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[alt.astrology] FAQ Part 5/11: General questions

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Archive-name: astrology/astrology/part5
Posting-Frequency: fortnightly to alt.astrology
Last-modified: 2003/10/26
Version: 3.1
Copyright: (c) 1996 LMP McPherson, 2001 Sherilyn
Maintainer: Sherilyn <>

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                    *** 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

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[1]. 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.

[1] 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

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.

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