On Truth…

Hermeneutics is the study of spiritual thought, usually through literature, as an integral facet of the search for meaning. We all search for meaning, although we invariably look for it in different places: for some our car gives life meaning, for others their job does the trick and for a few, meaning is found within a spiritual, rather than a material context. All meaning is subjective; reality for you cannot be the same as reality for me, because we each interpret experience according to our own unique perspectives, which means, very simply, that nobody is wrong.

It took me many years to work this out. When the realisation finally broke upon my consciousness, very recently in fact, it was both liberating and shocking. Liberating because in releasing others from the burden of my subjective expectations, I also released myself. And shocking because I came to understand how much energy I have wasted in my life as a result. Strange (and good) things have begun to happen to me, emotionally, mentally and physiologically.

I create all resistance. If my neighbour decides to mow his lawn at 7:30 am, as he did this very morning, the problem has nothing to do with his mowing the lawn, and everything to do with my expectation that he should be more considerate on a weekend. In that situation I could respond in one of two ways: I could either apply pressure on him to mow his lawn later in the day, or I could decide not to have a problem with him mowing his lawn at 7:30 am. The problem arises of course when I have made a rule. My rule might say that ‘people should not make excessive noise on the weekend before 9 am’, and all might be well in my life provided nobody breaks my rule. In a world which contains inhabitants with a different rule: one which says people ‘should not make excessive noise on the weekend before 7:30 am’ there is the potential for conflict.

Clearly this is a rule designed to make sense of the physical world and yet its existence contains a seed of disharmony. Were I to enforce my rule then I am quite sure that relations with my neighbour would deteriorate rapidly, because, what with all experience being subjective, we would both be right: and no compromise would be reasonable for either party. If a compromise were reached it would undoubtedly feature at least a modicum of resentment.

And while that’s only a potential, it is nonetheless a potential actualising from grass-mowing.

Hermeneutics is derived from Hermes, thus Mercury and comes from the Greek hermeneuō, meaning to interpret or translate, and in keeping with Mercury, it is within the derivation of meaning from what is said, that the potential for difficulty arises. Mercury was after all a trickster as much as a communicator. What is meant has almost no bearing upon what is understood.

This is really intriguing because if we accept that all understanding is subjective then we can posit the amazing understanding that no two people can understand the same reality. Scientists will argue, but increasingly the field of quantum study suggests that the Heisenberg principle is distinctly more far-reaching than even Werner Heisenberg himself suspected. Observation alters reality at the quantum level, therefore subjectivity affects reality in the most profound manner imaginable, since observation is intrinsically subjective. Objectivity is bunkum.

Therefore, hermeneutic results are only good for the one engaged in the study. So, I study my life in a spiritual context to elicit meaning and I can share that experience. Indeed, it is what I do every day in conversation, correspondence and in my work, and that is all to the good. Problems can only arise therefore when I create rules. Rules which are absolutely accurate and valid for me cannot, for quantum reasons, be accurate and valid for anybody else, and this applies to grass-mowing as much as to spiritual context. Objectivity is rule-making and therefore senseless.

Okay, so you can argue. You might say that surely it’s objectively correct that you should never physically assault another person. Here there is a confusion of content with context, which is the classic flaw of objectivity. The content (assaulting others) is only inappropriate in context: (e.g. while shopping for groceries). In another context assaulting somebody may be entirely appropriate (if they are threatening to kill your children for example). The realisation therefore is that objectivity cannot exist and this is true for everything of course.

Every problem in the world would resolve itself overnight if everybody realised this truth.

Hermeneutics, which found its natural home among countless Catholic scholars from the Middle Ages on, and to this day informs fundamentalists and moderates alike of various faiths, is enormously limiting to social harmony. If all interpretation is subjective, then interpreting objective truth is a failure of perspective, even if subjectively the interpreter cannot be wrong. Religion is the transformation of subjective spiritual truth into objective rules. While there may be a consensus among scholars, the law of attraction ensures that those of a like-mind collaborate, minimising the need for compromise. If my neighbour believed that mowing the lawn should never happen before 9 am, our conflict potential would be greatly minimised.

So where’s the problem? The same insight applies in reverse. There ought to be no problem with religion, since if that’s what a person chooses to believe then that’s only their reality, right? The problem with religion is that it seeks to quarantine personal hermeneutics and exalt one person’s interpretation over another’s. The priest who proclaims God’s message is denying another human being’s freedom to subjectively interpret their reality. When we deny others the right to choose their leaders, we call it totalitarianism. Defining spiritual truth in commandments, rules or judgements – and denouncing others for not following them – is spiritual abuse. Living by them privately is your choice and how wonderful that you have interpreted spiritual truth within the context of that consensus. If that is your choice, I respect your choice, because what you believe is absolutely, marvellously, beautifully perfect.

Future Imperfect

I think one of the great uncharted territories of astrology lies in the arena of prediction. It’s probably foolhardy, as an astrologer to even try, but we all fall for it from time to time, on any map of useful astrological employments, prediction ought to be accompanied by appropriate warning: “here be dragons” or somesuch. As it happens I have discovered a very powerful means of predicting the future, but even though it is astounding, it is also, without question a little like looking at the future as though it were a narrowly possible present. It resembles a distorted image, as though the lens of viewing were dark, uncertain and dim. Very often, the image we arrive at is rather like a jigsaw puzzle before assembly; once the future falls into the present we understand what we are looking at and how all those pieces fit together, and it makes complete sense; every piece is utilised and adds to the overall picture. Where then is the use? Well, I believe that even knowing the pieces is enough to give us clues about the general tone or theme of the big picture. When I look at those jigsaw pieces and discern a bright spray of hydrangeas, patches of thatch and blue sky, and dark glints of leaded glass, I can guess that the overall picture is of an ancient English country cottage, and the same is true enough for astrology. I can predict that somebody I know will become very sick this year, that somebody I love will die next year, and that too, for many people I know, the more things change, the more they will stay the same, and I can know all of this regardless of how the reality transpires once the future is realised.

It might seem strange, but this is not illogical. The art of prediction can never be an exact science, and while to a very great extent the exactitude of the future sketch – it cannot be more than impressionistic – is dependent upon the skill of the practitioner, even the most skilled cannot ever create a precise image of days to come.

One of the reasons for this is precisely because we do not have fate. Very few aspects of human life are set in stone. It appears to be true that our lifespan is fixed, the day we are born we are fixed into a specific timescale, which can be likened to a movie before we have watched it. We can read the back cover and discern the movie’s genre and broad themes, we can take note of its running time, and perhaps we can understand some of the characters that will be involved in driving the plot, but we cannot know the plot, nor can we understand how the movie will end.

We can make some generalisations. Generally, the purpose of a human life is to raise consciousness, but unless you are committed to that goal you will not manage anything but the most meagre of gains. The great trick of the world is to make that objective antithetic to reason. The obvious statements of human society are at odds with spiritual perspectives. But that is as it should be, because spiritual progress is synonymous with struggle. Spiritual collapse is too, but that’s a story for another day, the quality of character is everything in this world. For me these are undeniable truths that make me foolish and misguided in the eyes of the many, but which leave me no alternative but to pursue this difficult path to self-realisation. Anything else is just – at best – treading water, and how better can one define time-wasting, energy-wasting? What is astrology? Is it a map of your potential or is it the blueprint of your prison? Until we understand our true nature, we are all in solitary confinement. A little like the Buddhist who understands that to reach Nirvana we have to let go of pleasure as well as pain, we can see that we have to transcend our trines as well as our oppositions and squares, and that, of course, is very much harder to do.

I love the phrase “at odds with yourself.” I find that it describes so well the great conundrum of human life, and the gift of astrology. Society creates enormous pressure to subscribe to linear reality because:

  1. It’s all there is.
  2. Anything else is therefore madness and,
  3. This is proven by the fact that there is no evidence that anything else works, therefore it’s all there is.

It’s a neat and circular system that leaves us devoid of options. You have to believe against all common-sense that a non-linear perspective is viable and make a leap of faith. Incidentally, nobody who ever made a genuine leap of faith regretted it, not once. So there is subjective evidence that it works, but that evidence is by design, immaterial. That’s the trap of course, moving beyond the material creates a dearth of (material) evidence.

So, while your future is within your astrology, with stunning precision, every detail mapped, we cannot without hindsight put it together in perfection. The evidence for the future is immaterial. It’s easy to understand why.

Most astrologers know that Pluto is often indicative of grandmothers. Nobody really understands why unless we put together the rulers of the 4th and 5th houses. Here then we have a concepts of generations, where we put together mothers and their children. If the 4th is your mother (in the lunar correspondence) then the 5th of the 4th is your mother as somebody’s child. The 4th of the 5th is the 8th, ruled by Pluto.

If you have Mars on the descendant, squaring Saturn in the 10th then you might deduce that since the 10th is the 4th of the 7th, the placement will likely manifest through the partner’s family. Alone, the 10th is the house that concerns itself with status, the 7th house alone is the partner, so with these two planets here there will be destructive and oppressive (Ma vs Sa) in-laws who are strongly status-driven; the native will find themselves drawn toward romantic relationships with people who have ‘difficult’ families. By the same token, the 7th is the 2nd of the 6th, which suggests that one would have to work quite hard for money. Now, you might think it’s the same for everyone, after all, who doesn’t have to work hard for money, but it’s not: a well aspected and strong Jupiter in the 7th is often indicative of somebody who comes into money easily, especially through marriage (see how it all adds up?) Both realities are honoured. The 10th is the 2nd of the 9th too, so here are philosophical, religious and civic values, and money earned from them. The 10th is also the 12th of the 11th, so it represents sorrow from friends, friends that are in truth enemies (the 12th is the house of secret enemies, the 7th of open enemies), or perhaps your alcoholic or addicted friends too, as well as those friends you make ‘down the pub.’ By the same token, the 10th is the 11th of the 12th too, so it represents your spiritual aspirations, charitable groups you might belong to and medical technology. As you can see, the range of possibility is vast, and while astrology tends toward clarity, as you become more and more self-aware, you begin to close off the channels of compulsive manifestation and the Universe has to get quite creative to find new combinations of derivative houses through which to manifest unowned energy blocks into your external reality. If you work with houses in this way, you can account for everything in creation. What is your car? Is it a pure 3rd house energy: something which gets you around within your local environment, or is it a 12th house manifestation: 10th of the 3rd, a status symbol encapsulated in a vehicle: no wonder that falls in the 12th house! You’re never going to be satisfied by that are you? Not for long anyway, no surprise that’s a Neptunian energy signature, and Pisces and Neptune often seem to give a great craving for ‘dream cars’.

This myriad array of potentials of course is what makes astrology ‘theoretically’ impossible, or at best, unwieldy. Fortunately we can see how astrology gets applied using various techniques – many of which have nothing much to do with astrology – and create a retrospective form of real-world astrology that is tailored to the individual. Anyone who claims they can look at your astrology without knowing the first thing about your life and tell you they know what makes you tick is lying. They can tell you only what is more likely to make you tick. Astrology can make educated guesses and very often they’ll pay off, but not always.

I’ve discovered something new however: a process of determining what makes a human being tick. It’s remarkable, eloquent and powerfully effective, very soon I will be making that information available, once I have structured it in such a way that it can be transmitted accurately. We astrologers are always trying to balance these two opposing energies: the need for precision and operating with a usable narrowness of focus with the complexity and infinite possibility of astrology’s descriptive language. It’s extremely skilled work, and even with the evidence of a life at one’s disposal it’s difficult, so the future adds another veil over the scene that is being explored, but things change, new discoveries are made, new methods are revealed and we move confidently into a future where astrology becomes that which it is: – undeniable.