Ryuichi Ishizuka – Is Astrology not Suited for Prediction?


I have learned psychological astrology with Mr. Noel Tyl.  I am also interested in various fields of astrology such as traditional astrology, vibrational astrology, and visual astrology, etc., etc…   All of these fields are very deep and inspiring.  In the process of trying to apply various astrological techniques in my practice, I have come to think about  what symbolism is  in the first place.  Today, I would like to talk about some of the ideas I have formulated in my studies to make practical use of astrological symbols.

I believe that good communication is necessary to make effective use of astrology.  It is difficult to proceed with an astrological session unless we have some common understanding of what astrology is all about, or how we make use of it, before we start talking about some specific themes  looking at the horoscope.  In particular, astrology is easily given the image of “prophecy”.  In Japan, there is a typical advertising phrase for fortune-telling, “Sit quietly and there comes the accurate prediction,” and some clients come to me expecting to get a straight answer without saying a word.  Since my style is to deepen through communication, I find it very difficult to proceed if the client has a different image of the consultation, that is, looking for a specific reference to a predetermined destiny.  For this reason, I always tell the client before the consultation that I can not tell the specific things from the horoscope alone, and that I believe insights can be gained through our conversation using the horoscope as a guide to listen to your story and relate it with the symbols.

In order to practice astrology effectively, it is necessary to be aware of the idiosyncrasy of astrology as a tool for communication.  And I think that it will be easier to deepen the conversation if we have a common understanding of what astrology is before the consultation.

In this talk, I would like to discuss four aspects of idiosyncrasy of astrology that I think are good to have a common understanding of: First, one-to-many correspondence, the second is that we need to ask good questions to elicit appropriate correspondence; the third is the importance of being aware of the scope of influence (the solar system); and the fourth is that the symbol represents “life activity” that we have to respect.

Let’s consider the first point: the symbolism is “one-to-many”.

For example, in this year’s Spring Ingress chart, Venus is aspecting Mars-Uranus. If we focus on Venus, we can imagine, for example, that when we act on things symbolized by Venus, we tend to be impulsive or unexpected developments occur (Mars-Uranus affecting the Venus).  In this case, “things symbolized by Venus” can be “cooperation”, ”money” or “beautiful things”.  Or, it can be a pleasant experience or a joyful one.  Or peace making.  Further more, even if it involves money, it can be either “more money” or “less money”.  In other words, there are all kinds of possibilities until we find a specific correspondence to the actual related event.  If you think about it, since astrological symbols try to describe all the various things in the world in relation to the only 10 planets or 12 signs, it is inevitable that a single symbol can correspond to many meanings.

In this case, if we focus on the symbol first to find the correspondence with the symbol, we will find many correspondences and lose focus, but if we focus on the specific object or experience first, we will find the corresponding planet, sign or house easily.  In other words, in situations where we focus on the symbol first, such as in “predictions,” the focus is not fixed, but when we focus on past concrete experiences or real life situations first, the corresponding symbols are fixed and easy to relate to.  This is, in my opinion, an important idiosyncrasy that astrologers should always be aware of.

Furthermore, even if we focus on the same Venus, in vibrational astrology we might focus on the fact that it touches the midpoint of Uranus and Neptune in the 7th harmonic, or in visual astrology we might try to gain insight from the fact that it is riding on the back of a goat.  Also, for example, if you make charts in the same Tokyo, Venus will be in the 2nd house in Placidus and Equal House, but in the Whole Sign House, it is in the 3rd house.  So, again, from this perspective, you can consider a great many possibilities from a single chart.  This is another example of one-to-many correspondence!  In other words, it is impossible to raise all the possibilities, and astrologers can come up with many different predictions from the same horoscope.

Because of this idiosyncrasy, I realized that astrology is not good for specific predictions, and on the contrary, even if there is an impression that it is an after-the-fact, the symbolism is useful only when it is connected to the actual situation (i.e. nothing can be said from the horoscope alone).

I also realized that astrologers need to hone both “the ability to assume” (which means to get to know variations in the meaning of symbols) and “the ability to  corroborate” (which is the ability to ask appropriate questions that elicit real-life correspondences).  “The ability to assume” is the ability to understand the meaning of a symbol from various angles, or schools of theory, such as traditional astrology or vibrational astrology, etc., etc… and to devise ways to connect it to specific events.  It greatly expands the possibilities of the application of symbols.  You can choose your own tools to use, but you don’t have to deny others for they are all mere assumptions.

However, I have also realized that it is also very important to have “the ability to corroborate” to check how these symbols are working in the actual life of the owner of the horoscope.  In other words, I think that the ability to find the appropriate associations through communication would be important in overall practice.  For some reason, I feel that this “ability to corroborate” has not received much attention, either because it is implicitly assumed somewhere or because it is left to the individual astrologer.

To sum up: The symbolism can mean many different things, so we have to share with the client beforehand that we need to talk together and find out how symbols apply to the client’s life situation.

The second point is also very much related to this “ability to corroborate”.  We want to think about all sorts of creative ways to deepen communication while making sure that we get the corroboration in the client’s life for each step in the consultation.

For example, Mr. Noel Tyl suggests the assumptive questioning method in his book “The Creative Astrologer”.  This is a particularly useful device in astrology sessions where clients are asked to tell us about their specific experience in response to the “assumed” general direction.  Most simple way to apply this is, for example, if the client has Venus and Uranus in a hard aspect, then I would state “you have a theme to develop your sense of beauty or ability to relate with people through many changes or taking risks” and ask, “how exactly are you experiencing this in your life?”

At this point, I think it is easier to gain insight if you can depict each symbol not as a static image, but as a process of change and growth.  Some astrologers regard planets as energies, other astrologers regard planets as archetypes.  Mr. Noel Tyl regards planets as needs.  Either way, by not connecting planets directly with concrete description, we can make the discussion process oriented, which makes us easier to talk about growth or how to change the situation.  I think it is important to respect and understand the client’s own growth process and pace, while applying a deep understanding that each symbol has the potential for change and growth.  In other words, rather than imposing the astrologer’s understanding of the meaning of symbols, we can use the diversity of symbols as a catalyst to deepen our understanding of the client’s reality.

To sum up: Symbolism is effective when it is connected to experience, by asking questions, recognizing it as a process of change and growth, rather than a static image or a value judgment of benefic or malefic.

Third, we should consider the scope of influence.

As for this concept, I have written an article for the ISAR library while ago, so please refer to it if you are interested.  The point is that astrology is based on the application of the symbols of the solar system, and following the dictum “As above, so below”, which means the macrocosm reflects the microcosm, and the structure of the solar system is replicated in various microcosmic wholes, I believe that the scope and dimension of what each symbol specifically represents will change depending on what we apply the entire solar system to.  I believe that by consciously having this sense of “scope,” we can handle the symbols in a more concrete way.

The main difference between the solar system and real life is that in the solar system, the members, which are the planets, do not change, but in real life, the members we associate change because we often belong to more than one group at the same time.  I believe that this difference is what makes social planets, especially distant social planets, so important to consider when thinking about how they work.

For example, in a very simplistic way, a newborn baby shares various ways of doing things in its relationship with its mother.  Thus the first “pattern of life” is established.  In other words, the scope of the first solar system is “baby and mother alone”.  When the stimulus of “another pattern of life” from the relationship with the father is added to this, they are compared and the powerful focus is modified.  The process of establishing, modifying, and changing these patterns is symbolized by each social planet (including transsaturnians).  In addition, in the process of growing up, human beings are involved in various groups, such as family, neighborhood, friends, school, work, community, and country.  Human beings spend their lives interacting with a number of groups all at the same time.  There is a concept called social constructionism, and I believe that at least in our individual minds, we are forming our values in this social constructionist way.  Like a shadow of each experience among a group, we develop a sense of our social planets, and the difference between groups become important stimulus for our sense of social planets to grow and change.

However, when we think about the actual difficulties in life, there are not so many specific “groups” that are relevant to those difficulties.  Childhood family and the present company, mother or father and wife or husband, we tend to unconsciously mix the solar systems which are otherwise exclusive to each other.  It is my opinion that a strong awareness of the “sphere of influence” of each solar system makes it easier to understand the story.  In particular, it is good to understand that the entire solar system which is relevant to a specific difficulty is very often a relationship between two specific people.

To sum up: When correlating astrological symbolism with actual situation, it is easier to recognize the point of difficulty if you think about the specific “scope of influence” of the entire solar systems which consists the ingredients of the situation or the story.

And the fourth is that the solar system is a symbol of “life” which has wholeness and cannot be divided into parts.  And that it has the power to “create new things” in itself.  In the horoscope, there are two sources of light: the Sun and the Moon.  I think these two symbolize “life” in the following two important aspects.

First, especially for the Sun, which is a fixed star and produces massive new light and heat every minutes, represents the creativity intrinsic to “life”.  Second, the Sun and Moon are big lights which illuminate the entire horoscope.  This “Illuminating” corresponds to conscious will to define oneself autonomously.  I believe that we can overlap the image of each owner of a horoscope illuminating themselves with their will.  I believe that this is an important aspect of life’s workings and that we need to understand and respect it, while we consult.

To sum up: The presence of two sources of light in the horoscope, the Sun and the Moon, symbolizes that each of us is choosing to be who we are from a large range of possibilities.  It is good to understand and respect the sacredness and importance of this.

To conclude,

Today, I have shared my own four important perspectives of the idiosyncrasy of astrology.  When we could share those points with our clients, I think it will make the consultation much smoother and productive.

I hope this will give you some hints for your own practice.

This article was preceded by a lecture during ISAR’s first Astrology Day Conference in 2022.

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