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


Review of the Literature

This chapter will review the literature pertinent to this study. The areas under review are:

  1. Work related injuries: Current status.
  2. Existing risk-factors in work related injuries.
  3. Accident prevention efforts.
  4. Astrology's place in science today.
  5. The scientific approach to astrology.
  6. Astrological terms and principles dealing with injuries.

Current status of injuries and work-related injuries:

The United States Congress instructed the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration and the Center for Disease Control to evaluate the economic effect of injuries within the USA ("Cost of injury", 1989). In the base year of 1985, 57 million individuals were injured in the USA with a lifetime cost of $157.6 billion. The largest proportion of this group were adults aged 25-44 years of age (42). Injuries to individuals aged 15-25 made up 25 of the total. The causes of injuries in order of importance were: Motor vehicles ($48.7 billion), falls ($37.3 billion) firearms ($14.4 billion), poisoning ($8.5 billion), burns ($3.8 billion) and drowning or near-drowning ($2.5 billion). All other factors not included in the above break down were responsible for an additional $42.4 billion in lifetime costs. These injuries resulted in 155,665 deaths in 1985. Individuals hospitalized for their injuries numbered 2.3 million, and 54.4 million received treatment as outpatients or were disabled sufficiently to require reduced physical activity for at least one day. This represented a total direct medical cost of $44.8 billion, which included $24.5 billion in hospital, professional and rehabilitation costs. Private funds including health insurance, Workers' Compensation, etc., paid approximately 72% of these costs for individuals under 65 years of age. For those individuals older than 65, Medicare and other public funds paid approximately 72% of the direct medical costs.

Work injuries are a part of the total number of injuries, and they occur daily in the workplace. In 1988, according to the National Safety Council's annual Accident Facts, 10,600 people lost their lives at work while another 1.8 million individuals suffered disabling injuries. Work related deaths or disabling injuries cost the US $47.1 billion in 1988, including wage loss, medical expenses, insurance administration costs, fire loss and an estimate of indirect costs arising from work injuries. (Dever, 1989; Finkelstein, 1990).

Hanson (1985), criticizes federal protection of workers from illness and injury. He also states that there is a conflict in reporting of injuries by the sides involved: Employers, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the National Safety Council, and State Workers' Compensation agencies. Postol (1991), reports that OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) has recently directed enforcement activities at record-keeping requirements for injuries and illnesses. Except for certain exempt industries, all employers with 10 or more employees must keep detailed records of workplace injuries. The summary of injuries and illnesses must be posted annually and the records must be retained for 5 years and be available to employees.

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) gives the following categories of work related injuries and illnesses:

  1. Lung diseases.
  2. Musculoskeletal injuries: Nearly half of the nation's workers are afflicted with some kind of this disorder during their work life. The leading causes of disability in order of their frequency of occurrence are back problems, inflamed joints, sprains/strains, ankle, knee and shoulder disorders.
  3. Occupational cancers.
  4. Severe occupational traumatic injuries: Amputations, fractures, eye loss, lacerations and death. 2.1 million workers in 1981 sustained disabling injuries, 70,000 of which became permanently impaired. The cost of work place injuries that year approached $32.5 billion. NIOSH wants to identify causes and develop prevention.
  5. Cardiovascular (CVD).
  6. Reproductive disorders: resulting from exposure to toxic substances.
  7. Neuro toxic Disorders: Not all are identified. These cause such symptoms as motor changes (gait disorders, tremors and in coordination) sensory changes (vision, hearing and touch), cognitive changes (loss of alertness, lapses in judgment and personality changes), impaired ability to react to safety hazards. These are more widespread than suspected and included noise induced hearing loss.
  8. Dermatological conditions: 40% of all occupational diseases between 1972-1982 were of this nature. There is an under-reporting of this disorder, and it should be 10%-15% more in actuality. Agriculture and manufacturing are the highest areas where these occur. In 1982 the total value of work days lost was $11 million.
  9. Psychological disorders: Stress. The costs run into tens of billions of dollars. For the Workers’ Compensation insurance these are the most common and costly claims. ("Work related", 1989) .

Thus, most accidents cause musculoskeletal injuries. Lahey (1987) states that the US surgeon general’s report on Health Promotion and Disease Prevention identifies two contributing factors to musculoskeletal injuries: Environmental hazards and human biological factors. Environmental hazards associated with work include: Workplace sources of bio-mechanical stress stemming from job requirements that exceed the worker's strength or endurance, such as heavy lifting or repetitive, forceful manual twisting. Human biological factors include the physical attributes that influence a worker's capacity for safely performing the job. Such attributes include physical size, range of motion, strength, work endurance and the condition of the Musculoskeletal system.


Existing risk-factors in work related injuries:

An extensive effort has been made to identify factors contributing to accidents. Accident proneness has been a familiar concept in the psychological literature since the early part of the century, but much uncertainty still surrounds this phenomenon. (Huyghe, 1984). Are accidents just the result of a risky job or poor working conditions? or are they due to fatigue, carelessness and incompetence? Attempts at classifying accident proneness according to personality traits indicated that hostility, belligerence, contempt of others, emotional instability, tendency toward anxiety, poor personal and family adjustment, reactivity and resistance to stress may be involved (DeBobes, 1986; Wellman & al., 1988; Rivera-Frutos, 1983; Zarzycka, 1982). Porter & Corlett (1989) found that attention problems may be significant as an underlying factor in accident proneness. Wagenaar & Groeneweg (1987) found that human error played a major role in these accidents, even when errors were not recognizable before the accident occurred and were not readily apparent. The major types of human error that contributed to accidents were wrong habits, wrong diagnoses, lack of attention, lack of training, and unsuitable personality characteristics.

Statistics, if wisely compiled, could be very useful to people who are concerned about safety in the workplace, claims Allison, (1988) , who adds that statistics often can show that accident proneness maybe more reasonably attributed to lack of adequate training or the lack of hazard controlled designs of tools, equipment, facilities, and work environment.

Other human factors in injury include risk-taking behaviors, age, gender, sleep deprivation and drug and alcohol use. Vielvoye (1991:35) says in relation to risk-taking behavior:

Lurking within every offshore worker is a dice-throwing, risk taking gambling man… while corporations have set their face against personal risk and work toward elimination of accidents, individuals are ambivalent about risk. No one wants an accident, but people willingly take risks.

Age does not seem to be a factor in rates of injury as much as length of employment on the job. While workers under age 35 account for 50% of all workers, 60% of all injuries occur in this age group, and 40% of these happen to workers who are employed less than one year. (Mitchell, 1988; California Dept. of Industrial Relations, 1989; "Cost of injury", 1989). Shift workers get injured more than non-shift workers and female shift workers have the highest incidence of work injury: almost triple the rate for male shift workers. (Novak & al., 1990) .

Lack of sleep is reported to be related to industrial accidents much more than drug and alcohol abuse. ("A good night's sleep"; 1989, "Sleeping on the job"; 1991, Verespej, 1990; Feinauer, 1990.).


Accident prevention efforts:

In light of the magnitude and cost of the problem of injuries in general and job related injuries in particular, accident prevention programs have been the objective of experts in fields such as human engineering, industrial psychology, behavioral psychology, feedback and learning theories and the use of robots. (Tisserand, 1985; Nakagawara, 1989; McDonald, 1989; Chelius, 1991; Geer, 1991; McKenna, 1982; Vilardo, 1988) . Moretz (1989) states that comprehensive injury prevention programs should include job redesign, employee selection, screening, and training. Most programs tend to combine findings from several approaches and require steps that will include one or more of the following:

  1. Bio-mechanical control of work environment, which includes modifications in work conditions, equipment, tools, human physical ability and motions (Tisserand, 1985; Dever, 1989; Moretz, 1989; Koshiro, 1987; Wallin, 1987; DeBobes, 1986; Barnett & Brickman, 1986).
  2. Physical and psychological screening of personnel according to job risk and job demands, (Moretz, 1989;Jones & Wuebker, 1988).
  3. Educating workers about risk factors on the job, (Moretz, 1989; Jones & Wuebker, 1988; Barnett & Brickman, 1986; Howarth, 1987)
  4. Providing feedback and regularly informing workers about the status of injuries and risks on the job, (McAfee & Winn, 1989; Sulzer-Azaroff & al., 1990; Saaro, 1988; Fellner & Sulzer-Azaroff, 1984; Howarth, 1987; French, 1988).
  5. Enlisting positive employee participation in preventive programs. (Sulzer-Azaroff & al., 1990; Berkowitz, 1991; Wallin, 1987; DeBobes, 1986; Saarela, 1990).
  6. Involving management in implementation and monitoring of preventive programs, (Berkowitz, 1991).
  7. Stress management and group psychotherapy for employees (Dever, 1989; Murphy & Sorenson, 1988;Saarela, 1990; Murphy & al., 1986).

The only efforts so far to predict when a worker might be injured and taking steps to prevent injuries through this timing device have been conducted by the proponents of the theory of Biorhythms.

The theory of Biorhythms asserts that there are three cycles which are initiated at the time of one’s birth and these cycles influence one's activities. These cycles refer to the physical, emotional and intellectual aspects of one's behavior. They begin together at birth, but they are different in length; the physical cycle is 23 days long, the emotional cycle is 28 days long, and the intellectual cycle is 33 days long, thus producing sinusoidal curves of different lengths. When a function crosses the axis describing time, a "critical day" or caution day is said to occur. This is, according to proponents of this theory, a day when the individual is most likely to incur an injury. (Gittleson, 1975; Tatai, 1977; Thommen, 1973; Thumann, 1977).

Most of the journal articles report negative results, refuting the hypothesis that Biorhythms can predict accident prone times: Jordan-Maspons & al., (1983) tested the hypothesis for the occurrence of myocardial infarctions; Pitariu & al. (1984) for traffic accidents; Winstead & al. (1984) examined psychiatric admissions, and Ellis & Walka (1983) reviewed data from mountain climbing accidents. Warren & Lanning (1982) reviewed football accidents and Studenski (1981) reviewed a variety of accidents. All of the above, however, reported negative results.

Two studies in particular are of interest: Cioca & al. (1982) investigated 215 labor accidents to determine how many of them occurred on "critical" biorhythm days. The biorhythms of the individuals involved were calculated, and analysis revealed non significant correlations between the accident and subjects’ critical biorhythm days. Soutar & Weaver (1983) examined all industry related accidents in a large Australian timber milling organization over a 15 month period to see if a relationship existed between the occurrence of industrial accidents and the biorhythm critical days of about 750 employees. Details of 1,239 accidents were recorded at the various locations by company clerks and were forwarded to the researchers. Individual employee details, such as birth dates, were obtained from personnel records. Accidents and personnel records were then matched. A variety of biorhythm critical day definitions and accident types were analyzed, but no significant results were obtained, suggesting that the proposed relationship between biorhythm critical days and accidents did not hold in this case.

Three studies have to do with positive findings on biorhythms: D'Andrea & al. (1984) and Laxenaire & Laurent (1983) who both claim that the theory needs to be totally revised and looked at from a different angle: D'Andrea & al. (1984) found some validity to Biorhythms but used a novel approach to the theory, thus completely changing the premises of the existing theory, and reported their study to be of limited generalization ability, as it was conducted on a population of approximately 900 White male VA suicide inpatients. Laxenaire & Laurent (1983) examined 1,209 accident cases at a bottling plant in relation to the biorhythms of the persons involved. It was suggested (a) that among certain individuals the knowledge of biorhythms theory leads to certain variations in behavior; (b) that the rhythms are endogenous with their values impacting differently from one person to another; and (c) that the rhythms can become synchronized. Only Sridhar (1990) found positive results to his study, and claims that when people are aware that they are at a biorhythmic low, they can take extra care to avoid errors that cause accidents and that management can reduce work accidents by informing employees of their accident prone days.

This study is intended to isolate a time frame when a person, regardless of any other factor such as age, the type of work or the kind of environment one is in, is more likely to get injured. Astrology is another body of knowledge that deals with timing of events by studying the connection between planetary positions and events in the person's life.


Astrology and its place in contemporary science:

Astrology dates back to the dawn of history as we know it, and some scholars claim that humanity was interested in the relationship between life on earth and the planets for more than 25,000 years (Gleadow, 1969). Modern astrology's onset is believed to be from the year 1700 AD to the present time (Brau, Weaver & Edmands, 1977:19), and is defined as "the study of the movements of the Sun, Moon and planets in relation to events on earth, especially human personality and behavior, or conversely, the study of human affairs in relation to their cosmic environment."

Astrology is very broad in its scope and has many different branches (Brau, Weaver & Edmands, 1977). The most familiar one is natal astrology, which involves the calculation and interpretation of the birth chart (horoscope, or map of the sky at birth) for individuals and many techniques for assessing past, present and future potentials. These varied techniques include the study of transits (relationships between the current, continuously moving planets in the sky to the positions of the planets in the horoscope) and progressions (the use of non-current planetary positions to symbolize the past, present or future potentials of an individual). Astrology also compares one horoscope to another (synastry, chart comparison) to assist mutual understanding in relationships. Other branches of modern astrology include medical astrology which tries to anticipate potential health problems and to diagnose physical or mental illness. Prominent astrologers in this field include E. Nauman (1982) and C. Jansky (1983); Esoteric astrology uses the birth chart to delineate spiritual evolution, (Heindel, 1924; Hall, 1972); Mundane astrology or political astrology views the collective rather than the individual, and includes fields such as economics, meteorology and agriculture. Locational astrology deals with the choice of new locations, electional astrology deals with finding times to begin endeavors, and horary astrology deals with answering specific questions much like other oracle systems, but it is based on the chart calculated for the time the question is asked. There are various schools of thought in astrology that deal with the above branches in different ways: The Humanistic (or symbolic) school of astrology stands opposed to the statistical school of astrology, (though some practitioners combine both), the Uranian system versus the classical system, and the Sidereal system versus the Tropical system. (Brau, Weaver & Edmands, 1977).

A school of thought which is of a particular interest for this study is the school of Cosmobiology or the Ebertin school of astrology (Ebertin, 1974). This is a system of primarily predictive astrology that uses harmonics (the division of the circle into equal parts of various sizes, i.e., the second harmonic divides the circle into two equal parts of 180°, the third harmonic divides the circle into three equal parts of 120° each, etc.). The theory and practice of this system will be further discussed later in this chapter.

The belief in astrology in the Western world is widespread, and has been rapidly growing during the last few decades. Public interest surveys carried out in various countries since the mid-1950s in Germany (Schmidtchen, 1957), France (Defrance & al., 1971) and in the USA (Gallup, 1975 & 1978) revealed that about 30% of the population believes in astrology, and a June 1984 Gallup poll showed that 55% of American teenagers (aged 13-18) believe in astrology (Kurtz & Frankoni, 1985). These authors also report that more than 1,200 newspapers in the USA carry astrological columns. Clarke (1991) found that among over 1,000 university students, over 50% expressed belief in paranormal phenomena and over 30% also expressed belief in astrology.

Although astrology is defined by many scientists as a superstition (West, 1991), it has grabbed the interest of more than the "naive" public; its main contributors in previous centuries have been prominent astronomers, people such as Kepler, Copernicus and Brahe, just to name a few.


The scientific approach to astrology:

Astrological research on a large scale is a relatively new development, but many astrologers in the past and present century conducted their own research projects, such as C.G. Jung (1960), who did a statistical analysis of the astrological correlates of marriage and found significant support for the astrological factors associated with this event. Other early attempts to find a correlation between birth data and observable events or individual characteristics were made in the 1920s by Paul Choisnard, a French astrologer who tried to correlate outstanding abilities and violent deaths, and C.E.O. Carter (1932), whose work on accidents will be reviewed later on in this chapter. In the 1930s Karl Krafft of Switzerland tried to find the astrological correlates of the choice of profession as a clergyman. In the 1950s Donald Bradley started a large-scale statistical research in the USA, (Brau, Weaver & Edmands, 1977). He analyzed the planetary positions of over 2,500 clergymen and found no significant correlation with Sun signs (at least for the Tropical zodiac), but his data did reveal, when further analyzed, a wave-like curve that was later to be identified as the seventh harmonic (the division of the circle by seven, producing segments of 51°25'). This division was found by John Addey (1976), who successfully replicated the study using birth data for British clergymen. (Brau, Weaver & Edmands, 1977).

Along with the popularity of astrology among the general public, the astrological community has become more involved in recent years in the statistical study of astrology much aided by the advent of computers and the availability of large data bases of charts collected by different organizations of the astrological community. To name just a few, the American Federation of Astrologers (AFA) which is the largest astrological organization in the world with membership from about 40 countries from around the world, publishes the Journal of Research which is devoted to research findings on astrology. The International Society for Astrological Research (ISAR) has a catalogue that lists in excess of 15,000 computer entries of birth data, made available specifically to astrologers and others who wish to conduct large scale statistical studies of astrology. An international organization, the Committee for Objective Research in Astrology (CORA) includes researchers with experience in the field of astrology and other sciences, who provide assistance and advice for those interested in astrological research. Although very few studies find their way into mainstream publications (they get published only in specialized astrological periodicals and newsletters), the activity in this field is rapidly picking up pace because astrologers are realizing the need to find scientifically acceptable evidence for astrology, and in light of the above mentioned debate, it is obvious that a meaningful dialogue with the scientific community will have to happen through the mutual use of the scientific methodology.

The use of scientific methods to test astrology has been criticized by both opponents and supporters of astrology. The noted French scientist husband-wife team, Michael & Francoise Gauquelin, have been researching astrological patterns, theories and premises for over 40 years. They criticized their predecessors for using limited statistical techniques and poor research designs. An early Gauquelin study (1983 a) found uniformly negative results as to correlations between zodiac signs and personality traits, derived from a data base of 100,000 subjects. This led them to reject traditional astrology, but they were able to find significant correlations which were later replicated successfully, between professions and diurnal planetary positions. The Gauquelins found that at the birth of prominent professional people, certain planets tended to concentrate in key sectors of the sky more than would be expected by chance. (Astrologers have long divided the sky into sectors called "houses", which are based on the diurnal motion of the earth.) The Gauquelins also found that children tend to be born with the same planet in key sectors as their parents have in their horoscopes at birth, suggesting that a chosen occupation or personality trait may be inherited. They further found that astrological symbolism (the traits attributed to the various planets) were statistically demonstrable and that character traits described by astrologers occur most often when the planets are in key sectors of the horoscope (Gauquelin, 1983 b).

Dean (1977) reports the results of a literature survey of astrologically related articles and books dating from the beginning of this century to the year 1976. He surveyed 410 journal articles, 310 astrology books and about 300 related works. He found that the results of these works were not impressive mainly due to several reasons, such as the anecdotal quality of some of the data in earlier studies, the many and sometimes conflicting astrological theories, the use of complex functions instead of simple principles, and inadequate methodological and statistical techniques.

Eysenck & Nias (1982), intrigued by the Gauquelin studies and Dean's work, evaluated the astrological research from another point of view. They found that a lot of the published works were of poor quality, stemming from poor design and containing many statistical errors. The major problems they found in the studies reviewed were small sample sizes and the inability to replicate those studies. They state that the scientific community refuses to seriously examine the experimental work done by astrologers and that the astrologers are making claims that do not stand up to scientific scrutiny.

Nolle (1980) states that most astrologers do not have enough training and knowledge in research methods, and with a few exceptions, they are mostly amateurs. He outlines three main obstacles to astrological research:

  1. Astrologers tend to value traditional teachings and are not open to new concepts and views.
  2. Very few astrologers have access to training and facilities for serious research.
  3. An existing shortage in reliable references and guides in theoretical and methodological bases for astrological studies.

There are several recent studies reported in the literature that found support for some of astrology’s claims: Tyagi (1987) discusses astrology as both a science and an art, a science in the form of setting up a horoscope (an exacting process because each factor has to be calculated and measured) and an art in that astrologers learn to become skilled in the interpretation of a horoscope much like psychologists learn to become skilled in the interpretation of personality tests. He sees astrology as having a potential to offer an understanding of both ones problems and ones self, much like psychology aims to do, but it can provide a greatly missed instrument of timing that is lacking in psychology. Astrology can supplement psychology possibly by indicating when to do what is wanted for best results, so that a person can gain insight into the situation in which he/she is involved, and in which direction action should be taken.

In another replication of the earlier Mayo & al. (1978) studies about extroversion and Sun sign, Van-Rooij et al. (1988) controlled the factor of self attribution in 992 adults, and their results support the original Mayo & al. (1978) results that there is a relationship between odd and even Sun signs and extroversion (odd Sun signs tended to be more extroverted than even Sun signs), thus contradicting Eysenck and Nias (1982) replication of the original Mayo & al. (1978) study.

Angenent & de Man (1988) tested the validity of astrological statements by comparing astrologers’ evaluation of 30 individuals with evaluations from psychologists and from a randomly chosen fellow subject of the same sex using lists of personality traits. Agreement of the astrological evaluations with the psychological evaluations and with the peers was 73% and 50%, respectively, thus, astrologers' evaluations agreed more with those of psychologists than those of peers.

Despite self-criticism and an increasing amount of evidence in the literature which appears to support the principles of astrology, the debate continues between the scientific community and the astrologers. This ongoing, rather heated debate is exhaustively described and dealt with by J.A. West (1991), in his impressive work The Case For Astrology. West claims that there is scientific evidence supporting the basic claims of astrology, (1) that there exists a correlation between celestial and terrestrial events, and (2) that correspondences exist between the position of the planets at birth and the human personality. West considers the evidence incontrovertible. However, scientists and their supporters remain as hostile to the subject of astrology as ever before, and prefer to look at astrology as a superstition that was invented by the Babylonians, perfected by the Greeks and brought to its present glory by cranks and charlatans. This view is held by people from various fields of science, who largely admit that they base their judgment on feelings and newspaper columns, as hardly any of them ever bothered to seriously take up the study of astrology. So, despite its apparent interest to the public, astrology has not yet been accepted as a valid field of study.


Astrological terms and principles dealing with injuries:

As stated earlier, the purpose of this study is not to settle this debate, but rather to embark upon a project that may help to prove some basic, simple concepts of astrology, through clear, replicable procedures, that will hopefully generate further studies that will eventually help build a scientific basis for modern astrology. The concept to be tested is the ability of astrology to predict when a person is more likely to suffer a bodily injury.

As there is no known theory in astrology that deals solely with accidents, it is necessary to formulate a theoretical basis that will both predict and explain the occurrence of accidental injuries. One astrological theory that would predict a "negative" (harmful, injurious, destructive) event belongs to the area of transits, in particular to what is referred to as "hard” aspects from a transiting planet to a natal planet. 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. (Brau, Weaver & Edmands, 1977).

Johannes Kepler, the noted astronomer (1960) was the first to formulate a general theory of aspects about 400 years ago, and to divide them into major and minor. Major aspects include the conjunction, when two planets have the same celestial longitude; the opposition, when they are on opposite sides of the earth, so opposite each other on the zodiac, that is, when they form an angle of 180°; the square, when they form an angle of 90°; the trine, when they form an angle of 120°; and the sextile, when they form an angle of 60°. Minor aspects include the semi-square or octile, (45°), the sesquisquare or trioctile (135°), the semisextile (30°) and the quincunx (150°) ; the quintile (72°) , the biquintile, (144°) and the decile (36°) . The minor aspects are fairly modern innovations.

Classical astrologers characterized aspects as benefic and/or malefic, that is, good or bad. Most modern astrologers find these terms antiquated and feel that they convey an unfortunate determinism; they prefer to use such words as "helpful and challenging”, “soft and hard", or "complementary and conflicting" to distinguish the two general categories of aspects. The hard aspects are all derived from division of the circle by two, four and eight, whereas the soft aspects represent the division of the circle by three, five, six or twelve. (Brau, Weaver & Edmands, 1977). The quality of the conjunction is regarded as dependent on the nature of the planets it brings together. For example, a conjunction of Moon and Venus would be helpful, whereas a conjunction of Mars and Saturn would be difficult. The trine is considered helpful, as well as the sextile, whereas the square and opposition are deemed difficult, although the stress they indicate may also be a spur to personal growth. The general consensus of modern astrologers is that the square is harder to resolve than the opposition. (Brau, Weaver & Edmands, 1977).

John Addey (1976) extended the idea of harmonics beyond the theory of aspects expanding it into a fundamental theory of underlying principles of astrology. Addey's theory of the harmonic basis of astrology, which he based on the analysis of a vast range of statistical studies, suggests that all astrological effects, apart from the planets themselves, can best be understood in terms of the "Harmonics of cosmic periods". By a cosmic period Addey means any one of the many cycles studied by astrologers, such as the Zodiac, the houses, the aspect cycles, and so on. According to this theory, an understanding of the meaning of each number in the Pythagorean sense, and an understanding of the meaning of each particular cycle will ultimately enable astrologers to reconstruct astrology from its first principles. An example of one of John Addey's discoveries was his investigation of the distribution around the Zodiac of the natal Suns of doctors. He found that there is very little correlation between Sun signs and the birthdays of doctors. What he did find, however, was that doctors tend to be born at a 72-degree intervals through the zodiac, one fifth of the circle.

More about the core meaning of aspects can be found in the various books on astrology available to the interested student. (Hone, 1978; Jones, 1941; Tierney, 1983; Pelletier, 1974.). For the purpose of this work, the following definitions for the major aspects are those of Robert Hand (1976). However, it should be noted that the degree of consensus among astrologers as to the meaning of the major aspects is very high. The rest of the definitions, unless otherwise stated, are taken from Larousse Encyclopedia of Astrology, (Brau,Weaver & Edmands, 1977).

The conjunction (0°) is a result of the first harmonic (no division of the circle). Two planets at the same point or close to the same degree, are conjunct each other, acting as one, symbolizing union and perfect togetherness. Theoretically, number one is related to beginnings, and because there is no polarization, there is no conflict, but Hand (1976) states that if the conjunction occurs between planets that are not easily combined by nature, the result will not be easy. He states that the conjunction carries in itself the seed of all other aspects thus creating an expectation of a considerable variation in effects, or as he says: "Thus it is that some conjunction transits are more like trines or sextiles and others are more like squares or oppositions." (Hand, 1976:15).

The opposition (180°) is the result of the division of the circle by two. Two is the number symbolizing polarity, a confrontation between two principles, and inherently is connected with the idea of conflict.

The trine (120°) resulting from the division of the circle into three symbolizes the resolution of polarity and conflict. Activity may be involved in this aspect, but it always consists of balancing, complementary processes, that create no change.

The square (90°) results from the division of the circle by four, which is a multiple of two, therefore it shares much of the nature of the opposition, representing dynamic change and instability. It symbolizes situations where there is resistance to some force, and "the force is challenged to prove itself against the demands of the material universe." (Hand, 1976:15).

The sextile (60°), like the square, is a result of a division by a composite number, two times three. This conveys a state of balance somewhat like the trine but it is impossible to stay passive to the sextile in the way the one can be to the trine. It represents activity within a state of balance, thus the traditional association of the sextile is with opportunity.

The school of Cosmobiology, or otherwise known as the Ebertin school (Ebertin, 1974) uses a dynamic system based on the division of the circle into four, resulting in a 90° dial which visually plots any planets or planetary pictures (groups of planets) in relation to the fourth harmonic. This system does not use the traditional signs of the zodiac (thereby eliminating the very long and drawn-out dispute among astrologers and scientists as to the validity of the Sidereal versus Tropical zodiacal positions of the planets in the signs), only the spatial distance between the planets. The major "activating" influences in determining an event according to Ebertin are the hard aspects, to which he adds the semisquare or octile (45°) and the sesquisquare or trioctile (135°), which are the eighth harmonic, a further division of the four by two, and carrying the same "hard" meaning as the square and the opposition.

The question of orbs has not been resolved in the existing astrological literature. An orb is a spherical space of variable size surrounding a planet or sensitive point within which its influence or receptivity with respect to other bodies is considered to operate. The exact size of the orbs of the planets has never been established, but the general rule is the faster the planet or point is moving, and thus the sooner it will form a given aspect with another planet, the wider is its orb. Thus, the Moon may have orbs of up to 15°, whereas Uranus, Neptune or Pluto, may be assigned only 2°. An exception to this rule is the Sun, which is granted an orb comparable to the Moon's by virtue of its importance. The ancient system of Jyotish (Vedic astrology) holds that the entire sign is the orb of an aspect, thus a planet will aspect everything that is in its sign, in the opposing sign, etc., along slightly different premises than those of modern western astrology. (Ojha, 1972) .

Aspects can either be applying or separating. An applying aspect is an aspect that has not yet been made, i.e., the faster moving planet is moving toward the exact aspect and is within an orb of influence of the aspect but not quite exact yet. A separating aspect is an aspect that has already occurred, and the fast-moving planet is moving away from the exact aspect, but is still within an orb of influence. It is generally considered that applying aspects are more effective or powerful than separating aspects.

The Sun, the center of our solar system and for many generations past considered the center of the Universe, holds a special place in astrology. Sun-sign astrology is the most popular form of astrology that is found in newspapers and magazines, using one's Sun sign at birth to make predictions for the future and descriptions of personality traits and compatibility with other Sun signs. Although the Sun is one of the most important elements in a birth chart, one cannot fully describe character on the basis of the Sun’s position alone. It is popular because it is the easiest to memorize, most people know their birthday and can easily discover "what sign they are in", or what sign the Sun occupied at their birth.

The Sun signifies the following areas in a person's life:

Physically, the Sun rules the basic energy of the body and the body as an energy system. Consequently, the transiting Sun can have a great effect on feelings of health and vigor.

Psychologically, the Sun rules the energy of the psyche, what Jung called the 'libido' or the basic drive to be. When the transiting Sun afflicts the natal chart, you can expect crises in which you will come into conflict with someone else's. You may be challenged to assert yourself and stand up for your rights....If you allow yourself to be unnecessarily defeated during a solar transit, the effects may be psychologically quite negative. In extreme cases, afflictions from the transiting Sun can indicate health problems.

The transiting Sun also has to do with men in general whom you may encounter and persons in authority of either sex. Afflictions from the transiting Sun often indicate problems with authorities or men. (Hand, 1976:47).


Astrological literature related to accidents:

Now that the basic terms to be used in the theoretical framework of the study have been defined, the existing literature on accidents in astrology is reviewed.

The work of Donald Bradley (1974) on solar returns is of particular interest to this study. A solar return chart is calculated for the exact time when the Sun returns to the position it held at birth, thus occurring close to or on the person's birthday. The solar return chart is a predictive technique which enables the astrologer to describe the events foreseen for the upcoming year. Bradley's system of solar returns is different from all other commonly used solar return systems in that he not only looks at the birthday return, but also at the fourth harmonic to the birthday, i.e., he calculates a quarti-solar return chart for the time the Sun is 90° (square) away from its position at birth either separating or applying (approximately 90 days and 270 days after the birthday) and a demi-solar return for the time the Sun is opposing (180°) its natal position. (180 days or six months before or after the birthday) . The reasoning behind this system is that the Sun, forming a hard aspect to itself, is predisposing the individual to a hard time. He also includes among other factors the position of all other planets in the chart. From Hand's (1976) above definition of an aspect to the Sun, this is actually expected at these times.

Interestingly, folklore and legends contain references to the ominous nature of birthdays: Down (1992) writes:

When Sleeping beauty was born, 12 fairy godmothers came, bringing gifts of goodness and beauty. An evil fairy came as well, bestowing darkness and danger. And so begins the tale many generations have read and loved.

In the early 1800s, when the Grimm brothers recorded the old stories, it has long been common belief that at birth, both good and bad fairies hovered near, influencing the child for life. For centuries, the arrival of each birthday had similarly been marked by fear, for any change brought the evil spirits running. To scare away these spirits, family and friends would gather and surround the child with protective sheath of good wishes. Greetings and gifts, in the form of prayer and hopes for well-being, gave power to the good forces accompanying the child and were essential to the occasion. The birthday gathering of old was thus a private and serious ritual for ensuring a long, happy and virtuous life. (Down, 1991:63)

The only studies in the literature that have some relevance to the present study in an attempt to find some connection between astrology and critical events such as suicide, homicide and natural deaths are the following:

David Lester (1987) conducted a study where he analyzed birth data for suicides, homicides and natural deaths and found no significant variation over month of birth or astrological sign for his subjects. A year later, Stack and Lester (1988) analyzed data from a national sample of 7,508 subjects to test the thesis that internalization of the traits associated with astrological signs affects suicide ideation. They found no significant connection between Sun sign and suicidal ideation, except for one sign. These two studies are only two examples of a common practice in astrological research, which unfortunately, almost invariably yields negative results: That of assigning specific characteristics in an inclusive manner to Sun sign alone. This researcher stands in agreement with Gauquelin (1983), Dean (1977), Eysenck & Nias (1982) , and Nolle (1980), that although this form of astrological investigation may seem logical to some astrologers, it does not have a theoretical basis in the astrological literature as can be realized when studying the above (or any other existing textbook) definition of the Sun (Hand, 1976). Although the Sun signifies vitality, vigor, life force, etc., one cannot logically conclude that Sun sign alone will indicate a negative or positive event (such as suicide or death), or an ideation (as the thinking process is not ruled by the Sun in any astrological book!). For an event to occur, an influence has to take place, for example, a transit. For a bodily injury to occur, an aspect to the astrological significators of the physical body has to occur, either by simple transit, solar return, progression (another form of predictive technique), etc.

The only work in the astrological literature to deal specifically with accidents is by C.E.O. Carter (1932), a book titled The Astrology of Accidents. Carter compiled data for 168 people who either died or were heavily injured in accidents. He defines accidents as "a bodily mishap occasioned without intent either on the part of the sufferer or the agent (if any) inflicting it." (Carter, 1932:16). He found many gradations to accidents, and his main concern in his research was to find a natal configuration that would have acted as a "signature" for the particular accident. Carter obtained charts of people that already had accidents and tried to find out if there is any pattern stemming from astrological reasoning that would signify a tendency toward that particular type of accident. His intention was to "discover, if possible, any factors that are common to all serious accidents, or at least occur more frequently than mere probability would explain." (Carter, 1932:17). However, his collection of data refers to 168 accidental deaths or injuries, which he divides into 15 categories of injuries such as asphyxiation, (5 cases), drowning (14 cases), burns (19 cases) scalds (9 cases), gunshots (4 cases), blows (21 cases), crushing (9 cases), wounds and cuts (7 cases),vehicular (22), falls (32 cases), machinery (5 cases),railway (3 cases), poison (one case), miscellaneous (10 cases) and animals (3 cases). For each one of these different forms of injury he examined the birth charts of the victims to find if there is some common factor that would indicate from birth that this person will be prone to that specific kind of injury (e.g., an affliction from Mars in the event of burns, or affliction from Saturn in the event of falls, etc.) Given the number of categories above (15), it is obvious that whatever his results, the ability to generalize is extremely limited, given that the largest sample for anyone category (falls) is 32 people, which does not constitute an adequate sample size, let alone the categories that have one or three cases.

Carter tabulated his entire sample according to Sun signs, and counted which Sun sign appeared to be more frequent in his sample. His results were the following: The most injured Sun sign was Taurus, with 22 out of 168 births, and the least frequently injured Sun sign was Aquarius, with 7 cases, with the average being 14. He then counted all other points in the charts of the entire sample, namely, the sign position of all the planets and the Ascendant (The Rising sign or the horizon of the horoscope, a point which is determined by the exact time and place of birth, not only the date of birth), and found that the sign Sagittarius was more occupied with planets or Ascendants than any other sign, and Aquarius the least occupied, with Taurus a close second. Due to the sample size and method used, this information does not carry much meaning; the fact that a sign contains more planets can be a result of a sampling bias: There are periods when there is a preponderance of planets in a sign, like in 1964, 1965 and 1966, when there were months when five or more planets occupied the sign of Aquarius, so accidents to natives of those years would have gone directly against Carter's above finding. To find out if there is a specific Sun sign that is more accident prone, one would have to conduct a much larger scale study, including thousands of birth data to see if there is a particular sign that stands out, and even then, the ability to generalize would be minimal. One may also add Dean's (1977) observation that there are no uniform norms for the distribution of Sun signs in the general population, and that these vary according to geographical location, socio-economic factors, and eras.

The sign on the Ascendant holds possibly more promise, as it signifies among other things the physical body, and traditionally, the Ascendant was considered even more important than the Sun sign. (Brau, Weaver & Edmands, 1977). Here, Carter came up with the sign Sagittarius as the most frequent (25 cases) with Leo as a close second (24 cases) . The least frequent Ascendant came up to be Aries (5 cases). The same problem with sample size is valid in this case, as well as other sampling biases, which Carter actually discusses. Again, the ability to generalize from this information is very limited.

Carter then continued to count up stress contact points between the Sun and the planets he considered as harmful or malefic (Mars, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune). He did not find that the hard aspects (square, conjunction and opposition) between these pairs of planets produced more accidents than other degree separations, and concluded that "there would be separate sets of stresses for each pair of bodies and for each class of conditions." (Carter, 1932:36).

The main problem with Carter's work, despite its general interest, is that he did not look at the actual event of the accident, i.e., he looked at the natal chart only, and not at that chart in relation to the time of the accident. However, he provides birth data and injury dates for some (55) of his example charts, and these figures will be analyzed in Chapter Four from the theoretical approach of the present study and will be presented as a replication of the current study.


Proposed astrological theory of accidents:

It is necessary now, based on the foregoing definitions and considerations, to formulate the theoretical basis for the research hypothesis.

This study will look at the relationship between the date of birth and the date of injury for people who have been injured on the job. The date of birth alone provides the position of the Sun at birth, and the only transit that will be looked at is a transit from the Sun to itself, which is easily obtained from the date of the injury. Based on the definition of the Sun and a transit from the Sun above (Hand, 1976:47), Donald Bradley’s (1974) approach to Solar Returns discussed earlier, and the nature of the hard aspects discussed earlier (Hand, 1976; Ebertin, 1974), it is now obvious, that this study expects to find a large concentration of injuries occurring to individuals when the Sun in the sky is conjunct (0°), square (90°), or opposed (180°) the position of the Sun at birth. These patterns will occur near an individual's birthday, three months later, six months later and nine months later.

As has been discussed earlier, there is a great divergence among astrologers regarding various functions and meanings of planetary indications. However, if one were to find the most likely elements which enjoy the widest possible consensus in the literature, these will, no doubt, be the ones used in this study, namely, the Sun, and the hard aspects (0°, 90°, and 180°), as indicators for an event occurring among others to the physical body. These are also some of the most basic and simple concepts of astrology, almost in all existing schools and systems in the literature, modern as well as ancient.

The Sun as a significator of masculine qualities and men in general will be looked at, namely, whether this expectation will be more pronounced in male subjects than in female subjects, and the question of orb of influence will also be considered, from the tightest traditional orb for the Sun (8°-10° applying or separating) to the largest one (the entire sign).

So, the theoretical bases for this study from the astrological point of view are the following:

  1. The birthday of a person stands in an astrological relationship (aspect) to the date of the accidental injury.
  2. The Sun, as the significator of vitality, health, men and authority figures holds a prominent position in the occurrence of physical accidents.
  3. The transiting aspects to be considered are hard aspects (conjunctions or 0°, squares or 90°, and oppositions or 180°) to the Sun, that signify a crisis to health and vitality.
  4. The question of orbs will be investigated, ranging from the ancient Vedic (Jyotish) point of view to the modern, tight orb approaches. Also, the question of applying and separating orbs will be looked at.
  5. Because the Sun is said to be the significator of men in general, it will be interesting to see if women and men get injured according to different patterns


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