How astrology works  - quest for research

Written by Sergey Tarassov

Three hundred years gap

I do not know how astrology works. There are many good and very good books about astrology, good at describing WHAT and WHEN, but they do not give us an understanding of HOW. It is not what we need in the beginning of the 21st century. Here are some thoughts about the astrology that I would like to see, but not about the astrology that we have now.

When I began studying astrology long time ago, I felt myself more confortable reading old authors writings than a majority of modern ones. My favorite author is Al-Biruni. Reading his books written a thousand years ago, I see a University style of thinking that reflects a style of research as it was on the edge of the first and second millennium - time when Al-Biruni lived.

Then many centuries followed when astrology was a part of university programs in Europe. And three hundred years ago astrology left university doors, leaving as well the main stream  of knowledge evolution. From my point of view, it was a tragedy. The tragedy, as we have lost 300 years.

 Let me explain why this is important. I came to astrology from science, science is my background. Accordingly, I have a lot of friends in the scientific community all over the world. We discuss many things and ideas. When I mention something involving astrology, I usually get some resistance from their side, they simply do not discuss this subject at all. Many of them, at least half of my friends. Let say I am trying to explain what a person might feel when the Moon passes Pisces. As soon as I say "Moon in Pisces", they tend to stop conversation as it is a prejudice from their point of view. They may listen to me if I go to some practical example. I might say that I am in a specific mood today, from the moment I woke up.  I feel very romantic, open to the Universe, in peace with anyone and anything. Together with my wife, we go to a cafe nearby and meet a friend there. We discuss the weather, latest news - and I feel that both of them, my wife and my friend, are in the same mood. I skype to my friends in Russia - and feel that they are in the same mood, too. To an astrologer, it is obvious - Moon in Pisces. To my scientific friends, it is better to talk about a phenomenon of "mood synchronization"; some synchronization is present in our World, isn't it? My scientific friends tend to agree with this statement.  Maybe, there is some periodicity in this mood synchronization? Why not, it is quite possible. We are talking now, so I do the most important step going further: "You know, Moon phases affect the stock market behavior. There are research papers regarding this subject, and it can be accepted as a statistically verified fact. Why cannot you accept the idea that when the Moon passes different zones of Zodiac,  it affects our psyche in a certain way? It is similar to a certain effect of a rain or cold weather on our psyche."  I simply rephrased my thought of the Moon in Pisces using words understandable to them. And my friends from the science side are almost ready to accept my arguments. Almost - but something still holdsw them not allowing to do that. There is something missing there that makes a difference between a prejudice and a positive knowledge.

In the 21st century it is not enough to describe HOW the Moon in Pisces affects our psyche; in the 21st century we should try to answer the question WHY the Moon works this way. A research involving different fields of knowledge (medical, sociological, etc.) should be conducted regarding this subject. This is a standard of any science of the 21st century while astrology still lives in the 17th century. The astrologers have written a lot of books illustrating HOW planets affect us. However it does not make astrology more incorporated into our World. From my understanding, astrology has two choices. #1 is accepting and applying step by step scientific standards of the 21st century. #2 is to continue self-restriction by the concept that astrology is only an art and has nothing to do with the science or taking it as a tool for self-improvement or some hidden/esoteric knowledge for chosen etc. I believe that Al-Biruni, my teacher from the previous millennium, would choose the first option.  

Astrology can be helpful in many ways, and I personally know many good astrologers who actually are helping people. My concern is more about possibilities that we are missing now. As a result of this three hundred years gap, astrology these days tries to return its position by incorporating with psychology, while psychology should be grown from astrology. Any medical professional should know at least basics of astrology, but we do not have that. Any HR professional and family consultant should know basics of synastry, and we too do not have that. Astrology should be widely applied to analyze economical phenomena and stock market. There are a lot of things where astrology and only astrology can be applied. With all of these, astrology would have other social status, other client base, other financial position.   


Astrology in finance

The idea of that three hundred year gap appeared to me when I tried to share my astro hobby with my University mates. I considered it again in the process of developing the software to analyze the stock market. My focus was a market forecast. Why the stock market? The reason is simple:  in the beginning, it was availability of data and ability to test models quickly. Later it became personal. Using my knowledge of the modern mathematics, I was able to develope two kinds of modules: 1) modules based on different mathematical techniques (like spectral analysis, wavelets, auto-regression, neural network) and 2) modules based on astronomical/astrological factors. Both categories were very interesting for me, and I could apply my experience in developing the software for science (nuclear physics) and astrology (several software packages devoted to different branches of astrology). Still, I had to study a lot of special materials regarding these subjects. Now, in more than 20 years after starting this enterprise, I would confirm that projection lines based on astronomical/astrological techniques  usually are more reliable. 20 years comparison of math and astro based techniques support this conclusion. I guarantee that this comparison is fair, I am equally interested in both techniques. It means that astro techniques can add a good value to market professionals. It is not a surprise that astrology based ideas are very demanded in finance now. This is a good news.

The bad news is: the results we have got analyzing real financial data are totally different from what we anticipated applying the knowledge of classical natal astrology. As an example, let us take basic, Ptolemy aspects. Analyzing their effect on stock market movements, we cannot separate "good" (60 and 120 degrees) and "bad" (90,180 degrees) aspects that are common in natal astrology. They work differently for different planets and different financial instruments. "Good" aspects may be not beneficial at all, while "bad" aspects may be not so bad. The same is true for planetary positions, quality of planets and signs of Zodiac; they all may work in an absolutely unexpected way. My first impression was: "This is a complete Terra Incognita"; in terms of a research, practically nobody was here before. No doubts, my teachers Donald Bradley, Alphee Lavoie, Bill Meridian have done a huge job. But once again, I tried to open wider a door that adds the modern science approach to the astrological research. When we apply the strict statistical criteria for astrological research, the picture looks different than expected due to the rules of Natal astrology. As Alphee Lavoie commented once regarding this situation when the most common astrological rules do not work or work some other way: "Astronomy works, astrology does not".  

In this situation the only choice we have is to analyze all models, thousands and thousands of them, for all financial instruments. It is a necessary information to gather, before making any conclusions. And in the process we are getting more surprises. For example, we have found that Ganue index of cyclical variations definitely correlates with the stock market. This is this index together with SNP500 index:

This index shows the balance between waxing and waning angle separations (aspects) between planets. In the same manner, we can consider the angle separation between the Moon and the Sun only. We can separate the waxing Moon (it occurs between the New and Full Moons, increasing light) and the waning Moon (between the Full and New Moons, decreasing light) exactly as we did for waxing and waning of other planets. Based on this idea, the dynamic model has been developed, much more advanced and much more precise. This model is widely used now. This is how it looks for the same data:

I would like to explain in detail the way of getting this model. It is an example that shows how the University style researching process works. I emphasize "University style" because very often astrologers call "a research" some process that is not quite a research.

Our initial point is the knowledge that the stockmarket goes up when there are more waxing angle separations between the planets and goes down when there are more waning separations. That knowledge is received through the index of cyclical vibration (which shows a balance between waxing/waning angle separations).  I will skip here the explanation how we have found that this index works for S&P500; this is a standard procedure in Timing Solution. It is important for us to know that this is a fact, and we create a model based on it. Will I use that model for my trading? Not yet; I need to be sure that this is really "the model", there is nothing to add to it or to improve it. That is why I need to do a research.

The first step of any research is analysis, i.e. we define and analyze all playing factors, in attempt to understand how these factors work. And final step is synthesis - we put all these factors together trying to improve our model. The example we discuss now involves many factors. Let us consider just one of them: waxing (=increasing light) and waning (=decreasing light) Moons. Based on our knowledge above, we assume that S&P500 goes up when the Moon is waxing and it goes down when the Moon is waning. Accordingly, there are two turning points: the Moon-Sun conjunction (=the New Moon) for the bottom and the Moon-Sun opposition (=the Full Moon) for the top. It sounds good. But...

The Composite diagram shows a totally different result: instead of moving between these two points (the New Moon and the Full Moon), the price goes up when the Moon-Sun angle separation varies in the range of 220 degrees - 30 degrees; otherwise it goes down:

Instead of expected New and Full moons, the Moon-Sun turning points in reality are associated with 30 and 220 degrees angles; it is a kind of the shifted waxing-waning model. This new knowledge improves our model.

Then we have to do the same for other factors, for angle separations of other planetary pairs.

A special Neural Network model has been developed to handle these phenomena; more about it is here:

The creation of such a model is synthesis: we build a Neural Network based on our new knowledge and estimate how well this model forecasts S&P500.

Getting an improved model is not the only result of this research. We also have gathered some new piece of knowledge specific to financial astrology: it looks like that the process of some aspect formation is more important than the culmination of this aspect (which is typical for natal astrology). From the point of view of financial astrology, what happens to the financial instrument that we explore when two planets are moving to form a trine (as an example) appears being more important than what happens to that financial instrument when this aspects actually culminates. The aspect is working before its culmination. The process of expectation of some event is more important than the event itself. Does it remind you something? When some expected event takes place, the stock market does not react on it too much, the stock market has already incorporated this event in advance. It is a stock market efficiency theory, is not it?

For me, it took 10 years to finalize this model as it is now; and I feel that there are more possibilities to improve it. My guess is that some other mathematics should be applied there.

What I have described above is a sample of a research as it should be. I did that as many people around keep asking about it or suggesting some projects involving an extensive research. But the situation with astrology and astrologers now means that these researches are possible as a personal enterprise only. There is no an established tradition of astrological research now, it should appear in the future. I must say that there were and there are some researchers in astrology (like Gauquelin, Alphee Lavoie's research group), but these are private initiatives and do not make a tradition/school. The things that astrologers call "research" in most cases are not research actually, mostly these are multiple examples that illustrate some concept. 

This is a regular procedure for any scientific research. It is exactly what I did in the past working at the Institute of Nuclear research in Russia. I was a team member there; the team had a goal: to develop a software to analyze a multipactor discharge process. My task was to develop a model that is able to forecast the location of the next MP discharge in any real particle acceleration structure. We have started with learning what was already done regarding this subject. We have found several good scientific papers. Some of them have been written long time ago, so we simply continued their work. When it has been finished, our software product was used in different scientific centers in Europe and US (CERN, FermiLab and others). The original software was customized in regards to demands of each facility. The adaptation process was easy as we did a thorough research: analyzed all known then important factors and combined them into a working model. And still, more research is still needed there. I hope that somebody in the future will use this knowledge to develope a better software. Actually, another team is already working on it and applying it to other type of a physical process. This is a way how a scientific research goes: applying past achievements, gathering a new knowledge and passing it further. In astrology we do not have this ability yet as there is no research environment or this environment is too tiny.


How astrology works

I do not think that we may get the answer to this question in the nearest future. There is no explanation of that yet. Gravitational/tidal or electromagnetic forces are not helping to understand how astrology works.

Let us consider gravitation as a possible explanation. What we know now is: the gravitation from the Sun, the Earth and the Moon dominates; due to that, the gravitational force from planets can be simply ignored. Look at this table of values for gravity and tidal forces for different objects:

The theory that explains how astrology works may appear in the future when a huge volume of real research will be done. Getting a theory that works is actually a Big Prize rewarding huge research efforts. Right now we are at a stage of getting a lot of random facts. They need to be gathered and systematized. And then the theory may appear. Usually a new theory comes suddenly: at some moment random facts follow into some order, so we can see the whole picture. Like it happened with Newton's apple. Better take it as a gift and do not try to invent it.

Personally, I think that an astrological influence is a very indirect one. There is some missing link there. Probably it has something to do with information or/and time metrics. Just for thought: one ancient Chinese philosopher said "this time is over, the time has changed its color". Everything looks the same, though something has been changed in the Universe, time has changed - and we understand that in the world around us that looks exactly the same as before, now everything will be different. New events that have not happened before are happening now, or the same events as always may have now a different outcome. Everything is the same, but  the "time color" is different.

Maybe, astrology is about that "time color". Starting from this moment, I will skip "maybe" for simplicity. Our time is much more complicated than the plain time flow measured by clocks. It (the time) has some structure (do not forget about "maybe"), and this structure is different for different moments. According to the modern science (without "maybe"), only a huge gravitational force like the one in black holes can change the flow of time; this is the only thing that we know about time structure now.

We may assume that planets moving around the Sun generate their own specific time flow that interacts with the main time flow, and it forms a fine structure of our time. Some information regarding this subject can be found here ;

What does a planetary time metric mean? Time metric by itself is a way to measure the time. We used think about it as minutes, hours, days, etc. But - we may delegate a function of TIME to some other process. If it would be, let say, the angle separation between some two planets or a planetary speed, we would deal with planetary time metric. Look at this example. This is a trend line that connects two turning points, A and B:

It is a standard chart. To measure the time, the universal time (UT) is used here. It means that the distance between the dates August 1 and August 11 is exactly the same as the distance between August 11 and August 21, and exactly the same as the distance between August 21 and August 31, etc.

Now we modify the price chart; let us use Mars speed as a measure of time:

The distance between August 1 and August 11 is proportional to an averaged Mars speed within this period. This procedure stretches the time scale, moreover it stretches time scale in an  irregular way. As you see, the distances between the dates are uneven there. The trend line drawn this way hits different points of the price chart now, it changes the topology of our price chart.

If you do not like astronomy/astrology, try some other time metric - true range. The distance between two dates is proportional to averaged true range (High-Low) within this period. Here it is:

Thus for volatile periods the time flow is faster and vice versa.

The price charts drawn in alternative time metrics are significantly different than price charts drawn standard way, they hit different points. Maybe some metric (s) allow(s) to reveal the cycles that are invisible from the point of view of classical cyclical analysis. Or maybe some metric(s) are able to make a charting process more successful.

This is just one of hypotheses (i.e. ideas that are not proven yet, while they have a potential to become a theory), and will stay as a hypothesis until a necessary amount of research is done.

I like what Newton said just before astrology left the university environment: "Hypotheses non fingo" (Latin; means "I feign no hypotheses"). I prefer to test what we have already and gather as much knowledge as possible to make a way for a deeper understanding. I want a theory to appear.


August 17, 2018


Toronto, Canada