Zip Dobyns
Maritha Pottenger
Mutable Dilemma
Asteroid World
Astrology Classroom
Classroom Principles
Classroom Tools


Science asserts that the cosmos is orderly but meaningless. It is theoretically lawful but the laws are based on statistical probability, so events are random and unpredictable.

Astrology asserts that the cosmos is meaningful. According to the ancient tradition of "as above, so below," there is no such thing as a random event. It asserts that the order we see in the sky is the same order as the one we experience on earth.

One of the ancient techniques of astrology is the use of horoscopes calculated for the Sun's entry into the cardinal zodiacal signs to describe the following three months on earth at the location for the chart. The planets, signs, and aspects will be the same everywhere on earth, but the horoscope houses will differ in different locations on earth.

The horoscope in your handout is for the cardinal ingress in December 2001. I was horrified when I calculated it earlier that fall. All horoscopes have some conflict and some harmony aspects, shown by the angular distances between different factors in the charts. What alarmed me in this ingress chart were not just the signs, houses, and aspects of the traditional planets, lunar nodes, and major angles including the MC axis and the Ascendant axis. The small planets known as asteroids made it a really scary chart!

Asteroids are still unfamiliar to most astrologers, but they are not just valuable tools that can be as meaningful and useful as the larger planets. They are important keys to the nature of reality!

As of June 2002, over 9,400 asteroids have been given names. Many more have been discovered, but the process of naming them has fallen well behind the rate of discovery. The names include famous individuals, mythical figures, geographic regions, institutions, etc. A great many asteroids have been named for astronomers, their relatives, and benefactors of the science. I never expect to look at most of them.

Based on their names, I pick out and test the asteroids that might be useful in mundane astrology. Testing them involves putting them into many horoscopes to see whether their names are appropriate, providing accurate information about the situation pictured by the horoscope. Mundane astrology studies the world, using techniques that include the charts of astronomical cycles, of countries, world leaders, and dramatic events. When using dozens of factors, including many minor planets, they will all have aspects, so it is important to look for repeated themes. Important information will be given in many different ways. I only list one-degree-orb aspects for the "new" asteroids, that is, for all others beyond the first four to be discovered. However, where there are overlapping orbs, a network of aspects can reinforce the major themes.

Looking at the chart for the Sun's entry into 0 Capricorn on December 21, 2001, you can see that the asteroids named for the only two atomic bombs used in war are both prominent. Hiroshima is on the Sun and Nagasaki is on Mars square Saturn. Another theme is present with asteroids named for mythical goddesses of death. Atropos, the Greek goddess who cut the cord at the end of life, is conjunct Saturn, which squares Mars. Libitina, the Roman goddess of death, is octile/trioctile (semisquare/sesquisquare) the lunar nodes. To pick up the nuclear theme, Libitina is also conjunct Fermi, the physicist who directed the first atomic chain reaction. Hela, a Norse goddess of death, squares the Sun from 0 Libra and Hel, a different asteroid named for the same Norse goddess, squares the Sun from 0 Aries.

Asteroids carrying the personal names of U.S. leaders and geographic regions related to the U.S provide an additional theme connected to the preceding networks of aspects. George (for our president) is square Mars and conjunct Atlantis, named for the mythical continent that theoretically was submerged due to the abuse of power. Busch is conjunct Mars and square Saturn. Asteroids that sound the same seem to "work" even when the spelling is slightly different. Bellona, named for a war goddess, completes a grand cross in the mutable signs with an opposition to Nagasaki and square to George. Richard, for our Vice President, squares Mars and opposes George and Atlantis. Washingtonia was named for our first president and can be used for the U.S. capital. It is square the Sun from the last degree of Pisces. Welch, Laura Bush's maiden name, is conjunct the Sun and square Washingtonia from the last degree of Sagittarius. Laura, for the U.S. First Lady, just misses a one-degree-orb aspect to the mutable-sign cross. Laura is just 4 minutes out of orb from an octile to Atropos and it is quincunx the south lunar node. You can see why I was alarmed by the chart.

Many more asteroids could be listed, but the preceding themes clearly suggested that the three months following this Capricorn Ingress could include war, death, and a likelihood of nuclear weapons being used. We certainly had the war and the deaths. The U.S. and its leaders played major roles in the "war against terrorism." But no one exploded any nuclear devices. We just THOUGHT and TALKED and WROTE continuously about the nuclear danger. The media through the whole latter part of 2001 and so far in 2002 has been full of warnings of attacks on nuclear power plants, of "dirty" bombs that combine radioactive material with a bomb and that would panic everyone even if they did not kill many people, of the possibility that remaining members of the Taliban or al Qaeda, or Iraq, or Iran, or North Korea might acquire nuclear weapons, etc. The most recent episode as this handout was being prepared has been the announcement that a former gang member named Jose Padilla was arrested for planning a dirty bomb. He had converted to Islam while in jail, and was arrested in Chicago when he returned from Pakistan. Also, through the first half of 2002, the media has kept up a constant barrage of warnings that India and Pakistan might go to war and that it might escalate into the use of nuclear weapons.

Astrology shows the state of the "cosmic mind," but there may or may not be physical events that manifest that conscious state! Predictions of the details that will be produced are always an educated guess. With understanding and wisdom, positive details can be produced even when major conflict patterns are present in the cosmos.

There are inherent conflicts between some life desires, but when we learn to compromise, to be able to gain some satisfaction for each of them in our lives, we do not have to have painful events. We can do what we want some of the time but not all of the time if we also value interpersonal relationships and are concerned with the larger scene that includes the earth and other living creatures. The inherently harmonious life desires shown by sextiles and trines in a chart support and reinforce each other, but they can lead to excesses that eventually produce pain. Life is a juggling act, trying to make a place for all twelve of its basic desires to be a whole being.

Let's consider a few definitions: questions and theoretical answers.

What is astrology? A convenient way to see the state of the cosmos. The sky is part of the cosmic order, and it is visible, hence a way to see the order.

What is the cosmos? The infinite Whole. All that was, is, will be, and might be, so the Whole includes infinite potentials that could be manifested.

What is the nature of the cosmos? Is it interchangeable physical matter/energy or mind/consciousness or both?

Materialism says that reality is just matter/energy, that mind is simply the physical brain doing its thing.

What do minds do? They experience consciousness, which is mostly subconscious, automatic habits, with a tiny bit that is able to be self-conscious. So far, evidence suggests that humans, great apes, and maybe dolphins can be self-conscious some of the time.

What is consciousness? The ability to receive, process, and respond/react to information. Increasing complexity permits more possible responses.

The theory of materialism cannot explain psychic experiences in which information is received that does not come through the physical senses or from logic based on physical sense evidence. The theory of consciousness as ultimate reality can include both the physical world and the ability to transcend it to explore a multi-dimensional world.

A helpful metaphor suggests that the physical brain is similar to a computer's hardware, while the mind/consciousness is similar to the software programs that run on the computer. There will be problems if either the hardware or the software is defective,

Basic theory: Reality is information. The conceptual models of science describe basic reality as composed of atoms, which are said to be made of protons, neutrons, and electrons. Protons and neutrons in turn are composed of a variety of quarks, etc. Electrons remain elusive, generally described as a "shell" or "field" around the atom center of protons and neutrons. The atom is mostly empty space. Some of the most interesting scientific experiments have involved light, which is composed of photons that can manifest as either particles or waves. Both are equally real. Our experience of that reality depends on how we perceive it. The English language encourages seeing the world as separate particles. We describe the Whole as everything, composed of things. The theory of physical matter/energy as ultimate reality became accepted scientific dogma during the last three centuries. In this theory, life and consciousness evolved from inorganic, non-living physical matter. Consciousness is described as an "epiphenomenon," an illusion produced by the brain. However, early in the 1900s this theory was challenged by new work with quantum mechanics.

The June 2002 issue of Discover magazine includes an article by Tim Folger titled "Does the Universe Exist if We're Not Looking?" Folger interviewed John Wheeler, a noted theorist, and he describes some of the quantum experiments that are challenging materialism. In one of the best known, physicists shine a light, a stream of photons, through two parallel slits to hit a photographic film behind the slits. Photon detectors can be placed right beside each slit so the experimenters can see each photon pass through one slit or the other. They clearly act like particles. But when the photon detectors are removed, instead of the film registering clusters of dots from the streams of photons passing through the two separate slits, it has a pattern of alternating light and dark stripes which "could be produced only if the photons are behaving like waves, with each individual photon spreading out and surging against both slits at once, like breakers hitting a jetty." P. 46. In other words, when the experimenter is consciously watching, with the help of the photon detectors, the light is separate particles. When he is not watching, the light is a wave going through both slits at the same time, producing the striped pattern on the film.

Wheeler suggests that human consciousness affects the photons, producing either particles or waves. Though Folger's article does not say so, these experiments support the claims of parapsychology research that minds can interact with matter without physical contact. Quantum research also demonstrates that photons can interact with each other without physical contact. When two photons are separated spatially but in the condition that experimenters call "entangled," an action done to one results in an instantaneous change in the other. The result is too immediate to permit any sort of transmission of energy or information across the space between them. Recent quantum research in Australia has disassembled an atom in one place and recreated it in a different place without moving it across the intervening space. The more physicists work with quantum phenomena, the more they seem to be edging into the realm of psychic phenomena, into discovering that reality is more than matter/energy.

Scientists keep creating models, conceptual systems that describe reality. Then they test the models to see whether they "work," modify them, and test them again. The models of physics keep getting more complicated. The July 2002 issue of Scientific American has an article by Jan Jolie called Supersymmetry. In the standard model of particle physics, fermions and bosons are distinctly different and cannot be interchanged. Fermions include electrons, protons, neutrons, quarks, and nutrinos. Theoretically, they make up the material world. Bosons include photons which are responsible for electromagnetism, gluons that hold quarks together, and W and Z particles. Bosons theoretically generate the forces of nature. All particles and fields are composed of fermions and bosons. Fermions are connected to each other by normal symmetry, and likewise, bosons are connected to each other by normal symmetry, but their major distinction is that no two fermions can occupy the same quantum state while bosons readily gather in the same quantum state, permitting the production of lasers, etc.

According to Jolie, with Supersymmetry, fermions can change into bosons and vice versa. Physics theories are described with mathematical models, and Supersymmetry requires superalgebra to describe it by incorporating mathematical properties. This produces an expanded model that postulates a new superpartner for each component of the standard model. So far, none of these theoretical new particles has been detected in research, but experiments with gold and platinum offer some support for this more complex model of reality and the supersymmetry of elementary particles is said to be related to the symmetries of space-time theorized by Einstein.

The dictionary defines symmetry as a correspondence in size, form, or arrangement of parts on either side of a plane, line, or point. Correspondence is defined as a similarity or analogy or conformity or equivalence between things in function, position, amount, etc. The objects match in some way, and the antonym is that they differ. The mathematical models, theories, of physics are tested by predicting and manipulating the inorganic material world. Biological theories are tested against the organic world of living beings. Mathematical skills are required to understand and carry out most scientific research. In contrast, the psychological model of astrology is easy to understand and highly useful in dealing with the organic world of living beings, and some astrologers claim success in predicting events in the inorganic world. Much more systematic research is needed, but weather, earthquakes, the fate of nations, etc. may be predicted using the model of astrology.

When we say that emotions or items of information "match," we are saying that they are related or connected by a shared meaning. Are we justified in saying that related emotions and related items of information are forms of symmetry on the psychological level of reality? There is, at least, a metaphorical relationship, but we may discover that many seemingly very different models can prove useful to understand the underlying reality of the cosmos. As with languages, there are many ways to say the same thing.

I suggest that the subconscious side of the mind can detect the wave nature of light which conscious awareness sees as separate particles. Our perception produces our experiences. Different animals have different experiences due to their varied sense organs. For example, some animals see and hear a wider range of frequencies, and are far more sensitive to odors and sounds than humans

Basic theory: In astrology, it is the elements of earth and air that perceive separation. Water experiences the connectedness of reality, and fire symbolizes our desires that draw us out of underlying connectedness to produce the experience of differentiation, to develop the multiplicity that permits new combinations to produce more of the infinite potentials of the Whole.

Just as several models may provide helpful ways to cope with the world, each with a useful part of the picture, it may be true that differences in perceptual abilities affect the experiences of living beings, AND also that consciousness can affect the material world without an immediate contact in space and time. The psychic research carried out by Jule Eisenbud, psychiatrist in Denver, with Ted Serios provides some of the most dramatic evidence of the ability of a human mind to produce a picture on an unexposed film. As with astrology, parapsychology needs funding and committed efforts to provide systematic support for its valuable additions to human knowledge.

In the model of the cosmos offered by astrology, all four elements are always present, but the emphasis varies at different times and places. Is there a dominant theme in the modern world, and if so, is it closer to water or to air? One of the generalizations that is endlessly debated by astrologers is the timing of "astrological ages." We could spend much more time than is available in a brief lecture arguing over whether we are still in the Piscean Age versus being in or coming to the Aquarian Age. Our preoccupation with drugs, legal and illicit, is certainly Piscean, suggesting an overall emphasis on water. And over the centuries, we have become a bit more empathic than the ancient world. Slavery and torture are still practiced, but most people no longer approve of them.

But the current triumph of cutthroat capitalism which glorifies competition is moving us toward the air view of the world as separate particles in a state of unending war. Of course, air can be either cooperative or competitive, but capitalism is focused on the latter. In the phrase associated with evolutionary theory, life's primary goal is "survival of the fittest." The increasing movement into digital technology also is encouraging us to experience reality as separate particles. Digital models of reality are patterns of zeros and ones. In the conceptual model of astrology, air and earth see separation, yet the principle of Pisces, which is water, represents the final connectedness of the Whole.

Modern science is clearly an enterprise mainly focused on earth and air. The theories of materialism offer possible explanations of how inorganic matter created life, but consciousness remains a mystery, often called the "hard problem." How does life differ from physical matter/energy?

Basic theory: Life includes the desire to do what it can do and to do more. Like matter/energy, life reacts to information. Physical matter/energy reacts to information according to its basic nature, whether chemical, electric, magnetic, etc. It is impacted by the world and reacts. It is equivalent to the automatic habits that are a basic part of life. But life adds desire/emotion to the picture. As life increases in complexity from its simplest forms, it sees multiple options, chooses among them, experiences the consequences, and learns, seeking to increase pleasure and avoid pain. Astrological factors are matter/energy, whether separate objects (planets, stars, etc.), or electro-magnetic force fields. Increasingly complex life forms can recognize patterns in their environment, learn their meanings, and change personal reactions to increase pleasure and avoid pain. The visible patterns in the sky provide information that is useful to life, but they are matter/energy on automatic pilot, not gods and goddesses with the desires of life.

There are many models of reality, conceptual systems, sets of patterns that help complex life forms understand and cope with their environment. The astrology model that I use is a personality system with twelve basic desires/drives that are symbolized by planets, by zodiacal signs, by horoscope houses, and other variables such as the lunar and planetary nodes. I call it the alphabet of astrology. Each of the primary desires can be manifested in many different life details. Think of the sky as a mirror that lets us see our own basic desires. When we understand what is motivating us, we can often find more effective ways to satisfy our desires, rather than to continue to operate on automatic pilot, letting subconscious habits control our lives.

Life's desire to do more is manifested in its ability to both learn and procreate. So out of the connected Whole, the fire/desire potential of life produces multiplicity. It produces earth and air which permit the experiences of separation. Space and time are created to permit these experiences. But the underlying reality of the Whole is still connected at the subconscious level of mind/consciousness. Science is just starting to discover the connections and calling the phenomena entanglements.

Basic theory: Life forms do what they can, keep trying to do more, and when a current physical manifestation is no longer functional, they look for another opportunity to try again. So oak tree consciousness is attracted to an acorn that will let it produce a new oak tree. A mouse consciousness is attracted to a mouse embryo that will let it produce a new mouse. A human consciousness is attracted to a human embryo that fits its habits from past manifestations so it can pick up where it left off and do more than it has done before. Each new manifestation creates a new body (earth) and a new conscious mind (air) that experience reality as separate particles, but at the subconscious level, reality is still connected. Remember, reality is both information and desire/emotions.

Everyone will have experienced the connectedness of desire/emotion. The more we experience anger, the more we attract anger in the world. The more we experience fear, the more we attract experiences that justify our fear. The more we experience love, the more love we are able to find and increase. Related emotions are connected across time and space, everywhere and everywhen, so they keep being reinforced as we participate in feeling them. Obviously, it makes sense to encourage pleasurable emotions, but it not easy to change habitual emotional reactions.

I said above that the asteroids, the minor (small) planets, are keys to the basic nature of reality. They provide dramatic evidence that information is connected! Astronomers discover the asteroids and have the right to name them. Most astronomers accept the materialistic theories of science that say their choice of names is random, ruled by chance, and meaningless. But when astrologers put the asteroids into horoscopes, they discover that an asteroid carries the meaning of its name. The only explanation for this repeated experience is that an astronomer who is subconsciously connected to an asteroid, "resonating" with its information to use a metaphor from the physical world, is able to discover it and give it a meaningful name.

Astrologers who have worked with the asteroids experience their confirmation that the world is meaningful, not random or accidental. Materialists dismiss these experiences as "coincidences." Mostly, materialists simply ignore the evidence so they can protect their beliefs.

Our beliefs determine our ethics, what we think is real, desirable, and possible. When astrologers assume that conflict patterns in the sky will inevitably be personally experienced as trauma in one's life or that harmony patterns will bring good fortune without any personal effort, we produce "good day, bad day" astrology. We, and our clients if they accept our beliefs, tend to become fatalistic, to give up trying to improve our lives and the world. But if the innate goal of life is to develop our skills to be able to do more than we have done before, such a fatalistic belief system results in copping out.

Traditional astrology was developed during the Taurus and Aries Ages, in a world that valued courage and power, with myths of ruthless heroes and self-centered gods and goddesses. The ancient world disdained the mutable sides of life, the signs and houses and planets (except for fire Jupiter and its sign and house) that describe mental abilities and spiritual beliefs and values. In fact, the alternate name for the mutables was the "common" signs, and most of the mutable houses were considered weak or negative. The research of the Gauquelins demonstrated the errors in that tradition. The mutable houses, 3,6, 9, and 12, were found to be the most powerful in the horoscope.

There is a clear confrontation between two basic theoretical systems, and a relatively new area of research in modern science is one of the keys to choosing between them. IF the nature of ultimate reality is consciousness/information, our beliefs are the dominant key to where our lives will go. Our beliefs determine our value hierarchies, our choices, and what we think is possible, desirable, and morally right. IF matter/energy is ultimate reality, beliefs are as ephemeral and unreal as dreams. Physical brains theoretically create both beliefs and dreams, and physical genes and DNA, which create brains and bodies, are the ultimate creators of our lives.

By now, everyone knows that deciphering the genomes of living beings is the Holy Grail of modern biological science. Digital technology deals with a world of separated bits that provide our technological conveniences from smart tools to the Internet. But they remain in the inorganic world of matter/energy. They are invented and used by living humans. Genes are basic to life, conceived as the ultimate power in life. Science describes them as the blueprints that encode the structure of proteins that are the basic components of cells. Theoretically they decide whether a stem cell turns into a muscle or bone or nerve cell, etc. The physical cells then supposedly produce individual emotions and intelligence.

At one point, there were thought to be approximately 70,000 or more basic genes, and perhaps another 30,000 regulatory genes. However, recently developed techniques that are working out the genetic code for a variety of organisms now estimate that humans have only about 30,000 genes while there are many more proteins. A tiny, primitive worm has 18,000 genes, which makes it hard to account for the complexity of humans in contrast to the microscopic worm. Even more puzzling, the genetically decoded fruit fly which is much more complex than the worm has 5,000 fewer genes. Obviously, the "control" of life is not "in" the genes; it is in the organization and activation of the genes.

Cell biologist Bruce Lipton Ph.D. explains that the genes are copying machines. The surface of the cell, its membrane, is highly complex with a variety of components. It interacts with its environment and sends the information it acquires to give orders to the genes which are in the nucleus, the cell center. But even more dramatic, the information acquired by the membrane is evaluated by the membrane, not simply transferred automatically. It is the organism's perception of the environment based on past experience and emotional evaluation that shapes the information given to the genes. And behind and below every experience, every impact from the environment, are the organism's beliefs based on its past experience. Its subconscious habits!

The environment of different cells may be chemical and/or electro-magnetic. Cells may be in the blood, or organs, or the skin where they experience the world beyond the organism. But life reacts, and learns from consequences. So, according to Lipton, a change in one's beliefs and values can change the information passed on to the genes, and change the copies they make. If we believe that a Saturn aspect HAS to have negative consequences in our lives, we will not look for a positive alternative. We will go on doing what we have done before and get similar consequences.

If anyone is interested in investigating the ideas of Lipton, his videos and workbook are available at 2574 Pine Flat Road, Santa Cruz, CA 95060, (831) 454-0606. His Ph.D. is from the University of Virginia, plus additional studies in cell biology in Texas and Wisconsin.

So, what is astrology? It is a way to see the cosmic order. If we believe in the continuity of life, it offers us a mirror that describes our psychological habits. Many different life details can be pursued by each desire/drive. Even an ant has choices, to go around an obstacle, or climb over it, or turn around and go in a different direction. Life learns from acting and experiencing consequences. Astrology and many other routes to self-knowledge help us to learn vicariously, both by observing the experiences of others and by creating conceptual models that help us understand the "rules of the game" of existence in a physical world. Astrology is a magnificent gift as long as we do not believe that the planets or our genes or any other form of matter/energy are determining our fates. Life is a participant in the creation of new cosmic potentials.

Zip Dobyns

Copyright 2002 Los Angeles Community Church of Religious Science, Inc.

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