situation is reason enough for being expelled from a mailing list [not this one fortunately, so far at least], etc.

Refusing to consider the political dimension of *all* astrology is to me a weakness, not a virtue.

Juan

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Date: Wed, 07 Nov 2001 11:06:19 -0600
Subject: [Centaurs] constructing the meaning of centaurs

I think I once wrote that the modern use and research going on with asteroids is like stripping Astrology naked, i.e., showing how it works and what it is made of. I believe that what we see in the interaction between names, mythological tales, different methods, and private or culturally dependent interpretations that later become conventions shows how little Astrology has to do with natural science and how much it stems from the human imagination and from social habits.

We have been witnessing the process of ascribing or "finding" the meaning of new and unknown, un-named distant objects, a process which is like an accelerated repetition of what went on in the past 3 centuries after the discovery of Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto. The differences I think are mainly 3:

1- now everything is happening very fast compared with how things were even in the 1930's with Pluto.
2- now there is a lot of controversy regarding the different weight we must give to planets as opposed to asteroids.
3- the great number of asteroids poses a problem that did not exist in the case of Uranus, Neptune, or Pluto, which were unique.

In the case of centaurs, we have even participated in the process of giving a name to them, a name that is later used universally by everybody and which is tied to its meaning, or to the meaning we have privately found.

How was the process of ascribing meaning to Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto?
How has been the process of ascribing meaning to Chiron?
What are the differences between each of the 4 cases?
How much of this process is dependent on politics and economics?

I am convinced that this process evidences the cultural nature of astrological knowledge and how far away it is from the perspective of the natural sciences. If name, mythology, politics, and historical interpretations were paramount in the formation of meaning, then the process has very little to do with natural science. Orbital symbolism has also been paramount... another remove from natural science. These are all social and psychological processes and products.

The meaning of Neptune in particular, which in my opinion rules mostly unconscious cultural/ideological differences and relativism, evidences this sharply.

I hope someday there will be a real study of the slow and continuing process of formation of astrological meaning of the outer planets, not just a mention of the few facts surrounding their discovery and naming. Name or the mythology are not the only factors involved, and they are not necessary in many cases.

Juan
 
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Date: Wed, 07 Nov 2001 17:43:11 -0600
Subject: Re: [Centaurs] Juan's Neptune example

In the case of Neptune, "meaning" was given by an astrological culture that was the result of, not independent of, a typically Western, capitalistic, individualistic, Protestant ideology that saw the expansion of colonialism, romanticism, and spiritualism.

In countries that have been colonized, the whole economic and social life is forced to become a function of the colonial empowerment of the metropolis, and this is how things still work in many places economically speaking. For example, adopting the value systems of rich developed and industrialized nations is a condition that is **imposed** on foreign governments before any economic cooperation is established. This condition has resulted in the loss of identity, human suffering, and generalized weakening and impoverishment.

This is clearly seen in the field of astrology. Many of the usual meanings developed by European and American astrologers are pretty useless in these countries, because the reality with which individuals must cope daily is very different, and often represents dimensions of experience that are unknown to typical astrologers overseas who belong to a very different culture. The main examples in my opinion is in the meaning of Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto.

The surprise of some people about my repudiation of the US foreign policies is a good example. In countries like Costa Rica, which is very pro-American anyway, that feeling is part of the common culture, even if not everybody shares it, and especially of the campus life at the University. To pass judgement on those feelings without ever having lived and felt like we do --let alone like people living in villages elsewhere that are being bombed-- illustrates my point that astrologers, coming from a very different socio-economical context, traditionally ignore these aspects of reality, as if they did not exist.

Values and emphasis differ across cultures. An illustration, perhaps, was the scandal over the Monica Lewinsky affair. That would have never been news in my country, it would have been a "non-event", never a reason for scandal. The president of the country would have never been subjected to such humiliation, because nobody would have been interested.

This does not imply that the traditional meanings are "wrong". It implies that those traditional meanings are part of a larger social process of which traditional astrologers are often not aware.

Juan

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Date: Wed, 07 Nov 2001 23:18:50 -0600
Subject: Re: [Centaurs] Juan's Neptune example

<<I think of Neptune as *our relationship* to forces larger than the individual.  Do you think that sounds like a view that's culturally blinded?>>

I will try to give the simplest answer I can, besides telling you to read what Marc Jones says about Neptune. He was my original inspiration. You will find his main thoughts quoted in http://www.expreso.co.cr/centaurs/posts/notes/neptune.html

To see the workings of Neptune it is not necessary to go to a different country. One can do it by relating to a different social or economic stratum or "class" within one's own country. There are many sub-cultures often in the same building. One can also do it by applying the critical apparatus of social sciences like anthropology and sociology to understand the nature of astrology and of astrological practice. But I know this is too abstract.

It all depends on what you consider "larger than the individual". Very often, this is taken as a sort of "mystical union" with the universe or with other individuals where one's own individuality seems to disappear. But there are many instances in life of "unions" where the "mystical" is not present at all, such as in the conditions of modern urban life, where individual qualities are reduced to the common quantitative denominator of money. Money can also be seen as a most spiritual thing larger than the individual. Here is how Marc Jones explains it:

<<Of all tangible things, money is probably the most spiritual or social, since it is the most generalized or universal medium of community experience>> [from "Astrology How and Why It Works", 1945, 1969).

Another thing which is "larger than the individual" is society itself. Hence a strong Neptune often indicates a vocation in the social sciences such as anthropology or sociology, both of which are (often) very critical and analytical, very far from the "blurred" thinking associated with Neptune. Neptune makes very good economists and social thinkers.

The "invisible" nature of Neptune doesn't necessarily mean "spiritual", since all abstraction and interpretation of social and historical events are physical intangibles that transcend the individual. Ideology and cultural codes are "larger than the individual" too, and they practically rule the way you think and interpret reality.

This is why I like to define Neptune as "the more or less perverse self-justifying ideologies". Ideologies can be very messy things because they are normally unconscious and express themselves through morality and self-justification based on the moral authority of very relative cultural codes. This self-justification is the main source of Neptunian deception. We are witnessing a very concrete example of this deception and moral relativity right now.

Juan

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Date: Thu, 08 Nov 2001 11:44:00 -0600
Subject: [Centaurs] Uranus and cultural relativity

The differences seem to be more of emphasis and values, not necessarily that the traditional views are "wrong", though often they are inadequate or useless.

At this point it is difficult for me to explain better without concrete cook-book examples, such as Robert Hand's "Planets in Transit" or Ebertin's "Combination of Stellar Influences". I lived with those books for years until one day I felt they were a nuisance or a hindrance in my work because they were too culturally biased, and got rid of them.

So, I would need someone's quoting at least some parts of the way they or similarly representative books interpret Moon or Venus in aspect with Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto, so that I can take the text and offer my commentaries. The strongest differences surface in the case of Neptune.

One good starting point is that in India the outer planets are not used. What can this mean?

About Uranus:

Long ago I read a book on Australian aborigenes. Although they represent an extreme case, maybe in very poor or death-torn communities of Central Asia, many African nations, etc., what is said about the Mardudjara can illuminate one aspect of Uranus in their lives that is very different from ours. Here is the quote:

<<This essentially spiritual basis of life, while denying people their capacity for independent creativity, does not deny them their individuality. Instead, it simply removes creativity as a criterion for individual social status or worth. The measure of man becomes a continuing willingness to follow the founding design, to submit to what Stanner (1965) calls a sacred purpose. In this way, humanity reaps the benefit of reciprocity, in the form of continued fertility of living things and the maintenance of a long term ecological and social status quo.>> [ref.: p.15 "The Mardudjara Aborigenes, Living the Dream in Australia's Desert", Robert Tonkinson, 1978]

In this context, the "progress" and "opportunities" (Uranus), so cherished by Westerners that gives them a sense of superiority, is utterly destructive, and has condemned many traditional communities of this type to disintegration, starvation, or extinction. When the traditional social structure has been destroyed in the name of "progress", religion (e.g. Islam) often becomes the unifying force that allows them to maintain a sense of identity, and it is natural to see the emergence of destructive extremisms like terrorism, which becomes the way in which individuals live Uranus, often as the only alternative left to preserve the spiritual integrity of their lives.

I will leave the Neptune examples for some other time. As for Pluto, I think it has to do with the meaning that "death" and "individuality" have for a community. I already mentioned some ideas on this in my comments on the Horoscope of Islam. http://www.expreso.co.cr/centaurs/posts/mundane/islamboyd.html

Juan

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Date: Fri, 09 Nov 2001 14:48:26 -0600
Subject: Re: [Centaurs] Re: Uranus and cultural relativity

It seems to me that the word  "change" is too much of an understatement in cases of war. In those cases, which are far too numerous, I feel that "destruction" is more accurate.

"Change is inevitable", yes, but, does this mean that I have to accept that my family be killed, humiliated, or displaced in the name of change? That I must accept that my house be bombed or bulldozed? That I must accept being ruled by foreign invaders that will kill me if I don't obey? That I must accept that my wife and daughter be raped, or that I should let my brothers be tortured or die of starvation? All that in the name of change?

Personally, I feel that calling the aftermath of this "destruction of social structure" is telling the truth very softly.

In those cases, under those circumstances, extremist armed movements represent the effort to maintain integrity and adapt to change, and killing your enemy and striking back are the ways of keeping your spiritual integrity. This exactly, but under infinitely less harsh circumstances, is the justification used right now by the US president. I see him saying this over and over with a lot of pride.

... Countries "destroy one another" without having the slightest "right". The right to invade, bomb, and kill civilians in another country is invented by the perpetrators according to their own view of things. Each side will think that "God" or "Justice" gave them that right.

Juan

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Date: Sat, 10 Nov 2001 18:00:37 -0600
Subject: Re: [Centaurs] re: Uranus and cultural relativity

All communities have wars (Mars), and that is part of their traditional culture, but I am talking about how cultural change is brought about by war. It is not the war I am speaking about but the adaptation to the consequences of it in today's world in those communities to which I referred in my original message as "very poor or death-torn".

This is a particular way of living Uranus. It is a forceful collapse of traditional life violently imposed from the outside. That is my point. It has nothing to do with Uranian "high technology", "progress", or living out individual liberties, etc. It is a view in which religious extremism and things like terrorism are (or may be) ways in which people live their Uranus.

To say that this is Mars/Pluto and not Uranus is seeing war in isolation of the social process it is creating, juxtaposing the moral values of one society upon another that is very different.

[...]

Juan

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Date: Sun, 11 Nov 2001 09:40:55 -0600
Subject: [Centaurs] Re: Juan's Neptune example

<<Neptune is also a planet associated with dissolution of boundaries that can lead to great sensitivity and empathy...>>

I do not object any of this in essence. I have a very strong Neptune myself, and don't deny any of the traditional ways of seeing it. I have lived with the equivalent of a Moon/Neptune conjunction in opposition to my Sun and Venus all my life. I just think those views are negative and incomplete.

Let me take the opportunity to comment on the problems with the expression "dissolution of boundaries". Needless to say everything is my own perspective and I present it as suggestions only.

Astronomically, Neptune is the great gravitational barrier or frontier at the edge of the solar system. It is Neptune the planet that defines the world we live in, so that the "dissolution of boundaries" can also (or more accurately) be seen as an expansion of boundaries, or as an "invasion" by "the other" with which or with whom we are effectively inter-penetrated beyond the normal level of consciousness.

This is only a matter of words, but when we consider the centaurs, which are boundary-dissolvers and breakers very literally (orbit-crossers), as well as the transneptunian world, then the need to reformulate the meaning of Neptune arises, since Neptune is really both a great barrier and the roundest orbit there is in the solar system; it doesn't "break " anything and on the contrary "encircles" and defines more perfectly than the others.

This "perfect encircling" of Neptune is contained in the keywords "obligation" and "responsibility" used by Marc Jones, and also in all the guilt and escapism on the one hand and the at-onement and empathy on the other, signified by Neptune. They represent the appearance of our social consciousness, of how we are all inter-dependent in the smaller or larger community.

This can be seen as "lack of boundaries", but one can see it as exactly the opposite: nobody can go beyond the boundaries imposed by the larger whole (another person, the community, history, economics, culture, etc.) of which we are a part. Therefore Neptune represents a compulsive bondage, and the expression "lack of boundaries" can be seen as an example of the culturally biased definitions I was talking about.

For example, working under another set of values, I could say:

"The expression 'lack of boundaries' is the illusion experienced by a socially alienated or immature individual that comes into direct contact with the unknown "other" for the first time. There is indeed an experience of the boundless and the infinite, ruled by the Sun, but without the Sun, Neptunian "boundlessness" becomes regressive and socially destructive. The present global situation, in which powerful nations refuse to accept their responsibility in the creation and nurturing of terrorism, is an illustration of this regression and destructiveness."

Juan

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Date: Sun, 18 Nov 2001 10:13:46 -0600
Subject: [Centaurs] Re: Uranus and cultural relativity

There is a parallelism between the phrase "America strikes back" and the Star Wars saga (esp. "The Empire Strikes Back"), that, to me, illustrates the relativity (to use a soft term) of the concept of "terrorism".

The ambiguity of the term, the lack of a suitable definition of the concept, and the fact that "state terrorism" is a label that can be applied in recent decades to those nations now claiming to be fighting it, has been a consistent criticism of the present American crusade.

I had developed my thoughts on the identification of Saturn, Uranus, and the centaurs (mainly Chiron) with Obi-Wan, Vader, and the "jedis" back in April 1999. They can be read at http://www.expreso.co.cr/centaurs/posts/bio/vader.html

I was inspired back to the "Star Wars" symbolism yesterday after seeing an interview with George Lucas where he explained the spiritual influence that his mentor and friend "Joe" (Joseph Campbell) had on him.

In my 1999 discussion (needless to say not everybody agreed with me), I explained why Uranus was related to Imperialism and to Darth Vader, in spite of the almost automatic tendency to associate them with Pluto and the obvious underestimation of the negative or "dark" side of Uranus, and why the rebel "Alliance" and the jedis were centaurean and Saturnian figures.

In this context, the destruction of the "Star of Death", seeing it from the point of view of the prevalent social order (the Empire), was an act of terrorism. The rebels (=centaurs) came from marginal (=centaurean) communities of the Empire that did not want to accept being colonized and ruled by a foreign autocratic military design.

The minuscule rebel fighter ships jumping into or around the Star of Death are like centaurs crossing the path of the giant planets.

The rebellious --often anti-social and destructive-- nature of centaurs, implies that we eventually will have to re-formulate the astrological meaning of Uranus. As in the case of Neptune, this doesn't mean that the present interpretations are wrong. They just need to be expanded in order to have a better understanding of the role of centaurs.

I do not pretend to make an exact parallel between the Star Wars saga and today's political situation. That would be silly because there is never a 1:1 correspondence between astrology and mythology. Wars in the real world are never "good vs. evil" as in mythology.

But my reflection about how under certain circumstances (very common in today's world) the dynamics of Uranus can manifest as terrorist or socially destructive activities, made me realize even more today the association of Uranus with imperialism.

Juan

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Date: Sun, 18 Nov 2001 13:18:38 -0600
Subject: Re: [Centaurs] Re: Uranus and cultural relativity

We all know that Uranus, astrologically, needs to go its own way, and this often means challenging the "status quo" and the established rules, breaking away from commitments established in the past and rejecting external authority.

What happens when this behavior is shown by the ruler of a country with respect to the rest of the country? -- We have the dictator, the autocrat.

The Uranian person does not follow the rules imposed by others, and will act according to his or her own will. Thus a married person will break the rules and commit "adultery", a young boy or girl will reject "normalized" behavior and will follow his or her own path against the establishment, becoming a homosexual, or marrying a foreigner and migrating to another country, etc.

Divorce and change of career are similar: you must "break the pact" you previously had with society and with other people, and must go your own individual way, even if that means turning upside down the world you had yourself helped establish over the years, playing havoc with the life of your spouse and children, not to mention your own.

Divorce is such a typical Uranian conflict. Emotionally, it is often very bloody, akin to death, and it involves a process of destruction of the status quo. It is also an act of will that can harm and hurt others, even if in the long term it is beneficient for all.

What happens when this is shown by one country with respect to other countries?

What follows is very simplified and brief, but I hope it illustrates how obviously Uranian the situation is, and how powerfully culturally dependent political ideology controls the way we deal with astrological interpretations.

If the country is militarily and economically powerful, superior in strength to the other country it is dealing with, it will impose its will, regardless of international laws. The powerful country will simply dictate its own laws according to its own convenience, and will sign treaties only to deliberately break them later. It will obey International guidelines only when it suits its convenience.

If the country is poor, it will refuse to accept the arbitrary impositions of the other, powerful country, it will become a dissident in the eyes of that powerful country, and it will work relentlessly with illicit but morally self-justifying means to undermine the power of that powerful country, which will label it a "terrorist".

Again, this is overly simplified. But to me the principle is very clear. This is Uranus. It is virtually the opposite of freedom and independence, and it shows the socially disruptive efforts to get rid of the arbitrary and destructive political, economic, and military impositions of powerful nations, which show the other, very rigid, "I am afraid of compromise" autocratic and imperialistic side of Uranus.

Juan

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Date: Sun, 18 Nov 2001 14:34:08 -0600
Subject: Re: [Centaurs] Re: Uranus ("Star Wars")

My aim for writing this was to illustrate further why a new understanding of the role of the outer planets is necessary to have a better grasp of the meaning of centaurs, i.e., to avoid duplicity or confusion between Uranian and centaurean disruptiveness or rebelliousness. I don't have a clear answer, just trying to figure it out...

The other aim was to explore the social and culturally dependent ways of interpreting Uranus. The parallel between the individual Uranus and the mundane or national Uranus is straightforward, but since the Astrology is being done by astrologers from the dominant, autocratic side, then usually this dark side of Uranus is ignored or underestimated.

[...]

Juan



   NOTE: in a message of 24 Mar 2001 in this forum (see my "Notes on Varuna"), I had commented this same idea in the following terms: "... the re-definition of some of the attributes given to Uranus and Neptune, illuminated by the contrast between the cometary and the rounder or "institutionalized" orbits. 
   "For example, Neptune represents in its roundness a bondage or obligation to the greater community or society, the global economic inter-dependence. Instead of "a dissolution" it is a relativization due to the exposure to the larger cultural diversity and the multitude of belief systems, etc. Of course this is over-simplified, but the point is making sense of Neptune's encircling and collective orbit. The traditional escapism, private fantasy, and "surrender" associated with Neptune can be seem then in the context of this "collective encircling" or bondage to mainly unconscious or beyond-the-individual social compulsions. 
   "The roundness of motion of Uranus may be tougher to re-define, since Uranus represents "freedom". But the Uranian "freedom" may be seen in contrast with the "looseness" or unconditioning of Pholus, and as suggested by the discovery of its ring system, must work within the limits imposed by modern or post-industrial society. So we may relate Uranus with "the bill of rights", with technology, with the freedom the individual is given to pursue his own goals and dreams (Neptune), with modern "individualism", etc.; but this must be within the limits of what society can accept or assimilate. Otherwise you are a centaurean renegade, a violator of the social order. "



  
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