Welcome to Bookmarker!

This is a personal project by @dellsystem. I built this to help me retain information from the books I'm reading.

Source code on GitHub (MIT license).

175

12 Theses on Astrology

Find out what's in the stars for you in this month's super soaraway Salvage!

by Sam Kriss

1
terms
6
notes

by Sam Kriss. what can i say? i really liked this

Kriss, S. (2015). 12 Theses on Astrology. Salvage, 2, pp. 175-186

177

GEMINI (May 21-June 20)

If you’re reading this, Gemini, chances are you don’t really believe in astrology – or, at least, true to your sign, you’re in two minds about it. Saturn opposes your Sun; you might find yourself locked in a strange space of indecision and indeterminacy. If you corner a believer, grab them by the lapels and really interrogate them, they’ll probably end up admitting in a desperate squeak that no, they don’t really think that moving lumps of rock in outer space determine everything that happens on Earth, but it works, it makes them feel better, it helps them makes sense of things. They understand the situation far better than people who firmly insist that it’s all bullshit. (There’s certainly a gendered division of labour when it comes to astrology: in modern times, at least, horoscopes appear mostly in women’s magazines, while men are subjected to a less sophisticated system of mythology – tales of barbarian heroes, legendary characters who drive expensive cars, bed attractive women, and always have the right length of stubble. Much of this has to do with old-fashioned sexism: women’s bodies, primal and unrestrained by higher reason, are susceptible to the wheeling rhythms of nature. But at the same time women are judged to be at least minimally capable of seeing their lives in context, while the fragile male ego hides from any influence beyond itself.) The astrological sign should be read as just that, a sign; astrology concerns the logos or wordliness of the night sky. In Saussurean linguistics, the signifier is always arbitrary. It’s only because there’s no organic connection between word and thing that anything like meaning can take place, otherwise you’d break your teeth trying to describe a rock. Astrology is a vast and complex system of signs, a symbolic realm in which things can be represented and understood. To complain that it’s all just made up is like angrily walking out in the middle of a play because nothing happening onstage is real, or yelling over a public speaker that they’re just making noises with their mouth. The point is to delve into this system, to see how it’s used, who holds what ground, and how it might be changed.

—p.177 missing author 2 years ago

GEMINI (May 21-June 20)

If you’re reading this, Gemini, chances are you don’t really believe in astrology – or, at least, true to your sign, you’re in two minds about it. Saturn opposes your Sun; you might find yourself locked in a strange space of indecision and indeterminacy. If you corner a believer, grab them by the lapels and really interrogate them, they’ll probably end up admitting in a desperate squeak that no, they don’t really think that moving lumps of rock in outer space determine everything that happens on Earth, but it works, it makes them feel better, it helps them makes sense of things. They understand the situation far better than people who firmly insist that it’s all bullshit. (There’s certainly a gendered division of labour when it comes to astrology: in modern times, at least, horoscopes appear mostly in women’s magazines, while men are subjected to a less sophisticated system of mythology – tales of barbarian heroes, legendary characters who drive expensive cars, bed attractive women, and always have the right length of stubble. Much of this has to do with old-fashioned sexism: women’s bodies, primal and unrestrained by higher reason, are susceptible to the wheeling rhythms of nature. But at the same time women are judged to be at least minimally capable of seeing their lives in context, while the fragile male ego hides from any influence beyond itself.) The astrological sign should be read as just that, a sign; astrology concerns the logos or wordliness of the night sky. In Saussurean linguistics, the signifier is always arbitrary. It’s only because there’s no organic connection between word and thing that anything like meaning can take place, otherwise you’d break your teeth trying to describe a rock. Astrology is a vast and complex system of signs, a symbolic realm in which things can be represented and understood. To complain that it’s all just made up is like angrily walking out in the middle of a play because nothing happening onstage is real, or yelling over a public speaker that they’re just making noises with their mouth. The point is to delve into this system, to see how it’s used, who holds what ground, and how it might be changed.

—p.177 missing author 2 years ago
178

CANCER (June 21-July 22)

Neptune square to the Sun. Lunar eclipse. Planets vanish in the gaps between constellations; stars drift screaming into the void; the Milky Way runs in glittering rivulets down across the sky’s glassy dome, coming to rest, defeated, against the hard bed of the horizon. There’s no mistaking it. You are going to die.

—p.178 missing author 2 years ago

CANCER (June 21-July 22)

Neptune square to the Sun. Lunar eclipse. Planets vanish in the gaps between constellations; stars drift screaming into the void; the Milky Way runs in glittering rivulets down across the sky’s glassy dome, coming to rest, defeated, against the hard bed of the horizon. There’s no mistaking it. You are going to die.

—p.178 missing author 2 years ago
178

LEO (July 23-August 22)

Of course, dying is one of those things that never happen in horoscopes. The planets spin in their circles forever, and while they might help you out from time to time with dates and job interviews, they’re also entirely untroubled by your death. Astrological time is cyclical and repetitive. As Roland Barthes notes, ‘the stars never suggest that order could be overturned, but merely exert a little day-to-day influence, remaining respectful of social status and of the working week as defined by one’s employers.’ Barthes was in many ways a classic Scorpio: always piercing, always interpreting, clawing through the surface of things to find the buried truth inside, and only then discovering that it was always hollow. I’ve not been able to find a horoscope for the 25th of February, 1980, the day he was fatally hit by a laundry van on the streets of Paris, but with a roughly constructed natal chart and an ephemeris it’s possible to approximate. On that day the Sun was at seven degrees Pisces, in his eleventh house, suggesting that it would have been a good day to focus on friendships or close colleagues. Jupiter was in the fifth, indicating a particularly fertile period for literary and creative endeavours. Perhaps the stars had fated the new ideas buzzing ceaselessly in his head to find expression through a collaborative project, possibly with François Wahl or Julia Kristeva. But instead he died in hospital, and the stars kept on shining, heartlessly distant: they didn’t care.

—p.178 by Sam Kriss 2 years ago

LEO (July 23-August 22)

Of course, dying is one of those things that never happen in horoscopes. The planets spin in their circles forever, and while they might help you out from time to time with dates and job interviews, they’re also entirely untroubled by your death. Astrological time is cyclical and repetitive. As Roland Barthes notes, ‘the stars never suggest that order could be overturned, but merely exert a little day-to-day influence, remaining respectful of social status and of the working week as defined by one’s employers.’ Barthes was in many ways a classic Scorpio: always piercing, always interpreting, clawing through the surface of things to find the buried truth inside, and only then discovering that it was always hollow. I’ve not been able to find a horoscope for the 25th of February, 1980, the day he was fatally hit by a laundry van on the streets of Paris, but with a roughly constructed natal chart and an ephemeris it’s possible to approximate. On that day the Sun was at seven degrees Pisces, in his eleventh house, suggesting that it would have been a good day to focus on friendships or close colleagues. Jupiter was in the fifth, indicating a particularly fertile period for literary and creative endeavours. Perhaps the stars had fated the new ideas buzzing ceaselessly in his head to find expression through a collaborative project, possibly with François Wahl or Julia Kristeva. But instead he died in hospital, and the stars kept on shining, heartlessly distant: they didn’t care.

—p.178 by Sam Kriss 2 years ago
179

VIRGO (August 23-September 22)

We could repeat the exercise. Theodor Adorno, who called occultism the ‘metaphysic of dunces,’ who argued in The Stars Down To Earth that astrology forms an institutionalised, objectified ‘secondary superstition’ in which the irrationality of social domination is perversely rationalised as the expression of cosmic fate, was of course (like me) a Virgo. The horoscope that he read for The Stars Down To Earth urged him to ‘ignore the things or statements you don’t like, and take a constructive viewpoint of things.’ Not the best-calibrated advice; he sullenly refused. On the day he died of a heart attack, Jupiter transited the fourth and Mars the twelfth: a good time for solitary thought and reflection, but also bearing a strong chance of financial good fortune. No such luck. But it wasn’t always like this. In ancient times the movements of the heavenly bodies were thought to foretell wars and revolutions, the crumbling of empires, or the fiery end of the world. How did we get here? Modern astrology tends to not really predict anything; the stars just describe, in a strange and cryptic code, things that are happening here on Earth. Read enough horoscopes and you’ll end up with the uneasy impression that the stars and planets, with all their light and fury and strangeness, are really just ‘about’ the day-to-day world of offices and public transport, small monetary gains and small romantic misfortunes. Vast clouds of searing fire a million miles wide have been domesticated, so that they can no longer accommodate the death of even one person, let alone an entire mode of production. Against all this, it’s necessary to insist that the galaxy itself does not have any particular regard for capitalism. If astrology has been pressed into the service of mundane power, to represent a world that can never change, our task is not to do away with it, but to fight for its liberation. We must – to employ an ironic inversion of the type Adorno was so fond of – put the stars back in the sky.

—p.179 by Sam Kriss 2 years ago

VIRGO (August 23-September 22)

We could repeat the exercise. Theodor Adorno, who called occultism the ‘metaphysic of dunces,’ who argued in The Stars Down To Earth that astrology forms an institutionalised, objectified ‘secondary superstition’ in which the irrationality of social domination is perversely rationalised as the expression of cosmic fate, was of course (like me) a Virgo. The horoscope that he read for The Stars Down To Earth urged him to ‘ignore the things or statements you don’t like, and take a constructive viewpoint of things.’ Not the best-calibrated advice; he sullenly refused. On the day he died of a heart attack, Jupiter transited the fourth and Mars the twelfth: a good time for solitary thought and reflection, but also bearing a strong chance of financial good fortune. No such luck. But it wasn’t always like this. In ancient times the movements of the heavenly bodies were thought to foretell wars and revolutions, the crumbling of empires, or the fiery end of the world. How did we get here? Modern astrology tends to not really predict anything; the stars just describe, in a strange and cryptic code, things that are happening here on Earth. Read enough horoscopes and you’ll end up with the uneasy impression that the stars and planets, with all their light and fury and strangeness, are really just ‘about’ the day-to-day world of offices and public transport, small monetary gains and small romantic misfortunes. Vast clouds of searing fire a million miles wide have been domesticated, so that they can no longer accommodate the death of even one person, let alone an entire mode of production. Against all this, it’s necessary to insist that the galaxy itself does not have any particular regard for capitalism. If astrology has been pressed into the service of mundane power, to represent a world that can never change, our task is not to do away with it, but to fight for its liberation. We must – to employ an ironic inversion of the type Adorno was so fond of – put the stars back in the sky.

—p.179 by Sam Kriss 2 years ago

(noun) the scum that forms on the surface of molten metal / (noun) waste or foreign matter; impurity / (noun) something that is base, trivial, or inferior

180

According to scientific chauvinism, astrology is the dross left over by the slow transformation of superstition into astrophysics

—p.180 by Sam Kriss
notable
2 years ago

According to scientific chauvinism, astrology is the dross left over by the slow transformation of superstition into astrophysics

—p.180 by Sam Kriss
notable
2 years ago
181

SAGITTARIUS (November 22-December 21)

Modern cosmology has stumbled across a truth that the ancients have always known, but tried to repress: our world is essentially meaningless, and in constant decay. This is why healing magic requires a sacrifice: in an entropic universe, it’s not a restoration of harmonic balance, but something close to blasphemy. The cosmological principle states that the universe is homogeneous and isotropic: certain constants, the speed of light, or the permittivity of the vacuum, remain the same regardless of the position of the viewer. At a large enough scale, everything is the same. Scientists refer to this, in a rare moment of poetry, as the End of Greatness. The universe is made of enormous walls of galaxy clusters, each billions of light years across, containing millions of galaxies that themselves contain billions of stars, forming a fragile web between vast and empty voids. Its story is an epic. Clusters collide, stars are born and burn out, intelligent life stares out into the darkness and sees something of itself reflected back. But if you look at the universe on a slightly larger scale, the filaments and voids vanish. Viewed as a whole, the universe is a flat grey expanse, all matter and all energy distributed evenly across its infinity, with no structure and no hidden meaning. All things are slowly collapsing, but on the highest possible level, the heat death of the universe has already happened. The world we think we live in, with stars and planets and trees and daily horoscopes in the back pages of the newspaper – it’s a translation error, a glitch between the blankness of the large-scale universe and the blankness of subatomic chaos. If we’re honest about our Hermeticism, it doesn’t tell us that the reason for all our daily injustices is encoded in an astral infinity. It tells us that there’s no reason for anything at all.

—p.181 by Sam Kriss 2 years ago

SAGITTARIUS (November 22-December 21)

Modern cosmology has stumbled across a truth that the ancients have always known, but tried to repress: our world is essentially meaningless, and in constant decay. This is why healing magic requires a sacrifice: in an entropic universe, it’s not a restoration of harmonic balance, but something close to blasphemy. The cosmological principle states that the universe is homogeneous and isotropic: certain constants, the speed of light, or the permittivity of the vacuum, remain the same regardless of the position of the viewer. At a large enough scale, everything is the same. Scientists refer to this, in a rare moment of poetry, as the End of Greatness. The universe is made of enormous walls of galaxy clusters, each billions of light years across, containing millions of galaxies that themselves contain billions of stars, forming a fragile web between vast and empty voids. Its story is an epic. Clusters collide, stars are born and burn out, intelligent life stares out into the darkness and sees something of itself reflected back. But if you look at the universe on a slightly larger scale, the filaments and voids vanish. Viewed as a whole, the universe is a flat grey expanse, all matter and all energy distributed evenly across its infinity, with no structure and no hidden meaning. All things are slowly collapsing, but on the highest possible level, the heat death of the universe has already happened. The world we think we live in, with stars and planets and trees and daily horoscopes in the back pages of the newspaper – it’s a translation error, a glitch between the blankness of the large-scale universe and the blankness of subatomic chaos. If we’re honest about our Hermeticism, it doesn’t tell us that the reason for all our daily injustices is encoded in an astral infinity. It tells us that there’s no reason for anything at all.

—p.181 by Sam Kriss 2 years ago
182

CAPRICORN (December 22-January 19)

An astrology that properly recognises its magical responsibilities is the only possible point of contact between human reason and the seething anarchy of outer space. There are twelve houses in the zodiac, and all of them are on fire.

AQUARIUS (January 20-February 18)

Another horoscope is possible, but astrology can only help us if it proceeds from the fact that our galaxy is fundamentally ironic. Any meaning that can be gleaned from a universe whose map is a blank sheet of paper will always be fleeting, evanescent, puckish, and bleak. As critics of astrology are always keen to point out, the actual information contained in any daily horoscope is usually vague to the point of meaninglessness – in that respect, at least, it’s a perfectly accurate mirror of our world. For the reader of horoscopes, who finds some meaning and comfort in them, neither the arbitrariness of the positions of stars and planets nor the fudgery of the prediction make their truths any less valid. A linguistic signifier can have meaning only because it itself is meaningless, thrown together with a signified with which it has no positively articulated relation and which it can never quite touch; signification takes place somewhere in the void between the two. Similarly, astrological truth doesn’t happen in the stupid depths of our solar system, but slips through the sky at that moment near dusk, when the first point of light howls gloomily near the horizon. It’s the shiver you get looking up at something very cold and very distant, shining from across an endless void. Linda Hutcheon describes irony as the possibility of simultaneity of multiple signifieds with any signifier (in its most radical sense, it’s the simultaneity occasionally encountered by Derrida of meaning and nonmeaning). Astrology is an ironist’s playground: its lions sleek or mangy, its virgins coquettish or forbidding, its water-carriers upright and obedient or leering through a gummy grin and spitting blood-flecked gobs in the swill. Constellations are vast, and any number of meanings can tumble through their nets. If, as Bataille knew, ‘the world is parodic and lacks an interpretation,’ interpretation doesn’t then become pointless, but radically democratic. A proletarian astrology will hang all the court charlatans that crowded around Pharaoh and Reagan, guillotine the blue-rinsed flatterers of musicians and actors, and shoot every billionaire who really thinks the galaxy exists just to increase his stock yields. Our destiny might be written in the stars. But we must hold the pen.

what can i say i love this

—p.182 by Sam Kriss 2 years ago

CAPRICORN (December 22-January 19)

An astrology that properly recognises its magical responsibilities is the only possible point of contact between human reason and the seething anarchy of outer space. There are twelve houses in the zodiac, and all of them are on fire.

AQUARIUS (January 20-February 18)

Another horoscope is possible, but astrology can only help us if it proceeds from the fact that our galaxy is fundamentally ironic. Any meaning that can be gleaned from a universe whose map is a blank sheet of paper will always be fleeting, evanescent, puckish, and bleak. As critics of astrology are always keen to point out, the actual information contained in any daily horoscope is usually vague to the point of meaninglessness – in that respect, at least, it’s a perfectly accurate mirror of our world. For the reader of horoscopes, who finds some meaning and comfort in them, neither the arbitrariness of the positions of stars and planets nor the fudgery of the prediction make their truths any less valid. A linguistic signifier can have meaning only because it itself is meaningless, thrown together with a signified with which it has no positively articulated relation and which it can never quite touch; signification takes place somewhere in the void between the two. Similarly, astrological truth doesn’t happen in the stupid depths of our solar system, but slips through the sky at that moment near dusk, when the first point of light howls gloomily near the horizon. It’s the shiver you get looking up at something very cold and very distant, shining from across an endless void. Linda Hutcheon describes irony as the possibility of simultaneity of multiple signifieds with any signifier (in its most radical sense, it’s the simultaneity occasionally encountered by Derrida of meaning and nonmeaning). Astrology is an ironist’s playground: its lions sleek or mangy, its virgins coquettish or forbidding, its water-carriers upright and obedient or leering through a gummy grin and spitting blood-flecked gobs in the swill. Constellations are vast, and any number of meanings can tumble through their nets. If, as Bataille knew, ‘the world is parodic and lacks an interpretation,’ interpretation doesn’t then become pointless, but radically democratic. A proletarian astrology will hang all the court charlatans that crowded around Pharaoh and Reagan, guillotine the blue-rinsed flatterers of musicians and actors, and shoot every billionaire who really thinks the galaxy exists just to increase his stock yields. Our destiny might be written in the stars. But we must hold the pen.

what can i say i love this

—p.182 by Sam Kriss 2 years ago