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How Does Astrology Work?

By James Lynn Page

The Ancient View


The Psychological View
The Evidence from Science

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The Ancient View


Whatever is not "scientific" is not considered to be
knowledge, but rather literature. Experimental reason,
which reigns as absolute master, does not seek to
understand what is, but rather to describe and explain what
operates. The scientific agenda ... does not respond to the
"why," but rather, to the "how." It jettisons important
metaphysical questions, which have lost all meaning within
the context of the processes of science.
Patrice Guinard

Contemporary, orthodox scientists are fond of pointing out how


astrology simply cannot work. The basic view is that astrologers
are in thrall to some nonsense, Bronze Age superstition that they
should have abandoned thousands of years ago:
The 'stars' can clearly have no causal influence on human

life - there is no evidence for such a mechanism.


We are not fated by the positions of the planets in the sky,

for we have free will.


You cannot divide humanity into only twelve personality

types - this much should be obvious.

Astrology: The Manifesto, 1 of 4 (version 2.3 : 09.2002)


http://cura.free.fr/07athem1.html

The constellations, in any case, are not where they used to

be.

These are the standard objections to astrology, all of them,


however, based on a caricature, on a misunderstanding of what
this subject truly represents. Critics of the birth chart (a
snapshot of the heavens based on a persons time, date and place
of birth) are also wont to assume that this circular, symbolic
diagram is meaningless, and the interpretation of it without
point. (I have even heard it said that astrologers because the
chart lacks any substance are telling their clients simply what
the client wants to hear, and this must be the reason for any
success they have. This cynical view would make all astrologers
essentially dishonest and all their clients gullible fools.)
Occasionally, sceptical scientists go out of their way to belittle
the subject. As the eminent American astrologer Robert Hand
writes:

There must be a reason why scientists take the time


and energy to denounce astrology. What prevents these
obviously

intelligent

people

from

adequately

researching the subject they wish to condemn? The


answer,

I think,

conceptual

is

structure

that astrology threatens the


through

which

they

are

accustomed to view the world. Astrology can't be right;


for if it were, then the metaphysical basis on which
3

most

scientists

operate

today

would

be

wrong.

Conversely, if the basis on which most scientists found


their structure is right, then astrology must be absurd.

The standard view of the world given to us by materialism


(which is essentially our current scientific paradigm) is that we
live in a Universe containing separate, material objects where
even Nature itself lacks any consciousness. In some ways, this
even appears self-evident when we look at the world my brain,
and apparently my consciousness, is contained by my physical
vehicle - and likewise yours. We all seems to be islands locked
in our own private Selves. The view that has been fostered ever
since the Age of Reason and the advent of Galileo, Newton, and
finally Darwin, is that the Universe is essentially mechanistic,
and if we want to know how things function, all we have to do is
break them down into their component parts. Hence we too are essentially machines: nothing more than an assemblage of
body parts which, together with our clever brains, are simply a
random product of evolution, from original, inorganic life in the
primeval soup. Life everywhere within and without, both
cosmos and the human Mind - has no ultimate Meaning. The
world is just one great process of genetic reproduction fighting
for survival. And on this showing, our entire existence is really
nothing more than biology and blind chance. Any greater
meaning we want to ascribe to our lives, or to impute to the
world, is scientifically redundant. Any overall sense of ultimate
2

Hand, On Creating a Science of Astrology in


Essays on Astrology
,
Para Research 1982

Purpose (in the wider context) is thus self-deception. Meaning is


just something we invent.
However, as philosopher and astrologer Dr. Richard Tarnas asks
in his scholarly work, Cosmos and Psyche:

Is it not an act of extraordinary human hubris


literally a hubris of cosmic proportions to assume
that the exclusive source of all meaning and purpose is
ultimately centered in the human mind, which is
therefore absolutely unique and special and in this
sense superior to the entire cosmos? To presume that
the universe utterly lacks what we human beings, the
offspring

and

expression

of

that

universe,

conspicuously possess?

In order to understand how astrology works I think we need to


look at reality in a rather different way. Hands conceptual
structure through which [scientists] are accustomed to view the
world can easily be found wanting. That is, it never occurs to
astrology sceptics that their way of looking at the universe may
be far too narrow. For one, recent developments in Quantum
Physics have exploded this myth of a world of discrete, separate
objects (including us). Even the notion (taken mostly for
granted) that our Consciousness (our memories, feelings,
intuitions, beliefs) is simply a product of the electricity and
chemistry of our brains has no real scientific basis:
3

Tarnas,
Cosmos and Psyche
, Plume Books, 2007.

Scientific materialism . says that only things made of


matter are real (like the brain).[But] is an image of a
gorgeous sunset, the pain of headache or the taste of
chocolate identical to a mere electrical signal? What
about the emotion of being in love? Is that, too, just a
chemical reaction in your head? How can three-pounds
of pinkish-grey matter give rise to the sonnets of
Shakespeare, Beethovens symphonies or the genius
that was Plato, Aristotle, Isaac Newton and Einstein?
Your

brain

has

essentially

the

same

chemical

composition as your kidneys, so - in short - how can


4

Mind come from meat?

In any case, physicists have known for about a hundred years


that the world is not made of matter; rather, reality is composed
of a field of energy - pure potential, in fact. Matter as we
experience it is mostly empty space! It is now common for
physicists to talk of an immaterial quantum field (like the
electromagnetic field) where all matter you and I included are localised concentrations of this field. (Einstein, for
example, called all matter congealed electricity.) But the field is
essentially one of Mind, and many prominent scientists
(Eddington, Jeans, Whitehead) along with contemporary
physicists (Stapp, Herbert, Wolf, Goswami, Dyson) have referred

James Lynn Page,


The New Positive Thinking: Science, Spirit and the
Power of Eternal Now
, Perrault, 2015.

to the Universe or Nature as being constituted of this


all-pervading, self-organising Mind:

There is no matter as such. All matter originates and


exists only by virtue of a force which brings the particle
of an atom to vibration and holds this most minute
solar system of the atom together. We must assume
behind this force the existence of a conscious and
intelligent Mind. This Mind is the matrix of all matter.

So if everything in Nature contains intelligent, mind like


qualities, we live to all intents and purposes in a conscious
Universe. (Again, modern physicists are coming to this
conclusion.) Astrologers have know it for millenia, of course.
Astrology takes the view that in here and out there must be
intimately related in some manner that our physical lives on
earth must reflect the state of the cosmos. One is reminded here,
too, of the old Hermetic axiom contained in the Emerald Tablet:
that which is above is like that which is below. But what isnt
usually remembered is that this correspondence is said to be so
that the miracle of the One can be achieved. That is, so that our
diverse nature can at last be whole, our sense of division healed,
so we can re-connect to our Source, to our original undivided
Self. The connection between man and Cosmos is the very real
mystery at the heart of the Emerald Tablet.

Max Planck, (physicist) The Nature of Matter, speech at Florence,


Italy, 1944.

As already noted, astrologers insist that we live in a meaningful


and purposeful Universe. The idea that the Universe is essentially
a gigantic interconnected field of energy, an intelligence even,
dates back to the ancient world. In ancient Greece, the Father of
Western Philosophy, Plato, indicated that ever since the creation
of the world, there has existed a transcendent realm of Forms, or
Ideas, that are the true author of everything we see in our
material world.
With these terms, Idea and Form, Plato was attempting to
convey the notion of an authentic Reality or Universal Principle
behind the world of matter and appearance, and the objects
which comprise it. We can rarely ever know these Universal
Principles, or Archetypes, but we do experience their
manifestations in the everyday world. Archetypal Beauty, for
example, we find in someone who captivates us with their
loveliness; a horse is an imperfect copy of the Archetypal Horse
which belongs to a transcendent Reality. In these two
examples, the beautiful person and the horse are carriers of the
Archetypal Idea for this is how they derive their
characteristics. In this Archetypal world, everything is endowed
with an Intelligent soul, which permeates the real phenomenal
world.

God desired that all things should be good and nothing


bad when he was framing the universe, he put
intelligence in soul, and soul in body, that he might be
the creator of a work which was by nature fairest and
8

best. Wherefore we may say that the world became a


living creature truly endowed with soul and intelligence
6

by the providence of God.

This concept has since been referred to as the World Soul. Just
like the zodiac, the sun, moon and planets, it makes the world
animate. As Plato put it:

Now when the Creator had framed the soul according


to his will, he formed within her the corporeal universe,
and brought the two together, and united them centre
to centre. The soul, interfused everywhere from the
centre to the circumference of heaven ... began a divine
beginning of never ceasing and rational life enduring
throughout all time.

This concept of an abstract realm of Platonic Forms


underlies much of what were used to in modern astrology
when we talk about signs and planets.

6
7

Plato,
Timaeus
, translated by Benjamin Jowett (18171893), NY: C.
Scribners & Sons, 1871
Plato,
Timaeus
, translated by Benjamin Jowett (18171893), NY: C.
Scribners & Sons, 1871

The Psychological View


Astrology is not mere superstition but contains some
psychological

facts

...

which

are

of

considerable

importance. Astrology has actually nothing to do with


the stars but is the 5000-year-old psychology of
antiquity and the Middle Ages. C.G. Jung
To

the

Renaissance

Platonists

nature

was

permeated by life, divinity, and numinous mystery, a


vital expression of the World Soul and the living powers
of creation. David Fideler

According to this latter quote, the Universe is essentially a living


being, and we are its embodiment, its physical and spiritual
manifestation. It might be thought, were one to read the work of
the sceptics or material scientists of today, that wed long ago
done away with such fanciful notions about the world. But this is
not so, in fact; the concept of the Conscious Universe has
returned through the work of some modern academics, notably
physicist Amit Goswami, whose book The Self Aware Universe is
a signal example. (The subtitle, How Consciousness Creates the

8
9

Jung (letter to L. Oswald, Dec. 8, 1928)


Letters
, Vol. 1, 1973

Fideler,
The Soul Of The Cosmos (p.138. New York: Harmony Books,
1991)

10

Material world, basically says it all.) Similarly, the work of the


twentieth century Swiss psychologist and mythographer Carl
Jung (d. 1961) developed a psychological approach to the World
Soul which was re-conceptualised as the Collective Unconscious.
(Indeed it is similar to Platos theory of Archetypal Ideas.):
Whereas the personal unconscious consists for the most part of
"complexes", the content of the collective unconscious is made
up essentially of "archetypes". The concept of the archetype,
which is an indispensable correlate of the idea of the collective
unconscious, indicates the existence of definite forms in the
psyche which seem to be present always and everywhere.
Mythological research calls them 'motifs' My thesis, then, is
as follows: In addition to our immediate consciousness, which is
of a thoroughly personal nature and which we believe to be the
only empirical psyche there exists a second psychic system of
a collective, universal, and impersonal nature which is identical
in all individuals.

10

To distinguish the Collective Unconscious from the Personal we


can picture each individual ego as islands amidst a vast watery
expanse. Just below the water line is the Personal Unconscious
(that which the individual has developed in this lifetime.)
However, there will be a land mass far beneath each island (the
ocean bed, essentially) and this connects us all as One. Here,
individual differences are obliterated: at a very deep level we are

10

Jung, C. G.,
The Archetypes And The Collective Unconscious
(Collected Works Vol. 9, Part 1, 2nd ed.,), Princeton University Press,
1968.

11

all alike, for we spring from the same source. This is the
Collective Unconscious - the universal, subterranean realm of
psychic life which contains what Jung calls definite forms that
are present at all times and in all places.
This is easy to see when we look at world myth all myths from
all cultures have spontaneously produced the same motifs and
themes, irrespective of geographical or temporal differences. The
archetypes are best understood when we associate with them a
particular image the archetypal Mother, Father, Youth, Wise
Old Man, Hero, Maiden, Lover, Student, Teacher. The point is
that all these archetypal figures exist in some form or other on
the astrological birth chart they may be Universal, in that they
pre-exist in the cosmos, but your particular experience of them
will manifest in a way specific to the configurations of your
chart. Thus the Universal archetypes (the planets and signs on
your birth chart) are living beings (as Plato would have put it)
which express themselves through your consciousness. Astrology
is the blueprint for greater Consciousness; indeed, a kind of
shorthand for its emergence.
When we examine the rudimentary architecture of astrology
(aside from the elements of Fire, Earth, Air and Water) what we
find are numbers. There is an invisible set of rules to the
Universe that scientists now call laws of nature or what
physicist Heinz Pagels called the cosmic code. For the Greek
mystic Pythagoras in the sixth century BC, Number was central
to this hidden order, and the key to unlocking its underlying
patterns. Moreover, numbers are not simply invented for the

12

purpose of mathematical calculation, they are already embedded


in Nature, or number is all things, as Pythagoras put it:
Pythagoras ... predilection for mathematical studies led him to
trace the origin of all things to number, this theory being
suggested, or at all events confirmed, by the observation of
various numerical relations, or analogies to them, in the
phenomena of the universe [The] Pythagoreans regarded
the principles of numbers as the absolute principles of things;
keeping true to the common maxim of the ancient philosophy,
that like takes cognisance of like.

11

As noted, numerology plays a major part in astrology, for


example with particular relevance to the aspects and harmonics.
This basically reveals that numbers have archetypal qualities they mean something. According to Charles Kent Dominey, Jung
saw a certain kinship between archetypes and numbers in so far
as both were autonomous entities which could manifest
themselves as a priori patterns of order Jung asks if there are
as yet undiscovered qualities in numbers and, because of their
archetypal character, what sorts of influences the archetypes and
12

numbers exert on one another.

As for how numbers and archetypes may influence one another


(to paraphrase Dominey) we can see a definite effect on every
11
12

Smith, William,
Dictionary Of Greek And Roman Biography And
Mythology,
1870. (p. 620).
Dominey, Archetype And Idea: Some Points Of Correspondence
Between Jung's Theory of Archetypes and Plato's Theory Of Forms
(With Special Reference to Platonic Ontology and Epistemology),
Diploma Thesis: C. G. Jung Institute, Zurich 1977.

13

birth chart - for isnt this like an astrological aspect between


two planets? One archetype (planet) is brought into relationship
with another via number - or their angular distance from each
other.

Archetypes are by definition, factors and motifs that


arrange the psychic elements into certain images,
characterised as archetypal, but in such a way that they
can be recognised only from the effects they produce ...
They exist pre-consciously, and presumably, they form
the structural dominants of the psyche in general ... As
a priori conditioning factors they represent a special,
psychological instance of the biological "pattern of
behaviour," which gives all living organisms their
13

specific qualities.

We can also see relevance to astrology in these ideas - the whole


point being that 'a priori conditioning factors' are there from the
moment of birth. Specific modes of behaviour are built into our
psyche, so that we can say - in one sense - all Capricorns are
alike, and so is everyone with Scorpio on the ascendant, or
Neptune on the MC. Jung mentions psychic elements as
archetypal 'images' - again we have a correspondence with the
symbols found in astrology. Jungian Archetypes like the Self,
Anima and Shadow correspond roughly to the Sun, Moon and
Saturn on a birth chart. (Or those archetypal images might be
13

Jung, Collected Works vol. 11., Rp, 149n.

14

universal motifs like Aries the Ram, Taurus the Bull, or Gemini
the Twins etc.)

Here, however, with these given predispositions at


birth, we run into the unsavoury matter of fatedness,
as if there are forces at work doing a great deal of
cosmic string-pulling (more of which, later). Plus, it is
the criticism of the sceptic that symbols are not to be
trusted that they can mean whatever one wants
them to. But in astrology, this is not the case - the
symbolic realm is something to be interpreted and read
carefully. As the NeoPlatonist thinker Plotinus once put
it: All teems with symbol; the wise man is the man
who in any one thing can read another.

14

Essentially, astrology requires a certain amount of intuition, a


natural sense and facility for hermeneutics and symbolism.
(Astrology has been called appropriately - a language of
Consciousness.) It should come as no surprise, then, that Jung
himself not only understood but made use of astrology, and was
ever thoughtful of how it should be approached:
While studying astrology I have applied it to concrete cases
many times. ... The experiment is most suggestive to a versatile
mind, unreliable in the hands of the unimaginative, and

14

Plotinus, The First Ennead (Ii.3.7), c. AD 250.

15

dangerous in the hands of a fool, as those intuitive methods


always are. ... It is an apt tool only when used intelligently.

15

But from where do archetypes arise? The archetype itself, wrote


Jung, is transcendental and thus relatively beyond the
categories of number, space, and time. That means, it
approximates to oneness and immutability. Owing to the
liberation from the categories of consciousness the archetype
can be the basis of meaningful coincidence.

16

By this phrase 'liberation from the categories of consciousness'


Jung means that archetypes are not the property of a human
mind - they are not mere inventions which we then project onto
the world. Rather, they have a quasi-reality of their own and
they work through us. They are essentially objective facts, or
(like numbers and sun-signs) archetypal entities waiting to be
discovered. But what does Jung mean by meaningful
coincidence? Here we find Jungs semi-mystical theory of
Synchronicity which in his own words - is the simultaneous
occurrence of two significant but not causally connected events.
As one commentator explained:
The [events] are related by Meaning It may be something you
dreamt last night, some current issue playing on your mind, or a
specific piece of information (a name, a date, a brand of car) and
these psychological factors are somehow mirrored in a very
15
16

Jung (letter to
1951-1961, (pp.
Jung (letter to
1951-1961, (pp.

Robert L. Kroon, 15 Nov., 1958)


Letters
, Vol. 2,
463-464).
Robert L. Kroon, 15 Nov., 1958) L
etters
, Vol. 2,
463-464).

16

eerie sense - in everyday occurrences. There is a correspondence


between two (or more) events in a symbolic manner.

17

But the important thing to note is that one event (the dream,
say) did not cause the other eerie replication to happen. In Jungs
phrase, Synchronicities are acausal they reflect one another.
Jung explained astrology thus:

Astrology is of particular interest to the psychologist,


since it contains a sort of psychological experience
which we call projected this means that we find the
psychological facts as it were in the constellations. This
originally gave rise to the idea that these factors derive
from the stars, whereas they are merely in a relation of
synchronicity with them. I admit that this is a very
curious fact which throws a peculiar light on the
18

structure of the human mind.

The idea of acausal correspondence is thus crucial to our


understanding of astrology and how it works. As Jung put it,
astrology has nothing to do with the stars in terms of causal
mechanism. Rather, some third factor (which is just how Jung
put it) somehow unites Outer and Inner, Cosmos and Psyche,
Heavens and Natal Chart, in a way one can barely start to

17

Page, James Lynn,


The New Positive Thinking: Science, Spirirt and
the Power of Eternal Now
, Perrault, 2015.

18

Jung, in a letter to Prof. B.V. Raman, 1947

17

comprehend. The synchronicity between the planets on a birth


chart and the life of an individual is not something, I believe,
any one of us is in a position to explain. Its there, even if we
dont know how it works. There are some mysteries, apparently,
which the Universe does not yield to mere mortals. For the
sceptic, however (whom I shall answer in the next chapter),
mystery is the enemy, an opponent that must be subjugated with
their favoured bludgeoning tool reductive science. If they
cannot extract narrowly rational answers from the stuff of the
Universe, then the matter is dropped due to lack of evidence. It
has been said that if the only tool you have in your toolbox is a
hammer, you go around treating everything as if it were a nail.

18

The Evidence from Science


We should take astrology seriously. No, I don't mean
we should believe in it. I am talking about fighting it
seriously instead of humouring it as a piece of harmless
fun. Richard Dawkins
Rationalist thought rejects all propositions which
have not been "proven" according to its own criteria,
grounded in the presupposition that a statement must
refer to a tangible, measurable reality, divorced from
the impressions which are at the root of judgement
[and]

lived

experience.

Hence

one

denies to

consciousness the ability to see, to intellect the ability


to think that which is worthy of being seen or thought
... The course of modern science leads to a relativism
which

obscures

essential

any

disappears

metaphysical
more

and

intention.
more

from

preoccupations of consciousness. Patrice Guinard

The
the

19

Sceptics are interesting lot, and they usually have plenty of


harsh words for both astrology and astrologers. The

19

Astrology: The Manifesto 1/4 (version 2.3 : 09.2002)


http://cura.free.fr/07athem1.html

19

phenomenon of taking others to task because of their strange


beliefs usually indicates a hidden agenda on the part of the
sceptic. We can see this plainly in the above quote by Richard
Dawkins: astrology is to be fought seriously - it is up to people
like him to disabuse people of their ridiculous ideas, and science
is the only reliable method. Rationalists and philosophical
materialists are often so vocal in their denunciations of
astrology, you would think it some insidious disease of the mind
that must be stamped out. (Which is probably how Richard
Dawkins sees it.)
Astrologer Robert Hand once suggested that this cultural unease
about horoscopes comes from a world-view that insists that
each of us are separate from the world we perceive, wrapped up
in our own skin, the point where our personal universe
supposedly ends. Therefore, any influence from the the stars
must be an erroneous belief. But even pioneers in the new
physics have come to the conclusion that this separateness, this
demarcation between subject and object, is an insufficient
world-view in light of certain experiments in particle physics.
We interact with, or participate (John Wheeler) in it, at a very
fundamental level.
So let the fun begin. On his website, astrologer Bob Marks quotes
a psychologist, Terry Sandbek, Ph.D. on Why Astrology is Bunk.
And yes, we get the predictable responses. According to Sandbek:

20

Astrology has contributed nothing to our knowledge of the


world, the planets or to human behavior. Information given by
20

astrologers is worse than psycho-babble.

This is in the nature of a generalised denunciation but it all


depends on what one means by knowledge. In fact, astrology
contributes a great deal of knowledge when it comes to getting
people to understand themselves and the fundamental
(unconscious) forces at work in their lives. It is used every day in
counselling sessions which help to shed light on all manner of
individual problems. The above quote is also another cheap way
of saying astrology is just an unfounded belief without
substance. If this is really so, its curious that many trained
academics (with honours degrees) should also be astrologers. If
it really is superstitious nonsense, youd think all these clever
people would have seen it for what it truly is (and rejected it)
long ago. And yet they continue as astrologers. (Its ironic that
psychologists themselves are often accused of psycho babble,
but let us move on.)
Astrology only works because the pigeon paying the money
has the complete attention from someone who is attentive,
warm, and apparently sincere. Its called the halo effect.
Astrology readings are so vague as to be meaningless. Read one
to a room full of people and people with different signs will tell
you it belongs to them.

21

20

http://www.bobmarksastrologer.com/skeptics.htm

21

http://www.bobmarksastrologer.com/skeptics.htm

21

I have heard this accusation more than once and its one of the
worst thought out criticisms Ive ever encountered. For one, not
all astrologers work directly in consultation with a client some
charts are done blindly, i.e., without even having met the
client, in the form of a written reading that might be delivered
later in person or just mailed in the post. (Indeed, this is the way
I myself often work. Here, of course, there can be no question of
saying the right thing or the halo effect - the astrologer
working this way needs to be accurate if their reputation is to
remain intact.) Clearly, Sandbek knows nothing about
astrologers and their clients. In a similar vein, according to the
online Paranormal-Encyclopedia, astrological readings tend to
be made up of:
Generalized character assessments that would apply to

most people, e.g. "You are family-oriented", "You are


mindful of your financial situation", etc.
Double meanings that are almost always correct because

they cover all possibilities, e.g. "You like to be decisive but


sometimes you find it hard to make decisions."
Obvious advice that applies universally, e.g. "Work hard

and rewards will come."


Vague references which could be interpreted in many

different ways.

22

Most importantly, things the subject wants to hear, e.g.

"This is a positive time for romance".

22

The above is simply a lowly caricature of the astrologer and their


clients, and the worst kind of propagandist ad hominem attack.
Not only have I yet to come across an astrologer who would
stoop to such levels of intellectual dishonesty, but I wonder, too,
from where these facile scenarios derive, except in the minds of
the creators of Paranormal Encyclopaedia. Does the inventor of
the above truly believe that: a) all astrologers are essentially
silver-tongued con artists?; b) their clients are all gullible idiots
who will believe anything theyre told? But let us leave polemics
where they belong. A more worthy critic would be academic Ivan
W. Kelly, University of Saskatchewan, Canada who writes:

Birth chart interpretation is based on a chaotic mix of


physical

symbolisms,

mythology,

word

tradition,

and

associations,
the

analogy,

idiosyncratic

contributions of individual astrologers. There is little


agreement on what factors should be included or
ignored in a chart, how they should be combined, how
their importance can be determined, or how conflicting
claims can be resolved ...

23

22

http://www.paranormal-encyclopedia.com/a/astrology/criticism.html

23

Kelly, " The Concepts of Modern Astrology: a Critque," Conclusion (http://www.astrology-and-science.com/a-conc2.htm )

23

Kelly (who I presume isnt an astrologer, as he makes various


factual errors about the subject ('there is little agreement on
basic issues') laments that astrology is not testable (falsifiable)
and that there are no physical explanations. Like most critics, he
wants to force astrology into the rigid framework of reductive
science and cause and effect. As a result, he seems to assume the
birth chart (if astrology worked) determines the personality and
the events in their life. Kelly's narrow view also surfaces when
he notes the lack of uniformity among astrologers in how they
think it works, claiming that the diversity of world-views is a
problem - different astrologers (from different cultures) might
base it on differing philosophies. But this assumes there must
necessarily be a grand unifying rulebook followed by every
astrologer, and that differences in interpretation somehow gnaw
away at the overall credibility of the subject. Ironically, this is
never a problem in modern physics: in Quantum Mechanics,
there are at least half a dozen distinct ways of interpreting the
results of an experiment and here we are dealing with
24

something as critical the true nature of the Universe!

So let us now turn to the question that sceptics are most


interested in: is there any scientific proof for astrology? Well, the
answer has to be yes and no (for reasons I will explain later).
On the yes side, there is the considerable body of work by
French statistician Michel Gauquelin (1928-1991), a Sorbonne
graduate in psychology. In particular there is Gauquelins Mars
effect, the connection between a specific position of Mars at
24

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Interpretations
of
quantum
mechanics

24

birth and an individuals prominent career in sport. It even has


its own Wikipedia page and sceptics (and half-sceptics) are
forever arguing over the test results, the 'purity' of the samples,
and whether or not they signify anything at all. But the plain fact
is as follows - Gauquelin did fulfil the scientific criteria, deriving
statistically significant data that shows correlations between a
planets position at birth and a persons characteristics (or their
choice of profession). As the psychologist Professor Hans
Eysenck writes in Gauquelins obituary:

There can no longer be any doubt that Michel


Gauquelin did discover something; questions remain
about its importance Only the future will tell us
whether

he

opened a

new

chapter

in

scientific

investigation, or whether he was deceived by some


trivial error of methodology. I would bet on the former
alternative, but only time will tell. Where so many
determined

critics

philosophers,

physicists,

astronomers, mathematicians have failed to find a


fault, it is not unreasonable to assume that there really
is something factual to investigate. .

25

So just what are the results? Below is a report from a 1979 study
that Eysenck himself conducted with Gauquelin and his wife:

25

Published in The Independent newspaper, 20 June 1991 (p.31)

25

The precise birth dates and locations of several


thousand famous French scientists, sportsmen, and
actors were ascertained from their biographies, as well
as personality descriptions. From the data relating to
birth times and locations the precise positions of the
planets Mars, Jupiter and Saturn were calculated for
each person, with particular attention being paid to the
period immediately following the rise and the upper
culmination of the respective planets The general
findings

may

be

summarized

as

showing

that

sportsmen tended to be born significantly more often


than chance would allow in the crucial sectors related
to Mars; actors in the crucial sectors related to Jupiter;
and scientists in the crucial sectors related to Saturn.
These results achieved very high levels of significance,
and

the

findings

relating

to

sportsmen

were

successfully replicated by different and independent


investigators in another country ... The data for these
investigations were collected from biographies of the
persons in question, i.e. 2089 sports champions, 1409
famous actors, and 3647 men of science ... This finding
suggests that it is personality which is related to
planetary position at birth, rather than profession and

26

that profession is related to planetary position through


the intermediary of personality.

26

Even the sceptic Geoffrey Dean (a former astrologer that no


serious minded stargazer can ignore) conceded that Gauquelin
was ever the perfect scientist, always philosophical, confiding
with a grin that he might or might not be right, and never sure
he would live to see the puzzles solved. Today it seems clear that
27

he was right and the True Disbelievers were wrong.

Earlier I asked: is there any scientific proof for astrology? and


said the answer also had a no. This is because, welcome though
the Gauquelin results may be, this is not the way to proceed in
proving astrology. As Patrice Guinard points out:
Astro-statistics misses the difference between a fact and a
symbol; it arbitrarily isolates elements from their context and
renders binary a conception of reality which in essence is
matrix-based ... The "results" of the initial work done by Michel
Gauquelin merely serve to corroborate -- partially and
laboriously -- what the astrologer already knows, without
invalidating anything at all.

26

27
28

28

Personality and position of the planets at birth: An empirical study


M. Gauquelin, Francoise Gauquelin and S. B. G. Eysenck. British
Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, 1979: (my italics)
The Mars Effect & True Disbelievers, eskeptic - April 6, 2011
(http://www.skeptic.com/eskeptic)
Guinard, Astrology: The Manifesto 3/4 (version 1.3 : 11-2004)
http://cura.free.fr/10athem3.html

27

Indeed, Gauquelins statistical results miss the point by having


to resort to objective scientific methods. If Gauquelin finds the
Mars effect in a high proportion of sportsmen, this seems to
imply that Mars = profession in sport. But as the
Eysenck-Gauquelins results show, the findings are really about
psychological traits, not ways of determining career. (As Eysenck
has elsewhere commented, extroverts tended to be born under
Mars, introverts under Saturn - something astrologers have
known for millenia.) The statistical approach simply
misunderstands the nature of the beast. For when astrologers
talk of planetary influence, a whole range of related meanings
can flow from that one archetypal symbol, be it Mars, Jupiter,
Saturn or Pluto. For example, Saturn can symbolise: form and
structure, crystallisation and gradual progress, consensus
reality and the material world, self discipline, hard work and
effort, isolation and separation, clarity and sobriety, seriousness
and gravity, morbidity, conservatism and tradition, security,
repression, judgement, patience, limitation, defeat, inhibition,
ones Achilles Heel, The Wise Old Man, authority figures, the
Father, the powers of the State, the Government, justice and the
letter of the law, order, regularity, time, Universal weights and
measures, experience, Fate, maturity, old age and infirmity.
I could go on but it should be clear that, in astrology, theres
no way of forcing a simple one-for-one correspondence between
a planet and an aspect of human experience. The Gauquelin
results linked Saturn with men of science, but based on its core
archetypal meaning, Saturn would also rule jobs like: School

28

teacher, Policeman/woman (as representatives of the law), High


Court Judge, Prison officer, Civil Servant, Bank manager (but not
financial speculator), Customs and Excise officer, Tax Inspector
and even Watchmaker.
Again, one could extend the list. The common denominator with
the above is that theyre all capacities to do with imposing order,
structure or discipline, whether administrative, judicial or
financial - they are how society organises its resources, and
instructs, corrects (or even punishes) its members when they
breach its laws. (The watchmaker, of course, constructs devices
that measure the duration of the earths rotation on its axis.) But
to state merely that statistics show a correlation between Saturn
and men of science (as the Gauquelin tests seem to) would
appear absurd to most astrologers if that is all Saturn were
supposed to represent.
Then again, Ive never quite understood the need to 'prove' and
scientifically validate astrology, and astrologers shouldnt be
intimidated by sceptics who smugly declare that theres no cause
and effect basis for it. In the end, statistics demonstrate very
little, and as Jung once pointed out in The Undiscovered Self,
they displace the individual in favour of anonymous units that
pile up into mass formations. But isnt astrology supposed to be
all about the individual? The one that statistics threaten to
displace? The birth chart and its correct interpretation - being
able to see how its symbols manifest in your life, both past and
present - is always the best evidence.

29

The sceptic would have one believe that the birth chart is a
meaningless set of squiggles. Like Ive said before, were that the
case, then no one could ever have derived any insight from it, no
one could have proclaimed it as a tool for self knowledge or a
path to broad psycho-spiritual wisdom, in the words of
astrologer Dane Rudhyar. On this same theme Rudhyar writes
about what he calls existential proof, one which, moreover,
cannot be based on general categories. As all astrologers know,
when it comes to the birth chart, the proof of the pudding is in
the eating, for:

It can only derive from the personal experience of an


individual in a particular situation involving a complex,
and never exactly duplicated, set of relationships. If the
situation produces results significant for an individual,
then it must be considered valid for this individual. If,
after

having

studied

astrology

and

his

exactly-calculated birth chart, a person for the first


time realises that the sequence of his life-events,
which had so far seemed to him utterly chaotic and
purposeless, makes sense if as a result of his study,
he is able to feel a direction and purpose inherent in his
life as an individual, and how he had been blocking this
realisation of meaning, orientation, and purposefulness

30

then astrology is
"existentially proven" to be effectivein
29

thisparticularcase.

And, with that, rests my case!

For more information on Raphaels Ephemeris visit


www.raphaelsephemeris.com
.
To read the Mars Effect in full please visit:

http://www.theoryofastrology.com/gauquelin/mars_effect.htm
)

29

Rudhyar, How can astrologys claims be proven valid, Aquarian Agent


1970, 10, pp. 7-9)

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