The dominant view is that astrology is a superstition. Probably many problems faced by astrologers and astrology enthusiasts would disappear and new perspectives of development would emerge if we could show that some phenomena or correlations that astrology postulates actually exist. And what I mean by this is that they are neither an illusion of a certain person or group of people, nor a cognitive error or random noise.
Which of the astrological correlations seem to be the most promising?
I suggest to look for them among the hardest facts possible. I can recognize two groups of such facts. The first is death. The second is ... love. Or, more specifically, the erotic relationship with another person, preferably when it is reasonably stable and confirmed by having a child.
I count death as a hard fact because in most cases it is indisputable, i.e. it is usually the case that a person is either alive or dead. Secondly, the moment of death is usually accurately determined and in practice recorded as an exact date and time. It is also easily available in online databases, and not only in those that collect data for astrologers. Rare cases of uncertainty over the question whether someone is alive or dead, involve not only clinical death or remaining in a state of irreversible coma, but also cases such as the one of Friedrich Nietzsche who remained unconscious for 10 years before he actually died physically. In his case one supposes that perhaps the proper date of death was 1 March 1889 (a psychotic episode in Milan), and not a physical death on 25 August 1900 in Weimar.
Our study would compare planetary patterns at birth and death.
Birth is burdened with at least two uncertainties and we won't be able to avoid these uncertainties, just like the whole astrology. The first uncertainty concerns the time of birth. This uncertainty can be reduced by using only births with the highest Roden rating – AA for our experiment, i.e. official, public time record. However, even then we won't avoid the uncertainty of whether the time (hour, minute) was transferred from the labour ward to the registry office without corruption, and whether a mistake was made by too much rounding – quite often the birth time is rounded to the full hour. There is also the second uncertainty: whether the time of birth was not interfered with by the (pharmacological) induction of labour or by surgery (C-section). In such cases, the doubt remains if there is any link between such “unnatural” births and the personality and subsequent life course of the born person. Based on current understanding, I do not undertake to resolve this problem; perhaps the research that is designed here would clarify this matter.
What would we compare planetary patterns at both time points? Astrology uses many indicators or “measures” of planet pattern at a given time. These are, for example, the position of the planets in the signs of the zodiac, the position of the ascendant and the midheaven in signs, the position of the planets in the houses, the mutual aspects of the planets (or angles between them), the midpoints of the planets, etc. – I do not want to list them all. Similar comparisons can be made by taking account of different indicators. For the purposes of our first and raw approach, which, after all, is to show that astrology “somehow works” and “something is to it”, and not to set or test specific rules or relationships, I suggest using as an indicator only positions of the planets on the ecliptic (or “in the zodiac”), or their ecliptic lengths.* Comparison of the two patterns of planets would consist in measuring the “strength” of mutual aspects (transits) of planets from two horoscopes at birth and at death.
Which aspects – of which order – should be used? Several variants should be examined. Perhaps the effect of the convergence of death with births will be visible already for aspects of the order of 1, 2 and 4, i.e. for conjunction, opposition and square. Perhaps you will also need to add row 8 (or, aspect octile), and maybe also 3, 5 and 6 – trines, quintiles and sextiles. Eventually, only future research would show the transits of what orders are the most deadly or killing. The same applies to planets: which one is the most lethal: a transit of Pluto to the natal Sun or Saturn to the natal Moon? These are the questions that we expect to answer. However, the most important thing would be to check if such relationships actually break through the random noise.
To determine whether the pattern of planets at death is similar (or not) to their pattern at birth, it is not enough to just count the sum of the strengths of all aspects (transits) of the planets from both horoscopes and recognize that since they surpass a certain level, these horoscopes are “similar”. Basing on the bare total strength of similarity will be confusing, for many reasons, the first of which is that we don't know these numbers! We only know in advance that a single transit has a strength from zero (when there is no transit) to one (when the transit is accurate), so the total similarity strength is between 0.0 and 100.0 ** (Because 10 planets form 100 pairs.) But whether for this similarity significant, important strength should be 4.8 (as at the death of Ernest Hemingway) or maybe only 13.0 (as with the nearly fatal accident of Frida Kahlo) – we don't know this in advance.
It is not enough, therefore, to only calculate the level of similarity, but it must be found out whether at the time of death there is a maximum similarity, and thus a peak (or “hill”) on its graph as a function of time. The maximum will be characterized by its elevation, that is, protruding above the background, by its width and the distance of its peak from the empirical date of the event, here: death. You will have to look for significant maxima of similarity in a set of three dimensions – which is an attractive task for statisticians.
The next step in this task will be to determine whether the maxima at death (if they are any, and we hope so!) stand out from other moments in somebody's live. For this purpose, a number of random dates should be generated, both earlier and later than death, and we should check what are described above statistics of maxima of similarities for these dates.
- In the next part.
* Ecliptic length equals Z*30° + P ... – where Z is the number of the zodiac sign, Aries = 0, Taurus = 1 ... Pisces = 11, and P is the position of the planet in the sign.
** The total strenght of similarity would be equal to 100 if all planets in both compared moments occupied the same position, ie they were in a great conjunction all in one place - which the world has not seen before.
I thank Artur Olczykowski for radically correcting this text.
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