Thursday, March 09, 2006

Astrology: Fun, Evil or Science?

"Acrobat" sculpture by Lar Braun

I’ve been digging up information about my grandfather, Sidney K. Bennett, aka “Wynn” – a prominent American astrologer in the first half of the 20th century.

I remember my parents being rather embarrassed by my mother’s father’s occupation. It was frowned upon in church, it was considered telling the future, which the Bible has rules against.

For years I’ve read my horoscope for fun, usually at I like this British guy, Jonathan Cainer, because of his sense of humor.

Click here for a transcription of talks Osho gave about astrology that are quite long, if you’re interested. He gives some history. Do you have an open mind?

What do you think of astrology? Do you:

1. Think it’s fun to read your horoscope, but you don’t change your daily habits based on it;
2. Never read horoscopes because you think they’re silly;
3. Never read horoscopes because you think they’re ungodly;
4. Never read horoscopes because you don’t know why;
5. Read your horoscope pretty regularly and find truths that must be more than mere coincidence; or
6. Study astrology and charts and really get into it.

I choose #5.


amy said...

I choose #5 as well. It's not so much that I notice "happenings" that must be more than coincidence as much as it has provided more insight into my own self-awareness. When I read something about me being a Libra, it makes me question, "Hmm, do I see that in me?" Those types of questions then cause me to dig deeper, way beyond the original astrological implications, to learn more about myself. That being said, I do find that I notice plenty of "not-so-coincidental" happenings related to the cosmic climate, and in some cases it provides a sense of understanding or clarity around what's happening and how it affects my life.

Ginnie said...

As you know, Ruth, I've been a #6 for 16 years now and love it! I have often said that one's natal chart is a composite of all the personality profiles ever written. It's true. But like good Bible interpretation, you need to make sure you don't have a wacko doing it :)

I think it's so neat that you're uncovering new details about G'pa Bennett. What a rich, interesting history (ancestry) we have!

Ginnie said...

Btw, it wasn't until my second good look at your sculpture photos that I realized exactly what it ("she") was! DUH. Is that at work or at home?

Ruth said...

Amy: I should have included #7: Read horoscope and charts for personality traits. That is what I'm most interested in, and you're right, it goes beyond just the coincidences.

Ginnie: I hope you'll read Osho's two articles (retiree that you are :) because they are VERY interesting.

Ruth said...

The "acrobat" is at work. Lar is Inge's husband! He makes these amazing sculptures, usually as mobiles, and he does not measure anything! His intuition tells him when it will be balanced, and of course, they are always perfectly balanced.

Our mathematics professor friend, Ed, would not believe Lar when he told him he doesn't weigh and measure for balance. I love it!

Nathan said...

#2. call me a cynic. i need to apologize to all who take it seriously, because i'm about to state my opposite opinion.

i have read my horoscope about 5 times total in my whole life, including today when i clicked the link in this post. i read it, found it vague and unapplicable (or over-applicable actually). then i clicked another sign, at random, and found much more applicability in that one. for some reason.

perhaps i'm being indelicate, but i just don't see any substantive connection between these words and my real life experiences.

additionally... we humans have such a vast array of experiences on any given day in all our settings and worlds of thought. if someone were to write a paragraph which lined up with one or two of those many streams i have, i wouldn't say, Yes, yes, how did he know i was thinking that!!? i would instead say, Yes, i have that thought going on, but it's just one part of thousands...

i'm willing to hear your testimonies, though. please, prove me wrong with your anecdotal evidence otherwise! i'm all ears.

Ruth said...

Thank you, Nathan, for your openness.

For me, the interesting side of astrology is not the daily horoscopes. I agree that they can be here or there, on or not, and they can seem general.

What I have found amazing are the charts I've seen. Boots did one for Peter, and all of his planets are in one quadrant, very unusual. Something about the configuration indicates a predominance of music! In fact there were so many congruities in his chart that I just had to say, wow.

Like Osho says, "Astrology is an investigation into the possibility that whatever is happening anywhere in the universe also affects man."

I just think that is not only possible, but likely.

Amy said...

Nathan, I don't find much of interest in the daily horoscopes either. But if you go to that same site that Ruth posted and check out the "love computer" (for example), I'd be curious to know if what it says about you and Nancy and the way you interact, your needs, etc. is anywhere close to the mark. That's the part I find interesting. I've dated a guy off and on for awhile now, for example, and knowing what I do about what his sign says about him (intimacy, relationships, etc.) has helped me TREMENDOUSLY -- and it's eerily accurate. Most importantly, it has helped me look at things from a different view point and break free from a perspective that has hindered me in the past in my relationships. Hey, you asked! ;-)

Nathan said...

ruth and amy, i'll have to look into those things.

in my experience, two tools have been tremendous in understanding relational personality understanding, The Five Love Languages, and the Enneagram. in fact, this is a cute story, an elderly couple at church came to me with serious marital problems. after all those years, they were stuck. i talked to them for an hour, gave them the 5LLs, and said i'd see them next week, same time. well, on Sunday, they informed me they read the whole thing and had been talking about it nonstop ever since. they so happy. i just being behind the pulpit, seeing them sitting there in the third row, beaming, the husband giving me a thumbs-up. cute! and true.

anyway, that was a digression.

amy, if you stick with this dude (or even if you don't) definitely pick up this book.

i'm gonna go check out that Love Computer.

Ginnie said...

This is for Nate and may be long!

The best comparison I can make of good astrology study is good inductive Bible study! It's a GOOD comparison. The diference is that astrology has been around a lot longer, with cultures all around the world studying it for centuries.

Astrology is so exact, scientific and mathematical that an ephemeris can plot out to the second where a planet with be in the heavens thousands of years before or after now. But what does it mean! That's the question. Just like with Bible study, if you have a quack interpreting it, you can really get messed up!

The horoscopes deal ONLY with Sun Signs. It's like going to the portrait studio at Wal-Mart and picking a backdrop for your photos. There are 12 Sun Signs, so pretend there is a backdrop for each sign. When you go in, the first question the photographer asks is "What's your Sign?" And before you sit down to have your picture taken, the backdrop is pulled down for your sign. That's all a horoscope does. It's not really about YOU as much as it is about all of those in the world who are that sign. There are some key characteristics that "usually" fit each sign (like Geminis--I'll pick on me--tend to be verbal, mental, often doing more than one thing at a time, etc.). That's the backdrop or the Horoscope.

Once YOU sit down in front of the backdrop for YOUR picture, you have YOU--only you, no one else. That photo is your Natal Chart, based on the time, date and place of your birth. The picture of the heavens at that exact moment in time is a "thumbprint" photo of YOU and what YOU are like. It's not a prediction of what you will do in your life at any given moment. It's a conglomerate of "propensities" you have in whatever area of your life.

That natal chart is a wheel divided into 12 "houses" that have to do with 12 areas of your life. The 10 planets of the system (including the Sun but not Earth--YOU are the Earth) fall into those 12 houses depending on your stats. It's from THAT info that true astrologers study. It takes years of study to become good at interpretation, trust me. But that's why I say what you find there is more than all the personality tests I've ever taken combined. (A simple "for instance:" I have 2 of the 10 planets in my 9th house of higher education, philosophy, religion and long-distance travel. DUH! If someone had seen that while I was still young, would they be surprised at what's happened in my life??? Are you kidding?!!)

The key parts in a natal chart are not only the Sun Sign but the rising sign/ascendant (which explains how people view you), the moon (which explains in what areas of your life you are emotional), and where Saturn (the Teacher) is. Saturn takes 2 years to transit each house, so approximately 3 times in an average lifetime, you are in "learning mode" on a particular issue for 2 years. It might be finances or partnerships or the home or career. Most people who have readings done want to know what Saturn is doing in their chart right now because it often explains where the "challenges" are.

Okay, I'll stop with that. I've been studying this stuff for 16 years and still feel like I'm scratching the surface. Think of a newborn Christian who comes into the faith without any doctrinal training or theology whatsoever. That's how full and "complicated" this is. Not to be pooh-poohed, if you ask me. It's just another example of Western thought having to catch up with the East. We have a long way to go!

Ruth said...

Wow. Ginnie, that was so helpful to me!

lesleyanne said...

i choose #1...even tho i do notice little coincidences, i don't think i read my horoscope often enough to consider #5.

but then i think to myself sometimes, you know, these horoscopes are so ambiguous they could apply to anyone blah blah blah. maybe that's what everyone says.

lesleyanne said...

hey hey, wait..i want aunt Boots to do a chart for me!!!

Ruth said...

Les: I'm pretty sure she did a chart for both you and Peter (and Don?). She couldn't do one for me because I don't know my birth time!

I don't know where our copies of your charts are, but maybe she still has them??

Ginnie said...

Don't know if I still have Lesley's, Ruth, but I can always re-do it if you give me the data again (e-mail). Would love to, in fact.

rachel said...

I read my horoscope every now and then- I sort of like to leave it up to chance encounters- perhaps serendipitously it will say exactly what I need to hear. Because of my conversations with Grandma, I have always been a closet astrologist, reading and looking for some truths, but not willing to really take it seriously for fear of burning in hell or inviting another family demon!

Ah, but I have matured in my understanding of the universe, and I completely agree that it is absolutely fascinating to know how the universe was in order at that precise moment of birth and how those planetary and galactic shifts may have impacted my gravitational pull during certain phases of my life, causing me to choose one road or another.

I am particularly interested in learning about my Teacher sign that you mentioned.

I went to the sight you recommended, Aunt Ruthy, and my horoscope was so intriguing. It said that I would have a rendez-vous with someone or something in my past, and that I would be surprised at how quickly we would click again and that my feelings would change about something else from my past.

Well, I haven't studied science in 10 years, and I have just taken a job as an anatomy, physiology, and pathology instructor at the Arizona School of Massage Therapy. I am banking on this horoscope that it will all come back to me effortlessly as it said. And I am also betting that teaching these subjects to adults, rather than special ed to emotionally disabled high school students will change my view on teaching!

With my love of holistic living- I couldn't have found a more perfect job! Did I mention it's only 2 miles from my house- yes, I will be riding my beach cruiser to work most days!

I find the best horoscopes are the ones that are positive and uplifting, so really, no matter what is going on in life, it encourages walking on the sunny side of the street. I do not like to read a horoscope that says anything negative. We are what we feed our brains!

Ruth said...

That's amazing, Rachel! I'm very excited for your new job. I can totally see you doing that.

dreamwalker said...

I'm a #1. That is so interesting about your grandfather. I will read your other link (Osho) as soon as I'm finished with my assignment.

Ruth said...

DW: I warn you, the two Osho articles are LOOOOONG. It will take me weeks to finish them between other things, I have a feeling. But I've learned so much from him.