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August 24th. 2014 ...
Thoughts on Cultural and Spiritual Appropriation
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NOTE: For a complete list of articles related to this chapter... Visit the Main Index FOR this section.
The Language of the Stars
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Article ID: 14579
Age Group: Adult
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Author: Radko Vacek
Posted: July 24th. 2011
Times Viewed: 2,563
Having listened to the language of the stars closely, I do think it is spiritual, and in accord with the properties of - our own minds! To realize that their language, in all its heavenly grandeur, shares our own mental properties helps us feel better about ourselves. To think that we, in spite of all our flaws, are in the image of the heavenly and the Divine gives us the confidence and the hope to resume reaching for the unreachable star!
I do think that astrologers have been right all along! The language of the heavenly bodies does seem to reflect the events of our daily lives, which highlight that spiritual, divine aspect of life so easily overlooked. This makes the language of the stars, astrology, spiritual! I agree with you: astrology communicates mostly nonsense, but that is if we equate astrology with sun sign and newspaper horoscopes. But if we learn the language as it is meant to be understood, it becomes truly spiritual. How great this is, because as a spiritual language, it is very relevant to us as human beings concerned about our welfare.
To speak of spirituality to one another can have a great impact on our well-being, even turn our whole lives around. In the Introduction to his 2007 book, Spiritually Integrated Psychotherapy, Dr. Kenneth Pargament began by describing his work doing psychotherapy with a client named Alice. She struggled for decades with manic depression. He described Alice's turning point towards recovery, when she was describing how, when she was first hospitalized, she felt terrified while lying on her bed. She went on to share how then she felt something warm in the center of her chest, how the feeling spread through the rest of her body. She said that through this feeling, she knew God was with her, telling her He always would be with her.
Why was she depressed? Maybe she hated herself. Do you sometimes hate yourself too? Each of us can feel better about ourselves and be empowered, by experiencing Divinity in our lives and sharing that experience with each other, as people receptive to spirituality being a very important aspect of life. Knowing that the relationships of the very heavenly bodies, in all their awesome grandeur, are reflected in the events of our lives, which seem so short and trivial in comparison, why would we not be open to spirituality? Knowing that, no longer does it seem hard to believe that a power so great, underlying the whole of this vast universe, could be felt by us on our lowly level as this personal Deity. In this sense, spirituality becomes a value to embrace as a very important aspect of our daily lives. So, the language of the stars is spiritual in the sense of giving us this vital message about our spiritual nature.
I do think that the language of the stars also is a human language, in accord with the properties and the powers of our minds. You might not want to embrace this idea, preferring to think of theirs as like a tongue of angels, or whatever celestial beings you believe in. Take consolation in this: things could be worse. The stellar language could be computer like!
What exactly are the properties shared by our languages and, more generally, the properties of our minds? Considering that we are around people much of the time, and cannot help but live with ourselves all the time, you would think these are easy questions. Actually, they have been the topics of much debate for thousands of years! On the one hand were those who thought of human language as being atomistic, in the sense of being reducible to the words from which sentences are composed. On the other hand were those who thought of it as being holistic, in the sense of being functional and implying sentences from the very beginning. That is, if a toddler says, "wawa", the whole sentence, 'I want a drink of water', is implied, according to this school of thought. In fact, rarely does a toddler, according to them, say a word just for the sense of mastery in saying it; rather, they thought that language usually is inherently functional.
Whatever theory a person had about the nature of human language usually went hand in hand with a theory of the nature of the human mind in general. Those who had an atomistic model of language tended to think of the mind as more like a blank slate. They argued that the environment is more influential, with people acquiring language and other complex behaviors in bits, put together through learning in step-by-step approximations. Those who had a holistic model of language tended to think of the person as being born with a mind already prepared to organize bits into some type of whole, and therefore from the very beginning responding to roughly holistic perceptions in roughly holistic ways.
The verdict finally is in and, based on the evidence, the vote of the scientific community favors the holistic model of human language and its acquisition, as well as a holistic model of how the human mind, from birth, tends to perceive the environment and respond. Linguistic ability definitely appears to be stored in the human brain as a set of unconscious patterns of mental grammar, which is inborn. Of course, nothing is the result of nature alone. The environment always affects the unfolding of the natural potentials of any organism. In the case of children, they learn the specifics of their particular language through interactions with other people, but always, that learning occurs in the contexts of a genetically encoded "Universal Grammar" which provides the framework for all human languages. In fact, many other human abilities appear to be made possible through such inborn, mental organization. (See Ray Jackendoff, 1994, Patterns in the Mind.) It does appear, from the evidence that the mechanisms of human language serve as an effective model for understanding the way we are.
This has crucial implications for astrology as a helping profession and a body of knowledge. This is great news for those who worry about science disproving astrology. Astrology is most fundamentally a theory for understanding the way we are. It is not quite a science yet, for the lack of scientifically rigorous research confirming so many of its beliefs, but still, I do think it is a metaphysics, based on the pondering, from personal experiences, of many intelligent people over thousands of years. Definitely, it is more about understanding the way we are, than about what we are in the process of becoming. Like psycholinguists, astrologers recognize how the environment always affects the unfolding of the natural potentials of people, but always, like psycholinguists, astrologers emphasize the eternal influence, in the background, of a framework for empowering learning, with which people are born. Psycholinguists speak of "Universal Grammar"; astrologers speak of the natal chart with equal enthusiasm. Both, addressing natal factors, propose ways of understanding the way we are.
Given that astrologers and psycholinguists have all this in common, it behooves astrologers to teach and to practice their art more in accord with psycholinguistic findings. They teach the art in an atomistic way, in introducing the planets first, like words, then putting them in the contexts of signs and houses, but still in a way isolated from the rest of the planets and the natal configuration as a whole. Finally, the aspects between these planets, like sentences, are introduced. It is believed that this approach makes learning astrology easier, but does it? There is much evidence in the brain sciences, that people naturally perceive and interpret new stimuli in holistic ways, which perhaps also applies to the natal chart.
Astrologers want to get away from a fortunetelling model, in which events are fated by the stars, in favor of a counseling model of helping clients make informed decisions. This is understandable, in that the latter seems to be a more promising way of helping people. In doing so, however, many astrologers perhaps lose sight of the foundations of their art, definitely most fundamentally a means to understand the way we are, and secondarily, although importantly, to understand what we are in the process of becoming. No interpretation of transits or progressions can be made without the contexts set by the natal chart, as a reflection of the way the person is. Surely progressions and transits can reflect the changes a person undergoes, but the nature and the extent of change is always in astrology put in terms of the constraints set by the way the person naturally is, as reflected by the natal chart.
For instance, a person may be born when Mars is in Libra. Mars traditionally is said to represent the vital drive, which can manifest in either a good or a bad way. The good way is through assertiveness, and the bad through aggression. Libra traditionally is said to represent the quest of the person to unite with one's other half, in marriage or some intense relationship. Some astrologers suggest that, if the person chooses not to gratify this Martian desire, the Martian aspect of the person becomes bad in discharging its drive through aggression. As much as the exercise of your freedom of choice is to be encouraged, I think that this interpretation of Mars is inconsistent with astrology as a nativist theory and unrealistic in its optimism about the extent of human free will. A sounder interpretation of Mars is to interpret it in contexts of the distance it is from other heavenly bodies and aspects it makes to them in the natal chart. Depending on these factors, Mars may tend to be either a predominantly aggressive or an assertive influence throughout the person's life.
It sounds tragic; it surely can be a very dark cloud. Yet, I think it does have a silver lining, two in fact! One, Mars may reflect a force with which you must grapple for the rest of your life, but there is as well a chance of other, friendly forces accompanying you throughout your life. Two, grappling is not necessarily such a hostile activity! When I was a child, I did judo, of which grappling, much like wrestling, was a part. It was a mock adversity, because really it was friendly; we were strengthening each other through the struggle. Judo is respected by most people, but boxing? I have heard some call it barbaric. This is, however, a matter of the attitude you choose to take, as is the status of Mars in what is considered to reflect a predominantly aggressive force in your life. If you develop into a skilled boxer, then, in spite of the suffering you and others may face, you have allowed that something, which is a part of your nature no less than everything else, to manifest. Without doing so, you would not have been all that can be. In a similar way, regardless of what others say, letting that predominantly aggressive, Martian force have expression could let you be all that you can be. The choice still is yours, whether or not you want to pay the price of the suffering you and others may face.
The message of astrology is that, although we are constrained by our natal charts from becoming whatever we would like, nevertheless we can choose whether or not the way we are is an actualization of all that we can be. We do have some freedom after all! If you choose that path, then you might find your starlink.
Oh no! Is it real? It is the morning after!
What happened to all the causes for the laughter?
The Hell is in the living
With the unbelievable things which I have done!
The humanness is in the grieving
For all that I have lost, the beautiful now gone!
The enchantment is in the believing
In the resurrection, the reincarnation,
The cause that makes life go on.
The hope is in the reaching
For the unreachable star.
Location: Toledo, Ohio
Bio: This article says much about my own life. Born on Nov. 18, 55 in Brazil, 11:50 pm Rio time, I have lived with the lifelong challenge mirrored by a rough Mars. My quest for a meaningful life led me to the study of psychology, in which I earned a B.A. in 1979 and an M.A. in 1982. The metaphysical and the spiritual have been of interest to me since I was a young man. I never married, but, as I reflect on my life, you could say I have been married to a lunar goddess all along! Having had dogs instead of children, Father's Day is no cause for celebration, but neither is it cause for grief. So far, I have not won any prize for it, but I have stayed faithful to my commitment to writing. For the rest of my life I intend to emulate Heracles, who overcame the greatest of woes through his twelve labors. Life has taught me that the enchantment is in the believing in the cause the makes life go on. My hope shall continue to be in the reaching for the unreachable star!
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