When I was a scientist in the pharmaceutical industry from 1995-1999 I must confess that whenever I heard talk of astrology I would dismiss it as unscientific or ‘pseudoscience’, even though I had a keen interest in the power of the mind over the body, which was also sometimes labelled pseudoscience at that time. What I notice now is that most people who dismiss it, like I did, have never properly investigated it. We just hear someone else saying it and copy them…not very scientific!
It was only when I finished writing It’s the Thought that Counts that I was suddenly inspired with the title, Destiny vs Free Will, which has just been published by Hay House UK. I was suddenly drawn to astrology.
The sun and moon affect our hormones
I was fascinated to learn that the Moon affects hormones, but stunned to learn that magnetic activity on the surface of the sun could also affect hormone levels. Every now and then the sun ejects masses of radiation outwards, some of which strikes the Earth’s magnetic field resulting in magnetic storms in our atmosphere. These can be seen if you go far enough north or south. The aurora borealis (northern lights) is an example of a visible magnetic storm.
But studies have shown that magnetic storms affect our biology. Scientists have shown that they can affect the heart and also the release of melatonin from the pineal gland. Melatonin is a natural antidepressant and helps regulate sleep cycles. If it’s normal cycle of release is disrupted then surely depression could result in some people. That is exactly what some scientists have found.
Ronald Kay, a consultant psychiatrist at the Westbank Clinic in Falkirk, Scotland, examined records of magnetic storms from 1976-1986 and found that there was a correlation between admissions for manic depression and the time of these storms. Of course, only some people are affected in this way so don’t worry that you are suddenly going to feel depressed during the next magnetic storm. There’s evidence to suggest that some people get really positive ‘hits’ from magnetic storms.
The sun goes through cycles of approximately 11 years, called the sunspot cycle, where the number and severity of magnetic storms increases. The next peak is due in 2012 and is known as sunspot cycle 24.
What I also found interesting was that there was scientific evidence for suggesting that some alignments of planets could cause magnetic storms, and therefore some alignments of planets could affect melatonin levels and heart rhythms in humans.
For instance, a 1965 scientific paper in the astrophysical journal showed that violent magnetic storms sometimes occurred when Venus, Earth, Jupiter and Saturn were nearly in a straight line with the sun. The evidence for the planetary effect on magnetic storms is not conclusive but I believe that it does point towards a real phenomenon.
This is not astrology, but it does demonstrate that cosmic forces affect biology. And it did lead me into investigating real astrology.
The signs of the zodiac have myths associated with them, which have become archetypes (symbols) in the human psyche…. in our unconscious minds. For instance, Taurus is the bull and steadily and dependably pulls the plough across the field. Similarly, the planets have myths associated with them too. Mars is the Roman God of war, for instance.
When a planet enters a constellation there is an interaction between two myths. The ‘personality’ of Mars becomes coloured by the dependability of Taurus. And even though most people don’t know what’s going on in the sky, their unconscious mind does. It processes far, far, far more information than the daily, waking conscious mind does. For astrology to be real then this new story, absorbed at an unconscious level, would have to somehow influence behaviour. And of course it does.
Symbols and the unconscious mind
The unconscious mind is continuously affecting our behaviour and biology. Hypnosis clearly demonstrates this. And, as an another example, just seeing the red cross symbol on an aspirin tablet can make it work better than one without the symbol. It’s the person’s unconscious recognition of the symbol that activates their own body’s healing capacity. It influences their biology. And one scientific study showed that reading the words, ‘old’, ‘grey’, ‘wrinkle’ and ‘bingo’ in a language proficiency test would make people walk more slowly, which is known as a ‘priming’ experiment. And so I believe that what’s ‘written in the stars’ influences human behaviour and biology. How much so? It probably varies from one individual to another.
An astrological birth chart is a highly accurate map of the precise positions of the planets of our solar system and the constellations of the zodiac at the time of a person’s birth, and so it indicates the types of cosmic cycles that might influence a person’s unconscious mind during their life.
So astrology doesn’t describe some external supernatural ‘psuedoscientific’ force acting upon us, but a very real and scientifically measurable force from within. It is the effect of the unconscious mind on behaviour. So astrology isn’t unscientific but actually a very powerful science and should be taken much more seriously.
So cosmic forces act like forces of destiny that can incline a person’s behaviour in a particular direction. But destiny is not set in stone. I believe that these forces only act like gentle winds most of the time. We still have free will to choose our own way. Just as if you were paddling down a river in a canoe, a gentle wind might blow you to the left or the right, but free will is like a paddle that can take you wherever you want to go.
I investigated these forces of destiny in the first two chapters of Destiny vs Free Will. Later in the book I describe 9 principles for attracting what you want using free will.