Holistic, Holographic: The Voice of Astrology

One of the most frequent questions I’m asked is, how can my horoscopes apply to so many people born under one sign? It’s a question I’ve thought about a lot, but have not written about until now.

Astrology chart for Jupiter conjunct Pluto in Sagittarius (with minor planets included) used in the preparation of The Spiral Door, the 2007 annual edition of Planet Waves.

Astrology chart for Jupiter conjunct Pluto in Sagittarius (with minor planets included) used in the preparation of The Spiral Door, the 2007 annual edition of Planet Waves.

On Sunday, I promised to explain why I believe that an extended annual forecast written for everyone born under one sign is more dependable than a supposedly custom report that comes out of a database.

Backtracking a moment, when you purchase a ‘custom’ chart report from a charting service, you enter your birthdate and the product is accessed in pieces, from a database. The program creates a list of aspects that apply to you, looks each of them up in a database of pre-written interpretations, and then puts them together as a ‘custom report’. The individual bits can be interesting and even accurate.

But there are a few problems, which I’m sure many of you have noticed if you experiment with these products: there is no astrologer who experiences your chart as a whole. Neither is the product a whole report; it’s in parts that are stuck together. The parts do not relate to, or reference, one another. Aspects are interpreted without the specific signs being taken into account. The program may know you have Venus square Mars, and Venus and Mars in certain signs, but it cannot assemble both. Charting services have not come that far. Even if elements could be drawn from a relational database (which is possible, but it would be many times more work for the writer and programmer because there are so many variables), there is still not one mind processing the entity of your reading, in whole.

When I do the annual reading for a sign, I don’t have any information about you specifically. I don’t know that you have certain natal aspects or natal transits. But I know the astrology of the charts that I am looking at; which are developed intentionally for the reading I’m about to offer. I am able to prepare the report as a whole, based on a coherent reading of the sky. What I lose in certain elements of detail (your exact ascendant, for example) I more than make up for by being able to write as a whole person experiencing whole charts. This evokes the holistic or holographic property of astrology: I tell a complete story and pass it onto you, a complete person. They are likely to have a coherent relationship.

As an astrologer looking at actual charts and making decisions about what I observe, I can see the nuances of the relationships between different aspects and placements, and work with them in a way that responds to the subtlety.

To give an example, a computer program can dial in an interpretation for Pluto in Capricorn. It can dial in its interpretation for Mars in Leo, but few account for the fact that Mars is retrograde in Leo. What I can see as an astrologer looking at a chart is that there is activity in Capricorn; and that Mars has a subtle relationship to Capricorn (exaltation); Pluto and Mars are related (via Scorpio); and I can creatively interpret the whole thing together: how Pluto in Cap relates to Mars retrograde in Leo, for a given sign of the zodiac. Then I can go around the wheel and do it 11 more times, one for each sign. As a human, I can think back in history; I can include illustrations specific to a given unique condition in the sky; I can listen to my readers and my clients; and I can offer this collective wisdom back to you.

If you ask me, this ability to do a real reading of a real chart, written cohesively by a writer trained to interpret; who can write a cohesive interpretation, is the far more effective way to work. That is why a reading like the kind you get from Cosmic Confidential — a whole, complete, alive something — can speak to you as a whole person.

In either case, you’re going to take what works for you and toss what does not. But in the case of a creative work prepared as one thing, written with a theme, created specifically to address an immediate time frame — well, you have something you can have a dialog with, work with, and explore for its essence as well as its specific facts.

Note, this same basic theory applies to a thoughtful and well-written Sun-sign horoscope.

PS, if I ever produce custom-style reports drawn from a database, I plan to invent a solution to the ‘whole chart’ issue. I am brewing up some ideas for how to do this. (Meanwhile, any chart service could go a long way toward highlighting the issue for the reader, making a disclaimer on the purported ‘custom’ thing for the sake of integrity and awareness; and  explain that the reader becomes the cohesive interpreter of the report itself, giving a few ideas for how to work with that idea.)

PPS, if you’re into the theory that I’ve described above, here is an article from my archives that describes how astrology is a holographic art.

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