Why is it so difficult to learn astrology? Does everyone have this trouble, or is it just me? Have I been out of school so long that I've forgotten how to learn? If you have ever asked yourself these questions then you are in good company, for astrology is much more difficult to master than anyone realizes.
The main problem is the way astrological information is presented. Whether verbal or in textbooks, it is guaranteed to cause confusion and bewilderment. The experience of astrology Probably we all have much the same experience. You meet astrology through a friend, are intrigued, and become hooked. You start studying, perhaps by correspondence, or by attending a course, or simply by reading. At first it seems quite straightforward.
You read voraciously about Sun Signs, and almost at once begin to amaze your friends with your delineations. Later, you learn how to set up a chart. You notice that several types of chart blanks are available, and various ephemerides and tables of houses. But, by and large, everything seems much the same. Later still, you learn some astronomy, which is not easy to grasp, but authors seem clear about what they are saying, and they all pretty much agree with one another. A growing uneasiness Sometime after the euphoric infatuation with Sun Signs comes a lot of stuff about planets, bouses, signs, aspects and other technicalities, the meanings of them all explained in the literature or at meetings of your group.
But sooner or later you sense a growing uneasiness. Despite paying careful attention to your teacher and working diligently at home, you do not seem to be grasping the subject.
There are various symptoms of this: You are not terribly clear about the difference between Sun in Leo and Moon in Leo. When asked to describe Saturn in the 8th bouse you find either no words come to mind or so many words that you don't know where to start.
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All you can say about hard aspects is that they are challenging, while easy aspects are, well, easy. As for a quincunx, all you know is that you struggle to pronounce it. Is more books the answer? To clear up the confusion, you buy up every new book recommended by your friends, hoping on each occasion to find instant enlightenment. But without fail your confusion is actually made worse. Why does this happen?
The reasons are simple:. The delineations are all the same 2. The delineations are all different 3. The delineations are all useless 4. The delineations are all evasive. The delineations are all the same This is your conclusion when you despair of trying to distinguish what an author is variously saying about planets in signs, planets in houses, and aspects between planets.
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You can see the associations clearly enough, but all of the delineations are so bland and so general that they all blur into one another, as in Llewellyn George's The A to Z Horoscope Maker and Delineator. You come to realize that you cannot really tell apart the entries for any planet in any given sign, especially those for the Sun and Moon. What's more, they all bear a strong resemblance to Mars in the 1st or 10th, as well as to all of the Mars aspects that are described.
A delightful vagueness permeates the whole text, and is most noticeable in those books which, while not exactly Sun Sign paperbacks, come down very heavily on signs, treat houses very superficially, and deal with aspects very much as an afterthought, as in Jeff Mayo's Teach Yourself Astrology and Sheila Geddes's The Art of Astrology. The delineations are all different The next thing you notice is that none of the astrology books in your possession seem to agree with one another. This is worrying, because in your studies of other subjects at school or university, you had come to accept that authors were in general agreement about the statements they were making.
But this is not necessarily so in astrology. To illustrate the point, here are some delineations of the aspect Sun square Saturn:. Life hard, causes self-pity. The theme is loss of father, and a search to fnd him in some form, yet dissatisfaction and anger when you do; you seek him because you want to overthrow him" Liz Greene Outer Planets and their Cycles.
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The sheer variety of these statements is breathtaking. There is everything from unabashed fortune telling to Jungian mythology. And the usual hedging "a tendency to" creeps in. The delineations are useless The third way in which astrological statements are baffling is that some are very specific, and others are very general, with every shade of gray in between. Take Mars in Libra, for instance. Another says "the subject bas a passion for sword-dancing" Alice Howell Jungian Symbolism in Astrology. It seems impossible to believe that the authors are talking about the same thing.
Yet for different reasons, both statements are equally useless. The first is far too general -- there is nothing that would distinguish the client from others. The second is far too specific -- as an astrologer you may indeed meet a sword-dancer with Mars in Libra, but you would be idiotic to offer this as a serious delineation. But the Scylla of generality and the Charybdis of specificity contain an even nastier trap: On the one hand, the more general a statement is, the more likely it will be accepted, but the less it tells you. On the other hand, the more specific a statement is, the more it tells you, but the more likely it will be incorrect.
What a dilemma! How to deal with it? Well, the glib answer is that you must balance content against correctness. That is, as Plato and the Buddha reminded us, you must take the middle path.
In practice, of course, at least in astrology, this is far from easy. Some would say impossible for reasons discussed later.
The delineations are evasive There is more. Often you meet statements so terse that they convey nothing while pretending to convey everything. My pet hate is "Neptune dissolves". This is invariably delivered with a lofty and knowing look, followed by a dramatic pause. Then there is a whole class of phrases known as keywords, as in the Mayo and Hone books, which were introduced to make learning astrology easier.
But keywords are too terse to be of help in remembering all the possible variations -- for example Rex Bills, in his The Rulership Book , lists more than a thousand variations for each planet and several hundred variations for each sign. He too uses colourful key phrases such as "The False Prophet" Jupiter square Pluto , but the background descriptions are too thin to support them.
Yet even here fullness does not guarantee clarity. For example consider Robert Pelletier's delineation, in Planets in Aspect , of Mercury square Uranus, which is a brilliant example of beating about the bush:. What on earth does that mean? It's not at all obvious, but we can be sure that Pelletier is being infuriatingly tactful about an unpleasant aspect, because he really does understand the aspect.
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This is not always the case -- how many times do you get the impression that the author is just piling on the padding? Either way, is it any wonder that you struggle with astrology? Is what they're saying true? Normally, when we read books, we assume they deal in established facts derived from actual observations about people or nature or mathematics or accounting or car repairs or whatever.
We never consider that their authors might be merely speculating about the way things could be or ought to be. For example we expect chemistry books to describe real chemicals and real reactions, not imaginary ones. But this is exactly not the position taken in astrology books. For example in her book Sun Signs Linda Goodman states that "Virgos love small animals and herb gardens" without considering whether observations have shown Virgos to love small animals and herb gardens any more or less than non-Virgos.
Willow people have a lot of imagination, sometimes they like to daydream and they are able to understand exactly how other people feel. They are very good psychologists and they can use this ability for their advantage. These people will have to make choices very often and it is necessary to make the right decisions in the face of emerging opportunities.
Romantic relationship, family and home are the foundations for success.
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