Empirical Science and Astrology

Having been a student of the scientific method as a psychology major in undergraduate, I  used the American Psychological Association’s methodology in testing hypotheses.  Both in graduate and undergraduate studies, I see the value in the statistical methods as approaches to truth.  For a normal bell shaped curve distribution to which the results of empirical studies apply, there is 68.2% applicability percentage of the study’s results to the general population.  26.8% are outliers with 13.4% on the extremes which do not apply.  So we can generalize from results of good empirical studies that is reliable and valid at the most being true 68.2% for the sample studied.
When results are published, they  have contextual relevance to the sample studied as well as the historical time the study was done.   The study’s conclusions and results are relative to the limitations of the study.   A representative sample of the general population is a gold standard in empirical studies.  To do that, expensive demographics and Subjects’ outreach is necessary.  To that end, only well-funded institutions that can afford the studies are Corporations and some Universities. Having said that hypotheses in empirical studies have to be operational, defined with independent and dependent variables being measurable; we see the limits of this kind of research.  Constraints such as these provide for the best results when dealing with the material universe such as physics and inorganic chemistry,for example.  And the cause and effect validity of empirical studies are limited by confounding variables.For example, if you are researching whether a lack of exercise has an effect on weight gain, the lack of exercise is the independent variable and weight gain is the dependent variable. A confounding variable would be any other influence that has an effect on weight gain. Amount of food consumption is a confounding variable, a placebo is a confounding variable, or weather could be a confounding variable. Each may change the effect of the experiment designs. The above is not to imply that empirical studies are irrelevant or not valid.  They are valuable and relevant to the population sample used, along with other constraints.  But that is not often how studies and conclusions are reported.  They are often reported as generalizations of truth that ignore confounding variables.   When I am researching a topic of concern in the literature applicable to my clients’ issues, I make sure the studies are well researched before I present the conclusions to them and I mention limitations.

What are the operative bases of Astrology?

When we try to approach truth through a more subjective means based on a non-rational approach, there is a problem with defining the variables because there is no objective, operational variables mix so you can’t quantify them.  For example, if I take a sample to survey people who believe in astrology, that is subjective. There are so many ways to  approach and verify that question: based on their individual horoscope aspects correlated with their perception of its truth to their lives or belief in astrology based on the underlying principles in Astrology such as ” as above, so below”, i.e. the macrocosm and the microcosm are mirror images of each other so that the planets’ configuration in the sky have a corresponding effect on their psyches.  For Astrology, cause and effect are basically not capable of being determined because the independent and dependent variables cannot be operationally and objectively quantified.  So we cannot say, for example,  that Saturn conjunct the Mercury in a natal chart causes depression.  But correlations can be made.  In fact the Kepler Conference has conducted empirical studies that find correlations between various topics of concern at https://www.facebook.com/TheKeplerConference/ Roberto Assagioli, MD who founded Psychosynthesis has stated in the study of Transpersonal Inspiration that ” In the first place an erroneous conception of the scientific method is widely held, which would limit its use to quantitative and statistical techniques suited to the natural sciences.  Furthermore, the mind is reluctant to admit the existence of non-rational reality and values; it confuses the super-rational with the irrational or even anti-rational. There is also the fact that the descriptions of experiences in this ‘higher sphere’ are generally couched in terms  associated with religious doctrines, employ pictures, symbols and forms no longer accepted or recognized as valid by modern mentality.” (Assagioli in Parfitt, Will,Lesson 10. Course 1, Elements in Psychosynthesis,  Global Issues in Action, copywrite, Avalon Distance Learning.) I accept that empirical science does not embrace the super-rational; a rejection that has been fraught with struggles to bring my voice to the fabric of transpersonal inspiration which is how I use Astrological Psychology. Science sees my work as a branch of study that is often designated as‘pseudo-science’.   Based on the erroneous assumption of the scientific method that limits the use of quantitative and statistical techniques to the natural sciences, my work is out of the scope of valid inquiry. Carl G. Jung, MD provided support by researching Synchronicity and Causal Principles as both valid approaches to truth but both at differing ends of a continuum.
Synchronicity the basis of how Astrology works

Carl Jung and physicist W. Pauli studied Archetypes in Astrology.  Archetypes are ” primary images which the soul can perceive with the aid of innate ‘instinct’ (Kepler).  The agreement with the primordial images or archetypes were introduced into modern psychology by C. G. Jung and functioned as ‘instincts of the imagination’.  (Jung, C. G and Pauli, W, The Interpretation of Nature and the Psych, Bollingen Series III, NY, NY, 1955, p. 153). Since the Archetypes are in the realm of the Soul and are not capable of being operationalized by using the experimental method, a different way of finding meaningful correlations of the individual and the soul is necessary.  Synchronicity is the explanation in which we find meaning within the correspondence (or correlation) between the Astrological archetypes such as  planets with their angular relationships in the horoscope and the individual.  In Jung’s experiments,  he studied the archetype Mars expressing  “intense emotional excitement when found in aspect with the Sun” in  women subjects within twenty  marriage pairs.   This aspect occurred at a higher frequency than other Mars aspects.  Thus Jung concluded that the relative ‘defeat of the powers of the conscious mind constellates the moderating archetype… Mars’. This I interpreted to mean that emotional excitement erupts from the unconscious of the Psyches of these individuals; with the consequence that the ability of conscious filters to inhibit it fails in individuals with this configuration. (On Synchronicity: An Acausal Connecting Principle” in The Interpretation and Nature of the Psyche, Bollingen Series III, NY, NY 1955, p. 81).

When I want to connect with clients who have given me their birth data, I can without fail find for them meaningful correlations between aspect patterns and their psychic states.  They report to me that is meaningfully true about 90% of the time.  (based on their subjective evaluation).  I have also found that stating statistics of correlations from studies relevant to clients experience also, i.e. that high attribution of blame usually results in couple divorce (Gottman, John, Four Horses of the Apocalypse, Blog) ; this statement does have a meaningful connection for them. My points are basically this:  We need both Scientific studies and Synchronistic correspondences to make meaningful sense for our clients. And I use Astrological Psychology to identify psychic states and match them to my clients as well as empirical studies when topics come up that require evidence based conclusions.

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John D Grove

I am a psychotherapist and astrological psychology practitioner. I do dream interpretation as it relates to developmental life issue. I have had published two books: one on Dreams and Astrological Psychology and one on Life Passages, how dreams and Age Point Progression work together to illuminate the Life journey. I do consultations.

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