Theory of Astrology

Ken McRitchie - Accomplishments


From the beginning of my interest in astrology, I have asked myself the questions, "How do astrologers know what they think they know? Where does the vast literature of astrology with all of its taxonomic detail come from?" To me, these are irresistible questions that any curious person would want to know. Pursuing these questions has led me to unpack what I have described as the black box of astrological technology and to examine the tools, templates, and analytical methods of the trade. To understand a complex discipline like astrology, one needs to simplify and unify, and I have been involved in the reduction of astrological concepts to testable theories and hypotheses that can potentially be linked to existing concepts in science and applied psychology.

My central thesis is what I call environmental cosmology. In this view of astrology, each individual exists within specific environments that are defined by reference frames that are based on natural symmetries. These frames of reference are the familiar signs, houses, and aspects. It is the organization of these symmetries, rather than the more limited concept of organizing reality by causal mechanisms, which is responsible for astrological effects. A special type of symmetry, based on the Hermetic maxim, is used in all astrology but is unrecognized in other fields. Yet this symmetry, which I call cosmological symmetry, suggests a natural connectedness between microcosmic and macrocosmic features in such phenomena as holography, superpositioned and entangled quantum states, and real world applications of fractal geometries.

The foundations of astrology, I suggest, rest on the organizing principles of: nativity, correlativity, coevolution, correlation, and correlevance, which define astrological concepts of origin, space, time, number, and pattern respectively. If astrology is a discipline, then it is necessary for astrologers to agree in principle on organizational rules that separate astrological concepts from non-astrological concepts. Concepts that are outside of agreed upon principles, which might for example be the various attempts to measure the Great Year by the positions of the constellations, would then be identified as being outside the normal organization of astrology.

Astrological concepts have changed over the centuries and I am an advocate of realigning some of the archaic language of astrology to the actual usage by modern astrologers. For example, the concepts of celestial influences, rulerships, correspondences, and delineation can be better developed and represented by the modern concepts of symmetries, properties, correlations, and interpretations. Such an update would avoid the obscure and negative connotations of the archaic terms that have led to misunderstanding of astrology in the modern world. Even without these changes, astrology describes the workings of personality far better than the fundamental psychological notions of ego, persona, anima, animus, libido, and unconsciousness and astrology should avoid association with these concepts.

Applied concepts: environmental astrology

I have attempted to develop simplified models and testable hypotheses from key concepts of applied astrology. These include:

  • A new model of the astrological frames of reference interpreted as a universal and innate grammar of identity.
  • A refinement of the hypothetical model of signs as values, houses as skills, and aspects as beliefs.
  • The hypothetical identification of signs, houses, and aspects with accepted psychological models and testable metrics, such as those developed by Howard Gardner and Daniel Goleman.
  • A new model of instrumental planetary properties, by which the individual uses the planets as a toolkit to adapt to the changing circumstance of life.
  • A new model of projective adaptation. This is a psychological mechanism of planetary projections by which the individual identifies values in the signs, tests beliefs in the aspects, and develops skills in the houses. This sequence is timed by the prograde and retrograde planetary motions.
  • A hypothetical model of love styles adapted from psychological research on erotic, manic, ludic, pragmatic, storgic and agapic types of love expression.
  • An extended model of personality complexes based on notable harmonic planetary configurations.
  • An examination of the model of universal age development with predictable stages and identity crises.
  • A new model of bonding and relationships based on hypothetical planetary transferences and identity exchanges.
  • A model of dilemma resolution as a method of astrological counseling.

Community initiatives

I have attempted to improve community awareness of mainstream astrology as well as the scientific investigation of astrology, through my writings and activities:

  • Published Above & Below - Journal of Astrological Studies a quarterly that ran from 1985 to 1988. Authors published included: Michel Gauquelin, Judith Hill, J. Lee Lehman, Geoffrey Dean, Douglas Smith, Pricilla Costello, Françoise Gauquelin, Donna Van Toen, and others.
  • Developed the knowledge base distributed in the Expert Astrologer package, Expert Software (1994).
  • Authored and published Environmental Cosmology - Principles and Theory of Natal Astrology, Cognizance Books, (2004).
  • Published five peer-reviewed articles in astrology journals, including Correlation and ISAR International Astrologer (2006-2012).
  • Advocated methods of rating and ranking of data in all statistical evaluations of astrology. This one method alone will separate a large amount of the good research from the bad.
  • Advocated anonymous peer review of published articles that contain astrological claims. Distributed a procedure for anonymous peer review, which itself was developed through peer reviews.
  • Advocated for accurate accounts of astrology in various resources and media, based on the scholarly works of qualified experts in astrology. Experts are those who know the subject matter and provide criticism of claims against the subject.
  • Engaged in many discourses with critics of astrology in letters, social media blogs, and extensively in Wikipedia.


  • The planets are instruments of personality that the individual learns to use with the satisfaction of skill.
  • The center of the universe is the individual's point of consciousness.
  • The individual is native to intelligence as much as that intelligence is native to the individual.
  • Within an environment, behaviors at individual boundaries implement cosmic symmetry, the reflection of macrocosms in microcosms and vice versa.
  • Influence is where the boundaries of individuals intersect. It is at the fringes of suggestion and intention.
  • Use your life!

© 2011-2012 by Ken McRitchie. Last updated December 31, 2012.