Sara Klein Ridgley, Ph.D. HomeContentsContact
Introduction Literature Review Methodology Results Discussion Appendices References
Dessertation Title



The occurrence of work related injuries is almost a daily fact in most industries and in service related enterprises. Although disabling nonfatal work injuries and illnesses decreased 1.5%, down from 436,894 in 1988 to 430,408 in 1989 (California Department of Industrial Relations, 1990), it is still of major concern to all involved, such as industry, States, health services, insurance companies, Workers' Compensation, and of course, the injured individuals.

Extensive statistical research has been done on possible patterns of injury, ranging from the nature of injury, type of accident, gender, weekly wages, age, part of body injured, occupation, length of service with employer, etc., (California Department of Industrial Relations, 1990), to possible psychological/behavioral factors contributing to injuries, such as accident proneness, engineering, hazard protection, and the employees themselves (DeBobes, 1986), in order to find ways of minimizing the enormous costs involved in the medical treatment, rehabilitation, compensation and other losses both to the injured parties and to the employers. (Worrall, 1983).

The most common and popular approaches to safety on the job have been more technologically and engineering oriented. As Chhokar (1987:177) observed "The viability of approaches based on the social and behavioral sciences has been doubted on the ground that these sciences are not sufficiently precise to provide reliable predictions and hence have restricted applicability."

But following his review of the recent research in the field, Chhokar (1987) concluded that actually it is possible for the behavioral sciences to contribute to the field of occupational safety and accident prevention, by identifying specific "safe" ways of performing various tasks, training workers in these specific behaviors, and motivating and reinforcing workers to continue the safe behaviors through feedback. He further sums it up: "The behavioral approach is, however, not a substitute for the engineering and technologically based approaches. The shortest path to the reduction of accidents and the enhancement of safety is a judicious combination of all these approaches." (Chhokar, 1987:177)

Very little has been done in identifying patterns that will indicate when an individual will be more likely to suffer an injury, regardless of his job classification or industry. The most noted efforts have been those conducted by proponents of the theory of Biorhythms, who identify "critical" times when individuals are likely to suffer injury. (Sridhar, 1990).

This study attempts to identify periods of time in the worker's life when he or she is more likely to suffer an injury based on the principles of astrology.

The subject of astrology is controversial, especially in its implications for science in general and psychology specifically, as both proponents and skeptics claim to have evidence to support their position (West, 1991). Those who oppose it claim that astrology is nothing but a superstition, or as Crowe (1990:188), states:

It should be clear to the reader by now that popular and serious astrology have absolutely no reliable basis in scientific fact. Statistically, astrology does not stand up to any valid test that can be applied. Claims that astrology works are attributable to the power of suggestion ('placebo' effect) … there is a very large body of evidence against the astrological hypothesis.

When correctly conducted studies did generate statistically significant results in support of astrological claims, (Smithers, 1984; Mayo, White & Eysenck, 1978), opponents found alternative ways to explain the findings, such as "self attribution" (familiarity with astrological terms that will presumably influence the subjects), (Eysenck, 1979) or the inability to replicate the results using the same inventory (Sakolfske & al., 1982).

Crowe (1990) cites Gauquelin (1983 a,b), who found that at the birth of prominent professional people, certain planets tend to concentrate in key sectors of the sky more than would be expected by chance. Although over 100,000 subjects were analyzed, and the results were statistically significant (p < 0.01), Crowe(1990:188) says: "Although the Gauquelin effect apparently has marginal statistical significance, there is no evidence to date that the explanation for the effect has an astrological basis." He continues:

Statistically, we cannot single out an extraordinary coincidence and claim that it is significant. We must specify ahead of time that if the event occurs more often than is likely by chance alone (expressed in terms of probabilities or percentages), then it is meaningful. (Crowe, 1990:185).

According to West (1991), astrology is based upon a simple, two-part premise: Correlations exist between celestial and terrestrial events, and correspondences exist between the position of the planets at birth and the human personality. He further states that:

The practice of astrology is an art (involving personal subjective elements) but based upon a number of proven scientific foundations. Generally speaking, in defending the validity of astrology, its own proponents have not made clear the crucial distinction between astrology's scientifically demonstrable premises and its inescapably qualitative practice. (West, 1991:3).

Jerome holds (Bok & Jerome, 1976) that there are no scientific theories that can substantiate or predict these correspondences, making arguments starting from stating that there are no known physical forces emanating from the planets, to downright attacks on the origins of astrology, which according to him are based in mysticism.

Some of the prominent astrologers of our times claim that astrology is basically incompatible with currently used scientific method, that the psyche, spirit, or soul, cannot be statistically measured (Rudhyar, 1976), while other modern astrologers are vigorously conducting statistical research on astrological data with the advent of computers and the availability of large astrological data bases. (Nolle, 1980; Gauquelin, 1982; Urban-Lurain, 1984; Lehman, 1987).

Astrological research was categorized by Urban Lurain (1984) into three types:

  1. Research that compares astrological theories with psychological inventories, such as the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI), the Eysenck Personality Inventory (EPI), etc.
  2. Research using astrologers and testing their skills in making correct delineations of horoscopes relevant to specific events and circumstances.
  3. Using astrological correlations between planets and specific combinations of planets to predict human behaviors and choices, such as professions.

Astrological research had been carried out by various people from other fields of science who also had an interest in astrology and tried to verify it statistically. Carl Jung, the renowned Swiss psychiatrist was a student and a practitioner of astrology and understood the relationship between planetary positions and human events in terms of his theory of synchronicity (1973). To test the astrological technique, Jung said that he had to "discard this uncertain diagnosis of character and put in its place an absolutely certain and indubitable fact." (Jung, 1960:454). Once this was found, he would place the "fact" up against the classical claims of astrology. He finally decided that "Marriage" was such a fact. In the introduction to this paper he states that "in writing this paper I have, so to speak, made good a promise which for many years I lacked the courage to fulfill."(Jung, 1960:419).

The present study intends to look at a single event (work injury) and to find a single factor that would both predict and explain it from an astrological point of view, thus falling into category No. 3 above (Urban-Lurain, 1984). It does not attempt to put the ardent and long standing dispute between proponents and opponents of astrology to rest. It intends to look at an absolutely certain and indubitable fact as requested by C. Jung, above (1960), and to see if there is any pattern associated with this fact that will be both predicted and explained by an astrological theory relevant to that event, thus fulfilling Crowe's requirement that "We must specify ahead of time that if the event occurs more often than is likely by chance alone (expressed in terms of probabilities or percentages), then it is meaningful." (Crowe, 1990:185).

This study is an attempt to isolate one specific astrological factor that can help predict when a person is more likely to suffer a bodily injury, thus providing both a verification of some of astrology's claims, as well as pointing to some possible new ways of looking at accident prevention.

An explicit theory regarding accidents does not exist in the astrological literature. There are, however, some basic concepts and factors, that, when put together can provide a theoretical basis for this study. This study will deal with the relationship between a person's date of birth and his/her date of injury, using astrology's most accepted timing method: the transit by hard aspects. A transit is a relationship between a current, continuously moving planet in the sky to the positions of the planets at the time of birth as recorded in the map of the sky for that time (the horoscope). An aspect is a measure of angular separation, a certain number of degrees between either any two natal planets and/or any transiting planets and natal positions. A natal position of a planet is its position at the time of birth of an individual, and a transiting position of a planet is its position on any given day, e.g., the day of the accident. A hard aspect is one that indicates a challenging, difficult, dynamic, or action oriented event. (Brau, Weaver & Edmands, 1977). These will be used to explain and predict any patterns that may emerge from the sample data collected.

It is hypothesized that there is a relationship between the date of birth and the date of injury of people, and that this relationship can be predicted based on transits by hard aspects from transiting planets to specific natal positions in a person's horoscope. The study will use birth data and injury dates from public records, medical clinics and medical legal transcribers.

The importance of this study is three fold:

(a) It can provide a new angle to be added to the existing efforts at accident prevention, resulting in possible considerable savings of funds, time and pain for the individual as well as to society. (b) It can support or fail to support some of astrology’s premises, and (c) if such support is demonstrated, this study may contribute to forming a bridge between two areas of human activity, astrology and psychology, both of which seek the same goal: Understanding human nature.

Psychology is defined as (a) "the science of behavior; the study of the interactions between the biological organism (as man) and its physical and social environment", and (b) "The mental attitudinal, motivational or behavioral characteristics of an individual or of a type, class or group of individuals"(Webster's Dictionary, 1976:1833).

Brau, Weaver & Edmands (1977) state that "The central assumption of astrology is that the positions of the Sun, Moon, and planets at the birth of an individual are related in a significant and observable manner to the intrinsic character and later development of that individual" (Brau, Weaver & Edmands, 1977:19).

Given the common goal of these two bodies of knowledge, it is hoped that the results of this study will encourage additional serious investigation of astrology’s potential usefulness as a key to psychological understanding of human beings.

From the point of view of industrial psychology and the field of accident prevention, this study may lead to specific programs that can be implemented in the workplace in order to minimize the occurrence and effects of work related injuries, and it could possibly be generalized to the field of injury prevention in general.

From astrology's point of view, this study may be in the position to fulfill some of the demands placed upon the scientific evaluation of astrology, as stated earlier by both its opponents and supporters. Nolle (1987) states that the old astrology, which he calls subjective and traditional, must give way to a new, verifiable astrology if it is ever to resolve its image crisis. Robert Hand, an astrologer, historian and a computer specialist would like astrology to follow two courses in order to validate its claims: first, it must examine its own symbolism instead of borrowing from other symbol systems, and second, it should engage in scientific research relevant to modern times (Hand, 1986). He claims that many astrologers fear that statistical research on astrology may invalidate it. Hand states that this kind of attitude is detrimental to serious research.

From an astrological point of view, this study may have several implications: It may provide a new basis for the further study of accidents and injuries, it may provide a new perspective on some of astrology's symbols, and it may propose areas of further investigation in the study of other events in human lives.
From the point of view of psychology in general, the results of this study may encourage psychologists to start seriously investigating astrology's potential as a diagnostic and prognostic tool to complement the existing tools and techniques used by psychologists today.

The scope of this study is quite broad. Sampling biases for this study were kept to a minimum and required only two facts: a date of birth and a date of injury for each subject. None of the subjects were aware that any study would be conducted, and none of the subjects were seen by the researcher: All data are from public records. The only restricting factor is the fact that all subjects in the main study filed a Workers' Compensation suit against their employer’s insurance carrier. (None of the subjects in the replication samples were injured on the job, therefore they did not file any claims). No current valid statistics exist as to the actual number of Workers' Compensation claims that are filed in the state of California each year. However, it is estimated following conversations with attorneys and physicians that these numbers run in the hundreds of thousands a year, thus, the ability to generalize from the results of this study is expected to be very high, possibly to the entire population.


Statement of the Problem:

  • In summary, injuries in general and job related injuries in particular are a major concern to government agencies, employers, insurance companies and to workers. Astrology may provide a way to predict when a person is more likely to suffer a bodily injury. However, astrology, despite its long history, has not been accepted as a valid field of study in modern science.
  • This study attempts to find an astrologically predictable pattern in the occurrence of accidental injuries, derived from a relationship between the injured party's date of birth and the date of the injury. The results will help to validate some of astrology’s basic premises, and at the same time it is hoped that it will provide a viable method to use in conjunction with other methods of accident prevention currently used by industry. It is also hoped that this study will encourage further studies aimed at validating astrology’s relevance to psychology, thus helping bridge the existing gap between two branches of knowledge that share the same goal: Understanding human nature and behavior.


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Introduction | Literature Review | Methodology | Results | Discussion | Appendices | References