Research Week

Zip Dobyns

Our Los Angeles Community Church of Religious Science sponsored our first 16 day Astrology Intensive in the summer of 1976. Later in the same summer, we taught the first intensive at the Feathered Pipe Ranch outside of Helena, Montana. The seminars were conducted annually through 1983, but the small groups attracted to Los Angeles in 1982 and 1983 led to a decision to discontinue the activity there. We will continue to teach in Montana and in a variety of other places, including annual intensives in Houston, Texas, where others are responsible for assembling a group of students.

Having decided to close the chapter on the Los Angeles intensive, I proposed a substitute endeavor for early 1984, a research effort to be sponsored jointly by the International Society for Astrological Research (ISAR) and CCRS. We planned to precede the annual ISAR 3-day conference with 6 days devoted to actual work on research projects: work rather than “lectures about” research. People known to be actively involved in personal research efforts in astrology were invited to participate, bringing their computers with them and staying and working in our home for the 6 days.

Following the week-end conference at the University of California at Dominguez Hills, we planned two days for professional astrologers to meet in our home to discuss the state of our subject and possible actions to improve it. Local astrology groups were invited to send representatives to the two-day discussion.

Four more days were planned to work together on counseling techniques: again, with an emphasis on practice rather than “lectures.”

I had no idea how many would respond or whether we would achieve any results. My basic feeling about the whole endeavor was “let’s see what happens.” This article is my report on what happened.

First of all, we didn’t have a lot of people for the research week but the quality was top level and they were great about working together, helping each other with the various projects. Our topics included earthquakes, relationships, sudden infant death, alcoholism, and individuals with a high I.Q., mostly members of Mensa. Francoise Gauquelin, a professional psychologist, statistician, and researcher in astrology for over 30 years, was our most distinguished guest and came the greatest distance: from Paris, France. Francoise spent the 16 days (two weeks plus the extra weekend) commuting between L.A. and San Diego where Neil Michelsen enormously facilitates her efforts by letting her use his computer system and the help of his professional programmer, Tom Shanks.

Rob Hand was another distinguished guest, fresh from a trip down under to Australia and New Zealand. Another article in this issue discusses his work with the Brady technique. Rob also traveled a long way to share in our efforts, coming from his home on Cape Cod Mass. Carolyn Brittain came from Baltimore Maryland, Jalien Shandler came from north of Vancouver Canada and Scott Vail drove in from Denver. The distances traveled speak of their commitment to upgrading astrology. We also had Donna Cunningham from San Francisco and Gail Guttman from San Diego, with briefer visits from Tom Shanks, Neil Michelsen, and Ron Tiggle, all also calling San Diego home base.

With Tom and Neil also participating in the projects using Neil’s system in San Diego, any results must be credited to the pooled efforts. Part of the time we had ten microcomputers in our house in L.A. in addition to Neil’s minicomputer backed up by micros in San Diego. Tom, Neil, Rob and Mark Pottenger were writing programs; everyone was taking turns entering data in the computers or analyzing the output, discussing the best way to proceed, debating theories to test, along with some unscheduled activities like fighting flu and visiting friends. It was a stimulating week!

Of course, we all realized at the end of the week that we had hardly made a beginning on what needed to be done. But I think we all felt that it was a beginning; that we had profited from the stimulating exchange of ideas, data, techniques, etc. Perhaps the best endorsement is that most of us are planning to try it again next year and to double the time commitment. If all works as planned, we will spend two weeks on research in 1985. Since two of our participants, Neil and Rob, are officers in the National Council for Geocosmic Research (NCGR) and I am on the Advisory Board, we may try a three way sponsorship next year of CCRS, ISAR, and NCGR. Carolyn Brittain is interested in hosting a similar endeavor on the east coast, and has offered her home as locale. Hopefully, our small seed will continue to grow.

The very preliminary and tentative results of the projects were presented in a panel discussion at the ISAR conference March 16-18. I was particularly intrigued by the first hints of patterns in Scott Vail’s project on earthquakes. Bill Kautz had worked on quakes while at Stanford Research Institute, but had not obtained any significant results. Tom Shanks had also tried his hand on quakes. I think anyone living in California would like to see such results. Scott found his patterns with quakes of magnitude 7.5 or larger; a diurnal rhythm with the highest peaks (most quakes) when Saturn was just past upper and lower culmination and a somewhat smaller peak with Saturn just past its rising position. The peaks thus fall in the mutable houses, three, nine, and twelve in that order of frequency.

Scott also noticed aspect patterns of other planets with Saturn. All aspects that are multiples of 15 degrees were emphasized though some much more than others, but the most interesting finding was that the frequency of quakes increased as the aspect became more exact and the number of quakes dropped sharply right after the aspect was exact. If the astrologer used the same orb as the aspect separated as was used while the aspect was applying (as is normally done in astrology), the effect of the aspect would be cancelled. Scott plans to follow up this preliminary work using Neil’s computer system and extending the period of time considered. The initial results were with quakes occurring between 1930 and 1982.

Both Tom Shanks and Gail Guttman were working on relationship aspects, one in S.D. and the other in L.A. Tom began an analysis of a large number of couples using data gathered by Beverly Steffert who is writing a dissertation for a Ph.D. in psychology based on psychological tests and horoscopes of the couples. Tom ran Beverly’s data on the program for Gauquelin sectors; the same program that produced Scott’s first earthquake results. The couples were divided into those who were still married and considered themselves happy or unhappy, in addition to a group who had been married but were now divorced. Francoise Gauquelin had already noted that people with the Moon in the “power zones” tended to be loving and nurturant on the whole. The Gauquelin power zones include the ninth house (using a Placidus type of calculation) and the first third (approximately ten degrees) into the tenth house plus the twelfth house and the first third (about ten degrees) into the first house.

In contrast to the Moon in these zones, in the Gauquelin subjects, the people with Jupiter in these zones tended to be arrogant and self-centered. Tom’s most fascinating result was that the people who classified themselves as happily married tended to be married to people with the Moon in the power zones while people who were unhappily married tended to be married to people who had Jupiter in the power zones. The results were strong enough to be statistically significant.

As our readers know, I think that Jupiter symbolizes a search for the Absolute. Individuals who identify personal will with the Absolute (Jupiter in the first house), or who worship power (Jupiter in the tenth house), or who are convinced that they have arrived at final Truth (which is possible with Jupiter in either of its own houses; nine or twelve), may indeed be arrogant. But we must remember that these results are statistically more than chance. They do not mean that all individuals with Jupiter in these zones will act in these ways. It is possible to seek God and Truth while remaining personally humble.

Gail Guttman had a smaller sample, partly assembled after her arrival in Los Angeles from personal files of Lois Rodden, Carol Tebbs, and myself. After discussions with others, the decision was made to divide the couples into those who had been married ten years or more in contrast to short relationships. Results are tentative in view of the sample size, but Gail found Vesta to be the most aspected “planet” in the short term men; Chiron the most aspected planet for the short term women. In the long term relationships, Neptune was the most prominent for the men and Venus for the women. Aspects involving angles in the charts (e.g. Ascendant, MC, East Point, and Antivertex) seemed important, with the angles of one person often conjunct a different set of angles in the other person.

Lois Rodden worked with 200 high I.Q. individuals, but only had time to calculate and compare 100 of Gail’s relationship charts as a control group. Lois started with a hypothesis that aspects between Sun and Neptune and between Mercury and Neptune would be found more often in the high I.Q. individuals. This theory was not supported, nor was my suggestion that aspects of Mercury to Uranus might be more important. Among the limited number of factors considered, the ones which most sharply differentiated the two groups were the aspects between the Moon and the tenth house. When Lois included planets in or ruling the tenth house and times when the Moon itself was in or ruled the tenth house, 95% of her high I.Q. group qualified. Only 57% of the control group fit the criterion.

I would interpret four-ten aspects as an indication of security concerns and possible conventionality or parental activity (dealing with authority figures or taking the role ourselves). Only time, a larger sample, and more work will tell whether four-ten mixtures have any inherent connection to intelligence. I suspect they are more connected to security needs leading to some form of ambition and effort. I wonder how many of the Mensa members are pleasing their parents, or proving they are better than their parents, or substituting intellectual elitism for other forms of achievement in the world, especially if the other forms required more effort and involved more risk of failure? Science involves a constant interplay between the observation of facts (like the Moon-tenth house aspects) and theories about those facts. Lois plans an expanded study using a control group with known average I.Q. and another control group with a tested low I.Q. We said this week was a small first step.

Carolyn Brittain worked with a sample of 203 alcoholics, mostly reformed and in Alcoholics Anonymous. The charts had been calculated years ago and 27 pages of tallies had been produced on the computer; e.g. the number of planets in signs, houses, different types of aspects and different orbs, rulers of one house in another house, etc. Ron Tiggle showed Carolyn how to do chi squares on the tallies and some seemed to be significant, but we felt the number in the sample was too small to mean much and there was insufficient time to work with a control group. We had hoped to have the large sample collected by the Gauquelins in Paris, but ran out of time before they arrived on disk from San Diego. Next year’s research week(s) will carry on. The Gauquelin charts are all hospitalized chronic alcoholics, most of whom probably died from illness related to their drinking, so they are ideal for such a study. We expect to use a control group from other Gauquelin data: the study of parent-child similarities. Few of the latter individuals would be likely to be chronic drinkers.

Another of the theories I wanted to test on the alcoholics involved the possibility that the asteroid Bacchus might be prominent in people who drank heavily. Bacchus was the Roman god associated with divine drunkenness. Al H. Morrison and J. Lee Lehman have recently published ephemerides for Bacchus and Apollo, and our readers know my fascination with the new asteroids. We might find Bacchus more involved with mystics, but I suspect that many alcoholics are frustrated idealists who drink to forget the misery of the world.

A number of local astrology students dropped in during our week and helped in some of the detail work. One of these was Gil Ramirez, a former airline pilot now studying psychology and hoping to combine psychology and astrology. Gil was looking for a project that would be suitable for a paper on research design. He calculated the position of Bacchus for half of our 203 alcoholics, and I went through and tallied the sign and house positions along with the close aspects. Of course there are too few to say anything definite, but it will be interesting to see whether I get similar results from the second 100 when I have time to enter Bacchus in the charts.

In the Bacchus ephemeris, Lee Lehman included a bar graph showing the relative length of time the asteroid spent in each of the twelve signs. It stays longest in Sagittarius (appropriate for the quest for divine madness), next longest in Capricorn, next in Scorpio, etc. I measured the length of the bars, worked out the fraction of each against the total, and compared that with the number of times Bacchus fell in each of the signs in my 100 alcoholics. There were slightly fewer individuals with Bacchus in Sagittarius than would be expected if the bar graph (and my figures) are accurate. On the other hand, there were almost double the number of individuals with Bacchus in Scorpio than would be expected. No other signs diverged enough from the expected to look important. I assumed that the potential for house occupancy would be about the same for all the houses. Though this may not be totally accurate, I thought I could take it as a preliminary theory. The second house proved to be the favorite location for Bacchus, with the fourth and eighth also relatively high. Bacchus was least often present in the eleventh house; next least often in the tenth house.

Much more work needs to be done. 100 charts is hardly a beginning. But the aspects also looked interesting enough to encourage more work. Several of our sample had very tight conjunctions of Bacchus to Sun, Mercury, MC, Ascendant, etc. The largest number of conjunctions was to Vesta! Oh for 24 more hours a day. My present schedule has absolutely no time in it to calculate Bacchus for that second 100 charts. I am particularly eager to work with the Gauquelin sample but in light of my traveling schedule for the rest of this year, it is likely to be Dec. before I have time to tackle them.

The last project involved 138 charts of sudden infant death syndrome (SID)s. I had run 45 originally, after Marguerite Dar Boggia egged me on, and the new set came from Dr. John Goode of Virginia. I ran a variety of aspect analyses on both groups, and was helped by several local ISAR members including Tamara Pitts and Carol Tebbs as well as Scott when he was taking a break from his earthquakes. Unfortunately, the tallies proved quite inconclusive when matched against other samples I had already done. Some of the SID charts had tight networks of interrelated aspects, but others had fairly low numbers of close aspects. The aspect analysis programs are clearly not able to distinguish infants at risk.

We have still hardly touched the data available in the charts, so there are many more techniques to check. The one intriguing clue to come from the hours of computer time spent running aspect was an emphasis on the series of divisions of the circle by 18, 36, and 54. Dividing the circle by 18 produces an aspect of 20 degrees. Division by 36 gives a 10 degree aspect. Dividing by 54 produces an aspect of 6 2/3 degrees. We expected, and found, an emphasis on conjunctions and octiles (45 degree aspects derived when the circle is divided by 8) and other so called hard aspects, but the 18th harmonic is a potential tool I plan to pursue further. I have found this series, which is an extension of the novile or division by 9, somewhat related to spiritual searching. One wonders whether some infants decide that the world is less spiritual than had been hoped and that withdrawal is the better part of valor. That is not a scientific hypothesis since there is no way to test it. But we can wonder. I will end this very brief glimpse of our week by restating our hope to do a great deal more in 1985.

Following the three day ISAR conference, which I thoroughly enjoyed, we had our two-day meeting on the state of professional astrology. I was very pleased that seven of the astrology groups sent representatives, mostly board members. One group was only prevented from joining up by illness. Despite the shortness of the time, the discussion was worthwhile. We ended with a statement which is being circulated to all the participating groups and eventually will be sent to many others. Since many of our readers are, or hope to be, professional astrologers, I am including the last draft of our statement. We expect much additional feedback from the astrological community, but hope that we can work together to come to some basic agreements and increased cooperation. There are many conflicts within all subjects which deal with human beings; medicine, psychology, economics, etc. But the professionals in these fields at least talk to each other and try to work together for responsible improvement of their respective areas of study.

Professional Astrology Discussion

On March 19 and 20, 1984, representatives of several astrology groups met to discuss issues and potentials in the field of professional astrology. Individuals present included Marion March, Linden Leisge, Angel Thompson, Dorothy Maass, Alice Reichard, Zip Dobyns, Lois Rodden, Gloria Stein, and Jackie Riordan from the Los Angeles area, Jayj Jacobs from San Francisco, Carole Perg and Pat Johnston from different cities in Ohio, and Moonrabbit from Minnesota. Robert Hand from Massachusetts, Scott Vail, and Becky from Denver, were present for a small part of the discussion, prior to having to leave for previous commitments. The individuals present represented several astrological organizations, including the AFA, NCGR, ISAR, CCRS, Aquarius Workshops, the Church of Light, AFAN, Professional Astrologers Inc., the First Temple of Astrology, and others.

The group consensus reached included agreement on a definition of astrology and a code of ethics for professional astrologers. The phrasing offered is tentative, but we hope that the basic principles will be ratified by the astrological community, subject of course to changes or additions suggested by other members of the community. As a possible definition of astrology, we suggest:

“Astrology is the philosophy that postulates a relationship between relevant celestial phenomena and/or processes and certain terrestrial affairs.” The phrasing of this definition leaves open the issue of the cause of the observed correspondences, and allows for the enormous variety of techniques used in different schools of astrology since the celestial phenomena and earth affairs are left undefined.

In January 1984, a number of Los Angeles astrologers along with Jayj Jacobs of San Francisco spoke before the Los Angeles county Board of Supervisors, opposing a bill to ban astrology. In our discussion with the Sheriff and other law enforcement officials, it was made clear that to be acknowledged as a self-regulating profession, we need an accepted code of ethical conduct as well as certification based on education and examinations. The following code of ethics draws from the codes of several of our represented organizations.

“As an astrologer;

I will hold confidential, within the law, all private and personal information entrusted to me by a client.

I will not use my knowledge to further my own or others’ unethical or criminal ends.

I will endeavor in all my professional activity to maintain a high level of integrity, using my knowledge and ability always for ends which are beneficial to my client and to humanity.

I will always give my client the astrological indication of my analysis or interpretation if asked and will refrain from presenting future events as inevitable.

Whenever my advice to a client is based on anything but a horoscope erected for the date, time, and place of birth of the individual or the location of the event, I agree to inform my client of such alternate methods.

I will, when warranted, refer clients to experts who can more effectively meet their specialized needs.

I will endeavor to conduct my professional and public life in a manner that is a credit to astrology and my professional peers.”

We would appreciate feedback from individuals and organizations on this proposed code of ethics, and we hope that a uniform code can be endorsed by the astrological community as a supplement to the codes of individual organizations.

Our group consensus in the March 19 discussion included a desire to continue open dialogue and cooperation between individual astrology groups. A general feeling emerged that an “umbrella” group might be helpful to facilitate interaction between the groups, and especially to represent professional astrologers. Of all the groups sending representatives to this meeting, Professional Astrologers Inc. is uniquely composed of certified professional astrologers. Those present agreed that PAI might provide a base to accomplish some of the goals being discussed. PAI has already examined the tests being given by several astrology organizations, and has accepted their certification, so individuals who have passed the tests offered by the other organizations are allowed to become professional members of PAI without further testing.

Organizations not yet in contact with PAI, who have educational and testing programs, are invited to send copies of their examinations to PAI for review and accreditation. Send material to Professional Astrologers Inc., 5616 Geary Blvd., Suite 210, San Francisco, CA 94121. Organizations whose examinations have already been accepted by PAI are: PAI, NCGR, ISAR, AFA, CHURCH OF LIGHT, FACULTY OF ASTROLOGICAL STUDIES, MAYO SCHOOL OF ASTROLOGY, AQUARIUS WORKSHOPS, FIRST TEMPLE OF ASTROLOGY, EXPERIENCE ASTROLOGY, ASTROLOGY NOW AWARD EXAMS, and the exams of the cities of Las Vegas, NV and Atlanta, GA.

We hope that our goal of continuing dialogue and cooperation between astrological groups will be facilitated by a newsletter handled by PAI in conjunction with the representatives of the cooperating organizations. Such organizations might elect or appoint a professional member of the group as a liaison person, and these representatives of the respective groups could meet periodically to deal with the issues of professional astrology.

Among the services provided by a professional organization could be a referral list of professional astrological practitioners and their specialties that would be made available to individuals seeking qualified astrological assistance.

A committee could be appointed to investigate complaints from individuals who felt that they had not received competent or ethical treatment from an astrological counselor. If the claim of incompetence or unethical action was supported, the membership or certification of the accused astrologer could be suspended. Complaints against astrologers (or psychics or other advisors who advertised themselves as astrologers) who were not certified members of the astrological community would be left to be dealt with by the civil authorities. In time, the public would learn to look to an accepted, self-regulating body for dependable professional help.

The “umbrella” group (whether PAI or another) aided by the cooperating organizations would also offer support to members in the case of issues involving the legality of astrology.

It is the hope of those assembled in Los Angeles on March 19-20, 1984, at the invitation of ISAR and CCRS, that members of the astrological community will consider these proposals, suggest changes or additions, and continue to work toward greater cooperation and more professionalism in astrology.

Our last four days were scheduled for counseling practice, using horoscopes and working with each other. Unfortunately, we had a constant turn-over during the period. People came and went so we never developed a cohesive group to really address the goal. We ended up mostly working on the psychological understanding of the charts with little mention of counseling techniques. Unless we have some sort of commitment for continuing attendance, we will probably not repeat this effort next year.

Copyright © 1984 Los Angeles Community Church of Religious Science, Inc.

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