The Astrological Journal March 2017
Victor Olliver's Editorial
Dracula's chart...and the case of false perception?
When Simão Cortês first proposed his essay on how the astrology of fictitious characters (such as Captain America or Dracula) seems to 'work', I felt a little uneasy. John Frawley and other astrologers have tackled this subject before but I have yet to make an in-depth study of their work. I tried to recall the term that I feared might be used to characterise the phenomenon but could not, so I tapped this sentence into the Google search box: "Word for seeing patterns in clouds". Result: apophenia (or one of its variants, pareidolia), defined as "the human tendency to perceive meaningful patterns within random data". Many science and psychology sceptics have already tried to explain away astrology as a manifestation of apophenia, a form of creative or pathological perception that is essentially false. My concern was that if we embrace the idea that the horoscope can be applied to the lives of made-up people, what does this say about astrology and real life?
It was at this point that I asked a few more questions. Do we really know how or why astrology should 'work'? Is there a laboratory (in, let's say, Switzerland) that has written the manual on the clockwork of the horoscope, with all its meshing cogwheels neatly identified in relation to celestial objects that are millions and billions of miles away? I have seen no such manual. In my lifetime I do not expect to read such a thing. If we don't have a clue on the 'science' of astrology or its extent, how can we be so certain that it cannot be applied to so many things other than ourselves or nations, such as the fictional products of our dreams and nightmares? As many others have pointed out, astrology does not 'speak human'. We make attempts at interpretation, and the sheer number of different techniques and traditions should alert us to the likelihood that astrology is some kind of inter-section between what we bring and what can be taken. Astrology must always be a work-in-progress. The most we can do is test it with honest intent.
Simão uses three different techniques (natal-rectification, mundane and horary) to test his thesis on Dracula, Captain America and Luke Skywalker. And the wise reader may conclude: "Ah yes, these charts do appear to reflect the fiction. This is more food for thought. Time is the spur. Thank you".
Alien language circles and Patrick Moore
The abundance of modern or popular culture in this issue is somewhat unintentional, the result of events and time-sensitivities. We learn that Leonard Cohen was not averse to astrology, judging by his letter that we publish in John Etherington's astro- biography of the late star. And Liz Hargreaves identifies the astrology in the history of the BBC TV astronomy series The Sky at Night which celebrates its 60th birthday in April. Doubtless its long-time presenter Sir Patrick Moore will be spinning in his grave, as he had no time for astrology. Tim Burness' piece on the hit sci-fi movie Arrival is most intriguing: its makers created an alien language that features circles divisible by twelve, brought to Earth by twelve spaceships which together make a whole. People may be forgiven for seeing uncanny resemblances to the horoscope, a fact that seems to have been lost on the fanboy/girl movie geeks who swallow film studio marketing lines like greedy gaping chicks.
Also, check out Pam Crane's new chart for the USA. Do you see in it what she sees? Or do you see something else? For this is astrology.
This is the editorial from the March 2017 edition of the Astrological Journal, the UK's premier astrological magazine.