Renay Oshop, Peer Reviewed Science Comes to Astrology |345|

Discussion in 'Skeptiko Shows' started by Alex, Apr 4, 2017.

  1. Judith

    Judith New

    Nov 8, 2013
    It became too complicated for me to absorb...too many possibilities of meaning. I do think a good astrologer also has a strong intuition to guide him/her. I was and am content with interpreting a birth chart though. (I have 7 planets in a grand trine in astrologer will know what that means....and it was valuable information for me to have).
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  2. Bucky

    Bucky Member

    Oct 31, 2013
    I am enjoying the interview so far but I haven't finished yet... so here are some mixed and confused thought about the subject... :D

    I think Stephen Braude has documented one of the most staggering examples of "astrology at work" in his "Golden Leaf Lady" book. If you don't know what I am talking about I highly recommend the book. $14 well spent :)
    Also, coming from someone as skeptical as Braude it's quite surprising...

    Personally I have dabbled with astrology a few years ago and it's dual nature... one side very technical and mathematical and on the other symbolic and subjective. It's once again the two-headed monster we struggle with in this forum... the laws of physics and experience/subjectivity, physical/non physical, etc...

    My impression is that astrology works best in the "right hands" and this is confirmed in my limited experience after having done a bunch of readings.
    The practitioner makes the difference. Big time.
    I've done two readings with a brilliant american astrologer (who has a number of published books) and I remember at one time I was preplexed by a number of extremely precise and matching statements ( à la Braude's wife ) she had said. I interrupted her and asked if those where the result of consulting her chart or a psychic intuition: she confirmed the latter, saying that usually she gets these very precise impressions about certain events. So... that's no astrology. Or at least it is astrology++

    I mean, astrology can be practiced by a computer and in fact there's plenty of advanced softwares out there that do precisely that. They apply the mathematics and complex rules and spit out a "reading" combining a series of pre-made statements. The results seem more in line with the kind of astrology most skeptic superstar ramble about. (Typically they rage against horoscopes, which are usually worst than the output of specialized software).

    By the way, for those interested in the controversy and scientific investigations on astrology there's a brilliant book, "Astrology in the Year Zero"
    which offers a balanced and insightful outlook on the subject.

    To spoiler the "finale" a little bit... scientific studies are inconclusive, and I suspect part of the problem is that every practitioner has a different "performance". Just like if you put a paintbrush in the hands of 10 painters you will get very different results.

    Time permitting I'd love to read the paper by Renay and learn more about her study. It's quite fascinating.

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  3. Trancestate

    Trancestate Member

    Oct 30, 2013
    Bucky, there's no need to buy the book to read Braude's fascinating postscript on his wife's apparent success with astrology. It can be freely accessed here (with Steve's permission, I'm pretty sure):

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  4. Never been that into astrology, had some experience with a Vedic astrologer but I didn't find it useful. Others I know have found astrology to be of assistance in their lives. Even a good doctor can mis-diagnose, even a good player can cost their team the game, so I don't expect astrologers to be able to make good predictions for every person. Perhaps a good comparison would be between a therapist and patient, you need to find the right fit.

    So long as one approaches these things with a clear head I say leave it up to the individual. For example Braude's wife convinced him there might be something to astrology, as noted in his account published on Anti-Matters:

    Some Thoughts on Astrology

  5. David Eire

    David Eire New

    Jan 29, 2014
    I never put any stock in astrology and tarot and the like. Then while I was investigating the history of science and astronomy I discovered something odd. According to Western astrology I am a capricorn; which means the house of the zodiac behind the rising sun on the day of my birth should be capricorn - except it isn't. Astronomically the sun is in sagittarius on my birthday in January. When I noticed this I was intrigued and delved deeper and discovered precession.

    There is a slight wobble in the Earth's rotation which has the effect that the exact placement of the solstices moves very slightly forward each year beyond the point where it was the previous year. It is a small degree, but it builds up over time; this is known as the precession of the equinoxes. The effect is that the houses of the zodiac move backwards relative to the sun. A full rotation takes approx 26,000 years. The Western astrological system is out by a full house which led me to conclude that the system was established approx 2,000 years ago - possibly in Alexandria or some such centre of learning in the east. Western astrology is not based on the astronomical position of the stars today, but on where they were 2,000 years ago. My understanding is that Vedic astrology is based on the actual astronomical position of the stars and planets.

    One might expect this little episode to lead me to completely discount Western astrology - but it didn't. Rather than dismiss this ancient divination system I looked for another possible solution to the puzzle. The best explanation I have found thus far is that the wisdom which is contained in astrology has nothing to do with the stars. Rather it has something to do with the seasons of the Earth - in other words with the Earth and the sun. And this accumulated wisdom was projected onto the background stars (especially the zodiac); which were taken to be a steady state unchanging background.

    The real power of divination lies in the unlocking of the intuition and higher consciousness of the diviner so as to access information outside of usual consciousness and knowledge. The system of divination used, whether knuckle bones or entrails or the stars, is merely a tool to facilitate that process. When it is working right it can be very powerful; but when the objective system itself becomes the focus of attention it becomes an obstacle to true divination.
  6. MaxUsernameLimit

    MaxUsernameLimit Member

    Dec 22, 2016
    That's correct. Western astrology typically uses the tropical zodiac (based on the seasons), not the sidereal zodiac (based on the positions of the stars). There are however Western sidereal schools (Cyril Fagan's school for example), and Indian astrology (a.k.a. Jyotish or Vedic astrology) uses only the sidereal zodiac. My experience with astrology shows that Babylonian astrology, which uses the sidereal zodiac, is the most accurate. But in fact, I'm not so sure that astrological signs exist at all. What I noticed several years ago is that planets do affect things - in particular there are synchronistic relationships between the archetypal realization of events/states on Earth and planets moving through the so-called angles of the horoscope - that being the ascendant-descendant axis (eastern-western horizon) and the Imum Caeli(IC) - Medium Caeli(MC) axis (lowest and highest point of the ecliptic). Somewhat later I discovered about the Kolisko effect, which I wrote about here - .

    Richard Tarnas wrote a book called "Cosmos and Psyche" ( ) which discusses the subject in depth and gives many examples of 'archetypal synchronicities' between cultural events and the planetary transits.
  7. Bucky

    Bucky Member

    Oct 31, 2013
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  8. David Eire

    David Eire New

    Jan 29, 2014
    Yes I can see how the planets could have effect since they are part of our solar system and all things are connected and related - and not merely at the 3D physical level acknowledged by present day science
    For me the astrological signs are faces in the clouds; in other words projections. This does not mean there is no knowledge or wisdom contained in the projection itself, only that its reality is not in the screen or the stars
    I mean this in the sense when we watch a movie we do not believe the people and events are in the movie screen, or in ones PC monitor
    The fact that people do find quantifiable correlations is significant and worthy of investigation; but it is important we dont jump from correlation to a presumption of causation
    This is the kind of thing pure science can study effectively; but today we do not have pure science, we have ideological science and scientism; a restricted and reduced science
  9. Hurmanetar

    Hurmanetar New

    Feb 25, 2015
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    My current assumption about astrology is that it works on a combination of Psi and synchronicity.

    I think Psi works best when the logical sequential part of the brain is occupied or scrambled which allows for the weak Psi "signal" to get amplified into intuitive information. There are many ways to occupy or scramble the logical sequential part of the mind and one way is with mostly random sensory input and then try to impose a pattern on it. Could be tea leaves or chicken bones or lines on the palm or speaking in tongues or meditation or... the arrangement of planets and stars. This part of astrology depends on the Psi ability of the astrologer and can be affected by the astrologer's mental or emotional state leading to the unreliability of astrology.

    Then there's the synchronicity aspect of astrology which might be the "objective" aspect of astrology where certain patterns and archetypes get built up over time as they are repeatedly associated with certain arrangements in the sky and over the millennia a feedbackloop forwards and backwards in time gets set up where: because we assign certain meanings to certain arrangements, those patterns then begin to get reinforced and show up objectively. Sort of a reverse causality producing not hard and fast rules but maybe skewing probability distributions.
  10. Jonathan Hall

    Jonathan Hall Member

    Feb 24, 2016
    I really enjoyed this podcast, and wish more journalists would approach astrology in the open-minded way that Alex did.

    In that same spirit of inquiry, I would like to share some additional astrology-related links with the forum.

    1) The Journal of Consciousness Studies
    just published a groundbreaking article that truly marks a new era in peer-reviewed astrological research:

    2) This evidence-based astrology movement is gaining ground within the astrological community and held its first conference this year:

    3) One of the attendees, software developer Vincent Godbout, offers this fascinating video of his recent research (the results are at 17:57):

    4) Also worth watching is Walter Murch (acclaimed film editor and sound designer of The Godfather and Apocalypse Now) detailing how recent astronomical discoveries are making it increasingly plausible that musical ratios play an integral factor in the makeup of our solar system and those of others:
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2017
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  11. Alex

    Alex New

    Oct 25, 2013
    thx Jonathan... I'm kinda surprised that others in the forum havn't picked up on yr point. Thx as well for the excellent articles:

    “In their paper, Dean and Kelly argue that astrological experience is more likely to work by ‘hidden persuaders’ than by either objective or psychic criteria, but provide no evidence of this. The authors demand careful testing yet their own examples and claims against astrology are not careful,” McRitchie says.

    -- very Skeptiko :)

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