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Copyright: (c) 1996 LMP McPherson, 2001 Sherilyn
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All opinions on astrology are those of the original author, and are NOT those of the maintainer. *** General questions *** 5.1) I have seen people born within days/hours of one another whose lives are really different. How come? Answer: Even a few minutes difference in the time of birth or having a different birth place can change the chart substantially. Obviously people who have just the same birthday will have different charts. Since Earth is the only planet that makes a trip around the Sun exactly once a year, all the other planets will be at completely different positions in a different year. But even if people are born on the very same day, their charts can differ quite radically. The Moon moves about 13 degrees in a day, and the astrological houses, which are an extremely important element of the chart, move through the entire zodiac in a 24-hour period! And their positions are affected by latitude as well. In addition, even if two people's charts are identical (which is rare), other factors may influence the way the chart is expressed. Some people operate on a material level, some on a mental level, and a few operate on a spiritual level. The same chart can be expressed on any of these levels. An astrological chart does not show the "fate" or "destiny" as such. The person always has a choice, and the free exercise of the will determines how the influences indicated in a chart manifest themselves. 5.2) What is the meaning of the term "the Age of Aquarius"? Answer: Due to the precession of the equinoxes as explained in question # 11.9, the vernal equinox enters a new sign in the sidereal zodiac about every 2160 years. (The sidereal zodiac is one with the same divisions as the tropical zodiac -- see # 11.9 -- but its position relative to the "fixed" stars remains fixed, so that it precesses with respect to the equinoxes.) According to one set of calculations, at the vernal equinox in 1992, the Sun will be at 5^ Pisces 22' in the sidereal zodiac. Because of this, the current age is called the "Piscean" age. The vernal equinox will not actually occur in the sign of Aquarius in the sidereal zodiac until the year 2377. Some astrologers, however, believe that the equinox is close enough to the cusp of Pisces that we will begin to see some of the effects of the Age of Aquarius, hence the phrase "The Dawning of the Age of Aquarius." Some people feel that the ages should be determined with reference to the constellations, not with reference to the sidereal signs. Opinions differ regarding the exact boundaries of the sidereal signs and the constellations, and thus about the length and timing of an astrological age.  Bert Fannin adds: [Next vernal equinox in the sign of Aquarius in the sidereal zodiac will be] 4 July 2376 at about 8 pm GMT according to James Hynes of Dublin. Richard Nolle qualifies this: *If* one were to precess the location of the vernal equinox relative to the SVP-defined constellations on a day by day basis through the years, the moment at which the vernal equinoctial point first crosses from Pisces to Aquarius would indeed occur on 4 July 2376. But the actual vernal equinox doesn't occur every day, it occurs only once a year. The first vernal equinox in Aquarius will be on 20 March 2377. The notion of a Great Year (i.e., precession through the whole zodiac of constellations) or of an aeon or astrological (or precessional) age based on the precession of the equinoxes depends on a belief in the simultaneous validity of the tropical zodiac (which is based on the equinoxes and solstices) and a constellational or sidereal zodiac (which is based on the fixed stars). If one claims that the tropical zodiac alone is meaningful, then the movement of the constellations with respect to its starting point should have no meaning. (I owe this insight to Pete Stapleton.) Likewise, if one claims that the sidereal zodiac, or the constellations, are meaningful and the tropical zodiac is not, then the equinoxes should have no meaning, and so the precession of the stars with respect to them should be meaningless. The ancient Greeks appear to have used both a tropical zodiac and the constellations (not a sidereal zodiac, per se), using each for different purposes. A belief in the validity of both types of system is necessary for the notion of an astrological age to be meaningful. 5.3) How is it possible for astrology to work? Answer: There are at least two schools of thought. One common explanation is a principle similar, in some ways, to synchronicity, an acausal connecting principle proposed by Carl Jung. The general idea is that events on earth of a certain nature coincide in time with astronomical events of a similar nature (according to the symbolic significance of the planets and their relations in the heavens). Although synchronicity operates throughout the universe, the planets might have special significance because they are part of collective experience (that is, we can all see them or know about them) and so they can take on a collective meaning -- they can speak to the "collective unconscious." But Jung's synchronicity principle and the related one that is applied to the astrological question are still hypothetical and still not well understood. (Another related idea is Kammerer's seriality.) Jung's idea is similar to the ancient hermetic idea of resonant bonds of sympathy between "similars" (which share a common essential design) in the microcosm and macrocosm. This was the ancient explanation for the correspondence between cosmic and mundane events. A less popular explanation is that there are unknown and currently undetected forces or energies emanating from the planets that affect life on earth, perhaps something akin to Rupert Sheldrake's "morphic fields." (This type of explanation is unpopular among those physicists who believe that all the forces in the universe are already known.) Biological evidence showing a harmony between celestial rhythms and biological rhythms suggests that known or unknown planetary forces operate on organisms at a material level, sometimes through changes in the pattern of solar radiation. Such biological effects might alter psychological processing and thus human action and the events that arise from it. Whatever explanation is offered, it is evidence from experience and research that convinces people that astrology does indeed work. The rich descriptive theory that has evolved over thousands of years provides for a deep understanding of human nature and the capacity for prediction of the type of circumstances that will prevail during specific time periods. As with most areas of inquiry, the correct explanatory theory to account for the structure of the descriptive theory awaits its discoverer. 5.4) Does astrology control my future? Is it "wrong" to use astrology to learn what the future holds for me? I'm scared. Answer: In Western astrology, it is not believed that the cycles associated with the planets control your future; it is believed, rather, that YOU have ultimate control over your future through the exercise of your will. The planets only indicate some of the tendencies inherent in your personality and the conditions that surround various areas of life. One cannot determine in precise detail exactly what will happen in one's life from day to day and moment to moment, but only what kinds of influences will be present. There is a famous saying: "The stars incline, they do not compel." Within the situational and psychological context described in a chart, you are free to act and react according to your will, which is in turn guided by the wisdom you possess and your stage in your spiritual evolution. As for good and evil, there is nothing "wrong" with learning what sort of conditions will exist in your life. It may be to your advantage to foresee these influences so that you can be prepared and control your actions to better work in harmony with the celestial cycles.