May 27th, 2017

Why Astrologers Need to Study Wittgenstein

Paul Horwich, in a long NY Times essay wrote:

“The singular achievement of the controversial early 20th century philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein was to have discerned the true nature of Western philosophy — what is special about its problems, where they come from, how they should and should not be addressed, and what can and cannot be accomplished by grappling with them. The uniquely insightful answers provided to these meta-questions are what give his treatments of specific issues within the subject — concerning language, experience, knowledge, mathematics, art and religion among them — a power of illumination that cannot be found in the work of others.”

Wittgenstein isn’t an easy immersion, but he’s worth your effort because the more you study his philosophy — which was actually, in spots, more akin to mysticism — the more freedom you might gain as an astrologer.

Like the closet mystic Carl Jung, Wittgenstein knew how to couch his propositions to pass the scrutiny of his peers (well, except for his mentor Bertrand Russell who he drove to fury by disregarding traditional formulations of logic.)

And because of this sketchy dance, between chilly logic and the nimbus of mysticism, I find Wittgenstein to be the most satisfying of linguistic rebels. His mix of the effable with the ineffable mirrors in a direct way how human beings toil with making sense (or a muddle) of astrology. Read more



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Filed Under: Astrology
March 15th, 2017

Outer Planet Transits & Nostalgia for Samsara

“The earth is littered with the ruins of empires that believed they were eternal.” —Camille Paglia

Dead men walking. Women marching. Alternative facts. Reality show presidents. Anti-Christ-Palooza. Terrorists and Tiaras. Bitcoin. Gold coins. NSA. GMOs. WTF.

Signs, symbols, and Zeitgeist stingers. Time traveling omens from Armageddon are the stock and trade of our modern day narrative. The stories and anxieties we lay down and fret about until the Ambien kicks in.

Doom tales monopolize our inner landscape because speeding up to the end means a new beginning is just around the corner. Or over the cliff. That’s one theory. The catch, of course, is the way we resist other narratives. It’s wise now to think beyond the parameters of being a garden-variety human being.

This is the nut of the ‘message’ from the ongoing transits of Neptune and Pluto through the closing section of the zodiac, while Uranus in short fuse Aries keeps broadcasting, “Come on! Speed it up. (Or blow it up). Hurry! Go faster (and furiously.)”

When food, money, energy and optimism are scarce we become attached to whatever sort of hoard (be it our meager amount in savings or the way Plutocrats hog all the wealth and investments in their seemingly exempt world) we’ve come to associate with as a means to see us through to the new phase. Or at the meanest level, it’s outsiders who are closing in on our turf — and must be turned away.

So we’re looping right now. Sort of like the routine animals demonstrate before being eaten by a predator. You’ve probably seen videos like this on those nature shows you watch on Youtube. The prey runs around and around in a hysterical circle before the killing bite is administered by the predator. Right?

This entire article is included in the new book Skywriter: Notes on Modern Astrology. Order below!

For the past ten years, Frederick Woodruff’s AstroInquiry has become the ‘go-to’ spot for readers in search of illuminating commentary on astrology, popular culture, spirituality and the pitfalls of New Age charlatanism.

Woodruff’s 40-year career as a professional astrologer, artist, and pop-culture critic have honed a perspicacious writer who doesn‘t pull punches as he explores radical new views on astrology, the shortcomings of New Age magical thinking and the precarious minefield that dots our tech-obsessed cultural landscape.

Thankfully, he’s funny and also keen on suggesting creative ways forward for everyone.

And now there’s an e-book that collects Woodruff’s most popular and provocative articles into one comprehensive and engaging book. You won’t want to miss any of them!

This volume includes:

• The Truth About Mercury Retrograde
• Planetary Ennui: The Nostalgia for Samsara and the Outer Planets
• How To Make Facebook Your Slave and Preserve Your Creative Drive
• The Power, Beauty, and Wonder of the Horoscope’s 12th House
• Imbeciles at the Gate: How The Internet Destroys Astrology
• How To Escape From the Torture of Self-Help Hell
• Depression and the Solar Consciousness
• Secrets of the Heart: Love is an Action Not A Feeling
• Create Your Own Archetype & Call It You: An Escape from Evolutionary Astrology
• Redefining the Oxymoron of Sex and Marriage
• Death is the New Black
• How To Write About Astrology (Especially How Not To)
• Astrology, Ants, Hives, Essence, and Types: A Gurdjieffian View
• Final Notes About the Life-and-Culture-Changing Uranus-Pluto Square

Order your copy now!

 

 

 



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November 13th, 2016

American Dada: Some Suggestions to Consider

trump_tower

Who could possibly want to read another take-apart or close reading of the 2016 presidential election? Not me. And yet…

Rather than opinionate I’ve tried to cull some out-of-the-loop views to consider, punctuated with some random insights. So I’ll just toss these out there like bird seed. Peck at what you like and leave the rest. And if you skip the whole thing, well, who could blame you?

The nature of reality is that it will not be cornered or tracked or predicted; in the same way that a dream you have at night — free from your ego’s edits and preferences — is a wild card narrative unfurling beneath your closed eyes. Reality and dream — only our waking state appears to separate them.

The Internet has taken the entire contents of the collective unconsciousness and the savage qualities of the id, and placed the amalgam at our beck and call, on phones and monitors across the globe. This is a form of dream overload.

Anytime you have a screen of any sort (be it your iPhone’s or your desktop computer’s) you’ll have a projected dream moving across it, right there in front of your face. And we have been trained for this response; first by cinema and then by television — though now we are participants, content creators, Tweeters, bloviators, in the dream narrative that shimmies and glows everywhere on our devices.

We are tethered to them in a symbiotic loop cycle, always tapping and poking the images and the data forward. Everywhere I go now it’s people shuffling about with their heads tilted down and scanning, scanning, scanning their phones for the latest tidbit or section from the collective dream field.

The dream bubble most liberals and Democrats floated within depicted a new world, with the first female president and all that was wonderful with a Clintonian dynasty redux. And the dream bubble of the GOP and its advocates was, of course, completely polarized from the other. The dynamism of life is continually oscillating and pulling the rug out from us — it just burns more when we’re the particular group experiencing the yanking. The collective dream field of the two factions never allowed for intersection or integration — the victor of this malfunction was Trump. And so here we are.

• A good way to actually integrate your experience of the past week is to view the entire event as a happening within a dream narrative. Imagine you went to bed and had this particular dream. What does it tell you about yourself? I don’t mean this to be a navel-gazing experiment, but an actual process of gaining insight to shadow parts of the psyche. Why? Because most of that regressed material is usually projected out onto what is perceived as the enemy or the tyrant or the monster or ogre — and, wow, with The Donald, we seem to be getting the entire package of horrors. Or are we?

What if our projections actually feed into the monstrous narrative that we’re terrified of? What if like Dave Chappelle offered in his opening monolouge on SNL, we gave Trump a chance, wished him luck and waited a bit to see if he can do a good job? How hubristic is it to assume we know exactly what’s to come (and many of us are acting that way)? It’s sort of embarassing, especially after what you’d think would be the humbling aftereffects of the election.

What if you settled into the notion that Trump is a human being like you are, with a heart, and longings, and wishes — a complex psychological history that feeds into his fear of being a failure and doing a bad job? Can’t we all relate to these qualities? What would happen I wonder if we each held this upcoming period in abeyance, supported by good wishes? I’ve been playing with this notion when I wake up in the morning and feel as tho someone has stomped on my head. It’s an interesting experiment in thought projection. Play around with it.

• “Life happens too fast for you ever to think about it. If you could just persuade people of this, but they insist on amassing information.” — Kurt Vonnegut

Here’s a ‘real’ world issue: The endless glut of news and opinion that’s vomited out of computer monitors worldwide has eroded our ability to think for ourselves.

To attempt to manage and metabolize the spew of data, updates, breaking stories, scandals, Wiki dumps, investigative exposes isn’t humanly possible. In fact, it’s fucking crazy-making.

Worse is the inability to know what is factual and what is fiction. This later predicament has grown exponentially throughout the year. And social media is the main culprit.

Forty-four percent of Americans get their news from Facebook, according to the Pew Research Center, filling a void left by the declining ranks of newspapers. By comparison, only 2 in 10 U.S. adults get news from print newspapers today. Facebook vets nothing and Mark Zuckerberg is groaningly disingenuous when he said: “Voters make decisions based on their lived experience.” Right, Mark. And many people are actually living their online life locked completely within Facebook’s echo chamber and gated community.

• Something I’ve suggested to a lot of friends and folks writing to me since Election Day: Round up a copy of the Masterpiece Theater miniseries I Claudius. (Or search for the production on Youtube, I think the entire series is posted up there.)

Situations like the ascendancy of Donald Trump have occurred since the dawn of time, in various permutations — though the 1976 mini-series based on Robert Graves‘s book, gives you a decidedly Western version of the wild ruptures within politics: The backroom games, shadow government, the Mafia-like forces that corrupt and poison, the descent of greatness and ascent of madness.

Much of this has to do with what Nietzsche wrote: “Insanity in individuals is something rare — but in groups, parties, nations and epochs, it is the rule.” The point being, grasping the concept that when it comes to mobs of people very little ever changes. Individuals have opportunities to evolve, but socio-cultural evolution is glacial at best. I Claudius demonstrates that ‘interesting times’ are always happening. Yes, some phases are more devastating than others, but always this predicament haunts human beings attempting to govern themselves. We are incredibly slow learners. We need to face that. Read more



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Filed Under: Astrology and Facebook
November 12th, 2016

How to Stop Self-Helping Yourself Into Oblivion

banksy-dreams

Yesterday public television in Seattle celebrated their decade-long relationship with the just-deceased self-help writer Wayne Dyer, and to honor the author the station was replaying one of his final talks.

The theme of his presentation alludes me; it was something about Five Steps to Something or Other, the secrets of which were contained in his new book, which was touted tastefully throughout his talk.

I decided to give the show a try, despite the fact that I’ve a strong aversion to listening to other people talk or write about ‘how’ life should be lived or experienced.

Prior to the advent of the Internet, this phenomenon of people giving advice about living was always buzzing in the background of life, but not in the omnipresent way it does now.

The Net has mutated what used to be a semi-contained industry (the self-help, how-to world) into a bacchanalia of yapping gurus and guides — billions of bromides pinging back and forth across blogs, YouTube and social media every hour.

The world, as the Net depicts it, is divided into distinct camps: Those with electronic devices doing nothing. And those doing nothing but writing or talking about doing stuff and then selling that information on an electronic device to people that aren’t doing anything.

This entire article is included in the new book Skywriter: Notes on Modern Astrology. Order below!

For the past ten years, Frederick Woodruff’s AstroInquiry has become the ‘go-to’ spot for readers in search of illuminating commentary on astrology, popular culture, spirituality and the pitfalls of New Age charlatanism.

Woodruff’s 40-year career as a professional astrologer, artist, and pop-culture critic have honed a perspicacious writer who doesn‘t pull punches as he explores radical new views on astrology, the shortcomings of New Age magical thinking and the precarious minefield that dots our tech-obsessed cultural landscape.

Thankfully, he’s funny and also keen on suggesting creative ways forward for everyone.

And now there’s an e-book that collects Woodruff’s most popular and provocative articles into one comprehensive and engaging book. You won’t want to miss any of them!

This volume includes:

• The Truth About Mercury Retrograde
• Planetary Ennui: The Nostalgia for Samsara
• How To Make Facebook Your Slave and Preserve Your Creative Drive
• The Power, Beauty, and Wonder of the Horoscope’s 12th House
• Imbeciles at the Gate: How The Internet Destroys Astrology
• How To Escape From the Torture of Self-Help Hell
• Depression and the Solar Consciousness
• Secrets of the Heart: Love is an Action Not A Feeling
• Create Your Own Archetype & Call It You: An Escape from Evolutionary Astrology
• Redefining the Oxymoron of Sex and Marriage
• Death is the New Black
• How To Write About Astrology (Especially How Not To)
• Astrology, Ants, Hives, Essence, and Types: A Gurdjieffian View
• Final Notes About the Life-and-Culture-Changing Uranus-Pluto Square

Order your copy now!

 

Opening artwork: Banksy. Follow Your Dreams.

 



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Filed Under: Astrology and Kulture
November 06th, 2016

Every Society has the Science it Deserves

william_blake_newton

Going over my notes today for the chapter I’m finishing up on debunking the notion that the Zodiac is something that floats around out in space and somehow corresponds to the equatorial division of the earth’s surface into twelve pie pieces, I came across notes I’m incorporating from the late, great David Roell — who I borrowed heavily from for this chapter (namely his proposition regarding an earth-based Zodiac).

After detailing in pointed detail his thesis, David anticipates the blowback and his Aquarian brain darts over and assumes a defensive posture against science itself. It was exchanges like this with him that always confirmed my sense that he was a curmudgeonly genius:

“None of this will satisfy science, which will remain hostile to astrology by reason of its very existence. Science, which admits of no external limits (“we alone know what is true and what is false”) is in fact highly sensitive to overall social mores. In racist societies, science finds justification for racism, up to and including sterilization and euthanasia. In materialistic societies, science finds justification for materialism. In warlike societies, science builds bombs. In unequal societies, science justifies inequality.

Every society has the science it deserves. In every society, science, believing itself to be absolute, attacks whatever would limit its power and authority, without regard for any other factor. Hence its disdain for religion and astrology. Science is nuclear weapons, created, like the ghastly Holocaust, simply because it could be done, without regard for moral consequences.

Without external, guiding principles, science is Eve’s apple (from the Tree of Knowledge), sent to seduce Adam. Astrology can be a guiding principle. So can religious belief. Since both submit to higher authority, for better or worse. “Higher Authority” is not “God,” so much as the totality of creation that is vastly more complex than we can ever know. Hence the brilliance of astrology’s original concept, that of elements and energies, which can be applied universally.

Astrology is the study of the Earth. How the Earth relates to the Sun, Moon and planets, and what that means to the creatures that crawl on its surface. Astrology is the one fundamental science, surpassing all others.”
 

Opening illustration: Newton, by William Blake. 1795–c. 1805, Tate Collection

 

 



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