Astrology in Kleinmond
One of the many events that formed part of the Fynbos Festival in Kleinmond/Betty's Bay was a presentation by a local astrologer on Saturday, December 13. Since I was giving an astronomy presentation the next evening, I felt it my duty to attend and hear what wonderful things the astrologer had to say. I wasn't disappointed.
Five people attended the talk, given at Mthimkhulu Village, a community centre set under sprawling trees in Kleinmond. It's a lovely space for holding public events both indoors and outdoors, and I wish we had something similar in Stellenbosch.
The astrologer had a lot to say, but the signal-to-noise ratio wasn't very good (to put it delicately).
What drew her to astrology, she explained, was that she had so many questions about her life that were unanswered, and astrology allowed her to see things for what they were. After first criticizing other astrologers (whose statements are "so general, so vague", and it's "this way or that, you never know which one") she then went on to offer a wide selection of her own vague, ambiguous statements. Noting that each planet (there are 10, Pluto included) looks at different aspects of your personality, she explained that astrology isn't a force of some kind – "the planets do not literally affect us," it's a mirror, an energetic map, "as above, so below". Astrology is symbolic, versus astronomy which is scientific. And then, "the planets describe these forces that influence us."
In astrology, one's birth date and place is cardinal. The time of first independent breath is the time for which the horoscope should be drawn up. Apparently explaining why twins, who are always born a few minutes apart, will not have identical horoscopes (and presumably identical futures).
There was a question about Caesarean sections and if that influenced the horoscope. Apparently it doesn't, because its the first independent breath that's important. And besides, "the baby's soul already knows about this."
The astrologer then showed the symbols of the zodiac, "such beautiful symbols!", and extolled how beautiful a square is – 'it gets you going, it kick's butt." The position of the Sun in your horoscope determines how people see you; the Moon's position determines your emotional side. I wondered if this means that people born at the moment of a solar eclipse are thus the only 'authentic' people on the planet.
For example, she explained, if the Sun is in Aries you are excitable and go-go-go, while if that person's Moon was in Taurus, then inside they would prefer to be calm and stress-free.
And herein lies, she said, the attractive thing about astrology: "Nothing is wrong with you, that's the beauty, it's non-judgmental."
Discussing fate and free will, she noted that some people don't like the idea that astrology says we are fated to behave in a certain way. But, she says, there is "progression" – because the planets constantly change, so "there is learning, we are not stuck." WTF?
"It's the hand that you are dealt. Is that fated? Yes, I think so."
She recounted how a friend had a 12-year old child with behavioural problems. The astrologer advised the friend to not take the child to a therapist, "let him lie down, sleep, rest, for two years." So there the child was, quiet in his room all the time, didn't see or do anything, and then one day just woke up, normal.
Astrology also shows the development of disease; the astrologer had showed a customer how her cancer would develop, peak, and change.
At this point, an astrology enthusiast in the audience noted that one shouldn't try to fix things, "just let things be". She said that she was worried about her child's grades, "but maybe I should just let it be".
And then the lady complained how bad it was that the churches have been depriving us of all this important information.
The astrologer then pointed out that "astrology shows that we are multi-dimensional beings – that's great!"
Moving on from free will and fate, the astrologer then noted that often people have trouble with the idea that astrology makes predictions. "But why?! We use weather predictions all the time!"
She pointed out that people around the age of 40 want a change, and "I give them advice on how to deal with it."
Then we were shown a sample horoscope, of a male born in 1918 in South Africa. The planets showed he was a fighter for the oppressed, in politics, a public speaker, a group guy, and would make an imprint on public life. Of course it was Nelson Mandela's chart.
On a question about his exile period in prison, the astrologer said something about his 12th house and how these people need to rest, and during his prison time, Uranus and Neptune was predicting a crisis.
She went on to say that we had an eclipse in August, and "Mbeki had to go just two months later. We as astrologers knew something was going to happen in politics."
Discussing the various applications of astrology, she noted that "a lot of my clients come with relationship issues," which she presumably resolves.
I learnt that there is a thing called "mundane astrology", which is the chart of an entire country. There's medical astrology, where each zodiac sign is diagnostic of a body part, Aries being the head and face, and so on.
After all, the astrologer pointed out, apparently without understanding the irony, "until the 15th century all doctors were astrologers."
Then there's astrocartography, which tells you where in the world the best place is for you. She showed a world map crossed with lines that represent the influence of American ex-President George Bush, and triumphantly pointed out that his Pluto line (the planet of war & conflict) goes right through Iraq. Interestingly, his Jupiter line (indicating heaviness and rulership) goes through the Western Cape...
And then there's horory astrology, the astrology of the hour, which can answer all sorts of questions, like "Where is my cat? When is the best time for marriage?"
There's also sports, stock market, fertility, vocational, and agricultural astrology, I learnt.
Someone asked if the current financial crisis in South Africa was predicted. "Yes!", the astrologer proclaimed. "Saturn and Uranus were opposing, so all structures were in flux, then Pluto... so businesses went bankrupt."
The astrologer noted that she does a lot of vocational guidance, that people finishing school come to her for career advice.
And then she went on to explain that yes, astrology can indeed predict one's death – it's unethical but possible. She admitted that she had only done this once, and had told a customer when her husband would pass away so that the sale of their property could be arranged.
In closing, she said that astrology was a spiritual tool, and offered the "Fly Eagle, Fly" tale, "You don't belong to the Earth, you belong to the Sky".
Now at this point, if the Gentle Reader believes I've made all this up or have grossly misrepresented the astrologer's tale – I have an audio recording of the whole gory thing.
There's a lot of good intention in what the astrologer spoke about, and I'm sure her intentions and motives are pure. But it is precisely her good nature and well-meaning that has been hijacked by nonsense. She appears to be intellectually curious about the world and wants to reach out and help other people. And astrology has misled her profoundly.
There are good reasons why medical doctors have, since the 15th century, abandoned astrology. And why trained and registered psychologists are consulted about vocational matters and therapy.
The real world is much, much more complex than the trivial parlour games of ten whirling planets and twelve star signs. You need to know a lot more about human psychology before you intervene in another person's life – and you need to be accountable.
Good intentions aren't enough.
nothing more to see. please move along.