Category Archives for "Moral Philosophy"

Dec 08

The Current Astrological Situation

By Lars Rosager | Moral Philosophy

Picture As we near the shortest day of the year (i.e., the day with the least amount of daylight), the concurrent waning of the Moon caught my attention. As the Sun approaches the day on which its effect on the Earth is felt least drastically, so is the Moon drawing to a proverbial close.

Checking the charts to assure my assumptions—that in both the Tropical and Sidereal Zodiacs the Sun and the Moon are closing in on the darkest hour—were correct (and they were), I find not only the Sun and Moon, but the other five of what I like to call the Seven Acoustic Bodies are descending toward the very bottom of the Zodiac as well. All seven of the visible celestial bodies—Moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Sun, Jupiter, and Saturn—are situated right now between twelve and six o’clock.

Traditionally, the area from Scorpio to Capricorn is where the hero perishes. It is death, midnight, winter, New Moon; but it is also a new beginning. It is difficult to argue with the proposition that the celestial bodies whose influences are felt most directly by people are the Sun and the Moon. Their lights are the most noticeable. Their effects on the natural world—temperature, natural growth, tides, etc.—are the most immediate. In concision, one may note that the Sun and the Moon have often been equated to the consciously self-assertive and the subconsciously self-reflective, respectively. While perhaps less easy to feel, and with arguably reduced impacts, the other five Acoustic Bodies join the Sun and the Moon in descent at the current moment.

Overall, my experience and intuition point me toward calling the present situation introverted. Apart from that, but maybe in some ways related, all seven of the classically observed planets move down, through judgement, through struggle and battle, into and death and rebirth. If you are inclined to count your blessings, gather your thoughts, save your energy (however energy manifests in your life), watch your health, and/or spend some time being yourself on your own during the next few days or so, I would not be surprised. With regeneration comes change. Based on what I can discern, one would be wise to gauge the gravity of what will potentially be lost or significantly altered. With enough focus and sincere intent, I believe the next few days will be the perfect time to take stock of who we are as individuals and rid our mental, physical, and spiritual selves of harmful forces. By this Saturday, the Moon will be waxing. December 22 marks the Winter Solstice, so only after that will daylight begin to increase again.

Speaking of the Catholic faith, Ken Del Ponte has said that one must die to oneself to be born in Christ. My advice to you is that the value in Ken’s words not be contained to Christianity. I see this week to be a wonderful opportunity to experience rejuvenation, a refreshed and reinformed outlook on life (and death) in this Universe and Beyond. God(s) bless.

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Dec 08

Considering the Intervals of the Music of the Spheres

By Lars Rosager | Moral Philosophy

Picture In his gargantuan 1613 work on music theory, El melopeo y maestro, Pietro Cerone attempts to assign musical intervals to the distances between one planet and the next. He begins with the Earth, and, basing the assigned intervals on supposedly accurate distances, proceeds in the following manner: a whole step from the Earth to the Moon, a half step from the Moon to Mercury, another half step (slightly different interval) from Mercury to Venus, a minor third from Venus to the Sun, a whole step from the Sun to Mars, a half step from Mars to Jupiter, and one last half step from Jupiter to Saturn.

Before you lose interest, know that the order of the planets employed above does not reflect distance from the Sun, but, rather, the time the respective planets spend in one cycle around the Zodiac. While the orbits around the Sun are not reflected by this order, the journeys of the planets from a geocentric perspective do conform to the sequence.

Now, modern science has another major point of contention with the statement of Cerone. The mathematical relationships among the orbits of the planets do next to nothing to reflect Cerone’s intervals in terms of distance. However, leaving out the Earth as a starting point, one is able to concede to a certain measure of logic in correspondence between the Seven Acoustic Bodies and the intervals of a heptatonic scale. (NB: See the previous post of this blog for more on the Seven Acoustic Bodies.) Having the shortest journey through Zodiac, the Moon could represent the shortest string. Therefore, the rest of the planets would represent descending intervals. The longer the string, the lower the note. This would be a potential problem, considering that so much astro-mythology deals with the soul’s ascent through the planets and into the afterlife. However, entertaining new ideas on the symbolism of sound, one may see the descending intervals as a journey home. After all, there is a strong sense of return and safety in a melody that descends a given scale, ultimately arriving at the tonic (an octave away from the Moon at the upper limit of the heptatonic scale).

The Moon might be seen as the tonic, the root (root chakra, Mother Moon, home, safety). From there, the time each planet takes to complete one zodiacal cycle might indicate which interval each planet takes: Mercury the second degree, Venus the third, Sun fourth, Mars fifth, Jupiter sixth, Saturn seventh. This proposed correspondence does not reflect measurements of distance or, really, even measurements of time spent traveling the Zodiac.

However, the proposed correspondence is not without sensible connections to the collective mythology of the planets. At the point when the outer planets (sometimes called transpersonal planets) are reached, the interval of an octave would come next. Some have called this plane the Eighth Heaven. Santos Bonacci speaks of Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto’s being on a higher octave. As a brief aside, the intervals assigned to the planets could be major, minor, augmented, or diminished (i.e., Moon to Mercury is a major second, minor second, augmented second, or diminished second, and so on for the other intervals). Such a system finds common ground with the Indian sargam, a parallel to solfeggio systems of the West. For Indian musicians, Sa to Re (Do to Re for Westerners) may imply either a major or minor second.

To summarize, one is slow to leave out the Seven Acoustic Bodies as possible inspirations behind much of music’s attachment to a seven-note scale’s being the theoretical foundation.

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Dec 01

Acoustic Astrology, Music, and Letters

By Lars Rosager | Moral Philosophy

Picture Electricity. It is a recent development in terms of the history of astrology, music, and writing. So why is it so definitive of these three disciplines? So many astrologers are tied to their software, as are musicians and writers to their electronics. Is the majority not allowing a certain measure of entrapment when it subscribes to gadgets that are supposed to make the practice of astrology, music, and writing easier? One may benefit from a bit of skepticism when one hears that the job is going to be simplified by one or another device. It is likely that, along with the advertised simplification, comes an obstacle to separate the astrologer, musician, or writer from the heart of the practice(s) to which they are drawn.

Astrology, which should never be separated from astronomy, consists, in its purest form, of observing the natural world. Music is an exercise in the physics of sound, not computer programming. Writing, while arguably amplified positively by the gargantuan quantities of information available on the Internet, loses, in my opinion, some of its essence when the expression of one’s own mind is invaded by the countless so-called authorities on one or another subject. Do these three art-sciences change fundamentally as a result of society’s taking electricity for granted?

Especially today, with so much at stake at the global climate talks, I feel artists should reflect upon their own reflections of nature. Where are you going to turn when the power goes out? It is time to decide if your practice will be interrupted or inspired.

Nov 29

Before and Beyond Number?

By Lars Rosager | Moral Philosophy

Picture It has become relatively common knowledge that many ancients—perhaps Pythagoras is the most well-known—trusted numbers to guard the truths of the universe. Such a concept is inherent in musical traditions passed down over the years. This brief post results from my own skepticism in the primacy of number. I do not refute the intellectual power and organizational capacities of numbers, but, especially when one begins to research the origins of counting systems, numbers as we know them become somewhat suspect.

The main question I ask: why assign 360 degrees to the circle? I know the Sumerians are credited with establishing the sexagesimal system, and that the numeric and geometric applications of the system are at once astounding and absolutely sensible. But when it comes to physical shapes, be they two- or three- or however many–dimensional, one begins to see that physical presence is capable of birthing number, as well as obliterating it.

Refer to the image above. It is a symbol long associated with the planet Earth. Without the straight lines, it is a circle. At face value, without the lines, what gives rise to numeric analysis? First of all, there is one. One shape, a circle. One unbroken curve, one cycle not yet divided into a specific number of parts. Just one. But there is more. Two is also present: the circle separates whatever is outside from whatever is inside. Of course, one could go on at length about the possible presence of zero before identifying the presence of one. With the numbers one and two apparent, there is ample room to build other values through addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division . . . The addition of the lines invite more ideas.

To challenge the 360-degree conception of the circle, as well as other systems of circular divisions (e.g., zodiac, circle of fifths, analog clock, etc.), what is to say one could not divide into any number of equal parts? One should not rely blindly on the supposed fact that a circle contains 360 degrees. The horizontal line dividing the image above is a very simple amendment to the unaltered circle. To briefly connect to music, one may imagine that the circle is a length of string. When plucked, it creates a tone. Divided exactly in half, it produces the octave higher than that tone. Various other intervals arise from various portions of the string being isolated and sounded. My point for today is that musical and linguistic systems must not be taken for granted as unchallengeable if one is to reach any kind of significant truth. Discussion is warmly welcomed!