morgan_dhu: (Default)
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I just had to answer this, especially after viewing other people's responses. A goodly number talked about how they might think there was something to astrology, but they didn't believe in horoscopes.

Now this made me laugh and cry simultaneously, since the horoscope is in fact the prime methodology for preparing an astrological analysis of some sort (personality, present and future trends, horary, and so on - there are many types of analysis that an astrologer can undertake based on a horoscope) and hence is value-neutral, not something one can believe in or not. Whether one can derive insights from a horoscope - the astrological analysis - is another question altogether. But a horoscope is just a method of presenting verifiable facts.

But of course, people have come to believe that the inane and generalised bits of fluff printed in newspapers and the like are "horoscopes," and since they are rarely accurate (although, given the way they are normally developed if the writer of daily newspaper horoscopes really is an astrologer, they will have somewhat more relevance for someoen who was born around sunrise), it is now believed that the horoscope is inaccurate.

So, you may ask, what is a horoscope? Let us examine the word itself. There are twp parts to the word, "horo-" and "-scope."

"-Scope" is a suffix that means viewing or observing. Wikipedia tells us that it "derives from the scientific Latin suffix -scopium, meaning a viewing instrument, which in turn originates from the ancient Greek verb skopein, to examine." This makes sense, we've all heard of telescopes, microscopes, kaleidoscopes, oscilloscopes, stethoscopes, all sorts of scopes. Furthermore, we have likely heard or talked of "scoping" someone or something out. So a horoscope is something that observes or examines, and that may in some sense be thought of as an instrument.

"Horo-" is derived from the Latin "hora," which has the specific meaning of hour, but which can also mean time or season in general. You have horology, the study of timekeeping, and horologe, a (somewhat archaic) word for a clock or timepiece.

So a horoscope can be presumed to be some kind of instrument through which one examines time, or the hour in specific. Once we recall that a horoscope is an astrological instrument, we might make a guess that a horoscope might be a way of examining the planets, sun and moon at a particular time or hour.

Which is exactly what it is. The horoscope is a depiction of where the various planets are in relation to the ecliptic and to the hocal horizon at any given time. If properly calculated and based on accurate measurements, either your own or those published in an ephemeris, there's no belief involved in a horoscope. It just is what it is, a depiction of the planets, the moon and the sun. If I give you a horoscope, and you go to the place it is calculated for, at the time it is calculated for, you will be able to verify (with the aid of telescope) the positions of any planets, the sun, or the moon, that are shown to be above the horizon on the horoscope. To verify the position of anything below the horizon, you will have to be in instantaneous communication with someone exactly opposite you, in terms of longitude and latitude, who is also looking at the sky.

Certainly there is considerable debate as to what the horoscope means. That's the analysis, and some people think it means absolutely nothing, and others think it has anywhere from a limited to an overwhelming meaning. But an astrologer and an astronomer, once they agreed on some technical definitions having to do with terminology for divisions of the ecliptic and the local meridian, would come up with the same diagram.

So do I believe in horoscopes? The question is meaningless.

Do I think that horoscopes can be interpreted using astrological principles to provide useful information about something that may have happened or someone who may have been born at the precise time and place for which a horoscope is calculated? Now that's the question.

I learned to calculate horoscopes and interpret them according to astrological principles at the age of 18, and in fact did this professionally for a good 15 years of my life. While retired from practice, I still do horoscopes and off-the-cuff interpretations for friends. Over 34 years, I've developed my own thoughts on why the interpretation of horoscopes in this fashion has a certain degree of relevance and meaning, and I've refined some of the principles I was taught to fit my personal hypotheses. And after all of that, the answer for me is still yes.

morgan_dhu: (Default)

So this Tarot/birthday meme has been making its way through my flist, and I've been watching people posting their card without much commentary, and thinking about what, if anything, it actually means.

This is actually a rather unusual way of using the Tarot, and I find myself wondering - since I do feel that there are ways to use Tarot symbolism to assist in understanding one's self and making choices about one's life - exactly what it would signify to have a particular Tarot card associated in this way with one's birthday. Tarot cards are usually used in a situational manner, and are interpreted in terms of current, changing circumstances. But a birthday is a permanent characteristic, not an ephemeral circumstance, and so there should, strictly speaking, be some essence of permanence to the interpretation of a Tarot card that's so associated.

My initial theory would be that, if there is any meaning to it at all, it would be an indication either of some essential and defining personality characteristic, or of a recurring theme in one's life, or possible a direction or goal that, if worked toward would help bring about positive personal growth over the course of a lifetime.

At the moment, I know of two Fools, a Hermit, a Moon, and my own World card - does anyone who has looked into the symbolism associated with "their" card - or who has worked with Tarot symbolism in the past - have any sense of what its meaning might be within their own life or personality?

As I noted earlier, there's certainly a tension in my own life surrounding my ability to be in the world. More than that, I have a long history of activism in a variety of areas, such that it could be said that one of my on-going life-themes is in fact a form of involvement in the way the world works, and how to try and change it so that people's needs are better served, either on a local or a national/global level. I can see for myself a number of ways in which The World does represent persistent themes in my life. Of course, there are other cards that I could say that about - but only a few, and there are a lot of cards that really don't represent major on-going life-themes. So it's not completely a case of being able to pick any set of symbols and make them work.

But is there any real correspondence? Any thoughts out there?

morgan_dhu: (Default)

The Tarot is one of my favourite symbological systems (my favourite is astrology, but that's another story for another entry). I've been reading Tarot cards for about 30 years now, and the richness of the associations just keeps growing.

From that perspective, I find it interesting that the card that matches my birthdate is The World, since in a strictly literal interpretation, my world has been slowly constricting throughout my life as my physical disabilities have become increasingly limiting. So a large part of my life has been associated with finding ways to bring the world to me, since it's becoming harder and harder to go to the world. One of the ways I've been doing that is through electronic activism - I may not be able to march or demonstrate anymore, but I can and do send email to every politician who is the least bit associated with the issues I choose to work for. I can't attend meetings or conferences on political and social issues, but I can, and do, help produce printed and electronic materials in support of education and action.

From [livejournal.com profile] cynthia1960 who got it from [livejournal.com profile] gargyrrl


I am The World

The World represents the moments when we feel fulfilled and blessed and all that goes into them. It is a very positive sign that you are in a position to realize your heart's desire. What that is for you depends on the situation, but it will always feel great. Remember, though, that Card 21 is a symbol of active contribution and service. To hold the World in our hands, we must give of ourselves to it. That is the source of true happiness.

For a full description of your card and other goodies, please visit LearnTarot.com


What tarot card are you? Enter your birthdate.

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