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Impractical Astrology
Bitingly satirical humour from astrologers

Abstract -- A selection of humour from The Impractical Astrologer, an anonymous anthology edited and published by Kim Farnell, London 1995 and 1996. The targets for satire in this selection are well-known schools of astrology (identified by initials whose authentic owners will be readily recognised by astrologers), horary astrology and its dubious link with reality, astronomical technicalities no matter how trivial, Pluto planting (a complete answer to the frantic pace of gardening by the Moon), aphorisms (pithy sayings that in this case are about the advantages of vagueness), astrological therapy with significators (factors in the birth chart that support therapeutic statements that in this case are wildly unrealistic), astronomy simplified, and the Lodge Point (a play on the former Astrological Lodge of London). You don't have to be an astrologer to get the message.

Give me astrological proof!

How to Choose your Astrological School
Want to learn more about astrology? Need help deciding where to spend your well-earned money? Our guide will help you choose the astrological school that's right for YOU.

QHP (Quantifying Horrible Practicalities)
One of the few courses that teaches you to do astrology in a way that can be proved wrong. It requires you to develop serious eye strain by slaving over ancient texts and to recite verbatim long passages at the drop of a hat. On the positive side, you won't be dealing with as many planets or aspects as in other schools. An example essay is: l have lost myself, where am I?

FAS (Facility for Astronomical Suppositions)
This comprehensive course relies on you learning who are the right people to know, and making sure you become one of them. You will learn essential techniques such as writing a 30-page character analysis that avoids any kind of definite statement whilst giving full significators in the margin. You will also learn how to make your charts resemble sine waves and why people have been doing this since one million BC. An example essay is: Describe why you would not want to meet this person and how you would recognise them (with full significators and diagrams where relevant).

CPA (Centre for Psychotic Astrologers)
If you long to be a severely disturbed astrologer wishing to project your innermost problems onto others, then this course is for you. You will attend daily seminars looking at astrology from a psychotic point of view. At regular intervals you will gather with other students to see who can humiliate the most. To complete the course a 70,000-word essay is required about something psychotic. An example essay is: It was all my mother's fault but I was too young to understand it anyway.

HS (Hubbard School)
A major requirement on this course is a large collection of felt-tipped pens in as many different colours as possible. A working knowledge of German is helpful, and you will be required to take frequent Swiss holidays. An example essay is: Why I prefer using purple felt pens to express the Mars rulership of pacifists.

Above is a play on Ron Hubbard, the founder of scientology, and is doubly satirical because traditionally Mars rules activists. The school being satirised here is based in Switzerland, the others are based in the UK.

Horary Corner
Horary is the art of finding out absolutely anything by following the rules handed down to us by Wise Old Astrologers of Ancient Times. And it really works! My particular guru is the 17th century sage Gilbert Prognosticus, whose 25-volume masterpiece Practicall Predictive Prognosticks is very much the bible of horary practitioners today. Just set up a chart for the time and place of the question, and all will be revealed. Sounds unlikely? Here's an example:

Where is my missing budgie?
The querent came home to find her budgerigar's cage was off its stand. Its door was wide open and there was no sign of little Joey anywhere. Ominously, the kitchen window was open. After listening to the querent's hysterical 45-minute phone call, I set up a chart and hurried over to her house to give my verdict.

Prognosticus (vol. XXI p.75648) says: Look to the Moone in all Questions where the thing to be founde hath fledd its Rightfull Master, for Luna hath Dominion over fugitive Servants, escaped Slaves, Wives, Cattel, &c.

Now you see how marvellously relevant these old rules are even today! The chart had the Moon in Libra, which is an Air sign (birds, flight). So I was pretty sure I was on the right track.

The Moon was also 10 degrees from the Midheaven. Prognosticus says: When Luna applyeth unto the highest Angle of Heaven out of Ayr signes, 'tis certayne the Rascall be fledd towards some high place, viz, a Steeple, Tower, tall Tree &c. Now, Libra is a western sign and there is a tall tree standing in a field just one mile west of the querent's house! I predicted that Joey had alighted on that very tree 10 minutes from the time of the question. Why? Because the Moon is 10 degrees from the Midheaven of course.

While the querent hurried off to retrieve Joey, I stayed in the kitchen. The cat flap opened, and in came a rather swollen tom cat, licking its lips and looking guiltily towards Joey's empty cage. Oh dear! I hadn't noticed that the Moon was conjunct the malefic fixed star Algol ("the Devourer") which Prognosticus associates with death by Savage Beastes.

I rushed after the querent and found she had fallen into a drainage ditch, dislocating her shoulder. This was indicated by her significator opposing Saturn (falls) and moving out of Gemini (shoulders). Isn't horary marvellous! Do join me next time for my judgement How much will I have to pay in damages?

Intricacies of astronomy explained in clear and simple terms
The Moon is big and white. It is confusing to observe because it keeps changing shape and moving about in the sky. The Sun is round and orange. It is sometimes difficult to observe in Britain and is seldom visible in the Manchester area. The trick is to look for it in the daytime because it is hard to find at night, even with a telescope. The Earth is much casier to observe. It is nearer to us than the Sun and the Moon and can be seen day or night by finding one of these two luminaries and then looking in the opposite direction.

Pluto Planting: The Timeless One
For those disillusioned and defeated by the frantic pace of Gardening by the Moon, here is an amazing new concept -- Pluto Planting!!!! Entirely a product of proven innovative technology, Pluto Planting has been available only since 1930. With Pluto Planting you now have an entire lifetime (and much much more!) in which to plant that radish seed.

Pluto Planting is ideal for bored housewives, dole bludgers, trade unionists, government workers, and any other population where perceived action is more important than results. It comes complete with a handy incredibly-detailed self-adhesive planning guide that fits your trowel handle, and a 99-year guarantee of success -- your money cheerfully refunded if any planting fails to work within the guarantee period.

Yes, say goodbye to lunar lunacy. Take the slow lane and relax with Pluto Planting, the Timeless One. After all, you owe it to yourself to be worth it. But hurry hurry hurry while stocks last -- only $99.95 or two for $299.95, all on our revolutionary easy-credit plan (100% down, no payments).

The three aphorisms of Jeremy Cardigan
1. He that asserteth things that can never be proven by experience is among the majority.

2. Always deliver judgements from the Starres in general terms, but if thou dost otherwise, let it be known thou hast notice of large payments.

3. We ought not to use arguments or tedious discourse in giving Judgement, much less flatteries, but on the other hand we all need to earn a living.

Above is a play on Jerome Cardan (1501-1576), perhaps the most famous of renaissance astrologers.

On the Astro-Therapist's Couch
Said the Astro-Therapist to her Client: "You will only be able to function effectively and assess your ultimate potential, individuality and creativity when you have acknowledged, processed and accepted your feelings about your Mother's (Moon) sister's (Moon conjunct Venus) cat (Moon/Venus midpoint in Leo). And how you felt about it when it spat at you (Moon/Venus midpoint square Mercury in Libra conjunct Mars in Scorpio) when you were eight years old and your progressed Moon was just into Sagittarius and you were pretending to be a horse".

"But I can't remember that", said the Client.

"Aha", said the Astro-Therapist, "it is too painful and you are blocking it. Your mother's sister's cat's Sun must be on your Descendant, so you are projecting and disowning these feelings. The cat has ego problems himself as Moon conjunct Venus in Leo is with Regulus, which gives him delusions of grandeur and he thinks he is royal. He has also projected these feelings on to you because his Descending Node is conjunct your Sun, showing you have unfinished business together from a past life".

"No, really", said the Client, "my Mother's sister did not have a cat. But she did have a pet python that nearly crushed me to death when I was five".

"Aha", said the Astro-Therapist, "you are blocking your feelings towards this cat (Mars in Scorpio square Moon/Venus midpoint in Leo). You see it as a snake which relates to your fantasies (Pluto conjunct your Sun in Virgo, sextile Mars in Scorpio)".

"I don't remember any feelings like that, but I have been afraid of snakes ever since".

"No, No, No," said the Astro-Therapist, "that is your Saturn in Pisces, opposite your Sun in Virgo, which makes you fear your own fantasies and disown them for the sake of meeting the conventions of our repressed society. With Saturn in Pisces, opposite your Sun in Virgo, you are damaging your psyche by trying too hard to conform".

"No, really", said the Client, "I don't think that's true".

"You must think less and feel more", said the Astro-Therapist. "You are blocking your feelings by thinking too much (very Saturn in Virgo). Anyway, the Session is over. Next week we'll treat your obsession with details (Virgo), which means that, because their markings are similar, you cannot tell the outward difference between a tabby cat and a boa-constrictor".

Astronomy explained in clear and simple terms
The Moon is big and white. It is confusing to observe because it keeps changing shape and moving about in the sky. The Sun is round and orange. It is sometimes difficult to observe in Britain and is seldom visible in the Manchester area. The trick is to look for it in the daytime because it is hard to find at night, even with a telescope. The Earth is much easier to observe. It is nearer to us than the Sun and the Moon. It can be seen day or night by finding one of these two luminaries and then looking in the opposite direction.

The Lodge Point
The Lodge Point is a sensitive degree that Bessie Leo received from a Mahatma at the turn of the century along with a copy of the Bombay to Chittagong train timetable. It is a subtle point but very easy to find, being exactly on, or near, or adjacent to, or equidistant from, or at right angles to, the point that can be deemed as holding any of these positions in relation to any of the Seven Traditional Planets, their rulers, the dispositors of their rulers or the rulers of their dispositors. For pm charts these positions are of course reversed after first adding or subtracting 24 hours and then adjusting for latitude in the usual way. The Lodge Point is both symbolic and very symbolic. A transit to a Lodge Point will manifest at the level where the owner is expressing their purpose. If they are sitting down it will depend on where they are sitting. If up a ladder it may indicate they are painting a window or committing a burglary. If they don't know their location it will probably be on a committee. Lodge Points in square indicate that one owner will die first.

The above is a play on the former Astrological Lodge of London, which at the time was part of the Theosophical Society.

All proceeds from the sale of The Impractical Astrologer were donated by the editor/publisher Kim Farnell to the charity CHILDLINE.

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