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.

No Answers, Just Work

One of the most challenging things about introducing someone to astrology is managing their expectations. They think astrology has answers, that it can point to a specific transit and say, “Ah! That’s why you’re experiencing XYZ; here’s what you can do about it…” But it’s not like that.

No transit exists in a vacuum.

We can look at our charts, identify transits, and read a variety of interpretations on them; but we can’t find ready-made interpretations that account for all the other transits we’re experiencing at the same time. Each chart is unique, and it’s impossible to fully comprehend the chart of anyone beyond ourselves, though we may try. With astrology, only the individual can harvest all the wisdom it has to offer, because only they know what they’re experiencing; the tough part is that they must be willing to put in the work to find it.

Each archetype of the zodiac has three levels of maturity, or evolutions. How we use the energy of those archetypes is up to us through the use of free will. Our job when studying our charts is to examine these archetypes from all sides, and consider how we might be utilizing them, intentionally or not.

Then come the added layers of planets and houses, a flux of information that can quickly make you dizzy — astrology is a lot of work. Go slow. Take your time. Meditate.

Astrology requires an honest assessment of ourselves that is both challenging and uncomfortable, and it doesn’t give us clear-cut answers. Approach each transit with an open mind, and keep an eye out for opportunities to grow. That is, essentially, the ultimate wisdom of astrology anyway:

“All things shall come to pass — now grow, grow, grow.”

Drained

There’s a lot I want to write about, but whenever I sit down to do it my mind goes blank.

It’s been an emotional few weeks. I’m working on ways to appropriately handle my anger and it’s ugly, but it’s progress. Not only is my natal Mars in chill-as-hell-borderline-lazy Taurus, but it’s in my 12th house, making it hard for me to see.

The 12th house is one of the most challenging houses to explain to newbies — it’s the house of Self-Undoing, which naturally sets off alarm bells to anyone unfamiliar with the term. Alternately, we can call House 12 “That Which is Hidden,” which captures the subconscious, and institutions like hospitals and prisons.

When we say “self-undoing,” we mean the loss of ego into a greater whole. The house preceding it, House 11, is about large communities, our crowd. Communities struggle when there’s too much ego from the individuals within them, and thrive when the individuals come together with a common goal. This common goal requires a loss of ego, requires each person to say, “This is not about me, this is about something bigger.” Ergo, Undoing the Self.

So what does that mean for a 12th house Mars? I’m still working on this myself, but my gut says I am motivated by either a) things that are farthest removed from my own ego and identity, or b) something in my subconscious that is hard for me to pinpoint. Or both! Either way, Mars is already somewhat muted by Taurus energy, so it’s an all-around challenging placement to understand.

The good news is I’m reading and learning about emotions, and better ways to control them. I’ve never been an angry person, but I’m learning now that’s because I’ve always repressed my anger (heyyyy, maybe that’s a 12th house tendency). This will likely be a running theme in my life that I will never fully overcome, but I’m excited to learn how to best manage this placement in an effective, useful way.

Silver lining: Taurus may be slow to start but once they do, they don’t stop. My Mars is not easily activated the way it might be in a Fire sign, but once it is, my willpower is tenacious and resilient. I embrace these qualities, and I am proud.

Scorpio & The 8th House

I find most horoscopes for Scorpio and/or the 8th house maddeningly shallow. The scorpion is often reduced to some combination of “the occult,” “death and sex,” and “the underworld,” with the 8th house getting “inheritances” and “change/transformation” thrown in there.

Without knowing what these interpretations are based on, how would a casual observer gain anything from these descriptors? It can be difficult to apply these themes to one’s personal life. My advice in this situation is always: “go back to basics: modality, element, orientation”. For Scorpio:

Fixed + Water + Interpersonal

The modality wheel moves Cardinal — Fixed — Mutable. Cardinal initiates, Fixed stabilizes, and Mutable adapts. Scorpio perpetuates. It pushes, driving forward the energy that came before it with a steadying hand.

What comes before Scorpio? Libra, The Lover.

Libra, as an Air sign, is about social interactions; specifically, the mental part of them. Scorpio, being a water sign, is the emotional result of those social interactions. The result can last a minute or a lifetime, but Scorpio is a close-up of the moment of raw, emotional instinct that tells us who we really are: fight or flight. Aries may be The Warrior charging into battle, but only in the sense that he is an individual, initiating action. Scorpio represents the way the battle feels.

I’m paraphrasing here, but Liz Greene described Scorpio as “that which appears physical, but is really emotional in nature.” It is the kind of special intimacy that lies deep within us, and can change us forever as individuals.

Therefore, Scorpio represents:

  • Not death in the physical sense, but emotional: as loss, grief
  • Not sex/intimacy in the physical sense, but emotional: as vulnerability
  • Not finances in the physical sense, but emotional: as sharing

It is important to note that Scorpio is associated with the 8th house, but does not rule it. Signs do not rule houses, but they do represent similar themes.

When talking about the 8th house, most horoscopes I see from popular astrologers discuss the individual’s death, sex, and finances, but that’s far too simple and does nothing to help the novice understand themselves or their chart. It’s true, Scorpio and the 8th house include the darkest parts of life and ourselves, but they should be embraced, not feared.

If you can face your darkest fears openly, without aiming to overcome them but to work with them, you have found the key to your self. Avoiding your fears, tempting and sometimes necessary as it may be, ultimately exacerbates the problem. Face them, acknowledge and accept them, and work with them. Your growth will be immense and rewarding.

And ultimately, this sort of growth is transformative. That’s why change and transformation are common keywords for the 8th house. It is the emotional consequences of our social interactions, that ultimately change us in a deep, permanent way.

Loss, grief, and vulnerability can be difficult to discuss casually. Sure, for a simple horoscope’s sake, it’s easier to stick to the death/sex/money part of it all. Nonetheless, I wish more popular horoscopes included such nuance. Normalizing the discussion of our pain and grief would go a long way in healing us, collectively and individually, and we would do well to prioritize that. After all, that is the lesson of Scorpio.

The Work We’re Called To Do

We must do the work we are called to do.

This has been a nagging thought in my head for weeks now. I think I read it from Chani Nicholas recently, though I’m not sure.

I’ve been having career troubles for the last few years, building ambition but lacking direction. I stumbled into a couple corporate office gigs that were wholly unsatisfying, but for a first-generation college grad like myself, they were almost entirely lucky breaks and I couldn’t understand why I didn’t want to continue with them.

At the beginning of 2018, I took three months away from work to care for an ill loved one. Most of that time was spent at home on the couch, just waiting for the body to heal itself, so I filled a lot of that time by studying astrology. I’d already been studying intensely for over a year, and I’d always been interested in the practice, but could never understand how horoscopes could vary so widely in their messaging when they’re all working from the same source material. I wanted to learn for myself how they were doing it.

After a few weeks, I found myself continually coming back to astrology. I couldn’t look away. It was fascinating and made far too much sense to ignore. In a way, this was especially frustrating because I was trying to keep myself from quitting my day job — even though I was on leave, I was already miserable and at the end of my rope — and it was all too tempting to spend all my time researching and thinking.

I eventually realized that I’d found the thing that makes me tick. I’m equally grateful and exasperated.

My life is filled with a wide variety of interests, hobbies, and experiences — I’m often happy to help but lack enough of an ego to be much of a self-starter. I used to think I’d be happy doing just about anything, but I know better than that now. After almost 30 fucking years, I finally found my Thing, and turns out it’s talking about feelings and helping people understand themselves through astrology.

Eventually, I turned to my recovering loved one, threw my hands up and said, “Y’know what? Fuck it. This is what my brain is wired to do. I’m gonna stop fighting it.”

We must do the work we are called to do.

I’ve never felt a calling before, but I do now. Best to just go with it.