Saturday, May 24, 2008

Don't Beleive The Hype, Part Three: Post-UAC Analysis & Comments

Don't Beleive The Hype, Part Three: Post-UAC Analysis & Comments

3:45 PM 05/24/2008 Sat

And so, the Week that was - the world's largest gathering of astrologers ever, taking place last week at Denver CO; some 1600 astrologers in attendance from accross 45 countries, all gathered in the spirit of comraderie and learning, a good time to be had by all. I've been reading along the various websites, blogs and chatrooms/forums about the week's festivities with great interest, and have already weighed in on what I call the Joni Patry Problem in my last two installments. In this, the final installment on 2008's UAC, I intent to revisit the Patry issue, along with some key things that stuck out at me as an observer watching it all go down from my perch on the World Wide Web.

But first, before I begin with what some would consider a searing critique, let me extend a strong biggups to those who organized the event, and to give congrats to this year's winners of the Regulus Award, chief among them Ms. Bernadette Brady and now we can officially say, Dr. Robert Hand. Additionally, I would like to recognize all the younger folk at this year's events, and Mr. Lutin's apparently quite successful stageplay, "Plutopia". And, I want to just say to my friend Nick Dagan Best, now you see why we brothas like our trucks so much, hmm? LOL!

Now, with all that out of the way, to the good stuff...

Dispatches From The Center Of The Universe
Here's astrologer-reporter Eric Francis' May 16 2008 "dispatch" from the UAC convention floor; he asks a very good rhetorical question...

"Second, there appears to be no serious discussion of sexuality. I have not read the whole catalog, but I have not seen anything even coming close to the topic. This verges on astonishing, given the number of people who come to astrology for sexually-related subject matter, and the even greater number for whom it surfaces as a theme or issue they need to address. How, exactly, are astrologers supposed to help anyone if they are not informed? How are they supposed to keep their composure and objectivity if they have no training or experience with these kinds of very necessary discussions?"

Ahhh, a very good question indeed; but I have to remind my Piscean brother Mr. Francis, that the answer is only an Occam's Razor's arm length away - the astrology business' biggest consumer are women, most over the age of 40. And women as a rule are quite sensitive about having open discussions about sex, especially when the face on the other of said discussion is a male's, which remains the case for the bulk of astrologers of any real consequence (and I've written about this, too, something you will NOT hear discussed in any real way at ANY astrology conference) - hence recourse to roundabout talk about "relationships and synastry" and so forth. And if you're an astrologer whose lifeblood is dependent on that demographic helping you to keep the lights on, well, you adapt to market conditions accordingly.

If anyone doubts this, go and see for yourself. As long as its couched in "romantic" terms, you can get away with it, perhaps moreso if you happen to be a woman astrologer; but in general, given the Sexual Harrassment times in which we live, it would be suicidal for a Hand, or a Brennan, to *really* go there within an astrological analysis of astrology's biggest consumer block. What to do about it, you might ask? Well, talk about why we don't talk about it, would be one. But what's the chance that'll really happen, hmm?

Astrology's Young GunsPerhaps one of the highlights, and indeed, rising stars at this year's UAC, was the emergence of a young and vibrant contingent of astrologers, headed up in the main by Christopher Brennan, a Hellenistic astrologer and scholar. My understanding is that quite an impressive showing was made by Brennan and crew, who was put in at the last minute as presenter after initially being peed on for being too young; as it turns out, he is now UAC's youngest faculty member. Good on him!

But, being the dour man that I am, I gotta raise some questions, difficult ones, I'm afraid before the cheering starts - astrology, at its base, is not about lectures or techniques or fresh faces, but about LIFE itself. And no amount of pyrotechnics will take the place of actual life experience. This is why the Saturn Return is so important, and why in many circles, especially the more Eastern ones, doing astrology "for real" is frowned upon *until* one has had enough life experience.

I'm not just pouring water on the parade either, I speak from my own experience, as a early twentysomething starting out in astrology. As I look back on it now, there's just no way I could have made any real sense helping people, because while I knew the symbols and Signs and whatnot, I didn't know LIFE. No dis to Brennan, but really - what can he tell some over 40, a man let's say, about Love? Loss? Death? A mortage? A divorce? Not saying that he should know all things, certainly not. But without life experience, its hard to really put the symbols we see into proper context for the client. Which is probably why Brennan doesn't lecture much about actually working with clients. It is wholly understandable.

Moreover, the current love affair with the Young Guns papers over other things as well, which I'll save for a future installment. But I'll say for now, that one of them is the tendency not to drill into them the importance of getting life experience along with their astrological education. I wish the Young Guns well, and would exhort them, with all the knowledge they get, that they also get understanding.

The Joni Patry Problem Revisited
In many ways, my critique of the Young Guns trend ties itself intimately into the Joni Patry problem. As is well known world wide by now, on May 16 2008 according to Eric Francis, Patry announced that she had Barack Obama's birthtime - only, the "time" turned out to be little more than a grown up version of what we used to call "Telephone". You know the game - someone whispers something to you, and you pass it on to someone else, and so and so on, and after awhile, no one knows where it came from and the whole thing done got twisted. It's a fun game for kids. It's a disaster for astrologers, who suffer from a huge inferiority complex as it is due to astrology still struggling to process its feelings of being so roundly dissed in the Western world for the past few centuries, and sporadic assaults by Skeptic Tanks like the Amazing Randys.

One of the reasons why I spoke so forcefully and vociferously as I did in relation to Patry was because of several things, her being a highly regarded Vedic astrologer by many, among them - but another reason was because the manner in which she was given carte blanche to do what she did shows a huge gaping problem in the basic mindset and utter lack of critical thinking in the whole of the astrological community - a "name" astrologer makes a grand announcement to the world about the birthtime of a presidential candidate, based on heresay and secondhand information, if one can call it that -

AND NO ONE CHALLENGED HER. AT ALL.

I'm not talkin' 'bout after the lights go off, I'm takin' 'bout right then and there - why didn't somebody, anybody, get off their duff and say, uh, hold up Ms. Patry. Exactly where did you get this time from? Why can't we see the document? Why can't we at least know the names of your client and "campaign manager" he/she claims to have gotten the time from? I mean, why didn't the whole darn production STOP until this was sorted out? What the buck is up with that???

You mean to tell me that we can be suckered that easily? For all of our computer this and young astrologer that and Plutopia the other - it was all for a secondhand account of something that cannot be proven, in any way, at all? Lois Rodden has got to be doing backflips in her grave - and it's my view that we all took a collective dump on it if this is the best we can do. Talk about a regression to the mean.

And then we wonder why we still get chumped by Skeptics?

The Obama Panel - And The 800LB Gorilla In The Middle Of The UAC Living Room
But the Patry Affair was but one of UAC's highlights. Another, that attracted a bit of news coverage, was the star-studded astrologer panel on the 2008 Presidential elections. As you might guess, I have some thoughts to critiques of this as well, but to set things up, please share with me this insight by a colleague and friend of mine, the man known to the astrology world as Astrobarry:

"Another confounding condition, making such 'prediction' a dicier proposition still, is the glaringly blatant bias with which most astrologers come at this question of who'll be our next president. Would you be surprised to hear that the UAC tides were overwhelmingly in favor of Obama? Hardly. From lectures to coffee-break chatter to the official entertainment, no pretenses toward objectivity were made. A leftist/Democratic bent was presumed by virtually everyone in every context… and while that presumption was likely true as far as the participants' personal views were concerned, it isn't an especially open-hearted way in which to approach sociopolitical astrology. (I was admittedly flabbergasted when one of my favorite astrologers quickly glossed over discussing Obama's challenging astro-transits, in order to focus on ripping Clinton's and McCain's charts to shreds.)

Isn't our job as astrologers—cultural commentators with cosmic consciousness, really—to shed light on how things are and could be? When our egos get intimately woven into the formula, however, it often instead becomes a variation on that theme: an exposition on how we personally want them to be. Which isn't necessarily a 'bad' approach, as it's relatively rare for our egos not to jam their grubby little fingers into every last pot… but if we don't fess up to that upfront, we have the potential to confuse our wishful thinking for reality."

Uh-oh. He ain't supposed to talk about THAT, afterall, such things aren't good for one's career, don't you know. But I deeply thank Astrobarry for his sage insight for it pierces a veil that has long shrouded our community. And that is this:

Why DO we have such a hard Left leaning community groupthink? Is it simply a natural outgrowth of being interested in astrology...or is it a sign of something a bit more, shall we say, political? What happened to all those lectures I'm sure was to be had at UAC, about "professionalism" and "objectivity" on the part of the astrologer? Hmm?

And, why is there so much gushing and love for Obama, in a setting that is for all intents and purposes virtually White? Now, I don't know about anyone else, but my highschool Psych class covered this, it's called Overcompensatory behavior. Don't nobody fall on a sword here, just keepin' it real. Folks who try to get a handle on their stuff often go overboard in the other direction and we all do it to a lesser or greater degree. Maybe that's the other reason astrologers in general are likened to the "on its side" orbit of Uranus, hmm?

I for one was struck by the outpouring of support, obstensibly, for Obama by the panel and the general attendees on one hand, and the virutal absence of people of color, especially African Americans, at UAC overall. Talk about a disconnect. Talk about cognitive dissonance. To say nothing of virtually any talk about the very racial times in which Obama finds himself, now officially dubbed as "the race candidate".

Very, very, interesting, says this astrologer.

I could go on, but I think the above suffices as to just how far we've come as astrologers, and just how far we've yet to go. Here's another quote I found on the internet some months back that I think really gives us all some food for thought as UAC 2008 fades into memory; think it over for yourself, and ask some hard questions:

""White liberals are openly, breathtakingly hypocritical. The appearance of racial rectitude is perhaps America’s most highly-regarded virtue, but it comes at essentially no cost.
You don’t have to have black friends, you don’t have to have Mexican neighbors, you don’t have to send your children to schools where no one speaks English, and you don’t have to invite Hmong refugees to your dinner parties. You can be racially respectable without doing anything. Just gush about the things you, yourself, carefully avoid: integration, multi-culturalism, and diversity.

"This is the Clinton/Kennedy/Bush racket.

"People get away with it because everyone is in on the charade. By any real racial test, by any measure that requires sacrifice, everyone fails, so whites never apply real tests to each other. Mouth the right clichés and you’re on the side of the angels. Racial rectitude is therefore the most cheaply bought virtue in American history— and also the most easily forfeited. Because only words matter, not deeds, a single sentence can wreck a career."

- Jared Taylor, in an online debate he had with Steven Sailer

Here's to UAC 2012.

Salaam
Mu

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13 Comments:

Blogger Pat said...

Brilliant post. Well, of course I'd say that, because I've been writing along these lines for more than two years. In other words, you're brilliant because you agree with me. :-)

Only half-joking, of course. I've felt like a lone voice in the wilderness, sometimes so far out there that I feel disconnected from my peers. But I'm a double Aquarius, after all, and that's my job.

FYI, some of my earliest posts addressed the question of political bias in astrology. And my latest blog post was asking about why sex doesn't sell in astrology. I came up with some different insight, but your commentary on the demographics hit the nail on the head. That said, in my work with a major astrology website, the demographic analysis was 75 percent women, mostly mid-20s to late 30s. That's not the demographic of my blog (older readership for the most part) but it does appear to be the target audience for mainstream astrology.

I could go on and on, but I'll stop here and just repeat that this was a great post!

Love and blessings,
Pat
The Pisces Chronicles

2:18 PM  
Blogger J said...

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2:23 PM  
Blogger J said...

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2:24 PM  
Blogger J said...

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2:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Pat,
Thanks so much for the comments! I'd heard about your blog and had been meaning to check it out, there's so many of em up here on Blogger!

I just wanted to note that the slightly younger remale demo that you've seen on your site is indeed a significant factor in the overall market of astrology-the people who actually buy stuff, be it books/cards, doo dads and the rest of it. But when it comes to things like UAC, until the Advent of the Young Guns, the big spenders, and this is still largely true today, are the over 40 Female Crowd. For some reason astrology hasn't figured out how to appeal to the Maxim and ESPN crowd-either that, and/or they just don't care to. This is why I've always been very dubious about the idea that we as a group are so openminded and forward leaning. My direct experience has largely shown the exact opposite, that as a rule we are quite insular and retrograde, pardon the pun, in many ways.

That Patry piece is still stuck in my craw, man. Talk about handing the naysayers a smoking gun, and the near braindeadness of our "elders", either that and/or a complete lack of backbone, is a harbinger of ill things to come. Getting the data correct is a cornerstone of what we do, if we can't get that down pat after a century of modern style birth record keeping, we might as well hang it up. All that Patry did was add to the already dazed and confused debate wrt the presidential candidates birthtimes. And yea, it does look like she was trying to cash in on it, and if the recent past is any indication, it'll work, because lots of astrologers are in on the fix too, or they don't want to harm they career, and as we all know in light and love circles, the astrology scene is easy pickings full of easy marks. Sad.

And don't even get me started on the racial piece...

Damn.

Salaam
Mu

5:23 PM  
Blogger Pat said...

Mu, not everyone was on board the Obama chart. Seriously ... I didn't buy it for one minute, for precisely the reasons you stated. I even remember saying to myself, "Lois Rodden would be turning over in her grave."

Same with Hillary. "Someone saw the birth certificate" doesn't cut it. I actually heard one fairly respected astrology say he used the 8 a.m. birth time because he just knew she had an "icky Pisces Moon."

While we're on the subject, I left a comment on Astrodatabank last year about Israel's birth chart, with clear evidence of a birth time. One person commented that it made sense. The rest continue using Campion because ... well, it's Campion, and he's the authority.

Whatever. Just as I never try to convince anyone of the merits of astrology, I don't try to convince other astrologers that I'm right. If I am, time will tell...

9:20 PM  
Blogger Mu'Min M. Bey said...

Hey Pat,
WOW! Are you serious, an astrologer actually told you something like that wrt Hillary? Sounds just like what Astrobarry reported while he was UAC. Deep.

Yea, I use the 4PM time for the state of Israel; this is supposed to be based on David Ben Gurion's diary entry, per both Tyl and Campion. The letter does offer other times in his Book of World Horoscopes. But, what time do you use, where did you get it from, and so on?

Salaam
Mu

10:08 PM  
Blogger Pat said...

Mu, I tried to find my comment on Astrodatabank to reproduce for you, but it seems to have been deleted or buried beyond retrieval, as I posted it two years ago, not last year.

The time I use is midnight, May 15, 1948. My reasons are in a March 2006 post on my blog. (Note that the links to news articles are now outdated).

If you read the actual text of Ben Gurion's declaration, you will see that he gives the establishment of Israel as midnight, when the British Mandate expired. At that point, the provisional government of the new state took over. You could argue over the wording "We hereby declare the establishment of Israel," etc., but how could a new state exist without a government? Ben Gurion is clear that the new government will take over at midnight. This is as good as a birth certificate, Rodden AA. So why doesn't anyone else get it?

11:31 PM  
Blogger Mu'Min M. Bey said...

Hey Pat,
I've been meaning to do up a piece on Israel since this month marks its 60th anniversary over on my discussion forum the University Of Astrology. I would love to have you over to discuss this! If you're game, head over to MySpace and signup at groups.myspace.com/uoaforum.

As for the "new" or rather "confirmed" birthtime for the state of Israel per your researches, it shouldn't be too hard to confirm or deny it on the basis of Solar Arc and Outer planet hits to its angles. Right off the top of my head for example, Yitzak Rabin was assassinated when the Uranus and Neptune transits were sitting at the bottom of the Israel chart per the 4PM birthtime, w/other corroborating measurements confirming. Since Israel's history is well documented and known it should be very easy to test all this out.

As for the state being in a perpetual state of war, I know you would agree with me that the Sun-Mars square Israel was born with could just as easily explain this no matter when the actual clocktime, just as the Sun-Neptune square does the same for Barack Obama, which reminds me...

You had mentioned that per the new birthtime for Israel, the national Moon now enters 9 degrees of Leo. It's most interesting to also note that if one accepts this time, that it exactly conjuncts Obama's Sun, also at 9 Leo if memory serves. Gotta get my other astronotebook and fire it up, I'm just getting fired up myself for the day and since its a holiday so I can focus on astrology ALL DAY....Yipee!

OK, holla back

Salaam
Mu

5:09 AM  
Blogger Pat said...

Mu, I might ask, what does Uranus-Neptune have to do with an assassination? So what if it was on the IC? If I were using that chart, I'd probably identify the NN on the AC and the Pluto-Mars square as triggers.

But try this on for size: In the midnight birth chart, Pluto was exactly on the MC at 29 Scorpio. Don't you think that's a better "assassination" transit? :-)

And no, I don't think the Sun-Mars square would account for "perpetual state of war" for a nation with Libra Rising.

But none of this really matters. Just read the proclamation. It speaks for itself.

12:18 PM  
Blogger Pat said...

P.S. I signed up. Have been meaning to, anyway, have just been hammered over the past six months and just now digging out from under the rubble. My presence may be spotty, as I'm also trying to keep two blogs and a new website going. But thanks for the invitation. It's a timely topic.

12:51 PM  
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6:08 AM  

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