Book reviews

A Study in Existential Philosophy (Part 2)

My summer reading:  Willem Barrett’s 1959 classic, Irrational Man, A Study in Existential Philosophy.


Beginning

Art reflects life and life during the early 20th century rise of Existentialism was fragmented and disjointed, at least it appeared thus based on Western man’s perception of the world, which in turn was based on ancient Greek notions of linearity. This is clearly laid out by Aristotle in his famous work, Poetics: drama (and by extension, life) must have a definable beginning, middle, and end – in that order.

For Western man, lack of linearity leads inextricably to angst and anxiety. This is precisely what Existentialists like Heidegger (1889-1976) were trying to address.

For Heidegger, ‘time is no longer a reckonable sequence’ but instead ‘an inexhaustible inescapable presence’. In other words, real time, unlike time displayed on clocks and calendars, is primitive, primordial, spooky; real time, as understood by Heidegger and others, is scandalously shorn from comforting pre-Reformation notions of eternity.

For Existentialists like Heidegger, real time is the reflection of a reality fraught with angst and anxiety, anxiety and angst that is the natural reaction to disruption within the ‘dense medium’ through which Western man drags himself ever day, the medium which is his existence or Being.

As such, it’s little wonder, Barrett instructs, that early 20th century writers like Woolf, Eliot, and Forster, on the cusp of World War I – global conflict killing nearly 40 million – experimented with disjointed ideas of linear progression.


Middle

EM Forster

For example in Howards End, Forster juxtaposed physical manifestations of the old and new; the idyllic countryside (‘untroubled meadows’) is viewed by Mrs Munt from the train on her journey to her house, Howard’s End. She sees it as ‘awakening after a nap of a hundred years’ to such ‘life’ as is conferred by the ‘stench of motor-cars’. But if Mrs Munt was ‘equally indifferent’ to ‘history’ – ‘tragedy’ – the ‘past’ and the ‘future’, Forster was not.

He uses that stinky motor-car as a symbol for death and destruction – Charles (with his fit-for purpose ‘gloves and spectacles’) who virtually becomes his car (his father admonishes – your ‘one idea is to get into a motor’) kills Mr Bast, and the paddock is sacrificed for a garage to house the motor, and the motor-car ‘flattens’ a cat.

But no matter how often characters urge each other to ‘bridge’ the gap (between what is never made precisely clear), for the most part they seem to fail except perhaps through the marriage of Margaret (old order) and Henry Wilcox (new order) – neither of whom (interestingly) drives a ‘motor’!

TS Eliot

But whilst Forster seeks connections, TS Eliot seems to glorify disconnectedness, especially in regards to metaphysical reality; in his poem The Wasteland, there are numerous references to a troubled Christianity. For example, in the section entitled A Game of Chess, a reference to the ‘sylvan scene’ (an allusion to the 4th book of Paradise Lost by John Milton where Satan came in the view of Eden) serves as an appropriate forecast for the immediately following allusion to Philomela who was violently raped by her sister’s husband, Tiresias (who may be equated with Satan). The message would appear to be that all hell is breaking loose in creation.

As each different section of The Wasteland shifts to the next without transition (or sometimes without even obvious links), we get a sense of how frustrated and lost that society must have felt. But unlike Howards End, The Wasteland seems to suggest connections cannot ever be made. In What the Thunder Said, we learn from the poem’s speaker that he will be unable to ‘set my lands in order” because ‘London bridge is falling down’ – and that the ‘fragments’ have been ‘shored against my ruins’.

Virginia Woolf

Whilst both Forster and Eliot draw attention to the problems inherent in making connections in a fragmented reality, Virginia Woolf seems to suggest everything will sort itself out in the natural course of time. For example, in her autobiographical writings, Moments of Being, she states that she personally takes ‘great delight’ in pulling together her own ‘severed parts’ by dredging through memories (perceptions of time) – much in the same way that many of her fictional characters appear to do.

In Mrs Dalloway, the ebb and tide of Clarissa’s day are a jumble of events, places, and people bound together solely by (often disparate and fragmented) memories spanning more than thirty years. Quite how reflections on the ‘most exquisite moment of her whole life’ when she had been kissed by Sally Seton are connected with her own ‘faults, jealousies, vanities, and suspicions’ (conjured up by Lady Bruton having not asked her to lunch) is left to the reader’s (vivid) imagination. But the way they are presented as a given – we sense that Woolf was never in doubt that they were connected.

In Orlando, the only continuity between the hero turned heroine after a four-hundred year romp through history is his/her memories and face. Indeed, memory or personal perceptions of reality, are again here the binding thread – ‘running her needle in and out – up and down – hither and thither’ in a way that clock ‘time’ (which makes ‘animals and vegetables bloom with amazing punctuality’) can never do.


End

At the end of the day, all this fuss, literary and otherwise, regarding the disruption logical linearity is merely a question of perception and perspective. There’s a reason, Barrett says, that unlike Western society, Oriental cultures did not give rise to Existentialism. Such cultures do not share the Western preoccupation with linear ordering and so have no need to examine or explain its breakdown.

In other words, the ordered, precise and linear world of Western society is nothing more than a mental construct reinforced by centuries of culture.

Change that construct, and you’re well on the road to resolving ‘angst’ or that deep seated, irrefutable, insatiable anxiety from which, 20th century writers like Eliot, Forster, and Woolf and 20th century Existentialists like Heidegger were suffering.

Might the 20th century efforts of these men and women shed light on the 21st century anxiety and angst which in the aftermath of Covid-19, we are now suffering?


Book reviews

A Study in Existential Philosophy (Part 1)

My summer reading:  Willem Barrett’s 1959 classic, Irrational Man, A Study in Existential Philosophy.

From the beginning, Barrett reminds us that contrary to popular belief, the groundwork for Existentialism was not laid in the cafes and bars of 20th century Paris but much earlier, with the 16th century Protestant Reformation. With the iconoclasm that accompanied that movement, the psychic underpinnings of man’s here-to-fore meaningful cradle to grave lives was cast adrift. This left man face-to-face with ‘nothingness’, a stark and shocking reality that in the 19th century, both Kierkegaard and Nietzsche made perfectly clear.

Both 20th century secularism and capitalism hastened our demise. By the mid-1950’s, when Barrett was writing, a new car or TV set delivered American men and women more meaning in their lives than ever could God. Onward forges capitalism until we find ourselves devoid of anything tangible to which we can hold except faceless corporations, sprawling factories, and of course, the next pay check.

By this time, it becomes obvious there is nothing left of the pious medievalist, much less classical Greek man. According to Barrett, modern man remains a mere fragment – a bare skeleton, of that long-ago man that as we are told in Genesis, was created by God in His own image. American president Donald Trump with recent his photo-op with the Bible, aptly sums this up for most, it’s not a pretty picture.

This is because with that picture, it becomes abundantly clear that we are an abstraction, at best, of what once we were. What’s worse, because of the inevitability of evolution, we cannot turn the tide. Now the gateway home to paradise, the Garden of Eden, is well and truly closed and locked. It is with this stark realization that we now all enjoy what the Existentialists have coined ‘angst’ or a deep seated, irrefutable, insatiable anxiety.

(to be continued)

Astrology

What’s Ahead for June 2020?

We’re coming up to a real zinger of a month.

Peddling Backwards

First and foremost, for two days (from 23-24 June), no fewer than six planets will be retrograde, or apparently moving backwards through the sky. This is a rare occurrence and not the time to expect to make forward progress. Instead, use it as perhaps the gift that it is intended to be; a time for reflection, reality checks, and making strategic plans and decisions. Doubtless this time will be sorely needed.

Final Endings

Earlier in the month, on 5 June, the eclipse season commences with a lunar eclipse. With every eclipse something ends and something begins but whilst solar eclipses tend to offer new opportunities, lunar eclipses tend to bring final endings.

Because this eclipse (where the shadow of the earth blots out the light of the Moon) occurs on the Sagittarius/Gemini axis, we can expect a shadow of some sort to fall across our beliefs and knowledge.

Perhaps some ‘truth’ in which we’ve heavily invested is seriously questioned? If so, at least because the highly auspicious fixed star Betelgeuse is involved, it’s more than likely that in the end, we’ll consider learning this now rather than later to have been for the best.

Affirmative Action

Unfortunately, until Mars moves from foggy Pisces into more clear-sighted Aries, we may be unable to take affirmative action about that which we’ve learned. This delay could prove painful. This is because on 12-14 June, Mars in Pisces will have met up with Neptune (by conjunction). As the result, we’ll probably learn something about that upside down ‘truth’ that is disheartening.

Because the zodiac sign of Pisces is closely associated with martyrs, we might expect someone or some group of people to suffer persecution because of this ‘truth’. Because Pisces is ruled by the planet Jupiter, we might expect this persecution to involve some kind of legal ruling.

But, rest assured, when Mars finally does move into Aries on 28 June, there will be plenty of time for action. Mars will remain in this most militant of zodiac signs from then until the beginning of January 2021. It’s with the next set of eclipses, that we might expect to learn more about the precise nature of that which will goad people to take (militant) action.

Domestic Disruption

For those who figured that by now the Covid-19 situation will have been now be well on its way to simply going away, with the solar eclipse on 21 June at 0 Cancer, there could be some bad news. As noted above, all eclipses denote beginnings and endings and this eclipse, about both, will be particularly strong; it packs a serious punch on Cancerian themes of home, family, and domestic affairs. In hindsight it might well be viewed as a new chapter in the story that commenced back in January 2020 with the stealth advance of Covid-19.

To finish up the month, on 30 June, we have another conjunction of Pluto and Jupiter, the two planets generally considered to have symbolized the spread of Covid-19. The big difference between earlier in the year and now is that both Pluto and Jupiter are retrograde. Might this mean the advent of the second wave of the corona virus?

Interesting News

Let’s hope not. But at the very least we might expect this conjunction of Pluto/Jupiter to take developing matters irrevocably out of our hands. If this happens, then we ought not to expect any serious clarity about this until around 5 July, when we will enjoy another Lunar eclipse, which like the solar eclipse on 21 June, will fall on the Capricorn/Cancer Axis.

Interestingly, this eclipse in July occurs against the backdrop of three important fixed stars. This suggests that as the result of whatever will happens as the result of the seeds planted by July eclipse, we might learn that we’ve been urged by leaders to move to too quickly to get back on track with ‘normality’ in the wake of Covid-19:

  • Canopus – speaking to the potential for great leadership and finding new pathways or back new ground.
  • Sirius – speaking to the dangers of pushing things forward too fast and taking action that lead to unexpected results, results that may ‘burn you’.
  • Vega – speaking to charismatic ‘star’ appeal that can be used for good or for ill.

Could you benefit from some help navigating June?

50 minute Astrology-Coaching sessions available for £(GBP) 60. Enquire below:

Astrology

What might we expect this weekend?

This weekend we will experience two powerful transits. They may not last for long but what comes about as the result will likely influence our lives for some time to come.

SUMMARY

Put disruption together with leadership figures and messages as well as crisis, fear, and uncertainty and at least we know what to expect; in essence the king has lost his crown. The next step is to figure out how to identify the silver lining inherent in every cloud and make the best use of it with tips from experts from crisis management.

ANALYSIS

Mercury in Aries is forming a square or challenging aspect to Jupiter/Pluto in Capricorn and the Sun in Taurus is uncomfortably connecting up with disruptive Uranus.

Let’s start first with Jupiter/Pluto: these planets have a 12-year cycle which is associated with power struggles and excessive optimism especially in regards to fear and uncertainty. In Capricorn, this dynamic is playing out in the realm of political and economic structures – governments, banks, and similar inviolable institutions upon which we have become accustomed to relying. The problem here is that Jupiter is in its ‘fall’ (i.e. falling from on high like Humpty Dumpty). Yet Pluto in Capricorn is strong. Whenever Pluto is involved, we can expect crisis of some sort. Something that was once well hidden about why we should remain optimistic is no more and no one will be happy about it.

Add Mercury, the messenger, to the mix and we might expect messages and vital information about something that will threaten our complacency. After all, if we choose to believe that there are such things as inviolable institutions, then haven’t we set ourselves up for an unpleasant surprise?

At the same time the Sun in Taurus will conjunct with Uranus in Taurus. Uranus is well-known for bring both disruption and surprises – often of a revolutionary kind. With this aspect, change and disruption in our domestic (Taurus) situations is pretty much a given. The Sun is associated with ‘father’ and similar authority figures and so that suggests both ‘king’ and ‘leadership’ figures. This could be the CEO of a multinational or it could be the president or prime minister.  

Put disruption together with leadership figures and messages as well as crisis, fear, and uncertainty and at least we know what to expect. We learn that the ‘king’ has lost his crown.

RESOLUTION

Experts in crisis management suggest that whatever the bad news, we need to remember that in every cloud there is truly a silver lining.

They suggest we experiment with ideas about opportunities that will not only help us to weather the storm but also to come out on top when its all over. This is best achieved when such opportunities work to the advantage to all involved. After all, chances are pretty good that it was a joint effort that got everyone into the mess and chances are equally good that it will be joint effort to get out of it.

Experts also suggest that incumbent to the success of our efforts will be to both stay focused on a meaningful goal. We also need to ensured (best we can) that everyone involved is honest about sharing whatever information they have.

Finally, the experts advise that it goes without saying that pretending something bad isn’t happening when it is happening will not work. Acknowledge the negative emotions churned up as the result of what’s happened and then after a deep breath, purposefully let them go.

If you’re going through hell, keep going.

Winston Churchill

Astrology

Happy Easter

Easter is the perfect time to remember how the doctrine of resurrection (i.e. life after death) leads straight to that of judgement, which like Karma, leads to the moment when the rewards for your past efforts manifest.

Sounds scary?

Not really, at least not if we also remember that the wisdom of the Tarot suggests that for those who’ve met certain preconditions, judgement is a time of healing. So what are those preconditions? The symbolism on the card itself makes this clear.

The three individuals being resurrected from this square-shaped grave embody the trinity of the divinity which is now freed from the quaternity of the earthly world. This suggests that which is authentic, essential, and divine in you will be finally liberated but only to the extent you have been true to your heart, your humanity, and to your ‘higher self’.

Astrologically, this brings us to the Sun.

According to Ficino (1433-1499), the consummate Renaissance man, the Sun is the image of the ‘heart’ of all life and especially that of our psyche. As such, the Sun symbolizes insight and imagination, those qualities considered to be uniquely human. Thus solar energy is associated with consciousness, rational thought, and the pursuit of honour – the ‘higher Self’ – the wind vane that directs our key decisions. Most importantly, the sun is associated with the divinity of spirit in all things, bringing them to life, fertilizing them, and providing all that is necessary for them to thrive and grow.

In the Kabbalah, the 6th sephirah known as Tiphareth and associated with the ‘Christ’, lies at the exact center of the Kabbalistic Tree. Thus it is in Tiphareth that soul and body, self and ego, higher consciousness and personality merge. 

Astrologically, Tiphareth is associated with the Sun as well as the heart-chakra. Not surprisingly then, as both the Kabbalah and Ficino remind us, the Sun, or Tiphareth, is the seat of our humanity, our ‘higher selves’.

What can you do with this?

The energy of this long Easter weekend is predominately that of the Sun in Aries, or the ‘higher self’, making a challenging square aspect to Pluto, the Lord of transfiguration, death and rebirth. If ever there was time a time to get in touch with how your ego (shadow side of the Sun) stifles your humanity, you higher Self, it’s right now.

Key to this is realizing that personalization is not the same as passion, which itself figures heavily into Easter imagery. The word Passion comes for the Latin word for suffering and so it is little surprise that with Easter, we celebrate the Passion of Christ, the betrayal, arrest, trial, and suffering of Jesus which ends with his death on the cross.

Sure, you need to have conviction in what you do and love for those for whom you do it. That’s passion!  By contrast, personalization – i.e. it’s all about me – only fans the flames of ego and hubris and that’s dangerous especially at this time. Use this time on this Easter to ensure your own resurrection by getting in touch with your humanity so as to be your best version of yourself.

Astrology

What we might expect in this next calendar quarter:

Summary:

  • In the UK, the next three months will be difficult – very difficult to be brutally honest – consider this akin to a death and rebirth. However, the good new is that there’s ample evidence in this chart that the people of this nation (albeit perhaps not including the current government) have the resolve, desire, and spirit of enterprise to pull through this crisis. We might also see some expected developments in BREXIT and our relationship with Europe
  • By contrast, in the US the next three months – equally difficult – will likely be characterized by illusion, disillusion, confusion and (self-imposed) deception. The need to be ‘perfect’ will severely hamper the situation in the United States.

Detailed points of consideration:

  1. With Capricorn rising, the key to the entire situation is Saturn, the chart ruler, and he is a particularly strong position in his home sign.
  2. In mundane astrology Saturn often represents the amount of freedom a society permits or denies itself. In Capricorn, this is likely to be restrictive. This is now clearly showing up with social-distancing and self-isolation – some of it mandatory, some not. Saturn as chart ruler also suggests that UK is slipping into a its ‘traditional’  and conservative outlook. The sign on the Ascendant is oft said to represent the national ‘myth’ and in the UK that myth has traditionally been in keeping with Capricorn: ‘knuckle under’ and ‘get on with the job’.
  3. Yet that is not the entire story; Pluto is rising in this chart and is within seconds of arc with a conjunction with the Ascendant. Also note Jupiter/Mars conjunction has just risen. This is not to mention that in this chart, the 1st house has no fewer than 5 (or 50%) of all the possible planetary players.
  4. In mundane astrology, the 1st house governs the health and general disposition of the nation and its people. This suggests the UK is being heavily hit and it shows.
  5. More specifically, planets making close contact (within 2-3 degrees) with the ASC/DSC are seriously powerful players and the planet in this chart is Pluto. Here the health and general disposition of the UK and its people is characterized by the principle of rebirth that comes as the result of death and decay. We may thus speculate that in the next calendar quarter, the UK will experience a trauma that could quite literally bring the nation-state to its knees.
  6. The 7th house, governing the UK’s foreign relations as well as agreements is also impacted by Pluto. I would hazard a guess that suggests significant ‘reconsideration’ of the UK’s position re: BREXIT and its relationship with Europe.
  7. The good news, however, is that Pluto also represents the healing principle, which impels the collective – as an organic whole – to experience violent phases of self- healing, in order to regain health.
  8. Pluto is also making close contact (by Sextile/Trine) to MC/IC axis. The MC (also the 10th house cusp) represents the country’s leadership – in this case the prime minister and his style of government. Pluto also represents corporate affairs and similar group activity especially when applied to selfish advantage. That the prime minster is tied in with this suggests that what we are being told is something less than the truth – at least about the economy and the impact of this crisis on corporate affairs. In addition, because Pluto also suggests self-destructive impulses, any governmental activity along these lines is not likely to bring happy results for anyone.
  9. Pluto is also making close contact with the 4th house (the IC in this chart) which suggests that difficult challenges and changes can be expected to be made by the citizens of the UK especially in regards to their domestic situations. This also comes as no surprise but because this chart covers the energy to be experienced over the next 3 months, it might carry on longer than anticipated (at least by some).
  10. The final piece of the puzzle comes with the Mars/Jupiter conjunction that also is making close contact all the chart angles (MC/IC and ASC/DSC). This suggests that the nation has the resolve  and ability to pull through this crisis. Add Pluto to this mix, and we find an extraordinary spirit of enterprise as well as the desire and ability to tackle huge problems with great success.
  11. When the going gets tough, the tough (in the case the people of the United Kingdom) get going. YEAH!

By contrast, the chart set for Washington DC, suggests that the United States will not fare so well.

  1. As Capricorn is also rising in this chart, Saturn is still the chart ruler and again we can expect social-distancing and self-isolation.  Clearly that is already happening although perhaps not as wide a scale as in the UK.
  2. But the planet that sets off the ASC/DSC axis (1st and 7th houses) in this chart is not Pluto as it was in the UK chart, but Neptune.
  3. Whilst Pluto suggests that the UK would undergo self-healing, however difficult, Neptune  suggests that the American’s collective need to be ‘perfect’ (not only in the image it presents to others but also as to how it sees itself) will hamper their recovery.
  4. In this respect Neptune suggests the United States as a whole will suffer over the next calendar quarter from illusion, disillusion, confusion and deception.
Philosophy

What is Truth – Take 2?!

This is the second of a series of three mini-essays written for a course exploring various philosophical theories of ‘truth’:

For William James, turn-of-the-last-century adherent of Pragmatism, ‘truth’ was a working hypothesis; if something ‘works’ to enable us to move forward in our search for ‘truth’, then accept it as ‘true’ (for now). By contrast, if you wait until absolutely certain you have found ‘truth’ before calling it such, you will be forever disappointed. James believed that although ‘truth’ is capable of being known, we can never be certain whether or not we have reached it.

Besides, with constant advancement in science and technology, ‘truth’ changes over time. We are always aiming at a moving target.

Although James failed to specify where our target of ‘truth’ might reside and what might be its ultimate purpose, he obviously thought it worthwhile of pursuit. Not all would agree. For example, by the mid-20th century, Deflationists had concluded that there’s nothing special about truth so why bother with it? Despite such developments, James need never to have worried. The continuing 21st century popularity of The Varieties of Religious Experience, James’s epistemological study of the spiritual experience of men and women, suggests his brand of ‘truth’ remains in high demand.

In my view, those wishing to find ‘truth’, at least in an epistemological sense, should consider James’s approach. Pragmatism opens more doors than other theories of truth and keeps them open too. For example, correspondence theorists require ‘truth’ to be shoe-horned into a rigid set of factual constraints, leaving us bereft when the ‘facts’ in play are neither black nor white, but instead clothed in shades of grey.  Equally, Coherence theorists narrow the field by requiring potential new ‘truths’ to either fit comfortably within an existing body of knowledge/understanding or be discarded.

Despite many upsides, Jamesian Pragmatism has downsides.

Although James was pluralistic (i.e. multiple versions of ‘truth’ exist), he was not a relativist, at least not in the sense that one man’s version of the truth is necessarily as good as the next (i.e. ‘anything goes’). Sometimes, however, in practical terms this distinction falls flat.

Consider Donald Trump and his claim regarding numbers attending his 2017 inauguration. Correspondence theorists would not consider this as ‘true’ because it fails to correspond to observable facts. Yet undoubtedly Trump’s ‘truth’ was useful to him, perhaps furthering one of his favourite pursuits, self-aggrandisement. James may also have considered Trump’s claim as useful and thus ‘true’ at least to the extent it furthers our understanding of human nature.

Accepting this ‘truth’ even as a working hypothesis appears dangerous. The challenges of a post-fact, post-truth White House are highlighted daily.

It is disturbing that some have suggested that the late philosopher, Richard Rorty, who actively aligned himself with Jamesian Pragmatism, actually prophesied the coming of ‘truth’ à la Trump.

Other downsides include: if no cares enough about a potential ‘truth’ to attempt to prove it, then it can never be considered as ‘useful’ or not. Equally, the approach may be so scientifically oriented as make it impractical when dealing with certain types of ‘truth’ such as moral imperatives or aesthetic values.  

Philosophy

What is Truth?

This is the first of a series of three mini-essays written for a course exploring various philosophical theories of ‘truth’:

The correspondence theory holds that a truth bearer such as a sentence, is ‘true’ if it can be shown to correspond to some verifiable ‘fact’ (i.e. concrete, empirical evidence) regarding some (often physical) reality.

Undeniably, the correspondence theory has its uses. For example, a statement like it is raining can usually be proven or disproven in regards to correspondence to empirical evidence with a quick look outdoors. It is useful because it conveys useful information (i.e. in this case, whether or not to take an umbrella). However when the perfecting the correspondence of a statement to external evidence is not possible (such as when ‘facts’ in question are neither clear nor able to be adequately observed), the correspondence theory struggles. You may say that it’s raining and that might well be ‘true’, but I am unable to verify your statement because it is too dark outside for me to see, then I’m still left not knowing whether or not to take that umbrella.

Likewise, this theory struggles with statements such as ‘cilantro is delicious’ which at best it is verifiable only in respect to the beliefs of the individual speaker.

What is delicious to one person is not delicious to another. If in doubt consider my own position on the deliciousness of cilantro (thumbs up) in comparison to that of my husband (thumbs down). Worse, neither of us are able to point to any verifiable ‘facts’ or ‘evidence’ to decide our dispute. In the end, all that we have conveyed is opinion and preference, the universal truthfulness of which cannot be proven although it is undeniably useful to know the tastes of my husband when making dinner.

When seeking ‘truth’ regarding statements like the deliciousness of cilantro, the correspondence theory fails. In and of itself, this would not be a problem if everyone were willing and able to acknowledge this and introduce other theories of ‘truth’ where necessary. However history has demonstrated that the promise of an ultimate ‘truth’ can be so alluring, not the least because it provides a (moral) compass by which we can take decisions (perhaps without taking personal responsibility), that many, including adherents of the correspondence theory, cannot resist the temptation to cling to this black and white approach.

When we succumb to this temptation we are left with – at best –  a half-baked view of ‘truth’. For example, if I say that plants communicate danger to each other, most people cannot verify the truth (or falsity) of my statement. Even scientists cannot do so with absolute certainty. Scientists may be able to demonstrate (with some certainty) that grass releases certain chemicals in response to being cut. But whether that chemical release is meant to signal danger (however defined) must remain a hypothesis until scientists can communicate directly with plants with some level of mutual understanding. In the meantime, all we are left with is a working hypothesis that may prove useful in the future regarding our search for ‘truth’.

Correspondence theorists would generally not agree that usefulness should be an important consideration in the pursuit of ‘truth’. I argue that on this point they are also wrong. William James and other adherents of Pragmatism would likely agree with me. Loosely, Pragmatism suggests that which we hold as ‘true’ should lead to some successful action, such as being prepared for the weather or the ability to make a dinner that my entire family will enjoy. Unfortunately a detailed discussion of Pragmatism must await another day.

Astrology

Batten Down the Hatches

Back in April 2018, I was lucky enough to attend The Astrology of Wealth Management, a seminar given by Christeen Skinner, a clever and well-experienced financial astrologer with a client base of market-traders, investors, CEO’s, and entrepreneurs. In that seminar, Christeen warned us to clear as much personal debt as possible prior to 2020.

I took her advice. Would you have done?

In 2020, there will be several planetary cycles crashing up against together like tectonic plates. Expect some ‘serious global financial fallout’.

According to Christeen, ‘this will a really tough time’ – ‘there are too many bubbles under the surface’ – ‘expect a serious financial reset’ – ‘batten down the hatches and prepare to ride out the storm’ – ‘this is a crisis of values – what matters most’.

What matters most to you and how will you protect it?

Christeen was right – and we’re in middle of this right now:

  • The Saturn/Pluto cycle (33 years) is a compulsive/obsessive energy that constellates violent reactions and victimization. The theme of this planetary cycle suggests the ‘need for endings’.
  • The Jupiter/Pluto cycle (12 years) is associated with international terrorism; it suggests political power struggles – punctuated by excessive optimism and intense beliefs. The theme of this planetary cycle is ‘a response to fear and uncertainty’.

Add to the mix the planet Uranus (disruption) wandering back and forth on the cusp of Taurus (security and stability) and it’s sure to be a bumpy ride.

If you’ve identified a clear direction forward, do you still feel on track?

Christeen did not comment as to what might manifest as the actual trigger nor did she suggest when it might end. But given the planetary cycles involved, I’d suggest (and is NOT financial advice) that although we might feel the pressure lifting a bit in April, the situation will get tense again with the Lunar Eclipse in July and then carry on pretty much through the whole rest of 2020.

Christeen also suggested that 2024-2025 may be a tough time and I have to agree. For some years, I’ve been predicting the United States will suffer a second civil war during this period and I’m not the only one.

If that were to happen, then how might it effect the global economy and perhaps more importantly, what might be the impact on you and your family?

Finally, Christeen suggested that we might see the global markets bottoming out in mid-February 2026, which will be a difficult period for the United States for a number of good reasons.


Astrology

Super Moon aka ‘The Promised Land’

Tonight, at 17:49 GMT, we will enjoy the Super (full) Moon in Virgo.

Many of you already know that each month’s Full Moon is the culmination and/or manifestation of the ‘seed’ of whatever it was that we each ‘planted’ approximately two weeks earlier with the New Moon.

The theme of that new Moon on 23 February might be summed up as finding ways to come together with others for the benefit of the community as a whole. This in turn, would raise questions about personal values.

Today’s full moon occurs at 19 degrees Virgo.

The theme of this Full Moon might be summed up along the lines as what has that ‘promised’ land that you set out with others to make manifest at the New Moon turned out to to hold? This brings with it questions about whether the potential rewards seen back in February were realistic and/or now as well as whether you (and others) have worked to make them happen.


Everyone will feel the effects of today’s Full Moon but some probably more so than others.


Those of you with planets at approximately 17-21 degrees of Virgo, Pisces, Sagittarius, or Gemini will could feel the impact hard for example, unexpected results of your efforts for better or worse. WHAT HAPPENED? Those with planets approximately 19-20 degrees of Taurus, Scorpio, Capricorn, or Cancer may also have similar results although the effect may be more gentle and/or more subtle.

The following is a quick thumbnail sketch of what you might expect if the eclipse triggers one of the following in your chart but if you’d like to know more, here’s a SPECIAL OFFER for the rest of this lunar cycle!

PlanetExpected ChallengeKey Questions to Ask Yourself
SunIssues with authority figures like parents or bosses or indeed anyone to whom you may have (wittingly or not) abdicated your personal power.Who or what did you blame for standing in the way of getting what you wanted and more importantly, how might you reframe this to take back your power?
MoonPossible changes in home situation or health that might leave you feeling explosed and/or vulnerable.What habits create more stress for you? What is one thing you can do right now to get this more under control?
MercuryPotential changes in how you define yourself. Is it time to reframe your life story from a new viewpoint or perspective?What do you need to stop saying NO to? What do you need to start saying YES to instead?
VenusCould signifiy challenges in finances and/or relationships. Don't let this damage your self-esteem.What is the cost to you of playing this 'safe'? What might be the benefit if you didn't?
MarsYou may be called upon to protect your home, reputation, and/or family. Take what is yours but make sure that no one gets hurt in the process. Tricky, but it can be accomplished.When you did whatever you did (or contemplated doing), what were you really say YES to?
JupiterTake a chance, a gamble, try something new and exotic. Travel if you can and dream if you can't. Expand your horizons and get yourself back on track.What do you believe to be true? What would you do differently if in fact, the opposite were true instead?
SaturnFeeling worn out and discouraged? Have your outgrown your present life and/or playing by outdated rules? No sense blaming others. Now's the time to take concrete positive action. Get rid of those fears that have been blocking you.What does this situation teach you about yourself? How can you make this new understanding work best for you right now?
UranusFeeling ike a misfit or even a scapegoat? Everything that goes wrong gets blamed on you? OK, that hurts - admit it. But your challenge now is to remain true to who you are regardless of what others think or do. Identify only with groups who allow you to be you.When is compromise out of alignment with who you are and/or what in which you most strongly believe in? How might you do this radically different?
NeptuneNow's the time to get in touch with your blind spots - dispute that which which until now you've convinced yourself was indisputable. If you've been fooling yourself, then expect a wake-up call.What is the gift in this challenge? What do you need to tell yourself in order move forward even if you can't be certain how it will turn out?
PlutoPower struggles are the order of the day. Get in touch with your dark side and embrace it - but please do not use it to manipulate others because that could seriously blow up in your face.What did you do to get your own way? What do you perceive threatens your personal survivial and development?
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