(Transcipt of my book launch at the Bundaberg library.)
When people ask me what my book is about, I find myself torn. It’s not a simple answer. Lately I have been giving the short answer, which is that the book is about whether or not the planets influence us, as astrology asserts that they do. But as soon is I give that answer, I realise that it sells the book way short. So I am grateful to have a few minutes to really tell the story of the book, what it contains and how it came to be.
I will just say briefly, what a huge rush it has been to have a book, any book, published. So few books make it further than the slush pile. Less than one percent, I believe. So for a publisher, even a small press publisher like Bardic Press, to see real value in your work is a great tonic for a writer’s ego. And the drive to keep writing and hopefully produce more work of even greater value. How this little book came to be involved a little serendipity, but more of that a little later.
Many years ago, as a result of my search for answers to life, the universe and what I was supposed to be doing in it, I found myself in a spiritual school based on the teachings of Russian mystics George Gurdjieff and Peter Ouspensky. The aim of the school was to help one to wake up, to shake off the fog we live in, to develop awareness of ourselves and others, to basically be better people. One of the tools that was used exclusively in this school was a system of body types developed by one of Ouspensky’s students, Rodney Collin.
Rodney Collin was very interested in synthesising the esoteric knowledge that Gurdjieff developed with modern science. One of the fruits of this synthesis was the connections he made between the ancient planetary archetypes of astrology with a scheme of types based on endocrine gland dominance, developed by a pioneering endocrinologist, Dr Louis Berman. Finally, it seemed, astrology had a biological link between the heavens and man. The endocrine glands produced very clear and definite physiological and psychological characteristics, which were almost identical to the ancient planetary types.
When I first learned how to recognise the types I was continually bowled over by how accurate they were. Not only were the physical characteristics very clear and obvious, but the psychological profiles that accompanied these body types were deadly accurate. And what’s more, the types scheme contained unique psychological insights that I had not seen anywhere else in my travels, either in esoteric knowledge, or in clinical or even pop psychology.
One of these insights was the idea that there is one central core element to our psyche that manifests both as a chief strength and a chief weakness. It is like the axle to the wheel of our character, around which everything else revolves. If one could discover their chief feature, they would have unlocked one of the biggest mysteries of their inner selves. The insight I have gathered from unlocking my own chief feature has been a very powerful tool in the quest to understand myself and my relations with others.
And that is really the main purpose of the book. Though it deals a lot with science and the links between the planets and life on Earth, at its heart, the book is a little guide map to unlocking the undiscovered country of ourselves, to knowing what makes us tick. To help you unravel some of your own mystery.
Now, while I have always had a strong interest in classic spirituality and esoteric knowledge, I have always been equally fascinated by science. Like Rodney Collin, I have always been looking for ways to reconcile science and spirituality, physics and metaphysics. So, after I became convinced of the accuracy and value of these types, which all were named after the planets, I had to investigate whether there was any real, physical connection between these types and their planetary parents, so to speak.
So I researched astrology research itself, to see whether anyone had uncovered any scientific evidence for celestial influence. It soon became very clear that there was none. Almost every feature of astrology — the zodiac signs, the astrological houses, the aspects, its ability to predict events and outline destiny, etc had been tested over and over, but had failed every test. With one exception.
French scientist Michel Gauquelin spent over twenty years studying the relationships between the heavens and man. He had an avid interest in astrology since a young age, but grew critical when his own research revealed the faulty foundations of many astrological principles. Basically, he was looking for evidence but found none. Until he tested the planets.
Gauquelin’s first positive result in his investigations was using birth times of members of the French Academy of Medicine. Doctors who had achieved academic distinction were selected, and the pattern that emerged was that these eminent physicians tended to have been born when either Mars or Saturn had just risen, or had just passed the midheaven, well above the number expected by chance alone.
Gauquelin’s investigations seemed to link planets with certain professions, and he repeated his studies in other countries like the USA, and the results were identical. He also sent his findings to other scientists to verify his statistics. What distinguishes Gauquelin from other researchers into astrology is that he repeated his studies many times over, always with similar results. The most-repeated test was the association of the planet Mars with sports champions, which became known as the Mars Effect, whose positive statistical results still endures today, despite the attempts by the professional Skeptics organizations to demolish it.
The types Gauquelin studied were almost identical to the planetary types developed by Rodney Collin, so I had to satisfy myself that there was some scientific validity here, so I did my own tests. I collected nearly 400 horoscopes of well-known individuals along with photographs of each. My aim was to determine their body types to see where the planets fell. (Part 2 tomorrow)