It’s confession time. When I occasionally lay siege to the shaky bastion of someone’s cherished concept (eg, Mercury retrograde, the Galactic Center, asteroids, etc), it’s as much for my own amusement as the incidental edification of my imagined readers. Maybe I’m just an astrological provocateur, or maybe I’m just bored.

So when I spray some RAID! (Radical Astrological Idiocy Deterrent!) into the cracks and crevices of the cosmological community, I’m always amused to see what critters come scurrying out, waving their antennae and convulsing in outrage as they vomit up all sorts of undigested concepts.

Just because I’m a Vedic astrologer doesn’t mean I have an axe to grind with the Tropical community. Quite the contrary, I was raised on Tropical astrology and there’s much I admire and respect, and the further back I go in history, the more I marvel that many modern astrologers seem intent on forgetting the principles and techniques that sustained the careers of our astrological forefathers.

I reject the naïve notion of the “next big thing” – that if it’s new, it must somehow be better than what is old. Frankly, it’s almost never so. The new stuff being minted is often counterfeit, and therefore worthless. Into this category fall a lot of theories, including but not limited to non-traditional planetary rulerships, 13 signs of the zodiac, the interpretation of asteroids, and other notions.

Several months ago, I attended a talk on the Gnostic Circle and its application to astrology. Essentially, this theory superimposes the 9-pointed enneagram onto the 12-sign zodiac to highlight critical points in the evolution of a spiritual journey, eg, from individual through cosmic to transcendent. As an intellectual construct, it appeals to those who like to amuse themselves by looking at cycles within cycles of time, whether your own life or the Age of Aquarius. As a technique to counsel or predict for a client, it’s a formula for confusion, since it overlays yet another paradigm on top of something that already works fine.

Although their followers call them “visionary”, I think some of these theories are just “diversionary”. It often seems that the very people who invent them seem incapable of working successfully with the basic nuts and bolts of a system that already works pretty well. In other words, frustrated at their own ability to comprehend a perfectly workable system, either because they haven’t understood it in the first place, studied it sufficiently, or put it to rigorous practice, they think the key to chart interpretation and forecasting must lie in some other quarter, and if only they come up with an alternative approach, they will somehow stumble upon new truths.

It reminds me a bit of David Icke, who’s written twenty books in his quest to prove that the world is controlled by an elite group of reptilian aliens known as the Babylonian Brotherhood, whose ranks include George Bush, Queen Elizabeth, the Jews and Kris Kristofferson, whom they control from their subterranean headquarters beneath the Denver International Airport. Frankly, I don’t know which is more scary – the fact that he’s channeled this stuff under the guise of a spiritual mission to save Earth, or that tens of thousands of readers believe his theories.

What’s even more frightening is that some of his fans, whom I know from personal acquaintance, are practicing astrologers. To all outward appearance, they appear sane, but scratch the surface, and alien lizards are lurking just out of sight. I don’t know about you, but when I seek counsel from someone regarding my marriage or my career, I want a sympathetic realist, not someone who blames the world’s woes on a cabal of cold-blooded conspirators.

Astrology can be a lifelong romp through an intellectual amusement park, but its purpose has always been to advise and inform the affairs of man. Kooky ideas, in astrology or elsewhere, attract kooky advocates.

RAID! Don’t leave home without it.