The Astrological Association Journal of Research in Astrology

Misunderstanding Astrology

Roy Gillett, President of the Astrological Association

Reaction to Understanding Astrology Especially Andre Barbault references

The art of astrological interpretation is the synthesis of many meanings, disciplined by actual astronomical reality.

General Comment on the Book’s Approach

Dean’s work is intrinsically compromised by his inability to define what astrology can and cannot do. He constantly insists on tests of fragmentary cycles, and demands they match directly caused, precisely recorded events. But astrology is about the association of integrated [often contradictory] astrological cycles with social and personal trends or experience. That occasionally seemingly specific outcomes occur is a by-product not the heart and soul of whether astrology works or not.

You would not test the efficiency of a car spark plug, without first defining the nature of the combustion chamber, the fuel quality and the state of maintenance of the engine. Certainly, not seek to assess the speed achieved without allowing more information of the car and the general environmental conditions in which tests were undertaken.  Furthermore, even with all these factors taken into consideration, when considering car speed, we do have a precise measurable outcome. With astrology, most outcomes are variable types. Similar ongoing pressures can be triggered at different times within a certain period, dependent on other astro-cycles, as well as the intervention of other people with their own distinct astro-cycle conditions and the maturity of their ability to contain them.

What astrology can do is explain and help us anticipate likely trends and possible events. The 2000 stellium in Taurus squared to Uranus in Aquarius did anticipate a massive correction in tech. markets. Pluto’s ingress into Capricorn heralded the 2008 crash. It being joined by Saturn, and Jupiter in 2020, did indicate a major economic global challenge. Pluto’s ingress into Aquarius clearly describes the development and upcoming social consequences of AI.   All these trends were clearly pointed to by mundane astrologers well ahead. In 2011, Andre Barbault even looked back at pandemics and predicted that economic and social upheaval may be connected with a pandemic at the end of the decade.

Most of Understanding Astrology contains a collection of inappropriate, misunderstood, or misrepresented studies to create a smokescreen to the proper understanding of astrology. It makes little, if any, attempt to answer the research issues it raises. Just confines itself to a mere ‘see there, that’s another failure to prove it does not work.’

In every academic discipline, failed research findings are much more prevalent than successful ones. Selecting notable failures could easily seem to show that the very study of physics is pointless, even the possibility of NASA travelling to the Moon impossible.

Because of this the good researcher, first seeks establish a model of how his area of study works. Then tests and adjusts to improve the model. In the case of astrology, what we experience, or are disposed to do, is the product of the background pressures [outer-planetary cycles], the contemporary mood [inner planet cycles] and triggers to act or to happen now [Moon and angles]. Potential triggers are constantly occurring. Only a few will indicate specific outcomes. This does not invalidate the benefit of knowing background pressures that may trigger future events, in order to adjust environments to encourage the most beneficial outcomes. 

Life is a maelstrom of interdependent possibilities, ready to erupt into actions and occurrences. Astro-cycles are as equally interdependent. Long- and medium- term pressures, are triggered by sudden intensities. Assessing the interconnections between the two requires carefully and sensitively modelled balanced study.

Any astrological research study conducted without the above considerations is at best merely interesting. Certainly, it neither proves, or disproves astrology works.

A few examples based on his comments mentioning André Barbault

Page 242 of 299 in Book 2

As mentioned, failed studies are the story of most research. The genuine researcher ticks off that possibility and adjusts the research criteria. In this case,

  • Why choose the capital, not the country chart?
  • This is a study of triggers, without any consideration to the astro-environment, in which they are operating.
  • Why not take all the hits that seemed to match the event and look for other astro factors occurring at the time, especially retrogrades?
  • 1850-1970 covers ten Jupiter, four Saturn, one and a half Uranus cycles. Could this affect results?
  • Is there any relationship between successful triggers and unsuccessful ones.

Page 255 of 299 in Book 2

This comment has no place in a book that claims to apply rigorous precise judgement to astrology. Criticism by association has not proper place in respectable research.

After giving a brief description of Barbault’s major work, Dean totally ignores any further consideration, but instead turns to studies by Joanna Ashmun and Dale Huckeby, which seems to suggest that with so many possibilities there will always be a fit, especially in retrospect.  While these criticisms are important considerations, when devising and reporting on research, they are do not invalidate astrology, or Barbault’s research.  Rather, it shows clearly the need for some systematic, balanced integrated approach, outlined in the introduction. Dean needs to:

  • Expect Ashmun and Huckeby to have made a proper contextual study of a proper model, or at least considered whether the astro-events follow a comment trend.
  • Consider whether the many expected events and outcomes Barbault identifies, are consistent with that model. Were they typical of the astro-cycles of the times?
  • Realise that Barbault does not mean ‘predict’ in the iron-clad way that Dean takes it.

Page 270 of 299

Few astrologers nowadays suggest astro-cycles are a causal links to what happens, rather they describe the ‘state of play’ in the minds and actions of the people and their leaders. It may affect what people en mass are disposed to do, but not exactly what each or the mass will think or do, and especially not exactly when they will do it

People react to major events in different ways at different times, but these reactions can all be traced back to a comment cause. An explosion may kill some people instantly, but be a nightmare in the minds of many others for years to come. Maybe a second event with trigger a reaction to the first. A careful sensitive study of the whole astro-cycle picture may explain this clearly and help a person through. Brutalising the process with demands that X leads to Y within tight pre-determined criteria provides no more than a pointless valueless statistical headache.

  • The troughs and peaks of the Cycle Index indicate pressure points, where outer planets are close together, or opposed, and the developing process between the two extremes. War and social change do not happen or not happen. The pressure builds. Even the actual day of the start of the war may not be that critical. World War One started with ‘it will all be over by Christmas’. World War Two was a ‘phony war’ until well into 1940. The research Dean cites must be considered in this context.
  • Uranus/Pluto conjunction in the 1960s did mark the final breakdown of Victorian values, but in many very different ways. Indeed, it also indicated a tendency to strive to return to those values that partly underpins the anti-woke agenda to this day. Wise understanding of the cycles opens a door for better behaviour, NOT we can ignore all that, if ‘iron clad prediction’ fails.

Page 274 of 299

For all its impressive statistical detail, the design of this research is based on sand for the following reasons.

  • As mentioned already, fragmentary statistics used this way is an inappropriate abuse of how integrated astrology works.
  • This study is trying to research too much at the same time. Just one planet and allowance for contributory cycles would be better
  • The emotional qualities chosen are unbalanced. Jupiter qualities are too positive [not just joyful, but also extreme], Saturn too negative [not just depressive, but also focussed], Mars not just aggressive, but also incisive]
  • The group is random and unbalanced.
  • Individual reporting on their own feelings is too subjective to contribute to reliable research, especially when other astro-factors are ignored.
  • It would be much more valuable to look at examples, where reporting did not appear to fit the transit, rather mark it up as a failure.
  • Generally, too much obsession with statistics, too little understanding of astrology. Would the study of psychics survive such bad-research scrutiny?

Page 297 of 299

  • Dean complains that in The Value of Astrology Barbault cites ‘only positive findings’, but except for complaining about ‘lack of controls’, does not say why these findings are unworthy of examination. We have seen above that Dean’s idea of ‘controls’ are often, if not always, inappropriate for the study of a proper model of astrology.
  • The French word ‘certifiée’ means certified – that is ‘valid’ – if valid then surely valuable. But in England ‘certified’ has the connotation of someone being certified as insane. Hence the word ‘value’ was used in the title. This is not quite as strong as the original French, but makes the same point.
  • The criticisms of Planetary Cycles are again covered in the general introduction. Dean is obsessed with precise statistical studies to pin down astrology to make it seem to fail at what it does not claim to do.
  • No other area of knowledge studying behaviour and life in general could meet the demands he makes of astrology. This prevents anyone who follows him benefiting from what it can do.
  • Take the example of Dean citing the lack of a predicted world war in the 1980s. In fact, these years saw a fundamental change in the foundation of the world economy to monetarism [Neptune in Capricorn], based on indulgent desire for it [Pluto in Scorpio]. The defeat of the Soviet System at the end of decade led to over-confidence of Western economies, financial deregulation and the development of neo-liberalism. Western over-confidence led attempts to spread its view of democracy, which intensified terrorist reaction, and the early 21st century ‘War on Terror’. This seems to have inspire Russian and Chinese expansionism. So, today the world faces its terrible destabilising consequences. Future historians will see the 1980s as the root cause of any global conflict now and to come.
  • Recently the Cyclic Index clearly traces the descent into the 2019-21 terror, and then the struggle to recover from its trough to survive in today’s very different AI world, as we build to a peak in 2026.
  • It is in this way that the outer planets working together can be understood. Then look at the inners for day-to-day trends and the Moon and Angles for triggers.

By failing to do this, Understanding Astrology consists mainly of pointless pages of intricate nonsense that outline or misreport studies, most of which reveal Dean’s Misunderstanding of Astrology.