Parapsychology Journalism: The People, The Theory, The Science, The Skeptics
Astrology, from our everyday point of view, seems to make no sense at all. How can our lives and our moods be affected by planets and constellations and their positions in the sky? After all, any physical force they might be exerting must be extremely minuscule and there are enormous delays in the signals reaching us at all. Can a person really be affected by the position of planets and stars and can it shape both their personality and their life? You certainly cannot make an argument for this based on conventional physics. The physical forces exerted by distant planets and much more distant starts are far too weak to account for this. And even if these forces were strong enough, you’d still have a long ways to go in claiming that this had anything to do with our personalities and our lives.
Yet there are the oddities that pop up. Real and significant statistical correlations between astrological signs and behavior do exist. It is a fact for instance, that those born under the sign of Sagittarius, (myself included), make fewer and smaller insurance claims than people born under other signs. Parapsychology researcher, Dean Radin, examining casino data, found that people are less lucky on a full moon.
Turns out some people really do act on on full moons:
Article: “Effect of the full moon on a sample of developmentally delayed, institutionalized women” published in Percept Mot Skills. 1991 Jun;72(3 Pt 2):1375-80
by Hicks-Caskey WE, Potter DR – East Tennessee State University, Johnson City
Over 19 lunar months reports of all aggressive acting-out misbehaviors as recorded by direct-care staff were evaluated and recorded on a day-by-day basis for a randomly selected sample of 20 developmentally delayed women, CA 18 to 50; MA, 9 to 18 months. All had been in continuous residence in a residential treatment center for a minimum of 31 months. A grid representing the 24-hr. period of the full moon (a), the three days prior to the day of the full moon (b), the three days after the full moon (c), and the balance of the lunar period (d) was placed over the record. Comparisons using the Duncan multiple-range test indicated that the mean number of misbehaviors on the day of the full moon was significantly higher than the mean number on any other day of the lunar period (the next highest was for the three days prior to the day of the full moon).
The most famous of these were the French studies by Michel Gauquelin:
The Gauquelins’ Discovery
The Gauquelins, to their astonishment, discovered that top military leaders, sports champions, and business leaders were born “under Mars,” that is Mars was distributed far more often than chance just before the four angles. In other words if Mars is found just before the ascendant, lower heaven, descendant, or mid heaven, the child is more significantly likely than chance to be a successful military leader, athlete or business entrepreneur. If the baby had Saturn at the very same places in the horoscope, there is a greater likelihood of being a scientist, with the Moon there one more likely becomes a successful writer and politician, and with Jupiter an actor or politician. The Gauquelins found no correlation with the Sun, Venus, Mercury, and planets beyond Saturn. However, later research of personality concluded Venus’ placement in the same zones to be a predictive tool.
(These studies have been labeled “controversial” which I’ve since concluded to mean: “We can’t scientifically dispute this, but we don’t believe it anyway.”)
There are also references to psychic ability being stronger when the center of the universe is above the horizon in some of the literature surrounding the CIA’s Stargate project.
Not all of Astrology holds up under scientific inquiry, but what’s interesting is that any of it does. Somehow, the positions of planets and stars holds some significance.
While the moon is close enough to exert real gravitational influence, (ocean tides for instance) the same cannot be said for Mars or any other bodies in the heavens. But why should it make any difference how much light the moon is reflecting anyway? Whether it’s a full moon or a new moon. It’s still there.
As I said, on the surface of it, astrology should not work. But parts of it appear to anyway. Why? What could possibly be going on? Well, plenty it turns out.
First of all, in quantum physics, we know that entanglement exists, which allows for instantaneous communication across infinite distances, with no signal loss and without regard to barriers. From this, we know that it is possible to be influenced from any distance instantly. (The information does not have to spend light years traveling the galaxy to get to us.) Since this information cannot be conveyed by any of the known forces, there is no sense in using them as an explanation. Science does not currently have an answer for how entanglement works nor how it conveys information instantaneously, it is only known that this occurs.
However, the observer effect, combined with evidence from parapsychological studies, strongly suggests that consciousness (or something that causes consciousness to exist) is not a magic trick of evolution, but rather something fundamental to the universe, like energy. The idea of consciousness in physics is not new, this concept has been batted around for at least 80 years with each successive generation of physicists choosing to ignore this area in favor of mechanistic studies.
The thing of it is, if consciousness is fundamental to the universe, this means that all of the universe possesses a form of consciousness. In other words, everything is, in its own way, alive. We have all heard references to “the living earth” and this may indeed be literal rather than figurative. If this is the case, then it stands to reason that suns, planets and other heavenly bodies are also consciousness and their presence can indeed affect us in unknown ways.
In this scenario there can indeed be times when the planet Mars or other heavenly bodies have an effect on people because while the physical forces it exerts on the earth are extremely tiny, we must assume that it has its own consciousness and therefore a means through entanglement of interacting with people. Perhaps the consciousness of the moon behaves differently when the moon is full and therefore a different interaction between the moon and people takes place. The point here is that this one change to our knowledge of physics allows for astrology to enter the realm of science.
My own feelings tell me that once a theory involving a consciousness driven universe is accepted, as it eventually will be, that astrology will finally be understood in a scientific context and we can begin to build on the knowledge that has been gained over the centuries.
A good analogy to me was when medical researchers began to understand that plant and tree based medicine had pharmaceutical underpinnings and their use in primitive societies was not merely random, but grounded in real pharmacology. Previously, it had been believed to be mere superstition combined with the placebo effect.
So it may be that when we take consciousness seriously we can then examine exactly what effects planets and stars may actually have on us and I would not be surprised to find that while astrology does not hit this target dead on, it will come surprisingly close in many situations. With greater understanding of consciousness it will have to be accepted that there are other, deeper ways of gaining knowledge that complement, rather than supplant science.
The moral here is that we may be just around the corner from discovering explanations for all sorts of things which have not made sense up to this point. Just because we don’t understand something as esoteric as astrology doesn’t mean that we won’t in the future. What seems to be mere superstition may in fact be something more.