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5.0 out of 5 stars Way better than I expected!,
This review is from: Astrology Off the Beaten Track (Paperback)
I just finished reading this short little book. It looks like Dr. Fuzeau-Braesch was one of the few scientists to actually put astrology to the test in recent years. Most of her books are in French, but this one is in English. She describes the experiments she conducted, and what she could and couldn't confirm based on this. In a nutshell, she confirms that astrology does 'work', but as usual, the devil is in the details. According to her research, the tools that have testable effects are basic sun signs and angular planets. She could find no confirmation of the 12 'houses', saying "this tool has no objective footing" (but calls for more research, saying such an experiment would need at least 12,000 cases in order to get any useable results).
She did a number of studies - on puppy litters, cloned cows, twins, and other various human groups - showing this.
She notes that precession (often used by skeptics as a reason for discounting astrology) "has nothing to do with the definition of the tropical zodiac". She basically says the 12 signs are merely symbols (as in mathematical symbols) for a spatial relationship. "[T]his phenomenon in no way affects modern astrology since it positions the signs with respect to their apparent revolution with great precision."
In the puppies, she found that the correlation between angular positions and temperament/behavioral traits were particularly strong for dominant dogs.
"We found that the association between extraversion/dominance and Jupiter, and between extraversion/dominance and the sun were amazingly strong. The results far exceeded the threshold of significance we set for the test. Some other much less impressive associations can also be made - for example, a reserved character and a prominent Saturn."
This is interesting in light of the electric universe theory and James McCanney's work, as Jupiter has the most influence next to the sun in terms of electrical phenomena. In the analysis, nervous/introverted dogs often have Saturn in an angular position; lack of Mars means sensitive and timid; lack of Jupiter and Sun are non-dominant, unsociable and sensitive with moon in excess.
A test in human sociability showed a sinusoidal pattern for signs. "There is an alternation in sociability, lower and higher than average inside each sign of the zodiac, except for the very low average score of Aries." Libra was 'highest', Aries was 'lowest'. The reason for the break in the pattern is intelligible when each sign is divided into sections, and the wave pattern shows itself. She shows that this implies that those born on the cusp of two signs are not as 'typical' of each sign as those born smack in the middle.
She also tested incidence of sudden infant death syndrome, that they occurred "more frequently than chance would suggest with a high level of significance (P=0.009) when one of the three planets closest to the Sun forms an angle of 180 degrees with it." There was no correlation with aspects of the birth chart and SIDS.
One interesting data point was that different countries tend to have maxima of different signs. E.g.,
Israel (Muslims): Leo,
Israel (Israelis), Netherlands: Virgo,
Greece, Belgium: Cancer,
Finland, Norway, Sweden: Aries
France: Gemini, Cancer
In chapter 14 she summarizes "some tools of astrology that are valid and can be used with confidence":
sun - strong personality
moon - sensitive and/or passive, talented, receptive, empathetic
mercury - communicative and/or reactive
venus - strong emotional life, sensitive
mars - energetic/headstrong, athletic
jupiter - authoritative and sociable, likes attention and/or charismatic
saturn - serious, thoughtful, slow
neptune - tendency to daydream, imaginative, sensitive, receptive, intuitive, sometimes irrational
uranus - independent and/or directive
pluto - original and/or marginal, or analytical mind
She also summarizes the characteristics of each sign that she found and concludes, "All of these keywords correspond, in almost every case, to the traditional definitions used in astrology."
As for her theory on why this may be the case, and why the moment at birth is the determining factor, she focuses on DNA, immune function, and geomagnetism. Magnetism can activate genes ("can increase the synthesis of DNA ... or they can interrupt and stop it"), as can electrical pulses ("voltage attracts the DNA in a differential way and gently separates them. [Magnetic field] agitates and stirs up the dipoles").
As hormones and their balances affect behavior, she hypothesizes that geomagnetic affects on endocrine system at birth affect personality. As evidence she cites the fact that in both rats and humans, there is a noticeable surge in testosterone in males. This has no discernible effect if blocked, until adulthood, when rats are unable to reproduce. Thus, a hormonal surge at birth is scientifically accepted that has long-term effects. In addition, at birth, there is a surge of stress hormones, "the massive catecholamine release ... and the stimulation of the adaptable metabolism (fat reserves in the shoulders, start up of the extremely complex breathing mechanism, modified blood circulation, etc.)" This is interesting in terms of Dr. Stephen Porges' polyvagal theory... She concludes:
"1. The hormonal complex of the organism, coupled with cerebral operation, create defined behavior profiles, although the influence of individual experience in personal development is also a factor.
2. Hormonal situations can impact the personality of individuals, both in the short term and in the long term.
3. It is now proven that a physiological event occurring at the moment of entry into the world, that instant of complex biological adjustment that constitutes birth, can have major behavioral repercussions, even in the long term. This provides a schema and a model that bears comparison with the astrological hypothesis that suggests that the moment of birth is decisive for the psychological analysis of an individual.
4. Our knowledge of the genetic functioning of cells via the information carried in DNA molecules indicates that they can be at the source of these hormonal situations. Molecules are known to be "dipolar," electrically charged and thus sensitive to, amongst other factors, the geomagnetic environment of the Earth. The glandular functions, which can obviously be very subtle, cannot escape this environment."
It's refreshing to see some actual work being done in this area! Unfortunately, Dr. Fuzeau-Baesch died just before the book was published in 2009, at the age of 80.
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Astrology Off the Beaten Track by Suzel Fuzeau-Braesch (Paperback - March 1 2009)