Exegesis Volume 3 Issue #40

From: Mary Downing
Subject: Re: Exegesis Digest V3 #38

From: mary downing
Subject: Re: Exegesis Digest V3 #37

Exegesis Digest Thu, 07 May 1998

Date: Tue, 5 May 1998 23:17:20 -0400 (EDT)
From: Mary Downing
To: Exegesis
Subject: Re: Exegesis Digest V3 #38

Hello Jan

You lurketh!

Readers all: you'll remember I referred to a discussion going on on ACT concerning child psychology and focusing on developmental stages, etc., that I thought was appropriate for the astrological premise? Well, we have the lady with us.

I have no problem with an objective psychology, Jan. I have problems with the feel-good pop type, personality inventories, etc.

This is actually mixing apples and oranges. You're saying -- what are we studying this for if we aren't going to use it on/for humans? I'm human, so defacto anything I do with astrology is human-oriented even if it relates to crop cycles. No argument. But aren't you curious as to what it is we're actually studying and on what level it operates?

You certainly won't deny that some "psychologies" are only appropriate in western European Judeo-Christian culture, would you? Not talking about the sort you wrote of on ACT based on actual brain and central nervous system development. I applaud that type of approach. I find disturbing the type of study that was done in the early 80's by that researcher in California using one of the personality inventories.

This researcher approached Tony Joseph, who should have known better, and had him organize a group of astrologers to blind-read charts that they were to match with personality-inventory profiles. All characteristics with sliding scale ranging from 1-20, etc. I was approached.

I did a little research on this standardized test, found that it was very limited. The subjects chose from vocabulary selections for "proper" responses to a specific statement. Women and men were graded differently depending on their word choices. The vocabulary hadn't been upgraded since the early 50's when the test was formulated. I withdrew, but I wasn't able to persuade Tony or Charles Emerson to withdraw their backing, even though most of the literature on this particular instrument specifically warned against using it in this type of setting..

The project went forward. The researcher wrote his paper -- which was published in Science under the heading Astrology Disproved, or some such garbage. The astrologers matched testee with chart in about 20% of the cases. They weren't even told if the test-taker was male or female, even though the scoring was different. The test takers couldn't recognize their own profiles, however, although most of them could recognize their horascope interpretations.

It wasn't that we had a CSICOP plant, although the researcher immediately became their darling. We had astrologers who assumed the test related to something objective and real. It didn't. It was something concocted in a culture (the 50's) so different from the 80's that it could have come from Mars. It would have been just as inappropriate if it had been given to American Indians or Asian immigrants.

I can objectively relate planetary cyclic data to plane crashes and stock prices. People collect the data and the results are understood by most. However, when we deal with psychological testing instruments, we are dealing with multiple layers of assumption filtered through cultural interpretation that is likely to mislead us.

We could study a group that was determined by an event. Suicides, homicides, various kinds of lawbreakers. Gauquelin used professional acclaim. Even that can be warped.

One researcher submitted a study (for NCGR Journal publication) that proposed to disprove the validity of midpoints based on his study of depression. He used a Saturn/Neptune midpoint and his database was hospital admission for alchoholism! Even if depression is a component of what an alchoholic presents, we have no idea if it causes the alchoholism or is caused by it. Even if all alchoholics were depressed, not all depressives are alchoholics! And what does Saturn/Neptune have to do with alchoholism anyway?

I've been playing with some material recently that indicates Mercury and/or Venus conjunct the Sun shows abnormally high counts in both plane crashes and bankruptcies. Now I may use that for judging corporate charts or check it before I board a plane, but I can't really translate it to something "psychological". I may talk about corporate "natal" charts, but even anthropomorphism has its limits with plane crashes.




Date: Wed, 6 May 1998 14:01:22 -0400 (EDT)
From: mary downing
To: Exegesis
Subject: Re: Exegesis Digest V3 #37

To all:

I got rather far afield from my original remarks concerning psychology vis a vis astrology and the propriety of the scientific model.

As astrology exists now, I contend, it is a technology or "art", not a science. We have much more in common with a doctor who uses the fruits of many disciplines to treat a patient than we do with a scientist trying to derive true information through experiments. As we all know, one can treat an illness without being aware of the causal factor. It helps, though.

We have more than one problem. A: We don't know what we're studying. We currently study effects not causes.

B: We are attempting to fit a multidimensional model into a flat format.

C: We are wedded to a concept that "astrology" is best reflected in the internal psychological state, which may not be the best experimental format.

If you all will bear with me, I'll try to present my opinion in a more structured fashion:

1. What we call astrology is an application of a body of lore, derived over time, to planetary placement mostly measured in longitude. We use many techniques, some from observation and some from a theoretical basis with varying degrees of success. It is largely, in our era, the study of internal mental states and pronouncement of "character" based on (currently and locally held )prejudice. Not totally, just mostly.

2. The prevailing dominance of longitudinal placement (as a basis for interpretation) largely ignores other equally important orbital factors, which would be necessary if we were truly trying to address planetary cycles as causative agents. Recently there's been a renewed interest in declinations, and years ago Michael Erlewine tried to excite the community to the interaction of various orbital planes. There have been other attempts; i.e., Nelson, Landscheit, Ebertin, Jhondro, and Jayne.

3. Many astrologers simply haven't the mathematics or astronomy background to investigate these premises. However, with the much more sophisticated computer programs available today, in astrology, astronomy, and statistical interpretation; it is possible to at least exploit whatever opportunities the programs offer.

4. Even some of the people mentioned above, seemed to have no idea about testing their material against objective data. Jayne wrote a very interesting pamphlet on planetary nodes which he interpreted in the most mystical manner imaginable. Jayne was a market researcher. It's absolutely amazing that he didn't at least attempt finding some correlation in market movements; but he was conforming to the pervailing fashion.

5. Objective data is important because, if I limit myself to subjective data only -- no matter how derived -- I have absolutely no idea in the final analysis if it's true. I have to rely on some nested filter: a test (which may be faulty), opinion of others (as in the Gauquelin "keyword" data). If I limit my subject to a physical trait or mundane event, I have evidence that doesn't have to be interpreted through another mechanism. Car accidents are car accidents. Market declines are market declines.

6. After I've derived such results, I can see if they apply to other arenas. Most important though: I've shown that the celestial event corresponds to something measurable. The astrological world then can re-evaluate it in terms of human psyche to it's heart content.

7. There is one problem in this scenario. Modern statistics do not easily deal with combined factors and almost nothing except economics, agronomy and meteorology consider a time-line to be important. We can either pare the astrological model to fit what exists in other disciplines (and possibly kill the benefit of the result), or simply develop a model that will give us the greatest amount of useful information and to hell with pleasing the scientific community.

8. Since I haven't seen any evidence that "Institutionalized Science" has an open mind regarding cyclic data much less astrology, I say we should begin to study how the concepts we currently employ pan out when we test them ( against objective data). We may find we're barking up the wrong tree. In fact, I already have a good deal of material showing we indeed are misinterpreting certain planets and lunar phases.

It boils down to this. We can test, in methods that inform us as astrologers, what works and how much. Or we can strip away the interactive nature of the astrological model, and perform selective tests in a scientifically prescribed fashion that will give us statistical significance but may ignore major factors. In short we can test 21 varieties of soup for the presence of green beans to show it's "vegetable soup". Or we can do a "market research" test and serve 100 sets of 21 people identical bowls of soup and see which ones they like and which ones they don't. If you're Cambell's, which model are you going to use, and do you care if Science will publish?

--Mary Downing


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