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Time to Thank Your Lucky Stars?

Research astrologer says popular press accounts distort the way astrology works in our lives

"The sun shows how we picture and pursue our individual role in life's drama. And it shows the ways in which we ascribe meaning to life," he said

    CHICAGO, IL, February 17, 2014 /24-7PressRelease/ -- It seems farfetched, but the horoscope column for a national U.S. consumer magazine once advised those born under the astrological sign of Gemini to take the night off and spend a restful evening at home on New Year's Eve - advice that almost certainly would have spoiled the fun for party-goers everywhere if heeded.

In an equally bizarre claim, a British newspaper told readers "it's time to count your lucky stars if you are a Gemini." The reason given: nearly one in 10 people included on a list of the 1,000 wealthiest individuals in Great Britain celebrated every birthday while the sun, as seen from earth, was transiting this particular astrological sign.

Astrologers universally acknowledge the importance of where the sun resides in an individual's birth chart (horoscope). As British astrologer Frank Clifford puts it, "the sun reveals our main life purpose, the core reasons behind why we're born and what we're in the process of becoming.

"The sun shows how we picture and pursue our individual role in life's drama. And it shows the ways in which we ascribe meaning to life," he said.

However, predicting a universally awkward or anti-social New Year's Eve outcome for every Gemini on the planet is a stretch. And, says British research astrologer Robert Currey, placement of the sun in any of the 12 astrological signs at birth is not a reliable indicator of who is likely to be financially flush - and who is not.

Currey says the list of Britain's 1,000 wealthiest individuals is compiled annually by the London Times. The story equating the sign of Gemini with accumulated wealth appeared in the SUN newspaper, which has the largest circulation of any national newspaper published in the UK.

Currey thinks the study described in the news article "is a good example of bad astrology - and bad science,"

Gemini is the astrological sign identified with twins. The news article appeared under the heading: "A Gemini? You're Twin the Money."

Presumably, the way readers were supposed to interpret the catchy headline is that those born under the sign are somehow doubly blessed, or twice as likely to find themselves highly placed on a list of wealthy citizens. Only the facts presented in the news report don't support this conclusion, Currey says, adding:

"The fact that almost one in 10 on the 'rich list' were born under the sign of Gemini is not statistically significant. The odds that Gemini born are more likely to be counted among the wealthy are no better than chance.

"This is typical of the way astrology is sensationalized in the popular press and makes most astrologers and statisticians cringe. It's a shame the media fails to report the results from real research conducted by astrologers."

On his website Currey describes some of the problems that bedevil astrological studies that push findings based on sun sign data alone.

Births, he explains, are not evenly spread throughout the year. In Western Europe the birth rate peaks in spring while in North America the rate is higher in both spring and fall.

What this means is that the various signs will either be over or under represented in research studies that fail to account for this fluctuation.

There's also the problem of people being born on the cusp between two signs. When this happens it's not possible to establish the individual's sun sign without knowing their time of birth. About one in 15 people fall in this category.

"What this says is that collecting an accurate representative sample of sun sign data for comparative research is hazardous and best compared with a control group," Currey said.

When analyzing birth charts, professional astrologers always look at where the sun is located in one of the 12 astrological signs. But they also check out the locations and the angular relationships formed between the sun, moon and planets.

"The astrological signatures in a birth chart for someone who has inherited vast wealth are very different from those in the chart of a self-made billionaire," he added.

The Astrology News Service (ANS) is jointly sponsored by the leading astrological organizations in the U.S., including the American Federation of Astrologers (AFA), The Association For Astrological Networking (AFAN), The International Society for Astrological Research (ISAR), the National Council for Geocosmic Research (NCGR) .and the Organization of Professional Astrologers (OPA).


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