Ketarke and Many Worlds Interpretation
An internet pal (she knows who she is) asked me a question about “how astrology works.” She sent me a web page, and it was a fairly simple standard answer to the question with some innovative ways of conveying the ideas.
The she asked, “do you agree?” Alas, I could not say that I do. Although the planets DO exert influence, THAT (in my opinion) is NOT the key to astrology. I must confess, here, that my ideas come from a speaker whose name I have forgotten who was scheduled to lecture on what seems to have been another topic. The key word, and concept, he introduced, is a word that he claimed to be greek in origin. I am unsure of the spelling, but I am going to guess that it is “Ketarke.” (Key-tar-Key)
His explanation was that Ketarke is a very old concept that said that time is defined not only by the energies of the moment, but by the decisions that we make. He likened it to a spider spining a complex web, collapsed to a single thread in the past but stretching in many directions in the future.
The rest of his speech was essentially a reformulation of what has been called the “Many Worlds Interpretation” in Quantum Physics. I am not a physicist; I do not know the specifics. But, my understanding is that all possible outcomes do exist, have always existed, and always will exist. Many Worlds, in fact, negates the idea of the single thread in the past. Said differently, the single thread is all WE can see, but all other possibilities continue to exist in a place beyond time as we know it.
That sounds pretty complex even for astrology, doesn’t it?
Other problems result from this approach, such as “how do we know what path we are on?” My answer is simple: consciousness. Our consciousness, what some might call a “soul” makes decisions. This is true not only at an individual level but at the level of collectives that are recursive in structure. Man -> Family -> Community -> State / Nation -> Planet.
I might add, some paths have much, much higher probabilities. But then we’d get into concepts such as the “power laws” of links and networks, and that’s all beyond the current topic. But, as certain paths gather time, energy, and other resources, they gather even more, like a snowball turning into an avalanche. This is technically called a “positive feedback loop.”
As we make decisions, and act or fail to act on those decisions, “we” choose paths as individuals and as nations. Individual decisions may differ greatly from the collective, but the many individual decisions collapse into collective decision and collective action.
This is true for individuals deciding as a community, communities deciding as a nation, and nations together as the World. In my opinion, this is the “secret” or “real” meaning of the phrase “As Above, So Below.”
The decisions have a way a cascading sometimes. Known today as the “Butterfly Effect,” it was once expressed in a poem that began “For want of a nail, the shoe was lost….”
Generally, though, such cascades are the exception. Families, communities, and nations function as living organisms, and their “body temperature” tends to stay at some central value. Said differently, “extreme values” are “dampened.” The process is a bit like a thermostat regulating temperature by turning the heater on and off based on the temperature. This is technically called “negative feedback.”
So, do the planets, houses, and signs matter? YES. They influence events in myriad ways. Knowing their influence can prevent an adept being “blindsided” in some situations and offer the seizure of opportunity in others. But, they are NOT the final determinant.
The energy of the planets colors and influences these decisions, but WE STILL HAVE DECISIONS. “Free will,” not Fate, is the final determinant even in the most highly planned and pre-determined situations. A person about to be executed has some small sliver of decision left, even if it is only to have fried ice cream for breakfast.
So, it works like this: the actions of the planets in the signs and the houses is a type of energetic “coloring” blended into the ongoing flow of time. Other cycles exist, too. All of this is the stage, the floodlights, the background music, the props, and so forth. If we act unconsciously, without awareness, influences such as the planets can flip a negative feedback loop into a positive one, or the other way around. The thermostat can be lost and the butterfly effect erupt in full blossom; a cascading butterfly effect can be regulated out of existence by a thermostat.
But, it is WE (not the planets) who are the players on the metaphorical stage that Shakespeare defined. What was it The Bard said in “As You Like It”?
I’ll close with that comment as my understanding of “how astrology works”:
All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players:
They have their exits and their entrances;
And one man in his time plays many parts,
His acts being seven ages. At first the infant,
Mewling and puking in the nurse’s arms.
And then the whining school-boy, with his satchel
And shining morning face, creeping like snail
Unwillingly to school. And then the lover,
Sighing like furnace, with a woeful ballad
Made to his mistress’ eyebrow. Then a soldier,
Full of strange oaths and bearded like the pard,
Jealous in honour, sudden and quick in quarrel,
Seeking the bubble reputation
Even in the cannon’s mouth. And then the justice,
In fair round belly with good capon lined,
With eyes severe and beard of formal cut,
Full of wise saws and modern instances;
And so he plays his part. The sixth age shifts
Into the lean and slipper’d pantaloon,
With spectacles on nose and pouch on side,
His youthful hose, well saved, a world too wide
For his shrunk shank; and his big manly voice,
Turning again toward childish treble, pipes
And whistles in his sound. Last scene of all,
That ends this strange eventful history,
Is second childishness and mere oblivion,
Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything.