Here I am writing again, still trying to keep a flow of blog posts, but the truth is that if Im not feeling like writing I just don’t. It reminds me of Billie Holiday refusing to sing in prison because she just did not feel like singing, even though everyone was begging her to do it. Not that people are begging me to write, haha. I guess is just a part of myself, a part that wants to be more consistent with blogging, that tries sometimes to put the pressure on writing more frequently.
Anyway, the topic that I’ve been thinking about is connected with the module Im currently doing for my MA in Cultural Astronomy and Astrology, ‘Researching Contemporary Cosmologies’, and Im doing a research project about the view of the outsider on astrology.
I cannot stress enough how mind blowing the whole process has been, and I currently have the Saturn-Pluto conjunction in Capricorn happening in the third house in my chart, reflecting also this deep journey towards new ideas and ways of thinking. I feel that not only my view on astrology is changing tremendously, but also my entire world view I think.
Ideas are becoming clearer and more palpable regarding what I do as an astrologer, or rather, what I don’t do as an astrologer! I feel more confident in my communication skills, and I also feel less and less the need for validating astrology through having a discussion on the topic with random people, specially the ones that strongly don’t ‘believe’ in it.
I recently have been thinking a lot about the different methods for social research, the qualitative versus quantitative, because of my research and all the academic material that I have been reading for my literature review. I think that the names already give away the meanings in the context of research, quantitative being connected more with numbers and counting results, whereas the qualitative is more subjective and involves depth interviews for example, placing a strong emphasis on people’s stories being told with their own words.
Each method has its place depending on the remit of your research, and they say actually that mixing methods can be quite good for achieving a more ‘complete’ result.
What I find very interesting is that in the qualitative method you are not in search of ‘the truth’ for when it comes to people’s beliefs there is not such a thing as an absolute truth. Individuals are complex and cannot be put all together in the same box without missing out precious bits of information about their unique story and views of the world.
Its is becoming clearer to me that science and scientism are two different things. Science is a method, it is one of the many windows that we can use to perceive and understand the world, and when appropriate it is a great method. But scientism is the paradigm, the belief that this is the one and only way to get to the only possible truth. It is an unbalanced and dogmatic view on how the world works and how we should think. Scientism defends that there are only two possibilities: ‘the truth’ (quantified and classified by scientific method) or ignorance.
Most of the time we are conditioned at school to see the world through scientism’s lens and made to feel stupid if we dare seeing the world with a different frame of mind.
In Patrick Curry’s words: “There is no ‘objectivity’ that could even exist for us, let alone mean anything, without subjective selfhood – and there is no ‘subjectivity’ without a world to sustain it and be aware of. As Merleau-Ponty wrote, ‘All my knowledge of the world, even my scientific knowledge, is gained from my own particular point of view, or from some experience of the world without which the symbols of science would be meaningless’ . Experience is unavoidably embodied, embedded, perspectival and, given the existence of more than one subject, plural.”
With this in mind I cannot help but feel that trying to squeeze astrology under scientism, by claiming it to be a science and making use of statistics and quantitative methods to prove its worth, is a big mistake. (not to mention the belief that there is pure astrological knowledge without the personal lens used by the interpreter!)
It’s like trying to eat soup using a fork.
Geoffrey Cornelius talks about that in ‘The Moment of Astrology’, a great and thought provoking book that I believe to be invaluably important for the astrologers that would like to explore what we do from different perspectives.
Another thought provoking post. Thank you 🙂
You might like the essay I wrote a while back for an MA course I was accepted on. I’ve tweaked it a bit for my blog. https://www.stelliumastrology.com/articles/worlds-in-collision-science-religion-astrology/
Either way, it addresses the challenges faced by astrologers. I think you’ll like it xx
Im going to have a look now! 🙂 xx
Thank you for this. I am unfamiliar with the word “scientism” but I’ve been needing it!
I agree that what is really compelling about astrology isn’t scientific, though I do think it would be possible to study astrology with scientific method. But I’m not sure I’ve seen any examples.I
It’s relevant to past-life regression, which I am beginning to practice again. Some want to verify dates and names and details, but I am more interested in the stories people tell, and how they are integrated into the person’s current life. So, you could look for hard data to prove …something… But I simply don’t care.
I think it’s really interesting that you’re working on an MA in astrology!
Thank you Rachel! Past life regression is a super interesting theme that I would love to dip in a bit more. I have a book written by Patricia Walsh called ‘Understanding Karmic Complexes’ have you heard of it? I think it is a great book on evolutionary astrology where she documented many cases of regression therapy memories and found patterns connecting these memories with the people’s astrological charts.
And yes, Im really loving this MA, its so intellectually stimulating, its amazing!
I don’t know that book, it sounds really interesting.
Good stuff, Fernanda! Agree with it all…
Thank you Anne!!
Right on, Fernanda. I’ve seen Fundamentalist defined as “someone who takes their metaphors literally,” and scientism is as guilty of that as any religion.
Thats a good way of putting it, ‘someone who takes their metaphors literally’. It’s been liberating to think and read a lot of good material on this matter. There was always a feeling of imminent persecution while studying and getting involved with astrology. Im glad this feeling is changing within myself.