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Matrix Software > Learng Astrology > Astrophysical Directions > Coordinate System > Opening Essay

Learn Astrology

Back to Coordinate System   |   Back to Astrophysical Direction 

Opening Essay

In this section, we would like to introduce the reader to several of the more advanced considerations and techniques involving cosmic structure. I would also like to share with you some of my own questions that have come up in recent years. Let me make it clear that it has often been very difficult for me to come to feel I understand much of the information presented here. This is due, in the beginning to an almost complete ignorance of astronomy and mathematics as well as a deep feeling of insecurity about technical issues that required me to go over and over simple facts until I feel that I understand what they signify. This learning experience has been, for me, a personal odyssey of immense value and high adventure.

Do not expect to absorb what astrologers have made a point of avoiding for centuries in a few days. Take your time and develop a feel for this material. Don't worry about "what it all means," for the present. The space surrounding our birth is filled with countless stars and objects. These objects, whose numbers may 'boggle' the mind, can all be ordered according to the fabric or system to which they belong or are members. An understanding of the basic matrix or fabric in which they are nested will bypass the need to try to interpret them one-by-one in and attempt to count the stars.

Astrologers have lost much of the grasp they once had on the astronomy and mathematics of their field. In the past, as any history book will demonstrate, astrologers were both astronomers and mathematician. They held a very responsible place in society, a position that was respected, and one that provided a reasonable living.

Astrology in these times is held in low esteem and the individuals practicing it are made to feel shame for charging money for their skills. In my mind, there may well be a direct connection between the state of our art and the loss of the more physical part of that art, the astronomy and math. I have spent many years investigating the heliocentric system of event expression, by itself, and in relation to our traditional geocentric concepts. This has involved not only the doing of many thousands of charts, but also over 1500 individual readings in which both geo and helio charts were consulted. What follows is not pure speculation, but has emerged to my attention through many years of study. Let me recount to you, in brief, how I got into heliocentric investigation:

I was propelled in this direction by an increasing dissatisfaction in the results of existing techniques and by the thrill of the unknown. After I got over the "newness" of helio charts and the extreme discomfort of not having such landmarks as the Moon, the houses, and chart angles to guide me, it dawned that the helio planetary patterns (in particular what we came to call whole-chart configurations, where several major aspects combine to form a whole gestalt or 360°/picture) represented our zodiac in a purity or at a level of significance not before encountered.

After several years of this work, during which much of my geocentric astrological activity was suspended, I attempted to return to Earth (so to speak) and to begin to combine the helio with the traditional geocentric techniques. I then encountered a singular problem. It was then quite clear to me that the zodiac or ecliptic, whether expressed through helio or geocentric planetary positions, was heliocentric or Sun centered in essence, a much less "mundane" plane of reference than I could remember it. Let me restate this:

When first venturing into helio research, I had assumed that I was moving from the very practical and specific methods of geocentric astrology to a more "spiritual," generic, and higher level or order of information (heliocentric). This was, in fact, the case. An unexpected result, however, was the growing awareness that our traditional geocentric sphere (all of our zodiac concerns) was also of a very high or spiritual (psychological, if you prefer) nature and much less the "nitty gritty," down-to-earth affair that I assumed and/or remembered. A different and stark understanding of myself and my fellow astrologers began to occur, one in which I could see that I was much less practical and much more of a dreamer than I could ever have admitted before.

As a part of this experience I began to see that astrologers (as a group) had let lapse or lost almost all their means to specify or communicate their vision to the general public. In particular, they no longer understood the equatorial and horizon systems of coordinates and planes. Everything began to "flip-flop" in this learning experience, my waking vision. As an astrologer, I had a built-in thirst and love for such powerful or sensitive zodiac points as the ascendant and the other angles and house cusps. In fact, like many astrologers, I longed to find and extract even more such meaningful points from our well-worn zodiac.

Until that time, it had never occurred to me that the 'specificity' or 'individuality' of these sensitive points were provided by the horizon and equatorial planes as much as by the zodiac. In other words, it is the plane of the horizon that marks out the specific degree of my ascendant from the other 360 possible degrees. I had unconsciously given all credit for this ability or "power" to the zodiac alone and none to the horizon. In truth, I hardly knew what the horizon even was, other than as a diagram in a book.

I began to see that astrologers had let lapse their conscious use and awareness of these other coordinate planes, although all three systems must be used to calculate every last natal chart! Here I was trying to induce and extract all meaning from the zodiac alone, which is similar to trying to climb up out of the middle of a deep lake when we feel the need for dry land. To bring to a close my bit of experience:

Astrologers have for some centuries now lost the ability to deliver the kind of very specific information that is available through mastery and conscious use of the equator and horizon system of coordinates. Instead, they have clung to the vestiges of such specificity as found in the ascendant, house cusps, etc. The public's demand for such specifics has been satisfied (in our times) more by the "psychic" or intuitive gifts of modern astrologers, than by the use of a comprehensive technique.

If astrologers live in 'specific' poverty, it is because they refuse to master the means to get the attention of this very result-oriented world and this means is available to them through the reacquisition of the lost branches of their art/science: astronomy and mathematics. If astrologers do have a holistic and "spiritual" message to deliver to these times, they will have to get public attention, not through their intuition alone, but also through dependable and predictable results. We must deliver. Let us examine some ways through which these articles might be helpful in this regard.

Copyright (c) 1997-99 Michael Erlewine


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