This post amounts to no less than personal realization and revelation on my part.
The spark for this was my post on this thread in which I concluded that the Signs in Astrology were of no relative value because of their historical arbitrary construction by connecting celestial objects viewed in the night sky into patterns (constellations) and assigning these patterns attributes in accordance with characters, and their accompanying narratives, from cultural mythologies.
These mythological characters, and their attributes and narratives, have altered over time, as well as the configuration of the constellations, until their arrival at the present designations in Western cultures.
Furthermore, in the last century astrologers have attached psychological attributes to these Signs/constellations stemming mostly from Jungian psychology, further adding to the array of possibilities for interpretation of an astrological chart. This has spawned many differing schools of astrology which define a chart in differing sets of terms, often which contradict the interpretations of other astrological schools.
Houses in an astrological chart suffer from varying methods of calculation as well, some calculation methods based on time, others based on spacial distance, while others create equal spacing from a designated starting point such as the Ascendant or the Medium Coeli. Switching an individual's chart from one house system to another results in some planets changing House positions and therefore, the entire chart's interpretations.
Upon these facts, I rejected the inclusion of Signs and Houses in an astrological chart.
Subsequently, there remained only the two measurable division lines, the Ascendant/Descendant (Horizon) and the M.C./I.C., and the planets themselves. Visually on a chart, the two measurable lines, Asc/Dsc and M.C./I.C., can conceivably indicate Self/Other and Social Identity/Personal Identity respectively. The planets, on the other hand, came under the same questioning and scutiny as the Signs and Houses did.
How and why were the attributes and qualities of each planets determined?
Again, by cultural mythologies which, depending on which cultural mythology and the culture's historical context, the definitions, qualities and attributes have altered over time. These planetary designations are arbitrary configurations founded on the variations of the culture adopting the general forms of Western Astrology, from Babylonian to Egyptian to Greek. Other cultures have constructed other designations for planets, sometimes completely different than Western designations.
Astrology as a cultural whole, was initially developed as a means of divination which has, only in the last hundred years, been slowly developed as a vehicle for an individual person as a means of self-discovery rather than as a means of predicting fate or the outcome of an event, whether for an individual or for a cultural group.
In view of my initial rejection of astrological Signs, I had no choice but to question the entire scope of Astrology, though any conclusions I drew were not arrived at by strictly empirical means. I did not apply any Science exclusively to my recent investigation, rather, I questioned primarily on the basis of my own values of truth. I referenced my own library, which is of considerable size, as well as consulting other astrologers - Western, Vedic and Chinese - as to the origins and the relevance of astrological systems, especially Western.
These questions remained unsatisfied, as all reference material and attitudes of other astrologers questioned gave none other than historical acceptance of tradition as credence to the elements which formed the various astrological systems.
I light of my own values, the following two questions demanded answers.
In dealing with the life of another person and expressing conclusions based on the particular system of Astrology, were my conclusions founded on solid theories?
Does an astrological chart designate truth about an individual and is the means this truth arrived at valid in it's foundations?
There is no discernable supportable relevance to the resulting interpretations of an astrological chart other than arbitrary historical cultural acceptance of meanings, whether founded on cultural mythologies or psychological theories.
Any resulting conclusions derived from an astrological chart are fluid, and sometimes contradictory, depending on the particular astrological system utilised by each individual astrologer, as well as an individual astrologer's preference of division systems (Zodiac, Sign, House) chosen within the scope of any astrological system.
Therefore, am I providing truthful and authentic information concerning an individual's life when drawing conclusions from an astrological chart?
I can only say that at this point, I do not know, and in view of this doubt, I cannot accept the responsibility of assisting anyone in deciding directions in their life with any thread of authenticity. I cannot practise Astrology with the conviction I formerly held, and therefore cannot practise it at all. To anyone on this Forum to whom I have promised a chart reading to, I must now decline in light of this turmoil I cannot resolve.
These last few days have undermined much of what I have utilised as a means of helping others discover facets of themselves. Have I unwittingly influenced other people toward directions they may have not chosen otherwise based solely on the conclusions I have compiled from this system?
This is akin to discovering that the Earth is round, and not flat as one has always believed. I now question all I have studied since 1996 and all the conclusions I have drawn for other people over the years. Acceptance of this has not been easy.