Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Planetary aspects: The need for multiple attestation (Part I)

A not so beautiful mind

In Light On Life, a most excellent beginner’s book on Hindu astrology, I read about the practice of simply adding up similar omens in a birth horoscope to get an idea whether one or other subject matter tended to be problematical or blessed. The following study appears to verify this notion. In years past, this blogger had come to the same conclusion as the noted western astrologer Charles Carter did in his book on planetary aspects, that the technical division into good and evil aspects were nowhere to be seen if studying astrology more or less scientifically.

At some stage I checked out the Hindu aspect system, somewhat at variance with the old Ptolemaic system in use in the west, by observing the aspects thrown by natural malefics Mars and Saturn in the charts of several hundred convicted criminals. (Hindu aspects are to the receiving sign as a whole and any planet it may host.) The logic in selecting the mind’s Moon as the target for these aspects need no explanation. But nothing was found. Not even both planets afflicting the mind resulted in any appreciable overemphasis. There were even fewer cases with this dual affliction in this group than in the control group (consisting of randomly generated birth dates).

But I recently observed the horoscope for a female anti-abortionist lawyer and while her Moon was quite afflicted, the “proactive” Sun was about as strong as it can be (receiving on a straight line from the "kingmaker," the Persian royal star Regulus: it's difficult to find a more "pro life" omen than that). 

I also recalled the Scandinavian mass-murderer Anders Breivik who in 2011 callously killed 69 young social democrats while they were congregating on a remote islet in Norway. This deranged extreme right-wing killer had three or arguably even four “bad” planets aspecting his Moon, and in contrast to the highly intelligent lawyer his Sun stood in the midst of a cluster of turbulent and evil planets. That is to say, he could not fall back on instinctive behavioral patterns taken over from the family ambience (Moon) and he was unfortunately born without the general intelligence of which a happily placed Sun is a good index. Some births have seriously unlucky omens attending them!

I now decided to add the third natural evildoer, Rahu or the Dragon’s head, and perform the test once again. The aforementioned primer in Hindu astrology classified the Sun too as an essential evildoer, but I find this highly problematic. Being also the symbol for the living, jiving soul (the jiva atman), filled to the brim with willpower and desire for self expression in this world, it seemed pretty obvious the Sun, the solar logos, could not be essentially evil. The authors To Light on Life actually gave the reason for the designation and it is trivial: the scorching sun in India (or any place close to the equator) dries out life and makes it less succulent! (The night planet Moon is the replenisher in this particular context.) But this is a simple creature’s opinion, the viewpoint of a hedonist who only lives for sense gratification and trying to avoid what's painful. 

The Moon-mind is regarded as ”exalted” in Taurus, a Venusian sign perhaps more attracted to thoughtless sense gratification than any other. But since precisely this Moon is also regarded as an “efficient evildoer” in a chart using the Moon as ascendant (Chandra lagna), it would appear there are conflicting messages within the same tradition. It is therefore important to know one’s own cognitive scope before passing judgment on a chart. For this reason I will not include the Sun among the natural evildoers even though Breivik’s spectacular disturbances to his Moon did include attacks (aspects) from Saturn, Mars, a moon node as well as an opposition from the Sun.

For the present study I used a collection of 789 charts for convicted criminals. This number includes about 140 cases of suicide, which, after all, is a crime too but where for obvious reasons conviction was impossible. For ease of direct comparison I use the same number of randomly generated birth dates for control. Since I've already let the cat out of the bag, all that remains is to list the numbers. But first note how neither Saturn and Mars both aspecting Moon nor the greedy and unbalanced Rahu by itself leads to anything remarkable. Only when all three are brought to bear on the Moon-mind, statistically significant overemphasis shows.

By statistically significant I mean a deviation of more than ±50% relative to the average or excepted number of placements (if randomness is taken as the ultimate truth) in a data set consisting of 300 charts. By creating three sets of 300 randomly generated birth dates I noted that no single planetary position dropped outside this "windows of random noise." Checking one thousand randomly generated birth dates showed a significantly smaller variation due to chance: ±21%. While having no knowledge of statistics I conservatively use ±30% for the current data set, understanding it to be an acceptable approximation given the two preliminary investigations on chance fluctuation in data sets of differing size.

I use the script language of the very useful Ukrainian software ZET Lite to locate the Hindu special aspects for Saturn and Mars. Here's the search pattern for the search including three evildoers:

xp = mo;
ma90 := ma.90.xp & xp.<.ma;
ma210 := ma.150.xp & ma.<.xp;
sa60 := sa.60.xp & xp.<.sa;
sa270 := sa.90.xp & sa.<.xp;
(mo.0.nod | mo.180.nod) &
(ma90 | ma210 | |
& (sa60 | sa270 | |

Moon grabbed by desirous Rahu (north moon node):

Nodes 1/6, 0,16666 x 789 = 131
±30%: 92-170
148 among 789 random births

151 among 789 crime charts

Moon aspected by natural malefics Saturn and Mars:

Mars 1/3 (0,33333) x Saturn 1/3 (0,33333) =
0,11111 x 789 = 88
±30%: 61-114

87 among 789 random births

93 among 789 crime charts

Moon aspected by all three malefics Saturn, Mars and Rahu:

Nodes 1/6 (0,16666) x Mars 1/3 (0,33333) x Saturn 1/3 (0,33333) =
0,01851 x 789 = 14.6
±30%: 10-19 

16 among 789 random births
24 among 789 crime charts

Perhaps not great news for all those born with Moon triply besieged (they'll probably have much too many pressing matters on their minds to read obscure blogs anyway), but good news for those claiming astrology responds to empirical investigations. And besides, it's hardly necessary to remind the reader that "the stars" don't generally predetermine anyone's actions, even if some charts makes one wonder.

Then there is the fine tuning of the interpretation of a chart in Hindu astrology, consisting in judging the efficient nature of a planet. But here we only studied the essentially evil planets, which will, by the way, retain something of their problematic nature even when deemed to be efficient agents for good in an individual horoscope. Saturn can never be anything than a stern executer of justice, not even as an efficient benefactor. Venus as an evildoer can only debase herself to the level of a prostitute, profiting herself on here ability to give pleasure. At best Venus contributes to a socially well-adjusted type, the typical "yes man" yet somewhat pleasing her stern planetary friend Saturn.

In the forthcoming Part II we will apply the same method and data set but now investigate what the so-called natural benefics are up to, when acting in concert. For what is abundantly clear from this study is that a single planetary aspect is so powerless it cannot be heard through the random noise of "chance." Western astrology, now having lost the usefulness of the zodiac for because of the increasing error of the tropical version, seems to rely on secondary techniques like the study of the aspects. The findings of this test is another nail into their coffin.

In one's more or less subjective mind, various planetary aspects may strike one as to the point or meaningful (given that one might already know something about the person being scrutinized), but here we have learned that "three's the charm" - nothing less will count for much. Hindu astrology is right, you really should perform this superficially silly adding up of similar omens before venturing the guess that any one mind might be so or so inclined. And then again, recall that a good Sun or a strong intellectual Mercury may counteract a mind tending to become set in its views...

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