A Frank Q&A About Astrology and Other Divination Methods

Question: Can you double check your calculation of my chart? I have always been told that I am a Gemini ascendant, but you are telling me I am a Cancer ascendant, and on top of that many of the planets are not in the same houses I have been previously told they were in.

You’re facing this situation because the people who have calculated your chart in the past, although of Indian background, don’t use ayanāṁśa properly. (Forgive me for being the bearer of this contentious news).

Ayanāṁśa is meant to measure the difference between equinotical phenomenon (rāśī / “signs”) and stellar phenomenon (nakṣatra / “stars”), but they have divorced the rāśī from their equinotical anchors and affixed them instead to the stars. Thus, they are measuring the distance between Point A and Point B, and then lumping both the things together at point B.

This is how they come up with what is called a “Sidereal  Zodiac.” Here is full information about the error in this: Tropical / Sidereal

QUESTION: Whatever the system be used, tropical or sidereal, shouldn’t the chart confirm to how things/ events have shaped up for us in the past.

Yes, of course.

QUESTION: So, can’t we determine which system is right by judging which one gives the more accurate account of those events?

That will work only if the people doing the assessment are (A) very learned, and (B) very impartial. Such people are extremely rare. The state of astrology is a huge mess right now, with piles upon piles of techniques thrown on top of other techniques without  grounding, context, or precedence – and the mess keeps growing by the day as people toss new theories and explanations onto the pile in an attempt to patch up poor plumbing rather than tightening up the original fittings. As a result of this, you will find that anything can be explained by anyone in any way using any system.

So, who will be the judge of such a comparison between systems? You – a lay-person? Lay-people, knowing almost nothing (if they are lucky), assume that the astrologer with the tallest mountain of junk and the most impressive tone of voice must be the best and most learned. They cannot judge.

Then who, Your friend, an avid astrological hobbyist? No, please no.

Then how about a “professional”? Well, most professionals are really just very confident hobbyists. And even those who are truly learned most often have a very vested interest in not portraying themselves as having been “wrong” for the past 10 or 20 or 30 years of their practice. So, even if they are learned enough to judge, they are not impartial enough for it.

Contest is not the right way to determine if something is true or not (its really quite a barbaric way of judgement, actually).  We have to rely exactly on the definitions given by the ancient sources. This is a core issue because it is the difference between the ascending and descending epistemology – and as you know Vedic knowledge, meaning any and all truly divine knowledge, follows the descending format (paramparā).

QUESTION: Now that gets to another point. The chart in any system relies upon the birth time. If one isn’t sure of one’s birth time, then shouldn’t other methods like palmistry, face reading, tarrot cards readings be tried rather than just astrological chart. 

Astrology has a distinct advantage over other forms of divination because other systems (tarot, tea-leaves, mind-reading, etc) rely 95% on the readers psychic perceptivity and 5% on the cards, leaves, etc. Thus they are very, very subjective. Astrology, on the other hand, is based only about 50% on psychic perceptivity and at least 50% on the objective placement of planets relative to the earth, and (at least in parāśarī and many other classical schools) upon very well defined mathematical formulae and principles for evaluating those positions. The symbolism of all the components of astrology is naturally derived and simple, and there are clearly definable principles for how the combinations of those principles should be interpreted. So it is a much more scientific, rigorous and detailed system than the others.

In my opinion, a person with a lot of psychic acumen can and should use the other systems to help assure their understanding of a chart, and confirm the birth-time.

When I do birth time rectification, for example, I utilize tools outside of astrology. Specifically, I rely a lot on physiognomy (bodily features), sometimes including palm-lines. I also do an evaluation of psychiognomy (mental features), and an evaluation of practical events and conditions in the persons life.

QUESTION: Which  of these other three is better?

I see them in two groups, in one group are divination methods where the things being interpreted are integral parts of the entity you are interpreting. For example, when you read a person’s body language to know how they are thinking and what they feel like, and what they are likely to do next. Palm reading, physiognomy and psychiognomy, and astrology are in this category. Astrology is here because it interprets the position of the heavens at the time and place of your birth.

Systems in this category are more reliable than systems in the second category – where the thing being interpreted has much less to do with the method for interpreting. For example, shuffling a deck of cards, or drinking a cup of tea, or just looking into a crystal ball.

There might need to be a third category too, things that are just dubious: like assigning letters to numbers or taking the modern calendar numbers as if they had some natural significance. These are busted versions of divinations that used to work before their calculation systems (letters and time keeping) because messed up.

Astrology is the empress of all divination methods because it is the most sophisticated, but after having been devastated by the dark ages it is now in great danger of becoming another busted system.

Vic DiCara – www.vicdicara.com