THE STARS: DO THEY INDICATE OR INFLUENCE?

July 24, 201112 Comments

“Astrology for the Astrologically Challenged” by Deborah Smith Parker

I thought I’d take a brief break from my analysis of Pluto’s involvement in the clashes of the masses with corporate and government powers to temporarily shift my focus to the stars in the heavens and simply wonder—also to ponder a little about how we astrologers talk about the stars.

My dad helped me a lot with my wonder of the night sky because he was enamored of the stars. He knew all the constellations along with the myths behind them which people were eager to hear because he was such a mesmerizing story teller.

Touched by gods He made the gods come alive. Listening to him I could feel their presence as they rode their ancient chariots and lightning bolts right into our living room.

He helped them set up permanent residence when he said that the stars were “the ceiling of our world and the floor of the gods.” How much closer could we get to the gods than that? They live upstairs from us in the same universal house! We share the stars—we are consciously in each others’ lives, the gods and us! I took this deep inside me and it has sustained me in ways I have not yet found organized in culture.

I expressed this in a poem about both of my parents’ influence—and that word will take on new significance in a few paragraphs—on showing me the power and magic behind the stars. That poem is the dedication to my book, Humanus Astrologicus. Here’s an excerpt about Dad’s role:

My father’s voice
stole thunder from the heavens

to tell of times when gods
first climbed down from the stars
to engage us on the same field of battle

and forever woke those gods
who slept inside of me.

There were many nights growing up in Wisconsin when it seemed that the entire starscape was visible from horizon to horizon, like thousands of diamonds glittering on a jeweler’s enormous spread of dark velvet.

The stars called to me in a language I didn’t know how to reply to except to take a canoe out late at night, paddle toward the middle of the lake and float weeping, flooded with a fullness I couldn’t then explain, that the poet in me still struggles to express.

It wasn’t until I started learning astrology that the stars and I had a breakthrough in communications. During the time of those early lessons I regularly dreamed of the planetary glyphs in an astrological chart. They became animated and the glyph of Mercury would rise off the chart and take me away for my lessons for the night which I wish I could tell you I consciously remember but I don’t, just that they occurred. I finally told this to my astrology teacher who replied that she wasn’t surprised since I was one who wasn’t learning astrology but was remembering it.

It was decades later, recently in fact, that I found something that explained that incredible influx of mysterious energy from the stars. I found it in the dictionary. I knew from high school Latin that the word influence means to flow in, but it doesn’t really explain the full meaning of the word, particularly its capacity to impact and change something. In my Merriam Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, Tenth Edition, the first two definitions of influence are: a. An ethereal fluid held to flow from the stars and to affect the actions of humans. b. An emanation of occult power held to derive from the stars. All I could say to that was WOW!

Many astrologers, most probably, practically trip all over themselves to apply the standard explanation that the stars don’t cause, they only indicate. I’ve never totally bought it. The gods got to me first, clumping around upstairs in my consciousness and teaching me in my dreams.

Of course the stars indicate, but there’s more—and I think that “more” is influence. What do you think?

 Deborah Smith Parker is the author of “Humanus Astrologicus” available in soft cover and ebook formats. To sign up to receive her blog or follow her on Twitter @astro_logicus and Facebook click to the right of this post.

About author:

Deborah Smith Parker is re-writing the often impenetrable language of astrology into a much friendlier form. She has spent her 30 plus years as an astrological consultant, writer, teacher and lecturer freeing the rich astrological images and their descriptions increasingly buried under modern clinical and technological descriptions. Her additional work in public policy has provided many outlets for demonstrating her ability to break down highly complex systems into information that’s easily understood.

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12 Responses to “THE STARS: DO THEY INDICATE OR INFLUENCE?”

  1. This is amazing, Deborah! For an astrologer it’s actually life-changing!! Here you’ve said it: BY DEFINITION, the stars INFLUENCE–they don’t just glitter away up there!

    I’ve had conversations recently with another astrologer who is ALL about “process”, which I can’t disagree with, but she uses the concept of “process” to dance away from predictions. It’s very clear to me that when certain patterns crop up, you can absolutely predict something of an archetypal nature. The specificities, of course, depend on the ‘process’ of the individual and their willingness to embrace the influence rather than run from it.

    Yes. The stars INFLUENCE us. Categorically. I’m blown away by the dictionary! (and you).

  2. Jim Hennum says:

    I can’t remember now whether I read this somewhere else, or if it was in your book (which it’s probably time I re-read!) – but I think it was Thomas Aquinas who said (and I’m paraphrasing – and probably to some degree bastardizing it) the stars control those of us who do not make the effort to understand them and make room for their archetypes in our lives.

    My personal take has always been the stars are little “alarm clocks” we set before we incarnate to remind us of evolutionary growth in our souls we sought to experience in this lifetime. Whether or not we pay attention to the “alarms” the changes will come. It is the agreement we made before we entered this world. The difference between hell and growth is knowing when to stop fighting and go with the flow. And knowing which flow you’re going with!

    The changes may still be extraordinarily difficult, but if you understand their purpose, it makes them a little easier to bear. And knowing the timing – when this will end – makes a huge difference. Kind of like in high school knowing when the class you abhor (it was phys ed, for me) will end and you will have a few moments between classes to talk to friends and then make it to the class you really like (just about anything else, for me!).

  3. Sharon Hart says:

    Over the years, I’ve also pondered this question. I’ve arrived at a “Yes/And” answer. I suspect that the stars set the course for potential but we have the ability to exercise free will and re-direct the course. Sometimes it’s only a brief detour from the original “plan”, but ultimately the “intent” of the direction is still satisfied.

  4. Very insightful. We share the space and influence comes from everyone, everything and everywhere. So the question for each of us is “What do you want?” Be the change and think with your heart and honor the light in all beings.

  5. Jill Estensen says:

    Oh Deborah……my heart filled to overflowing out of my eyes. Such a grand way to begin the week….in humble gratitude, Jill

  6. What can I say Deborah? You have found a real jewel! 🙂 While I had known that when people say “disaster,” that indeed, it literally means “against the stars.” I never knew until reading your blog post today that the word “influence” is actually aligned with the same principles! Our language is amazing, in that without consciously knowing, it “keeps” these tidbits of knowledge hidden until one is ready to truly see – thanks for sharing this!!

  7. I don’t think that it necessarily makes sense to conceptualize the planets and stars as literally causing things to happen here on Earth. While it may be halfway plausible to entertain that viewpoint within the context of natal astrology, since we might thing of one’s temperament as being “influenced” by the stars in some way, this doesn’t make as much sense within the context of practiced such as horary or electional astrology. Are the planets influencing the stones in a building, or the thoughts in my head when I ask a horary question, or are they simply mirroring those things back to us in symbolic form? Also, in natal astrology the chart can indicate some weird things related to events that will occur both after and before the native’s birth, like events related to the person’s siblings for example. Does it make sense to think that the celestial ‘imprint’ of the stars at the moment of birth also somehow caused those events that took place prior to birth to happen as well? Seems like a bit of a stretch.

  8. Greg Kramer says:

    The cosmos both causes things and doesn’t cause them. It influences and it doesn’t. That is the nature of life, and astrology maps it. We naturally see astrology as an influence when we feel influenced by it, yet the planets continue in their orbits oblivious to and uninfluenced by our human condition. It kind of feels like a paradox, but once we allow life’s contradictions into our thinking, astrology can begin to represent reality, as it should. Life is big enough to encompass all these possibilities, and our charts should be too.

    We are too small with our astrology. I thought it may have been Deborah’s underlying point that she strives to bring the experience she had on the lake into conformity with her own vision of what is possible for astrology. Why not think big? Look at your chart: we ARE as big and spectacular and infinite as the cosmos. We can never fully grasp the glory this universe has to offer us, so why limit the scope of what astrology can symbolize? Everything influences everything else. All our study can do is reflect us back to ourselves, so any limit we come up against is in us, not in the symbolism. Furthermore, I don’t see the value in questioning and devaluing the plausibility that Deborah could perhaps have been intuiting a larger vision of astrology during her wonderful experience, something I think most astrologers sense, but few pursue.

    The practice of astrology is our feeble attempt to make sense of it all, to come alive to its potential for the sake of others and ourselves. Maybe it’s the best we can do, but what truly is the limit of the symbolism’s influence? I would say it’s limited by our human condition. If sages or enlightened beings walk the earth, they have charts. But how would you read them? The symbolism is limited only by our ability to grasp it, not by empirical data gathered by someone unable to fathom the depth of a sage.

    Our human sense of time is not an authentic indicator of reality. It plays a valuable role in our lives and in the mapping of our symbolism, but life is not limited to our subjective time sense, so neither should our astrology be. A deep samadhi may transcend time yet the life continues, and when the personality re-emerges in time, the chart still works. So who is to say what the limits of this influence are? We should remain open to the possibilities.

    Astrology should be able to symbolize the raw vibrancy of being, and those rare and awesome moments of inspiration such as Deborah experienced that night. We should appreciate and be thankful for her willingness to share this with us, and we should take it as a reminder to be looking for those insights and that meaning in the astrology we do and in the lives we live.

    gk

    • Thanks, Greg. As you said: “I thought it may have been Deborah’s underlying point that she strives to bring the experience she had on the lake into conformity with her own vision of what is possible for astrology.” And I continue to do that. I’m currently back on that pursuit probably never left it. As I shall soon blog (not the one I will post in the next 24 but soon after) it is not easy to articulate but I love grappling with it.

  9. Brian Pitzen says:

    You may or may not have read this article on how the Sun and Jupiter physically affect each other. Here is an excerpt and link to the article.

    ” … At its heart is a curious coincidence noted by astronomers more than 150 years ago. If the number of sunspots appearing on the disk of our nearest star are plotted over time, they follow a distinct pattern, rising and falling over a period of about 11 years.
    This is curiously close to the 11.9 years that it takes Jupiter, the biggest planet in the solar system, to complete one orbit of the Sun.
    It is always hard to know what to make of such “coincidences”; all too often they prove to be the product of nothing more than random chance.
    But in 1852, the Swiss astronomer Johann Wolf showed that despite its great distance, Jupiter has more gravitational effect on the Sun than any other planet. He went on to develop a theory that seemed to account for sunspot numbers via the influence of Jupiter and other planets.
    As sunspots are a symptom of solar activity, and this in turn directly affects the Earth, Wolf’s ideas sound uncomfortably close to astrology.
    This doubtless explains why the notion of planetary influence on the Sun was hastily dumped at the start of the 20th century, following the discovery of a link between sunspots and the solar magnetic field.
    Clearly, there could be no connection between the gravity of the planets and the magnetic field of the Sun. But now a team led by Dr José Abreu, of the ETH Zurich Institute for Geophysics in Switzerland, has rekindled the controversy with impressive evidence for precisely such a link.
    To make their case, the team has examined records of solar activity far more extensive than those used by Wolf, who could only go back as far as the mid-17th century, and the first telescopic observations of sunspots by Galileo.
    Dr Abreu and his colleagues have exploited the fact that changes in the sun’s magnetic field affect the levels of cosmic rays smashing into the Earth’s atmosphere – which in turn create isotopes that get trapped in polar ice and tree rings.
    By analysing the rise and fall in levels of these isotopes, the team has managed to reconstruct the peaks and troughs in solar activity covering more than 9,000 years.
    Armed with so much data, they have been able to look for patterns in the activity far more subtle than those found by Wolf. And what they have found broadly confirms his idea of a planetary influence on the Sun.
    Publishing their findings in the current issue of the journal Astronomy & Astrophysics, the team stresses that the planets cannot be the prime driver for the 11-year cycle of solar activity.
    If that were so, the orbits of the planets would change noticeably through the energy needed to drive the activity. But the planets can and do seem capable of affecting the processes that generate the Sun’s magnetic field.
    Analysis of the isotope data has uncovered a set of cycles of solar activity ranging from about 85 to more than 500 years, each of which appears to be linked to planetary cycles.
    All of which sounds pretty esoteric until one ponders the implications. Every so often, these cycles combine to produce periods of especially high or low activity.
    And when they do, the effect on the Earth can be dramatic. Or, rather, has been dramatic – as the existence of such epochs is already well-accepted, even if their cause has not been.

    Read more: http://www.thenational.ae/news/uae-news/science/planets-may-affect-our-lives-after-all#ixzz2XBIdQEQu
    Follow us: @TheNationalUAE on Twitter | thenational.ae on Facebookhttp://www.thenational.ae/news/uae-news/science/planets-may-affect-our-lives-after-all#full

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