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When Stars Collide - Why we love who we love and when we love them

by Paul Westran is published by O Books. ISBN: 1905047746

"Paul Westran has produced a superb book on how relationships can be analyzed moving through time. His marriage of progression and synastry techniques being used to illustrate when lovers meet, how they grow and evolve together, and why they arrive at points of conflict over time, will raise astrological relationship analysis to a more sophisticated level."
- Robert P. Blaschke, author of the Astrology: A Language of Life series

I guess some readers of these words might think that the last worthwhile book about astrology was written long ago? That there's nothing in astrology, save for histories and sceptical commentaries, worth writing about. The encyclopedia entries have it pegged for many people: they say it's a superstition. And, of course, nowadays many astrologers treat it as an inexact subject. More art than anything else. Perhaps some feel it is a worthwhile subject, but one which is very difficult to defend against sceptical judgments and attacks. After all, if it were an exact science it wouldn't be teetering on the fringes of intellectual respectability, somewhere behind Reiki and Feng Shui and not really even a conversation piece at dinner parties, which it once was.

I suppose "What's your sign?" is more than a cliche, now. Things started to get scarily serious when Joan Quigley was outed as the astrologer to Ronald Reagan, then the most powerful movie actor on the planet. If you have been involved in astrology since the 1980s, or even if you have just taken a passing interest, you may be forgiven for thinking that astrology has been nosediving into the intellectual abyss.

I think this state of affairs will change. I say this because I can see many realisations emerging about what astrology is and how we should approach it intellectually. Many of the academic institutions that are involved in astrology treat it as a social or cultural subject or they discuss the appreciation of the subject in historical and symbolic terms. Or they just look at it critically and carefully. This is all good. Different perspectives are important.

I have views about astrology that are not widespread, central to this view is that the horoscope is a dynamic, changing entity. You may already believe this for your own reasons, but I believe that my appreciation of this subject is somewhat unique. I would like to share my reasons for this opinion with you and I think that at the end of your perusal of my web site, and possibly also my book, there is a good chance you will agree that this subject, which many very clever people would have you believe has been all-but consigned to history, is very close to staging a remarkable comeback.

Unscience not Pseudoscience

Astrology is not a science...but as a system of knowledge it has some hidden attributes that you need to know about, because they affect you and your relationships with others. You should also know that being "not a science" in the current sense is not the same as "not being true". It is possible for something to be true and be outside the remit of modern science.

Most of the experiments carried out to try to find common astrological variables are flawed. They are flawed because they don't take into consideration what the horoscope is - a map of potentialities. Potentialities are like steam, they have to find an outlet, or more accurately a path, down which they can unfold, develop and eventually become probabilities and actualities. Possibly one of the most important reasons why astrology has been consigned to the intellectual dump-bin is that the common presupposition is that its simplest ideas are also its most fundamental ideas. For instance, you might consider that the idea that all Aries people should be extroverts or that all Leos should crave the spotlight, to be basic astrological tenets. If you do, and you discover a shy retiring Leo and an introverted Aries, you could be forgiven for not pursuing the matter any further and rejecting the whole edifice of astrology. That's what a lot of people do and they aren't fools for doing so. The problem I have with this is that astrology is not really about Leo and Aries, or any of the other zodiac signs for that matter, and it certainly shouldn't be assumed that astrological ideas begin with zodiacal principles. Instead we should be asking how the horoscope would work if astrology happened to be true. The fundamentals of astrology are actually quite complex.

We obviously live inside many systems, the boundaries of which often overlap each other. Social, cultural, legal, economic, political and ecological systems are all present in the Venn diagram of life, but they are all bounded by the most fundamental of invariant systems - time.

The real difference between people who believe in astrology and people who do not, is that astrology suggests that time has an inherent independent meaning which is external to our ability to project or find personal meaning. If you don't believe this, then you don't believe in astrology.

But time is outside human control. It is also outside science. Humankind's understanding of the universe is actually subject to time. This is why science textbooks have to be revised every few years. Astrology is our way of understanding this process of change.

Astrology is, therefore, our attempt to understand the meaning of time and it has less to do with stars than with time itself. The planets in astrology can be understood as marker points that allow us to interpret time using a symbolic language. Stars merely give us fields to measure the progress of the planets and to differentiate some of their qualities.

The book When Stars Collide is the product of eight years research into the nature of astrology. In it, I use the theme of human relationships to show how a specific sub-branch of astrology called progressed synastry can reveal the true nature of astrology. That is, in defining how progressed synastry appears to work, it is possible to show how astrology would work if it were true.

Synastry is another word for relationship astrology - the comparison of horoscopes to measure potential compatibility.

Progressions are techniques used by astrologers to unfold the birth horoscope. They show how the potentialities of the natal chart can become probabilities, and in this study, because we are looking at relationships which have already taken place, actualities. Progressions involve taking a fraction (or fractal, if you want a useful analogy) of life and relate it to a larger portion of life. In the case of secondary progressions one day in the ephemeris (table of planetary movements) equals one year in life. Secondary progressions are measured from the birth day forward in time.

Progressed synastry is a relatively new system of relationship analysis. To do progressed synastry, an astrologer will compare two birth horoscopes, and they will also compare charts known as progressed charts for the year that the relationship began. Special emphasis is placed upon the position and connections made by the planet Venus across all four horoscopes.

Arthur M. Young, author of The Reflexive Universe and inventor of the Bell Helicopter, was one of a few 20th Century intellects who turned their attention to astrology. He seems to have come to the conclusion that astrology would only be accepted as a mainstream discipline if the symbolic nature of progressions could be demonstrated and explained. Indeed, astrologers have been looking for a way to demonstrate their appreciation of astrology for a long time. It is very difficult to experiment with progressions. It is not difficult to show an impressive series of one-off events which map symbolically to astrological expectations, but capturing a repeatable astrological variable is difficult. Until now no one has quite figured out a way to show the ineffable and precise accuracy of secondary progressions. This is where I pick up the baton. I am a former crime pattern analyst and I am also an astrologer. I accidentally came across progressed synastry back in 1997, while experimenting with synastry charts; two years later I started to look for repeating patterns.

Progressions - or rather the aspects (or angles of connection) formed by progressed planets - are treated differently in astrology to those made by transiting planets and particularly those found in the natal horoscope (or birth chart). Progressed planets relate to very specific periods of time and so aspects made by them are only given credence if they are very close to being exact. The error or "orb" allowed in the natal chart can be as much as ten degrees (for example an opposition between Saturn and the Sun in a natal horoscope will be considered effective if the two bodies are anything between 170 and 180 degrees apart). In the progressed chart, Saturn's effect will only be felt if the planet of fear is inside 179 degrees.

In fact, we use progressions for mundane tasks like calibrating birth charts - rectifying them - making sure that the time of birth given is the right time. we do this by backtracking through a person's life to look at the changes that have taken place in their lives already while looking for congruent events in the progressed horoscope. Click here for an example of how we do this. They are a timing element that gives very tangible and practical results - if you know what to look for. In this sense progressions are arguably unique in astrology as being an accurate, reliable and quantifiable calibration tool.

So, before we can find out if astrology is true, we must ask the question "how would astrology work if it were true?" The answer is: "because astrology is the language we use to understand time, it would not necessarily make sense to test static objects such as birth charts to see if personality traits match astrological expectations. It would function as a moving and changing thing rather than as fixed, static and motionless concept. The horoscope would therefore be a moving and changing entity." The natal horoscope changes and this can be convincingly evidenced if we look in the right place.

Essentially all Leo's become Virgos, in some senses, before they are 31 years old, because the Sun progresses through each sign in thirty days. In the secondary progressed chart, one day equals one year of life. If you were born on August 7th, with the Sun at 15 degrees Leo, when you are fifteen years old, the Sun will progress in to Virgo.

Demonstrating the truth of planetary progressions is only really possible, however, if we can isolate a testable astrological variable. We can then ask a simple question and see if we can find a simple answer. Consistent astrological variables are patterns which provide us with rules-of-thumb. The problem is that astrology is the study of time and no two astrological moments are the same. A consequence is that theoretically all of the astrological variables are complex patterns that are very difficult to isolate. We therefore have to find a human experience that is fairly consistent and then experiment to find a consistent astrological variable. I found such a variable in the beginning of intimate relationships.

Intimate relationships are, surprisingly, characteristically uniform. Love is the same the world over. The problem we have had in astrological research is that experimenters have attempted to understand synastry from the standpoiint of relationship quality - the success or failure of marriages. My viewpoint, based on the fact that the horoscope changes, is that the feelings shared by couples at the outset of relationships are different to the feelings shared after years of marriage (happy or otherwise).

As I believe I can demonstrate that the horoscope is a dynamic, changing entity, I also believed that looking at relationships as simple events would reveal more about astrology than trying to introduce and analyse all the millions of variables that are actually involved in relationship success and failure. It is for this reason that I have included in my study any public-record intimate relationship from the very short to the very long (as long as dates of birth and dates of relationship are available and not in question).

When Stars Collide demonstrates that the feelings that couples have at the beginning of relationships, can be very often understood in terms of 'musical' harmonies which are in turn reflections of their natal and progressed astrology. It's as if we give off a great deal of inaudible 'noise' in our interactions with others, but attraction is a process of musical reciprocation: as if we sing in tune with those we find attractive.

There is a curious side to the book. It is inevitably voyeuristic in that it is necessary to look at relationships and it happens that the relationships included are all public-record celebrity relationships. So on one level it's an astrology book which attempts to reveal hitherto unknown facts about celebrity relationships...

...but there's a little bit more to it than that.

If progressions really are demonstrably true, which I believe they are, they suggest something very interesting about the universe in which we live. It is very likely that astrology, and particularly progressed synastry, can be explained in terms of the Bohm Pribram theory of the holographic universe. In effect astrology can provide proof that the universe is a giant hologram. - If astrology is true, we very probably live in the Matrix.

Please continue through the matrix pages which are devoted to the progressed synastry of When Stars Collide

Paul Westran

"Paul Westran's central theme - progressed synastry - is an original and powerful one, something that anyone with a serious interest in astrology should investigate. He builds a compelling case that progressed synastry reveals a lot about the way relationships form, when they form, and what their dynamics may be. This book has great strengths in the radicality of its central idea, and the painstaking research that Westran has subjected it to. In addition to this, he is a gifted writer and steers the reader through astrological theory and biography with an inventive and often amusing touch. I hope that this book meets with the success it deserves, because Westran's is an original and intelligent new voice in astrology. If you are interested in using astrology to understand relationships, this is essential reading for you ." - Garry Phillipson, author of Astrology in the Year Zero


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