Do You Hear What I Hear?

“Do you hear what I hear?” With due respect to the Christmas spirit and the evergreen 1963 Bing Crosby chart topper, perhaps not. Listening to the same song, we all hear approximately the same set of sound waves, and we similarly recognize the song in general, but we each bring our own memories, musical experience, and personal implications that may differ considerably. For a professional musician, it’s a package of harmonies and rhythms, to a minister it’s an expression of inner beliefs, to a last-minute shopper it’s background to a holiday bargain.

But regardless of profession, religion, or listening context, the chances are we will recognize it within a few seconds and adjust our inner version accordingly. A few notes, a couple of beats, and you know what it is. This sort of pattern recognition, large inferences derived from small, limited fragments of information, is an essential talent of sentient beings in general. You can’t survive without it. Most of your daily life is run by snap judgments based on quick and often subconsciously-processed details and assumptions.

And, as an astrologer, it’s the basis of your art. When you look at a planet, in a specific sign, in an individual house, aspected by something else in the chart, you bring to bear both consciously and unconsciously all the things you’ve ever read about any of those factors. Bits and pieces of all the astrological cookbooks you’ve read instantly process, sort, and weigh in, along with the personal experience you’ve had with those positions in the charts of friends, family, celebrity examples, and clients, not to mention your own horoscope. Further, if you’re giving a reading with any sort of mutual input (in person, on the phone, even email), all your natural personality-judging cues weigh in and tell you what to pay attention to and what to ignore in analyzing the person and the situation, well beyond the chart in front of you. Debunkers will claim that is all you really do (regardless of the chart), but you know the ability to combine it all, inclusively, is the sign of a real pro, in any profession.

You’re doing a lot of implying and inferring with every word you hear, every glance you make, and every cue you pick up, whether it’s live in real time or from your long, educated set of memories, and if you’re good, you know it, and weigh them all carefully and wisely. What you may not consider is that astrology itself is a set of inferences based on pattern recognition that calls up the subtlest of your animal talents. As we have mentioned before, the planetary positions and movements you are considering are in fact largely a set of slow and deep sub-bass lines in the music of life, and what you extrapolate from them in terms of daily likelihoods and personal behavior are dependent entirely on how well and how quickly you recognize the “song”. The planetary “frequencies” are long and low, taking days to centuries to reverberate, though diurnal movements shift from minute to minute. Yet, even that’s really slow, compared to the second-to-second toe-tapping beat of a song or the thousands of cycles a second involved in pitch, melody, and harmony. Yet you can, amazingly enough, sense or infer all of this when dealing with a chart and a client. Just by comparing the many time-scales of your own personal knowledge and experience (astrological and otherwise), you can come up with insights and information that amaze both yourself and your client. Your ability to judge and balance all of these levels determines how good an astrologer you are.

So, do you hear what I hear? In a well-tuned experience, from a chart reading to a casual hello, one should hope so, regardless of what we think we bring to it, because we bring more than we realize. That’s how we manage to play together, from infancy and childhood into old age. Astrologers, of all people, should be more aware of this, because in our best moments it’s our stock in trade.

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