# What is Chaos?

What is “Chaos Theory” anyway? It’s not the idea that things have no order, it’s the idea that some things are beyond the ability to understand and predict.

A simple example of Chaos Theory is the first shot in a game of billiards. There is no way to predict what balls will go in what holes, or if any of them will go in at all. Even if you hit the cue ball at the same velocity and angle, and strike the rack of balls in the same place – every time the outcome will be extremely different.

It’s because the amount of variables involved are so great. Tiny, tiny differences in how the balls are positioned in relation to one another have enormous, unpredictable effects on where the balls will go when they are hit.

“Unpredictable” doesn’t mean it follows no order. It simply means that the complexity of the order is beyond the grasp of our comprehension. It is predictable, but we are not sophisticated enough to figure it out.

## The Chaos of Astrology

Lets say the cue ball is like the rising sign and the planets in various signs and houses are like the balls racked up for the first shot in a game of billiards. …I think you already get my point. The slightest change or mis-measurement of any one of the parts could potentially have an enormous and wild effect on the outcome. The famous analogy in this regard is from Henri Poincaré: “A difference in how a butterfly flaps its wings could cause a hurricane in a distant land in a few weeks.”

## Predictability Zones

Within a chaotic / unpredictable field, there are zones that are simpler for some reason, and therefore come within the grasp of our comprehension and therefore we can predict their effects. A computer simulation of a metal ball handing from a string above three magnets arranged in a triangle was able to map out which magnet would finally hold the ball, if the ball was dropped from specific places on a grid. But within each predictable grid unit, if you zoom in, is a sub-grid, and some of those grids produce different results. And if you zoom in on those, again there are some areas that produce abnormal results. This continues in a fractal manner, ad infinitum.

This means that there are some cases where a prediction is reasonably easy or feasible to make, but other cases where the complexity makes it impossible and likely for the prediction to be wildly in error.

## What We Should Learn

In many cases, we will be able to make an accurate prediction – within reasonable granularity. But there are some cases where it is simply beyond human capacity to understand the complexity of the factors involved. It is very difficult to know if you are in a “chaotic zone” or an “orderly zone” when reading a horoscope. We should never state our predictions as if they are divine foreknowledge, we should state our hypothesis. We should approach every horoscope with humility.

# The Limits and Potentials of Astrology

How accurate can it really be?

by Vic DiCara

# Is it even possible to tell the future?

Yes, you can even say it’s easy.

I can perfectly predict what time the Sun will set or rise on any given day; or when the next eclipse will happen. I can tell you when the seasons are going to change. In fact, it seems that even birds can look at shadows cast by the Sun to foretell the approach of winter and summer. So, the future obviously is predictable to some extent.

But that’s the real catch, “To what extent?”  Sure, I can predict the date of the next full Moon, but can I tell you with equal accuracy the date of your marriage?

Theoretically…

• The movements of the heavenly bodies mark the passage of time in a regular, mathematically predictable way.
• Those movements – especially those of the Sun and Moon – seem to cause or indicate changes on Earth and therefore life on it.

Theoretically I should be able to predict when you are going to get married. The idea is: if we can foretell some things by the motion of the planets, why can’t we foretell everything by a suitably sophisticated application of the same basic principles?

The problem is the degree of sophistication required. The effect of the Sun upon the seasons is so much simpler than its effect on your love-life. The complexity of such correlations is so mind-boggling that most people say its impossible to figure them out. In my opinion, it’s possible, but incredibly difficult. Not “impossible,” but pretty close.

To illustrate this point, the great classical astrologer Ptolemy wrote (in Tetrabiblos 1.2):

If our heavenly observations and measurements were infinitely precise; if the symbolism we assigned to the heavens was infinitely perfect; if our interpretive intellect was infinitely subtle; and if our practical experience was infinitely vast… perhaps then we could predict the affairs of a human individual with 100% accuracy. Anyone who claims it is easier than this overestimates himself and underestimates the complexity of this science.

# Wild Claims of Accuracy

Unfortunately, that there are a whole lot of people who “overestimate themselves and underestimate the complexity of the science.” They proclaim that their predictions are 80%, 90%, even 100% accurate.

How pompous and preposterous are these claims?

Think about how many possible answers there are to a relatively common question like, “when will I get married?” There are 12 months in a year, and people are of marriageable age for 20 or more years. So, just to answer this question to the month involves more than 240 possible answers. So, a random guess has about 0.4% chance of being right. If someone could give the correct answer even 1 or 2% of the time, it would represent a 200-400% improvement over guessing! If an astrologer can sustain something like 10% accuracy over a large sample of individuals, that would demonstrate roughly a 2000% better foreknowledge than a common person. Is this not monumentally significant?!

But if you put a sign above your fortune telling booth saying “15% accuracy!” not a whole lot of people are going to sit in front of your crystal ball. They are all headed instead to those with neon signs flashing “100% accuracy.” Before you join the flow of lemmings, consider this: If someone really had 100%, 90%, or even 70% perfect knowledge of the future, all the governments, stock traders, and major corporations of the world would be lined up to pile money at their feet for a mere minute of their advice.

# Then what’s the use?

If even the best astrologers are really only 25-50% accurate, what’s the use of astrology?

I have this gadget on my iPhone; it tells me the weather for the next seven days. How often is it accurate? Well, for today’s summary it’s correct maybe 75% of the time. For tomorrow I’d say its about 60% accurate. The accuracy keeps decreasing as you go further into the future, down to maybe 10-20% reliability.

But still, we all look at weather reports quite often. Why? Because even though they aren’t perfect, they’re still useful.

Astrology is just like that. Ptolemy brings this up (in Tetrabiblios 1.2):

The human astrologer cannot be perfect, but that does not change the great worth of this complex science! When the objective is very lofty – as is the objective of astrology – we shouldn’t point out the mistakes but focus on the merits of any progress or success.

The potential gain from even a little foreknowledge or self-knowledge is so great that there is, in fact, great use to seeing a good, honest astrologer.

# How to Get an Astrological Reading

A lot of focus has been given to the subject of how to give a good astrological reading, but perhaps it is even more relevant to talk about how to get one. How can you get the most benefit from going to an astrologer?

1. 1.       Find an honest and trustworthy person to be your astrologer.

Enough said.

1. 2.       Realize that a reading involves communication and communication involves two people.

Don’t expect the astrologer to be Merlin the Magician and spell everything out in black and white for you every time. That’s just not possible. Much of what goes on in the process of giving a reading is to apply astrological symbolism to relevant factors in the person’s situation, upbringing, culture, development, etc. There is little point in expecting an astrologer to know the details of such things better than you do. An astrologer surely has to have more access to divination and foreknowledge than you do, but that does not mean he or she has to be a godlike storybook genie. Listen for the astrologer to communicate the essential astrological symbols; listen to their suggested interpretations of those symbols, and then communicate! Make dialog (even if only internally, to yourself). This will allow you to discover clearer, fine and detailed import in what the astrologer sees.

1. 3.       Don’t expect an astrologer to tell you the date and time you last picked your nose.

1. 4.       Figure out what the weird stuff really means.

Inevitably some things in a reading won’t make sense or will sound “wrong.” Personally, I have very substantial faith and experience that the astrological symbols themselves are nearly flawless and perfect. It is the application and interpretation of those symbols that is difficult and prone to error. When you encounter something that just sounds wrong, try to “deconstruct” or “abstract” it back to its original astrological symbolism, and then give another shot at interpreting the symbol in a different way.

Admittedly, you need to have a pretty thorough education in astrological symbols to do that. So either get that education or be sure to find an astrologer who is willing to sit and walk you through it. Avoid astrologers that are “hit and run,” anonymously giving readings or disappearing from the radar entirely until you pay another big fee.

1. 5.       It’s not just the about the present.

Sometimes things an astrologer says won’t make sense in the present tense, so don’t forget about the past and the future.

Remember, it is in your best interest to get a “good reading.” Sure, every astrologer loves to give “great readings” but the person who really benefits is you, not the astrologer. If you follow these guidelines you will be much more likely to get readings that are 70%-100% helpful, useful, and yes, “accurate.”

# Integrity Among Astrologers?!

Image by Valeria Melissia Rosalez via Flickr

“Astrologers” today are busy cranking out thousands of “predictions” in the hope that one will come true and make them famous in the eyes of innocent, naive onlookers.

When one prediction comes true, the dozens of failed predictions suddenly disappear. The astrologer is praised by fools, and like a fool he accepts this praise around his neck like a garland of rotten flowers. Where is the integrity!?

Frightened, faithless people are frantic to show that astrology is “real.” My friends, Astrology is real. Your “accurate predictions,” however, are not. It is not our task to “prove” that astrology is real by making flawless predictions. This is simply not a fair task. Can a weatherman prove that meteorology is “real” by accurately predicting the weather day by day? Hardly! Yet meteorology is real. Can a medical doctor prove that modern medicine is “real” by curing cancer, or a common cold? sometimes. Why do you need to proove astrology is “real”? You don’t. It is real. Now instead of proving it, use it.

Astrologers, do not be ashamed to be wrong! Everyone is wrong. Why are you supposed to be different? Do you think that learning bits and pieces about astrology makes you God? We are astrologers, we are not God. We will always make mistakes – this is nothing to be ashamed of! What you should be ashamed of is pretending to be all-knowing and all-accurate! Being wrong is not blameworthy, being dishonest is!

Being wrong is just as important as being right – for by both we can learn and grow. Every science is wrong. From those constant mistakes  we learn and develop better science. If you, my dear Astrologer friends, are too afraid to admit that you are sometimes wrong, you are cutting off your opportunities to truly grow as astrologers!

Many astrologers think that if they admit they are not always right, they will not get customers. Let those fake plastic customers go to fake plastic astrologers. Be honest! I get “customers” because what I do for my customers is my honest best. I tell them what I see in their charts and in their futures.

Clients who want a fool-proof prediction are as silly as the astrologers who pretend to supply them. But persons who humbly  approach a humble, honest astrologer seeking guidance and knowledge from the divine will never go wrong, will always be led to the truth!

To add insult to injury – the people who claim that their 1 out of 20 “accurate” guesses makes them great astrologers are the same people putting forward so much intellectual chaos into the science by frolicking and brandishing about “new discoveries” and “new systems.” We claim to be discovering and inventing new systems, planets, signs, etc. but we lack the integrity to deeply understand even the most basic principles of this great and ancient science.

The very sad fact of the matter is that out of 100 astrologers perhaps 2 or 3 can very deeply and clearly explain something very basic. For example:

• What is the unifying principle causing the third house to be about apparently divergent subjects such as bravery, communication, and siblings?
• What is the unifying principle that makes the Sun be about apparently divergent subjects such as soul, body, career, and father?
• What is the unifying theme among the three nakshatra owned by a given planet, for example: Ashvini, Magha, and Moola?
• How to the amshas implicitly and directly affect the birthchart, irrespective of their separate existence as subcharts?

What to speak of these questions! Frankly these are rather advanced questions for the caliber of astrologers today! Even far simpler, more fundamental questions can barely be answered by 10% of astrologers today:

• Why are there 12 zodiac signs, not 11 or 13?
• Why are there two real zodiac systems – sidereal and tropical?

Yet these same people who simply do not understand the ABC’s of astrology are inventing and using new astrological languages? Really!?!?! This is all dishonesty and psuedo-science. It does not benefit human society  and it certainly does nothing to improve the quality of astrology.

The scientific principle is that the most simple and fundamental satisfactory explanation for a phenomena is the best explanation. The science of astrology needs to take far better heed of this principle. If you cannot explain an event or condition using basic principles (planets, houses, signs and nakshatras) you need to improve your understanding of the basic principles, not run off and invent some new theory!

I have Rahu in my second house and I am born to Capricorn: I am blunt and harsh and speak wild things. So naturally your reaction will be – “well who the hell does he think he is – the Jesus Christ Savior of astrology!?”

No, I don’t – but someone has to say these things.

- Vic DiCara

www.vicdicara.com

# Getting Started with “Dasha” Timecycles

Image by simpologist via Flickr

Every horoscope has a timeline, called the “dasha” cycle. This timeline defines when something seen in the horoscope will unfold. Thus a single horoscope can show indicates for both extreme poverty and extreme wealth. Mapped to the dasha cycle timeline, the planets causing the poverty will bring financial hardship during their cycles, while the planets causing wealth will bring bounty during theirs. Thus a person rises from poverty to wealth, or visa versa, etc.

How to get started understanding how to interpret the dasha cycles?

First of all you have to know what they are. You need a “Vedic” chart. What does that mean, Sidereal? Yes and no. A “Vedic” chart means

• Sidereal Zodiac
• Lunar Zodiac of 27 mansions
• Whole-sign houses
• No modern planets, but a host of Vedic subplanets if you need them
• 15 additional charts as a result of subdividing the zodiac by resonance, of which the 9th division (navamsha) is most important
• A calculation of vimshopaka for dignity including all these subdivisions
• A calculation of shad-bala for the forcefullness or “strength” of the planet
• A calculation of aspects by degree (not by sign as in common mis-practiced Indian astrology, and not by geometric pattern as in Western astrology)
• A calculation of the dasha cycles based on the Moon’s placement in the lunar zodiac, and using the correct year length.

A Vedic Horoscope, as you see, is not just a Sidereal horoscope!

Anyway, once you have this stuff you can start to learn how to interpret your dashas. To get this stuff you will need either a Vedic Astrologer or some mathematically reliable Vedic Astrological software. In my frank opinion there is only one Vedic Astrology software that does not make significant mathematical mistakes calculating the above short-list, it is Kala. Depending on if you want to analyze dozens or more horoscopes, or if you just want to look at yours, or maybe a few family and friend – it might actually be financially cheaper to pay an astrologer to give you the printouts of the above bullet lists rather than drop about \$300 on software.

Anyway once you have all the printouts of the above, you will need to know what they mean. So you will need my book, Symbolic Keys of Astrology to get primed up on the essential basics, and my second book, Unlocking the Meanings of a Horoscope, if you want a deeper grasp of what the calculations of shad-bala, vimshopaka, and the 15 additional subdivision charts really are.

So now you have the raw materials of your Vedic Horoscope, and you have the basic background knowledge of what it means. Here is how to start reading your astrological timeline. Pick a timecycle that you want to know about. It will be governed by a specific planet. Examine that planet in your Vedic Horoscope. Figure out…

• The goodness or “dignity” of the dasha planet – calculated across all the varga subdivisions by the vimṣopaka method.
• The strength of the dasha planet – calculated by the ṣaḍ-bāla method.
• The houses owned and occupied by the dasha planet
• Influences on the dasha planet by way of conjunctions and aspects.

The more positive the dignity of the cycle planet, the more easily you can make good things happen. Very positive planets make good things happen with little or no effort at all on your part.

The stronger the cycle planet, the more pronounced will be it’s good or bad effects.

Say you have a planet that is very negative in dignity and very strong. That is bad news. That means that bad things will happen without you really inviting them, or dispite efforts to avoid them, and those bad things will be significant and pronounced, important. If the same planet with negative dignity were weak instead of strong, the bad effects would be negligable, bad moods, bad dreams, lots of opponents who don’t have much strength and arent very effective against you, etc. Positive-dignity planets with lots of strength make important good things happen with little or no effort. Positive-dignity planets with low strength make for good moods, good dreams, good ideas, etc.

The houses owned and occupied by the cycle planet tell you what type of good or bad things will happen (depending on the aforementioned factors). So a planet with positive dignity and high strength that owns the 10th house (career) and occupies the 1st house (self) is a period of time in which you become very famous and personally respected. A planet with negative dignity and high strength owning the 10th, occupying the 1st indicates a period of time in which you lose your employment and must figure out how to make ends meet on your own. Etc.

Finally, look at the influences to the planet by conjunction or aspect. For example, if Venus is the main influence on the positive, strong 10th lord in the 1st house mentioned in the preceeding paragraph – then you will rise to fame and personal recognition as a result of something Venusian (your artistic skill, your beauty, your practical talents, your marriage/partner).

There you go – a huge chunk of astro – knowledge for you from the ancient tomes of Sanskrit wisdom. Some of you might make use of this to learn astrology, some to make your own interpretations, or others may just figure that you want to consult me for a reading of your timeline. =)

Thanks,

Vic DiCara

www.vicdicara.com