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[alt.astrology] FAQ Part 4/11: Learning and researching astrology

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Archive-name: astrology/astrology/part4
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Last-modified: 2001/06/02
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Copyright: (c) 1996 LMP McPherson, 2001 Sherilyn
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   *** Questions about learning and researching astrology ***

4.1) Can anyone recommend a good book on astrology for beginners?

Answer: There are no recommendations at present.

4.2) What is the best approach to learning astrology?

Answer: If you can find a class offered in your area, that might
be the best approach. It is difficult for the beginner to assess
what is important in chart interpretation.

See # 4.1 about beginners' books.

The most difficult area of astrology is natal (i.e., birth) chart
interpretation. It takes years to learn the art of synthesis that
allows for accurate readings of a natal chart. Beginners might
benefit from concentrating on transits (the movements of the
planets in the sky across time in relation to a natal chart),
which are relatively easy to interpret, astrocartography (changes
in the zodiacal positions of the 12 houses as one moves from city
to city), for which clear interpretations are available (e.g.,
from Jim Lewis' work), or synastry (evaluating contacts between
two charts to determine the nature of a relationship). When the
basic natures of the planets, signs, houses, and aspects become
familiar, then one can begin to study natal charts in earnest,
combining ("synthesising") the various factors wholistically to
achieve a meaningful reading.

4.3) How can I learn about astrology's history and ancient

A decent history of western astrology is given in Jim Tester's "A
History of Western Astrology" (New York: Ballantine, 1987).

If you want to learn about ancient techniques and the evolution
of western astrology, there are two organisations you should know
about. One is ARHAT, the Association for the Retrieval of
Historical Astrological Texts. They publish newsletters and a
journal, and they are now beginning a monograph series. For
information, write to Robert Hand, 217 Rock Harbor Rd., Orleans,
MA 02653, U.S.A.  Of late, ARHAT has been largely overshadowed by
Project Hindsight, an heroic effort on the part of a small group
of scholars to translate into English every surviving ancient
work on astrology. The project is funded primarily by
subscriptions to series of booklets, each containing a
translation of an ancient work or a part of a work; purchases of
individual booklets also help fund the project. Each booklet is
$15 American. The booklets contain, in addition to translated
text, useful essays by the editor (Robert Hand) and the
translator that help explain the ancient techniques, practices,
and philosophy. There are currently three "tracks," each
producing a translation about once a month: ancient Greek,
medieval Latin, and the latest, the ancient Hebrew track. A
Sanskrit track should begin soon. Works translated and published
so far in the Greek track are: Paulus Alexandrinus's
"Introductory Matters"; Claudius Ptolemy's "Tetrabiblos" (Book I)
and his "Phases of the Fixed Stars"; "The Treatise on the Bright
Fixed Stars" by Anonymous of 379; Vettius Valens's "The
Anthology" (Books I-III); Antiochus of Athens's "The Thesaurus";
Hephaistio of Thebes's "Apotelesmatics" (Book I); "Teachings on
Transits" from Dorotheus, Orpheus, Anubio, and Pseudo-Valens; and
"The Astrological Record of the Early Sages in Greek."
Translations available in the Latin track so far are: Al-Kindi's
"On the Stellar Rays"; Hermes Trismegistus's "Liber Hermetis"
(Parts I and II); Johannes Schoener's "Opusculum Astrologicum";
Ramon Lull's "Treatise on Astronomy" (Books I-V); Guido Bonatti's
"Liber Astronomiae" (Parts I, II and III); Laurentius
Bonincontrius's "Treatise on Elections"; Masha'allah's "Book of
Nativities"; and Antonius de Montulmo's "On the Judgment of
Nativities" (Part 1). (Some of the Latin works are themselves
translations of Arabic writings.) Only one translation is
currently available in the Hebrew track: Ibn Ezra's "Book of
Reasons." To subscribe to a track or purchase individual
booklets, send your name, address and phone number, plus a list
of the booklets you want and/or the tracks to which you wish to
subscribe, to Project Hindsight, P. O. Box 002, Berkeley Springs,
West Virginia 25411, U.S.A., or call Ellen Black at 304-258-5873.
(Tell them you read about the project in the FAQ for the USENET
astrology newsgroup.) If you have a credit card (VISA or
MasterCard) and give them your card number, its date of
expiration, and your signature, they will bill you automatically
when a new translation is available in any track to which you
subscribe. You can also obtain from the same place monographs in
the ARHAT series. At the moment, there is just one, entitled
"Night & Day: Planetary Sect in Astrology," written by Robert
Hand ($11.50). You can subscribe to the monograph series, having
the charges billed automatically to a credit card. The material
available from Project Hindsight and ARHAT is scholarly,
exciting, and enlightening. It will change your view, and maybe
your practice, of astrology. Many ancient techniques have been
resurrected as a result of this translation project.

Some other translations of centuries-old work is available, such
as William Lilly's (1647) "Christian Astrology" (London: Regulus,
1985), Claudius Dariot's (1653) "Dariotus Redivivus: Or briefe
Introduction Conducing to the Judgement of the Stars" (London:
printed for Andrew Kemb), John Gadbury's (1658) "Genethlialogia,
or The Doctrine of Nativities Together with the Doctrine of
Horarie Questions" (London: Regular Publishing Co.), John
Partridge's (1679) "Mikropanastron, or an Astrological Vade
Mecum, briefly Teaching the Whole Art of Astrology . . ."
(London: William Bromwich), and William Ramesey's (1653)
"Astrologia Restaurata; or Astrology Restored: being an
Introduction to the General and Chief part of the Language of the
Stars" (London: printed for Robert White); Book V of Johannes
Kepler's "The Harmonies of the World" is available in Volume 16
of R. M. Hutchins (Editor), "Great Books of the Western World"
(Chicago: William Benton/ Encyclopaedia Britannica, Inc.), which
also contains Ptolemy's "The Almagest" and Nicolaus Copernicus's
"On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres"; various bad
translations of Ptolemy's "Tetrabiblos" are also available (but
the Project Hindsight version is much truer to the original);
check libraries and bookstores.

Relatively inexpensive photocopied versions of out-of-print books
on the occult sciences are available from Ballantrae Reprint,
P.O. Box 92541, 160 Main Street South, Brampton, Ontario, Canada  
L6W 4R1; telephone 416-450-7998. Among the older works on astrology 
listed in their catalogue are: Placidus de Titus's (1657) "Primum 
Mobile," Al Biruni's (1029) "Book of Instruction in the Elements
of the Art of Astrology," Abraham ibn Ezra's "Beginning of
Wisdom," John Partridge's (1693) "Opus Reformatum," Joseph
Blagrave's (1671) "Astrological Practice of Physick," Richard
Saunders's (1677) "Astrological Judgment and Practice of
Physick," Richard Ball's (1697) "Astro-Physical Compendium,"
Nicholas Culpeper's (1655) "Astrological Judgment of Diseases,"
Anthony Griffin's (1665) "Astrological Judgement Touching Theft,"
John Gadbury's (1659) "Nativity of the Late King Charls" and his
(1662) "Collection of Nativities," William Lilly's (1715)
"William Lilly's History of his Life and Times" and his (1644)
"England's Propheticall Merline," Ebenezer Sibly's (1790)
"Illustration of the Celestial Science of Astrology," William
Ramesey's (1653) "Introduction to the Judgement of the Stars,"
Henry Coley's (1676) "Key to the Whole Art of Astrology," and
Henry More's (1681) "Tetractys Anti-Astrologica." (Request their
catalogue for further information.)

4.4) Where can I find scientific research on astrology?

Answer: See the Papers FAQ.

The most famous research is that of Michel and Francoise
Gauquelin. Some of their findings have been the focus of decades
of scrutiny by skeptics, and their results have held up under
this scrutiny. Some of their studies have been successfully
replicated with different samples and by independent researchers.
The highly publicised CSICOP "failure to replicate" on an
American sample for the "Mars effect" (the appearance of Mars in
certain sectors with greater-than-expected frequency for eminent
athletes) has been shown to demonstrate the effect when the
athletes are ordered by eminence (see the article by Suitbert
Ertel in the Winter, 1992 issue of the Skeptical Inquirer). After
finding a weak Mars effect on their initial sample, the CSICOP
researchers added in a large number of less eminent athletes so
that their final sample included far fewer such athletes than did
the Gauquelins' sample, and this washed out the Mars effect when
the sample as a whole was considered (see Eysenck & Nias,
Astrology, Science or Superstition, St. Martin's Press, 1982).
When the athletes are divided into groups according to an
objective criterion of "eminence," the Mars effect emerges among
the most eminent. The Mars effect has been found in two other
studies by skeptics' organisations, one in Belgium and one in
France. The Belgian study by the Comite' Para appears in
Nouvelles Bre`ves, Vol. 43, 1976, pp. 327-343. The study by the
French skeptics remains unpublished after a number of years, but
analyses of the data by Suitbert Ertel have appeared on the
internet and bitnet. The effect (for physicians) has also been
found in a sample analysed by a German researcher named Muller,
and in several additional samples studied by the Gauquelins,
bringing the total number of replications of the finding to eight
(see Ertel, 1992). But the Mars effect is just one replicable
finding in a large set of Gauquelin findings, including observed
associations between various professions and the appearance of
planets of related character in "key sectors" (parts of the sky
near the points of rising, culmination, setting, and
anti-culmination -- the "angles"), associations between the
angularity of a planet and certain related character traits, and
the "inheritance" of angular planets from one's parents when the
birth is natural (i.e., not induced with drugs or occurring by

Some of the Gauquelins' research is summarised in the following
books: Michel Gauquelin, "Cosmic Influences on Human Behavior"
(3rd edition, published in 1985 by Aurora Press, P.O. Box 573,
Santa Fe, NM 87504); Michel Gauquelin, "Planetary Heredity"
(published in 1988 by ACS Publications, Inc., P.O. Box 16430, San
Diego, CA 92116-0430); Francoise Gauquelin, "Psychology of the
Planets" (published in 1982 by ACS Publications, Inc.).

For a summary of the Gauquelins' findings and a description of
the debate about their work and the controversy over the "Mars
effect," see Ken Irving's Planetos site:


A preliminary report of a study showing the relationship between
inspiration in scientific discovery and certain angular
separations of planets appears in a booklet entitled "The Eureka
Effect," by Nicholas Kollerstrom and Michael O'Neill. It was
published in 1989 by Urania Trust, 396 Caledonian Road, London N1
1DN. A complete report on this study and some additional data on
inventions will appear sometime in the next few years.

Because events are much easier to "measure" (or record) than
constructs of personality (for a review of some problems in
personality measurement, see S. T. Meier, "The chronic crisis in
psychological measurement and assessment," San Diego: Academic
Press), the most successful astrological research examines the
relationship between events and astrological variables (e.g.,
aspects between planets). Kollerstrom and O'Neill's research on
moments of scientific discovery through inspiration is a good
example. These same authors were also able to demonstrate the
presence of a relationship between the planet Uranus and
inventions; aspects to Uranus were found to be elevated at the
moments when inventions first worked (see N. Kollerstrom & M.
O'Neill, "Invention moments and aspects to Uranus," Correlation,
11 [2], 1992, 11-23). Another example of research in which the
record of an event was the dependent measure is Sara Klein's
doctoral work (see S. Klein, "Astrologically predictable patterns
in work related injuries," Kosmos, XXII [3], 1993, 21-30). She
found a highly significant relationship between work-related
injuries (as reported in Workers' Compensation claims through
attorneys) and hard aspects (conjunction, square, opposition)
between the transiting Sun and its natal position.

A type of astrological phenomenon that has been observed in
hundreds of experiments involves a change in the behaviour of
metal ions when an aspect forms in the sky between planets
associated with the metals involved. Here are some of the
relevant references.

Faussurier, A. Conscience Ecologique et Cre'ativite' Humaine, 
Lyon 1975.

Fyfe, A. Uber die Variabilitat von Silber-Eisen-Steigbildern, 
Elemente der Naturwissenschaft, Vol. 6, pp. 35-43 (Easter  1967).

Fyfe, A. Moon and Plant, Society for Cancer Research, Arlesheim 
Switzerland 1967, pp. a7 b37.

Hammerton, C. Repetition of Experiment made by L. Kolisko in 
relation to Observable Effects in Salts of Metals  Corresponding
to the Planets, Astrology (UK), Vol. 28, No.  2, pp. 46-48

Kolisko, L. Workings of the Stars on Earthly Substance, Parts 1 & 
2, Stuttgart 1928.

Kolisko, L. Das Silber und der Mond, Orient-Occident Verlang, 
Stuttgart 1929.

Kolisko, L. Der Jupiter und das Zinn, Mathematisch-Astronomische 
Sektion am Goetheanum (Dornach), Stuttgart 1932 (available  in
English as Workings of the Stars on Earthly Substances,  Part 4,
Jupiter and Tin).

Kolisko, L. Gold and the Sun, Kolisko archive (published 
privately), Stroud UK 1947 (a study of the total solar  eclipse
of 20 May 1947; a study of the total solar eclipse  of 29 June
1927 is given in Workings of the Stars on Earthly  Substance,
part 2; of 19 June 1936 in Gold and the Sun,  London 1937; and of
15 February 1961 in Die Sonnenfinsternis  vom 15 Februar 1961,
Stuttgart 1961).

Kolisko, L. Spirit in Matter, Kolisko archive, Stroud UK 1947.

Kolisko, L. Saturn und Blei, Kolisko archive, Stroud UK 1952.

Kollerstrom, N. Astrochemistry: A Study of Metal-Planet 
Affinities, London: Emergence Press, 1984.

Kollerstrom, N. The Correspondence of Metals and Planets -- 
Experimental Studies, The Astrological Journal, Vol. 18, No.  3,
1976, pp. 65-72.

Kollerstrom, N. Chemical Effects of a Mars-Saturn Conjunction, 
The Astrological Journal, Vol. 19, No. 3, 1977, pp. 100-105.

Schwenk, T. 1949, quoted in W. Pelikan, The Secrets of Metals, 
Anthroposophic Press, Spring Valley, NY, 1973, pp. 23-25.

Voss, K. Neue Aspekte, No. 5 (1965); summarised by R.C. 
Firebrace, Confirmation of the Kolisko Experiments, Spica,  Vol.
4, No. 4, pp. 4-8 (1965).

The Astrological Association of Great Britain publishes a
journal devoted entirely to astrological research. It is
called Correlation.  The Astrological Association's website
is at:

Prior to its first publication in 1981, research articles
appeared in The Astrological Journal, also published by the
Astrological Association. If you are in Britain, all issues of
this journal are available at The Astrology Study Centre (396
Caledonian Road, London N1 1DN), the Oxford and Cambridge University
libraries, the Scottish National Library in Edinburgh, the National
Library of Wales in Aberystwyth, Trinity College in Dublin, the
Warburg Institute, London University, the British Library in London,
and the York University library. In the USA, these journals are
available at the Heart Center library, 315 Marion Avenue, Big Rapids,
MI 49307. Astrologers in your local area may have copies of these
journals as well.

The International Society for Astrological Research (ISAR, Inc.,
P.O. Box 38613, Los Angeles, CA 90038-0613, U.S.A.) publishes the
quarterly journal Kosmos, which contains reports of research. The
journal is sent to members of ISAR.

Astrological research appears occasionally in academic journals
of psychology, although the work published in these journals is
usually by non-astrologers and has little to do with traditional
astrological theory. A literature search (e.g., of the database
"Psychological Abstracts") for articles containing the keyword
"astrology" or "astrological" (or "astrolog?" where "?" is a wild
card) would turn these up. There are dozens of such articles,
most of which describe tests for correlations between Sun signs
and some arbitrary paper-and-pencil measure of some personality
construct. No researchers have yet set out to create measures of
personality constructs specific to astrological theory, ones that
might be sensitive to astrological distinctions such as that
among Sun signs.

Because of the difficulty in publishing astrological research (or
any unorthodox research), much remains unpublished. Among such
studies are those described in postgraduate dissertations on
astrology. A list of these (up to 1981) appears in the December,
1982 issue of Correlation. For more recent dissertations, check
Dissertations Abstracts at a university library. (Our very own
Mark Urban-Lurain did a multivariate analysis of the birth data
of members of Alcoholics Anonymous for his Master's thesis at
Michigan State University.)

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