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The following is an exam question from the 2001 Advanced Exam.  The answer was submitted by Robyn Binks and was judged the best answer to the question and was published on the FAA website along with other such answers.  It is reproduced here because it may be of interest as an example of suggested formatting to students who are considering sitting the FAA exams and because it contains many interesting links to relevant astrological sites.  
All web links were alive at time of exam, but may have moved or no longer be valid.
 
FAA (Inc) ADVANCED ASSESSMENT – 2001
Question 12:
The personal computer has become an essential tool for astrological calculations.  Do you see the use of the PC as extending beyond calculation work?  Use examples to demonstrate your arguments for or against.
 
Answer:
“Although written records of astrology date back to about 2,000 BC in Mesopotamia, its deeper origins are shrouded in prehistory. Mankind instinctively orients his life by the heavens, which represent the mysterious forces of the universe, and intimate the workings of a Divine Intelligence interacting with every aspect of human life. Contemplation of the starry night sky readily evokes this awesome sense of eternity unfolding within time”.
Melanie Reinhart


In ancient times communication was generally localised, or was very slow over great distances.  Astrology was practised face to face and commanded reverence and ceremony.

In the 21st century ‘communication’ is a buzz word.  Everything moves at speeds beyond anything conceived in previous centuries, or even previous decades.  In this age of Aquarius, communication to the masses is accepted as the norm.  This is achieved to a great extent by the medium of personal computers (PC), or computerised systems, through telephone lines and optic fibre links.

With the twofold energy of Uranus travelling through its own sign, we can now connect to the group around the world, using the phone, internet, and email systems, as though they were in our own neighbourhood.  As Uranus continues its journey, use of this communication medium brings constantly surprising new and innovative concepts and discoveries like lightning bolts ‘out of the blue’.

During this technologically significant Aquarian Age the future of astrology will not only depend on speedy communication, but also on quantifiable and qualitative astrological services for clients and the astrological community.  The PC is of immense value in the area of calculating charts, providing quick, accurate, and consistent information, saving the astrologer much time and effort.  The astrologer can also provide quicker, cheaper products, ensuring astrology is more accessible to more people, allowing more time for personal service to clients, as well as greater variety of services.

Computer generated charts, and interpretations, began in the early 1980’s and was limited by disk storage space.  Early criticisms of computer generated interpretations related to their “cookbook” style, which most astrologers considered fell far short of personal consultation.  However, as technology advanced, the limitations were overcome, and the scope and variety of programs expanded.  So has the reliability, quantity and quality of the information they produce.

The PC and the internet are generally associated with the 11th House, Uranus/Aquarian air energy.  However, I believe, it is only the tangible and physical components of the computer, such as telephone lines, optic fibres and computer hardware that essentially fit this interpretation.

As we dive in and “surf the web” we become overwhelmed by the enormity of the ocean of information in which we can escape our boundaries and drown or swim.  I see the internet component as 12th House, Neptune/Pisces, water energy, connecting us to the mysteries that unfold, taking us deeper into unknown realms in search of the intangible connection to the unconscious.  Its depths are as yet unfathomed as we view it floating on the surface, only diving as far as our deepest breath will allow.  We can use this boundless connection to enhance our understanding of all the facets of astrology, or anything else we choose.  This is the extraordinary gift of the PC.

The PC and the internet has now become a means to communicate on a world wide level, and through this medium astrologers from every corner of the globe can not only learn from each other, but also earn an income by teaching, providing astrological goods and services, sell their books, computer programs, and operate in a wider market place.  This enables more astrologers to learn, become proficient, and earn a living from their chosen profession.  This is evident by the enormous number of astrological web sites providing these services.  Surfing the web will provide vast numbers of astrologers plying their wares, and in this age competition is said to bring quality.

There is an enormous amount of astrology related free information available from the internet, which can help astrologers with all aspects of their craft, such as a source for finding the latitude and longitude of almost any town in the world including correctly adjusted differences in standard, wartime, and daylight savings times at www.astro.ch/atlas.  We can gain knowledge of astronomy, each planet, and the whole the solar system at www.nationalgeographic.com/solarsystem.

The PC brings the world to the doorstep of the most remote location, providing the means of spreading the messages that astrology imparts.  Astrology has exploded, over the past two decades, into a wide spectrum of diverse approaches.  This is another benefit provided by the advent of the PC and the wide variety of distance learning facilities provided through the growing number of correspondence courses.

Competent and highly respected astrologers are now available anywhere in the world to provide lessons by correspondence.  For example Australian courses through such educators as the Canopus Academy of Astrology at www.panplanet.com, from America a classical astrology course offered by Lee Lehman at www.leelehman.com, and the Bachelor and Master of Arts degrees in astrology from Kepler College http://www.kepler.edu/index.htmlin England Olivia Barclay’s Horary course at www.kokubu.com/barclay/index.html, or you can go to India to the Dirah Academy to learn 5,000 year old Vedic astrology from any of the many listed teachers at http://welcome.to/jyotish.  There are no mundane boundaries to the internet, which fosters healthy international harmony.  Anyone with a PC and an internet connection can now have access to astrological instruction, knowledge, and services anywhere.

We can find links from Astrological Associations around the world, such as the Federation of Australia Astrologers at www.faainc.org.au, Astrological Association of Great Britain at http://www.astrologer.com/aanet, and American based Association for Astrology Networking at www.afan.org, which can take us to places we would not otherwise know existed.  Astrology groups around the world enjoy greater contact with each other, expanding their links and knowledge, mutually sharing wisdom and information by email, or via the internet, beneficially shrinking the astrological community.

High profile Astrologers who were previously just names on the cover of a book are more accessible through use of the internet, allowing their work to be more widely, interactively understood and discussed.  For example, Liz Greene, Robert Hand and Mona Riegger at www.astro.com/people/autor_e.htm.  This opens up greater discussion and the expansion of the body of knowledge for all astrologers.

Astrology lectures and conferences around the globe are more easily promoted.  Advertising of such events is wider at less cost through the additional use of the PC as a marketing tool.  Attendance by astrologers from around the world brings cross-cultural pollination to conferences, increasing the cultural diversity of information available.  Such events include the Australian FAA (Inc) 14th Annual Conference at www.faainc.org.au, and the National Council for Geocosmic Research (Inc), Education Conference to be held in November 2001 with keynote speaker, Robert Hand at http://geocosmic.org/EdConfAd.pdf. in the USA.

There are many advantages to advertising by computer such as on-line registration, which saves the delegates time and money, as they no longer need to make expensive international or interstate phone calls or experience long postal delays.  The conference organisers can gain by promoting their event world wide at less cost, expanding the number of delegates, and increasing the financial stability of their conference.

There are many astrologers today who would not be part of the astrological community if not for the convenience of computers easing time they need to spend on preparing a chart for delineation.  In this century lives are busy and time is valuable.  Of course, there will always be a need to understand the concept of manually calculating a horoscope and the positions and movements of the planets, in order to remain in “touch” with the spiritual journey we undertake when entering the chart of a client.  The personal connection can never truly be replaced.

The arrival of the fresh, technologically educated, younger generation of astrologers into the astrological community, in this age of Aquarius, will no doubt jolt us all out of our well worn paths.  We may well be apprehensive and shocked by their innovative, intellectual, and detached approach with an emphasis on technology.  However change will come.

We are fortunate to be part of this new era, to have the ability to provide ethical input, direction and future development, to ensure the new generation understand the importance of their ancient roots.  This is the beginning of the new cycle of technology and its growth will be a fascinating story as it unfolds.

A further powerful advantage to be gained from the use of the PC is for statistical research.  Researchers can now mount large-scale statistical studies.  Vast quantities of information can be collected, collated and put into useful data bases for further research.  An example of such a data base is Lois Rodden’s AstroDatabank, www.astrodatabank.com, which provides extensive quantities of accurate and verified charts for research, enabling students to improve their skills and knowledge.  Further examples are, where we can learn about the great ages through the techniques of macro-astrology research at http://communities.msn.comMacroAstrology ResearchCentre, and the International Society For Astrological Research at www.isarastrology.com.  The expanding number of Astrological computer programs often include these data bases, and many more facilities, for open use by the astrological community.

The use of data bases can have the additional benefit of substantiation of astrology to the sceptical masses.  An example of such use is the outstanding research of Michel Gauquelin, with full discussion at http://members.aol.com/kirving.  Also the world wide best selling book “The Astrology File” by Gunter Sachs, providing proof of links between star signs and events supported by many charts and graphs.  The vast quantity of information provided is substantiated by the power the PC.

The future of computers will undoubtedly involve artificial intelligence.  There is a tremendous amount of money being invested in the development of interactive computers, which may one day become the astrologers of the future. This may be a distressing thought to some astrologers today, however, it can ultimately benefit astrology, by bringing it to the masses as a valid science.  If properly managed by honourable and responsible astrologers, this use of computers may herald the greatest positive renaissance of astrology since its inception in ancient history.

As the face to face consultation with human contact diminishes, astrologers will only survive if they are prepared to evolve with the developing technology, and utilise its benefits.  They can make use of its powerful potential, provide a deeper, more human, personal counselling service, which connects with their client on a more spiritual level, and can offer positive and constructive guidance.

In summary, the whole astrological community can benefit from easier access to each other, exchange of data bases for research and statistical validation of astrology, the easier marketing of conferences, events, products and services and by technological connection to the collective consciousness.

I am convinced that the future of the PC is destined to become an even more indispensable and beneficial component of the astrologer’s tool kit.  The obvious advantages to clients are time saving, consistent and accurate information, encouraging wider variety of charts and services, at a more cost effective fee by cutting down the time involved in manual calculations.  Astrologers can benefit from the PC by connecting to the internet and opening up to the unlimited amount of information freely available, to expand their knowledge and their client base.

Last, and by no means least, the PC can be a growing repository for the accumulated knowledge of the world’s astrologers, ancient and modern, providing an amazing and comprehensive Archive.  This will ensure the diversity, integrity and continued longevity of astrological records, with important works being safely stored for generations to come.

Examples of historically important archive information web sites are Project Hindsight www.ProjectHindsight-TGHP.com, the immense work of Robert Hand www.robhand.comon the translation of ancient texts for the benefit of current and future astrologers, and the chronological history of William Lilly www.skyhook.force9.co.uk/merlin/_mainfra me.htm.  In addition, for those of us unable to afford the cost of travelling to see his cottage we can enjoy a visit sitting at home in front of our PC at www.horary.com/guests/cottage_die.htm.

Almost all of the research for this article has been conducted sitting at my personal computer.  My tide of knowledge has surged, and brought insight into the unbounded potential of personal computers for future generations.

BIBLIOGRAPHY
Gunter Sachs - The Astrology File
Orion Books Ltd, London WC2H 9EA - 1998
ISBN 0 75281 789 2
 
Computer Programs:
Microsoft Word for Windows Version 7
Microsoft Internet Explorer - Bigpond

Web sites:
As inserted into text.



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