The Astrological Journal September 2018
Victor Olliver's Editorial
How Does Astrology Measure Up?
At my debut Astrological Association conference (as recent as 2014) at least one of many conversations left its mark on me. Rectification was the topic of discussion, and all was going well until I suggested that one simple way to test the technique would be to get a bunch of astrologers to work blind on charts whose birth data was known only to the researchers. It would be interesting to find the percentage of matches between rectified and actual birth dates. The reaction was horror. My interlocutor gaped at this heresy, as if struggling to breathe. "Astrology is not science!" h/she said, not incorrectly, in tones reminiscent of Lady Bracknell or Captain Mainwaring. "The rectified date is all you need once you have gone through the process." And with that h/she walked away.
Goodness knows what the reaction will be to the research work of Dr Kyösti Tarvainen which we publish in this issue. He has applied his expertise in mathematics and systems analysis to certain astrological practices and techniques to discover which stand up against statistical measures and which do not. This is not about proving or disproving astrology scientifically but applying tools of science to a subject regarded by many as metaphysical in nature. The results are mixed and never less than fascinating. For example, classical synastry comes out well but not modern innovations such as the Davison composite chart. Certain midpoints survive the stats as does the 5°ree; orb for the sextile. Dr Tarvainen also assesses which house system (Placidus, Equal, Koch, etc) and which astrological system (sidereal or tropical) 'work' best - to discover the results, you'll have to read the piece.
Bob Makransky was once a system analyst and programmer, and he's focused his methodical mind on the forecasting abilities of Regiomontanus and Johannes Kepler. Were these deified Renaissance astrologers any much better at divination than modern practitioners? Bob Makransky has produced biographical timelines of two prominent male subjects whose charts were read by the astro masters, and he looks for bingo moments between forecasts and outcomes - given the obvious luxury of hindsight. Though I feared a litany of duds (based on how Bob started out his combative essay), there are reasons not to become disconsolate. Not infrequently, even when the astrologer falls short on the detail, there is still the question of approximate or essential accuracy. I am happy to cut a little slack even if Bob is a touch severe.
Saturn on fire
Portuguese astrologer João Medeiros is a newcomer to our pages. His two-parter on the combustion of Saturn in ingress charts begins in this issue and it is a distinguished addition to our understanding of mundane astrology. I am immensely grateful for the rigour Joćo has brought to the theme and for his readiness to illustrate his thesis with historical examples. His view that the combust Saturn ingress is as useful as, say, the Great Conjunction, in our understanding of astrological cycles, is well argued. I look forward to Part 2.
João was one of the attendees at our recent annual conference in Reading, and it was a great pleasure to meet him, as well as so many others. As is customary, we publish photos from the event which was both stimulating and fun. Please note that the AA annual conference returns to Wyboston Lakes in June 2019 - there are more details in Roy Gillett's special conference report and in our calendar.
This is the editorial from the September 2018 edition of the Astrological Journal, the UK's premier astrological magazine.