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Astrology : A Place in Chaos

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Here’s a book to blow your mind. Bernadette Brady is renowned for her ground breaking astrology and this book is no exception. Chaos theory suggests that new patterns emerge spontaneously and Brady shows how by making tiny changes at the right time we can help to produce the patterns and new order that we seek. Brady explains chaos theory then combines this thinking with the predictive techniques available to astrologers – and shows how we can embrace change, and even encourage it. Awesome.

Bernadette Brady

Bernadette Brady

Bernadette is a cultural astronomer and astrologer who holds a MA in Cultural Astronomy and Astrology, (Bath Spa University) a PhD in Anthropology (UW...

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Is astrology a science or a spiritual study? Many astrologers have attempted to "prove" astrology scientifically, while others say that astrology is a divine art and cannot be proved in traditional academic terms. This debate has divided astrologers who attempt to discover the essence or real nature of the planets and their influences. According to astrologer Bernadette Brady, this division is effectively about causal agents: astrology has either a scientific explanation or it's a system by which God's or some supernatural agent's will can be known. In Astrology, A Place in Chaos, Brady proposes a third orientation based on the emerging discipline known as chaos theory. From this view, life is seen not as stemming from a root cause (as in the scientific "Big Bang" theory, or the religious "Genesis" stories), but as a co-creation process. The origin of astrology actually pre-dates Genesis and the Big Bang versions of creation, and comes from a time when creation myths emphasized a cyclical process rather than causal and linear. These earlier creation myths move from chaos to order, and back into chaos, and then again to an ordered existence. The most interesting, creative time is when the process is between chaos and order, when anything is possible. This window has been termed "the edge of chaos,” and has interesting and relevant parallels to the practice of astrology. Nowadays, chaos theory is the pre-eminent model for a number of sciences, including biology, psychology, economics, ecology, and meteorology. The underlying assumption is that we are all part of a relationship-rich pattern which is co-creating the web of life. With so many interdependent relationships, nothing can be predicted using linear models. Isaac Newton first demonstrated this when he attempted to mathematically calculate the orbits of three planets within each other's gravitational influence. Brady evaluates the history of chaos theory, and suggests that the language used by "chaoticians" can and should be adopted by astrologers. In her chapter "Chaos for Beginners," the reader becomes familiar with these terms, which include fractals, saddle points, self-similarity, scale invariance, strange attractors, and that most familiar phrase – tipping point. A handful of astrologers have touched on the appropriateness of the chaos model to astrology – John Townley Composite Horoscopes, Michael O'Reilly Political Astrology, and Richard Tarnas Cosmos and Psyche come to mind. But these writers are merely scratching the surface of what Brady is proposing, which is an entirely new branch of astrology based on the principles and terminology found in chaos theory. The chaotic astrologer is not a confused student of the stars, but a cutting edge practitioner of a sophisticated, emerging paradigm. To give a famous example, a butterfly flapping its wings in East Africa can cause a hurricane in Florida. No one in East Africa could predict this result from a butterfly's flapping, but since it influences the beginning of the jetstream, this tiny action at a critical point in time and location grows exponentially until it reaches hurricane velocity several thousand miles downstream. In the same way, Brady suggests, a change of attitude at a critical time can have immense effects later. The times when this attitude adjustment would be most beneficial can be determined by transits to the natal chart. Indeed, this is the only time when everything is in flux, and internal changes would make a difference. In this sense, astrology becomes a useful tool for implementing creative evolution. Planetary patterns in the natal horoscope can be equated to the strange attractors in chaos theory. Why do individuals repeat certain life experiences over and over again? Brady cites the strange attractors encoded in the horoscope. When, say, transiting Saturn is conjunct the Sun, the individual reaches a saddle point, when choice becomes possible, and life can go this way or that, but all within a prescribed larger pattern as defined by the strange attractors in one's chart. Brady advises that the astrologer versed in chaos can help the client co-create his or her future by changing some of their daily routines at critical times. On page 156, the author presents a five-point strategy for the chaotic astrologer. Since this page is not marked in any other way, the reader might want to underline or put an asterisk here. This page defines in a nutshell a new methodology for bringing managed chaos into the stagnant life, and thereby opening it up to creative change. In this way, new solutions to old problems begin with an individual's ability to visit their "edge." Brady's Astrology, A Place in Chaos is a breakthrough work in 21st century theoretical astrology. The exploration of chaos's origins in humanity's earliest myths bridges to a fascinating guide to modern chaos theory. From here, the astrologically-trained reader will understand the complete synergies available by combining the two disciplines. Synchronicity naturally plays a part, as the void presents the new possibilities for personal fulfilment. The author's concluding remark locates a niche somewhere between the scientific astrologer and the spiritually-oriented astrologer:  "Astrology can find a home in chaos."

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