As astounding as it may seem, when two planets form an aspect, astrologers can actually often predict the impact and effect of the aspect's influences. Astrologers can do this because the probable range of the results of any planetary aspect is dependent on which two planets form the aspect, and because different planets have different influences. We have already explained that the original reason the Babylonians thought each planet had different influences is because they thought the planets were associated with the gods of their religion, and each god had a different set of powers or rulerships. This theory was obviously wrong. But even though the gods of the Babylonian religions never existed, some of the symbolisms and rulerships of the planets still worked.
The reason these symbolisms are still useful is that the Babylonians derived them as a result of thousands of years of observation and experience. This method is actually the same as the empirical methodology of modern science. The word empirical means "observed." The simplest and most basic step of scientific methodology is to observe what occurs, design some method of quantifying the observations, and devise a formula to fit the observations and predict future results. In a very real sense, the Babylonian astrologers obtained their symbolisms in this very way. For example, we learned in the last chapter that Pearl Harbor was bombed when the Sun and Mars made a planetary aspect of 120 degrees called the trine. The Babylonians had figured out that the Sun represents the day, and Mars represents war. Thus, when the Sun and Mars form an aspect, to the Babylonians it means a day (Sun) of war (Mars). There were lots and lots of days of war in the era of the Babylonians, so they had an enormous amount of data about the planetary aspects that existed on days of war. Many of them had aspects formed by Mars and Sun, and it is that fact that gave the Babylonians the idea that Mars rules war.
The Babylonians used their mammoth amounts of records to help them derive their rulerships and symbolisms for the planets.
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