Astrology: The Science of Wholeness

28 October 2019

Wolfgang Smith

It needs first of all to be understood that the “wholeness” to which we allude is none other than the “tripartite wholeness” previously defined,1Cf. Physics and Vertical Causation: The End of Quantum Reality  (Angelico Press, 2019). conceived in light of Platonist ontology. It can be depicted iconically in the form of a circle in which the center refers to the primary realm, not subject to the bounds of time or space, and the circumference represents what we know as the corporeal world. As for the interior of that iconic circle, it proves to be indicative of a long-forgotten domain subject to time alone, still known to Orthodox Christianity as the “aerial” world.2It constitutes the authentic basis of what, in 19th-century occultism, was spoken of rather confusedly as the “astral” plane. What nonetheless confronts us primarily in this tripartite ontology is a dichotomy between the supra-temporal and the temporal realms, which proves to be tantamount to the Platonist distinction between the intelligible  and the sensible  orders. What remains is a division of the sensible into a  gross  or “corporeal” and a subtle  or “psychic” stratum. The central claim of Platonism — which I deem to be definitive — can now be stated with astounding brevity: it affirms that the sensible derives its reality from the intelligible, to which it stands in principle as a signifier  to its referent.3This interpretation has been pioneered by the French Platonist Jean Borella. See for instance The Crisis of Religious Symbolism  (Angelico Press, 2018), Part I. And that ontological recognition, I contend, proves to be the master key to the enigma of astrology.4The fact that the sensible is divided into two domains — the corporeal and the intermediary — has no direct bearing on this issue.

To imagine that stars and planets — as currently conceived — affect human character and destiny is doubtless the epitome of credulity. Yet whatever the present-day aficionados of astrology may say in that regard, this is not  what astrology actually affirms. It needs first of all to be understood that if the cosmos at large were, even remotely, what we nowadays take it to be — a conglomerate, namely, of astrophysical entities scattered throughout the immensities of space, made up of “matter” in the form of quantum particles — if that  were in truth the case, astrology would indeed reduce to the “exploded superstition” it is generally taken to be. The point is, however, that the cosmos does not in truth reduce to the conceptions of our current astrophysics:5I have dealt with this issue at some length in Ancient Wisdom and Modern Misconceptions  (Angelico Press, 2013), ch. 6. if not even the simplest corporeal entity — a pebble, say, in the palm of my hand — reduces to an aggregate of quantum particles, as one may actually conclude on the basis of quantum theory,6My article “From Schrödinger’s Cat to Thomistic Ontology” might serve as an introduction to the argument. what to speak of the cosmos at large!

The master key to the enigma of astrology, I have said, resides in the Platonist ontology: nothing less than that high — and perhaps, in a sense, “esoteric” — teaching will ultimately do. It informs us that the reality of all things pertains ultimately to the intelligible realm — which entails that so long as stars and planets are conceived as spatio-temporal entities, they can in truth be no more than signs  pointing to an intelligible referent. Such causality, therefore, as enters into the purview of astrology, originates — not  in stellar or planetary masses moving through space — but precisely in that supra-temporal sphere Platonists refer to as the intelligible  world. That causality, therefore, is not effected by a temporal transmission through space — the kind known to physics, to which I refer as horizontal — but proves to be what I call vertical  causation: a kind that does not  operate “in time.”7Unlike the “horizontal” modes of causation which pertain to the domain of physics, vertical  causality is not mediated by a temporal process, but acts instantaneously. See Physics and Vertical Causation, op. cit., which defines and justifies VC in the context of quantum mechanics. The planets, as they sweep out the zodiac with its twelve constellations, may thus be likened to the hands of a cosmic clock announcing the “seasons”8Gen. 1:14 of the sensible world, which in truth they no more “cause” than the ticking of an ordinary clock causes flowers to blossom and trees to bear fruit.

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Not only however is the cosmos tripartite in its integrality, but according to traditional doctrine, every ontological stratum reflects that tripartition on its own plane. What then constitutes the resultant tripartition of the corporeal world? It consists of the Earth  as representing the corporeal, the planetary realm  the intermediary, and the stellar  the intelligible world. The spatio-temporal world proves thus to be an iconic  representation of the tripartite cosmos: howbeit an inverted  one, inasmuch as it places the Earth — representative of the lowest stratum — at the center. The fact is that the corporeal world — Platonically conceived — constitutes a natural icon of the cosmos at large: the geocentric  icon, one may call it. And it is upon this icon that astrology is based.

It should however be recalled that the “stars and planets” as thus conceived do not by any means reduce to stars and planets as described by the physicist, which prove in fact to be sub-corporeal. Nor are they, strictly speaking, perceptible: what we actually perceive when we look at a star or planet is after all no more than a spot of light which we take to be the star or planet.9The Christian reader may recall that St. Paul distinguishes ontologically between terrestrial  and celestial  bodies, for instance in 1 Corinthians 15. Once again I refer to Ancient Wisdom and Modern Misconceptions, ch. 6, where I have dealt with the categorical deficiencies of contemporary astrophysics at some length. The aforesaid division of the corporeal world into its terrestrial, planetary, and stellar realms is thus not “merely symbolic” as one tends nowadays to imagine, but real  in a profoundly metaphysical sense. The corporeal world proves to be ontologically tripartite  because it “reflects” — in a distinctly Platonist sense — the cosmic trichotomy itself. In fact, it must  do so, by virtue of what it is:  an “image,” namely, of the tripartite Whole. And this fact proves to be vital: it is the reason, ultimately, why astrology is not  in truth “a superstition”!

But let me repeat that this image is “inverted”:  that the Earth, though central, holds in truth the ontologically lowest  rank. And I will note in passing that this geocentric icon constitutes actually the basis of the Ptolemaic cosmography, which has never in fact been “disproved,” but merely discarded, due to the fact that, in post-Galilean times, its ontological significance was no longer understood.10On the subject of geocentrism I refer to Physics and Vertical Causation, op. cit., pp. 48-62.

This brings us, finally, to a third “whole” crucial to astrology: the one upon which in fact it is technically based. I am referring to what is termed a horoscope:  one may think of it as a symbolic diagram representing the geocentric icon, with its terrestrial center plus planetary and stellar spheres. The first plays a passive  role by specifying the time and place on Earth at which the planetary and stellar configurations are viewed. The second represents the position of the seven astrological planets, at that time, in relation to the twelve stellar configurations known as the zodiac. As we have said before, one might think of the latter as the dial of a cosmic clock, and of the planets as the “hands” indicative of “cosmic time” relative to a terrestrial “here and now.” And let us not fail to note that the horoscope, once again, represents a tripartition of the corporeal world, howbeit in a very specific manner: i.e., relative to a given terrestrial “here” and “now.”

We shall not enter into the casting or reading of horoscopes, a subject well covered in any number of creditable sources. Our objective is rather to indicate, in the broadest strokes possible, the ontological basis  upon which astrological science rests. And I would point out, first of all, that this science constitutes in a sense the polar opposite  of contemporary physics: for inasmuch as physics operates with differential equations, it deals ultimately with what is left when all “wholeness” has been reduced to the sum of its infinitesimal parts — whereas astrology, to the contrary, does actually deal with unmitigated wholeness, as we propose to explain.  To attain to this recognition, we first need however to complete the picture; for it happens that we have so far left out a second “wholeness” which enters crucially into play: namely, our own.

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The great — and long-forgotten — fact is that in the integrality of their being, every man, woman, and child constitutes a veritable microcosm:  a tripartite whole, consisting of corpus, anima, and spiritus, which moreover is in a sense “isomorphic”  to the macrocosm. This means that whatever astrological elements define the global structure of the universe — thereby rendering it a cosmos — have their counterpart in the microcosm: namely in us. Unbelievable as this surely appears to be from our “atomizing” point of view, whatsoever is definitive of the astrological cosmos — the planets Venus and Jupiter, for instance — has its counterpart in the anthropos, the microcosm that we are. Of course, from a contemporary point of vantage, nothing could be more absurd! Suffice it to point out, however, that from a Platonist  point of view, just the opposite holds true: the central fact that being  derives from the intelligible order entails that every authentic wholeness cannot  but replicate — in its own inimitable way — the very wholeness of the cosmos as it pre-exists on the intelligible plane. And I would add that the Christian doctrine of theophany  affirms even more: for not only does it claim that the cosmos at large constitutes a theophany — a manifestation of God — but affirms that every human being is itself “made in the image and likeness of God.”11Gen. 1:26

It hardly needs saying that if a human being were simply a corporeal entity — or an “aggregate of quantum particles” — the claims of astrology would indeed be preposterous. The picture changes drastically, however, the instant it dawns upon us that we are in truth incomparably greater than our present-day culture allows us so much as to glimpse. How unspeakably paltry, by comparison, is our present-day Ersatz!  The fact is that so long as it does not electrify — render us speechless — the Delphic injuction “Know thyself”  has fallen upon deaf ears. Yet only recourse to a bona fide  sapiential tradition12Consisting at a minimum of three strands: the Vedic (undoubtedly the oldest), the Pythagorean-Platonic-Neoplatonist, and the Semitic, culminating in the Christian. allows us actually to heed the call.

The reason why astrology is not  a “superstition” resides finally in the well-nigh unbelievable fact that we carry the “stars and planets” within our integral being: to think of them as so many light-years distant — that  proves in the end to be the real superstition! The problem, however, is that only in terms of an inherently Platonist ontology can this be grasped: the Aristotelian already falls short in that regard — what to speak of the post-Galilean ontologies, which have in effect eliminated wholeness as such, and ended up with a quantum dust that turns out, in fine finali, not to exist.13See “From Cosmos to Multiverse: The Ominous Descent,” where I have explained the salient point.

The crucial point of the Platonist worldview resides in the fundamental dichotomy between the intelligible  and the sensible  realms: between a kind of being not subject to the conditions of time and space, and the time-conditioned modes terminating in the corporeal. What needs above all to be grasped is that corporeal  entities derive such being as they have — not, most assuredly, from quantum particles — but from an intelligible referent, in relation to which they serve as a sign:  which is to say that in truth their reality is ultimately semantic, to use Jean Borella’s term. It is upon this semanticity,  precisely, that the modus operandi  of astrology is based. The reason, thus, why stars and planets can serve as signs  is that — in the final count — they are  precisely that.14Let me be clear: no one claims the point is easy! And perhaps the best we can do is to avail ourselves “pictorially” of Plato’s “myth of the cave,” which likens sensible objects to “shadows” projected upon a wall by objects not themselves seen.

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The tripartite constitution of the human microcosm testifies to its aeviternity, its supra-temporal nature; and hard as it may be for the contemporary mind to accept, the time and place of our birth, so far from being “accidental,” is actually indicative of “who it is” that has, here and now, entered the corporeal world — which is in fact precisely  what the natal horoscope discloses in its own way. We have all become persuaded that there exists a stringent causation based upon the interaction of minute corporeal — or sub-corporeal — parts, yet we balk generally at the very notion of a causality emanating from wholeness. And even when it has been proved that a mode of causation based upon parts does not suffice — cannot account, for instance, for the production of so-called “complex specified information”15I am referring to a mathematical theorem proved by William Dembski in 1998. I have given a readable introduction in ch. 9 of Ancient Wisdom and Modern Misconceptions, op. cit.— we continue as a rule to deny that a causality based upon wholeness  is so much as conceivable. Yet the fact remains that this “inconceivable causality of wholeness” turns out to be the only kind that permits intelligence, morality, art — and in fact, science itself — to exist.

Getting back to the natal horoscope: what else can it be than a representation — in the “language” of astrology to be sure — of the person in the wholeness of his being, as identified by the time and place of his birth? And that very “language” is precious and irreplaceable inasmuch as it is not contrived — not “invented” — but is based upon the “true morphology” of man: his authentic “structure” as the microcosm he is. One might go so far as to aver that one requires that language of astrology to see a person in the actuality of his being, which lies far deeper than his “physical” and “psychological” characteristics.

Astrology deals with wholeness, we have said; and it can do so because its modus operandi  is itself holistic  as opposed to analytical. Of course there are rules — for beginners or amateurs, one might say — to the effect that “Jupiter in Gemini,” say, is indicative of this or that; and no doubt dicta of that kind have their place. But they do not add up to what may rightly be termed “the science of astrology” — any more than textbook rules concerning scales, chords, and meters add up to a “hearing,” one might say, of a sonata or a symphony. The point, once again, is that music — all authentic art for that matter — deals with wholes  which in fact do not reduce to the sum of their parts. And this is crucial: for in the absence of this stipulation one is dealing — not in truth with a whole — but with a mere aggregate, which of course is precisely what our physical sciences are about: the name of the game is to decompose, to eliminate in effect whatever authentic “wholeness” may initially exist.

But whereas these contemporary sciences prove thus to be inherently reductive — destructive, that is, of authentic wholeness — such is by no means a sine qua non  of science per se, which is to say that there do in fact exist bona fide  sciences of a “non-reductive” kind. The point, however, is that these differ fundamentally from the reductive genre in their modus operandi, and moreover bear a qualitative  significance over and above their quantitative content. It may come as a surprise that even pure mathematics admits such non-reductive modes, and that in fact the earliest schools were concerned mainly with the qualitative aspects of arithmetical and geometric facts. Such is the case especially in the Pythagorean tradition, where a profound connection between mathematics and the arts — beginning with music and architecture — comes into view. That connection persisted in fact right up to the advent of modern times, which is to say that the contemporary reduction of mathematics to an abstract formalism — and ultimately, to set theory — constitutes actually a “post-Enlightenment” phenomenon.16This process of reduction is epitomized in Whitehead and Russell’s monumental Principia Mathematica,  published in three volumes between 1910 and 1913. Before that time a “number” was an integer or a ratio of such, which to this day is termed a “rational” number, and these numbers — so far from reducing to pure “quantity” — possessed a qualitative identity: a wholeness  namely, of which the mathematician of our day has no longer the ghost of an idea. To catch a glimpse of what stands at issue one may recall that, in the context of musical harmony, it is precisely a halftone that takes you from a major to a minor key: from the dynamic “world of the Sun,” if you will, to the pensive “sphere of the Moon,” its qualitative complement — a fact concerning which our contemporary understanding of mathematics can obviously tell us not a blessed thing.

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The same holds true, to be sure, for the natal horoscope, which has to do likewise with qualities and wholeness as opposed to quantities and parts. To be specific, it represents the person in the wholeness of his being as mirrored in the corresponding aspect of the cosmos, defined by the positions of the planets with respect to the twelve zodiacal signs. And this makes sense because a human being is himself a microcosm:  a kind of replica of the integral cosmos “in miniature” one might say. The natal horoscope may thus be viewed as a “description” of a particular man or woman in terms defined by the integral cosmos: in terms, thus, of a universal wholeness which has been studied and codified by astrologers for thousands of years. And whereas this may seem irrational in a culture conditioned to view wholes as nothing more than an aggregate of parts, the picture changes drastically once it is realized that the matter stands in truth just the other way round: that it is actually the whole that gives rise to its parts.17Even the slightest knowledge of biology should suffice de jure  to make this clear. It then makes perfect sense to posit that the wholeness of a particular microcosm be comprehended within the integral wholeness of the macrocosm in the form represented by a natal horoscope: what this affirms is that the panorama of human life is not simply haphazard — devoid of rhyme or reason as one might say — but comports with a principle of order. What stands at issue, however, is not an order based upon “atomic parts” — not a Laplacian determinism to be sure — but an order based upon wholeness, such as we encounter, for instance, in the spheres of music and art. It is an order, thus, requiring a vocabulary of its own to express: and that is precisely what the science of astrology supplies.

Let me repeat once again, however, that to the contemporary mind — which has all but lost the very idea of wholeness — such a claim has become incomprehensible, and is consequently taken to be absurd. All such a mind discerns — be it in the cosmos at large or in a human being — is an assemblage of parts, precariously held together by the action of blind forces, reducible in the final count to the laws of physics.18Or better said: that is what such a person would  perceive, if he were true to his word: but where is the skeptic who looks upon a friend — let alone a child — through “scientistic” eyes! Show me a fully consistent skeptic: someone who truly believes  the scientistic dogmas he claims to endorse! And we can all agree that if such be the case, astrology does indeed reduce to an absurdity. It happens, however, that such is not  the case: that there is  such a thing as wholeness — a wholeness, as we have said, which does not reduce to a sum of parts — and that not only the cosmos at large, but every human being constitutes in truth a wholeness of that kind.

We have referred to astrology as “the science of wholeness”:  it needs however to be noted that what interests the astrologer is that wholeness — in both its macro- and microcosmic manifestations — as distinguished from the causality connecting the two. We add nothing to astrological science by pointing out that it hinges upon vertical modes of causality; we only explain why the Encyclopedia Britannica refers to astrology as “an exploded superstition.” It is not the concern of the astrologer to explain the connection between a microcosm and the macrocosm: his task is simply to read  a horoscope, not to explain why it works. And this “reading” is as much an art as it is a science. The novice, to be sure, does the best he can by applying a certain wisdom reduced more or less to “rules”;19I do not wish to demean these “rules,” or suggest that they do not apply: amazingly enough, they do apply to an astounding degree! My point is rather that the “wholeness” of which the horoscope is a sign can in fact be accessed fully only by way of an intellective act that does not reduce to following rules. This holds true, incidentally, even in the purely quantitative sciences of our day: in pure mathematics itself namely, in light of Gödel’s famous theorem. For a short introduction and gist of the proof, see Physics and Vertical Causation, op. cit., pp. 41-4. yet a master “reads” a horoscope very much the way a true musician “reads” a score: he “hears” the horoscope, one is tempted to say.

We have noted that — unlike the physicist — the astrologer does not reach his conclusions by tracing causal chains. And we have explained that there are in fact no such “chains,” because the causality in question does not operate by way of a temporal transmission, does not in fact operate “in time.” More than that can however be affirmed: for as we have noted, what stands at issue in astrology is a vertical causality that can only be understood on a Platonist basis: no lesser philosophy — no lesser darshana  or “perspective” as a Hindu philosopher would say — will do. The causality confronting us in astrology is the kind Jean Borella refers to as semantic:  the kind namely that connects a sensible  signifier to an intelligible  referent.20See The Crisis of Religious Symbolism, op. cit., Part I. What ultimately validates astrological science reduces thus to the ontological fact that the reality of all that is sensible ­— be it macro- or microcosmic — pertains to the intelligible  order, where there is no more separation of parts, and where even opposites are subsumed in the unity of wholeness.

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So far we have considered the reading of the natal horoscope. There is also, however, an astrology based upon two horoscopes: a natal namely, and one corresponding to a later time, the objective — at least as popularly conceived — being to elicit the “influence of stars and planets” upon the life and prospects of the person specified by the former at the time of the latter. Having previously noted that there is  actually no such horizontal  causation, it is evident that this second astrological scenario is likewise to be understood in terms of “wholeness” — which is, after all, what astrology is about. Yet regardless of the cause, the effect presents itself indeed as an “influence” of some kind. The point, however, is that it is we  who respond to that influence: our human freedom — our own wholeness  thus — is in no wise abrogated or compromised. On the contrary: it is presented with an opportunity, as it were, to assert itself — in the fullness of its sovereignty no less — by way of its response. We need to understand that, in the sphere of astrology, we are dealing with “whole acting upon whole,” as opposed to “parts acting upon parts.” And this means, of course, that the “action” too is of a fundamentally different kind: “vertical” as distinguished from “horizontal.”

It is to be noted that this “indeterminacy” — or better said, “freedom” — does not deprive the astrological prediction of “times and seasons” of its significance or utility: for the better we understand what it is that confronts us, the more enlightened and effective can be our response. Without such an understanding of what “predictive” astrology is actually about, on the other hand, the practice of “peering into horoscopes” may indeed prove harmful: as in just about any science, one needs to know what one is doing. And therein lies the quandary of astrology ever since the Enlightenment: it happens that the Zeitgeist  itself impedes us from understanding what that science is actually about! It may thus be “a happy fault” that most people in our day have bought into the “exploded superstition” narrative: it saves them from dabbling in matters they are bound to misunderstand.

Meanwhile, of course, astrology remains what it is. I am reminded of an incident in the life of Niels Bohr: he was taking a friend to a mountain cabin he owned, when the visitor noticed a horseshoe mounted upright above the entrance. “Surely, Professor Bohr, you don’t believe this can have an effect?” asked the visitor. “Of course I don’t,” replied the great physicist; “but they say it works, whether you believe in it or not.” Well, so does astrology. And despite the prevailing skepticism among scientists, there are notable exceptions even in that quarter; let me end this section with a quote from Johannes Kepler — the founder, if you will, of modern astronomy, and a confirmed heliocentrist no less. Referring to astrology he writes: “More than twenty years of practice have convinced my rebellious spirit of its validity.”21Quoted by Louis Saint-Martin in Sagesse de LAstrologie Traditionelle  (L’Harmattan, 2018), p. 15.

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In conclusion I wish to point out that astrology and modern physics are actually related: they prove namely to be polar opposites. For whereas physics is the science at which one arrives by dividing the corporeal world into ever smaller bits, ultimately reducing whatever it be to its so-called “atomic” constituents, astrology operates by an implicit reference to maximal wholeness: one completes the corporeal world, so to speak, in the tripartite wholeness of which the corporeal constitutes the lowest tier. This “ontological reversal,” moreover, entails a corresponding etiological  shift: from horizontal to vertical  causality namely, as we have already explained. Physics and astrology constitute thus two opposite extremes: no vertical causality  in the one, no horizontal causality  in the other. Or to put it in ontological terms: on the one hand we have a science based upon the “sub-existential” quantum world, and on the other a science which invokes the “supra-existential” realm Platonists refer to as the intelligible.

We should not fail to point out, moreover, that there is yet a third categorical opposition between the two sciences: for whereas both are in a sense “mathematical,” the kinds of mathematics in question constitute, once again, diametrical opposites — a point we touched upon earlier. And this proves to be crucially significant. We have forgotten that mathematics per se  does not reduce to its post-Enlightenment genres: that there exist forms of mathematics tracing back at least to the Pythagoreans, in which arithmetic and geometry are irreducibly separated, and “numbers” consist simply of integers and their ratios.22It may be of interest to recall that “the quantification of geometry” — and hence the validation of “irrational” numbers — was accomplished by none other than René Descartes through the introduction of what to this day is termed a “Cartesian” coordinate system. To appreciate the height and depth of the ancient mathematical sciences it is imperative to relinquish the Cartesian opus in its entirety. What confronts us in this long-forgotten pre-Enlightenment mathematics is a science in which “number” does not reduce to sheer quantity, but retains a qualitative — one might actually say an ontological — significance. And as we have noted, that mathematics was in fact cultivated vigorously in the philosophical — and particularly the Platonist — schools, and is intimately connected with the arts, especially with music and architecture. It is the mathematics that speaks to us in the fugues of Johann Sebastian Bach and in the great cathedrals of Europe, the kind that inspired the Jean Mignot to say: “ars sine scientia nihil.”23“Art without science is nothing.” Jean Mignon was one of the architects of the Milan Cathedral; and there can be no doubt that the heart of his scientia  was a basically Pythagorean mathematics. If we think of architecture as a kind of “music set in stone,” what confronts us, once again, are harmonic ratios. My point is that astrology too rests upon a mathematics linked to the qualitative realm, as exemplified so strikingly in musical harmony, where as we have noted, a halftone can take you “from the world of the Sun to that of the Moon” — and who knows even what this means, until he has “heard” it in the depth of his soul!

If modern physics and astrology — the science of infinitesimal parts and the science of maximal wholeness — prove thus to be in every respect “polar opposites,” is it any wonder that in a physics-dominated civilization, astrology should not be held in high esteem? The fact, moreover, that this “science of wholeness” proves to be “incurably” Platonist serves in itself to alienate the physicist, moored as he tends to be in a post-Galilean ontology constituting its very antipode. It needs thus to be understood that the current relegation of astrology to the status of a pseudo-science, so far from being based on scientific evidence, rests squarely on pseudo-philosophical grounds: upon the very premises, namely, that define the Zeitgeist  of our time. Admittedly philosophy as an academic discipline carries little weight these days, and hardly touches upon metaphysical issues anymore; yet in its capacity to close our eyes to the existence of higher spheres, its prowess remains undiminished since the glory-days of Hume, Kant, and Hegel.

In truth, neither astrology — nor its sister-science, alchemy — reduce to the proverbial “pre-scientific superstition” they are touted to be. Not only, however, does astrology have a rational basis — of the loftiest kind, as we have come to see — but it offers a service no other science is able to provide: a bona fide  knowledge, namely, of who we are;  for that is, after all, what — in its own way — the natal horoscope entails. In this regard astrology fulfills a function which has nowadays been taken over by various contemporary schools of psychology, in a manner that is both illegitimate and potentially harmful in the extreme, as I have argued elsewhere.24See Cosmos and Transcendence  (Angelico Press, 2008), chs. 5-6, dealing with Freudian and Jungian psychology, respectively.

Astrology, finally, can open our eyes to the undiminished grandeur of the universe: the fact, first of all, that the latter is actually a cosmos  as distinguished from a helter-skelter of particles “moving endlessly, meaninglessly”  as Whitehead laments. Contrary to what our contemporary sciences seem to affirm, astrology teaches us that things exist — not indeed “from the bottom up” — but just the other way round: “from the top down.”  It is not actually “the parts that make the whole,” but it is in truth the Whole that makes the parts. As for myself, I harbor no doubt that the Weltanschauung  upon which astrology is based — and which in turn it expresses — is not only true, but normative for mankind at large: that in fact it is consonant with the veritable sophia  that enables art and human culture in its higher modes, and ultimately permits us, Deo volente, to glimpse — “as through a glass darkly” — the unspeakably glorious calling and last end of human birth.

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1. Cf. Physics and Vertical Causation: The End of Quantum Reality  (Angelico Press, 2019).
2. It constitutes the authentic basis of what, in 19th-century occultism, was spoken of rather confusedly as the “astral” plane.
3. This interpretation has been pioneered by the French Platonist Jean Borella. See for instance The Crisis of Religious Symbolism  (Angelico Press, 2018), Part I.
4. The fact that the sensible is divided into two domains — the corporeal and the intermediary — has no direct bearing on this issue.
5. I have dealt with this issue at some length in Ancient Wisdom and Modern Misconceptions  (Angelico Press, 2013), ch. 6.
6. My article “From Schrödinger’s Cat to Thomistic Ontology” might serve as an introduction to the argument.
7. Unlike the “horizontal” modes of causation which pertain to the domain of physics, vertical  causality is not mediated by a temporal process, but acts instantaneously. See Physics and Vertical Causation, op. cit., which defines and justifies VC in the context of quantum mechanics.
8. Gen. 1:14
9. The Christian reader may recall that St. Paul distinguishes ontologically between terrestrial  and celestial  bodies, for instance in 1 Corinthians 15. Once again I refer to Ancient Wisdom and Modern Misconceptions, ch. 6, where I have dealt with the categorical deficiencies of contemporary astrophysics at some length.
10. On the subject of geocentrism I refer to Physics and Vertical Causation, op. cit., pp. 48-62.
11. Gen. 1:26
12. Consisting at a minimum of three strands: the Vedic (undoubtedly the oldest), the Pythagorean-Platonic-Neoplatonist, and the Semitic, culminating in the Christian.
13. See “From Cosmos to Multiverse: The Ominous Descent,” where I have explained the salient point.
14. Let me be clear: no one claims the point is easy! And perhaps the best we can do is to avail ourselves “pictorially” of Plato’s “myth of the cave,” which likens sensible objects to “shadows” projected upon a wall by objects not themselves seen.
15. I am referring to a mathematical theorem proved by William Dembski in 1998. I have given a readable introduction in ch. 9 of Ancient Wisdom and Modern Misconceptions, op. cit.
16. This process of reduction is epitomized in Whitehead and Russell’s monumental Principia Mathematica,  published in three volumes between 1910 and 1913.
17. Even the slightest knowledge of biology should suffice de jure  to make this clear.
18. Or better said: that is what such a person would  perceive, if he were true to his word: but where is the skeptic who looks upon a friend — let alone a child — through “scientistic” eyes! Show me a fully consistent skeptic: someone who truly believes  the scientistic dogmas he claims to endorse!
19. I do not wish to demean these “rules,” or suggest that they do not apply: amazingly enough, they do apply to an astounding degree! My point is rather that the “wholeness” of which the horoscope is a sign can in fact be accessed fully only by way of an intellective act that does not reduce to following rules. This holds true, incidentally, even in the purely quantitative sciences of our day: in pure mathematics itself namely, in light of Gödel’s famous theorem. For a short introduction and gist of the proof, see Physics and Vertical Causation, op. cit., pp. 41-4.
20. See The Crisis of Religious Symbolism, op. cit., Part I.
21. Quoted by Louis Saint-Martin in Sagesse de LAstrologie Traditionelle  (L’Harmattan, 2018), p. 15.
22. It may be of interest to recall that “the quantification of geometry” — and hence the validation of “irrational” numbers — was accomplished by none other than René Descartes through the introduction of what to this day is termed a “Cartesian” coordinate system. To appreciate the height and depth of the ancient mathematical sciences it is imperative to relinquish the Cartesian opus in its entirety.
23. “Art without science is nothing.” Jean Mignon was one of the architects of the Milan Cathedral; and there can be no doubt that the heart of his scientia  was a basically Pythagorean mathematics. If we think of architecture as a kind of “music set in stone,” what confronts us, once again, are harmonic ratios.
24. See Cosmos and Transcendence  (Angelico Press, 2008), chs. 5-6, dealing with Freudian and Jungian psychology, respectively.