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On the Humilty of Astrologers

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Mefiante
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« on: January 22, 2007, 10:15:49 AM »

Before reading the individual astrologers' profiles here, I recommend that all implements that conceivably could be used to inflict physical harm or damage, especially to the self, first be moved beyond easy reach.  Ladies and gentlemen, what we have here is the single most awesome collection of sheer untainted genius ever assembled.  It is plainly obvious that we are not worthy to receive the wisdom such illustrious luminaries are willing to impart - for a small fee, of course.

That is, if the glowing profiles are even vaguely accurate.  Or perhaps they're actually a joke that I am too dense to get, like the one found elsewhere at the website, claiming that South Africa has an astronomical observatory at "Southerland."

Petra du Preez has her own website that begins "Good <morning/afternoon/evening>! It's <Monday/Tuesday/...>, <today's date and current time>," as if to remind the visitor that this expert on dates knows her oats and is not to be trifled with.  However, beware the saccharine tweeness of the site because more than a cursory glance may result in diabetic schlock.

'Luthon64
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Mefiante
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« Reply #1 on: January 23, 2007, 13:47:50 PM »

Holy merde.

'Luthon64
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Mefiante
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« Reply #2 on: January 24, 2007, 11:04:58 AM »

"Muquita," a SA astrologer, has written:
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As above, so below
One of the modern fallacies about astrology that abounds is that the moon and other planetary bodies 'influence' or affect us. This ignores astrology's basic tenet: "As above, so below". In other words, what is above reflects or coincides with what is below. Above we have a celestial mirror, a universal clock and a heavenly guide by which to measure our pace, mark seasons and cycles and delineate temperament.

My response?  One of the modern fallacies about astrology that abounds is that it actually has something useful to contribute.  This ignores one of reality's basic tenets: "Above is usually quite a lot different from below."  In other words, what is above reflects or coincides in a literal sense with what is below to a probability closely approaching zero.  Above we have an assortment of celestial objects, an erstwhile planetary clock and a yardstick by which to measure our cosmic insignificance, mark seasons and cycles (although, to be truthful, a good caesium clock does a far better job), apply every conceivable figure of speech to in order to extort particles of ostensible truth, and fool gullible twits by pretending that the firmament cares a jot about delineating their temperaments.

Muquita's "Conditions Predicted for South Africa in 2006" is the usual mish-mash of utterly useless could bes, maybes, possiblys, etc.  Unsurprisingly, the article lacks any specificity, but it does include the following bit of accidental self-criticism towards the end:
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The downside is the potential for waste, overconfidence and empty promises.

Maybe some astrologers do have a rudimentary sense of decency after all.  Problem is, they're so adept at hiding it.

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bluegray
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« Reply #3 on: January 24, 2007, 12:00:25 PM »

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There may be a growing need for orphanages. Fear and false or negative beliefs destroy confidence, creativity and stability.
Now that is profound.
I expect predictions for 2007 will be just as vague.
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Mefiante
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« Reply #4 on: January 24, 2007, 13:49:11 PM »

What about all the recent name- and status changes to the solar system?  It could hardly be simpler!
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New dimensions of meaning
What is of the utmost importance to modern astrologers will be the names that are finally designated each planet. That may not change your fate, but it will certainly add new dimensions of meaning to the average birth chart reading.

Okay, so henceforth I'll call it "Noom" instead of "Moon."  Maybe then I'll stop spending money I don't have.

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« Reply #5 on: January 24, 2007, 17:58:06 PM »

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What is of the utmost importance to modern astrologers will be the names that are finally designated each planet. That may not change your fate, but it will certainly add new dimensions of meaning to the average birth chart reading.
As someone who actually trained as an astrophysicist, i must admit that astrologers' general lack of understanding of basic astronomy and history just boggles the mind. This includes the bizarre magical thinking that just because a random assortment of stars in the sky were given the name 'Taurus' that somehow this imposes bullish tendencies in those born under the sign. Etc etc.

These astrologers should cast their eyes to the southern skies and interpret the temperaments of those who are influenced by the constellations of microscopium, telescopium, and triangulum. Would these people be respectively small minded, far sighted, and prone to threesomes? Particular to South Africans would be the constellation Mensa, named after Table Mountain - would the constellation or the mountain itself be a greater influence?

But let's restrict ourselves only to the constellations on the ecliptic - those through which the sun passes on its yearly journey (from our viewpoint). Why, pray tell, do all astrologers completely ignore the constellation Ophiacus, the Snake Handler? On the day I was born, the sun was rising in Ophiacus. What would it mean if they finally decided to include this worthy constellation, in which the sun spends triple the time it does in Scorpio? Would I be looking at a potential career in dark-alley hand-jobs? A predilection towards handling slippery situations? Or would I be destined to master the flute?

And what about the new planet Eris, named for the goddes of chaos - when the moon's third house (or whatever) is in Eris, will it be a time of great calamity? Will it be worse if it's a full moon to boot? And where does the fact that the name was most certainly chosen to allow astronomers to make an in-joke about "Xena: Warrior Princess" (long story) going to fit into all of this?
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Mefiante
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« Reply #6 on: January 24, 2007, 21:08:09 PM »

Delicious post there, moonflakeGrin

The whole lame astrology thing turns to mud, of course, for want of a plausible and testable mechanism for mediating the supposed correspondences between planetary shenanigans and the affairs of we humans.

They tried gravity.  It sucked.  Your PC monitor's gravitational effect on you is several orders of magnitude greater than that of your closest celestial neighbour, the Moon.  (Thus, my focus thereon in an earlier post.)

Ditto electromagnetism.

Ditto that latter day catch-all for all things woo, namely quantum mechanics.

They hailed Gauquelin and Mars and sportsmen as a resounding triumph.  Gauquelin himself said, "But... but... but astrology doesn't predict this!"  Later researchers said, "Sorry, Dr G, there are some worrying sampling issues in your study.  Besides, this meta-study contradicts your findings."  Gauquelin said, "Mmm, I see."

So now, it seems, they're crediting the planets and their satellites with serious semantic and apobetics skills.

Nanowits.

'Luthon64
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Mefiante
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« Reply #7 on: February 05, 2007, 15:54:36 PM »

According to astrological lore Roll Eyes, Virgo is ruled by the planet Mercury.  But several astrologers consider this to be an interim measure only, until Virgo's true ruler, planet Vulcan, is finally discovered.
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Also referred to as the "Ghost Planet," Vulcan is a celestial body that some sources believe to be the closest planet to the Sun, circling inside the orbit of Mercury. The belief in Vulcan originated in the Seventeenth Century due to certain irregularities in Mercury's motion. French mathematician and astronomer Urbain Jean Joseph Le Verrier (who discovered Neptune on the basis of his calculations) firmly believed in the existence of Vulcan, although the majority of later day scientists appear unconvinced that there is such a planet in that location.

"[C]ertain irregularities in Mercury's motion" most likely refers to an observed but unexplained (prior to 1915, that is) residual perihelion precession of Mercury's orbit (for an explanation, see "Precession of planetary orbits" towards the end of the article).

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The official search for Vulcan in that region was eventually abandoned in 1929 after a total solar eclipse, ...

If that statement has a typo (as I suspect it does) and the year is supposed to be "1919," this would be the solar eclipse that Eddington observed on Príncipe, which observations provided powerful confirmation of Einstein's General Relativity (GR).  Among a host of other things, GR neatly explains the residual perihelion precession of Mercury's orbit through mass dilation (Mercury's effective gravitational mass, as "seen" by the Sun, varies with its position along its orbit, being heavier closer to the Sun where the planet's instantaneous velocity is greatest).  This finding, being only around 90 years old, has, owing to its youth, escaped the attention of many astrologers who continue to rely on much older, and therefore inerrant, Babylonian and Egyptian teachings that compel them to continue seeking Vulcan.

Another theory that I have heard put forward to explain Vulcan's elusiveness is that it is in constant opposition to Earth, i.e. it is always behind the Sun as viewed from Earth.  This suggestion ignores the fact that Earth's orbit is also slightly elliptical, and Vulcan would need to to obey Kepler's Laws of Planetary Motion with considerable artistic licence.

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... but there are those who maintain that Vulcan is in an etheric or non-materialized state and can only be seen in ultraviolet light or is hiding behind the Sun.

Wibble.  Glubb.

Also, the assertion quoted in an earlier post (see the "New dimensions of meaning" quote) about the primary importance of the names given to celestial objects raises some interesting possibilities of sympathetic magic, should Vulcan be found and so named: "Physical traits: has pointy ears; smells of rubber and sometimes of boiling sulphur.  Special talents: can make obnoxious people faint with just a touch to the neck; can say "Kirk" without giggling.  Shortcomings: painfully logical; singularly unartistic; given to long periods of dormant placidity, broken by occasional hot eruptions of surprisingly destructive violence."

'Luthon64
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topmedia
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« Reply #8 on: October 09, 2007, 20:13:16 PM »

I know I'm terribly late, but having just subscribed, I can't miss this opportunity:
As a young (23 years) journalist on a new Jhb Sunday paper many years ago, I soon found myself writing the weekly astrology column ("Die Sterre Voorspel") under a suitably weird pseudonym -- although, to this day, I know zero about the subject. Following the obvious formula of open-ended predictions, I was never challenged by any reader or any member of the astrologers' fraternity. I was amused when, at a particular occasion, my own family members (read: wife, who did not know that I was the writer) quoted to me my own bogus predictions which had apparently come true! So much for the gullibility of ordinary people -- and the credibility/integrity of astrologers (myself included!)
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Mefiante
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« Reply #9 on: October 10, 2007, 16:02:22 PM »

Welcome to the forum, topmedia, and thanks for that amusing and informative first post. Smiley

Has it been your experience that Piscean astrologers are generally less credible than their Libran counterparts?  It seems reasonable because being balanced beats being scaly and fishy more than half the time.

'Luthon64
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« Reply #10 on: October 11, 2007, 10:35:07 AM »

Bugger! So I am not going to meet my life partner this week.
Welcome Topmedia. It's good to know that there is another sceptic in the media.
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topmedia
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« Reply #11 on: October 11, 2007, 18:50:38 PM »

'Luthon64, I'll have you know us Pisceans (I was allegedly born 7 March) are in fact superior readers of the skies -- otherwise, why would my editor have chosen me to write predictions which might have profoundly influenced the lives of thousands of readers!?
By the way, at that time (back in the '60s) I was also instrumental in busting a scéance in Jhb -- unfortunately we were detected and a fight ensued.
Glad to say I'm no longer a hack -- media standards these days are abhorrent.

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Mefiante
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« Reply #12 on: October 12, 2007, 15:03:09 PM »

'Luthon64, I'll have you know us Pisceans (I was allegedly born 7 March) are in fact superior readers of the skies -- otherwise, why would my editor have chosen me to write predictions which might have profoundly influenced the lives of thousands of readers!?
Impishess, perhaps? Wink



By the way, at that time (back in the '60s) I was also instrumental in busting a scéance in Jhb -- unfortunately we were detected and a fight ensued.
Sounds intriguing: ectoplasmic belligerence.  Verbal slanging or full-on fisticuffs?

'Luthon64
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topmedia
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« Reply #13 on: October 12, 2007, 20:10:05 PM »

The fight (involving my brother-in-law and our photographer on our side, and the "medium" and two guards on the other) was nothing serious - but did provide enough material for a good story exposing the bogus nature of these meetings.
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Mefiante
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« Reply #14 on: October 16, 2007, 10:02:02 AM »

The fight … did provide enough material for a good story exposing the bogus nature of these meetings.
As I said: "Intriguing."  Perhaps you'd care to re-publish the story in a new thread here in the forum?  That is, if you still have it in a convenient format and re-publishing doesn't infringe any copyrights.  If you have it as a scanned image (e.g. TIFF or PDF), rather than a text-based format, you could mail it to our admin bluegray V, who could then post it because the image would probably exceed the size limits for ordinary members.

'Luthon64
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