Tag Archives: birth chart

“Astrology is a load of rubbish” – please, NOT that tedious old trope again!!!

I know it’s not like me to rant. Those of you good folk who call by my blog regularly, know that. However, I feel like a bit of a rant today. What about? Dismissers, that’s what. Normally I view this response to astrology with weary resignation.

However, a recent airing of that tedious old ‘astrology is a load of old rubbish’ trope  really got under my skin. How I wish people would spend some time in studying subjects which have been a vital part of human experience for thousands of years, rather than displaying their profound ignorance of those very subjects in the public realm.

I know of what I speak, being a reformed dismisser myself. Readers of this blog may recall the tale of  my being stopped in my tracks by a startling prediction – made as a result of an encounter with astrologers in a launderette in Bath, England – that I would in fact become an astrologer too. You can find the full story HERE.

Moving from ignorant dismissal of a tradition going back at least six thousand years, to gradual acceptance of its validity based on study and experience, was one of the most profound and humbling processes of my entire life.

I used to like the word ‘sceptical’: for me, it meant not accepting anything on trust, but being prepared to consider the evidence, not just of accepted facts, but also of experiential evidence which to me and much of the world’s population – including open-minded scientists like Professor Bernard Carr, Professor of Mathematics and Astronomy at London University and a Past President of the Society for Psychical Research – can have its own validity.

In a lecture some years ago, Professor Carr stated that there is a barrier which needs to be overcome: those who consider only experimental evidence conducted under strict laboratory conditions to be valid, clash with others who find well-researched experiential evidence to be of at least equal worth. I think he is absolutely right.

Unfortunately, the term ‘sceptical’ has now largely narrowed down to mean dismissing any body of knowledge, experience or practice which does not fall within the narrow terms of reference of reductionist ‘scientific’ procedures.

Astrology has never ‘delivered’ terribly convincingly when subjected to the above approaches. Personally, I have not been the least surprised or upset by this. One cannot expect applying the procedures of one model of reality, ie reductionist science, to the practices of another ie astrology, to produce much by way of validation.

My lifelong interest in science has not been diminished by the depressingly dominant reductionism of our era. A long-time preoccupation has been to bring together in my own mind contemporary insights flowing from the weird world of quantum physics with the ancient wisdom traditions and symbol systems centred round the Perennial Philosophy, including of course astrology.

‘Cosmos, Chaosmos and Astrology’ by Dr. Bernadette Brady has especially aided me recently; it’s a book I have now read several times. Her highly stimulating rethink of the nature of astrology, taking us on an erudite journey from ancient myth to modern chaos and complexity theory, provides a convincing set of reasons why astrology, despite the increasingly dominant reductionism of  21st century culture, remains a lens of great value to look through in making sense of life, even although ‘…the real result of …eighty years of research into the possibility of astrology being a science is the evidence that it is not’. (p69)

It belongs, Brady believes, to ‘another world view’. She offers us astrologer and author Garry Phillipson’s opinion that astrology may work best when approached and practised as …a sacred art.’ (p69). From my own experience, I would agree with this.

I heartily recommend Dr Brady’s book to those of you, like me, who have great respect for science when practiced in an open-minded way, but recognise that life offers more than one lens through which we may view the multi-faceted Reality of which we are privileged to be a part. As the atomic physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer so wisely put it:

“These two ways of thinking, the ways of time and history and the way of eternity and timelessness, are both part of …our… efforts to comprehend the world in which…we live…Neither is comprehended in the other or reducible to it. They are, as we have learned to say in physics,  complementary views, each supplementing the other, neither telling the whole story.”

In the end, we astrologers have each to find our own way of living with the dismissers. Maintaining both breadth and depth of study whilst striving for a high standard of professionalism in our teaching and practice, is the most effective rebuttal of this kind of ignorance.

Having occupied more than one profession during my working lifetime, I have always found that integrity of action speaks much louder than any words can, although of course the latter have their place. Let the dismissers get on with being ill-informed and narrow minded. Let us simply get on with our work…

Endnotes:

This post is an edited version of a piece which first appeared in my bi-monthly column for Dell Horoscope Magazine  ‘The astro-view from Scotland’  in the March 2017 Issue.

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900 words copyright Anne Whitaker/Dell Horoscope Magazine 2018

Licensed under Creative Commons – for conditions see Home Page of Writing from the Twelfth House

Bev’s Question: Can I get an accurate chart without knowing my time of birth?

I have a question for you Anne…is it possible to get an accurate chart without knowing the time of birth? There is some mystery around my birth…I was told that I was born in the Grave Hospital in Ottawa, but when I paid the fee to the hospital to have my records checked for the time of birth, I was told I wasn’t born in that hospital.

Hi Bev

Well, the most accurate horoscope or birth chart you can have is when you can provide an exact birth time, along with the date and place of birth. This enables the astrologer to find the precise degrees of  the Ascendant or Rising sign, the Midheaven point and the twelve houses or life sectors e.g. home, career, relationships etc. From this one can derive very clear descriptions of the key characters (as it were) on the person’s life stage, and their interactions both in terms of harmony and conflict. One can also apply accurate timings to life events. 

Without a birth time at all, there are two measures I – and probably other astrologers – use. One is to cast a Sunrise chart for the time of sunrise on the day of birth, which places the Sun on the Ascendant point. The rest of the planetary positions, houses and the Midheaven point can then be seen in relation to that time.

Alfred Hitchcock

Alfred Hitchcock

Alternately, one can cast a chart for noon on the day of birth, which places the sun at the Midheaven or noon point which dictates where the rest of the planets are placed on this particular horoscope.

I have been fortunate enough to be based in Scotland where birth times are written on Birth Certificates – a great advantage for any astrologer practising in this country. So I have mostly had accurate times to work with, and have not been at all keen on doing readings without a reliable birth time. However, I have done a few charts over the years for people with no known birth time, casting either Sunrise or Noon charts for them. 

I have used Sunrise charts when clients are more concerned with personal and relationship issues: this is because the Ascendant/Descendant axis relates to I / Thou matters. If clients are more focused on career/direction, then I have used noon charts. This is because the Noon or Midheaven point, the highest point of the Sun in the sky, concerns a person’s direction and vocation.

This fairly simple rule of thumb I have found to work quite well, and to be quite accurate as far as it goes. And there is the point that the positions of the personal planets (with the exception of the Moon which moves 14 degrees per day) from the Sun to Mars move very little from one day to the next. One can thus gain valuable insights just by looking at the relationships between the planets on the day of birth.

So, I hope this information is useful to you. I don’t do horoscope readings except in person, but can recommend a colleague who would give you a good reading using one of the options I’ve described. Just email me if you want to pursue this! 

Zodiac

Zodiac

500 words copyright Anne Whitaker 2014

Licensed under Creative Commons – for conditions see Home Page of Writing from the Twelfth House