The website will be expiring very soon, so II will be moving al necessary links and extras to here.

Also, anyone interested in further research, I am looking for groups of subjects, not single indivuduals.

Andrew Smith has kindly given permission to post Bill Darlison’s excellent review of Planetary Types: the Science of Celestial Influence from the latest issue of The Gnostic: a Journal of Gnosticism. Check it out at

Bill is the author of The Gospel and the Zodiac and you can find him at this weblog

When I began my study of astrology over forty years ago, I sought an answer to the most basic question of all: ‘How does it work?’ The whole edifice seemed to rest on the most insubstantial of foundations.  The influence of the sun and moon upon terrestrial life was obvious and demonstrable, but planetary ‘influence’ was another matter altogether. How could these bodies – much smaller than the sun, much further away from us than the moon – possibly affect us? What occult rays did they emit that were able to determine the character and destiny of a human being? I remember hearing Patrick Moore the BBC’s astronomer saying that the midwife’s gravitational pull upon the newborn child was stronger than that of any of the planets, and this fact, he said, should put paid to the preposterous theories of the astrological charlatans. And yet, not only did astrology postulate the existence of such planetary influences, it even ascribed influences to non-substantial entities like the zodiac, the moon’s nodes and certain angular distances between planets. Some astrologers, alert to the problems associated with planetary influence, opted to explain things in less physical terms. The doyen of 20th century astrology, Dane Rudhyar, for example, described astrology as ‘the algebra of life’, and many offered the vague suggestion that ‘symbolism’ or Jungian synchronicity could somehow account for the phenomena.

These foundational problems are addressed by Tony Cartledge in this intriguing book, and his conclusions are quite astonishing and eminently plausible: it’s not a matter of ‘influence’ or of ‘symbolism’ but of ‘resonance’. The ‘harmony of the spheres’ of Pythagoras and later of Kepler is not just poetic metaphor: the universe sings its song, and the resonances of the individual planetary notes are picked up by the ultra-sensitive glandular system of the new-born child.

However, Cartledge is no apologist for astrology, which, he says, has failed every scientific test it has been subjected to. Instead, following the lead of the redoubtable French investigator, Michel Gauquelin, whose work he describes in some detail, Cartledge rejects most of the astrological tradition – including the zodiac and the astrological houses – but hangs on to the ancient theory of ‘planetary types’ which, he says, has been proved statistically by Gauquelin’s exhaustive work with thousands of accurately timed births. What is more, says Cartledge, numerous attempts by sceptics to undermine Gauquelin’s conclusions have been in vain: it would indeed seem that ‘martial’ people tend to be born when the planet Mars is either rising in the east or culminating directly overhead, and the same applies to the saturnine, the jovial and the rest.

Cartledge then goes on to describe these planetary types, detailing their physical and psychological characteristics and illustrating them with photographs and planetary data of numerous celebrities. This is the most enjoyable part of the book, and I now find myself almost obsessively categorising my friends, acquaintances and television personalities according to Cartlege’s scheme! I am undoubtedly a Jupiterean. In my natal chart, Jupiter is close to the ascendant and making square (90 degree) aspects to four planets and the midheaven. Consequently, I am ‘intelligent, creative, discriminating….flamboyant, gregarious and entertaining’ as well as ‘vain and self important’! I am also completely bald, which, says Cartledge, is almost a defining characteristic of the male Jupiterean. He deals similarly with martial, mercurial, saturnine, venereal, solar and lunar types, along with sub categories such as Jupiter/Moon, Saturn/Mars.

This book is no coffee table astrological primer. It is a serious attempt to establish the foundations of SCI, the Science of Celestial Influence, free from the restrictions imposed by what the author sees as the debilitating weight of unscientific astrological tradition, and from the prejudices of the scientific community which rejects a priori all talk of correspondence between celestial and terrestrial phenomena. It describes the work of Pythagoras, Kepler, Gurdieff, Ouspensky, Rodney Collin, and Percy Seymour, and it examines musical theory and the physiology of the human glandular system in some depth. The author is scrupulously fair. He acknowledges the inadequacies of his own attempts at putting his ideas to statistical tests, and even anticipates the objections that members of the scientific community might bring against his theories. He’s not trying to pull the wool over anyone’s eyes, or to sidestep criticism; he’s simply trying to find what is worth salvaging from what he considers the confused jumble of unscientific ideas which comprise contemporary astrology.

I found some parts of the book heavy going. The chapters on musical theory and on glandular structures found my skimming a little, and I would have liked a comprehensive appendix giving the birth data (date, time, place) of all the celebrities mentioned in the book, so that I could check Cartledge’s findings for myself. But these are minor complaints. The book is well researched, well written, honest, enlightening and entertaining. It is beautifully produced, well illustrated and comprehensively indexed. I strongly recommend it.

Bill Darlison

Now that Geoffrey Dean’s analysis has turned up one positive result out of the three tests examined (see last post), it is time to organise new experiments to verify the theories in the Science of Celestial Influence. To do that, I must enlist the aid of willing astrological workers. Firstly, however, the experimental game plan.

To undertake these tests I would need subjects with natal charts and their photographs. I ‘type’ people initially by their physical appearance, so to select test subjects I would need several good photographs, or a short video. My research partner would send me the pix only, I would send back their type, and which planet to look for making angles to the ASC or MC. E.g., If a Martial type, they would look for Mars making angles to the ASC or MC, if a Saturnine type, Saturn aspecting the ASC or MC, Jovial/Lunar type, Jupiter and the Moon aspecting the ASC or MC, etc.

Ideally, I would like natal charts in countries who birth times are officially recorded. This is not always possible, and many have to rely on their mother’s memory. Good science requires accuracy, but if there are enough good hits from anecdotal birth times, this would still be a significant result, that may lead to tests with more stringent birth data.

I would like to aim for at least 25 subjects for each individual test, but 40 to 50 would be a better sample size to shoot for.

It is no mean feat to ‘pass’ the exacting analysis of someone like Geoffrey Dean, but science is all about testing whether apparent significant results are merely a fluke. So, with a good deal of anticipation and interest, I am happy to go back to the laboratory.

If you would like to participate in this research, please contact me at

After a long wait for confirmation (and a crash course in statistics) I am now able to announce the results of veteran astrology researcher Dr Geoffrey Dean’s analysis of my experiments and attempts to prove the theories in Planetary Types: the Science of Celestial Influence.

Over the next few days and weeks, I will, with his permission, post more details on his analysis and general comments about the book, but I wanted to post the ‘short version’ of the results up front. The bottom line is that two of the three tests detailed in the book did not produce results above those expected by chance, but one did.

The whole exercise has been extremely enlightening and sobering. The immediate upshot is that my nagging suspicions of my own statistical naiveté have been confirmed, but the Science of Celestial Influence still holds plenty of promise.

Although there are many novel and intriguing ideas in my book, the prime mover of the book has always been to establish solid experimental results to back up the theories. I initially contacted Rudolph Smit, the researcher behind the awesome site, who in turn contacted colleague and collaborator Dr Geoffrey Dean, who agreed to look over my work.

Dr Geoffrey Dean is co-compiler with Arthur Mather of the book “Recent Advances in Natal Astrology: A Critical Review 1900-1976.” He has conducted large-scale studies of astrology, and has authored or co-authored many critical articles and surveys. He has been a full-time astrologer and was the founding president of the Federation of Australian Astrologers in Western Australia. In 1988 he received a Commemorative Bi-Centennial Award from the Astrological Monthly Review (Australia) for his contributions to astrological research. In 2003 he was elected a CSICOP Fellow for significant contributions to science and skepticism.

In examining my results, Geoffrey faced an awkward problem — I had discarded the birth data for my subjects, so the orb used could not be checked.  I had used a nominal orb of 8 degrees, but as Geoffrey points out, the exact orb was necessary for calculating the number of aspects expected by chance, which of course were needed for assessing both my experimental group and my control group.

Fortunately I had listed the planets emphasised by aspect in each chart. Because wide orbs increase the number of aspects, it is possible to estimate the orb by working backwards from the number of aspects.  To do this, Geoffrey used a computer program to calculate every possible natal chart between the years 1900 and 1980 (i.e. the same year range as my subjects) at half-hour intervals for various orbs.  The orb that gave the same proportion of aspected planets as in my experiment was the effective orb that I used.

When applied to my data, the orb thus obtained indicated that my observed number of hits was essentially no different from the number of hits expected by chance, which was 63%.  Previously I had estimated the latter using a control group, which gave about 51%.  The difference between 63% and 51% is not large, but it was enough to cast doubt on my findings.

The proposed theories in the Science of Celestial Influence (SCI) may have taken some body blows, but they are still standing, owing to the surprisingly high result for my second test of 33 friends and acquaintances, from which I was able to find 31 with planets in the appropriate positions. Geoffrey called this “a good result,” but because I am the only set of eyes that has been privy to the process, it is one that naturally “would not necessarily hold up in court.” Which means, of course, the test needs immediate replication.

So, the upshot is that SCI requires more tests to have its status as a true science categorically confirmed or rejected, and I will be posting the details on this blog in the next day or two, in the interests of attracting research partners to conduct further tests.

Geoffrey also sent me several pages of subjects who had four planets within 1 degree of the ASC to determine their type and then check if the planets matched. He also sent some pages of idealised physical caricatures that had been associated with the planets to see if they matched to my planetary types. After stating my misgivings that photos alone are not always good enough, especially photocopies of black-and-white photos, and that only four planets were used and only conjunctions to the Ascendant were nominated, I made as many confident determinations as I could, but none elicited any results above those expected by chance.

I would like to thank Geoffrey for the time and effort he put into his thorough analysis, and also for his praise of my efforts to put my ideas to the test, rather than simply making unsupportable claims. He said: “…your efforts to put ideas to the test put most astrologers to shame. If your abilities and industry were able to test further astrological claims, you would be adding valuable work to the existing research base.”

I am sure that future tests of will be of great value to all those interested in seeing whether celestial influences have any solid basis in facts and physics.

My thanks go to fellow writer and former fiction crit-partner, Steven Pemberton – – who helped me understand some of the mathematical mechanics of Geoffrey’s analysis. Steven has an A Level in Pure and Applied Mathematics and a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science from the University of York, and I felt he was eminently qualified to comment on Geoffrey’s work.

In about two weeks I hope to receive the report detailing Geoffrey Dean’s analysis and thereby have a better understanding of the esoterics of statistical analysis. After that, I can begin to organise further tests to clarify the proposals made in the Science of Celestial Influence. I will be calling for expert assistance with these tests and already have several avenues to pursue in mind.

Stay tuned.

““… belief in astrology is one thing, and its scientific demonstration, the proof that it is more than just a belief but also a reality of Nature, is another.”

That great mind of the Renaissance Johannes Kepler had a deep conviction that astrology — like astronomy — needed to be reformulated “in order to become a true scientific doctrine.” (35) Likewise, historian of Esotericism Eliphas Levi in “Transcendental Magic” wrote that true astrology became profaned among the Greeks and Romans and its restoration to its “primitive purity” would be the creation of an entirely new science. This was the aim of Gauquelin, and in this light the importance of his work cannot be over-stated. But the traditional astrologers are not necessarily rushing on to his bandwagon. In the words of the astronomer J A Hynek from the Department of Astronomy, Northwestern University, who wrote the introduction to one of Gauquelin’s books:
“…the Gauquelins have not proved astrology…They have, rather, disproved and disposed of much of the “astrologer’s foolishness”… [they have] quite effectively disproved the “astrology of the masses.” (36)
Not only have they banished the pursuit of “profane” astrology to the pit but most of professional and serious practice into the bargain. Gauquelin said that his works should not be termed “astrology.” The Gauquelin horoscope is only a skeleton; most of the essential elements of traditional astrology — the zodiac, the aspects, the houses — have lost their significance, and out of the ten planets used by astrologers, only five are left. In his own words neo-astrology is “extremely frugal.” Its single foundation is his experimental proof of the influence of the planets. According to Gauquelin the difference between the horoscopic doctrine and neo-astrology represents a revolution.  Astrology through the centuries has simply safeguarded the essential: the fact that the planets exert an influence at birth.” Planetary Types: the Science of Celestial Influence P.58

Geoffrey Dean has completed a thorough analysis of the statistical results of one of the tests outlined in the book. I am currently having his analysis checked by an independent third party with a background in statistical computing, consulting on statistics for experimental analysis, and a close association with the Journal of Scientific Exploration.

I am waiting for this confirmation to come back before announcing the results of Mr Dean’s analysis, so that I have a more complete understanding of the statistical nuts and bolts involved.

I will say two things that are clear from Geoffrey’s assistance: my knowledge of statistics came up a little short, and my original, ‘amateur’ analysis may have been inadequate. Despite this, the outcome of one of the tests seems to have produced a significant result, which means that further testing is going to become crucial.

I have learned not to take anything on face value, but to be as thorough as humanly possible. Besides, it is always a good idea to get a second opinion, especially when the health of a certain theory comes under scrutiny.

When the results become available, I will post them here.