Monday, May 14, 2007

Boxed In: Learning to Think Outside the Box

Belief in reincarnation tied to memory errors?” Please!

It never fails to amaze me that in order to validate what they believe, debunkers of any given idea or philosophy either parrot what they’ve been told by someone else, or look to (generally) ‘one’ study that claims that some belief is not valid, merely because they do not wish the belief to be valid. (Why they don’t wish it to be valid, is another story.) However, even when there has been more than ‘one’ study conducted on a subject, how are we to know whether or not – in fact – the studies, themselves, are valid?

I’ve tried, but I fail to see how in the world anyone can determine that a ‘belief in reincarnation’ is ‘tied to memory errors.’ Even if one does believe in reincarnation, how is it even remotely possible to claim that any errors that person might make are tied to a belief in reincarnation?

Based on the ‘one study’ which used a control group and an experimental group (as most scientific or ‘empiric’ studies do) to gather the required data, the experimental groups’ “tendency was to wrongly identify as famous the non-famous names they had seen in the first task.”

And this is the basis of the entire claim that those who believe in reincarnation are prone to having memory errors?

Let’s look at this more closely:

It’s not uncommon for publishers of these so-called studies to count on the probability that their readers are not aware of the empirical guidelines which scientists are required to follow. And yet, in a majority of the studies cited, rarely do any of the publishers provide background information, such as how many individuals were in either the control or experimental groups or any other identifying factors, such as exactly why (as in this case) participants who believe in reincarnation might, in fact, have recognized someone as being famous when they allegedly were/are not.

As with so many sensationalist rag-mags, the results of the study could very easily have been taken out of context, or pertinent information left out in order to ‘validate’ the pre-conceived beliefs of those conducting the study. It wouldn’t be the first time fraudulent results were published in order to obtain funding or to debunk currently prevailing beliefs, as is shown in this November 29, 2006 LA Times article, Raising Sciences Bar Against Fraud .

How do the researchers know that the individuals identified as being famous actually weren’t? Remember: at one time it was believed that the cities cited in the Bible were non-existent, that the ‘stories’ were just parables or myths, and that the ‘famous’ people with whom most of us are familiar, such as Abraham, Ramses and Kings David and Solomon (to name a very few) were merely a product of some over-zealous writer's imagination. And yet over the last century archaeologists have unearthed a multitude of proof indicating that the majority of these famous individuals did exist.

And what about the ancient city of Troy? Archaeologist, Heinrich Schliemann, was laughed at when he insisted that the Greek poet, Homer (circa 900/800 BCE - ?), author of the Illiad and The Odyssey, was speaking literally when he wrote of the Trojan War, which Homer claims took place in the early 12th Century BCE. Yet, Schliemann was vindicated when Troy was first unearthed in approximately 1870.

Some, of course, still claim that the Bible is only a myth (and thus, all those whom it cites), and that Heinrich Schliemann was a pathological liar and a sociopath. Which opens up a whole ‘nother line of questions such as whether we’ve been manipulated into believing a world history that is patently false. But, again, that is another story.

The point is, those who don’t believe in reincarnation aren’t likely to recognize someone as famous who isn’t, because chances are, they merely don’t recognize that individual at all. If one doesn’t believe in reincarnation and isn’t prone to meditate or to access their past life memories in some other way, in my opinion, they flat out will not recognize a given name that is not famous, period. This, however, doesn’t mean that they don’t have memory errors just like the rest of us, or that those who do recognize as famous, those names that are not generally accepted as famous, are experiencing memory errors.

And the statement that people who believe in reincarnation are more likely to convince themselves of things that aren’t true because they believe in reincarnation? I’m sorry, this is such a crock it doesn’t even rate an LOL. WE ALL have the tendency to convince ourselves of things that aren’t true. A belief in reincarnation is not the criteria by which to determine that tendency; there are many more out there from which to choose.

False memory syndrome is also referenced. Just as with UFOs and alien abduction, it seems to me that the debunkers are becoming desperate because the memories which many of those same debunkers claim were false (as with individuals who have been sexually abused or abducted by aliens or MILAB) are being validated and corroborated more and more each day.

Then we’re told that the reason we convert these ‘false’ memories into full blown memories is because we “can’t distinguish between things that have really happened and things that have been suggested to” us. Again, I can’t help asking: why is this tendency restricted to those who believe in reincarnation or those who have been sexually abused or abducted, when many who don’t believe in these things do the same on a regular basis?

The most laughable postulation in this article is that “people with implausible memories are also more likely to be depressed and to experience sleep problems, and this could also make them more prone to memory mistakes. While there’s no denying that being depressed and/or unable to sleep can certainly cause various problems, being either could just as easily cause anyone to have memory problems, if that were the case; not just those who believe in reincarnation.

As for the depression and insomnia or sleep problems, if you were sexually abused or abducted – either by aliens or our own government – wouldn’t you tend to be depressed or have trouble sleeping, especially if you knew that something horrific happened and you had memories that you should not otherwise have?

And what about all the studies proving reincarnation? Granted, the majority of these are case studies, which aren’t generally accepted as proof. Yet, what about the numerous children who have been born recounting events of a recently previous life and recounting details and incidents which they could hardly know and that were, subsequently validated, such as that of 6 year old (as of 2004) James Leininger?

The late Dr. Ian Stevenson, one of the leading authorities on reincarnation and author of numerous books on the subject, conducted quite a few studies with some surprising findings. Yet Stevenson isn’t the only scientist to believe in reincarnation.

Finally, we’re told that our ‘imaginative’ minds are the problem. It’s difficult to tell here if they’re implying that we’re liars, or that we’re so creative we tend to just make this stuff up.

The lesson here is: we must think outside the proverbial box. Just because a Harvard professor or someone with a degree or a slue of initials behind their name or who belongs to a mega-corporation or a governmental agency states that something is true, doesn’t necessarily make it so. Even yet, scientists, themselves, are admitting that 'Science cannot provide all the answers'.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Astrology and the Affects of a Twelfth House Stellium*

Living in the Past
The Epitome of a 12th House Dream

Letting go of the past has not been easy for me. I was born looking back…
When the planets fell in the house of sorrow, dreams and long ago memories.
In a sky full of tempests and thunder I awakened early to receive more than my share. The Dark Moon portended heartache which I have yet to outdistance.

Ancient memories sustain me through the long, terrible nights of loneliness;
a sentence I have inflicted upon myself for the crime of caring far too much.

My prison is knowing that I may never change.

The madness of a moment lost in time forever haunts me with its cold, cloying fingers; wrapping around my heart, choking my Soul, draining me of life and breath and hope.

The demons stalk me in nightmares of pain; torturing me mercilessly with their laughter at my ineptness, my inability to pull myself out of the mire of hopeless desires.

I struggle to awaken from this endless night of torment. Conflicted, I reach out for love, for understanding, only to be abandoned yet again...

© 2007 Kat Starwolf All Rights Reserved
Such are the dreams of a 12th House native
Recently I read and wrote a review on the book, The Law of Attraction, by Esther and Jerry Hicks. Over the last two years in particular, I’ve been extremely (Pluto in Leo) drawn to self-help and motivational material, not just to review, but for my own benefit. Because of issues from my past (12th House) I’ve wanted to really get to know myself in order to clear out quite a few undesirable (in my opinion) traits, as well as learn to deal with my heavily Neptunian 12th House nature.

In fact, the primary reason I became interested in astrology so many years ago, was because I wasn’t receiving any satisfactory answers from mainstream religion, psychology or philosophy in regard to why my life had been so difficult.

No, I’m not whining about the lot that I’ve been ‘dealt.’ However, because my Mercury is in Virgo, I am one of those people who analyzes everything every which way to Sunday and back. I have to KNOW. I have to understand WHY things are the way they are. Additionally, I’m a FIXER; I need to know if there’s a way to FIX whatever is wrong; to understand what I can do to resolve problems/issues. Of course, I also need to know if there’s no hope of fixing a situation so that I waste as little time as possible on it and, instead, focus on something that stands a chance of resolution.

I’ve learned a lot about life and the people who’ve wended their way through mine over the last 51 years; though I, by no means, know everything. I may have had some rough times, but I sincerely feel that we’re here to learn; and learn, I intend. And because I see the proverbial glass as half full, rather than half empty, I’ve chosen to see the 12th House influence in my chart and in my life as a means for opportunities for growth.

Astrology has afforded me that opportunity. I can look at a chart – whether the chart is for an individual, a company, a situation, a country or a specific event – and I can pretty much tell WHY things are the way they are and what can be done to resolve challenging issues. Actually, any astrologer worth his or her salt can do the same, so I’m not unique in that regard.

Before I go any further let me admit that I am a Leo; a septuple Leo if you will. (Yes, I know: uh oh.) And Leos are known for their bombastic, narcissistic, egotistical, look-at-me, in-your-face personalities. One would think that with six planets (Sun, Moon, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Pluto) plus my ascendant in Leo, that I wouldn’t have any problems being motivated even if my Saturn and Midheaven are both square to them all. However, five of those planets, plus my Uranus (in Cancer) are also in the 12th House and have caused me no little consternation in making headway in many areas over the last 30 years.

For all of you astrologers out there, you KNOW what this can mean. For those of you who aren’t astrologers or aren’t quite as familiar with the significance of these placements, the 12th House can be an extremely difficult house in which to have so many planets. And, on top of all that, my renegade, er, excuse me, retrograde Chiron is in Aquarius in the 6th House – opposite all those planets in Leo in the 12th. Whew! Has it been a bumpy ride so far! With such a prominent 12th House influence and lots of squares and oppositions in my chart, much of the air was let out of my sails before I even had a chance to sail my ship!

So, what does all this 12th House stuff mean? And why am I talking about it?

First, the 12th House is known to represent the past, hospitals, prison, the un-/sub- and supra-conscious, occult matters, psychic abilities (along with the 8th House), dreams, secrets (also along with the 8th House), repressed and innate talents, mental health and even depression among other things. It is also referred to as the House of Sorrows and the House of Self-Undoing. In short, the 12th House can be a very scary and lonely place to be if one is not inclined to want to be alone or afraid.

Sure, I could have given up and given in to all the demons. But I finally realized after trying so diligently to leave this plane and not quite being successful at doing so, that there was a reason that I was here. Just as there’s a reason each and every one of us is here. And I knew I needed to find out what – for me – that reason was.

You Can Do It!

The point of this seemingly self-aggrandizing (ok, so maybe it is self-aggrandizing :-) ) treatise, is to show what can be done if we set our minds to it, regardless of what our astrological natal charts look like, and regardless of what ‘sign’ our Sun falls in.

Although it’s true that the fire signs are fairly invincible, the fact is that all of the other signs are more than capable of doing much the same in the way of pushing to get where they need and wish to go. They just do it in a slightly different way.

Books such as The Law of Attraction, The Secret, Sacred Contracts and anything by Drs. Deepak Chopra, Caroline Myss, Wayne Dyer and others, inspire us to make the most out of the lives we’ve been given.

Regardless of whether you have a Twelfth House stellium or anything similiar, instead of blaming others for what you lack or the lot you’ve been given, it’s up to you to change things if you don’t like where you’re headed, instead of whining about why it happened or is happening.

Think positively. Like really does attract like. See the glass as not just half full, but FULL. Aim for the stars.

Before you realize it you’ll not only find that you can do it, but that you’ve done it.

Namaste and Many Blessings,
Kat Starwolf

Stellium: 3 or more planets in the same sign or house