(originally published in The Mountain Astrologer, 1995?)
by Bruce Scofield
Back in the late 60's and early 70's I was in a rock & roll band called the Pseudo-Realists with a most original character -- his stage name was Antipodes Astrologicon. Other members of the band were the Pythagerection Crooner, Bliss Nick, Bongo Bitch, and me -- the Instigating Observer. Our record label was Oxymoron Records. "A.A," as he was known, became a close friend of mine. We shared a special interest in astrology and have kept in touch from time to time since then. I caught up with him the last time I was in Arizona, in the Santa Rita mountains south of Tucson.
TUO: So AA... you've been doing the grand tour?
AA: Right. I've been drifting ever since the Neptune/Uranus conjunction a few years back closely aspected my natal Moon. I thought it was a good time for me to pull up stakes and see the third world. I suppose I could have stayed home and got sick.
TUO: Yesterday, while we lounging on the summit of Mt. Wrightson, you started to talk about your last year in Bolivia and Peru. What were you doing there?
AA: I was practicing my Spanish.
TUO: Bueno. Pero, deciste que lo encontraste un sorcero,....un curandero. Es verdad?
AA: Right. I met an old man who gave me a few tips on personal focus. The old world really does have a lot to offer us moderns. Hey -- have you read the Unabomber's manifesto?
TUO: Maybe a few paragraphs. What do you think about it?
AA: It's right out of a history of science class, the kind that was taught a generation ago. Back then, shortly after the Uranus/Pluto conjunction in Virgo, there was a flurry of books and papers suggesting that modern science and technology are a menace to humanity. Remember Herbert Marcuse and that French sociologist whose name I can't pronounce. You know, in many ways the French are very clever about maintaining an aura of superiority. One way they do this is by having a secret language in which some letters are not sounded at all, and others that utilize parts of the mouth and nose that are usually used for expelling stuff. Anyway, this French sociologist ran his analysis on "The Technological Society," which I think is the name of his book, and concluded that it was a bad thing. He thought the only things that might change its relentless march forward toward a de-humanized future was either gigantic earth changes, you know, hell and high water, or major contact with more advanced beings from another part of the galaxy.
So that's where the Unabomber is coming from, a college history of science class of the late 60's and early 70's. He is really a vehicle for the Uranus/Pluto conjunction. He's a voice of the 60's. But this doesn't mean that his message is necessarily dated. That take on technology was in fashion then and it probably isn't now -- and we all know that fashion is not the truth, it's just another way for some people to be better than others. Fashion is Saturn and Neptune, status and illusion. Fashion is a social phenomena in which an image is made to be desirable -- higher on the pecking order. With this comes the possibility of spreading genetic material far and wide -- and isn't this how things work?
TUO: Slow down AA. You're saying the Unabomber is a product of the 60's Uranus/Pluto in Virgo -- what does this have to do with fashion?
AA: Everything. As fashions change, in clothes or in thought, they make us see things differently. But fashions are not a way to read the more basic patterns of life on this planet, the ones that you might call "the truth." Now I don't know what the truth is -- I only know that some arrangements of words and concepts in the mind fit things out there better than others. I know that plants and snail shells are either Fibonacially correct or they aren't.
TUO: I think you're getting too philosophical for this interview, or whatever it is.
AA: Haven't you noticed that Pluto's in Sagittarius? Get with the program. The Unabomber's manifesto is incredibly symbolic of this ingress -- even if the message is not currently fashionable. The material is tight, clear, and well-organized. Did you look at his chart? He's got a Uranus-Saturn-Sun conjunction in Gemini. He's a carrier of information, but like Gemini, a little irresponsible about the delivery of the package, so to speak. Hey - people died for this message, we should take it seriously.
TUO: So what is he saying that we should embrace?
AA: Did you read Redfield's follow up to his "Sell-it-Time Prophecy?" It's called the "12th Insect" and its about a back-packing trip like the one we're on now. It's another manifestation of Pluto in Sagittarius. Now there's a closet astrologer for you.
TUO: You mean like Thomas Moore who wrote a book about astrology then hit it big with "Care of the Soul" -- in which he carefully avoids mention of the "A" word.
AA: Right. Redfield even has an order form for horoscopes in the back of his best-seller without a mention of the "A" word. I'd love to see him come out, but he's intelligent and knows that astrology gets no respect. It's much easier to peddle some classic spiritual concepts that were popular in the 60's than to sell astrology.
TUO: Why do you think that is?
AA: I saw an ad for a TV weather report the other day in which they bragged that there would be "no scientific lingo." I thought this was amazing -- the truth that the mother lode of the American public had not learned the difference between low and high pressure systems in nearly 50 years of televised weather forecasting is a sad thought. If the most domesticated primates can't handle four or five meteorological terms how can we expect them to grasp astrology? Redfield and Moore know this. Astrology is either sun-sign fun or a fairly technical read. Like other related fields, anthropology, psychology, sociology, medicine, etc., it has to be presented with some scientific lingo. I think the best we can hope for with astrology and the general public is a good 10-part PBS series narrated by somebody who looks good and speaks with authority. The worst fear I have is that astrology gets linked even more closely with the psychic and card-reading angle that is roaring though the basement of the collective mind.
TUO: Are you saying that astrologers should distance themselves from the psychics and card readers? Should there be any overlap?
AA: Before we can answer that, can you tell me who is an astrologer and who isn't. When I was in graduate school only the teacher was an archaeologist -- those of us in the class were students of archaeology. This is the same for every profession that utilizes a scientific body of knowledge that I know of. There are astronomers and amateur astronomers. In astrology, anybody who reads three or more books, or who prints up a business card, is an astrologer. All the readers of the magazine you're going to publish this in are astrologers. Right?
TUO: It sure is a touchy subject.
AA: You bet it is. The only way this pretense of professionalism can be maintained is by remaining out of the mainstream. Let's face it, astrology is a banished body of knowledge and today it is filled with aging boomers who are mostly female. This is an idealistic group if there ever was one. I don't want to get into whether this is good or bad, but then how many GenXers are in astrology today? Three, four maybe? This generation may have their faces covered with metal but they are realists.
They see astrology for what it is -- a failure on Main Street. They'd haven't a clue as to why it's outside of town, however.
TUO: I think the definition of a professional astrologer today is one who is able to earn over 33.3% of their income from reading charts and not get arrested.
AA: Do you think professional astrologers should be called astrologists -- like psychologists or psychotherapists? You've got AFA and NCGR certification, don't you?
AA: Do those certificates get you onto the bus?
TUO: My town has a free bus line.
AA: The Unabomber, who would probably love to blow up your leftist town, makes some observations about technological society that are similar to those made by closet astrologer Redfield in the "12th Insect."
TUO: You mean the "12th Insight?"
AA: My life is 1950's B science fiction movie -- I can't help it. Insectoid aliens land in the southern Appalachians and show us how to make personal energy generators that free us from the "system." This is what both Redfield and the Unabomber are suggesting -- that the problem with the technological society is that it is too huge and the vast majority of people have no power. Obedience is rewarded and the self-employed are punished. So the solution is much smaller communities that do with less, powered by safe little Tesla energy generators that we can all set up in our backyard. I'd add that we need about an 80% reduction in population as well.
TUO: OK. Let me see if I've got this straight. Redfield's book and the Unabomber's manifesto are in some ways on the same path. Redfield got a publisher the old fashioned way and the Unabomber didn't. They both are suggesting that the way the world is headed is wrong and that people need to take back control from management.
AA: More or less. What I like about this time in history is that we now have two millenniums -- two deadlines. One in 2000 and one in 2012. I like the second one better.
TUO: That's the end date of the Maya Long Count, their method of dividing precession.
AA: So, how's your astrology business these days?
TUO: I got a letter from a reader of this column that absolutely hated something I wrote. He/she was appalled that I would consent to do electional astrology for people who would use it to manipulate their world -- even though I force them to consider the larger implications of their program. This reader sees my response as a sell-out and was so outraged by my moral flexibility that he/she swore they would never buy the magazine again.
AA: Well, you've always been a realist. I remember when we played those high-paying functions at the fancy hotels and had to play "Feelings," "Color My World," "Yellow Ribbon," and "Proud Mary." You used to time the songs, divide that figure by the total playing time of the night, and then multiply it by the night's dollar figure to find out how much we each made for the tune. It's the same thing, you sell out because you have to make a living. I'll bet that writer is not astrology supported. He or she is either a hobbyist with high ideals and day job, or is spouse supported. But there's more here. Somebody like that is an example of monolithic thinking, something endemic to our Western culture. We've got one god, one morality, and one medical system -- although that's getting whacked lately. There is no one way to do things in all situations -- life is about creative morality. Why does everything have to always be logical? You know as well as I do that water signs can only explain their reasons for doing something after they do it. Hindsight is offers more opportunities for creative interpretation than foresight. And what's wrong with living with contradictions? It's a lot less stressful than holding on to some rigid ideal that squishes half of you into a can. There is no monopoly on truth, to quote a line from that song you wrote called "Put Your Mind in a Uniform."
TUO: The other angle on this letter I got is that these manipulators who I sometimes do work for occasionally do get my message -- and some have really been changed. By opening myself to them I get inside their heads.
AA: Sounds like a smelly job. Didn't you used to do plumbing?
TUO: The world needs plumbers, badly.
AA: The whole thing about mono-thinking vrs. creative morality shouldn't be a problem for astrologers -- and students of astrology. If anything, typology suggests the existence of alternative perceptions which, in turn, suggests alternative truths. Pluto is in Sagittarius -- we need to look at this notion more carefully. The typology thing is so scary to the mono-truth seeking Western mind and I think that's one reason why astrology is banished -- it offers a pluralistic alternative. And when you extend this way of thinking to include the idea that mental orientation is reflected in the physical or social body you've opened a can of worms. Can you imagine what it would be like if the medical system really made an effort to link physical conditions with personality patterns?
TUO: People would have to take more responsibility for their physical problems.
AA: Right. Accepted correlations between some disabilities and personality configurations, for example, would do two things. It would screw up the insurance industry and government handouts, and worse, it would produce a lot of temper tantrums.
TUO: I don't think the vast majority of people are ready to accept that level of reality.
AA: People are not ready to think. They can't handle the categorization of personality. Like I said, even the New Age pap that's selling like crazy is avoiding astrology because it divides people into categories. But then there's there's the Eneagram -- you choose your own category! Give me a break! Just because some psychologists with Ph.D.'s learned about these nine types indirectly from the Gurjieff tradition, now it's OK to introduce typology in psychotherapy sessions? Astrology is not good enough because you don't have any choice as to your horoscope.
TUO: Whoa! Good stuff A.A. -- but I have to slow you down now. Do you have any advice for the readers on astrology? Would you share with us one of your practical techniques?
AA: OK. Here's something really basic -- and maybe useful for those just getting into horoscope reading. As you know I've long been interested in ancient horoscope reading methods. I've tried out various rules for reading houses that have no planets in them and have settled on a method that is mostly of my own thinking. What I do with a planetless house is to look on the ruler of the sign on the cusp as a conduit for the planet or planets that aspect it. The ruler is neutral, the aspecting planets are the key. Conjunctions work perfectly. For example, if the cusp of a planetless seventh house is Aries, and Mars is conjunct Venus, then the marriage or business partners will be Venusian. Venus will be the key to the issues of that house. Using this same example, if Mars was square to Venus, the partner would be Venusian but the relationship would be strained. In general, the closest aspect, of any kind, that the ruler of a planetless house makes, will describe the specifics of that house. Close applying aspects are particularly potent.
TUO: Do you use traditional or modern rulers for the houses?
AA: I find that both work simultaneously, the traditional ones more for traditional people, the modern ones more for weirdos like us.
TUO: Well, thanks for the astro tip -- and thank's for letting me record
a piece of our dialogue on this trip. Adios, amigo.