I notice that the media is full of news of a Spanish study, involving close on 30,000 people, which links one’s month of birth to the type of diseases one suffers from. Is this good news for those of us who are desperate to find scientific evidence for astrology? The Daily Mail’s headline suggests that it is: “Your health may be written in the stars: How the month you were born affects which diseases you are likely to get“. The figures certainly seemed impressive, with the Daily Mail reporting that “Men born in June were 34 per cent less likely to suffer depression and 22 per cent less likely to be diagnosed with lower back pain”.
Such studies are relatively common. They sometimes come from insurance companies, who can link the month or even star sign of birth with accidents. Unfortunately they do nothing to prove the existence of astrology. This is because the zodiac western astrologers use is seasonal. The sign Cancer starts at the exact moment of the Summer Solstice, the sign Libra at the exact moment of the Autumnal Equinox, Capricorn at the Winter Solstice, Aries at the Spring Equinox. So any attempt to link someone’s month or star sign of birth to a life event, and then to infer an astrological cause, is confounded by season.
If you want to do a large scale study and link particular events to astrology, then one should forget star signs, and use some other body – for example the Moon. This is more difficult, because unlike Sun signs, Moon signs don’t have neat start dates. For example, if someone is born on June 19, I know for sure they are a Gemini, but I haven’t a clue what their Moon sign is, unless I have their time and date of birth.
But let’s assume I have 30,000 people’s Moon signs, or Mars signs, and I try to make a link with the kind of diseases they are diagnosed with. Would I be successful? Almost certainly not. The French statistician Michel Gauquelin, in the 1950s, did exhaustive studies of astrology and personality. For a start he found that the Sun and Mercury didn’t work as meaningful influences – you had to restrict yourself to the Moon, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn. Also, the sign these bodies were in was irrelevant. What mattered was their relationship to the horizon at the time of birth. In other words, you need times of birth, not just the dates of birth, which Spanish scientists and publicity-seeking insurance companies aren’t going to be bothered with.