Astrology defined by prominent astrologer Marc Edmund Jones is “the science of all beginnings.” (qtd. in Rudhyar, 1972)
In an astrological chart, Mars shows us about the way a person initiates. But, if we stop there in our understanding, we may miss the full Mars ‘Cycle.’ After all, astrology is very much about the study of initiation, and understanding the cycles is key to the process of understanding what initiation even means. So, we need context.
With astrology, we are always asking when is it a good time for ____________?
If you’ve ever jumped on a merry-go-round at a playground when you were a child, you’d probably have found that you spent some time at the perimeter, tracking the movements of the wheel for a moment, to get a good indication for the speed of the wheel, before deciding on the precise moment to take your leap. You wanted to find that precise moment when you could be most certain that you’d clear handle-bars or another person, and land safely on your target.
You needed to see the full cycle of the wheel in order to recognize its pattern of movement. Then, you could derive the speed of the wheel, and therefore your own mechanics of speed and timing, in order to achieve the success of getting on the ride uninjured while it’s moving. Our ability to recognize patterns is essential on a day-to-day basis; we need pattern recognition to analyze and understand our environments, even just to handle our own body mechanics!
According to Stephen Few, consultant and instructor at the University of California at Berkeley, “our visual sense is highly tuned to spot patterns, and this natural ability can be trained to achieve even greater levels of acuity.” That is, we are recognizing patterns all the time at work, and in the world around us. Most of the time we unconsciously understand and organize the data we receive from everyday interactions, to draw conclusions. This, According to Few, is something that everyone can improve upon.
improvements result primarily from learning which of the many possible patterns in data are meaningful to your work and then also learning—through practice—to spot these patterns quickly, even in a dense forest of visual noise. As with all skills, practice in pattern recognition is required to move from average ability to true expertise. (Few, n.d. Perceptual Edge)
Now, the only way that I know of to improve pattern recognition is through observation. Sometimes we need tools, such as computer software, to help us do this. We definitely need the expertise of those who have come before us to contribute to the knowledge database of information regarding what has been observed. A lot of research has been done in many cases, and we need not reinvent the wheel.
While in some contexts, Astrology is still very much an art, made up of rich symbolism and analogy. It takes a gifted visionary to be able to delineate information intuitively. It also, like Rudhyar writes, takes science, because science is a process for discovery.