Why Astrology can never be systematic

by Hank Friedman

Have you ever wondered why astrological research almost never gives significant results?

Why software-generated interpretations and predictions can be way off?

Or why people with a specific chart factor in common can be so different?

I recently attended a Vedic review workshop given by my Jyotish guru, Hart de Fouw, and at the beginning of the seminar, he brilliantly articulated the differences between system and method, and how this applies to astrology.

What he presented was that in a system, you apply an unvarying procedure or set of rules and get the same outcome every time. There is no room for individual interpretation.

In applying a method, on the other hand, you have guidelines and a looser framework that help you to organize your approach, and which encourage you to develop and express your own inspiration.

Astrology can never be a system for many reasons:

1. Astrological configurations never repeat. In searching the sky for just three of the points in the same signs they occupied on 9/11/2001, a 10,000 year search yielded no additional dates. The Scientific Method demands reproducible results, and therefore can never be applied to astrological phenomena, other than piecemeal, which as the following two points reveal, is pretty meaningless.

2. Everything is interactive. Just as a doctor would never rely on one blood test without examining the whole patient (because a below normal result might mean different things depending on the other test results and findings obtained via direct examination of the patient), the mature astrologer knows that all chart factors modify each other and cannot be interpreted in isolation, if deep understanding is the goal.

3. Pattern recognition is required. To see the patterns in a chart -- since all charts are unique -- requires a level of perception that can never be systematized. The methods one learns to examine charts must be very flexible and take each other into account, so that the whole is seen clearly and all factors kept in balance with each other.

Therefore, astrologers need to stop trying to find and rely upon formulae and computations that attempt to interpret and predict. There aren't even any reliable systems for determining planetary strength with dependable accuracy.

Yes, we need to learn the basic rules and correspondences (e.g. that Taurus comes after Aries, and how aspects are formed). But once the facts are memorized, so that they are implicit in our approach, we then need to embrace chart interpretation and predictive astrology as a method, and as an art, a creative act, an intuitive unfolding, and an opportunity to be informed and guided by Spirit, towards deeper insights.

Then our astrology will truly fulfill its promise.

Important Note: I added a second section to this article focusing specifically on the issues that arise concerning astrology software delineations. You can read it by clicking here.

Addendum: one of my readers sent me the following, very illuminating email in response to the above article:

Interesting - everything you said about astrology in this article also applies to soil science, which like astrology, is both an art and a science. (everything is interactive) The 5 soil-forming factors - parent material, climate, organisms, topography, and time, give rise to an infinite array of soils. (configurations never repeat) Pattern recognition is key in describing and understanding soils and their properties - and, more generally, it is how we make sense of the infinite variety that is all around us every day. But as I'm guessing you well know, we all see and interpret those patterns a bit differently!

- Denise

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