The case for scientific astrology [constantly updated]

Appeal to readers: If I may, I’ve been noticing a steady very surprising flow of traffic to this page and if you stick around till the end of the article and if you have the time, please give comments on what you agree with and what you don’t so I can continue to refine the search for truth per se.

Wow, this trip to India has been vastly informative, if only because I’ve been routinely devouring my Gramp’s personal library of astrology books, mostly by BV Raman. Now this BV Raman guy is world-famous [don’t take it from me, google him] and he firmly believed that Astrology is a science. What’s more he believed it to be so sublime, that we have merely grazed the outer shell of understanding. But then again, his specialty was Hindu predictive astrology [which IMNSHO kicks Greek astrological ass], so you may think what you know [or don’t know] about Greek [or what we call Western] Astrology applies to everything. It doesn’t.

I love this concept. There’s an element of truth in everything and so Astrology, an ancient recorded science should have at least a glimmer of fact behind the fiction. To me, Astrology is as fascinating as DNA, and just as scientific! And these few days, all these wonderful ideas have been hitting me ever so often; it was all I could do to rush to an Internet cafe at the earliest possible opportunity and defend this sea of knowledge from the most shallow skeptics. The hardcore guys, we’ll deal with later.

I don’t claim to be an expert or even a novice, but what little I have uncovered has convinced me that there’s something to this art, and if you disagree, I’m afraid unless you have a compelling argument, I’m unlikely to be swayed. We’ll just skim through the most common causes for skepticism from the less informed public.

Is astrology scientific? No doubt about it. This isn’t some work of fiction a la Necronomicon. The fact that it sprung up independently in different regions of the world with roughly the same principles is only evidence to the “unchanging” nature of these basic laws. For example, Western, Hindu AND Chinese astrology have 12 divisions and all consider the movements of the Sun and/or the moon [lunar calendars were used previously].
Also the use of planets and the categorizing of houses to denote certain inclinations isn’t really arbitrary and while I can’t tell you why they were assigned such qualities [the works have been lost I guess], I can tell you that it wouldn’t work any other way. Isn’t that logical? The horoscope MUST be the same if the qualities of houses and planets are only arbitrary, but they aren’t. This indicates axiomatic principles.
On a related note, did you know that the days of the week are actually named after astrological Gods [eg Sunday is day of the sun, Monday is day of Moon, Saturday is day of Saturn and so on]. Well check this. I don’t know about the Chinese days of the week, but in India the same tradition is followed and days of the week are also named after astrological planets in the same order my bad [Gnayiru is sun, thingal is moon, bhudhan is Mercury, sani is Saturn], and this was done independently of the Babylonians/Greeks. Too many coincidences warrant a deeper look rather than shallow scorn.

In my experience I feel that in some cases astrology has spurred the search for, and even [in a coupla cases] predicted the existence of some planets not known before, cos in ancient times, astronomy and astrology weren’t that distinctive at all. This is one of the wondrous things I’m often in awe of.
On that note, there’s really no reason to condemn astrology. If you’re skeptical, so be it. Just think about this.

If the moon can affect tides and winds, and you check the weather forecast when planning what to do the next day, you’re just THAT much closer to consulting astrology. It’s pretty much the same thing innit? Just on a grander scale.

edit: Again, think about it. Time as a physical concept is asymmetric yes? Yet going back in time is an urban myth. Why? Thermodynamics. Constant increase of entropy. However if that were the only factor, the only method in the madness, then wouldn’t the entropy-increase eventually hit fever-pitch and just stay at the max possible rate until the stars die out? That’s not what we observe, despite the common complaint that the world constantly and ineveitably hurtling ever faster to the dogs, it doesn’t seem to always take the path of maximum entropy. Why?

If nothing else, Astrology has been [or was] conducted in the Scientific Method, with hundreds of years of observation and records to its credit. If experiment is the hallmark of science, astrology IS a science.

I quote what my gramps has compiled: Astrology can be defined as the science of human experience in the backdrop of the space and time, and it investigates the correlation between the microcosm and macrocosm.

Mathematics is essential for astrology, as the movements of the planets are carefully painstakingly calculated and accounted for, even those highly unusual and surprisingly regular retrograde motions. Sure Galileo was burnt at the stake for saying the earth revolves around the sun, but in a relative frame, the other planets ARE revolving around the earth, with respect to the earth. And this is a central axiom for astrology. Try not to find fault with this; maybe you can explain to me why 1 + 1 = 2? It’s an axiom dammit, and without axioms, a system cannot stand. Anyway I just got a cool idea which I’ll expand on later which MIGHT, [just maybe] explain this.
Just because the system is relative to Earth doesn’t mean they don’t account for the variations in orbit of the other planets.
Indeed, if you notice the passage of the planets through the houses, it will not be exactly the same. Relative to earth, the orbits are elliptical.

Astrology is the science of tendencies, in the words of BV Raman, and any further questions on predeterminism must remain unanswered. Join the club, this sucks! Actually, on a more optimistic note, I’d then draw parallels and say it doesn’t conflict with quantum theory at all! 😀

edit: Predeterminism is a tough nut to crack really. If only because astrology kinda sorta implies fate, or does it? I’d say think again. While it can’t be argued if you were fated to be born [you weren’t really asked were you? Me neither 😦 ], free will is your tool, your weapon and even your birthright. Not that they allow you to exercise it fully nowadays, but free will cannot be disputed. To be in the control of absolute fate, you wouldn’t even be given the illusion of a choice.
There is the additional system of Gocharam or progressive horoscope, which is what they use to calculate yearly forecasts. Now why would the planets having moved change the snapshot of what was originally your individual horoscope? Think about it, if the birth chart is enough [considering we have the average speed and orbit equation for each planet], we wouldn’t need the ephemeridae at all. We could just calculate for everyone using once person’s chart. But that’s not the case. It depends on where you were born, it depends on how long it’s been since you were born. In fact updated ephemeridae are always preferred to pre-calculated almanacs.

The planets tend to be in certain positions every year, but the exact time and location [as in houses of the chart] is not really fixed, and keep in mind retrogression is a major phenomenon, it really makes no sense to base all deductions on the basic birth chart.
Ultimately, my point is, I don’t believe in fate, but I’ll take whatever landmarks there are that point to my destiny. 😉

Factoid alert: In Sanskrit, astrology is called jyothisha, or “science of light”. Previously, it was called Hora Shastra [manual of time?]. Also, one of the root words of astrology [aster] means star in Greek. And this features prominently even in everyday language, in words like disaster. Cool eh?

OK now this is what gets most people flustered? Doesn’t Astrology somehow imply that two/more people born on the same day at the same time and even at the same place essentially have the same horoscope? Well yes, theoretically. Two people born at the same time [give or take a few minutes; any more and all bets are off] at the same place do have the same astrological outlook, owing to the similar positions of the planets in the birthchart. That’s why the term “astral twins” has been coined and a lot of correlations have been made. And this is subject to a LOT of criticism.

But never mind fleeting examples of astral twins.How about real twins? Born maybe a coupla minutes apart in some cases. Or even two babies born in the same region at the same time? Ok, relax, I’ve been there too. In fact this affected me more than it affects a normal skeptic, cos I’m a skeptic-turned-believer. I WANT to believe and even the slightest doubt breaks me down.
Ok I have three ways to account for why twins [astral or otherwise] do not live exactly similar lives as astrology predicts.
Well for all that talk about being identical, even their DNA isn’t exactly similar by any account.

First up, I’d like to think of this logically. It has not been established where/when exactly life begins, and in the mainstream we cast the nativity at the exact time of birth.

Excerpt: Potential Problems with Time of Birth

There is a difference of opinion among astrologers on what constitutes the actual time of birth. Some say birth occurs as soon as the child’s head first appears from the birth canal, others say that the head must be fully out, others insist that birth has occurred when the child takes its first breath (proven by a baby’s first cry), and still others say that birth has truly occurred when the umbilical cord is cut.

Not knowing the exact time of birth can alter the accuracy of the birth chart, as the first house of a birth chart reveals which planet was on the ascendant (on the horizon) just at the time of birth. The planets move along the horizon every two hours.Even knowing how to decide the exact time of birth is often not enough to draw up an accurate chart if the parents do not record the actual time right at the birth. In many hospitals, birth times are not recorded accurately but at the convenience of the doctor or nurse. They can be as much as ten or fifteen minutes off. Therefore, many birth charts are based on approximate birth times.

It is not unknown in astrology to cast horoscopes for ideas [born in the mind], for events and even constructs. However more horary methods are employed for these. So to explain the more fundamental differences, perhaps we should be looking earlier, closer to the time of conception. Monozygotic or dizygotic? If monzygotic, do you count the initial zygote or after it’s been split? If dizygotic, then surely the exact time of fertilisation is likely to differ. Add to these further complications of hidden twins, vanishing twins and even parasitic twins, woah the issue is more complicated than you think. These factors might affect the “fate” of the child in question, astrologically.

edit: Moreover, call this a low blow if you want, but an un-birthed child is still part of the mother? I’m even inclined to think an unborn child isn’t “biologically” alive. There are so many things that could happen anytime from conception to actual birth that it’s really a stroke of luck a healthy baby is born [just less obvious with modern medicine]. A developing embryo; how is it different from a man on life-support? The mother’s health dictates the baby’s health and vice versa? Think, think! Of course let’s not get into the implications of this on pro-choice/pro-life. FWIW, I’m pro-choice.

And secondly, nature vs nurture. Astrology is a science of tendencies. Just because a birthchart indicates that you have the possibility of becoming rich, doesn’t mean you can spend every cent that gets into your wallet and expect the prophecy to be fulfilled. It takes effort on your part too. So on that note, if you think about it, how you’re brought up and your unique psychological motivating factors will be different. Yeah twins have the same horoscope per se, and that will highlight their possible temperaments and inclinations, and can even warn of incidents that may occur, but exactly how they go about solving their problems, how they react to the world and each other is not dictated by astrology. Some astrologers are of the opinion that sometimes twins exhibit complementary behaviour as if the overall superposition is such that it fulfills the original horoscope. Maybe maybe! This might even fall in with the secret language of the twins yada yada.

And thirdly, I cannot begin to emphasize how tempting it is to assume that planets stand still when a birth is occurring. They don’t. Here are some figures to help illustrate the point.

The zodiac is made of 12 signs, so roughly it’s 30deg/sign from the beginning of Aries to the end of Pisces.
Times the Planets Spend in each Sign [of the zodiac]:

Sun – 1 month = 1deg/day
Moon – 2¼ days = 13.3deg/day
Mars – 45 days = 0.667deg/day
Mercury – around 1 month = 1deg/day
Jupiter – 1 year = .0822deg/day
Venus – 1 month = 1deg/day
Saturn – 2¼ years = .0365deg/day
Rahu – 1½ years
Ketu – 1½ years

Ignore Rahu and Ketu, they’re not really planets.
From wikipedia: Astronomically, Rahu and Ketu denotes the two points of intersection of the paths of the Sun and the Moon as they move on the celestial sphere. Therefore, Rahu and Ketu are respectively called the north and the south lunar nodes.

Also the time ascendant spends in each sign is different at different latitudes. This allows for a LOT of variation in birthcharts.

Add to this the fact there are minor constellations called asterisms [in Hindu predictive astrology, which all have Western counterparts], and these span 13.3deg each so all in all there there are 27 unique asterisms in a certain order.

They are:
The Limbs of the Sidereal Zodiac Name of Constellation Deg Min Deg Min
1. Beta Arietis (Aswini) 00 00 13 20
2. 41 Arietis (Bharani) 13 20 26 40
3. Eta Tauri (Karthika) 26 40 40 00
4. Alpha Tauri (Rohini ) 40 00 53 20
5. Lamda Orionis (Mrigasira) 53 20 66 40
6. Alpha Orionis (Aridra) 66 40 80 00
7. Beta Geminorum (Punarvasu) 80 00 93 20
8. Delta Cancri (Pushya) 93 20 106 40
9. Alpha Cancri (Aslesha) 106 40 120 00
10. Alpha Leonis (Magha) 120 00 133 20
11. Delta Leonis (Pubba) 133 20 146 40
12. Beta Leonis (Uttara) 146 40 160 00
13. Delta Corvi (Hasta) 160 00 173 20
14. Alpha Virginis (Chitra) 173 20 186 40
15. Alpha Bootis (Chothi) 186 40 200 00
16. Beta Librae (Vishakam) 200 00 213 20
17. Delta Scorpi (Anuradha) 213 20 226 40
18. Alpha Scorpi (Jyeshta) 226 40 240 00
19. Lamda Scorpi (Moola) 240 00 253 20
20. Delta Sagittari (Poorvashad) 253 20 266 40
21. Delta Sagittari (Uthrashad) 266 40 280 00
22. Alpha Aquilae (Sravana) 280 00 293 20
23. Alpha Delphini (Dhanishta) 293 20 306 40
24. Lamda Aquari (Satabhisha) 306 40 320 00
25. Alpha Pegasi (Poorvabhadra) 320 00 333 20
26. Alpha Andromeda (Uttrarabhadra) 333 20 346 40
27. Zeta Piscium (Revathi) 346 40 360 00

As you can imagine, there are 2.25 asterisms/sign then, and so if you would divide each asterism by 4, each sign/house will then have 9 parts, called “padas”. And each pada is 1.478deg. The moon can traverse one pada in just two hours, if you calculate it all. And btw these aren’t exact figures, they’re not this evenly divided.

Now the planetary positions can be pinpointed to within specific padas in specific asterisms, and since the asterisms also independently have rulers [3 asterisms/astro-planet], in Hindu [lunar] astrology the lord of the asterism the moon is in gives the native’s dasa schedule.

Dasa, in my limited understanding, is like planet-influenced ages that the native goes through in his life. A few seconds of difference alters these [cyclical] readings in significant enough ways. And the dasa ages [length] are sorta independent of the Gochara.

1. Ketu [dasa] 7 years
2. Venus ” 20 years
3. Sun ” 6 years
4. Moon ” 10 years
5. Mars ” 7 years
6. Rahu ” 18 years
7. Jupiter ” 16 years
8. Saturn ” 19 years
9. Mercury ” 17 years

And these add up to 120 years. I don’t know anyone who lived till 120, and guess what, the dasa system basically affirms any suspicion you might have; yeap, the exact same chart [down to the degree of each planet] can only ever happen again every 120 years. Need more proof for individuality?

Within each dasa,there are 9 bhuktis which are smaller time frames and these are the same planetary sequence but now adding up to the total of each dasa [I suspect in same proportion too]. Each dasa starts with its own bhukti except the dasa you were born in, which is variable. And within each bhukthi are 9 antaras. Reiterative focussing of timescales.

And the unique killer feature in Hindu astrology is the ability to predict [specific events], giving you a sense of when good or bad things are going to happen. And that is done with the help of the birth chart and the dasa/bhukthi/antara schedule. If certain planets are inharmoniously placed in the birth chart, then in that lord’s or that planet’s dasa/bhukthi/both, you can expect certain things depending on the progressive chart’s aspects on the natal chart.

The significance of the dasa system is only obvious in the overall scheme of things. Firstly, the birth chart may say such lovely things, but if you’re going through the Saturn dasa [traditionally a hard-times period except if Saturn is in a good place in the natal chart], you might have to rough it for a while. But hey the entire Saturn dasa isn’t that bad, only certain inimical bhukthis within it. And the entire bhukthi isn’t that bad, only a few months of a specific inimical antara.
It is said that a normal human’s lifespan, in the absence of any specidic malefic combinations, is equivalent to either the time he takes to live through 5 Jupiter bhukthis [NOT dasa] , or 3 Saturn Bhukthis [if I’m not wrong…]

And now you consider the retrogade and stationary motion of planets other than the Sun and moon [they don’t really move back, just appear to do is wrt Earth] at certain times. Why? Well, we know now that the earth is also in motion. So the planets which usually have pretty circular orbits about the Sun have very erratic elliptical orbits about the Earth. I don’t know if you can visualise that, but it’s pretty cool. Since the ellipse may not be symmetrical, and also the apparent speed of the planets other than the Sun are not always constant depending on the Earth velocity [speed AND direction], the planets move fast, slow, appear stationary or even appear to be in retrograde motion at various times in the year, but at about the same time every year.

You can see that there’s a healthy bit of math required to calculate any birthchart. I would love to divulge further details of these planetary mechanisms, but frankly, I don’t know them. It’s said that poking around too much in the calculations of planetary motion will invite bad luck and so Gramps won’t let me touch it. The possibility of every planet being in the exact same position, down to the pada is quite rare, and in that case, yeah horoscope will be similar.

But then again, I can’t impress upon you how complex it gets. I haven’t seen evidence of this even in Greek astrology. In Greek astrology, you note the influence of planets in signs, as if playing a modified roulette game.. The signs with no planets in them don’t put forward any quantifiable information. This is not the case for Hindu astrology. Each sign has a ruling planet, or lord, and the actual position of the ruling planet of favourable or unfavourable houses counting from the ascendant ALSO affects the reading, even thought the ruling planet is not in the (un)favourable house itself. It’s like getting past multiple pages in the later chapters of the Death Note manga without taking a break.

An example, let’s say Ascendant is in Leo.Then the 4th and 5th houses are Scorpio and Saggitarius, ruled by Mars and Jupiter respectively, are friendly to the Sun and therefore the position of Jupiter and Mars in any of the houses will give benefits. So if Jupiter is in Aquarius, the 7th house [although it is the lord of the 5th but is not in 5th] in the natal chart, which governs married life and conjugal bliss among other things, there are good effects due to the presence of a benefic planet. However, Aquarius is ruled by Saturn, who is not really conducive for Jupiter, and so these good effects either come piecemeal, after a period of trial OR the benefic effect is lessened.

Of course, regardless of the origin of the branch of astrology you’re interested in, you’ll notice it has been combined and intricately weaved in with the mythology of the people who studied it. I totally understand if a non-mystic is peeved by the mention of gods and remedial measures to appease malevolent deities and some such. Not my cup of tea either. I’d like to see astrology in a new light; as alternative healing, personal improvement and even as a gentle warning sign.
It’s no joke that sometimes some hints are offered by astrology that can shed light on what exactly a patient may be suffering from when conventional medicine fails, especially in psychology. It’s not always your mum’s fault!!
If astrology states that you’re prone to moodiness and unfairly lashing out at others, you can try to not do those things, rather than claim you have no choice in the matter.
And while I don’t subscribe to magazines’ daily horoscopes, bonafide astrological outlooks are pretty helpful in my experience.
To me, the mystical side is an unfortunate by-product of traditional methods of passing down information. I don’t want to believe in living gods or even gods who actually give a damn. [Don’t get me started, that will the discussion of maybe another article.]

edit: The lack of credibility of this “pseudoscience” is largely due to an unconscious conspiracy theory that started with the advent of the Scientific Revolution. This a classic FUD phenomenon. The advantages are called dangerous and blasphemous, and the disadvantages [caused only due to lack of support] are nitpicked into enormity. Suddenly centuries-old sciences that didn’t have ready explanations got shunned and looked down upon and sneered at even at passing mention by upstart scientists. -_-” Also no thanks to this sad sad chapter in history, “research” into astrology came to a halt, and what we predict now are not attuned to modern times. Astrologers do try, but the fact remains they’re using older manuals for modern readings. I don’t want to have to make do with slightly offbeat predictions about conveyances and palanquins and accurately nail down between a Ferrari or a Porsche.
I love Science, but I think to hastily drive away other camps without proper investigation is not true to the Scientific Method.

Even with strong resistance from the Forer effect camp, I maintain that astrology is not just hot air. Read that excerpt man, that passage applies to anybody! Regardless of whether it was a horoscope or a personality quiz result or even a verbal assessment, you’d have said yes. Do note that with that excerpt you can’t correctly nail any particular sign. You can’t. Maybe a more accurate way to experiment would be to give a Taurean a Piscean description and a Geminian an Aquarian description and see if they have anything to say about that. [Ascendants not included; details told separately :P]

And now we come to the crux of the matter. The mystics justify the exact method of how celestial objects affect human lives with the simple phrase: cosmic influences. And this is the biggest nut to crack. What the fish are these cosmic influences? I’m proud to announce, ladies and gentlemen, as wrong as I may turn out to be, I have stumbled very blindly on a possible answer that is not only scientifically possible, but also predicted by modern physics but not yet confirmed. Maybe when it IS confirmed, we will see correlations. Let me waste no time whatsoever to re-introduce something Einstein just casually pointed at. Gravitational waves!

That’s right, gravitational waves. To me this makes so much sense. They are truly cosmic; they extend over large distances, but the magnitude of the Gravitational constant renders it so weak at infinitely large distances that we need not consider planets outside our own solar system. In fact even within the solar system, it is weak enough to only be an influence rather than a defining law. How say you? In an Aquarian age that discusses the possibility of telepathy via Schumann Resonance, biological auras captured with Kirlian photography and teleportation methods a la Philadelphia Experiment [thanks RongHe!], in an age that contemplates the co-existence of the yet unexplained with possibilities of what is already known, is this not possible?

No really, I’d LOVE to hear your opinions.

edit: I’m really sorry. In my initial excitement to propose gravitational waves as a possible candidate for cosmic influences, I forgot to touch on how it might work.
Astrologers often say that a balanced horoscope isn’t a jumble of keywords corresponding to every pattern noticed, but the amalgamation [superposition] of all these traits [based on strength of influences] into very specific personalized readings. Note I used the word superposition. I didn’t make that up.

Gravitational waves, in constructive or destructive interference at earth due to various planets, affect the “magnitude” of the influence, or the likeliness of its happening. On that note, constructive alone doesn’t mean good, and destructive doesn’t mean bad, the amplitude says nothing about the nature of the wave. Each planet has its own type of influence [masculine, feminine, upward-facing or downward-facing, benefic or malefic] depending on which system you’re using. It is interesting to note that independently, most systems list Saturn as malefic,[waxing] Moon and Jupiter as benefic and so on.

To the more practical minded, that brings into question whether astrology assumes apparent distance as equal for all planets [which would certainly simplify things a LOT] or whether actual distances are used. Of course these are not considered in the birth chart; but to truly have a scientific basis, the system must be shown to be tight. I’m trying to work that out.

Although gravitational waves as a model work on the basis of an asymmetric surface [of the non-terrestrial planets], I figure practically it could be the difference in density at various sectors. That makes more sense and sets the stage for continual wave propagation.

Also this will then set the stage for the possibility of standing waves [resonance, however fleeting], which give you the planetary aspects phenomena, with sextile, trine, square, semi-square, sesquare yadayada. Maybe. And guess what? Independent astrological systems actually agree for the most part on whether these aspects tend to be benefic or malefic.

Ye know? I really think something good can be worked out, and then we’ll have something solid to prove our case.

PS: Check this. Futher readings have since alerted to me to the clue of Doppler effect, something we CAN expect with waves. They say that since the 7 planets are moving clockwise, their “rays” are stretched to the left. Frequency of the waves anyone?
Also, there’s a special phenomenon called combustion [asthanga] that happens when any of the extra solar planets happen to be within a specified range of degrees close to the sun, apparently not actually. In this case, what happens is the “rays” of the planet is said to be combust, weakened by the proximity to the Sun, regardless of whether they’re friendly to the Sun or not.
This gives me a general vibe that maybe it’s not apparent distance between planets we’re looking at but actual distances in human interpretable terms. Considering the Hindus were the one of the first to come anywhere close to estimating the age of the universe [all 4.6billion years of it], I don’t put this past them, however “primitive” their methods may have been. Also there may be an element of light and how it affects astrological stuff as well.

Why not? Light and gravity travel at the same speed. If gravity can affect [attract] light, maybe light can affect gravity. And besides, the Sun IS massive. It would make sense that if planets are in line, they would naturally be behind the Sun, and their “rays” when passing by the Sun will be semi-absorbed.

Indian astrology does not really feature the extra-Saturnine planets at all, in normal cases. That’s cos these planets take SO long to orbit that their influences are generational and cannot rightly be applied to individual castings. Fair enough. In fact even Western astrologers will agree with this, although in Western astrology these planets feature as one among the nine and rule over at least one sign [until the hypothetical or as yet unknown ones are found.]

If you read the “hardcore guys” link, you’ll notice he mentions something about gravity and EM not being possible because, by the gravitational formula, distance dictates faster decrease in magnitude for futher away objects and EM is disqualified because the Sun isn’t considered a major planet[???] but it really should be .

Well if he’d done his research, the Sun IS the most important planet [in that the Sun’s sign and the time of birth will pave the way to fixing the ascendant, which is supremely important.] And with terms like combustion and the alias “science of light” floating around, I wouldn’t be surprised if EM waves [light among them] also play a major or significant role in astrology.
Now back to gravitation objection, no one is saying the Sun and Moon do not play a major role. They do. In fact as I mentioned earlier, the sun and moon signs alone tell more about your astrological make-up than the rest of the planets combined. The planets give details and highlight specific strengths. No one goes around saying “My mercury is in Gemini; tell me all my characteristics.” To even ask would be pretty stupid.
And what’s more, the planets DON’T stand still. Independently moving celestial bodies with seemingly infinite combination of amplitudes of constructive and destructive gravitational interference when the signals hit Earth; different degrees of intensity.
And finally, yes the gravitational force is damn small, but the same scientist in him didn’t recall that even this small force may threaten to stop the expansion of the Universe and may even eventually cause a Big Crunch despite the infinitesimal magnitude of the gravitational constant and the astronomical distances involved. It adds up man. I should know; I’ve always wanted to fly.

Asteroids/comets: yeah there are a lot of them and they may very well add up to a lot of mass collectively BUT they’re randomly placed all over the place. By probability, give or take, the effects cancel out. Our solar system is asymmetrical, asteroid placement [on average] may not be. That can apply to the rest of the Universe as well and why it doesn’t feature in Astrology. While it IS possible or instantaneous changes in density along a given direction, for the most part, the Universe is infinitely big and there are galaxies in all directions so again the effect might cancel out.

Well the final lingering issues raised by the disbelievers is really that if Astrology even claims to hold a shred of truth, absolute free will cannot stand. As a science, even in quantum theory, the strength is in being able to predict to a good degree of accuracy what may happen.

I see it this way. The only way in which astrology fails as a science is in the fact that its application is not engineering. You dig? In engineering, knowledge helps you to control the elements and bend them to your will, but in astrology, these are truly cosmic forces and masses at work, and short of a mini-Bang, nothing’s going to change it the way we change landscapes.
and rightly enough this may be the ultimate turnoff for any experimental scientist, who wants to be able to control all variables.
Also, anyone genuinely interested can learn science and be a scientist/engineer, in that he knows science and its application. But not everyone can pick up astrology and be called an astrologer. To be an astrologer, you need intuition, instinct and experience as well, rather than just logic and common sense for the scientist/engineer. As I mentioned earlier, any chart and its interpretation isn’t just a jumble of keywords that can be arbitrarily stringed. A shrewd astrologer has to consider the financial/spiritual background of the native, the mental makeup of the native and in some cases even the native’s motives and aspirations which may or may not run parallel to what is observed in the chart. Considering that the astrologer is usually not privy to this kinda personal information from the get-go, [no one goes to the astrologer with a resume], to be able to extract this from any and every source and then put together the jumbled jigsaw is not just a job. It’s skill, takes talent. Suffice it to say there are specific astrological combinations that indicate one might be an able astrologer. And it’s usually the case.

For the layman, astrology can be applied towards better living. Being a better person. Watching out for yourself, and others if possible. Not so you can change destiny [if you can, good for you!] but only so life is more fulfilling and you get the opportunity to make informed decisions. So that life doesn’t get the better of you most of the time.

And with that, my brief foray into astrology is coming to an end. Don’t get me wrong. I’ll still read up whenever possible and I’ll continue to defend it unless proven wrong, but I don’t see myself casting horary charts for just about everything, or being consulted by others. It’s a bit of superstition and also for your own good. They say that fortune tellers generally have bad luck [why do psychics not win the lottery anyway?]. Maybe it’s just a myth, but I don’t want to know your futures, or even mine. I don’t mind knowing mine, and I would love to provide gentle reminders/warnings to friends, but no, not interested. I love a challenge.
I’d like to know everything’s going to be ok, but any more details and it just takes the kick out of living, like 9-5 admin jobs.
I quote from Om Shanti Om [shamelessly]: Life is like a movie; the end is always happy. And if your life isn’t happy folks, it’s not the end yet.

Relevant links: 10 Questions from a Skeptic


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