Ophiuchus in Uranus

Sapphire

A jeweler would call this a yellow Sapphire, a geologist Corundum, a chemist Aluminum Oxide, and an Artist a sleeping animal.

A correspondent writes,

So, now  what ??  Ophiuchus  ??   … I’m sure everyone’s asking you WTF as well  .. and I dont have a clue about what to think about this new astro sign until I hear from you !!  .. what are the characteristics?   ..   …  also, I refuse to be a sign that I cant even pronounce ..  wtf were they thinking to add a zodiac and then make it one no one can even pronounce  ..   I think  it’s a buncha  hogwash  it’s a travesty I tell ya, a travesty !!    >>>  and I’m not changing .. I’m staying a Sadge ..  and ‘they’ cant make me change either, so there ! .. So, in the meantime in the midst of  all of my ranting, what’s yer take on it ??  I am so confused ! …

I guess some dunderhead decided they could change astrology with a pronouncement, though I’m surprised it didn’t come from Newsbiscuit., and most of the news reports I’ve seen say “astronomers” have added a 13th sign.  That’s kinda like a radiologist announcing that people really have 378 molars – I mean, dentists use X-rays, don’t they?

Actually astrology’s easy to “change,” but if you want the “change” to stick, it has to be more useful than a placebo.  From circumstantial evidence, we assume that Western astrology started a coupla thousand years ago.  Like any other body of knowledge, what’s useful sticks around, and what aint fades into the woodwork.  Sure, Ophuckus is a constellation, and it’s half-in and half-out of the zodiacal band, and always was.  But if you want to add it to astrology, first you have to demonstrate that its use makes astrology more useful, and second, you have to demonstrate how it’s more useful.

And like any other body of knowledge, you always gotta work to separate dogma from utility.  Knowledge, which is basically nothing but pattern recognition, grows in two ways – from observation, and from intuition.  If I notice that a few neighborhood kids born just after the Spring Equinox are pretty feisty, and a few kids born just before it are pretty sensitive, and I mention it to someone else, and they verify it, and they talk about it to others, and it has enough of a grain of truth to it that it starts to become useful information, and parents start soothing their just-before kids instead of punishing them for being so fussy, and find ways for just-after kids to let their energy out safely instead of yelling at them to settle down, then we might have the start of something useful.  That is, up until the point when parents start expecting their just-before kids to be crybabies and their just-after kids to be troublemakers, and then all hell breaks loose, cuz yer caught in feedback loops that are as likely to be negative as positive.

Western astrology isn’t based on the constellations anyway, it’s based on Time relative to the northern Spring Equinox.  We guess that when the first inklings of Western astrology were observed, the constellation Aries was behind the Sun at the Spring Equinox, but it’s only a guess.  It aint now, and Western astrology just uses the names of the constellations, not the locations.  In Western or “Tropical” astrology, Aries means the first 30 or so days after the northern Spring Equinox, period.  Any correspondence to constellations living or dead is purely coincidental.

There are lots of other ways to do astrology.  For instance, even in the “West” (that is, wherever European colonialism succeeded in destroying the aboriginal culture), there is a fairly well-established tradition of “Sidereal” astrology, which does use the constellations as benchmarks rather than time.  It’s much younger than Tropical astrology, which may mean less dogma, or may mean less empirical validation, or both.  In any body of knowledge, the dogma-to-empiricism ratio depends a lot on the charisma and politics of the founders and subsequent leaders.

We guess that Sidereal astrology might be useful because there could be consistent frequency patterns of Energy coming at us from specific regions of the sky.  With locations like the Galactic Center and the Great Attractor (an unknown astronomical entity beyond our ability to see, which is pulling our Galaxy and our region of the Universe toward it, like the Vacuum Cleaner Beast in Yellow Submarine) as examples, we have to consider this to be plausible.  Then again, if the first experience of our Planet is warm Sunshine for a Leo, and cold snow for an Aquarius, it’s hard to imagine this doesn’t have an effect.  Could it possibly be Both/And?  Wouldn’t that be unusual!

This isn’t actually that hard to test.  If Aries kids born in the Southern Hemisphere seem more like Libra than Aries, then maybe seasonality is more important than Galactic directionality.  I haven’t seen anyone study this, have you?  Whether it’s worth studying is another question completely, because astrology isn’t about how it works, it’s about whether it’s useful.  It’s empirical pattern recognition.

In India, astrology developed using constellations rather than signs, and using the Moon’s travel inna day, instead of the Sun’s travel inna month, so they cut the Zodiac into 28 divisions that cycle in Space rather than Time.  In China, astrology developed using Monkeys and Rabbits.  Habitual Western thought sees the World through four dimensions, while Chinese thought uses five.  Western thought is bamboozled by the Fourth Harmonic.  Chinese thought is older, and much more sophisticated.  Western astrology barely mentions the Fifth Harmonic, simply because 360 divided by 5 is not a multiple of 30!  The more perspectives you can use, the more likely you are to see the World for what it is.

Now, with respect to Ophuchus in particular, it adds nothing to Tropical astrology, because it’s just changing the name of a chunk of the Zodiac.  It’s the same piece of sky, and the same piece of the calendar, it just has a different name.  That’s about as useful as calling the water signs Tess, the fire signs Joe, and the air signs Maria.  At least when you talk about the difference between Gdansk and Danzig, or Konigsberg and Kaliningrad, there are deep historical implications.  But if you rename the first half of November to Octember, it might have some utility in poetry, but not much else.

One Response to “Ophiuchus in Uranus”

  1. Nude Says:

    Thanks for the thoughtful blog on Ophi. Whenever someone introduces something new that challenges an old way of doing things, I often consider the source. When I first learned of Ophi, I thought it was coming from a venerable individual. What I discovered was that a Community College professor in a town I had barely heard of out west came up with the challenge. Then, I took a look at Ophi from an astrologers point of view and just as you pointed out discovered that Ophi had always been there and was not seen as anything significant over the past 3000 years. Finally, it occurred to me that this story should be considered yet another rift between astronomers and astrologers. This is a big deal and confirms how urgent our needs are to legitimize astrology as sound craft. We also need to reach out to our community of astronomers and attempt to mend bridges through agreement and collaborative study. This may bring some tension to our creatve colleagues who support alchemy in all its forms, but with time and dialogue we may be able to bridge gaps here also. We’ve come a long way baby, but we’re still miles behind the curve. Again, thanks jbuss for bringing up this discussion. It’s always a pleasure to read your thoughtful commentary.

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