This brief guide to a major theme in The Moment of Astrology appeared in the first edition as Appendix 6 on pages 348-9, but was not included in the 2003 revision. Page references have been amended to match the revised edition.
Central to the thesis of this book is the division of significance in astrology into two orders, allowing a distinction between Natural and Divinatory astrology (Chapter 4, esp. pages 74-5 and 78-9). The researches of the Gauquelins, amongst others, have demonstrated that astrology has within its scope objective phenomena which can be defined in such a way as to render them amenable to the methods of modern science. However, the greater part of what we call astrology is opaque to the natural science paradigm and involves a quite different conception of significance. For the astrologer, the interpretive symbolic language of astrology gives a real and significant insight into life seen from within, rather than from the outside. It refers to human experience as it is lived.
The interpretation of symbolism involves subjectivity, personal context and participation, and it is essentially a 'one- off' unique experience, much as meeting another individual human being is a unique and non-replicable occasion, however many individuals we may meet and however many times we may meet the same individual. This idea is developed in Chapter 10, which brings forward a key descriptive category for the practice of divinatory astrology, termed here the unique case of interpretation. The schism between the two orders of unique and statistical/scientific significance is expressed in the observation that 'the unique case is not a member of a population'.
Related to the division between two orders of significance are the concepts of theoretical vs. participatory signficance, introduced in Chapter 7 (esp. pages 133-8). These concepts trace their lineage from the ideas of the anthropologist Lucien Lévy- Bruhl. His analyses of primitive mentality and the participation mystique illuminate the chaotic intimacy of the supernatural and spiritual with respect to human affairs, and the participatory dimension of divination.
I have not attempted to address the big issue of how the two orders relate, nor have I searched for some unitary conception of reality that would tie the two orders into a single whole. These questions combine to form the problematic theme which I have termed the equation of the orders (see Chapter 4, page 75; also Introduction p.xxiv). The primary task has been to establish the first steps in a description of the mainstream practice of astrology, especially horoscopy, using the paradigm of divination in place of the paradigm of science.
The two orders problem is the rock on which the ship of Western astrology has foundered. There is nothing new in this insight. Observations on the problem can be traced back to the old distinction between signs = symbols (astrology as omen- reading and divination) and causes (astrology as science). Concerning this, see Chapter 1, pages 7-8 and Chapter 3, pages 55-7. In modern times humanistic astrology, as defined by Dane Rudhyar, is rooted in the distinction (Chapter 10, page 189-90) and much of modern practice is tacitly informed by this understanding.