On Laziness, and the Switzerland of Value Systems

Hey look, it’s another post that I’m not 100% happy with, but I’m publishing anyway because I’m ~conquering my fears~ !!!

 

I’m trying to put together a sort of elevator pitch for why I’ve become so interested in astrology. There are a lot of reasons, but I have a tendency to ramble and would like to speak more concisely — having a couple quick points at the ready would help. One point I always include is that astrology is (relatively) value-neutral: it does not evangelize any particular virtues or moralities.

Personally, I didn’t grow up in a religious household, and aside from a few years in the Bible Belt, I’ve spent my whole life in a secular-leaning-Christian part of my country. Self-righteous proselytizing is rather off-putting to me. I think perspective changes everything, and life contains far too much nuance to fit inside a rigid system of rules and judgments; thus, I’ve avoided most religions and philosophies. Astrology, however, stood out in part because of the broad, general descriptors it used. These generalities may initially seem like a copout to some, but in truth our individual realities are so unique that broad strokes are the only way to accurately describe universal truths.

With this, astrology becomes malleable, adapting to our lives however we choose to structure them. A sort of philosophical silly putty.

I was talking to a friend recently who shares a Mars in Taurus placement with me. She’s curious about astrology, so I told her a bit about how I think the placement presents in me and it seemed to strike a chord with her. Taurus has been described as lazy, and Mars especially: the planet of get-up-and-go doesn’t know what to do with peaceful tranquility. Describing this to my friend, she said, “Yes! I am totally lazy. I feel like I can never admit that.”

The shame she described is familiar. I’ve felt tremendous shame about my own laziness, my whole life, especially because it seems so incongruous with my other traits. Thing is, I’ve been able to hide my laziness well because my desire to do nothing is outweighed by other needs and compulsions (ex. deadlines, my anxious need to plan and organize, or my fear of failure). What astrology helped me understand is that laziness is not a moral failing. Being lazy just means you’d rather not do things — not that you’re irresponsible, unintelligent, or that you lack integrity. There is nothing — nothing — shameful about that.

To be clear, I’m not talking about self-deprecating hyperbole, like shaming yourself for skipping a workout or sleeping in late. And I’m also not talking about illnesses like depression. I’m talking about an innate laziness at the soul level, like always finding creative solutions to problems so you have to do as little work as possible, or spending all weekend at homeThis pervasive desire to not do something, for no real reason other than, “Eh, I’d rather not.”

We think of laziness as needing an excuse. It is not enough to want to do “nothing”, we need a reason. Societally, we value hard work and self-reliance, and especially so in certain philosophies. It is a virtue, we’re told, to honor your duty, to contribute to your society, to do your part. In this light, I understand why laziness is often met with scorn, but that doesn’t make it okay because shame is not an effective motivator.

Shame does nothing but weigh you down, and we would all do well to confront our own shame. Astrology helps me do that by allowing for the nuance of individual experience, and removing judgments to aid self-acceptance. When we can do away with shame and accept ourselves as we are, we feel greater self-efficacy, and in turn, sow greater openness and understanding to the people around us.

Best of all, astrology does not require people to accept the same philosophies to achieve that level of societal empathy.

 

I would like to end this post with something a little more buttoned-up, but my brain has seemingly thrown in the towel today so I’ll just say this: try to meet yourself with curiosity, understanding, and openness. See what happens.

 

 

 

 

 

Real Quick: Taurus Moon Stats

For my statistical research, I’m in the process of creating one master spreadsheet with everything I need all in one place. It’s… a lot, and it’s taking a lot of time to put together.

But, in exciting news, after working on it for the last few days, I’m finally starting to see some interesting patterns emerge. Namely, I know a ton of Taurus Moons for some reason.

Here’s how all the points and planets I’m tracking (about 30 per person) are distributed:

all data

And here are how the Moon placements specifically are distributed:

moon placements

A whole-ass quarter of them are Taurus? Weird. Theoretically, since the Moon represents one’s feelings and moods, I could understand some folks choosing to surround themselves with people of similar dispositions. This would be especially true for Taurus — given how calm, chill, and consistent they tend to be, it’d make sense for them to find like-minded friends.

Who knows why this is, but I find it super interesting and I’m curious to do more research.

Taking a Step Back

I’m learning a lot about how I want to practice astrology.

I’ve been spending a lot of time analyzing charts from a linear and circular statistics standpoint, rather than interpretation. I think it’s possible to find patterns and correlations within friend groups and social circles — these may not “prove” that astrology is real, but would certainly strengthen its legitimacy. I hope to do a blog post soon summarizing more of the studies I’ve been reading about.

But regardless of how much I enjoy math and data, I do very much enjoy chart interpretation. My issue is that I don’t think it practical to use astrology for predictive work; the symbolism is too broad and it creates too many possibilities, making it very unlikely to accurately predict anything useful. Many astrologers do use it for predictive work, and some are very good at it, but I personally struggle to get on board.

What I’ve really enjoyed is using the birth chart as a jumping-off point, and letting the conversation flow naturally from there, referring back to the chart as needed. I’ve had excellent conversations with individuals by starting the conversation with the elements — which one dominates, which are lacking or struggling, and how the essence of the elements may present in their personality. It has been helpful to start off with broad strokes, and then concentrate on specific areas from there.

Feedback has been great so far. Folks have said they prefer this open, collaborative discussion rather than unidirectional predictions or assumptions. They feel they can disagree with me or my interpretation in ways they couldn’t with other astrologers. As a result, by the time our conversation is over, whatever skepticism they had about astrology as a whole have largely evaporated, and they’re in awe of the potential that has unfolded for them.

Despite the widespread popularity of horoscopes, it seems people generally don’t like to be told who they are. They want help understanding, sure, but ultimately they want to define it for themselves. The funny thing is I don’t think I’m alone in practicing this way, but people seem to have preconceived notions and don’t understand how malleable astrology really is.


 

On a personal note, I am still self-conscious about this hobby and sharing it publicly with others. My intent for this blog was to work through some of that, but as my spotty post history will tell you, I’m struggling to do that.

I set very high standards for myself, and I berate myself if I don’t meet them. I want to do everything and nothing all at once, but focus and follow-through are formidable foes. I’ll draft up a blog post, but upon re-reading it, decide either: a) I don’t deserve to have an opinion, or b) my writing is too vague to make sense of, and I will delete whatever I’ve written.

I’m trying to be less critical of myself; to be less of a perfectionist, and more of a completionist. I’m publishing this post knowing it is not very good, and there are a lot of things I want to change about it, but it is more important that I just publish the damn thing.

So, fuck it. Publish.

Existing Studies of Natal Placements & Statistics

I’m nerding out hard.

I’ve been doing some digging on statistical analysis of natal placements to better understand what’s been done before. It’s frustrating to me when skeptics deride astrology on the whole, implying that it never holds up to the scrutiny of the scientific method. Even statistician Michel Gauquelin, after devoting decades of his career to this research, said, “the majority of the elements in a horoscope seem not to possess any of the influences which have been attributed to them.” 

But once you start studying astrology, you realize that it makes too much sense to ignore. I think there is potential in using statistical analysis as a way to boost the legitimacy of the field of astrology. My goal is not to convince skeptics per se, but cause them to reconsider their scorn for the study.

There is still tons of research to be done, so there isn’t much out there right now. But hoo boy, let me tell you — what’s out there already is super interesting.

First of all, Gauquelin’s work has lived on after his death in the 1990s. His data has been digitized, helping astrological researchers conduct further analyses. Take this quote from Kyosti Tarvainen, past president of the Finnish Astrological Association:

“Thanks to these developments the Gauquelin data today is providing statistically significant confirmation for ordinary astrology in all three major themes of modern astrology: natal astrology, synastry (couple compatibility) and prediction (transits and other forecast techniques)” 

Think of all the different ways to analyze that data! As Astrology News Service notes, Gauquelin’s original research was hyper-focused on Sun sign placements. To have so much data with confirmed birth times, ready and waiting to be analyzed, is blowing my mind. A collection of revelations waiting to be discovered. Exciting as hell.

Second of all, this study on natal placements of serial killers, to put it simply, rules. Authored by Dutch statistician Jan Ruis, PhD, the study found that serial killers tended to have a preponderance of Mutable signs, the 12th house, and Moon aspects in their natal charts. The correlation is interesting, and they concluded that “some of the claims of astrologers cannot be rejected.”

I love that conclusion. Obviously statistical analysis won’t prove causality — this study simply confirms that astrology is not a scam, parlor trick, or wishful thinking. Astrology has been around for thousands of years, it’s nice to have some data to back it up. Legitimacy, hurray!

Finally, check out this research that showed correlation between astrology’s philosophy of the elements and the Eysenck Personality Indicator, a major psychology test. The researcher “compared the key descriptive words Eysenck used to describe Introversion, Extraversion, Emotional Stability and Neuroticism with key words astrologers identify with the Fire, Earth, Air and Water traits.”

I’m working on more research of my own (and honing in on a thesis, I think!), so I’m sure I’ll find more interesting statistics tidbits to share.

 

Happy learning,

Charlotte

Astrology & Statistical Analysis

My latest astrological focus has been on degree placements and mathematical points — basically synastry, but instead of couples I’m looking at groups of 6-8 people.

There’s been very little statistical analysis of astrology so far, and what’s been done has grossly misunderstood how astrology works, so the results are flawed. One of the most-cited studies, for example, asked astrologers to identify whether or not a subject was mentally retarded based solely on their natal chart; unsurprisingly, results were about the same as random chance.

Reading and accurately interpreting a natal chart is not a solo activity — to be truly effective, the individual must also participate in some way. We can only tell so much from reading a chart alone, we can’t glean anything truly insightful from randomized, anonymous charts — so of course the study had mediocre results.

Studies like this are overly simplified, looking for a certainty that astrology doesn’t have. True, astrology doesn’t lend itself to the precision of statistical analysis given its fluidity and ambiguity, but in my opinion, that doesn’t make them mutually exclusive practices.

I still have a lot of work to do to be able to summarize my study effectively, but here’s the gist: I’m looking at lots of data points for each individual — close to 40 — including natal and progressed placements, midpoints, and karmic points. Because these points have varying levels of significance, I’ve also developed a weighted scoring system to discern the importance of each point.

What I’ve found is a disproportionate significance of key points in the zodiac — in other words, the individuals of the social group share common placements in a few clusters. Because this group defines themselves as a bit of a “chosen family,” my theory is the people with whom they’ve chosen to have close relationships share similar or complimentary astrological placements.

Again, this isn’t just natal placements, this is a cluster of a lot of different placements. Take, for example, the Leo cluster. At 20′ Leo, this group has a:

  • Natal Moon
  • Natal N. Node
  • Progressed Mercury (that person’s chart ruler)
  • Progressed Mars (that person’s chart ruler)
  • Progressed Venus x2
  • Progressed Moon
  • Progressed Sun
  • Midpoint of an individual’s important natal aspect

Those are relatively significant placements for 7 of the 9 participants, all at one point of the zodiac. This is just one example of many, but the clustering of both natal and progressions suggests that these individuals are connecting with each other based on current traits and attitudes that may have changed or grown over time, and these folks click well because of where they are at this time in their lives.

(Side note: As always, correlation does not mean causality — this doesn’t imply that astrological placements are the cause of their close relationships)

For the sake of comparison, I created a small control group of 6 individuals who don’t know each other and did not find any similar placement patterns. This suggests we would not find such clusters by random chance.

 

Again, there’s still a lot of work to be done here, but I think I’ve found something useful. Since each person has all 12 signs of the zodiac in their chart, I think examining the distribution of archetypes within social groups can tell us a bit about the group dynamics, as well as interpersonal emotional and spiritual connections.

 

Do you know of any particularly interesting statistical analyses of astrology? Share them in the comments, I’d love to know more, no matter how flawed.

Personal: Jupiter in Scorpio

I am gaining momentum. Shaking off the retrogrades of the last several months, I am ready to move forward with what I have learned and enact the kind of real, productive change I’ve been looking for.

Jupiter in Scorpio

Scorpio is in my 6th house of self-improvement, health, and work. My ideal kind of work involves research and digging, unearthing that which is hidden. When Jupiter first set foot there in November 2017, I first thought this transit might indicate a promotion, and with it, a shift in my responsibilities. I had just talked to my boss a few weeks earlier about moving teams and taking on more responsibility. How Scorpio fit into the mix I wasn’t sure, but I was open to finding out.

Jupiter went retrograde in early March, when my partner was in the hospital and I had to take time away from work. His accident had little if anything to do with Jupiter, but its retrograde certainly mirrored this setback. Fortunately, during this time I was able to devote plenty of time to learning astrology, and more importantly, understanding what type of work I enjoyed doing. The probing nature of astrology research (Scorpio!) was an interesting comparison to my day job, and with a break from the latter I was able to see clearly what I found fulfilling.

Jupiter went direct in July, months after I’d both gone back to work and subsequently quit. My unemployment benefits had been denied, I had no job prospects, and city life was beginning to feel suffocating. I’d been casually eyeing rental properties for a while, but finally my partner and I settled on a new apartment further outside the city, in a much quieter town, for less money. We knew this was a much-needed change of scenery for several reasons, not least of which was our self-discipline. We moved in with a list of new intentions for managing our day-to-day lives, our well-being, and our responsibilities. This period felt like a reset in a lot of ways. Our old apartment carried a lot of emotional baggage with it, and leaving it all behind left me freer to move forward.

Jupiter, now direct, leaves its shadow period in October, crossing my Part of Fortune before moving along to Sagittarius the following month. I started a new job last week, and for the first time I feel cautiously confident in my ability to make a good impression. It’s an organization I’ve been in before, near some familiar faces, doing work I have experience with (!). I feel like I am possibly the best version of myself ever, confident in who I am, how I carry myself, and what I’m about. Most importantly, I’m going into it with no expectation for what this means for my career. With astrology as my hobby, I know how to feel fulfilled while working a 9-5, something I’ve been struggling to understand for years. This new job is a huge step toward determining what I want my work life to look like.

I’m not sure what Jupiter’s brief stint with my Part of Fortune will bring, but I hope it gives me the last little boost I need to find a sense of direction. So far, its retrograde through my 6th house has allowed me to dig into the kind of work I find fulfilling, and reexamine what kind of work is worth doing.

Of course, there are plenty of other things going on in the sky right now. Jupiter’s not responsible for all of this change I’ve been experiencing. Mars’s retrograde, after all, involves my MC (and let me tell you I have been feeling it) and Uranus is on its own adventure in my 12th house, but as always, I am grateful for whatever little nuggets of insight astrology brings me. I am tremendously excited for the next six months.

Jupiter Cycles

I’m finding Jupiter’s 12-year cycle to be an excellent way of introducing someone to how astrology works beyond the Big Three (Sun, Moon, Ascendant).

This has been especially useful for anyone over the age of 24, who’s experienced at least two full cycles. Because Jupiter represents growth and abundance, and it spends about 13 months in each sign, its influence is easier to track on a longer timeline.

When I did this with clients, I started with Jupiter’s transit across their Sun. It helped that both had Sun placements near an angle, which added a bit more oomph to the transit. We started by exploring Jupiter’s journey through the houses, how each realm of life took center-stage, one by one over time. I noted each house transition by year and season to help jog their memory, then asked them to write a couple words about what they remember from each 13-month period.

The results were not dramatic, but rather a very curious, “…huh!” This was delightful. They were able to understand how astrology speaks to us in broad, general themes rather than specific answers. The growth they felt in each house during the transiting year wasn’t because of Jupiter, it was probably for a whole host of other reasons.

“As above, so below.”

The themes we experience in our lives mirror the themes playing out in the sky.

I fucking love astrology.