Hence, Addey entices researchers to abandon the astrology of the text-books and apply his method in order to increase their results ten-fold. Such results, however, will only reveal information about the approach taken to astrology and not about its Principles at all. Vol 1 No2: 45 This is an important point made by Shallis as it draws a line in the sand. The social world of astrology, having faced the disappointment of failure to be proven by the scientific model, would rather have "life" than legitimacy, would rather hold onto its tenets than accept that all it consisted of was the chance for a few statistically interesting results that offered no significant validation to the experience of the astrologer's consulting room and the astrologer's world view.
Addey died before he could reply to Shallis's challenge and to this day this debate lies unresolved. Michel Gauquelin — , a French psychologist who began to find statistical support for astrology, published his work in this period. Gauquelin became a saviour of the astrological cause, with many astrologers seemingly happy to make him their champion rather than thinking about the fact that his positive results were not, in fact, validating their daily astrological practice. However, the slow corrosion of his research results and his tragic suicide in mark a turning point in the attitude of astrologers best described in the words of Patrick Curry in his in memorial to Michel Gauquelin: It was certainly predictable; whether inadvertently or deliberately, Michel had wandered into the sights of the scientific apologists trained on a favourite target.
Nor did he really have the support of many astrologers, who were understandably chary of yet another successful scientific operation in which, unfortunately, the patient did not survive. Curry captured the problem squarely in his memorial: the vitriol of the "scientific apologist" and the apathy or disassociation of the astrological community. This anger is probably the seed of the disdain and myopic views displayed by some of the interviewees concerning research.
Indeed this myopic view was also stimulated by the editorial attitude of Correlations where, for nearly twenty years from to , no form of research other than quantitative was published. This is a strong indication that astrologers were ignoring advancements being made in qualitative research methods in the human science fields. Unmistakably the astrological community was only interested in what was considered the Holy Grail, that is, for astrology to be seen as the original sacred science and to be accepted by the current scientific community.
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The editorial by Rudolf Smit in the winter of stated: The AA set up Correlations as a platform of scientific research into astrology, hoping that it would help create an astrology based on fact rather than on assumption. To a large extent this has not come about — despite many published studies, and despite occasional hopeful findings we seem to be no nearer our goal than when we started. For some time there has been a need for a journal in which to publish experimental results, discuss theoretical issues and permit communications between researchers of all persuasions.
Clearly scientism had stolen and soured the hearts and minds of the astrological community. This sterile and limiting view that astrological research could only be legitimate if it followed the scientific method was also supported by the work of Geoffery Dean who published Recent Advances in Natal Astrology, his review of astrological research, covering the period from to In this work he discusses and discredits over two hundred separate astrological experiments, all of which are quantitative research projects endeavouring to prove astrology by the scientific method.
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Towards the end of his work he reviewed an experiment where some supportive results were found. He talked of five experiments based on astrologers doing blind readings where they were asked to link charts to keywords or traits. When the astrologers were questioned they indicated that they may have used their intuition rather than getting all the information from the horoscopes.
Dean then dismisses the results: Whatever the explanation it is clear that the significant blind trials have not demonstrated that astrology works but only that astrologers work. Hence to adequately test astrology the participation of the astrologer must be eliminated. This point aside, to most astrologers Dean's statement is similar to announcing that to truly discover the role of music all musicians must be eliminated, to understand language we must eliminate all speakers of that language, to understand art we must eliminate the artist.
Yet such a reflex reaction reveals, whether astrologers are aware of it or not, that astrology is probably more suited to qualitative methodologies where the human element is required and embraced rather than neutralised or eliminated. In the face of such prolonged criticism and failure with the world of science, it is understandable that most astrologers would strive to distance themselves and their subject from this reductionist approach. Unfortunately, in their apparent distaste they also distanced themselves from the fertile world of qualitative research.
Other epistemologies had turned from the scientific methodology and developed their own methods. Indeed the sheer volume of methodologies in not only the social sciences but also in computing, economics, political science, management, information technologies and commerce show the success of the concept of a methodology as a tool in a social world for generating its own knowledge while at the same time legitimising and defining itself within the arena of other epistemological groups.
Consequently the lack of standardised methodologies, indeed even the apparent lack of debate concerning methodology within the astrological community can be considered a major weakness of this community.
Inevitably this leads to a lack of definition but more importantly, this epistemological world has no mechanism or ability to critique its own subject, its own authors and the writings and papers of its own scholars. Here possibly is the consequence of over 80 years7 of astrology's obsession with the scientific method to the exclusion of all else.
Astrology seems to stand isolated from the established mainstream world, discredited by the academy and aloof from the occult pre-Cartesian world. Two natural questions arise from this infatuation with the scientific method and resulting feeling of cultural isolation. One question is whether letting go of the scientific ideology and the acceptance of a position among the human sciences may be too big a shift in definition for the astrological social world.
The far right, anti-astrology Christian group, Reachout Trust8 suggests that astrology seeks to be considered a science to avoid having to be called a religion. One senses that while the question is far more profound than this simple black and white statement, it is nonetheless a valid question to raise.
However, defining a body of knowledge as a religion or as a set of religious beliefs does largely depend on the position of the person making the distinction. It is apparent now, after hundreds if not thousands of quantitative astrological research projects, that astrology does not belong in the world of Newtonian science9. Notwithstanding its label by some as superstition or religion, a viable alternative position could be that astrology is a catalyst to new ways of thinking in future-science.
Indeed it is entirely possible that by exploring other types of research options, astrology may be helped to discover its future form. The second question that arises from astrology's non-performance in the scientific model is: how do astrologers cope with the stress of non-definition and with little potential for legitimisation of their subject? Gary Phillipson captures this question elegantly in his article Astrology and the anatomy of doubt in Mercury Direct, where he stated: What is the astrologer's wound? Perhaps we, as astrologers, should take our own advice and learn from this wound; perhaps the scepticism that so often seems burdensome will bring growth and learning, if we are prepared to really look at it.
If both Phillipson and the interviewee are correct, then the logical style of research that needs to be undertaken in astrology is qualitative rather than quantitative. The only alternative position is that astrologers accept Dean's statement that the act of astrology does not require the astrologer Indeed in considering the style of astrological publication of the last twenty years, astrologers are already using qualitative research methods in the same manner as the social sciences.
However, unlike the soft-sciences the astrological social world has failed to acknowledge this and standardise its methods. We begin to see the Newtonian merry-go-round. It would seem therefore that astrology does not really know where it stands in the modern world. Having failed to align itself with the scientific community, it still holds on to its legacy as a sacred science, instinctively sensing that it is too large or holy a subject to be simply placed as another "ism" in the social sciences.
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Thus it moves forward with the exploration of its subject using the tools of qualitative research but turns a blind eye to this practice, either by denying that it is research, as expressed by several of the interviewees, or at other times simply refusing to borrow from or observe the qualitative methods of other disciplines — possibly considering them less worthy or less sacred. The style of qualitative research which is published by astrologers Qualitative research is the product of the social sciences and in social world theory it is one of the ways that they justify their position, maintain their cultural boundaries and allow themselves to establish credibility as a human science.
This style of research is the collection of information that generally cannot be expressed as units that can be measured, weighed or calibrated. The value of this information is in its richness of detail and often consists of detailed interviews with a few members of a particular social group. The richness of the information gathered provides a record and documentation of human life which may or may not be generalised. There is no onus of proof.
In many ways most astrological texts and lectures use a style of this research method, for it is common practice for astrologers to use detailed case studies to justify or explain an astrological point of argument. Case study methodology is quite broad in that it is a detailed exploration of a particular issue within a given group or set. A case study is an empirical inquiry that: investigates a contemporary phenomenon within its real-life context, especially when the boundaries between phenomenon and context are not clearly evident Yin In astrology, however, such studies are not designed to bring new insights but seem to be used more as an explanation or example, rather than as a genuine research endeavour.
By examining astrological books and articles, it can be shown that in producing work a lecture or a publication the astrologer will search to find particular horoscopes that fulfil the conditions where the individual has already displayed the desired behaviour pattern or experienced the desired event.
When answering the question concerning whether they do astrological research, one of the interviewees talked of this particular style of methodology. I am tempted to just say 'No' here but that wouldn't be strictly true. I do do empirical research. Sometimes I have done this purposefully in order to discover something i.
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For example, there are several disease 'signatures' that I am sure I have discovered - just by virtue of seeing so many clients. In a sense this type of research is trying to discover a genotype the rules by which complexity or life unfolds — which in this case is the horoscopic signature from a given phenotype the end complex product after the basic rules or genes have unfolded — in this case the occupation and or lifestyle of a comedian. Unless there are only a few variables in both a horoscope and how a person lives their life, this is an extremely difficult process.
Indeed the current encrypting methods used to protect the global financial world markets are based on the premise that this is a near impossible feat Positive Coding Once the qualitative data has been collected, the social sciences have developed different methods for analysis of the raw data. One particular method is called positive coding where number values are assigned to key concepts that are revealed in the interviews or questionnaires.
Positive coding has a long history in astrology. Indeed it is possible that astrology was the first to use positive coding of qualitative data. The method is well documented from the time of Ptolemy and is called almutens. By the 9th century the Arabic astrologer Omar of Tiberias raised positive coding to an art form with what is now called compound almutens - positive coding incorporating previous positive coding.
The author has used this technique in the area of sports predictions. This date was the commencement of the series known as The Ashes.
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Every horoscope was examined for the features described by Guido Bonatti in his Tractatus Sextus and each feature was allocated a number value. The winner of a particular match was the team that achieved the highest number score within the match's horoscope. By grounding the scoring system in the historical data, the outcome of every match of the then forthcoming series was successfully predicted.
Here the horoscopes and the results of the historical matches were the qualitative raw data. Bonatti's analysis was used to code the data. If a horoscope had certain astrological features then using positive coding, a number value could be assigned to the data, thereby enabling a quantitative judgement to be applied. Grounded Theory12 Grounded Theory can be thought of as a hybrid between quantitative and qualitative research. It is an endeavour to apply rigour and standardisation to qualitative data in order for theory to be developed directly from the data.
Originally developed by Glaser and Strauss in the s, its purpose is to develop a theory about phenomena. As the theory had to be grounded or rooted in observation and it draws its name from this process. In brief, the research begins with broad general questions which helps to guide the research but is not intended to restrict it in any way. As the researcher begins to gather data, they begin to identify core theoretical concepts and make provisional linkages between theory and the data.
This early phase of the research tends to be quite open and can take months. Eventually by constantly referring back to the data, a theory begins to develop and is then applied. Grounded theory consists of the following stages: a Collection of case studies — The raw qualitative data. In the author published a book Brady on the meanings of fixed stars within an astrological framework and later, in , released a software package with these meanings expanded.
These meanings were discovered using a form of grounded theory Biographical notes linked to horoscopes were used as the qualitative data and employed the astrological functions under consideration as a filter to select which people's lives were to be examined. Each selected group contained fifty to one hundred people and the sheer volume of information propelled the author into developing a methodology which strongly resembled Grounded Theory.
Astrology and Research — Bernadette Brady 17 Demetra George in her work Asteroid Goddesse, also produced work which astrologers consider to be a new cosmology in that she presented new information regarding the meanings of asteroids in a horoscope. I interviewed her by email on the method she employed in this research project.
Her entire reply is given in the appendix.