Anyone Can Do Astrology on TV Friday, Jun 30 2006 

greg-tufaro.jpgEven voice-overs named Greg Tufaro.

Yesterday’s New York Times features a hilarious article about about how a Brooklyn, New York couple gamed a new reality show “What’s Your Sign? Design” (debuting on cable’s Home and Garden channel) to get a free do-over done on their neglected front parlor.

Alex (wife) and Andrew (husband) Postman put their heads together to present a captivating (for a tv producer, at least) dilemna. She hates color and likes it, though in reality, he doesn’t much care and she really really doesn’t like it. It didn’t hurt that they are a good-looking couple (Alex is “glamorously Pregnant”) and (theoretically) it can’t be hard to make a front parlor room of a Brooklyn Brownstone look good. Eventually they were chosen to be the headline couple:

Can a practical Capricorn and a headstrong Taurus really agree on the look of a room? Find out on What’s Your Sign? Design where zodiac charts and fresh paint mix to create incredible makeovers. Watch an expert designer and a talented astrologer make it work using creative design and a little help from the stars in this innovative series that brings design harmony to couples all over the country.

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The Magi Society Jumps on the ID Bandwagon Thursday, Jun 29 2006 

momaadditionciti.jpgI gotta tell you — even though I thought I had seen every single possible kind of stupidity which falls within the signification of stupid, nothing, and I mean nothing prepared me for this.

The secretive Magi Society (which I have heard from a number of well-placed sources is really nothing more than the latest venture of Henry Weingarten, formerly of 666 Fifth Avenue in NYC) is trying to find common cause with the likes of Pat Robertson and James Dobson. Now referring to him themselves as The Christian Guardian’s Fellowship, they have announced that “Evolution is nothing but a hoax.” The site basically says that since the Magi visited the baby Jesus in the manger, and because the Magi were astrologers, astrology can prove that, according to the Bible, the universe was designed by an Intelligent Designer. Then (as any good salesperson will, they ask money question and immediately answer it):

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A Closer Look at Cosmos and Psyche Wednesday, Jun 28 2006 

ficino-book.jpgRead part 1 here.

Cosmos and Psyche is hefty book, and it presents many interesting ideas which I am sure many people — those with some prior astrological understanding and those without — will chew on for some time. From an astrological perspective, one of the more exciting things about the book could’ve, should’ve been new access to a comprehensive collection of historical data which could in turn be cross-referenced with astrological data. I have been using Passion of the Western Mind in this precisely this manner for years.

For example in the chronology after the epilogue in my copy of Passion, I noted on page 463 that in 1925, the year Yeat’s Vision, Thomas Dewey’s Experience and Nature, and Alfred Whitehead’s Science and the Modern World were published, Pluto stationed retrograde at 12 Cancer. I did this because I was examining relationships between specific degrees which appeared to be intensified by stations of the outer planets, eclipses and partile aspects between planets, and notable events in art and science. Many of the margins within my copy of the text itself are filled with such notations indicating possible correspondences (only in my case, I used exact aspects) between various historical periods and astrological significators, as are many other books I have studied, particularly history and biographies. This is typically how many modern western astrologers begin to study mundane astrology, before moving on to the complexity of ingress and lunation charts. And Tarnas’s Passion was a godsend in terms of this kind of work and study.

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Some Serious Astrology Tuesday, Jun 27 2006 

michael_lutin.jpg

Update: more on Lutin’s astrological views here.

Some tidbits from a Q & A with famous astrologer Michael Lutin courtesy of The Courier-Journal (Louisville, KY):

Q. I’ve heard this is supposed to be the dawning of the Age of Aquarius, which is a time of peace, acceptance and love. Why does it seem like nothing’s getting better?

People always think things are going to be better. They’re never better; they’re just different. We’re moving from the Age of Pisces into the Age of Aquarius, but it’s neurotic to think things are going to get better.

I have my birth certificate here. Can you do my chart super quick or tell me something I don’t know about myself?

You know everything about yourself. The client always knows more about him or herself than the astrologer ever could.

If I gave you my birth date and time, could you give me a fast read?

I would give you that. I couldn’t do anything real for you.

When did you start getting interested in astrology?

I was a teenager. … I didn’t really believe it. I studied it for years and … eventually, after studying chart after chart after chart and seeing the correlations come and be so accurate, I had to either accept it or stop doing it.

What’s your sign?

I never tell. It’s not good for my practice. I try to be neutral in my practice, and people have prejudices against certain signs, so that’s why. People have all kinds of crazy notions, based upon their childhood, mostly. They’ll say, “Oh, I hate Geminis,” and I’ll say, “Is your mother a Gemini?” “Yeah, how’d you know?”

(ed: very badly kept secret at that. Hint, hint – famous for being cheap, nit picking, and according to Forbes Magazine attributed to the highest number of billionaires.)

Political Astrology Tuesday, Jun 27 2006 

“The report that important decisions in the White House were based on astrological advice is most disturbing. The results could undermine faith in astrology.”

Letter to the Editor
New York Times
May 15, 1988

Sharks Bank Left at the Kuiper Belt Saturday, Jun 24 2006 

kuiper_belt.jpg

Update: Jerome Armstrong quotes J.P. Morgan (millionaires don’t use astrology, billionaires do), confesses his faith in our primate ancestors and invites the wingnuts out for a little vipassana meditation! (though Redstate.com is having way too much fun with this to let it go . . . )

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In his biography of the astrologer and mathematician Girolamo Cardano, historian Anthony Grafton likens the role of a modern economist to that of a Rennaissance astrologer.

How about the modern economist as astrologer aka political pundit?

I don’t even know how I stumbled over this — but a pack of rightwingnut bloggers have launched a witch hunt — and are celebrating the the revelation that blogger and author Jerome Armstrong (how many people do you know who have even heard of Jerome Armstrong?) was/is an astrologer as well as a day trader — hmmm, did he study with Ray? — before he became a political consultant.

I am not going to try to recount the particulars as how this came to light, as I am not sure I understand it myself, but one thing is clear — there are no secrets in the lands of the internets. None.

The gist is that apparently an email (alluding to some legal difficulties with the SEC a few years ago in connection to the daytrading dimension of life) circulating on a private list of lefty bloggers fell into the paws of a bigshot wingnut blogger (love to know how much he paid for it!). And somehow, that leaked email inspired/enabled computer wizards on the right to start combing the internet looking for more dirt, and well, to make a long story short, it turns out that Jerome Armstrong of mydd.com is none other than the completely unknown astrologer, Jerome Armstrong (I am serious, who ever heard of an astrologer named Jerome Armstrong?)

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An Old World View: Rehashed (Part 1) Saturday, Jun 24 2006 

tarnas_puer.jpgRichard Tarnas is a Swiss-born, Harvard Educated, Esalen Alumni and professor of philosophy and psychology at the California Institute for Integral Studies, and is also the founding director of its graduate program in Philosophy, Cosmology, and Consciousness. He is also the author of the best-selling Passion of the Western Mind.

But for 30 years, Tarnas has kept a [sort of] secret. He dabbles in astrology. Now Tarnas has written a new book about astrology; Cosmos and Psyche, published earlier this year. Apparently, it took Tarnas over 10 years to write this enormous (569 pages inc. notes) book, following a fair amount of anticipation for it in the “astro-world” (where his secret wasn’t such a big secret) prior to its publication, which included a lengthy pre-publication interview in the Mountain Astrologer Magazine in late 2005.

So when I stumbled over it this past February on the Barnes and Noble new non-fiction display shelf, I immediately bought it, and began to read it with a great deal of excitement. Subtitled, Intimations of a New World View and based, Tarnas claims, upon 30 years* of research, it strives to address what he calls “the profound metaphysical disorientation and groundlessness that pervades contemporary human experience” by suggesting a “new metanarrative that transcends separate cultures and subcultures, an encompassing pattern of meaning that could give to collective human existence a nourishing coherence and intelligibility.”

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Do You Believe in Astrology? Saturday, Jun 24 2006 

Usually a question to spice up a boring social gathering, but here it is used to introduce an anti-astrology editorial in a Yemeni (Yemeni?) Newspaper.

Another point worth noting: It is obvious that the writer knows astrology and is NOT conflating sun-sign astrology and “real” astrology.

They are told how mysterious forces in the universe around them, work to shape their intimate destinies. They are told relatively flattering things about their characters and life, and in the end they are naturally pleased that someone cares about them. In the hectic and generally disconnected modern society, they feel connected – both to another human being and to the world around them. Astrology shares this with many other beliefs, for example the idea that nothing in life is truly coincidental. On this view of life, everything which happens to us, even the smallest or seemingly most insignificant event, happens for some particular reason.

[snip]

A person who continually tries to live his life by a horoscope can become very depressed as he begins to see life as fatalistic, predetermined since his birth, with no opportunity to break free. “To believe in astrology, you must support the philosophy that you are either a ‘born loser’ or a ‘born winner.’’ A Psychologist said In spite that astrology is an attempt to find some sort of “meaning” or “influence” in the planetary positions. Oddly enough, considering that astrology has to do with planetary movements, astrologers no longer look at the sky, and haven’t for hundreds of years.

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Shallow Humor Thursday, Jun 15 2006 

ARIES You have a wild imagination and often think you are being followed by the FBI or CIA. You have minor influence on your friends and people resent you for flaunting your power. You lack confidence and are a general dipshit.

TAURUS You are practical and persistent. You have a dogged determination and work like hell. Most people think you are stubborn and bullheaded. You’re nothing but a damned communist.

GEMINI You are a quick and intelligent thinker. People like you because you are bisexual. You are inclined to expect too much for too little. This means you are a cheap bastard. Geminis are notorious for thriving on incest.

CANCER You are sympathetic and understanding to other people’s problems, which makes you a sucker. You are always putting things off. That is why you will always be on welfare and won’t be worth a shit. Everyone in prison is a Cancer.

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Indian Astrologers Condemn Unethical Conduct Tuesday, Jun 13 2006 

The other day I wrote about an astrologer who was busted and sentenced for some extremely nasty conduct within the context of his astrological practice in Aspen Colorado. A similar case has come to light in India, where astrology has long been a respected and integral part of Hindu culture, evoking enough outrage in the fortune-teller community that not only has the story has been picked up by the Times of India, but has also inspired a demand of a formal code of conduct.

Arun Dwivedi, an astrologer in Gwalior, was arrested on June 7 for allegedly making sexual advances towards a woman in his house on the pretext of reading her horoscope, police said.

[ . . . ]

The incident has shaken the astrologer community in Madhya Pradesh. Many agree that a model code of conduct should be enacted and those in the profession be registered with the government.

“We have been held in high esteem for ages. But if such elements are allowed to survive in this profession, people will lose faith in us. Already money minting by some astrologers has lowered our dignity,” said a city-based astrologer.

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The Not-So-Secret Diary of a Wanna-be (maybe) Astrologer Monday, Jun 12 2006 

Astrology Class – Term 1

Week 1: Started Astrology classes. Most concerned to discover our Illustrious Tutor despises Taureans, as they are greedy, fond of excesses of the VERY WORST KIND, and insufferably slow and boring. Shows how much he knows. I am a model of sensitivity and propriety (apart from that incident with the psychologist and the strawberry ice cream in 1982 — and that was only in the interests of dispelling our baser instincts to achieve spiritual unity — so it quite clearly doesn’t count).

Week 2: Things have picked up slightly. The mysteries of astrology have deepened, but the woman sitting next to me is very interesting, and A MAN has joined. Wonder if he’s interested in Taurean excesses? N.B. Remember geometry set for next week.

Week 3: Start to draw our charts. This is very difficult

a) because I bought a cheap geometry set and the compass slips all over the place, and

b) because it is very difficult.

The interesting woman next to me says she is thinking of doing yoga instead — either that or committing suicide — she hasn’t quite decided.

THE MAN is interested in Taurean excesses. Also, he is not interested in astrology. Dismiss him totally. You can’t win ‘em all!

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Flashy Creepy Soulmates Monday, Jun 12 2006 

At relationships-soulmate.com they have a sort of Ouspenskian-E.T thing going on.

Here’s a little taste (click on “dawn”).

Yes, the cosmos isn’t something you select for yourself; would that it were. No – it is pre-destined: it puts its mark on you and you are asleep.

Sleep well – you are being watched!

Not quite astrology – but all figured out it seems. Rather like these folks.

Stocks Eclipsed? Monday, Jun 12 2006 

Arch_Crawford.jpgAstrologer and market trader Arch Crawford (who once advised burying a stockpile of canned goods and an M-16 in the back yard) is once again warning of financial trauma. Not only is the current market in a “corrective” phase, he believes that it will crash a la 1987 somewhere near or on the fall equinox eclipse of 22 September 2006 and that we will be entering a “historic period” of “German-style” hyper-inflation which will last throughout 2007.

Arch Crawford’s Dim View Of Stocks
John Dobosz, 05.30.06, 12:15 PM ET

New York – It’s not a far-fetched notion that recurring patterns can be found in just about every earthly and human process. No doubt the oceans’ tides and the change of seasons move in predictable cycles. Human beings, bipolar or not, also experience mood changes that tend to run in cycles.

As Carl Jung would explain, human beings also seem to exhibit collective mood swings. And certainly, the oscillation between extremes of fear and greed are rather pronounced in the financial markets.

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Meet Jack the Cat Monday, Jun 12 2006 

Jack_the_cat.jpg

This is what Jack did. Twice.
Jack_and_the_bear-up-a-tree.jpg

WEST MILFORD, N.J. – A black bear picked the wrong New Jersey yard for a jaunt earlier this week, running into a territorial tabby who ran the furry beast up a tree — twice.

Jack, a 15-pound orange-and-white cat, keeps a close vigil on his property, chasing small animals when he can, but his owners and neighbors say his latest escapade was surprising.

“We used to joke, ‘Jack’s on duty,’ never knowing he’d go after a bear,” cat owner Donna Dickey told The Star-Ledger of Newark for Friday’s newspapers.

Neighbor Suzanne Giovanetti first spotted Jack’s accomplishment after her husband saw a bear climb a tree on the edge of their northern New Jersey home’s back yard on Sunday. Giovanetti thought Jack was simply looking up at the bear, but soon realized the much larger animal was afraid of the hissing cat.

After about 15 minutes peering down at the cat from the tree, the bear descended and tried to run away, only to have Jack chase it up another tree.

At this point Dickey, who feared for her cat, called Jack back home and the bear scurried back to the woods. “He doesn’t want anybody in his yard,” Dickey said.

Some Cat.

A Knave and a Fool Monday, Jun 12 2006 

There and knaves . . . and then there are knaves.

In Aspen Colorado, “former astrologer” Thomas Gregory Brown was sentenced to 18 months probation for “for harassing two girls, concluding a case that referenced everything from a movie cannibal to lie detectors . . . Brown, who was originally charged with two felony counts of sexual assault on a child, pleaded guilty in April to two misdemeanor harassment charges as part of a plea agreement.

According to the British-born Brown’s defense attorney, the resemblance between the astrologer and the star Anthony Hopkins, the star of Silence of the Lambs, is “uncanny.” Would love to know Brown’s birth data. Hopkin’s is December 31, 1937, time unknown. Read More here.

Speaking of things British, here is a 2004 astrological analysis of the UK’s National Health Service.

The chart is criss-crossed by opposition aspects, and each end of these oppositions is at right-angles to other oppositions. There is a predominance of tense aspects, showing on one level that this organisation is biased towards action and doing, but on another level that there is a great deal of conflict within it.

There is much to commend in this chart, and it’s a very complex chart overall; it’s important to keep in mind though that it needs to be such, because it represents a service that caters to more than 60 million residents plus visitors to the UK – an amazingly complex operation.

In a later post, the author rails against politicians for “the sinister, treacherous, and brutal Pluto side into the equation. It is playing the Plutonic role of the murderous villain, not the life-bringer.”

Pluto the life-bringer?!?!