Monday, June 26, 2006

Irony, thy name is blog commenters

While not qualifying as a right-winger in American terms, I do tend to poke my nose into that zone of the blogosphere at times. I find it helps me get a variety of perspectives I would otherwise lack. Most of my friends are very left-of-center while I seem to float amongst the classifications depending on which topic is under discussion (albeit leftward-biased for the most part). This habit of mine has led me to discover the latest tempest in a titanium PowerBook known as Jerome Armstrong's admission he's dabbled in astrology.

To establish my perspective, I'm not much of an astrology type. I'm a fan of Rob Brezny's weekly column for the writing at least as much as I am for the times he's managed to pinpoint the issues I'm facing in a given week. He misses as well as hits, but he's a good read in any case. I'll let people cast my natal chart, and that has led to some interesting coincidences being mentioned along the way. I'm a Mercury retrograde Doubting Thomasina, something I get accused of being by true believers because I was born during such a phase. Independent observation says I'm better at communicating during retrograde periods, but that could easily be because I'm just paying more attention during those phases so I can act as an example. Some would call me a bad druid for this stance. The way I see it, if I'm going to play with oracular divination, I should do it in a system that doesn't force me to conform to an elemental system I don't work with anywhere else. Tarot and ogam-casting are far more my speed unless and until someone comes up with an astrological system that doesn't use the Greek elemental patterns or Robert Graves' fantasias.

All that said, I've done a fair bit of exploration in astrology to come to that conclusion, starting back when I was 13 and dipping in off and on ever since to keep my memory fresh on the basics. I know the newspaper forecasts are so vague as to be impossible because they're attempting one-step forecasts for people with thousands of variables in their charts that cannot be accounted for in the space provided. So when I see some of the commentary on Armstrong's revelation, I know I'm seeing people who have no idea what they're talking about. Opining that it's evil because their Dominican teacher told them so. Citing the Bible, which both condemns fortune-telling and grants a pack of astrologers access to the Divine made flesh, starts to sound as ludicrous as the claim that Sun opposite Jupiter retrograde in my natal chart is why I can't save money but always have enough to get by does to the disbelievers. And the people who base their derision on the newspaper columns are the finest examples of the breed. It's like assuming you know enough about Darfur from watching a report on Angelina Jolie's latest visit there.

It's perfectly possible to dismiss astrology as hokum after studying it for a while. Assuming it's hokum from seeing the sloppiest form of it is rather like assuming all Christians are evil because of people like Pat Robertson. Or that all pagans are crazy because of Kevin Carlyon or the drunks at Stonehenge. And these commenters are quite sure they're being sane. I think I'd rather take my chances with the newspaper astrologers.

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