Astrology and science

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By MARK SHULGASSER

I oppose the call to find a scientific validation for astrology. The Zodiac has hovered at a distance over earthly affairs since prehistoric times, and continues to do so without the authorization of the labcoats. 

The longevity of the modern scientific project, on the other hand, is itself challenged, for instance, in Scientific American editor John Horgan’s “The End of Science: Facing the Limits of Knowledge.” 

In the shadow of the mushroom cloud, we understand that science is a double-edged sword, and current widespread skepticism regarding climate science, medical science, governmental science and capitalist science derives from the clear realization that science has coercive, political uses. 

Science then addressed the generality of humanity as a continuum with two poles, “the useful” and “the harmful.” The line that intersects at right angles is the particularizing and individual: art, fantasy, imagination, freely explored subjectivity. Astrology among them is an enterprise entirely at right angles to science. 

Science aims for the impossible, the complete eradication of subjectivity. Astrology, on the other hand, cultivates subjectivity. We continually balance subjectivity and objectivity in our daily experience, neither demonizing nor privileging either one. Science attains its enormous powers on the premise that subjective bias is the demon which must be excluded from the magic circle of any valid experiment, with “methodologies” often little more than stage magicians’ slick demonstrations that they have nothing up their sleeves. Scientific procedure expels the uncountable minute predilections and coincidences with which our subjectivity and intersubjectivity have manufactured the systems in which we live. Science rejects history. 

The ‘truth’ of the horoscope is something that unfolds within the quick of the experience and awareness of the particular contemplated Subject. The “truth” of the horoscope is how each individual reacts to their moment in the ancient pattern, with adaptation, good use or blindly. And far from being a predictive instrument, something all wisdom literature about astrology condemns as misuse, the horoscope is almost always better understood, like life itself, in hindsight. 

If an astrological proposition seems to imply a scientifically testable hypothesis, it has been misstated or misunderstood. Nothing could be more dangerous than scientific proof of what is commonly taken for astrology. True astrology can never be confused with Science. It will not create an n-bomb or any kind of weaponry. It does not pollute. It will not fatten Pharma. It does not burn fossil fuel. It will not exploit the third world, strafe or defoliate, atomize or triage, it does not vivisect, or obliterate native cultures. 

 * * * * *

Now the Sun is well into the sign of the Fishes (two of them, endlessly circling) which means that Spring is… choose your metaphor. Pisces is the twelfth and last sign—the Zodiac ends with a gurgle, drowns in an hypnotic whirlpool of forgetfulness, enabling us to renew. 

Sigmund Freud, one of the great Influencers of the 20th century, was a Pisces. Although commonly believed to have been born on May 6, a footnote on the first page of his first biography implied that he was actually born on March 6, barely seven months after his parents’ marriage. That would clinch the doubts already cast on his paternity for reasons too various to enumerate here. The footnote disappeared from later editions, along with a flurry of research alleging to disprove the implication. But the skies on March 6, 1856, held the Sun and Moon in close conjunction in Pisces, along with both of the “rulers” of that sign, Jupiter and Neptune, all glittering in four consecutive degrees—an astonishing, once-in-a-millennium combination. The stars on May 6, on the other hand, were lackluster.

Therefore I can’t help but conclude that Pisces, which has always been associated with dreams, fantasy, “nerves,” ambivalence, unconsciousness and libido, is the correct sign for Freud. In the March 6 chart, these traits are strongly disciplined by a dominating Saturn, the planet of Science. The last sign is the place of assimilation of all the errors and contradictions inevitably created in astrology’s ambitious attempt to make sense of the world in 12 little boxes. At the same time P,isces is the location of redemption, transcendence, forgiveness and renewal. Pisces is the Hope left in Pandora’s Box. 

Saturn, the planet of responsibility and age, enters Pisces this week for a stay of two and a half years. Younger Pisceans may be brought down to earth, while older fish with good karma may receive welcome repayment. (Born Feb. 25/6? Watch your step in early summer.)

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