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Why is astrology so hard to learn?
A critical look at chart interpretation

Andrew Patterson

The original article appeared in South Africa's Astrology Today and was reprinted in Considerations 6(3), 5-13, 1991. This version includes a summary of the first follow-up that appeared in Considerations 7(1), 34-45, 1992 and a digest of the lengthy second follow-up written in 1997 but not published in Considerations until 1999. Dr Patterson (now deceased) was a mining consultant and a former engineering lecturer at the University of Witswatersrand. His interest in astrology began in the 1960s, and for many years he was a teacher and invigilator in South Africa for the UK Faculty of Astrological Studies. His scientific background resulted in that most rare of combinations -- a fine critical sense plus an encyclopedic grasp of astrology.

In this article he takes an expert look at the problems facing students trying to learn astrology, and concludes that a more secure basis in observation is needed. Were he alive today he might want to modify his suggestion in the light of continuing negative findings, nevertheless his article remains a fine example of the hope that this may lead to a better astrology.

Abstract -- Astrology is hard to learn because chart interpretations are either bland, disagreeing, useless, or evasive. Many examples are given from leading astrology books. Yet their authors present them as if they were true. Until astrology meets everyday standards of objectivity and consistency, it will remain a vague and wishy-washy thing, capable of meaning anything you want it to mean. A look at chart statements show that astrology is helpful because practitioners instinctively use as much ambiguity as clients will tolerate, while instinctively denying its involvcement.

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