Why (and how) Astrology Works?
Many times I have been asked something like; "Ok, you are a smart
man with a degree in natural sciences.... how come you belive in astrology and
stuff like that?". There is no direct answer to that question, maybe the best
try today after all these years would be "Well, because of the last 20 years
doing astrology while observing things happening around me.". Anyway, this text
maybe isn't the most ambitious piece of text about that subject but I will try
to make few points for reader to ponder about.
Do Planets have an imprint on our behaviour?
Often you can hear from sceptics saying rather unadvisedly that there is
no evidence that motion of the planets have any influence on us. Aside from the
fact that they are wrong and should go to a high school again the catch is that
astrology has never claimed any similar idea. To see how original astrology came
to existence we should examine the oldest traditions and when we come to the source
see what they had to say about this rather foggy issue.
The Bṛhat Parāśara Horāśāstra (BPHS)
or "Short talk about the passages of time from
Parasara" on English is presumably the oldest comprehensive extant work on
natal astrology. We can say that this is almost the seed of all the astrology we
have today in the West, thus it is somewhat of unquestioned authority in the form of a script.
It was written as a dialogue between sage Parashara and his pupil Maitreya. It is
estimated that Parashara lived about 5000 years ago but Sanskrit in which BPHS is
composed dates to the 7th or 8th centuries A.D.. Parashara beside this opus also
holds honour of compiling the first Purana: Vishnu Purana. To spare a reader
of further details of lives and deeds of sages in the ancient India let's see
what Parasara had to say about planets and their connection with humans. First of
all we need to understand that ancient Indian sages belived that every human has
the immortal essence or soul, this soul in the living being they called Jiva Atma.
The word Jiva has the same Indo-European root as the Latin word Vivus:
"alive", it represents the living being. Jiva Atma is different
from pure Atma (pure soul) or Paramatma only by the degree of liberation
from Karma. Paramatma is the highest level of purification of
Jivatma, one that clense his soul to the this purest essence becomes godlike.
Vishnu is an example of Paramatman (the Supreme Self or the Universal Self). According
to Parashara this Paramatman or "unborn Lord" as he calls him has incarnated
as nine planets. Here is the quote from BPHS, chapter 2, verses 3-7.
He has incarnated, as the 9 (Nava) Grahas to bestow on the living beings the results
due to their Karmas. He is Janardan. He assumed the auspicious form of Grahas to
destroy the demons (evil forces) and sustain the divine beings. From Surya the incarnation
of Ram, from Candr that of Krishn, from Mangal that of Narasimh, from Budh that
of Buddha, from Guru that of Vaman, from Sukr that of Parashuram, from Sani that
of Kurma (Tortoise), from Rahu that of Varah (Pig) and from Ketu that of Meen (Fish)
Let's analyse this archaic quote. At first we can see this claim: Paramatman
is incarnated as 9 Grahas. This is one of the key parts, pay attention that Parashara
doesn't mention anything about planets, he speaks about Grahas. Graha is much
more than a planet, name Graha means "laying hold of" and it encompasses
the underlying principle behind the planet, Grahas are parts of the Universal law.
Grahas as principles are in our body, mind and soul as much as they are in the planets
or any other part of the Universe. There is a constant flux and change in the Universe,
in one moment one principle is strong while other is weak and so on. The ancient
sages deemed that no matter how small can be some particle that one can find inside
it the essence of the whole universe or as we in the West like to say "As above,
so below", so they concluded that any fluctuation of Grahas or basic principles
in ourselves can be observed also outside ourselves in the greater image, in this
case periodic movement of the planets of our Solar system. So to make it simple,
man as a human is a Jivatma that is "built" from nine basic "forms"
of Paramatma. Since our complexion, body vigour, attitude, inclinations, emotional
and intelectual affinities are all under their hold (that is the reason Parashara
uses name Graha - the one that holds, planet is just local and limited manifestation
of an individual Graha on the material plane) it is reasonable that they largy influence
our lives and destinies. If we are in a time of our birth mostly influenced by some
Graha and if that particular Graha or principle is weak in this moment Astrology
will point out that some of the expected results from some actions can be lesser
than we may expect. Even to these old sages it was more apt to observe Macrocosmos
outside us to conclude something about Microcosmos or individual man. Than we can
see that Parashara listed all nine forms of Paramatma. We can see them below in
the table. Jotish (light on English) is the name for Indian astrology.
|Jotish name (Graha)||English name (Planet)||Deity name||Human physiology
|Shukra (Sukr)||Venus||Parashuram||Substancia Nigra
|Rahu||North (Ascending) Lunar Node||Varah||Nucleus Caudatus, head
|Ketu||South (Desceding) Lunar Node||Meen||Nucleus Caudatus, tail
In the table we can see connections between principles of the Natural
law (Grahas) and our local Solar system - planets and at last to our individual
consciousness through human anatomy. One could ask, what about these Deities. In
Hinduism there is a wide spread tendency for individualization and personalization
of impersonal principles. Although some hinduists will call their Supreme God Bhagavan
and claim that he is the only source and the only God (the word Bhagavan
has the same Indo-European root as the word Bog, meaning God in most of
the Slavic languages) they will also say that every aspect of that Supreme Being
is a separate Deity. In this case this nine forms of Paramatman are also
separate entities that we can call the spirits of Grahas. Every Graha on
practical level governs some aspect of our lives; Sukra (Venus) governs beuty
and love, Mangal (Mars) physical energy and stamina, Budh (Mercury) intellect
and so on. Like constant and periodical changing of energy level of individual
Graha so some parts of our life experience has ups and downs.
The real astrologer is very aware of the fact that although his tools for understanding
are positions of the planets they are not the root of this celestial mechanics but
merely players on this vast scene that gives us the clue about happenings on the
stratum that is invisible to our senses but has the direct influence on our affinities,
emotions, thoughts and consequently on our destiny.
Having said that I could
make a comment about outer planets in the Western
astrology, Uranus, Neptun and Pluto. Lately they say Pluto is no more a planet.
For true astrology that question is totally irelevant. Classification of some
celestial body in this or that category is merely a matter of fluctuating human
minds and his momentary opinion while the very principle of the celestial
mechanics is way more permanent
parametar in this story. Also, we can see here that Paramatman have nine possible
forms that constitutes Jivatman - human soul, it implies that more parameters than
that are just.combination of already existing parameters and consequently excess.
Maybe it can help some astrologer to see some part of the picture more clearly but
it doesn't add anything new to that picture. Nice analogy would be that you
need only two points in a plane to define a line, similary you need only 9 parameters
(planets that represents Grahas) to define Jivatman, or like Parashara said:
The development and progress of the people and the creation are all under the administration
and authority of the Grahas.
We will stop here with history and philosophy and skip for this version of text
Chinese astrology to jump into modern times.
Why are Grahas holding us?
This question practically boils down to how it is all possible? Do
we have at least some kind of "technical" hint about what this guy Parashara
really talks about? He was considered one of the greatest sages of all time amongst
the men but that was some 5000 years ago. Who knows, maybe he wasn't even sober
than and we even wouldn't know it today.
Well, let's first discuss just few points about a level of astronomical
knowledge of this ancient civlization Parshara belonged to. They had a separate
discipline called Vedanga that was an early form of astronomy. Some astronomical
equations developed by that ancient Indus Valley civilization are even today in
use at NASA. They knew about precession of equinox and calculated it so precise
that margin of error is so small that is even considered negigible by NASA. Considering
that this cycle takes more than 25 000 years one could ask where did they get that
fact if we assume that you must observe the sky for thousands of years to notice
that cycle and to get at least some data without instruments let alone to get so
correct and precise data and at the end the knowledge to perform calculations. So,
they weren't just some random guys trying to calculate something but knowledgeable
astronomers and measurers of time.
Today, we must try to find out is there any scientific discipline
that could at least try to explain some ancient text like BPHS. We won't try to explain
their convictions about God and all appurtenant deities but give at least some basic
thesis about mechanics of Grahas and their influence. I will give it a try with
quantum physics. Lets take a look at the following table.
|Astrological phenomena||Quantum phenomena
|Non-local influence of the planets||Quantum nonlocality (Einstein, Podolsky and Rosen)
|Specific influence of an individual planet||Quantum entanglement
To explain what this non-locality is we can cite from Wikipedia:
In physics, nonlocality or action at a distance is the direct interaction of two
objects that are separated in space with no perceivable intermediate agency or mechanism.
It is important to note that we are speaking about quantum non-locality.
This is precisely what we could expect to be a non-mechanical level of consciousness.
We will get back to that later. Lets first explain what this quantum nonlocality
really is. We are specially interested in nonlocality effects that are produced
as a result of entangled quantum states.
Quantum entanglement is a physical phenomenon that occurs when pairs or groups of
particles are generated or interact in ways such that the quantum state of each
particle cannot be described independently – instead, a quantum state may be given
for the system as a whole.
If we read this carefully we will see that this is very similar to Grahas concept.
I said we would not dwell to much in all aspects of religion and science in this
short article but I will just point out that basic principles of Hindu philosophy
are non-local in their core. We have some abstract principles and they are present
in every part of the Universe, these principles are not intrinsic to some particular
place or time, they are almost some sort of the second nature of the Universe. One
particular aspect is the same no matter where we look. In the same time this aspect
is acting homogeneously and synchronously in the whole Universe or in the other
words, it is entangled and non-local. This is a non-mechanical principle so we shouldn't
try to explain this whole astrology thing mechanistically. Bell's theorem speaks
about quantum mechanics and the world as described by classical mechanics and it
is very clear about the huge gap in percpetion.
No physical theory of local hidden variables can ever reproduce all of the predictions
of quantum mechanics.
So, some temporary conclusion can be that the very basic principles explained in
BPHS are very similar to some behaviours well-known in quantum physics. But why
quantum physics? Workings of the human consciousness still buffles scientists. Some
basic characteristics of the brain, memory for example also seems to be non-local
in its nature and that is very indicative. For almost thirthy years a group of scientists
in Princeton Engineering Anomalies Research
Lab (PEAR) are trying do decipher the enigma of human consciousness. One
PEAR group has installed REG (random event generators) around the world and has
been monitoring the data since. Lets see what they have to say about their findings on their
The Global Consciousness Project (GCP) is an international effort involving
researchers from several institutions and countries, designed to explore whether
the construct of interconnected consciousness can be scientifically validated through
objective measurement. The project builds on excellent experiments conducted over
the past 35 years at a number of laboratories, demonstrating that human consciousness
interacts with random event generators (REGs), apparently "causing" them to produce
non-random patterns. A description of the technical implementation is given under
procedures. The experimental results clearly show that a broader examination of
this phenomenon is warranted. In recent work, prior to the Global Consciousness
Project, an array of REG devices in Europe and the US showed non-random activity
during widely shared experiences of deeply engaging events. For example, the funeral
ceremonies for Princess Diana, and the international Winter Olympics in Nagano,
Japan, created shared emotions and a coherence of consciousness that appeared to
be correlated with structure in the otherwise random data. In the fully developed
project, a world-spanning array of labile REG detectors is connected to computers
running software to collect data and send it to a central server via the Internet.
This network is designed to document and display any subtle, but direct effects
of our collective consciousness reacting to global events. The research hypothesis
predicts the appearance of coherence and structure in the globally distributed data
collected during major events that engage the world population.
So where are we now? We have travelled a long way from BPHS, Parashara
and Grahas to the possibility of the global consciousness and intricates of quantum
After all, we can hypothesize some connection between ancient text
that in rather outdated but coherent way talks about some very modern concepts in
science. We will try to further simplify basic possible consclusions of this text.
- Astrology in its core is not a discipline that talks about the influence of the planets
on a man. It uses the planets as a tool of detecting subtle changes in
the collective consciousness and in a indivdual.
- Planets can be used just as any other kind of synchronicity tool to detect changes. They
are not an exclusive mean od detection of those changes but only one of the many.
That is natural because all that changes on the highest level are manifested in
the whole of the manifestation. One famous physicist said that you could scratch
the universe on one side and it would laugh on the other.
- The basic principles/explanation in the ancient astrology treaty is in its core
explanation of some quantum physics effects.
- There is a growing field in science that tries to explain human consciousness
and some paranormal effects where we see many unusual behaviours that
could easily be connected with quantum effects.
One important aspect of this could also be a phenomenon of synchronicity.
Synchronicity is intrinsically connected with astrology, tarot and similar
disciplines. But this is a material for another