Theory of Astrology

Links to studies and discourse on astrology

The following links and commentary provide examples of some of the best evidence and most relevant discourse on astrological research and theory available on the Internet. Where links to original articles are not possible, links may be provided to summaries.

  • Is There Really a "Mars Effect?"  is psychologist Michel Gauquelin's last published article (1988), which summarizes the replications by other scientists of his most frequently tested astrological discoveries regarding highly successful professionals. Gauquelin's research provides key evidence that supports the astrological properties of the planets. This article culminates with the validation, by Suitbert Ertel, of Gauquelin's original hypothesis that the astrological effect increases with professional eminence. The addition of the eminence test eliminates selection bias, which had been the chief suspicion of Gauquelin's critics.

  • Planetary Aspects and Terrestrial Earthquakes  by Brian T. Johnston is a controlled study of hundreds of earthquakes using precise data from the U.S. Geological Survey, mainly between the years 1996 and 2000. Johnston found that seismic activity is significantly associated with all major aspects, whether "hard" or "soft," when they are applying. This evidence led Johnston to postulate the "transistor" theory of galactic gravitation. For example, the emitter could be the extrasolar systemic gravitational matrix, the base would be the planets in aspect as they move through the gravitational standing waves, and the collector would be the earth.

  • Astrologically Predictable Patterns In Work Related Injuries  by Sara Ridgley is a controlled study of over a thousand people who filed a Workers' Compensation claim and were disabled for at least three months. The study offers significant astrological evidence that supports aspect theory related to solar transits. People tended to be injured on the job on or around their birthday, three months before or after the birthday, and six months after the birthday.

  • Are Investors Moon struck? Lunar Phases and Stock Returns [PDF]  by Kathy Yuan, Lu Zheng, and Qiaoqiao Zhu is a study of the relation between lunar phases and stock market returns in 48 countries, controlled for such factors as stock market volatility and calendar-related anomalies. The authors find significant global evidence that supports the hypothesis that stock returns are lower on days around a full moon than on days around a new moon.

  • Summary of the Shawn Carlson test  Shawn Carlson's double-blind test, published in the journal Naturein 1985 showed that qualified astrologers could not match test subjects' charts one-to-one with the results of the CPI personality questionnaire any better than by chance. Nor could the subjects identify their own CPI results, or the astrological interpretations provided by the astrologers, any better than by chance. It has been argued that Carlson's test might show that astrologers and psychologists look for different things and do not share a common language and structure of interpretation. Astrologers may tend to look for unique, rare, or eminent characteristics that are not precisely measured by the CPI.

  • The Astrotest  This was another one-to-one matching test based on personality questionnaires done by Dutch researcher Rob Nanninga in 1996. It was similar to the Shawn Carlson test, but with further design input from astrologers. Like the Carlson test, the astrologers performed no better than chance. A better understanding and incorporation of what astrologers tend to look for, particularly unique characteristics, might improve this type of test for astrologers.

  • Summary of the Vernon Clark tests  This article contains a description of three separate tests by American psychologist Vernon Clark, published in 1961. In these tests, astrologers were asked to match subjects' charts on the basis of the subjects': specific vocations (test 1), exact dates of important life events (test 2), and the specific disorder of cerebral palsy as opposed to superior intelligence (test 3). In all three tests, the astrologers performed much better than chance. These are intriguing results because each test mirrors a rational discovery hypothesis. Unlike the Carlson or Nanninga tests, matches were attempted for strongly presented characteristics or outcomes, not general personality. The former tests are sometimes regarded as being "Vernon Clark type" tests, but are actually different in design. Actual Vernon Clark type tests with unique characteristics deserve further study.

  • Is Astrology Relevant to Consciousness and Psi? [PDF]  This 2003 article by Geoffrey Dean and Ivan Kelly reports on their test of a large sample of "time twins." The test showed that two unrelated persons born at nearly the same time and place (hence with nearly identical charts) were not matched one-to-one any better than chance according to a set of predetermined personality criteria and life events. This time twins evidence supports the astrological principle that "the stars do not compel" and that astrology cannot be used to predict deterministic outcomes. The test points to important limitations of whole-chart theory and fuzzy logic. Each chart component has various related potential inclinations and this evidence suggests that the components in the whole chart are not precisely coordinated to eliminate all but one possible outcome.

  • Astrology for Skeptics  Astrologer Bob Marks argues that "the burden of proof is always on the people who claim that something is true," and "science demands that knowledge of a subject must come before evaluation." Marks illustrates these arguments by using as examples the "Ten Embarrassing Questions to ask Astrologers" posed by astronomer Dr. Andrew Fraknoi (as indeed in any discourse with skeptics, there should be no such thing as a stupid question), and psychologist Terry Sandbek, Ph.D., who argues "Why Astrology is Bunk." This site also provides extensive lessons on basic astrology and many sample charts of notable people.

  • Astrology: Science or Superstition?  This article on David Cochrane's Cosmic Patterns web site serves as a brief FAQ sheet with rational answers and clear insight into some of the most frequently asked questions about astrology, science, and theory. In an interview by Garry Phillipson, David Cochraneoffers his opinion that "astrology as practiced today is a complex conglomeration of different things: intuition and ESP capabilities, rationalization, gullibility of clients, divination, and accurate and valid astrological techniques." He further argues in favor of statistical correlational results in astrology, and that they are not mutually exclusive with divination.

  • Planetos  Kenneth Irving's online journal covers the work of Michel Gauquelin and other studies relating to science and astrology. One article, A Brief Chronology of the "Mars Effect" Controversy, tracks the scientific discourse between Gauquelin and astrology critics until the apparent failure of this discourse with the French CFEPP skeptics, and Gauquelin's subsequent suicide, in 1991. It then chronicles the efforts by Ertel and Irving to rekindle this discourse with the inclusion of the eminence test. The eminence test, theorized by Gauquelin in 1955 and discovered in 1988, is a sensitive procedure that eliminates selection bias. This is summarized in The Mars Effect in Prospect.

  • Toward a Physical Basis of Astrology  John Townley's article, published in 1989, suggests that a larger, inclusive paradigm might link astrology with modern science without invalidating either. He points to the little-studied 1919 work of biologist Paul Kammerer, which extends Huygens' principle of resonance phase-locking to postulate a law of serial transformations of initial conditions. These transformations would explain regularities that occurred apparently due to random causes. Although Kammerer's work quickly lost favor to the rising paradigm of the Second Law of Thermodynamics, which states that order tends to decay into disorder and does not come back, modern fractal theory has made Kammerer's work worthy of a second look. Townley proposes that astrology might be explained and tested by using a framework that incorporates Kammerer's concepts into modern fractal theory.

  • Astrology in the Year Zero  Garry Phillipson's web site, and book of the same title published in the year 2000, offers a balanced analysis of astrology by taking equal consideration of serious practitioners and critics. Phillipson's feature article Modern Science, Epistemology and Astrologyattempts to separate the different philosophical and descriptive threads in astrology (such as rationalism and divination) from the politics and rhetoric that is used on both sides of the debate.

  • C.U.R.A. (University Center for Astrological Research)  Patrice Guinard's tri-lingual "virtual university" resource provides a manifesto, an online archive of scholarly articles by scores of reputable authors, and an open forum, all in response to the general exclusion of astrology by established academia. Though this large site is sometimes difficult to navigate, it tackles such issues as the place of astrology in philosophy and psychology, and whether the current agenda and limitations of science can accommodate a serious consideration of astrological research.

  • Astrology and the New Physics - Part 1 : Integrating Sacred and Secular Science  Physicist Will Keepin's lecture draws upon the quantum theory concept of observer participation, as well as holography, fractals, and the insights of physicist David Bohm to suggest how astrology might model the interpenetration of the explicate order of physical space-time, which is the purview of conventional science, and the implicate order of meaning in the universe, which prefigures actions in space-time.

  • Astrology by Hand  This weekly column published by Robert Hand in 2000-2001 provides clear insights on the relationship between astrology and science. Hand asserts that "we should not be trying to explain astrology by means of science as it is, but there is no problem with trying to explain astrology by a science that has not yet come to be." He delves into issues of consciousness, magic, technology, and free will as it relates to the history of modern science and the traditions of classical astrological theory.

  • Astrodienst  Artificial intelligence scientist Alois Treindl's web site has numerous articles that feature astrology in relation to analytical psychology. For example, the Mapping the Psycheseries by Clare Martin. The interview with Treindldiscusses computer simulation of psychological processes by using astrology, as offered by the Astrodienst astrological reports. This site includes basic instruction, on-line charts, personal reports, a forum, the Swiss ephemeris, national charts, and other services for the psychological astrologer.

  • Skyscript Astrology Pages  Deborah Houlding's web site contains articles and applications that emphasize the questioner-based methods of planetary dignities, horary techniques, and elections that are modern adaptations of classical astrology. Of special interest, this site contains a well-managed and popular astrology forum that has a Philosophy and Science division that is moderated by Garry Phillipson. The site also has basic instructions, articles, chart readings, tips, tools, and other resources for the horary practitioner.

  • Lois Rodden's AstroDatabank  Astrology software containing 20,000 birth data. Helps you learn astrology by example, improve your professional skills as an astrologer, and research and test your astrological theories.

  • Astrolog  Walter Pullen's Astrolog 5.40 is a 100% freeware astrology program, with versions for Windows, DOS, Macintosh, and Unix. The complete source code is also available.

Last updated July 11, 2009