Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Honoring Skeptics

When you dabble in a practice that is considered to be on the 'fringe' relative to common or mainstream thinking you are bound to run into skeptics along the way. Astrology is certainly a fringe topic and it is an art/science that tends to attract some of the most sensitive souls into the grip of its siren song. Though I always have a way of coming off as though I am unfettered by a barrage of doubter energy, I am no exception to the trends toward sensitivity in those who practice and use astrology. Put simply, it affects me ( I have a Pisces Sun after all). But at the same time, there is something about feeling that barrage that gets my blood pumping and infuses me with a confidence (or maybe its arrogance) to respond with a solid argument.

If I try and respond in the heat of the moment, I can easily come off more arrogant and berating than I intend (Mercury in Aries). But when I actually take a minute to honor the value in the skeptic argument I can find the compassion to respond in a more conciliatory manner. I have to always remind myself that, I too, am a skeptic in many respects (Virgo Moon/AC) and that allowing healthy skepticism is actually what opens up the opportunities for those fringe ideas and topics to find there way into the common fray.

Below is a recent email that I received from a skeptic regarding my upcoming Relationship Astrology Workshop at Planet Earth Rising in Folsom, CA followed by my response to the email. I am glad I waited a day to respond and ensure that I honor her healthy skepticism. This is just an example of how someone who uses astrology can counter a common set of common assumptions regarding this ancient art/science. Enjoy!

Her Email:

"I’m on the e-mail list for Planet Earth Rising, so I get advertisements for classes all the time. Most of these I ignore because I’m not impressed with the presenters. To be blunt, I think they’re uneducated, superstitious people who are making up stuff because they don’t understand how the universe works. I was ready to delete your ad, until I read the part about how you have degrees in the sciences. Most scientists don’t believe in astrology. I’m wondering why you’re different. I’m intrigued. How is it that you don’t think astrology is superstitious nonsense for the simple minded?"

My Response:

"Sorry for not getting back to you sooner. I appreciate that you are opening your mind enough to discriminate what I am putting out there from what you usually encounter. The way I see it is that, people are not 'simple-minded' but people can approach situations with a 'simple mind'...i.e. black & white thinking. With regards to taking in new information there are two simple-minded approaches. One simple-minded approach is taking EVERY piece of information as truth while the other simple-minded approach is refusing EVERY piece of information as having any shread of truth. To me, both approaches lead a person away from their own personal truth.

My personal adages regarding any new information are to 'take the best & leave the rest' and 'never throw the baby out with the bathwater' and I start every presentation that I do with those statements. See this brief video below from a previous relationship workshop where I explain this:

Some of the presenters at Planet Earth Rising resonate with me while others do not resonate with me at all. But even with those who resonate with me, I don't take EVERYTHING that they say as truth. The point is, I believe we have our own truth and that following any whole truth of another person or group is just an example of 'dogma.' I also find that even the presenters that don't resonate with me can have SOME nuggets of wisdom and truth to offer me so I usually give people a chance and then filter as needed.

When you say that 'most scientists don't believe in astrology' I have to admit that the statement itself requires some clarification on two levels.

First, if you include scientists like Copernicus, Einstein, Newton, Galileo, Pythagorus, Jung, and other classic scientists that worked with astrology, then I am not sure if the word 'most' can be used with any scientific confidence. These scientists, as well as others, have utilized astrology and studied it quite extensively. Their other works have been accepted into modern times and is what made them 'famous' but it begs one to question why so many of our 'most intelligent' and 'scientific' forefathers would have bothered beyond an initial assessment if it was 'superstitious nonsense'. The reason is that, as bizarre as the 'concept' of astrology seems, scientifically speaking...there IS something to it! I really can't get into everything regarding this on an email as there is just too much information.

In terms of modern research, have you heard of the Gauquelin Sectors study? Here is a brief link to it ( Here is also a good analogy for you from a previous recorded class where I compare our lack of understanding of astrology to our lack of understanding of gravity: And while its true that through modern media outlets, astrology is 'portrayed' as something that 'most scientists' don't 'believe' in, it isn't true that there aren't plenty of modern scientists who, while they don't understand 'how', cannot deny the results that they see with it.

Second, you use the word 'believe' in your statement which implies that those who work with astrology do so because they 'believe' in it and not because it works. To judge anything based on simple-minded 'belief' or simple-minded 'dis-belief' is the definition of 'unscientific'. Are you aware of the practice of astrology beyond using simple Sun-signs? I personally do not deal with astrology on such a simplistic level and refuse to feed people's false assumptions about just their sun-signs (i.e. I am Aries so I'm...). Here is a clip of me from January when I was invited on FOX 40 Live to field questions from Joe Orlando where I respond to a similar 'simple-minded' assumption about astrology:

Your question:

"How is it that you don’t think astrology is superstitious nonsense for the simple minded?"

My answer:

I don't think that astrology is 'superstitious nonsense for the simple minded' because I am not simple minded enough to take astrology at face value as something to either believe in or not believe in. I spent YEARS observing astrology in action because I was skeptical. And at some point (as is true with every scientific type that investigates it) I had to surrender to the fact that even though I don't completely understand it, it doesn't mean that it doesn't somehow work.

I am curious as to what your own personal research into astrology has yielded or whether you have completed any of your own research since you sound so confident in your assertion that astrology is superficial nonsense? Are you merely taking on the 'dogma' of what you have heard? :). That would be a pretty simple-minded approach to something for which you don't have any :)...i'm teasing.

Sir Isaac Newton (i.e. Mr. Physics) may have said it best in regards to defending astrology when he said to the man for which Halley's Comet was named :

"Sir, I have studied it, you have not" - Sir Isaac Newton

Halley was questioning Newton's involvement with astrology at the time.

You are MORE than welcome to attend my relationship astrology workshop on Sun May 22 at Planet Earth (230-530p) as I enjoy introducing these concepts to those with skeptical (i.e. filtering) minds like my own. For a glimpse at other pieces of this workshop, please check out some of these videos on this playlist from a previously recorded workshop on the topic:

Regardless of what tool one is using (i.e. astrology or anything else), when you can gain a better understanding of your own unconscious drives and gain a better understanding of the higher meaning behind your current experiences, it can improve your life and ability to accept what is. THIS is why I value astrology. Getting over my own need to 'know' how it works just happens to be the hardest part.

I hope that helps!

Thanks for your feedback!"

-My Astro Chris

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